The Heart Sutra is a treasured text revered by Confucius, Buddhists and Taoist. It forms the basis for the Wisdom Path that lies above the Po Lin Monastery.
During a trip to China in 1980, Professor Jso Tsing fell in love with the simplicity of the Heart Sutra. He was inspired to write it in calligraphy and dedicated it to the people of Hong Kong in the same year. His work is now transcribed in large scale wooden beams that form the Wisdom Path.
Each log is positioned to reflect the topography. When seen from above, the overall design is a sideways figure 8, the Infiniti sign.
The plaque which describes the Heart Sutra is at the beginning of the path.
It is a ten minute walk to the start of the Wisdom Path. I followed a group of students who were going to the hostel located further up the hillside. Their youthful energy was contagious and I felt young and free.
Walking the path, a sense of peacefulness and serenity washed over me. After my experiences at the Monastery, I felt removed from my self. I cannot claim to understand the Heart Sutra; I just know that I felt the space between my small self and the connection to something much greater expand.
If there is another trail that beckons, I can’t resist its calling. At the base of the Wisdom Path was the trail to the top of the peak. Guarded by a rooster, it was a trail I had to explore.
The path quickly became step, rough and long. The humidity of the day seemed to fall on me like a blanket. No one was going my way; the cautionary voice inside my head started singing out what could happen if…
I took a deep breath and kept going. And was rewarded by this view of the Wisdom Path.
You can almost make out the infinity sign, can’t you?
The path beckoned upward. I must have been an explorer in another life. It’s the only explanation that explains this desire to see around the next bend.
And then I discovered why I took this way. I was integrating my experience at the Monastery and on the Wisdom Path. Forced to pay attention to this moment, careful where I placed each foot, I was meditating in a waking state. No thoughts or judgments; no plans for the future or regrets about the past.
Just breathing (and sweating) in the here and now.
I paused on a flat part of the trail and took a sip of water. My emotions were calm and my thoughts silent. And then I turned and saw the confirmation of my experience.
It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!