The Buddha’s Heart Sutra, Bongeunsa Temple, Seoul Art Museum And The Hongdae University Area
The teaching of the Buddha explains that “Form is not different from emptiness.
Emptiness, is not different from Form.
Form IS emptiness, and emptiness IS form.” (taken from the ‘Heart Sutra’ of the Buddha)
Another way to view the word ‘Emptiness,’ or the ‘Great Void,’ is by substituting the words ‘Energy’ or ‘Spirit.’
Everybody knows that Energy is at the base of all matter and all form.
Every element, every metal, rock, wood, a hand, a face – are all made from energy.
The fact that Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form, has been proven by quantum physics.
All matter is composted of atomic energy which is ever in motion, contracting and expanding, reforming and dissolving itself out of emptiness.
It is only our gross senses that see and sense and make cognitive judgements, by compartmentalizing and dividing the world we see into separate objects.
It is because of the way we project outwards our own translation of what we THINK we see, that we do not see the Light that is in everything.
It is the reason that we do not see people’s energetic Auras, that surround each individual, but instead, we see separate forms and separate bodies.
This is also the reason that we do not understand that we have CREATED the world we see and think we live in.
Our minds are accustomed to making judgements based on the information that our senses seem to bring forth.
Our minds are those that make wrong judgments and form beliefs, based on limited information gathered by the senses.
Our erroneous beliefs do not serve us well, and as a result we do not know our great potential, the great Spiritual Power that is innate in us.
The Heart Sutra goes on to explain:
“The same is true for feelings, sensations, conceptions, impulses and consciousness.”
In Buddhism, feelings, sensations, conceptions, impulses and consciousness are called ‘The Five Aggregates,’ or what calls into being our erroneous belief that the world is comprised of all kinds of Forms.
“All Truths are Emptiness.
Emptiness is not created, nor does it die, it simply IS.
Emptiness is not pure nor impure,
Emptiness does not increase, nor decrease.
Therefore, in Emptiness (TRUTH), there are no forms and no feelings,
There are no eyes,
There is no form,
There are no mind-generated illusions,
No visual sphere,
No sphere of consciousness.
There is no ignorance
There is no ending of ignorance.
There is no old age
And no cessation of old age.
There is no death
And no ending of death.
There is no suffering,
And no cessation of suffering.
There is no sickness
And no end of sickness.
There is no path.
There is no wisdom,
There is no attainment,
Because there is nothing to attain.
A Bodhisattva is attuned to the Spiritual Guidance for the Perfection of Wisdom, and has no obstructions in her heart.
Because there are no obstructions in her heart, she has no fears,
And she passes far beyond all the confused imagination of the world of illusions, and reaches the Ultimate Nirvana.
All Buddhas of the the past, present and future, have attained Supreme Enlightenment by relying on the Perfection Of Truth.
Therefore we know that the Perfection Of Truth is the great magic Mantra, the great Mantra of illumination, it is the supreme Mantra, the unequaled Mantra which can truly wipe out all suffering without fail.”
(translation of the Buddha’s Heart Sutra which is chanted daily in temples in Korea and around the world as a reminder of the Truth to the practitioners.)
So why am I so inspired to share the Heart Sutra?
I guess it was our visit to the Bongeunsa Temple complex in Seoul.
A 1200 year old temple in the heart of the city, which is a jewel of serenity in the city.
We had a delicious tea in their tea house, visited a few halls and took a nice walk in their garden.
Then we walked towards ‘Platoon Kunsthalle,’ which is a big art project made from shipping containers, which were converted into an exhibition space for emerging artists.
The Platoon was closed for a few days.
They were doing a VW car commercial shoot, so we made our way instead to the Hongdae University area.
A journalist from Vienna that we met on the street and had a lovely chat with, recommended that we go there for a stroll in the area.
Just like he said, the streets had a lot of small cafes, shops, street musicians and people to watch.
Most of the young pretty girls walked on high hills with admirable agility.
We found a cafe that was highly recommended called ‘Cafe Comma’, and we sat there for a nice rest.
All this walking for miles across the big city of Seoul may be good exercise, but it can also be exhausting.
Cafe Comma has a lot of books and people come to read a book and meet friends.
The Hongdae area is full of restaurants.
We chose to have dinner at ‘Agio,’ which served us fairly good Italian food (for being in Korea.)
Our time in Seoul has been exciting.
Everyday has been so full of experiences, sights, delights and tastes, that I did not do it justice by the brief descriptions in my posts.
This city is definitely worth visiting for any art and design lover.
I am adding photos from our visit to Seoul Art Museum on another day.
In the Seoul Museum of art, we saw a lot of inspiring digital movie installations, along with some great contemporary art, and an exhibition of a Korean woman painter called Chun Kyung-Ja, who traveled the world and made beautiful folk paintings of all the places and cultures she visited.