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Thread: Some words in the Heart Sutra

  1. #1

    Some words in the Heart Sutra

    Dear Noble Sangha, there are some words in th Herat Sutra I couldn't understand clearly.
    Can you explain meaning of the words Sen/sa/tion, Per/cep/tin and For/ma/tion.
    As a non-native english speaker this will help me.
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Hi! The terms refer to the sensations the body experiences, touch, smell, sight , hearing, the interpretation the mind does of them, nice, unpleasant, good, bad, loud, quiet etc the concepts the mind creates about them, for example, this is a tree, a chair, a bell, a thunder, blue, red etc and then the conditioned associations we make with them, for example, this reminds me of, I like this because of that, I enjoy this and dislike that.. etc
    The three terms stem from one another and exist together.

    SatToday
    Last edited by Kokuu; 06-06-2021 at 04:04 PM.
    Bion
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  3. #3
    Hi Tozan

    I don't know how much writing there is about Buddhism in Turkish but you might find more information by searching for them under their Pali names. They are three of the five skandhas (with form (rupa) and consciousness (vijnana) being the other two, which are also mentioned in the sutra).

    Vedana (feeling or sensation) - whether we feel something is good, bad or neutral
    Samjna (perception) - the part of thinking that recognises and labels objects such as 'that is a tree', 'that is Jundo', 'that is the colour green' etc.
    Sankhara (formation) - ideas that form in our minds based on what we see e.g. 'that is a nice hat, I need a new hat, a new hat will make me feel good'. Sankhara is often called 'volition' as action can result from these thoughts.

    The idea of the Heart Sutra is to show us that all of these ideas, although helpful in Buddhist teaching about how the mind works, can be dropped when we sit Zazen, and in other parts of life too, in order to experience the vast wholeness beneath all of these labels and ideas.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    Last edited by Kokuu; 06-06-2021 at 04:05 PM.
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  4. #4
    Thank you dear friends your explanations became very helpful to me.

  5. #5
    Hi Tozan,

    The basic point is that the brain receives data about external forms through the senses, which are received as raw sensations, perceived and processed in the brain to impose identity, categories, differences (especially the sense of "self" and all the things that are "not myself" in the subject/object divide), then judgments are added regarding some things we like, some we don't like, and some things we become overly attached too. There is perceived conflict between our created sense of "self" and what it wants and all the identified "things" of the world that sometimes are not as the "self" would demand. A central aspect of our Buddhist practice is to reverse the process, rediscovering wholeness without divisions and frictions, and transcending the self/other divide. In the resulting wholeness beyond division, there can be no separate things to conflict.

    Traditional ideas of Buddhism and modern brain science are quite harmonious. If it is helpful, although in English and rather long to listen, our monthly Zazenkai talks for the last few months have been about the Heart Sutra, including) especially in March, April and May) the portion you ask ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ng-Heart-Sutra

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...eleaf-ZAZENKAI

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...AND-CLOTHES%21

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...Heart-Sutra%21

    Talks usually begin about 1 hour 50 minutes in each video.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-06-2021 at 03:56 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    In reference to the other two skandhas which are also mentioned by the Heart Sutra, form (the first skandha) and consciousness (the fifth skandha):

    Rupa (form) - this refers to all material things, including our own body.
    Vijnana (consciousness) - awareness of sense objects, including thoughts. Consciousness is aware of the first four skandhas

    This article in Tricycle is something I found interesting in presenting both a traditional view of the five skandhas and Zen teacher Bernie Glassman's own interpretation: https://tricycle.org/magazine/five-aggregates/

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post

    This article in Tricycle is something I found interesting in presenting both a traditional view of the five skandhas and Zen teacher Bernie Glassman's own interpretation: https://tricycle.org/magazine/five-aggregates/

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    paywall
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Member Hōkan's Avatar
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    In the Tricycle article, the author Sean Murphy says he remembers Bernie Glassman has having a somewhat different view on what constitutes the skandhas, mostly because the words translate poorly into English. Here are what Sean remembers from Bernie:


    1. Sensation—direct experience, through the senses, of the physical world.
    Similar to the traditional version of “form,” although perhaps this
    version clarifies the point that even what we think of as objective
    physical reality is already mediated through our senses.

    2. Feeling—our simplest internal response to any sensation: like, dislike,
    or indifference. This is the same as the traditional system.

    3. Reaction—the feeling of like, dislike, or neutrality provokes a
    reaction that ranges from leaping to our feet at a loud sound to subtle
    contraction or relaxation in the body. Such reactions may also include
    complex emotional responses like anger, fear, or envy—and thus include
    aspects of the traditional fourth skandha, mental formations.

    4. Recognition/Interpretation— the mind catches up with an experience and
    applies a label to it. In the example above, we’ve heard a sound
    (sensation), disliked it (feeling), and leaped to our feet (reaction)
    before realizing it’s a car backfiring. This is essentially the same as
    the traditional third skandha.

    5. Consciousness—as Bernie explained, this is just ordinary human
    consciousness as average people experience it. The key aspect for our
    purposes is that this is where we download the storehouse of past
    experiences and concepts and thereby obscure the direct experience of the
    first skandha (sensation), often creating confusion and suffering in the process.
    The article goes into more background and depth but I think this is the core of it.

    I sat this morning.
    --
    Hōkan at the Crooked House by Wonderland Park in Longfellow, Minneapolis, MN, USA
    Hōkan = 法閑 = Dharma Serenity
    To be entirely clear, I am not a hōkan = 幇間 = taikomochi = geisha, but I do wonder if my preceptor was having a bit of fun with me...

  9. #9
    Ah, sorry. I am not a Tricycle subscriber so assumed that it was generally available.

    Anyway, as both Jundo and Bernie are pointing to, it is less important to understand each of the skandhas and their precise meaning and how they work and instead see the more general process of how we take on information and make judgements about it, especially in terms of whether we like it or don't like it. This conditions our behaviour into attachment and aversion, keeping us trapped in the wheel of samsara.

    The Heart Sutra speaks of going beyond human concepts and ideas and instead resting in the wholeness of all that is.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  10. #10
    In spite of the fact that I read the forum with the help of a google translator, all the same, everything is clear to me and very interesting
    thank you all very much

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    This article in Tricycle is something I found interesting in presenting both a traditional view of the five skandhas and Zen teacher Bernie Glassman's own interpretation: https://tricycle.org/magazine/five-aggregates/
    Quote Originally Posted by Hōkan View Post
    In the Tricycle article, the author Sean Murphy says he remembers Bernie Glassman has having a somewhat different view on what constitutes the skandhas, mostly because the words translate poorly into English. Here are what Sean remembers from Bernie:

    1. Sensation—direct experience, through the senses, of the physical world.
    Similar to the traditional version of “form,” although perhaps this
    version clarifies the point that even what we think of as objective
    physical reality is already mediated through our senses.

    2. Feeling—our simplest internal response to any sensation: like, dislike,
    or indifference. This is the same as the traditional system.

    3. Reaction—the feeling of like, dislike, or neutrality provokes a
    reaction that ranges from leaping to our feet at a loud sound to subtle
    contraction or relaxation in the body. Such reactions may also include
    complex emotional responses like anger, fear, or envy—and thus include
    aspects of the traditional fourth skandha, mental formations.

    4. Recognition/Interpretation— the mind catches up with an experience and
    applies a label to it. In the example above, we’ve heard a sound
    (sensation), disliked it (feeling), and leaped to our feet (reaction)
    before realizing it’s a car backfiring. This is essentially the same as
    the traditional third skandha.

    5. Consciousness—as Bernie explained, this is just ordinary human
    consciousness as average people experience it. The key aspect for our
    purposes is that this is where we download the storehouse of past
    experiences and concepts and thereby obscure the direct experience of the
    first skandha (sensation), often creating confusion and suffering in the process.
    The article goes into more background and depth but I think this is the core of it.
    I also found this article very interesting and helpful, thank you. It is useful to have things explained from different perspectives.

    Gassho,
    Charity
    sat

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