Space is Seen

For about 2 years now I’ve been reading, rereading, looking at with various levels of confusion the Final Exposition of Wisdom by Jeffrey Hopkins.  Most of the book is extended excerpts from 3 of Tsong-Ka-Pa’s major works, with extensive footnotes and a final essay by Hopkins.  Hopkins acts as an editor and translator, but the bulk of the book is from Tsong-Ka-Pa’s works.

Tsong-Ka-Pa was the last of the three masters (Padmasambhava and Atisha being the other 2) that taught and developed the “spiritual synthesis of Tibetan Buddhism”* over the course of about 730 years.  He founded the Gelugpa school to which the Dalia Lama belongs.

Only recently I realized that several times in the book Tsong-Kha-Pa quotes a passage from the Verse Summary of the Perfection of Wisdom.  (There are a number of Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, this one being considered one of the earliest.  The Heart Sutra is the most famous.)

The One-Gone-Thus teaches that one who does not see forms,
Does not see feelings, does not see discriminations,
Does not see intentions, does not see
Consciousness, mind, or sentience sees the dharma.
Analyze how space is seen as in the expression
By sentient beings in words, “Space is seen.”
The One-Gone-Thus teaches that seeing the dharma is also like that.
The seeing cannot be expressed by another example.

Somehow, understanding that I had been reading the same passage, in different contexts for almost 2 years without understanding the degree of repetition, without understanding the centrality of the passage, seemed significant.

Until it didn’t.

*Essential Tibetan Buddhism, Robert Thurman p.35