Heart Sutra


Heart Sutra i.e. Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra

“Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra” (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञरपरमितरहृदयसूत्र), also known as “Maha Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra”, referred to as “Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra” or “Heart Sutra”, is a concise and profound part of the Prajnaparamita Sutra series. Deep, concise and extremely important Sutras are Buddhist scriptures recited daily by Mahayana Buddhist monks and lay Buddhists. Currently, the translation by Xuanzang, the Tripitaka master of the Tang Dynasty, is the most popular.
Title: Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra
Also known as Ruoparamita Heart Sutra

Mei Xianghan’s Heart Sutra in small regular script album page
“Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra” Xuanzang’s translation

Mei Xianghan’s Heart Sutra in small regular script album page 2
Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, walking in the deep Prajnaparamita for a long time, saw that the five aggregates are empty, and survived all the hardships. Relics, color is not different from emptiness, emptiness is not different from color, color is emptiness, emptiness is color, and the same is true for feelings, thoughts, and awareness. Relics are all dharmas that are empty, neither born nor destroyed, neither dirty nor pure, neither increasing nor decreasing. That is why it is colorless in the air, no feelings, thoughts, and knowledge, no eyes and ears, nose, tongue, body and mind, colorless sound, fragrance, and touch, no vision, or even unconscious world. There is no ignorance, and there is no end of ignorance, and there is no old age and death, and there is no end of old age and death. Without the accumulation of suffering, there is no way to destroy the path, and there is no wisdom and no gain. Because there is nothing to gain, Bodhisattva, because of Prajnaparamita, the heart has no worries, because there are no worries, there is no fear, and it is far away from upside-down dreams, and it is the final nirvana. The Buddhas of the three generations, according to Prajnaparamita, achieved Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Therefore, we know that Prajna Paramita is a great divine mantra, a great enlightenment mantra, a supreme mantra, and an infinite mantra, which can eliminate all suffering and is true and true. So Prajna Paramita mantra, that is, the mantra says: uncover the meaning, uncover the meaning, Polo monk reveals the meaning, Bodhi Sava Maha.
2Content explanation

sutra name

The general meaning of the entire passage is “the fundamental way to transcend worldly hardships through broad-minded wisdom.”
“Maha”: boundless and vast, with a vast mind [1]. It is a metaphor for the laws and characteristics of nature among all things in the universe, which is roughly equivalent to Tao and fate in a broad sense in traditional Chinese culture.
“Prajna” is the transliteration of Sanskrit, which refers to the understanding of wonderful wisdom;
“Polo” is a transliteration of Sanskrit, which means reaching the other shore (neither birth nor death, nor dirt nor purity), and means being freed from obstacles;
“Miduo” is a transliteration of Sanskrit, meaning Wuji. It can be thought of as bees collecting flowers to make honey, which can combine many ingredients from different sources into one.
“Heart”: fundamental, core, essence. On the one hand, it indicates the main focus of the content, and on the other hand, it also indicates the importance of the entire content.
“Jing”: The meaning of the word is line, path, path, which is extended to be a classic. It represents the path traveled by predecessors, unique and in-depth experiences or insights, and is passed down to future generations through narrative language or written records for people to use as reference and guidance.

The Heart Sutra begins with “Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva” and ends with “Bodhisattva Savaha” (Savaha is originally a blessing, which also means Avalokitesvara, echoing the beginning of the sutra). “Sariputta” is one of the key words in the entire text of the Heart Sutra.
3 origins

When Shakyamuni Buddha first turned the wheel of Dharma, he first preached the Four Noble Truths, namely, the cause of suffering and its cessation. Nirvana is mentioned in the truth of cessation. In order to explain the connotation and significance of Nirvana, the Buddha further explained the principle of emptiness. The second turn of the formless wheel of Dharma proves that troubles can be eradicated through the recognition of emptiness. From form to all-pervading wisdom and emptiness, all dharmas have no inherent nature. Some commentators did not understand the deep emptiness, so the Buddha explained the self-nature again. The Third Transmutation of Good Discrimination of the Dharma Wheel’s “Explanation of the Deep Tantric Sutra”, “Tathagata Storehouse Sutra”, and Bodhisattva Cishi’s “The Sutra of the Continuing Mother” , explaining in detail that the nature of the mind is only knowing, with the original and natural brightness.
The “Prajna Sutra” and other prajna chapters were preached by the Buddha when he turned the wheel of the formless Dharma for the second time. They are the profound teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. It is often mentioned in Tibetan scriptures: “Among the eighty-four thousand Dharma doors taught by the Buddha, the Prajna Dharma door is the most extraordinary.”
The connotation of “Prajna Sutra” is mainly based on emptiness. Through the understanding of emptiness, one can cut off the obstacles of troubles and obtain the nirvana of Hinayana, that is, the Bodhisattva status of voice-hearers and independent enlightenment. It can also be achieved through the understanding of emptiness. , coupled with the perfection of merits and merits, one can completely eliminate obstacles and obtain Mahayana nirvana, that is, the supreme Bodhi status. Because the understanding of emptiness runs through the three vehicles, the understanding of emptiness is called the mother of the three vehicles, and the Prajna Sutra that explains it is also called the mother Prajna. The Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra is the core of the Mahaprajna Sutra. All the essence of Prajna is contained in this sutra [2], so it is called the Heart Sutra.
The origin of the Buddha’s teaching of the “Heart Sutra” was in the middle of Lingjiu Mountain, surrounded by Bodhisattva’s voice-hearing disciples. At that time, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva was meditating on the Prajna Paramita. He concentrated on meditation and meditated and saw that the five aggregates are all empty in nature. . The main content of the Heart Sutra is the question and answer between Relic and Avalokitesvara about emptiness. After the Buddha emerged from concentration, he recognized what the Bodhisattva said and praised him with joy.
The connotation of the Heart Sutra can be divided into two types, explicit meaning and implicit meaning. The explicit meaning is the right view of emptiness, which is explained by Nagarjuna Bodhisattva’s “Middle Theory”. The hidden meaning is the stage of the path of manifestation, which indirectly shows the dharma on which emptiness is based. It is explained in the “Appreciation Ornament” created by Maitreya Bodhisattva.
Some scholars believe that the origin of the structure of the text in the Heart Sutra comes mostly from the third chapter of the second chapter of the Mahaprajna Sutra, that is, the third chapter of the third chapter of the Mahaprajna Sutra). “Prajnaparamita is a great divine mantra…” This paragraph comes from the 32nd Merit Chapter of the Second Chapter of the “Maharaprajna Sutra”, which is the 34th Chapter of Persuasion and Persuasion of the “Great Prajna Sutra”. The mantra comes from the third volume of “Buddha Speaks Dharani Sutra” and the sixteenth volume of Prajna Dharani. Therefore, the “Heart Sutra” is derived from the essence of the “Prajna Sutra”, with the addition of secret mantras and mantras. At the same time, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva was invited to speak as its master, thus completing the current organizational structure of the “Heart Sutra” [3].
The Prajna Dharma disclosed in the Mahaprajna Sutra is specifically preached to bodhisattvas who have developed bodhicitta. Its most important concept is to use the wisdom of emptiness to realize the reality of all dharmas (that is, the names and forms of all external things are just false distinctions of the mind). Without realizing or entering Nirvana, one can voluntarily reincarnate and save all sentient beings. , whose behavior seems to go against the commonly understood concept of escape from reincarnation, but in fact this is the purpose of the enlightened Bodhisattva in the Mahaprajna Sutra. Because rescuing all sentient beings equally with a heart of compassion, joy and generosity is the true act of a Bodhisattva, and escaping from the cycle of life and death but abandoning all sentient beings without a care goes against the original intention of the Bodhisattva to save others.
In the Mahaprajna Sutra, the words “Bodhisattva Mahasattva seeks the supreme enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings” and “Observe that all dharmas are empty and do not give up all sentient beings” appear several times. This means that without compassion and salvation for all living beings, the meaning of all practice will be greatly reduced, and the ultimate attainment of the supreme bodhisattva will not be achieved.
4 version

The Heart Sutra is the most translated of all Buddhist scriptures, translated into the most diverse languages, and the most commonly recited. There are two kinds of books: broad version and abbreviated version. The Guangben version has sequence points, authentic points, and circulation points. The abbreviated version has only the authentic version. New translations are still emerging today, and some important versions are listed below.
Sanskrit text

Two shell-leaf sutra banknotes hidden in Horyuji Temple, Japan[4]
The Bay Leaves of Horyuji Temple in Japan is the oldest known Sanskrit text of the Heart Sutra. It is originally collected in the Tokyo Museum. According to legend, this manuscript was originally handwritten by the Venerable Kassapa, and was later passed on to Zen Master Huisi by Bodhidharma, and then introduced to Japan via Ono Meiko in the 17th year of Emperor Suiko’s reign (609 AD) [5]. It was handwritten and copied in Sanskrit Siddhant style by the monk Jingyan in 1694. Max Muller transcribed it into Devanagari and Roman Pinyin in 1884, and spread it to European and American countries. In 1957 and 1967, Kong Rui revised the Sanskrit text.

Sanskrit Heart Sutra collected by Pelliot[6]
Paris, Sanskrit text revised by H. L. Feer. Originally stored in the Imperial Library in Paris, France, Catalog No. 967 is a comparative version of five Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian and Manchu volumes, with the Sanskrit written in lan-dza font.
Chinese translation

In Chinese history, up to the Song Dynasty, there were at least 11 Chinese translations available, and 9 copies exist.
“Maha Prajna Paramita Mantra Sutra” Translated by Wu Zhiqian Missing
The Great Ming Mantra Sutra of Mahaprajnaparamita, translated by Yao Qin Kumarajiva (402-413), abbreviated version preserved

Part of Mei Xianghan’s Heart Sutra in small regular script
“Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra” abbreviated version translated by Xuanzang of the Tang Dynasty (649) and preserved
“Prajnaparamita Sutra” Tang Dynasty Bodhi Liuzhi translation (693 years) missing
“Maha Prajna Marrow Heart Sutra” Translated by Shishananda of the Tang Dynasty (695-710) missing
“The Buddha Speaks of the Paramita Heart Sutra” abbreviated version translated by Yijing of the Tang Dynasty (695-713) and preserved

Part of Mei Xianghan’s Heart Sutra in small regular script
“Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra” separate edition, Tang Dynasty Fa Yue translation (first translation) (738 years) Guangdong edition deposit
“The Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra of the Universal Wisdom”, translated (re-translated) by Fayue of the Tang Dynasty (738), preserved in Guangdong Edition
“Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra” Tang Dynasty Prajna Gongliyan and other translations (790) Guangdong edition
“Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra” translated by Wisdom Wheel of the Tang Dynasty (847-859), Guangdong Edition
“Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra” translated by Facheng of the Tang Dynasty (Dunhuang Stone Chamber Edition) Guangdong Edition
“Holy Buddha Mother Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra” Translated by Shi Hu of the Song Dynasty (980-1000), Guangdong Edition
Among them, Master Xuanzang’s Chinese translation is the most widely circulated, with a total of 260 words. There are about 20 differences between the translation and the Sanskrit text seen today. The Chinese version popular in Japan has a total of 262 words, which is 2 more words than the popular Chinese version, namely “everything” in “Stay away from all upside-down dreams”.
The Chinese translation of Yijing in the Tang Dynasty has a unique circulation section after the incantation that is different from ordinary translations, describing the effect of reading the scriptures [7]. Some scholars believe that this version may be a misuse of Xuanzang’s Chinese translation, so it is not included in the “Taisho Canon”, but a copy of this version exists in Japan.
The Chinese translations from the Tibetan text include:
“Dainei Translation of the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra”, translated by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty based on the old Tibetan version. According to this version, Emperor Yongzheng made the Manchu-Mongol-Chinese version of the Mahaprajnaparamita Heart Sutra on the eighth day of December in the first year of Yongzheng’s reign.
In 1948, Kunga Hutuktu wrote the Chinese translation of “The Heart Sutra of Bhagavan Mother’s Wisdom to the Other Shore” based on the Tibetan text in Shanghai.

Mei Xianghan’s Heart Sutra in small regular script
In 1994, Fang Guangchi made a revised version of the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra based on the variant version of the Heart Sutra in the Dunhuang Posthumous Documents [8].
The Chinese transliterations based on the Sanskrit text include:
Dunhuang Posthumous Notes No. S2464 “The Sanskrit version of the Sanskrit version of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and Tripitaka Master Xuanzang’s personal professor Xuanzang’s “Tang Sanskrit translation of the Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra” [9], and No. S5648. Shiraishi Shindo once restored this text into Sanskrit.
The Chinese character transliteration of the Fangshan Stone Sutra is not empty [10]. Fukui Bunmasa once restored this manuscript into Sanskrit
The transliteration of Cixian’s Chinese characters in the Fangshan Stone Sutra [11]. Fukui Bunmasa once restored this manuscript into Sanskrit

Part of Mei Xianghan’s Heart Sutra in small regular script
Zen Master Lanxi Dajue of Song Dynasty, Chinese transliteration [12]. This copy was made in 1246 AD (the fourth year of Kuanyuan in the Song Dynasty).
“Xuan Zang’s Instructions on the Sanskrit Heart Sutra by Avalokitesvara”, this book is quoted from the ashram ritual of “Lengyan Jie Jie Jie Jie”, which was a ritual commonly used by the Acha monks in Yunnan during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It has not been included in the Tripitaka of all dynasties. The original version Hidden in Yunnan Library. [13]
Tibetan text
There are two obviously different translations of the Derge version of the Tibetan Tripitaka. The first one was translated by the Indian Khenpo Vimalamitra and the translator Bhikkhu Rinchen Sde. The sutra is called “Buddha Mother Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra” and is included in the tantra. Another version is called “Holy Buddha Mother Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra”, the translator is unknown, and it is classified into the Prajna section. All are Guangben.
Among the Dunhuang Tibetan documents, there is a third Tibetan translation called “Holy Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra”, which is an abbreviated version and is included in the “Dunhuang Tripitaka”. There are 20 manuscripts with roughly the same content.
English translation

The earliest English translation was translated by Samuel Beal in 1864 based on Xuanzang’s Chinese version.
Max Muller transcribed the Sanskrit text into Devanagari and Roman Pinyin in 1884, and for the first time translated the Cantonese and Abbreviated versions of the Sanskrit Heart Sutra into English and spread them to European and American countries. Muller’s translation was early, and the Buddhist terms in English had not yet been fixed at that time. Therefore, the translation is not a good work by today’s standards, but this does not damage Muller’s status in the history of Heart Sutra research.
In 1957 and 1967, Edward Conze revised the Guangdong and Abbreviated versions of the Sanskrit Heart Sutra and translated them into English. Kong Rui was the most outstanding scholar of the Prajna classics in Europe and America in the 20th century. His translation of the Heart Sutra is almost regarded as the standard version, and its status is equivalent to that of Xuanzang’s translation in the Chinese character culture area.
Translations into other languages

Translations in other languages are mostly based on the Sanskrit text, Xuanzang’s Chinese translation, and the Tibetan text.
German translation: In 1960, three people including I. B. Horner, D. Snellgrove, and A. Waley translated the Heart Sutra into German based on Kongrui’s revised version and an abbreviated version of the Sanskrit Heart Sutra.
In 1982, Bhikkhu Dharmaviro made a German translation based on Xuanzang’s Chinese version.
French translation: In 1984, Wu Qiyu made a French translation based on Xuanzang’s Chinese version.
Japanese translation: 1972 modern Japanese translation of the Sanskrit text by Taido Matsubara. In 1977, Ryozaburo Sakaki revised the Sanskrit text according to Horyuji Temple and made a Japanese free translation. In 1988, Shiraishi Shindoyi revised the Sanskrit wide and abbreviated versions and made a Japanese translation. In the 16th year of the Showa era, the Chinese translations of Takashima Miho, Qingquan Fangyan, Prajna Shari, Wisdom Wheel, Shihu, and Hosei were translated into Japanese. In Showa 52, Teramoto Wanya made a Japanese translation based on the Tibetan text.
Russian translation: In 1989, Terentyev A. A. made the Russian translation.
Korean translation: In 1994, Yue Zu and Song Zixuan wrote “Lectures on the Prajna Heart Sutra”, which was translated into Korean by Kumarajiva, Xuanzang, Fa Yue and other Chinese translations of the Guang and Luo Ben Heart Sutra.
Vietnamese: Master Jingxing made Vietnamese transliteration and free translation based on Xuanzang’s Chinese translation.
Dutch translation: Rob Janssen wrote the Dutch translation based on the Sanskrit text.

There are currently eight commentaries on the Heart Sutra written by Indian commentators in the Tibetan Tripitaka:
“Commentary on the Prajna Heart Sutra: Explanation of the Secret Mantra”, written by Jixiang Shizi
“Extensive Explanation of the Heart Sutra of the Holy Prajnaparamita”, written by Vimalamitra
“Explanation of the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra”, written by Lotus Ring
Commentary on the Prajna Heart Sutra, written by Atisha
“The Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra’s Universal Knowledge of the Dharma”, written by Mahajana
“Extensive Explanation of the Heart Sutra of Bhagavan’s Mother Prajnaparamita: The Lamp of Dharma Meaning”, written by Vajra Hand
“Extreme Explanation of the Holy Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra”, written by Shanjun
“Explanation of the Holy Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra”, written by a wise friend
There are many commentaries on the Heart Sutra by eminent monks and sages in the past dynasties of China. Here are some examples of some of the most popular versions:
“Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra You Praise” written by Tang Queji
“Praise to the Heart Sutra of Prajnaparamita by the Buddha” written by Shaman Yuanzhi of Ximing Temple in the Tang Dynasty
“Prajna Heart Sutra” written by Jingmai of Tang Dynasty
“A Brief Introduction to the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra” written by Fazang of the Tang Dynasty
“The Heart Sutra Directly” written by Deqing, Ming Dynasty
“The Heart Sutra” written by Zibai, Ming Dynasty
“Essential Interpretation of the Heart Sutra” written by Ming Zhixu


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