The Heartbeat Sutra

Chaos theory, karma, and other fluctuationsBarbara Roether

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The first time I talked with “Dr. Chaos” about Buddhism was one twilit night a couple of years ago in a California January. We were sitting on the deck of a friend’s house in Big Sur, two hundred feet above the Pacific. It’s a place where you can both hear and see the waves break. As we listened and watched, the water stretching out like a vast mirror to the horizon, there, in glorious magenta light, the winter sun slowly set: metallic, then amber, then scarlet—one of those natural scenes so far beyond the viewer, so much grander and deeper, that a kind of vertigo swept over us.

“You know, I have never watched a sunset before in my life, not to that final moment,” said Dr. Chaos as the darkness rose up out of the ocean and covered us.

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