The radical message of the Heart Sūtra, one of Buddhism's most famous texts, is a sweeping attack on everything we hold most dear: our troubles, the world as we know it, even the teachings of the Buddha himself. Several of the Buddha's followers are said to have suffered heart attacks and died when they first heard its assertion of the basic groundlessness of our existence—hence the title of this book. Overcoming fear, the Buddha teaches, is not to be accomplished by shutting down or building walls around oneself, but instead by opening up to understand the illusory nature of everything we fear—including ourselves. In this book of teachings, Karl Brunnhölzl guides practitioners through this 'crazy' sutra to the wisdom and compassion that lie at its core.
"With lively humor and deep scholarly knowledge, Mitra Karl Brunnhölzl brilliantly unpacks the profundity of the Heart Sūtra here for modern readers. In practical and accessible ways, he invites us to join the great practitioners of India and Tibet in contemplating the Heart Sūtra's wisdom. We are fortunate to have teachers of Karl's acumen among the growing body of inspiring Western Buddhist teachers."—Dzogchen Ponlop author of Rebel Buddha and Mind Beyond Death
"When the Buddha revealed the Prajñaparamita sutras, teaches Karl Brunnhölzl, the arhats in attendance were so shocked by what they were hearing that they died on the spot. The Heart Attack Sutra seeks to preserve this same spiritual shock for Western minds (but perhaps without the grim consequences that Buddha’s earlier students had to face!) by presenting and commenting in detail on the Heart Sutra, arguably the most well-known sutra in the Mahayana tradition."—Mandala Magazine