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Knowing the Heart Sūtra by Heart

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The current situation of Christian faith lends a new attraction to the Mahāyāna doctrine that nothing has substantial being and that language and religions are radically conventional constructions, to be handled skillfully with a new art of judgement. We can bring a hermeneutics of the heart to bear on the doctrine of emptiness if we note how, in the Heart Sūtra, it is voiced by the bodhisattva of compassion. The wisdom of emptiness takes form as a way of life devoted to the liberation of suffering beings. When we muse long on this alien text, we are surprised to find something familiar at its heart, the dynamic of saving love that is central to the Gospel.

Affiliations: 1: Sophia University, Tokyo


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