THE HEART SUTRA
Om Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom the Lovely, the Holy !
Avalokita, the Holy Lord and Bodhisattva, was moving in the deep course of the Wisdom which has gone beyond.
He looked down from on high, He beheld but five heaps, and He saw that in their own-being they were empty.
Here, O Sariputra,
form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form ;emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness, whatever is emptiness,
that is form, the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness.
Here, O Sariputra,
all dharmas are marked with emptiness ; they are not produced or stopped, not defiled or immaculate, not deficient or complete.
Therefore, O Sariputra,
in emptiness there is no form nor feeling, nor perception, nor impulse, nor consciousness
No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind ; No forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or objects of mind ; No sight-organ element, and so forth, until we come to :
No mind-consciousness element ; There is no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, and so forth, until we come to :
There is no decay and death, no extinction of decay and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path.
There is no cognition, no attainment and no non-attainment.
Therefore, O Sariputra,
it is because of his non-attainmentness that a Bodhisattva, through having relied on the Perfection of Wisdom, dwells without thought-coverings.
In the absence of thought-coverings he has not been made to tremble, he has overcome what can upset, and in the end he attains to Nirvana.
All those who appear as Buddhas in the three periods of time fully awake to the utmost, right and perfect Enlightenment because they have relied on the Perfection of Wisdom.
Therefore one should know the prajnaparamita as the great spell, the spell of great knowledge, the utmost spell, the unequalled spell, allayer of all suffering,
in truth -- for what could go wrong ? By the prajnaparamita has this spell been delivered. It runs like this :
gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.(3)
( Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, all-hail ! -- )
This completes the Heart of perfect Wisdom.
(Translated by E. Conze)
Heart of the Prajna-Paramita Sutra
Heart of the Prajna-Paramita Sutra, also called Heart Sutra, is the shortest and the most popular sutra in Buddhism.
If the six hundred volumes of the Maha Projna Sutra can be summarized by the Diamond Sutra in around 5000 words, then the Diamond Sutra can be su mmarized by the Heart Sutra in around 250 words.
The Heart Sutra is regarded as the summation of the wisdom of Buddha. It explains perfectly the teaching of non-attachment, which is basically the doc trine of emptiness. Many people like to recite the Heart Sutra daily.
However, they may not really and fully understand what it is. Some of them may have incredible response, and benefits.
In Buddhism, reciting Buddha-name and sutra has great merit and virtues. And, it is one of the effective ways in cultivation of Buddhist Way.
In nearly all Buddhist monastery and many Buddhist household, the Heart Sutra is recited by the people regularly on a daily basis.
If it is the first time you read Heart Sutra, you may find that it is difficult to understand because its way of thinking is different from the traditional ones.
Therefore, you should be open-minded, and think deeply and carefully. The Heart Sutra reveals the entire secret of truth of the universe and life.
Don\'t miss it, otherwise you\'ll regret.
When Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is practising the profound Prajna-paramita,
Profound Projna is an understanding and analysis of all form-dharmas and mind-dharma through contemplations.
Form-dharma refers to perceptable objects making up the first of the Five Skandhas, matter. The remaining four Skandhas, namely sensation (feeling ), recognition (cognition), volition (mental formation) and consciousness, are all mind -dharmas.
Profound Prajna is a wonderful wisdom attained through cultivation and pra ctising of meditation and contemplation. Prajna-paramita is one of the Six Paramitas practised by all Bodhisattva.
He sees and illuminates to the emptiness of the Five Skandhas
This is the key sentence of the Heart Sutra. By the light of the prajna of co ntemplation, it illuminates that the Five Skandhas are empty.
We can see matter, yet it is fundamentally empty. Matter\'s own nature is e mptiness. In Buddhism, all matter is formed by Four Great Elements (i.e. ea rth, wat er, fire, and wind)
under certain causes and conditions. Just like our body, the Four Great Ele ments unite to become a body, and when they separate the body is destro yed.
Each of the four elements restores its original state, which is emptiness. Most people are attached to the body as \"me\", which is one of the greatest ignorances of people.
The same applies to sensation, recognition, volition and consciousness.Thus attains deliverance from all suffering.
Deliverance from all sufferings results in the attainment of happiness and li beration. Further to knowing emptiness, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva continu es to cultivate, and cross beyond all suffering and difficulty.
There are Three Sufferin gs, Eight Sufferings and infinite kinds of sufferings. By cultivation, it is possible to avoid all kinds of suffering.
Sariputra, matter is not different from emptiness,and emptiness is not different from matter.Matter is emptiness and emptiness is matter.
The Sutra reveals clearly the ultimate meaning and the most fundamental pr inciple of existence. Matter has a perceptible characteristic, while emptines s has not.
However, matter is within emptiness and emptiness is within matter. Matter and emptiness are therefore said to be non-dual. Superficially, they appear to be distinct, but actually, they are one.
The empty space is occupied by a matter. So, the empty space certainly is not non-existent. They may also be considered in terms of substance (i.e. noumenon) and function (i.e. phenomenon).
Emptiness refers to empty substance, and matter is the function of emptin ess. Although substance and function appear to be distinct, they are fund amentally one thing.
Matter is not different from emptiness : this is true emptiness.Emptiness is not different from matter : this is wonderful existence. True emptiness is w onderful existence, and vice versa.
So too are sensation, recognition, volition and consciousness.
For instance, our body is included among the form-dharmas. The Four Gre at Elements establish a visible corporation called \"form-body\".
The corporation comes into being from the four conditioned causes : earth, which is characterized by solidity and durability; water, which is characterize d by moisture; fire, which is characterized by warmth/ energy; wind,
which is charact erized by air movement. When the four conditioned causes disperse, each has a place to which it returns; therefore, the body become s empty.
Once the body is formed, we have the sensation/feelings of pleasure and suffering. With the desire of pleasant feeling, we give rise to the false think ing that the pleasant feeling is permanent.
Then, we have to go and do it; this is mental formation/volition. Thus, we h ave the consciousness in our mind, with respect to the experience of what we act.
This is the psychological analysis of the mind of a human body. However, all the Five Skandhas are empty of characteristics lacking of a nature of th eir own.
They have no nature of their own;their sub stance is empty. Their originatio n of existence is dependent on other\'s existences.
Sariputra, the emptiness character of all dharmas, neither arises nor ceases, is neither pure nor impure, and neither increases nor decreases.
The Heart Sutra lists three groups of non-duality (of course not limited to three ) to illustrate the reality character of all Dharmas - emptiness.
The noumenon of all Dharma or one\'s own nature is neither arising nor cea sing, neither pure nor impure and neither increasing nor decreasing.
With respect to existence, as emptiness character has no beginning in the past, there is no birth, nor production, nor arising.
As emptiness character has no end in the future, there is no death, nor ex tinction, nor ceasing. With respect to quality, pureness and impureness are duality and relative to each other.
Its existence depends on each other. There is no absolute pureness nor abso lute impureness/defilement. With respect to quantity,
it is a constant without increasing or diminishing. It is also known as Middle Way, another profound do ctrine in Buddhism.
Therefore, in emptiness: there is no matter, no sensation, recognition, volition nor consciousness,
This sentence refers back and elaborates the meaning of emptiness with respect to the Five Skandhas. The File Skandhas are empty; and in emptin ess,
there are no Five Skandhas. For instance, in emptiness character of all Dra rma s, which is also regarded as the reality character, there is no character of matter to be attained, as the matter\'s own nature is the emptiness char acter of all Dharma.
It is the same for all other four Skandhas. As the Five Skandhas represent the body and mind of the sentient being, therefore, there is no sentient bei ng of its own nature. If the body is empty,
there will be no suffering of birth, aging, illness and death. If the mind is em pty, there will be no birth, dwelling, changing and extinction. If both body an d mind are empty, the Buddha\'s nature, which is our own nature will emerge.
no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind, no sight, sound, scent, taste, tangibles, or dharma,
The Five Skandhas are the general characteristics of the Dharma, however, the Six perceptual faculties (i.e. Six Roots, or Six Internal Bases),
the six objects of perceptions (i.e. Six Dusts, or Six External Bases) and also the Six Consciousness are the special characteristics of the Dharma.
As the general characteristics are empty, their special characteristics must be non-existent too. The Six Internal Bases and the Six External Bases are together called the Twelve Bases.
Base implies the meaning of germinating and nourishing. All mental activitie s are germinated and nourished from these Twelve Bases.
no field of the eye up to no field of mental consciousness,
Between the Six Internal Bases and the Six External Bases are produced di scriminations, which are called the Six Consciousness, namely, the eye-co nsciou sness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consci ousness,body-consciousness and mind-consciousness.
The Six Consciousness and the Twelve Bases are together called the Eight een Fields. Fields imply the mea ning of groups and classifications.
These fields form the foundations and conditions of all mental activities. Th at is, a person can be divided into eighteen fields, each having its own pro perties, characteristics and areas of activities.
The Six Internal Bases are sensible organs, but the Six external Bases are inse nsible objects, while the Six Consciousness are discriminative power/ ability. In emptiness, there is no Six Consciousness too.
no field of the eye up to no field of mental consciousness,
This sentence mentions the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination. The Tw elve Links are ignorance, volition, consciousness, body/mind,
six sensory organs,contact, sensation/feeling, desire, attachment, existen ce/becoming, birth, and aging and death. It is also the theory abided by the Enlightened to Conditions Arhat.
In emptiness, there is no ignorance. As there is no ignorance, of course, there is no ending of ignorance in emptiness too. This principle applies to all other eleven links up to aging and death.
The Twelve Links of Dependent Origin ation is one of the basic concept illu strating the causal relationship and interdependence of the Twelve Links, which together constitute the existence and co ntinuation of life.
In the Heart Sutra, it indicates that the Twelve Links are non- existent in em ptiness. In other words, in emptiness, there is no existence and continuati on of life.
no suffering, no cause of suffering, no ending of suffering, and no path,
Suffering, cause of suffering or accumulation, ending of suffering and path or way are know as the Four Noble Truth. This is the first Buddha\'s teaching that Shakyamuni preached to the Five Bhikshus after His Enlightenment.
Four Noble Truth is the theory abided by the Sound-hearing Arhat. For suff ering, there are the Three Sufferings, the Eight Sufferings which are the effe cts of Karma of sentient beings.
For accumulation, it is the causing of suffering. Accumulation means the a ccumulated Karma incurred by the Three Pois ons, that is, desire, anger an d illusion.
For end of suffering, it is the effect of cultivating the Way to attain the state of Nirvana. For path or way, it is the meth od or the cause to end suffering, that is, to practice and cultivate the Way.
Again, in emptiness, there is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no ending of suffering and no path, because the reality character of the Four Noble Truth, one of the important Buddhist Dharma, is also empty.
no wisdom and also no attainment.
Wisdom means understanding. Attainment refers to the certification of attai ning a particular fruition of enlightenment. This is the theory and practice of
Bodhisattva vehicle. The Six Paramita being the Wisdom are practiced by Bodhisattv a in order to attain enlightenment. However, this Sutra says that
the wisdom does not exist, and there is no attainment at all. In fact, in emp tiness, there is no wisdom a nd no attainment because the nature of all Dh arma is ordinarily empty
Thus there should not be any attachment to all Dharma. The ultimate enligh tenment is the perfect wisdom, in which there is no attachment at all.
Because there is nothing obtainable, Bodhisattvas through the reliance on Prajna- para mita Have no attachment and hindrance in their minds.
Because there is nothing obtainable in emptiness, including the Five Skand has, Six Internal Bases (Six Roots), Six External Bases (Six Dust),
Six Con sciousness Eighteen Fields, Four Noble Truths, Six Paramita and even the attainment, and because Bodhisattvas abide by the Prajna-param ita, they have no attachment and hindrance in their minds.
If there is one Dharma not yet empty. The mind is still attached and hindere d. If there is something obtainable, Bodhissattvas will not certify the Prajna -paramita.
The Prajna-paramita is the wisdom to understand the reality character of n ature and all Dharma, i.e. non-emptiness coupled with non-existence.
Or, if there is no attachment to both emptiness and existence, then you are unimpeded and pure in your mind.
Because there is no more attachment and hindrance, there is no fear,
If one has no more attachment and hindrance, one is unimpeded in one\'s mind , and not be afraid, as one really and truly understands the reality of the nature and life.
One is worried about the future as one does not really and truly understand the principle of cause and effect. Because of ignorance, one is afraid of bi rth and death.
The main reason of fear is the attachment to all Dharma, thus the hindrance or impediment of one\'s own nature of mind.
and Far away from erroneous views and wishful-thinking, Ultimately : The Final Nirvan a.
If one keeps all the distorted dream-thinking, wishful-thinking, false thing and erroneous views, one will reach the state of Final Nirvana.
Layman has Four Distorted Thinking:
1.Regard the impure body as pure
2.Regard the suffering sensation as happy
3.Regard the impermanent mind as permanent
4.Regard the \"not-self\" Dharma as self
Arhat also has Four Distorted Thinking:
1.Attach to impureness, but no not envisage pureness of Dharma-body
2.Attach to suffering, but do not envisage the happiness of Ultimate Nirvan a
3.Attach to \"not-self\" Dharma, but do not envisage the \"liberated self\"
4.Attach to impermanence, but do not envisage the permanence of Buddha \'s nature
Bodhisattva practices the Profound Prajna-paramita, keeping all the distort ed thinking, thus certifies the Ultimate Nirvana, which is the final and perfect stillness.
Buddhas of the past, present, and future all rely on Prajna-paramita to attain Annutar a- samyak-sambodhi.
The past, the present and the future are known as the Three Periods of Ti me. Thus, all Buddhas of the Three Periods of Time, through reliance upon the profound and wonderful Prajna-paramita,
i.e. wisdom, are able to attain the supreme, the genuine and equal and gen uine enlightenment. In Sanskrit words, Annutara means supreme, being not hing above it; samyak means equal; sambodhi means genuine enlightenme nt.
Genuine enlightenment is the attainment of the Arhat. Genuine and equal en lightenment is the attainment of the Bodhisattva. The supreme, genuine an d equal enlightenment is the attainment of the Buddha.
Therefore, realize that Prajna-paramita is the great wondrous mantra, the unsurpass ed mantra, and the unequalled mantra.
Mantra is a treatise with mystical meaning which represents the name, word and deed of a Bodhisattva and Buddha. The mantra presented by Avalokite svara Bodhisattva is the result of his practice of the profound Prajna-para mita.
The mantra is so wondrous, spiritual and powerful that it can clear the Three Obstacles, cross beyond all sentient beings.
The mantra is so bright and radiant that it can eradicate all the ignorance and afflictions of sentient beings.
The mantra is so supreme and unsurpassed that it reaches the fruition of Buddha, i.e. the very final and ultimate enlightenment.
The mantra is unequalled because prajna is the \"mother\" of all Buddha, thus nothing can be equal to it.
These four adjectives are used to describe the extraordinary merits and vir tues of the mantra.
It can eradicate all suffering, and It is genuine and not false.
\"To eradicate all suffering\" is a reiteration of \"to attain deliverance from all suffering\" as stated in the beginning of the Sutra. It is the great vow of Aval okitesvara Bodhisattva.
All sufferings including the Three Sufferings and Eight Sufferings, can be er adicated by the Prajna-paramita mantra.
If one practices the Prajna-paramita,one can cross beyond the Three Worl ds and depart from the sufferings of incarnation of birth and death.
Buddha is a speaker of true words, real words,non-exaggerated words and consistent words, therefore the Heart Sutra that Shakyamuni preached is not false.
Everybody should have faith on it, interpret and think over it, and practice diligently, thus verify whether it is true or false.
Therefore, utter the Prajna-paramita, Chant: Gate Gate Paragate Parasmagate Bodhis vaha!
The mantra is only the Sanskrit syllables, not translation as it falls under on one of the Five Categories of Untranslated Terms.
As the mantra is a secret language of Buddha and Bodhisattva its meaning is mystical. People who uphold the mantra by reciting it will have inconceiva ble responses and effects.
However, the brief \"meaning\" of the mantra is as follows: