One of the most beloved figures in Buddhist cosmology is the bodhisattva of compassion Avalokiteśvara, who hears and responds to the cries of all sentient beings. In some countries and cultures s/he is considered to be male, and in others, female. In China she is the goddess Kuan Yin (Guanyin; in Japanese, Kannon). In Tibetan Buddhism, each Dalai Lama is his reincarnation.
The Heart Sutra may be the best-known and most popular of the Buddhist sutras. It describes the bodhisattva of compassion's liberating insight gained while engaged in deep meditation.
|Statue of Kannon at Daien-in Temple, Japan|
When you refer to yourself, where do you instinctively point - to your heart or to your head?
Straight from the heart: we know what this means without thinking.
Kind words spoken - direct, sincere, unrehearsed.
A compassionate act - complete before the brain has a chance to modify or muddle.
Straight from the heart: without fear, far beyond delusive thinking.
Right here is Nirvana.
The excerpt is from Robert Aitken's translation of the Heart Sutra.
The top photo is the rather sad looking stump of a sidewalk tree in North Vancouver.