The effort in this commentary is to see this convergence in a creative light, knowing fully well that after convergence the two orders of reality separate again and their underlying processes take a different turn. Above all, this commentary on the Heart Sutra is offered in the spirit of a Zen practitioner. This commentary arose out of my own need, and presumably the need of like-minded Zen students, to understand the historical and doctrinal background of this seminal document. At the same time, I wanted to be careful not to get caught in the minutiae of academic analysis and turn this commentary into yet another doctrinal point of view. In the present approach, the focus is not on doctrinal orthodoxy, but rather on creating a radical new understanding of an ancient teaching, and to understand this core teaching of Mahayana Buddhism in the light of new perspectives on reality and a new model of the universe set forth by quantum physics. Since the teaching of the Heart Sutra is centered around an insight into "emptiness," the Sanskrit word sunyata is used here throughout rather than its quite inadequate English translation. It is thus hoped that the inherent vibrancy of sunyata which has infused the spirit of Mahayana for the last two thousand years will emerge in the following commentary. Since the developed tradition of Zen bears the imprint of sunyata throughout, it is hoped as well that readers will approach this commentary through the prism of their meditation practice, and that the vibrancy of their practice will find resonance in the insights of the sutra. As Edward Conze has remarked,
It cannot be the purpose of
a commentary to convey
directly to the reader the spiritual experiences
which a sutra describes. They only reveal
themselves to persistent meditation. A commentary
must be content to explain the words used.