Hello everyone. Tashi delek. I am very happy to be able to recite prayers together with all of you for the pandemic to subside. We will recite prayers for seven days, starting from today.
Today, on the first day, we will recite the Heart Sutra and the Repulsion of Maras. As all of you know, the Heart Sutra is an important Mahayana Sutra. It teaches emptiness and interdependence. At this time, when the coronavirus is spreading all over the world, we can clearly see the meaning of interdependence. We can see that we each depend upon each other and there is not as much distance between us and others as we thought.
If we had a deep understanding of interdependence, maybe the coronavirus would not spread so widely in the world. But we naturally have very solid ego-clinging. We think that each family, or each community, or each country are different and separate, and we are only concerned about the things which affect us and don’t take other things seriously. Yet every breath we take connects us with everyone. And this pandemic shows how much we affect each other and how much we are connected. This is a situation that we will never forget our entire life.
So I think it will be very helpful, if we reflect on our life experience and the meaning of the Heart Sutra together. The shorter we make the distance between the dharma and our lives, the more we will see that there is no difference between the person practicing dharma and the dharma they practice. The dharma and the individual will become one, and we will become what we call a dharma practitioner.
Next we will recite the Heart Sutra together. I will recite it slowly. If you can recite along with me, that is fine. Or else, recite it however you wish. The main thing is, do not get distracted. It is important to think about the meaning.