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  • Published: 5 November 2020
  • ISBN: 9780141994215
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

Finding the Heart Sutra

Guided by a Magician, an Art Collector and Buddhist Sages from Tibet to Japan




An illuminating - and deeply personal - exploration of the essence of Buddhist thought, from the author of Lost Japan

Powerful, mystical and concise, the Heart Sutra is believed to contain the condensed essence of all Buddhist wisdom. This brief poem on emptiness has exerted immense influence throughout Asia since the seventh century and is woven into the fabric of daily life. Yet even though it rivals the teachings of Laozi and Confucius in importance, this ancient Buddhist scripture remains barely known in the West.

During the many years he has spent living in Japan, Alex Kerr has been on a quest after the secrets of the Heart Sutra. Travelling from Japan, Korea, and China, to India, Mongolia, Tibet and Vietnam, this book brings together Buddhist teaching, talks with friends and mentors, and acute cultural insights to probe the universe of thought contained within this short but intense philosophical work.

  • Published: 5 November 2020
  • ISBN: 9780141994215
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

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Praise for Finding the Heart Sutra

Panoramic . . . what Kerr does so well as a writer is delve into the smaller details that other scribes overlook . . . the best books are about the reader, mindful of their wants and needs, while the author remains in the background where he or she can more effectively transmit the story and its meaning. Kerr excels at this, even while telling what is a highly personal story

Amy Chavez, Books on Asia

Compelling, beautiful . . . Alex Kerr finds humor at the heart of wisdom and enlightenment

J.J. O'Donoghue, Japan Times

An erudite and charming book . . . Alex Kerr delves into the Japanese soul in Finding the Heart Sutra . . . both a primer and a paean to one of the central texts to Buddhism

Literary Review

Playful and accessible . . . superb calligraphy . . . those who loved Kerr's Lost Japan or his most recent Bangkok Found will remember, as they read this latest offering, the reasons they have enjoyed his work: Kerr's deep understanding of culture and his refined aesthetic sensibilities, qualities that allow him to capture the world he writes about in a way that is always compelling

Leanne Ogasawara, Kyoto Journal

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