The Sutra of the Heart of the Lady Perfection
By Ken McLeod
I bow to Lady Perfection of Wisdom.
Thus have I heard. At one time Lord Buddha was staying at Vulture Peak Mountain in Rajagriha, with a great gathering of the monastic sangha and the bodhisattva sangha.
At that time, Lord Buddha entered an absorption, calledProfound Radiance, in which all elements of experience are present.
At the same time, noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, was looking right at the experience of the profound perfection of wisdom and he saw the five groups to be empty of nature.
Then, through the power of the Buddha, venerable Shariputra said to noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, "How does a son or daughter of the noble family, who wishes to practice the profound perfection of wisdom, train?"
Addressed in this way, noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, said to venerable Shariputra, "O Shariputra, a son or daughter of the noble family who wishes to practice the profound perfection of wisdom looks in this way: see the five groups to be truly empty of nature.
Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form is not other than emptiness. In the same way, feeling, concept, mental formation, and consciousness are emptiness.
Therefore, Shariputra, all experience is emptiness. It is not defined. It is not born or destroyed, impure or free from impurity, not incomplete or complete.
Therefore, Shariputra, in emptiness, there is no form, no feelings, no concepts, no mental formations, no consciousness; no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind, no appearance, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no mind object; no eye element up to no mind element and no mind consciousness element; no ignorance, no end of ignorance up to no old age and death, no end of old age and death; no suffering, no origin, no cessation, no path; no pristine awareness, no attainment, and no non-attainment.
Therefore, Shariputra, because, for bodhisattvas, there is no attainment, they rest, trusting the perfection of wisdom. With nothing clouding their minds, they have no fear. They leave delusion behind and come to the end of nirvana.
All the buddhas of the three times, by means of the perfection of wisdom, fully awaken to unsurpassable, true, complete awakening.
Therefore, the mantra of the perfection of wisdom, the mantra of great awareness, the unsurpassed mantra, the mantra equal to the unequalled, the mantra that completely calms all suffering, is not a ruse: know it to be true.
Thus, the mantra of the perfection of wisdom is said in this way:
om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
Thus, Shariputra, do all bodhisattva mahasattvas train in the profound perfection of wisdom."
Then Lord Buddha arose from that absorption and confirmed noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, with these words, "Well done, well done, o son of noble family; thus it is, thus it is. One practices the profound perfection of wisdom just as you have taught. Those Who Have Gone This Way also rejoice."
Then venerable Shariputra and noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, that whole assembly and the world with its gods, humans, titans, and sky spirits, rejoiced and praised the words of Lord Buddha.