Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Thread: Discussions around the Heart Sutra

  1. #1
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    731

    Discussions around the Heart Sutra

    This translation of the Heart Sutra is a favourite of mine. I once spent a year reciting it every morning, and it was central to the puja I used to take part in at the Buddhist Centre. There is a lot of discussion about translations and meanings so if people are interested we could take it apart and discuss whether it has any meaning for us.

    The Heart Sutra

    The Bodhisattva of Compassion
    When he meditated deeply,
    Saw the emptiness of all five skandhas
    And sundered the bonds that caused him suffering.

    Here then,
    Form is no other than emptiness,
    Emptiness no other than form.
    Form is only emptiness,
    Emptiness only form.

    Feeling, thought, and choice,
    Consciousness itself,
    Are the same as this.

    All things are by nature void
    They are not born or destroyed
    Nor are they stained or pure
    Nor do they wax or wane

    So, in emptiness, no form,
    No feeling, thought, or choice,
    Nor is there consciousness.
    No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind;
    No colour, sound, smell, taste, touch,
    Or what the mind takes hold of,
    Nor even act of sensing.

    No ignorance or end of it,
    Nor all that comes of ignorance;
    No withering, no death,
    No end of them.

    Nor is there pain, or cause of pain,
    Or cease in pain, or noble path
    To lead from pain;
    Not even wisdom to attain!
    Attainment too is emptiness.

    So know that the Bodhisattva
    Holding to nothing whatever,
    But dwelling in Prajna wisdom,
    Is freed of delusive hindrance,
    Rid of the fear bred by it,
    And reaches clearest Nirvana.

    All Buddhas of past and present,
    Buddhas of future time,
    Using this Prajna wisdom,
    Come to full and perfect vision.

    Hear then the great dharani,
    The radiant peerless mantra,
    The Prajnaparamita
    Whose words allay all pain;
    Hear and believe its truth!

    Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha
    Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha
    Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

  2. #2
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    731
    For a somewhat academic look at the Heart Sutra there is a blog by a guy called Jayarava, who is something of an expert on the subject. His overview of his series of posts is here: http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2020/10/

  3. #3
    Thanks Phil, here are two other translations of the Heart Sutra:

    https://www.lotsawahouse.org/words-o...ha/heart-sutra

    https://madhyamaka.com/practice/heart-sutra/


    ....and an essay by Santikaro, former monk and translator at the late Bhikkhu Buddhadasa's monastery in Thailand:

    "Early Buddhism and the Heart Sutra:

    http://www.liberationpark.org/study/..._early_bsm.pdf



  4. #4
    Global Moderator KathyLauren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Nova Scotia
    Posts
    153
    Thanks for posting that, Phil. I recite the Heart Sutra daily as part of my practice, but I like this translation better. I might print it out and try using this one.

    Om mani padme hum
    Kathy

  5. #5
    Forums Member JadeRabbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    238
    Hi Phil, that's a nice translation. I chant this daily (in sino-Japanese (I think)):

    Maka Hannya Haramita Shingyo
    Kan ji zai bo satsu. Gyo jin han-nya ha ra mi ta ji. Sho ken go on kai ku. Do is-sai ku yaku. Sha ri shi. Shiki fu i ku. Ku fu i shiki. Shiki soku ze ku. Ku soku ze shiki. Ju so gyo shiki. Yaku bu nyo ze. Shari shi. Ze sho ho ku so. Fu sho fu metsu. Fu ku fu jo. Fu zo fu gen. Ze ko ku chu. Mu shiki mu ju so gyo shiki. Mu gen ni bi ze-shin ni. Mu shiki sho ko mi soku ho. Mu gen kai nai shi mu i shiki kai. Mu mu myo yaku mu mu myo jin. Nai shi mu ro shi. Yaku mu ro shi jin. Mu ku shu metsu do. Mu chi yaku mu toku. I mu sho toku ko. Bodai sat-ta. E han nya ha ra mi ta ko. Shin mu kei ge mu ke ge ko. Mu u ku fu. On ri is-sai ten do mu so.Ku gyo ne han. San ze sho butsu. E han-nya ha ra mi ta ko. Toku a noku ta ra san myaku san bo dai. Ko chi han-nya ha ra mi ta. Ze dai jin shu. Ze dai myo shu. Ze mu jo shu. Ze mu to do shu. No jo is-sai ku. Shin jitsu fu ko. Ko setsu han-nya hara mi ta shu. Soku setsu shu watsu.
    Gya tei gya tei hara gya tei.
    Hara so gya tei bo ji so wa ka.
    Han-nya shin gyo.

    Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom Sutra
    Avalokiteshavara Bodhisattva, when deeply practicing prajna paramita, clearly saw that all five aggregates are empty (ku) and thus relieved all suffering.

    Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness; emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness, emptiness itself form. Sensations, perceptions, formations, and consciousness are also like this.

    Shariputra, all dharmas are marked by emptiness; they neither arise nor cease, are neither defiled nor pure, neither increase nor decrease. Therefore, given emptiness, there is no form, no sensation, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no sight, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of sight… no realm of mind consciousness. There is neither ignorance nor extinction of ignorance… neither old age and death, nor extinction of old age and death; no suffering, no cause, no cessation, no path; no knowledge and no attainment.

    With nothing to attain, a bodhisattva relies on prajna paramita, and thus the mind is without hindrance. Without hindrance, there is no fear. Far beyond all inverted views, one realizes nirvana. All buddhas of past, present, and future rely on prajna paramita, and thereby attain unsurpassed, complete, perfect enlightenment. Therefore, know the prajna paramita as the great miraculous mantra, the great bright mantra, the supreme mantra, the incomparable mantra, which removes all suffering and is true, not false. Therefore we proclaim the prajna paramita mantra, the mantra that says: “Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha.”

    Even though I had no idea what it meant when I first read it, the sentence "Form itself is emptiness, emptiness itself form" stuck out.


  6. #6
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    731
    Taking apart the first verse,

    The Bodhisattva of Compassion
    When he meditated deeply,
    Saw the emptiness of all five skandhas
    And sundered the bonds that caused him suffering.

    which is something of a spoiler and gives the whole plot away. Interestingly it's not the Buddha talking, but Avalokiteshvara, the aspect of the Buddha which represents compassion rather than wisdom or anything else. Compassion arises when you meditate and experience for yourself what happens when you see the emptiness of past perceptions of yourself and the world, and you feel the need to pass it on, no matter how difficult the task. Those past perceptions and their consequences are gone, the sort of suffering they caused. It is these that hold you back from the progress along the path you should be making. They are collected into five areas: form (or material image, impression) (rupa), sensations (or feelings, received from form) (vedana), perceptions (samjna), mental activity or formations (sankhara), and consciousness (vijnana). In case you forget them they are repeated over the next few verses, so don't worry about them fading from your mind.

    A short pause for any other comments on this verse, and then I'll go on to the next part.

  7. #7
    Just as an aside, I think that at some point, its definately worth anyone interested in the Heart Sutra also reading the article I mentioned in post #3: "Early Buddhism and the Heart Sutra" by Santikaro, and then comparing it with the texts from the earlier suttas from the Pali Canon which he mentions - and which are also listed at the end of his article.

    Excerpt from the article:


    The Heart Sutra is probably the most widely know and studied of the Mahāyāna sutras thanks to its concise brevity and profundity. It wonderfully recasts core teachings from the Pali suttas within a Mahāyāna frame story involving the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Mahāyāna students may be shocked to learn that the Dhamma of their beloved Heart Sutra is largely recast "Hinayāna," or, Pali Buddhism. That, however, may very well be the case. Please bear with me.I will demonstrate the simple facts, without any argument, using a simple method. I will juxtapose the main sections of the Heart Sutra with Pali passages that sometimes say the same things and other times come pretty close.

    You can do the rest.

    http://www.liberationpark.org/study/..._early_bsm.pdf

    .....and here, for example, is a link to SN 35.85 Sunna Sutta: Empty

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....085.than.html



    Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?"

    "Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty. And what is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self? The eye is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Forms... Eye-consciousness... Eye-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self.

    "The ear is empty...

    "The nose is empty...

    "The tongue is empty...

    "The body is empty...

    "The intellect is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Ideas... Intellect-consciousness... Intellect-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Thus it is said that the world is empty



  8. #8
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
    Location
    Under the Bodhi Tree
    Posts
    4,861

    The Bodhisattva of Compassion
    When he meditated deeply,
    Saw the emptiness of all five skandhas
    And sundered the bonds that caused him suffering.
    This verse is beautiful. It holds the essence of Buddhism... that is... Zazen. A Bodhisattva of Compassion meditates deeply. That's it! Deep meditation brings us to the realization of emptiness; the realization of suffering and the realization of its extinction.

    thanks philg

  9. #9
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
    Location
    Under the Bodhi Tree
    Posts
    4,861
    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Just as an aside,...
    Thanks Aloka... good article!


  10. #10
    Here's an excerpt from an article "The View from the Centre" by Ajahn Amaro, abbot of Amaravati Monastery UK:


    The Heart Sutra embodies the natural extension of the Four Noble Truths in the reverse direction; it reminds us that the Four Noble Truths are essentially empty, transparent, not absolute truths. ‘Suffering’ is a relative truth, but it is noble because it leads to liberation. Sometimes people faithfully say, ‘Everything is suffering’ as if dukkha was an absolute truth, but that’s not what the Buddha was teaching. The Heart Sutra states:

    ‘Śāriputra!

    Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.

    Form is not separate from emptiness.

    Emptiness is not separate from form.

    So too feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness …

    ‘There is no suffering,

    there is no origin of suffering,

    there is no cessation of suffering,

    there is no Way;

    there is no understanding and no attaining

    for there is nothing to attain.’

    The sutra thus takes the words of the Four Noble Truths and from the transcendent perspective empties them all out. Ultimately there is no dukkha. We think we’re suffering, but in ultimate reality we’re not – actually there isn’t any dukkha.

    The Pali tradition encapsulates both of these implications. On the one hand it extends out from the personal to include all beings; on the other hand the noble yet relative quality of dukkha, its cause, its end and the way to its end are just empty appearances, like all other conditioned phenomena.

    These Northern teachings of the Four Vast Vows of a Bodhisattva and the Heart Sutra endeavour to give voice to those particular dimensions of emptiness and altruism which were implied in the Pali, but were being lost because dukkha and its partner becoming were being held in a narrow, personal and overly concrete way. The Mahāyāna movement was an effort to balance things out.

    https://www.amaravati.org/the-view-from-the-centre/



Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Los Angeles Mexico City London Colombo Kuala Lumpur Sydney
Fri, 6:33 PM Fri, 8:33 PM Sat, 2:33 AM Sat, 7:03 AM Sat, 9:33 AM Sat, 11:33 AM