The Heart Sutra

The Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya, also known as The Heart Sutra is one of Mahayana’s most important sutras and one of my personal favorites; both to read and reflect on, and to chant. Though I haven’t grasped the concept of emptiness yet, the Prajnaparamita mantra in this sutra (Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha) is a great mantra to recite.

There are many different English translations of this sutra, however, this is (to me) the best one:

The Bodhisattva Avolokita,
While moving in the deep course of perfect understanding,
Shed light on the five skandas
And found them equally empty.
After this penetration he overcame ill-being.

Listen, Shariputra,
Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.
Form is not other than emptiness;
Emptiness is not other than form.
The same is true with feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness.

Here, Shariputra,
All dharmas are marked with emptiness.
They are neither produced nor destroyed.
Neither defiled nor immaculate.
Neither increasing nor decreasing.
Therefore, in emptiness there is neither form, nor feeling, nor perceptions.
No mental formations, no consciousness.
No eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind.
No form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no objects of mind.
No realms of elements from eyes to mind consciousness.
No interdependent origins and no extinction of them.
(From ignorance to death and decay)
No ill-being, no cause of ill-being, no end of ill-being, and no path.
No understanding, no attainment.

Because there is no attainment, 
The Bodhisattvas, grounded in perfect understanding,
Find no obstacles for their minds.
Having no obstacles, they overcome fear,
Liberating themselves forever from illusion and realizing perfect nirvana.
All Buddhas in the past, present, and future, thanks to this perfect understanding,
Arrive at full, right, and universal enlightenment.

Therefore one should know that perfect understanding
Is the highest mantra, 
The unequalled mantra, 
The destroyer of ill-being
The incorruptible truth.
A mantra of prajnaparamita should therefore be proclaimed.

Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha.
Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi, svaha.
Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi, svaha.


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