This book is surprisingly simple but before you know it the Dalai Lama has led you up a complex stairwell of esoteric wisdom. It is so amazing how this Living Buddha can sound so down to earth. It's almost like listening to the guy next door talk about life's problems and suddenly you're on a mountaintop in Nepal, draped in a saffron robe, contemplating the Unmanifested Nature of Reality. If you're studying meditation or you want to get a taste of the Blissful state you need go no further than the Essence of the Heart Sutra. Shariputra has asked an important question, "How should any noble son or noble daughter who wishes to engage in the practice of the profound perfection of wisdom train?" The answer seems like a non-answer. "No form, no feelings, no perceptions, no impulses, no consciousness. No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind." I can see the modern western man asking, "Yeah but what can emptiness do for me?" That's just the point. There is no me. And on top of that, there are no things out there in the so-called real world to attach yourself to. "No color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind..." This is the perfect antidote for our material based culture made clear by the highest of all Lamas who claims to be a simple monk. How much would you pay for all of this? But wait there's more. For an added bonus the appendix has an essential translation of the Heart Sutra mantra by Jamyang Gawai Lodro. For those who are not comfortable just chanting foreign sounding words you can read what it means in plain English. Buy it now! This book will lead you on the path to priceless wisdom.
As a geographically-isolated Buddhist, I belong to a local Daoist study group. I chose the Heart Sutra to review for the study group, as a work appealing to both traditions. Having reviewed available commentaries to prepare for the presentation, I found the Dalai Lama's "Essence of the Heart Sutra" to be an exceptionally insightful treatise of this most deceptively simple, as well as shortest, of the major sutras. While he begins with the longer Tibetan version of the Heart Sutra, his analysis encompasses Tibetan, Mahayana and Theravada traditions. The book is a superlative scholarly work, written in clear language and well referenced, and should be required-reading to anyone wishing to step beyond apparent contradictions.