’An erudite and charming book . . . both a primer and a paean to one of the central texts of Buddhism, known as the Heart Sutra. . . Alex Kerr delves into the Japanese soul’ Literary Review
The material world is itself emptiness.
Emptiness is itself the material world.
Powerful, mystical and concise, the Heart Sutra is believed to contain the condensed essence of all Buddhist wisdom. This brief poem on emptiness has exerted immense influence throughout Asia since the seventh century and is woven into the fabric of daily life. Yet even though it rivals the teachings of Laozi and Confucius in importance, this ancient Buddhist scripture remains barely known in the West.
During the many years he has spent living in Japan, Alex Kerr has been on a quest after the secrets of the Heart Sutra. Travelling from Japan, Korea, and China, to India, Mongolia, Tibet and Vietnam, this book brings together Buddhist teaching, talks with friends and mentors, and acute cultural insights to probe the universe of thought contained within this short but intense philosophical work.
’Marvellous … a life’s work … a brilliant literary form, weaving reflections of the sutra with those on Alex’s own magical mystery tour’ Alexandra Munroe, Asian Art scholar and curator