Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Heart Sutra (Sanskrit and English)

Wisdom Quarterly translation (standing on the shoulders of Edward Conze)

Om namo Bhagavatyai Arya-Prajnaparamitayai.
Honor to the sublime, noble perfection of wisdom!

Arya-Avalokitesvaro bodhisattvo gambhiram prajnaparamitacaryam caramano vyavalokayati sma: panca-skandhas tams ca svabhavasunyan pasyati sma.
[Compassionate] Avalokiteshvara, the noble being-bent-on-perfect-enlightenment, was moving in the deep course of transcendent wisdom which has gone beyond. He looked down from on high and [knowing-and-seeing] beheld nothing more than these Five Aggregates. And he saw that they were empty [devoid of "self"].

Iha Sariputra rupam sunyata sunyataiva rupam, rupan na prithak sunyata sunyataya na prithag rupam, yad rupam sa sunyata ya sunyata tad rupam; evam eva vedana-samjna-samskara-vijnanam.
Here, O [wise] Shariputra, form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, and form does not differ from emptiness. Whatever is form, that is emptiness, and whatever is emptiness, that is form. The same is true of [the other four aggregates:] feelings [sensations], perceptions, volitions, and consciousness.

Iha Sariputra sarva-dharmah sunyata-laksana, anutpanna aniruddha, amala aviamala, anuna aparipurnah.
Here, O Shariputra, all phenomena bear this universal mark of emptiness. They are neither produced nor annihilated, neither defiled nor pure, neither deficient nor complete. [That is to say, there is no duality, no opposites.]

Vulture's Peak, in Rajgir India, the setting for the Heart Sutra (Wonderlane/Flickr.com)

Tasmac Sariputra sunyatayam na rupam na vedana na samjna na samskarah na vijnanam. Na caksuh-srotra-ghranajihva-kaya-manam si. Na rupa-sabda-gandha-rasa-sprastavaya-dharmah. Na caksur-dhatur yavan na manovjnana-dhatuh. Na-avidya na-avidya-ksayo yavan na jara-maranam na jara-marana-ksayo. Na duhkha-samudaya-nirodha-marga. Na jnanam, na praptir, na-apraptih.
Therefore, O Shariputra, in emptiness there is no form, feeling, perception, volition, or consciousness. There is no [contact as a consfequence of three things coming together to form what in brief is called] eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind. There are no [external] forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tangibles, or objects of mind. There is no [sense-base consisting of] sight-organ element, and so forth...no mind-consciousness element. There is no ignorance, no cessation of ignorance, and so forth... There is no decay and death, no cessation of decay and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no cessation, no path. There is no knowing, no attaining, and no non-attaining.

Tasmac Sariputra apraptitvad bodhisattvasya prajnaparamitam asritya viharaty acittavaranah. Cittavarana-nastitvad atrastro viparyasa-atikranto nishtha-nirvana-praptah.
Therefore, O Sariputra, it is because of his non-attainmentness that a being-bent-on-perfect-enlightenment, through having relied on the perfection of wisdom, dwells without thought-coverings. In the absence of thought-coverings one does not tremble, having overcome what can upset, and in the end one abides in nirvana [the unconditioned ultimate reality that is even beyond beyond].

Tryadhva-vyavasthitah sarva-buddhah prajnaparamitam-asritya-anuttaram samyaksambodhim abhisambuddhah.
All those who appear as perfectly-enlightened-beings in the past, present, and future fully awake to the utmost enlightenment because they have relied on the perfection of wisdom.

Tasmaj jnatavyam: prajnaparamita maha-mantro maha-vidya-mantro nuttara-mantro samasama-mantrah, sarva-duhkha-prasamanah, satyam amithyatvat. Prajnaparamitayam ukto mantrah. Tadyatha: Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhisvaha. Iti prajnaparamita-hridayam samaptam.
Therefore, one should know the perfection of wisdom by this great mantra, the mantra of great wisdom, the utmost mantra, the unequalled mantra, the allayer of all suffering, in truth for how else could it be? By the perfection of wisdom is this mantra arrived at thus:

Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, so it is!

Some say the Mahayana sutras did not really take place. They are not historical accounts like the earlier sutras (found in the Nikayas). Even if that is the case, these Sanskrit works of art are powerfully pointing at the truth.

Visionaries that came after the Buddha wanted to condense and epitomize the Dharma, focusing on and even expanding on subtle points of ultimate truth. (Buddhism's most subtle and important point is the Doctrine of Anatta). They did so through manageable stories with famous figures interacting.

Shariputra, who is touted as "foremost in wisdom" in earlier schools, is here and elsewhere treated as dense and in need of schooling. In this, the most famous of all extra-canonical works, compassion (as embodied in Avalokiteshvara a.k.a. Avalokita) gives him just that.

Northern Asia as a whole borrowed a great deal from Buddhism and made it its own. So much so that people often confuse other Asian traditions -- such as Taoism -- with the Dharma. Some readers may be shocked by such revelations. After all, Mahayana is the only kind of "Buddhism" they have ever heard of, calling it by various names: Zen, Tibetan Vajrayana, Pureland, or even messianic Christianity.

It's Art
“We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth, at least the truth that is given to us to understand” (Pablo Picasso).

The Tao
“Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The 10,000 things rise and fall while the [empty process referring to itself as] Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the source. Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature. The way of nature is unchanging. Knowing constancy is insight. Not knowing constancy leads to disaster. Knowing constancy, the mind is open. With an open mind, you will be openhearted. Being openhearted, you will act royally. Being royal, you will attain the divine. Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao. Being at one with the Tao is eternal. And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away” (Tao Te Ching).

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