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Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra Otherwise known as – “The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra” or “Essence of Wisdom Sutra”

Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra Otherwise known as – “The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra” or “Essence of Wisdom Sutra”

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Page 1: Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra Otherwise known as – “The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra” or “Essence of Wisdom Sutra”

Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra

Otherwise known as – “The Heart of Perfect Wisdom

Sutra” or “Essence of Wisdom Sutra”

Page 2: Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra Otherwise known as – “The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra” or “Essence of Wisdom Sutra”

Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra

The Heart Sutra as a text is a member of the Prajnaparamita scriptures (Perfection of Wisdom)

Along with the Diamond Sutra, it is considered to be a very important scripture by some Mahayana Buddhists

It only has 14 verses (shlokas) in sanskritIn its translation, it has 260 Chinese charactersIt’s study is particularly emphasised in South

East Asian schools of Buddhism

Page 3: Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra Otherwise known as – “The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra” or “Essence of Wisdom Sutra”

Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra

The Heart Sutra is a teaching that was not actually delivered by the Buddha himself

In some Chinese versions of the text, The Buddha confirms and praises the text as the words of Avalokitesvara

The Heart Sutra is regarded as the absolute wisdom of the Buddha and contains great teachings on non attachment and the doctrine of emptiness

Many Buddhists recite the Heart Sutra daily although not all fully understand it (though to recite any sutra Buddhists believe has great value)

As one writer puts it – “The Heart Sutra reveals the entire secret truth of the universe and life. Don’t miss it, otherwise you’ll regret”!

Page 4: Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra Otherwise known as – “The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra” or “Essence of Wisdom Sutra”

Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra

The Heart Sutra begins with an introduction:-When Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is

practising the profound prajnaparamita, he sees and illuminates to the emptiness of the five skandhas and thus attains deliverance from all suffering. Sariputra (a disciple of the Buddha) is not different from emptiness, and emptiness is not different from matter. So too are sensation, recognition, volition and consciousness.

Page 5: Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra Otherwise known as – “The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra” or “Essence of Wisdom Sutra”

Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra

The actual text says:-“Avalokita, the Holy Lord and Bidhisattva, was

moving in the deep course of the Wisdom which has gone beyond. He looked down from on high, He beheld the 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.”

Page 6: Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra Otherwise known as – “The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra” or “Essence of Wisdom Sutra”

Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra

The Heart Sutra then continues with reference to the bodhisattvas having “no attachment and no hindrance in their minds”

It also talks of the 12 Nidanas or links of dependent origination

At the end of The Heart Sutra it states:-“Gate gate pargate parasamgate bodhi

svaha” – in other words! “Gone gone gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, all hail”

Page 7: Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra Otherwise known as – “The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra” or “Essence of Wisdom Sutra”

Mahayana Scriptures – The Heart Sutra

The Heart Sutra is often divided by writers into different sections –

a) Avalokitesvara represents wisdom (prajna) and his analysis of the human condition is that there is nothing which lies outside the five aggregates of human existence (5 skandhas)

b) He then addresses Sariputra who is meant to be representing earlier Mahayana schools and begins to teach about sunyata (emptiness)

c) Avalokitesvara then goes through basic teachings of the Buddha beginning with the Four Noble Truths and saying that these are conventional reality and not true reality because true reality speaks of ultimate truth

d) The mantra at the end (not completely grammatical) can only be guessed at with the translation (as indeed with much sanskrit) – it is thought by the current Dalai Lama to be measuring an individuals level of spiritual attainment