The Heart of Wisdom Sutra (the Heart Sutra) is the sutra we are most familiar with. It is a sutra in which Avalokiteshvara (Jap. Kanjizai) Bodhisattva, in place of Shakyamuni Buddha, clearly expounds Emptiness to his disciple Shariputra. In terms of compassion, Kanzeon is the Japanese name for this Bodhisattva and in terms of wisdom, Kanjizai is the Japanese name. In either case, this Bodhisattva is actually we ourselves.
The name Kanjizai (Seeing Freely) is derived from the sense function of sight and by being able to use this sense function freely and completely, it represents the freedom to use the other five functions in the same way. Shariputra was the leader of a group of more than one hundred people, and after Shakyamuni Buddha realised the Way, all of them took refuge in the Buddha. Shariputra was one of the ten main disciples of the Buddha and because he was reputed to have the deepest wisdom was known as Shariputra Sonja. (more…)