The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra
the Stand-less Verse Commentary
of the Venerable Master Hsüan Hua
by Ron Epstein
Revised by Bhikshuni Heng Ch'ih
The Heart Sutra [Two
"The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra"
Bodhisattva was practicing the profound Prajna Paramita, he illuminated the five
skandhas and saw that they are all empty and he crossed beyond all suffering and
Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness; emptiness does
not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness; emptiness itself is form. So too
are feeling, cognition, formation, and consciousness. Shariputra, all dharmas
are empty of characteristics. They are not produced, not destroyed, not defiled,
not pure, and they neither increase nor decrease.
Therefore, in emptiness there
is no form, feeling, cognition, formation, or consciousness; no eyes, ears, nose,
tongue, body, or mind; no sights, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, or
dharmas; no field of the eyes, up to and including no field of mind-consciousness;
and no ignorance or ending of ignorance, up to and including no old age and death
or ending of old age and death.
There is no suffering, no accumulation, no
cessation, no Way. And no understanding and no attaining because nothing is attained,
the Bodhisattva, through reliance on Prajna paramita, is unimpeded in his mind
because there is no impediment, he is not afraid, and he leaves distorted dream-thinking
Ultimately he attains Nirvana! All Buddhas of the three periods
of time Attain Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi through reliance on Prajna Paramita. Therefore
know that Prajna Paramita is a great spiritual mantra, a great bright mantra,
a supreme mantra, an unequalled mantra. It can remove all suffering; it is genuine
and not false. That is why the mantra of Prajna Paramita was spoken. Recite it
Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha!
Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra"
[Commentary] Wonderful wisdom can reach
the other shore right now.
The true mind itself is capable of merging with
Dharma and analogy comprise its title, which transcends
Empty of the attributes of all dharmas is this substance beyond
Its purpose and intent are fundamental non-attainability.
and function: to eradicate the three obstacles entirely.
The real butter division
is selected to describe the meaning of the teaching.
A Maha propulsion against
the current is the course of the Prajna boat.
When Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva
the light to shine within, Avalokiteshvara
Enlightens all the sentient beings,
thus he is a Bodhisattva.
His mind is thus, thus, unmoving, a superior one
His total understanding of the ever shining makes him a host and
When the six types of psychic powers become an ordinary matter,
even less can the winds and rains of the eight directions cause alarm.
it up retracts it and keeps it secretly hidden away.
Letting it go expands
it so it fills the whole world entirely.
Was practicing the profound Prajna
Practice the Way, cultivate yourself, and do not search outside.
Prajna wisdom of your own nature is the deep, hidden cause.
White billows soar
to the heavens, the black waves cease;
Effortlessly climb upon the other shore,
which means reach Nirvana.
Time and again, time and again, don't miss the chance.
for it, be diligent, take hold of the divine innocence.
Hazy, indistinct, an
unclear mirage, thus the news arrives.
Now it's there, now it's not-see what
is inherently esteemed.
He illuminated the five skandhas and saw that they
are all empty.
The three lights shine everywhere, permeating the three forces.
one returns to the place of union, yet the one comes forth again.
form is emptiness and see feeling the same way.
False thoughts are the shifting
currents; formations, the arrangers of karma.
With consciousness, perceiver
of differences, five aggregates, skandhas, are completed.
They are as flowers
in a mirror, as the moon on water: beyond defiling dust.
When emptiness is
not empty, one understands the great function.
To have vision and yet be without
views is happiness indeed!
And he crossed beyond all suffering and difficulty.
the sea of suffering, one leaves the revolving wheel of rebirth.
When the rains
disperse, the heavens clear, and the moon is fully bright.
The qian source
is the Way-substance, among people the sage.
An un-decaying golden body is
extremely rare in the world.
Cast off life; what need of thousand-year drugs?
tranquil cessation; wait ten thousand kalpas?
Five dwellings ended, the two
deaths disappear forever.
Roam at will from East to West, throughout the Dharma
Shariputra's name means solid and enduring wisdom.
interpretation, "pelican," describes the demeanor of his mother.
precepts and samádhi perfect and bright, the pearl-light appears;
and practice interact, and his body becomes transparent.
How does there come
to be great wisdom? Because the stupid make their mark.
While he was in his
mother's womb, a fine eloquence was evident.
This real wisdom is complete within
Grasp it at Jeweled Wood Peak at Cao Creek.
Form does not differ
from emptiness; emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness;
emptiness itself is form.
"Form does not differ from emptiness" "is"
is like "is not."
"Emptiness does not differ from form":
the distinction is of substance and function.
"Form itself is emptiness":
its true source is fathomed.
"Emptiness itself is form": the false
flow dries up.
Mountains, rivers, and the great earth are but manifestations
"Dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows"-so it is!
careful not to seek outside maintain the Middle Way.
He who casts down strained
threads of cause is the One Come Thus.
So too are feeling, cognition, formation,
and consciousness. Shariputra, all dharmas are empty of characteristics. They
are not produced, not destroyed, not defiled, not pure, and they neither increase
Feeling, cognition, formations, and consciousness are also like
emptiness and form.
Again he calls, "Shariputra, pay attention, listen
"All dharmas are empty of characteristics," lacking a
nature of their own.
"Not defiled, not pure," they remain apart form
"They neither increase nor diminish"-enlighten
to the Middle in all its profundity.
In the pure and deep ultimate stillness,
when all creation is transcended,
Suddenly awaken to the primal interpenetration
of self and dharmas.
Therefore, in emptiness there is no form, feeling, cognition,
formation, or consciousness; no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind; no sights,
sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, or dharmas; no field of the eyes, up
to and including no field of mind-consciousness;
Therefore in emptiness there
are no characteristics of form.
Feeling, cognition, formations, and consciousness
disappear as well.
So do the six faculties and six objects, together with six
Three minds come to three ceasings, and three closures are
The great cart of the white ox turns with the sound lin-lin.
little yellow-faced child jumps and thumps in agitation.
If you ask what instructive
meaning is to be found in that,
The front double-three and the back double-three
And no ignorance or ending of ignorance, up to and including no old age
and death or ending of old age and death.
"No ending of ignorance"
means that its basic nature is empty.
False activity, discrimination, followed
by name and form;
The six entrances, contact, feeling, love, grasping, having;
old age and death are each that way too.
For thousands of miles the sky is
clear, without a cloud or a shadow.
Still water fills a deep pool and reveals
the light of the moon.
Like people who drink when thirsty perceive for themselves
the hot from the cold,
Merely talking about food or helping things grow: the
work is always wanting.
There is no suffering, no accumulation, no cessation,
Each of the sufferings exerts pressure, and all attack together.
is feelings, which beckon, each unlike the other.
It is only through tranquil
cessation that ultimate joy can be attained.
This is the Way that should be
practiced to awaken to the emptiness of dharmas.
With three turnings of the
Four Truths the Dharma Wheel revolves:
Seven Shares in Enlightenment, the Eight-fold
Path, with Psychic Skills, Mindful- nesses and Efforts.
One day connect right
through and realize sage-hood;
Partial truth with residue is no more than a
And no understanding and no attaining.
Six Paramitas involving
phenomena belong to the Store-Teaching Bodhisattvas.
Sudden awakening to principle;
the Perfect's practice of Wonderful Enlightenment.
destroys attachment and empties every attribute;
"No attaining" is
non-verification, and comprehends the fusion of dharmas.
Then, a jeweled realm
appears on the tip of a single hair.
The Dharma Wheel is turned while one is
seated in a mote of dust.
These words are spoken, yet few indeed will truly
I do not know how many know my sound.
Because nothing is attained,
the Bodhisattva, through reliance on Prajna paramita, is unimpeded in his mind
is no cultivation, no verification, no attainment.
All that is conditioned
and has characteristics is destined to demise.
Bodhisattvas, awakened beings,
in becoming enlightened to this truth,
Place trust in Prajna to bring them
even with the other shore.
The mind without impediments leaves the retribution-obstacle
A nature totally, truly empty puts an end to words and thoughts.
send these words to those of future worth: seek it in yourself;
A head piled
on top of a head is the height of stupidity.
Because there is no impediment,
he is not afraid, and he leaves distorted dream-thinking far behind.
is no impediment," means truly letting go.
When "he is not afraid,"
obstacles made by karma depart.
With distortion left far behind, the characteristic
of production is broken through.
Coarse, fine, and dust-and-sand delusions
of your dream-thoughts become Thus.
As three obstacles finally dissolve, three
virtues are perfected.
The interchangeable use of six faculties brings certification
to six psychic powers.
To be able to fathom this wonderful truth is to directly
enjoy its use.
Those who know easily enlighten the dark and difficult path.
he attains Nirvana! All Buddhas of the three periods of time Attain Anuttara Samyak
Sambodhi through reliance on Prajna Paramita.
Virtue is nowhere incomplete,
and all the obstacles perish.
This ultimately final perfect stillness is called
Those passed by, not yet come, and now existing,
All Buddhas of
the three periods of time, rooted in a common source,
Having placed their reliance
on this very Prajna Paramita,
Reach genuine enlightenment equal to that of
the Supreme Immortal.
If only those who practice remain capable of diligence
What worry can there be about not attaining the field of the Dharma
Therefore know that Prajna Paramita is a great spiritual mantra, a
great bright mantra, a supreme mantra, an unequalled mantra. It can remove all
suffering; it is genuine and not false.
This "great spiritual mantra"
is hard to fathom fully.
This "great bright mantra" illumines the
This "supreme mantra" leads to the utmost fruition
This "unequalled mantra" helps us reach the ultimate
It can remove all suffering and bring the turning wheel to a stop.
it is "genuine and not false," it enables us all to progress.
has been spoken here discloses the depths of profound Prajna,
And briefly explains
the Dhyana of the Patriarchs found in the East and West.
That is why the mantra
of Prajna Paramita was spoken. Recite it like this:
Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate,
As part of the esoteric, the mantra cannot be thought about;
like the edict of a monarch, its mandate is followed by one and all.
as well to a secret password used among the troops,
If one's reply the question
is not fitting, one is quickly put in line.
The wonderful truth of the Great
Vehicle entirely transcends distinctions.
Yet ordinary people see false conditioned
cause as true.
Guided by the finger, gaze at the moon; the finger is not the
Borrowing the mantra, light up the mind; the mantra is the mind.