The above is a mantra, which is an esoteric teaching by means of which we are reminded of the subtlety and complexity of the inconceivable Dharma. The body of Teachings includes some exoteric parts, such as the sutras, and some esoteric ones, such as the dharanis, or mantras. Exoteric Teachings are accessible to rational understanding and can be explained, but the meanings of the esoteric or mystic forms of prayer, such as dharanis, or mantras, are not within the reach of the intellect; thus, the good is upheld and cannot be lost nor can evil arise. During recitation, dharanis, or mantras, enable the one reciting them to control both the sound and the timing, but any recognizable words and meaning which would normally hold his or her mind captive are not there. One then has an opportunity to experience expansiveness, or spaciousness, of mind, one of its very special characteristics.
To recite the above mantra by itself, omitting the text of the Sutra, is a true Mahayana practice of non-discriminating mind. The inconceivable nature of the Teaching is apprehended and the teaching seen as a whole. Through study, the Sutra and a complete understanding of it equal the meaning implied in the mantra (sometimes referred to as spell).
This explication of The Heart Sutra, including both the exoteric and the esoteric aspects, is presently completed. As a final word, let me caution that any contrived or faulty interpretations of the Teachings ought to be carefully avoided.