Heart Sutra Practice Outline
1. Sit in the Key Points of Posture.
2. Cultivate the motivation of bodhichitta: Meditate on love and compassion until you are
motivated by the thought, “I will engage in this practice to develop wisdom so that I can
free all beings from suffering and bring them all to ultimate happiness.”
3. Seven-Line Prayer and Vajra guru Recitation (OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PADMA
SIDDHI HUNG). At this time imagine that you are praying to Guru Rinpoche,
Shakyamuni, or any other Buddha or realized being/saint that you connect with. You are
praying that you can accurately develop wisdom that realizes the true nature of all
phenomena. Pray that this practice be born in your mind stream. End by imagine that
buddha/buddha’s, etc. dissolving into light and into you and resting inseparably. You
may rest in meditation for some moments here.
4. Then, before reciting the text, imagine the setting in which the teaching came about:
Think that the Buddha Shakyamuni is sitting in front of you and that Shariputra and
Avalokiteshvara are on either side of him as the discourse on emptiness comes about.
5. Read the text all the way through from beginning to end until it says, “This concludes
the Heart Essence of Wisdom.” Try to remember whatever you understand about empty
nature as you recite it.
6. Chant/recite the mantra of wisdom from the text for a little while.
7. Then, sit silently and meditate. You can do any kind of shamatha or vipashyana
practice that you know. Traditionally this is the place for analytical meditation on
emptiness in which you alternate between contemplating emptiness using lines of
reasoning to understand empty nature and alternately rest the mind within the insight
gained (that is, alternating between contemplative meditation and resting meditation).
8. In conclusion, recite the Averting Ritual at the end of the text. Imagine you are turning
away all affictions and obstacles (these are called “maras” in Sanskrit and “dud”, or
demons, in Tibetan).
9. End with love and compassion by dedicating the merit of the doing wisdom practice
to all living beings they may be freed from suffering and achieve true and ultimate