Our ancestral teachers spoke of Zen as not relying on words and letters, but they did not neglect words and letters. They used words. They were not used by words. From the records of their sayings, it is clear that they were well versed in the Buddha’s sutras, as were their students. Unlike those people raised in Buddhist cultures, who are familiar with the sutras, and the central teachings of the Buddha Dharma, for most of us in Australia, our knowledge is limited. Even here, in the Sydney Zen Centre, very little attention is given to study of the sutras, in fact, they are rarely mentioned. While our koan curriculum is replete with classical Buddhist references, they largely go unrecognised. This is also the case with the sutras we chant prior to zazen. These sutras are a treasure store of information about the Buddha Dharma, if we know how to read them.
In this talk, we look at the implications of the following three lines from The Great Prājnā Paramita Heart Sutra:
No ignorance and also no ending of ignorance
And so on to no old age and death
And also, no ending of old age and death.
This Dharma talk was given on day 1 of the SZC Winter sesshin in June 2019