The Heart Sutra

The Great Perfection of Wisdom Heart Sutra

The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara observed that once we are deep in the practice of mediation, that all the aspects of human perception are purely mental constructs that have no independent existence of their own. Our understanding of physical forms, feelings, perceptions,concepts and even ego consciousness (self) are simply constructs of the mind.Once we realize this we are able go beyond our suffering and distress because we recognize even suffering and distress are constructs of the mind and are equally as empty.

As explained to the Venerable Sariputra: When people practice meditation earnestly they will discover that there are no forms or conditions having independent or separate existence and that existence and non-existence are actually a single evolving continuum.
Form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. The same is true of our feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness. Since everything is mutually arising
and inter-dependent, nothing can truly be separated or divided into subject and object. Therefore the perception of separateness created by our senses should be understood as illusionary and any independent understandings that we feel we have based on our dualistic interpretations are likewise empty.

Since all our perceptions are useless in attempting to understand our existence, only the perfected practice of wisdom mediation can dispel these mental illusions. Thus, all Awakened beings of past, present and future, who have achieved supreme perfected enlightenment, depend on the proven practice of deep meditation to relieve their suffering. Without the hindrance of the dualistic mind, no fears exist and once parted from dualistic thinking, one dwells in complete accord with reality. So the mantra of perfected wisdom is: Gone, gone, all dualism is gone, Hail to the perfected wisdom of emptiness. I have awakened!

 The Heart Sutra (full Version) is the shortest and the most popular sutra in Buddhism, it is regarded as the most concise summation of Buddhist teaching. The Heart Sutra expresses perfectly the insight attained by non-attachment, the doctrine of emptiness. Many Buddhist sects recite a shortened chant version of the Heart Sutra regularly which is at the end of this post.

                         The Heart Sutra (full version)

Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One was dwelling in Rajagriha at Vulture Peak mountain, together with a greatgathering of the sangha of monks and a great gathering of the sangha of bodhisattvas. At that time the Blessed One entered the samadhi that expresses the dharma called “profound illumination” and at the same time Noble Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, while practicing the profound Prajnaparamita, saw in this way: he saw the five skandhas to be empty of nature.

Then, through the power of the Buddha, Venerable Sariputra said to Noble Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, “How should a son or daughter of noble family train, who wishes to practice the profound Prajnaparamita?”

Addressed in this way, Noble Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, said to Venerable Sariputra, “O Sariputra, a son or daughter of noble family who wishes to
practice the profound Prajnaparamita should see in this way: seeing the five skandhas to be empty of nature. Form is emptiness; emptiness also is form. Emptiness is no other than form; form is no other than emptiness. In the same way, feeling, perception, formation and consciousness are emptiness.

Thus, Sariputra, all dharmas are emptiness. There are no characteristics. There is no birth and no cessation. There is no impurity and no purity. There is no decrease and
no increase. Therefore, Sariputra, in emptiness there is no form, no feeling, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no appearance, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no dharmas; no eye dhatu up to no mind dhatu, no dhatus of dharmas, no mind consciousness dhatu; no ignorance, no end of ignorance, up to no old age and death, no end of old age and death; no suffering, no origin of suffering, no cessation of suffering, no path, no wisdom, no
attainment, and no non-attainment.

Therefore, Sariputra, since the bodhisattvas have no attainment, they abide by means of Prajnaparamita. Since there is no obscuration of mind, there is no fear. They transcend falsity and attain complete nirvana. All the Buddhas of the three times, by
means of Prajnaparamita, fully awaken to unsurpassable, true, complete enlightenment. Therefore, the great mantra of Prajnaparamita, the mantra of great insight, the unsurpassed mantra, the unequaled mantra, the mantra that calms all suffering should be known as truth, since there is no deception. The Prajnaparamita mantra is said in this way:


Thus, Sariputra, the bodhisattva mahasattva should train in the profound Prajnaparamita.”

 Then the Blessed One arose from that samadhi and praised Noble Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, saying, “Good, good, O son of noble family; thus it is. O son of
noble family, thus it is. One should practice the profound Prajnaparamita just as you have taught and all the tathagatas will rejoice.” When the Blessed One had said this, Venerable Sariputra and Noble Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, that whole assembly and the world with its gods, humans, asuras and gandharvas rejoiced and praised the words of the Blessed One.
Lotsawa bhikyu Rinchen De translated this text into Tibetan with the Indian Pandit Vimalamitra. It was edited by Lotsawa Gelo, Namkaha and others. This Tibetan text was copied from the fresco in Gegye Chemaling at the glorious Samye Vihara. It has been translated into English by the Nalanda Translation Committee with reference to several Sanskrit editions.

                      Heart Sutra (Chant Version)

The Maha Prajna Paramita Hidaya Sutra

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva when practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita perceives that all five skandhas are empty and is saved from all suffering and distress. Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. That which is form is emptiness, that which is emptiness form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness.  Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they do not appear or disappear, are not tainted or
pure, do not increase or decrease.  Therefore, in emptiness no form, no feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness. No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of eyes and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness. No ignorance and also no extinction of it, and so forth until no
old age and death and also no extinction of them. No suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path, no cognition, also no attainment with nothing to attain. The Bodhisattva depends on Prajna Paramita and the mind is no hindrance; without any hindrance no fears exist. Far apart from every perverted view he dwells in Nirvana. In the three worlds all Buddhas depend on Prajna Paramita and attain Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. Therefore know that Prajna Paramitais the great transcendent mantra, is the great bright mantra, is the utmost mantra, is the supreme mantra which is able to relieve all suffering and is true, not false. So proclaim the Prajna Paramita mantra, proclaim the mantra which says:

gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.