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Emptiness and the Shore Beyond – Part I

Emptiness and the Shore Beyond – Part I

Emptiness and the Shore Beyond

The idea of going to the other shore is commonly supposed to be typically Oriental, but this seems unjustified, as many Christian hymns speak of the mystical Jordan and of reaching the 'shore beyond,' a conception which appears to be more or less identical with that of Buddhism. 'This side' is the life of the world, the usual or common pursuits of men. The 'other shore' is simply the life spiritual, involving the expansion in relatively full power and function of the entire range of man's nature. In other words, to reach the 'other shore' means living at one with the divinity within, and hence partaking of the universal life in relatively full self-consciousness.

The teaching of all the great religious and philosophical systems has been to urge upon their followers the fact that our real goal is to learn the lessons of manifested existence and to graduate from this experience into the cosmic life.”

~ William Q. Judge

According to Buddhist scholars, a short Buddhist writing called the Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya Sutra or "The Heart Sutra or Essence of the Wisdom of the Passing-Over," is truly the dialogue between Avalokiteshvara and Sariputra and it was inspired by the Buddha.

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The content of the conversation is determined entirely by the power of the Buddha's concentration. The bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara represents the idea of perfect universal wisdom, while Sariputra is regarded as one of the Buddha's closest and brightest disciples. The dialogue takes place at the Vulture Peak near the ancient city of Rajgaya where the Buddha and his community of monks stayed. Sariputra requests Avalokiteshvara to instruct him on the practice of the perfection of wisdom, which means prajnaparamita in Sanskrit.

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