"THEREFORE HE UTTERED THE SPELL OF PRAJNAPARAMITA, SAYING GATE, GATE, PARAGATE, PARASAMGATE, BODHI SVAHA."
The above is a mantra, i.e., an esoteric teaching by means of which we are reminded of the subtlety and complexity of the inconceivable Dharma. The body of the Teachings includes some exoteric parts, such as the sutras, and some esoteric ones, such as the dharmas and the mantras. Exoteric Teachings are accessible to rational understanding and can be explained, but the meanings of the esoteric or mystic forms of prayer such as dharmas and mantras are not within the reach of the intellect; the good is upheld and cannot be lost and evil cannot arise. During recitation, dharmas and mantras enable the one reciting them to control both the sound and the timing, but any recognizable words and meanings which would normally hold his/her mind captive are not there. He/she has then an opportunity to experience expansiveness or spaciousness of mind, it being one of mind’s very special characteristics.
To recite this mantra by itself, omitting the text of the sutra is a true Mahayana practice of the non-discriminating mind. The inconceivable nature of the teaching is apprehended and the teaching seen as a whole. Thorough study of the sutra and a complete understanding, equal the meaning implied in the mantra (sometimes referred to as “spell”).
The explanation of The Heart Sutra, including both the exoteric and the esoteric aspects, is presently completed. Any contrived and/or faulty interpretations of the Teachings ought to be carefully avoided.