Here’s a beautiful reflection by Jez Lovekin :
“Years ago, when I first heard and chanted this Sutra, I found myself connecting with it like none of the other sutras. This was the one that spoke to me about my ignorance of practice and subsequently my developing understanding and finally my need to struggle with the paradox and sheer perversity of being born a human.
Others have spoken in admiration and wonder about the Heart Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, the Diamond Sutra etc but although they contain much of our understanding of the great mystery of our lives, none for me contain the immediacy of my unwinnable fight for a safe and secure position in the uncertainty of my life. This dilemma haunts me and I have this paradox at my fingertips, simplified, accessible, understandable, familiar rather like those wonderful tool belts that have become so popular amongst tradesmen, who need that hammer, chisel, drill readily available without the need to think too much or make a big effort to access them. This is work/practice made as easy and efficient as possible without all the baggage that we come to rely on. Vans, ladders, zafus, cushions, they all are discarded and forgotten in the moment. I need to grab the appropriate tool immediately.
But this paradox is a constant and haunting dilemma for me and perfectly presented in the Sutra : how do I square the conflict of my everyday and extremely important self with the knowledge that I am also unbreakably connected to something so huge and mysterious that I know it is futile to even begin to make sense of it. And when I think about it, I don’t even begin to understand this tiny body I live in and this wonderful mind that entertains and confuses and clarifies and amuses and fucks me up? But it contains me and my sense of self. Never mind the grand idea that the self is only an illusion, it ain’t an illusion for me matey, its very real and important and I have to care for it. My duty of care is fundamental and comes with the job.
Through practice I know that something far greater is with me, I am not only connected to, but completely am, everything in the universe and even beyond. There is nothing I am not and its only my puny intellect and its constant need to know that prevents me being completely at one with it all. How do I reconcile the two understandings and live in harmony with both? How can this everyday self be assured that when it dies it will finally join this great universal and unstoppable happening. The elements that make up me will again become this great flux that we have been so lucky to experience?
My answer for myself is: I can’t and I never will be able to and neither will anyone else unless they are very (un)lucky and get reborn and get another chance. So I have to take a chance and trust. Trust that I am OK and we are OK and everything in spite of everything is OK. And remain gob smacked and grateful that I have been born into this awful place.
So the Sutra provides me with that nourishment and reminder that there is a place where this conflict comes together, where my bubble can expand and expand until it consumes everything, where the self still has a presence and the absolute is present too. Where one can wonder at the wonder of it all and completely accept them both in harmony. Like two arrows meeting in mid-air, the box and its lid fits perfectly.”