The Heart Sutra (lit. “heart of wisdom”) is one of the most concise among all Perfection of Wisdom sutras. Along with other Perfection of Wisdom scriptures, the Buddha gave this discourse during the second turning of the wheel of Dharma at Vulture Peak in Rajagriha. The intended audience was not the general public, but rather, a congregation of uncommon disciples whom the Buddha regarded as most suited to receive these teachings.
Like other Perfection of Wisdom sutras, the Heart Sutra shows two subject matters on two different levels. Explicitly, this sutra presents teachings of emptiness — the ultimate nature of reality — in great detail through enumeration of categories of both pure and impure phenomena. Simultaneously, it implicitly presents the stages of the path to enlightenment in terms of progressive levels of insight into emptiness. “By the power of the Buddha,” these teachings are conveyed to others through a short exchange between two of the Buddha’s most illustrious disciples, Avalokiteshvara and Shariputra.68 Magoun Ave, Medford MA 02155 Medford