The Heart Sutra: Thunderclaps of Reality (2018)
Open up to the mystery at the heart of reality! The Heart Sutra is a series of thunderclaps communicating the real nature of things, but not to the thinking mind. We recite it “by heart”. Can we really take it to heart? How might our lives be different, if we were able to live from the freedom and openness described by this Perfection of Wisdom text?
The Heart Sutra is so called because it is the pith, essence, essential heart-teaching of how things truly are. Simply attempting to understand it intellectually can make our minds boggle – and expand beyond what we might think possible. Yet the ‘heart’ aspect also brings out that it is with our hearts, with love, warmth and the whole of our being, that we can know reality – and that to know also means to love. Both the love and the clarity are essential and we’ll explore both aspects during the week.
“The Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra or Heart Sutra is the heart or essence of the Perfection of Wisdom … It represents, it constitutes the heart or the essence of the Prajnaparamita or the Perfection of Wisdom teaching, and it gives us in a concentrated, a highly condensed and concentrated form, the essential meaning of all the Perfection of Wisdom sutras. No wonder therefore … it is recited and chanted so often. If we really know this, if we really know the Heart Sutra, in a sense we know everything.” Sangharakshita (1967) Lecture 73: The Heart Sutra.
We recite the Heart Sutra at the core of each puja and yet do we even begin to understand the depth of its meaning? The retreat will include: meditations leading us deeper into direct experience and towards the wisdom mind; talks and discussion groups to explore the Heart Sutra and what it might mean for us; some days of silence; and devotion, ritual and chanting.
We can only know the deeper meanings of this sutra by immersing ourselves in it and becoming receptive and open to the teaching. As a practice in heart-opening, we will learn to chant the Heart Sutra in the original language of Sanskrit. This is a centuries-old tradition, and a practice which happened on a daily basis in the early days of the Movement. Come and approach the heart of ourselves, and the heart of reality!
The content of this sutra – six great statements or six great thunderclaps which shatter and destroy knowledge and reveal true wisdom (prajna) – is available to us. Can we hear it? Can we allow ourselves to feel those six great thunderclaps throughout our being?
Hridayagita: I have lived and worked in the Taraloka Community for 7 years. My name means “Song of the Heart” and I’m delighted to be co-leading this retreat, when I have such a strongly named connection with the Heart Sutra and Prajnaparamita. I’m really looking forward to exploring the richness of both the form and content of this pithy sutra.
Maitrisiddhi: Focusing on the Heart Sutra for a week feels to me like embarking on an adventure onto a wide ocean. What I’m really looking forward to is the combination of a strong wisdom perspective and taking that deep into our beings with meditation, study and devotion. You never know what is going to happen! What I’m passionate about in the Dharma life is seeing more and more fully the unity between wisdom and love and how we actually live this: not just words and ideas, but how to live those values ever increasingly in daily life. I’ve been doing the maintenance and landscape work at Taraloka for the last seven years, as well as having a strong and full meditative life. I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm with you all!
Ratnavandana will be an active and supportive presence on this retreat. A longstanding senior dharmacharini and a highly respected teacher of meditation, she was overall women’s mitra convenor for the UK for many years. She has shared her heartfelt connection with the brahma vihara practices on many retreats at Taraloka. She brings her love of meditation and of ritual and her deep understanding of compassion.
Led by Hridayagita, Maitrisiddhi, Shubha and Ratnavandana
Level: For Mitras
Cost: £75 booking fee plus suggested donations (taken at the end of the retreat) £195 (unwaged/in receipt of benefits) or £315 (waged)
For more information on cost and the 'dana' system click here: http://www.taraloka.org.uk/calendar-bookings/cost
|Retreat date||Friday, 16th February 2018 17:00|
|Retreat End Date||Friday, 23rd February 2018 11:00|
|Booking closes on||Wednesday, 14th February 2018|
|Booking fee (per person)||£75.00|
|Retreat Leader||Hridayagita, Maitrisiddhi, Shubha and Ratnavandana|
|Location||Taraloka Retreat Centre|