24 July 2009

The Heart of the Perfection of Great Wisdom Sutra

This is the version they use at the Zen Center of Los Angeles. There are many different translations.

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, doing deep prajna paramita,
Clearly saw the emptiness of all the five conditions,
Thus completely relieving misfortune and pain.
O Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form;
Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness is exactly form;
Sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness are likewise like this.
O Shariputra, all dharmas are forms of emptiness, not born, not destroyed;
Not stained, not pure, without loss, without gain;
So in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness;
No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind;
No color, sound, smell, taste, touch, phenomena;
No realm of sight...no realm of consciousness;
No ignorance and no end to ignorance...
No old age and death, and no end to old age and death;
No suffering, no cause of suffering, no extinguishing, no path;
No wisdom and no gain. No gain and thus
The bodhisattva lives prajna paramita
With no hindrance in the mind,
no hindrance, therefore no fear,
Far beyond deluded thoughts, this is nirvana.
All past, present, and future Buddhas live prajna paramita,
And therefore attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.*
Therefore know, Prajna Paramita is
The great mantra, the vivid mantra,
The best mantra, the unsurpassable;
It completely clears all pain--this is the truth, not a lie.
So set forth the Prajna Paramita Mantra,
Set forth this mantra and declare:
Gaté! Gaté! Paragaté! Parasamgaté!**
Gaté! Gaté! Paragaté! Parasamgaté!
Gaté! Gaté! Paragaté! Parasamgaté!
Bodhi svaha!***
Prajna Heart Sutra


* Bill Red Pine Porter's definition: "unexcelled perfect enlightenment"
** Red Pine's roughly translates this: "The Gone, the Gone Beyond, the Gone Completely Beyond" but suggests that the vibration, the sound, like in Hinduism, is as important if not more important than the meaning of the words themselves.
*** Again, Red Pine: "Bodhi...means 'enlightenment' adn svaha is exclamatory: "at last,' 'amen,' 'hallelujah.'"

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