A Direct Explanation of the Praj~naa-paaramitaa Heart Sutra
By Ming Dynasty "Oceanic Imprint" Shrama.na,
the Shaakyan [Han-shan] De-ching of Naaraaya.na Mountain.(1)
Translated into English by Dharmamitra.

Why does the title of this scripture refer to "praj~naa"? It is Sanskrit. This means "wisdom." Why does it say "paaramitaa"? It too is Sanskrit. This means "arrived at the other shore". This refers to the fact that the paths of suffering in the realm of birth and death are like a vast sea and thus the emotional ideations of living beings are boundless. They are ignorant and unenlightened and the waves of consciousness bound forward and soar upward. They give rise to delusions, engage in karmic activity and so flow along and turn about in the realm of birth and death. The bitter fruits of this are endless. They are unable to succeed in crossing beyond it. Therefore we speak of "this shore."
It is our Buddha alone who has employed the brilliance of great wisdom to illuminate and see through the dust of emotions. He has eternally severed the afflictions and has put an end to all forms of suffering. He has caused the two kinds of death to perish forever.(2) He has leapt directly over the sea of suffering and has realized the lofty attainment of nirvana. Therefore we speak of "the other shore."
As for the so-called "heart,"(3) it properly refers to the mind of great wisdom which has arrived at the other shore. I am afraid it is not that clump of flesh, the erroneously-thinking mind of worldly people. It is especially because worldly people are unaware of their originally-existent wise and brilliant mind that they recognize only the reflections of discursive thinking and the manipulation of conditions. And so consequently they rely upon and adhere to that clump of blood and flesh as constituting their true mind. Hence they attach to this body of blood and flesh as "mine." Therefore they rely upon it to engage in all manner of negative karmic activity. In thought-moment after thought-moment this process flows along in waves without their ever having even a single thought wherein they illuminate reflectively and awaken themselves. Days accumulate and months pile up. From birth until death, from death until birth, there is nothing they do which does not accumulate karmic activity and there is nothing they do which does not accumulate suffering. How then would one be able to succeed in crossing beyond it?
Only our Buddha, the Superior,(4) has been able to awaken himself to the original true wisdom, illuminating and breaking through the body and mind consisting of the five aggregates. Originally, it does not exist. Its very substance is entirely empty. Therefore, he suddenly leapt over to the other shore and straightaway crossed beyond the sea of suffering. Because he pitied those who are confused, he additionally employed this Dharma entryway of self realization to instruct and lead them. He desired that every person awaken themselves and understand that wisdom is fundamentally existent, discursive thinking is originally void, the body and mind are both empty, and the world is like a transformation. He desired that they would not create the manifold bad [karmic actions], but would instead separate themselves far from birth and death and would all leave behind the sea of suffering and reach the bliss of nirvana. Therefore he spoke this sutra. A sutra is the spoken teaching of the holy one. It is the so-called constant dharma of earliest antiquity.

When the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara was coursing in the deep praj~naapaaramitaa, he illuminated and saw that the five aggregates were all empty, thus crossing beyond all suffering and adversity.
The bodhisattva is the person who is able to cultivate. The extremely deep praj~naa is simply the dharma which is cultivated. Illuminated and saw that the five aggregates were all empty then is the method for cultivating it. Crossing beyond all suffering and adversity then is the genuine result which is achieved through spiritual cultivation. Because this bodhisattva heard this extremely deep praj~naa from the Buddha, he then thought about and cultivated it. He contemplated with wisdom, and reflectively illuminated the five aggregates(5) as internally and externally of a single emptiness, and the body, mind, and world as clearly devoid of any thing whatsoever. He suddenly leapt over and transcended both the worldly and supra mundane, eternally separated from all suffering, and attained great sovereign independence. Looked at from this standpoint, since the bodhisattva was able by this means to be successful in crossing over to liberation, this is sufficient for us to know that any person would be able to rely upon it as a means of cultivation. Therefore the World Honored One made a special point of informing the Venerable One(6) and proceeded thereby to explain the wondrous practice of Avalokitesvara, wishing to make it clear to everyone.
If we people were only able to carry out a contemplation like this one, if we in a single thought suddenly awoke to the fundamentally-existent light of wisdom inhering in our own minds, if we experienced a vast, great, and numinous penetrating understanding like this, utterly illuminating the original emptiness of the five aggregates and the nonexistence of the four great elements,(7) what suffering would we not thereby transcend? Moreover, what further dragging along and tying up by accumulated karmic activity could there be? What forceful argumentation over others and self, right and wrong could there be? What comparative scheming over misfortune and fortune, success and failure could there be? How could there be anything in the realm of wealth and poverty, nobility and humble station which could bother our minds? The aforementioned is the genuine result of the bodhisattva's studying of praj~naa. When it speaks of "the five aggregates", it is just referring to form, feeling, perceptions, compositional factors, and consciousness. "Illuminated" refers to the wisdom which is able to perform the contemplation. The five aggregates are precisely that state which is the object of contemplation. "Were all empty" then refers to the genuine result which is achieved.

This is the name of a disciple of the Buddha. "Shaari-" is Sanskrit. This means "egret." The eyes of this bird are the most clear and sharp. His mother's eyes were like that. And so it was taken as the name. This venerable one then was the son of the "egret." Hence it says "son of Shaari". Among the disciples of the Buddha, he was first in wisdom. And so this praj~naa Dharma entryway is the most extremely deep. If one is not a person possessed of great wisdom, then he is unable to gain a comprehension of it. Therefore, he made a special point of informing him. This is one of those classic instances of being able to speak of it only to one who is wise.
Form is no different from emptiness. Emptiness is no different from form. Form is just emptiness. Emptiness is just form. The same is true of feeling, perception, compositional factors and consciousness.
This is an explanation directed specifically to the "Son of Egret" which explains the meaning of the previous statement that the five aggregates are all empty. As for bringing up and speaking about the form aggregate first among the five aggregates, form constitutes a person's physical characteristics. Based upon the tendency of everyone to attach to this body as something possessed by the self, persistent erroneous thinking makes [this misconception even more] solidly established. It is the root of the so-called attachment to self. It is that which is the most difficult to shatter.
Now, when initially entering the contemplation, one first contemplates this body as being a false unity of the four great elements, as being originally nonexistent, as being entirely empty in its very substance, and as being seen through utterly both within and without. If one is thus not cooped up by this body, then in coming and going through birth and death, one is not the least bit hung up or obstructed. The "aggregate" of "name and form" is shattered. If the aggregate of name and form were shattered then one would be able to gradually and sequentially deepen one's contemplation of the other four aggregates and push through them in this manner.
When it says that "form is not different from emptiness", this sentence shatters the common person's view of [form's] permanence. It is especially on account of the common person's recognizing only his form body and clinging to it as genuine and actual that he develops the opinion that it is permanent, and thus makes plans for a thousand autumns and a hundred years. Indeed he is not aware that this body is void, false and not substantial, that it is moved along by the four marks of birth, old age, sickness and death. This process moves along in every instant and does not cease proceeding thereby to old age and death. It is ultimately impermanent and finally returns to emptiness. This still is a concept which belongs to the emptiness of being subject to production and extinction. This still does not get to the end of the principle [which is intended]. It means specifically that the illusory form of the four great elements is originally no different from true emptiness, period. The common person is not aware of this and therefore he instructs them, saying, "Form is not different from emptiness." This is to say that the form body is fundamentally not different from true emptiness.
As for "Emptiness is not different from form," this sentence serves to shatter the annihilationist view of the non-buddhists and of the cultivators of the Two Vehicles.(8) Because in his cultivation the externalist is not aware that the body is produced from karmic activity, and that karmic activity arises from the mind, he goes through cycles [of rebirths] throughout the three periods of time, turning about without cease. Because they do not succeed in understanding the principle of the retributional interaction of cause and effect throughout the three periods of time, they then say that after a person dies, his pure energy returns to heaven, his turbid energy returns to earth, and his singular numinous true nature returns to the great emptiness.
If it were really just as they say here, then there would certainly be no principle of retribution and thus one who does good would be laboring in vain whereas one who does bad would get his way. If one's nature returned to the great emptiness then there would be no basis for determining what is good and what is bad for one would be poised on the brink of extinction. Wouldn't that be great fortune?! Confucius said, "Wandering souls bring about change. One knows thereby the character and appearance of the ghosts and spirits." This refers directly to those who have died and yet not perished and clearly illustrates the principle of retribution which is operative in cyclic existence. And yet people of the world do not investigate [this matter]. [The theory that] one's existence is precipitously cut off and extinguished is an extreme fallacy.
Now, although the people of the Two Vehicles rely upon the teachings of the Buddha in their cultivation, because they have not yet reached the understanding that the three realms(9) are only mind and the myriad dharmas are only consciousness, they do not understand that birth and death are like an illusion or like a transformation. Hence they develop the opinion that the characteristic features of the three realms are actually existent. Thus they look upon the three realms as being like a prison. They abhor the four types of rebirth as if they were manacles or fetters. They do not generate a single thought devoted to liberating beings. The emmerse themselves in emptiness, stagnate in stillness, and sink down into still extinction. Therefore he makes it clear to them, saying, "Emptiness is not different from form."
This is to say that true emptiness is fundamentally not different from illusory form. It is not this space which is apart from form and which is subject to being cut off and extinguished. That which truly manifests praj~naa is the true emptiness of the reality mark, that's all. How so? Because the true emptiness of praj~naa is like a great round mirror. All illusory forms are like images in the mirror. If one is merely aware that images are not separate from the mirror, then one would know that emptiness is not different from form. This directly shatters the emptiness of the [cultivators of] the Two Vehicles which is apart from form as well as the expansive emptiness of non-Buddhists.
Additionally fearing that the people of the World would take "form" and "emptiness", these two words, speak about them as if they were two [different] hitching posts, and would not be able to look upon them as being equivalent and of a single suchness, he again proclaimed their identity, saying, "Form is just emptiness. Emptiness is just form," that's all.
If one is merely able to contemplate like this and become aware that form is not different from emptiness, then there are no sounds, forms, material objects, or benefits which might be coveted, nor is there any laboring among the objects of the five desires upon which one might dote. If one does this, then one suddenly passes beyond the suffering of the common person. If one is merely aware that emptiness is not different from form, then without even arising from the extinction samadhi one nonetheless manifests every aspect of the awesome comportment and without moving from the point of origin one nonetheless carries on the work of bringing beings across to liberation. One resides in emptiness and yet the myriad practices(10) bubble up and spring forth. One is involved in existence and yet the way of unity remains pure. If one does this then one suddenly steps beyond the attachments of the non-buddhists and the practitioners of the Two Vehicles.
If one is merely aware that form and emptiness are equivalent and of a single suchness, then at every moment one brings beings across to liberation and yet does not maintain any view of a being which may be liberated. And with every every thought one seeks buddhahood and yet does not maintain a view of any result of buddhahood which may be sought. This is the so-called perfect realization of the singularity of mind in which there is no wisdom and no attainment. If one accomplishes this then one steps beyond the bodhisattva and suddenly ascends to the ground of buddhahood, to the other shore. If one is able to carry out a contemplation like this of just this one dharma of the form "aggregate," then in the case of the other four aggregates they are understood perfectly whenever the mind encounters them. It is precisely the same as when one traces a single one of the sense faculties back to the source, then all six faculties realize liberation. Hence it says, "The same is true of feeling, perception, compositional factors and consciousness." If one is truly able (to succeed in a contemplation) like this, then all suffering is suddenly cut off, the result of buddhahood can be reached, and the other shore is not far away. It is achieved solely in the given person's single-minded contemplative thought, that's all. How could a dharma such as this be anything but extremely profound?

***Shaariputra, these dharmas are all characterized by emptiness. They are neither produced nor destroyed, neither defiled nor pure, and are neither increased nor decreased.
In this passage, he again fears that people of the world will employ the mind which is subject to production and destruction to carry out a mistaken identification of the dharma of true emptiness, the reality mark, and praj~naa and thus will develop an understanding based on production, extinction, defilement, purity, increase and decrease. Therefore he commands the Venerable One and makes it clear to him, stating: "The so-called reality mark of true emptiness is not a dharma characterized by production or extinction, defilement or purity, increase or decrease. Furthermore, whatsoever is produced or destroyed, defiled or pure, increased or decreased is just a dharma belonging to the sentimental perceptions of living beings, whereas the substance of the reality mark of the true emptiness of this praj~naa of mine is clear and pure and like empty space. It is a dharma which transcends sentiment." How could he approve of any of those [designations]? Therefore, he employs the words "neither" and "nor" to negate them. This is to say that all of the dharmas of the five aggregates are identical with the reality mark of true emptiness. Each and every one of them transcends all of these faults.

Therefore, in emptiness there are no forms. There are no feelings, perceptions, compositional factors, or consciousnesses. There is no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind. There are no [visual] forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or dharmas [as objects of mind]. There is no eye realm and so forth until we come to no mind consciousness realm. There is no ignorance nor is there any end of ignorance and so forth until we come to no old age and death nor any end to old age and death. There is no suffering, accumulation, extinction, or Way. There is no wisdom nor is there any attainment.
This then is a general explanation of the meaning of how praj~naa transcends faults. When one says that the true emptiness of praj~naa eternally transcends all faults it is because within it it is pure and devoid of phenomena. Therefore there are no traces of the five aggregates. Not only are there no five aggregates, there are none of the six sense faculties either. Not only are there none of the six sense faculties, but there are none of the six sense objects either. Not only are there none of the six sense objects, but there are none of the six consciousnesses either. This being the case, then the [eighteen sense] realms consisting of the sense faculties, sense objects, and consciousnesses , being dharmas associated with the common person, are completely transcended by the true emptiness of praj~naa. Therefore it says of them all that they are "nonexistent."
Since this is the case, it transcends the dharmas of the common person. Thus, within praj~naa, not only are there no dharmas of the common person, there are also no dharmas of the Superior either. This is because the four truths, the twelve causes and conditions, the six perfections,(11) and so forth are all [simply] dharmas employed by those Superiors of the Three Vehicles(12) who go forth beyond the world. In the case of the four truths consisting of suffering, accumulation, extinction, and the Way, it is on account of disgust with suffering that one cuts off accumulation and it is on account of longing for extinction that one cultivates the Way. These constitute dharmas associated with the Hearers.
"Ignorance" conditions compositional factors. Compositional factors condition consciousness. Consciousness conditions name-and-form. Name-and-form condition the six [sense] entrances. The six [sense] entrances condition contact. Contact conditions feeling. Feeling conditions craving. Craving conditions grasping. Grasping conditions existence. Existence conditions birth. Birth conditions old age and death. This constitutes "the delineation of the twelve causes and conditions describing flowing along and turning about [in samsaric existence]." This corresponds to the two truths of suffering and accumulation. [Where the Sutra refers to] "extinction of ignorance" on up to [where it refers to] "extinction of old age and death," this constitutes "the delineation describing the return to extinction." It corresponds to the two truths of extinction and the Way. This is the dharma contemplated by the "condition-enlightened" practitioner (pratyekabuddha). In every case they are found to be fundamentally nonexistent within the substance of praj~naa.
If one extends this to the ultimate point, then not only are there no dharmas associated with the [above-mentioned] two vehicles,.there are no bodhisattva dharmas either. How is this? "Wisdom" here is just contemplative wisdom It is that mind [which is operative] within the wisdom of the six perfections and which is capable of seeking. "Attainment" here is just the result of buddhahood. It is that realm which is sought after. Thus , in the cultivation of the bodhisattva, he takes wisdom as constituting that which is foremost. His transforming beings below is solely for the sake of seeking the result of buddhahood above. Most especially because the realm of buddhahood is like space and has nothing upon which it relies, in any case where one were one to seek after it with a mind holding on to [the concept of] something attainable, this would not be genuine. It is on account of this phenomenon being fundamentally nonexistent within the substance of the true emptiness ofpraj~naa it says, "There is no wisdom nor is there any attainment." It is non-attainment itself which constitutes genuine attainment. It is then that one's attainment succeeds in reaching the ultimate.

Since nothing whatsoever is attainable, because the bodhisattva relies upon the praj~naa-paaramitaa, his mind is not hung up or obstructed. Because he is not hung up or obstructed he has no fearfulness and leaves far behind upside-down dream thinking and ultimately reaches nirvana.
It is especially because there is nothing which is gained and yet the result of buddhahood is gained that the bodhisattva relies in his cultivation on praj~naa and so carries on his contemplations in that manner. Thus [he perceives] that absolutely all dharmas are fundamentally empty and still. If one were to rely upon emotions, thinking and discriminations and go about one's contemplations in such a manner then one's mental state would become so bound up and enmeshed that one would be unable to gain liberation. One becomes attached through one's desires in place after place and in every case this brings about hangups and obstructions.
If one relies upon the true wisdom of praj~naa as he carries on his contemplations then both the mind and the objective sphere are [understood to be] empty. At every point of one's experience everything is utterly clear and there is nothing which is not liberation. Hence it states that because one relies upon this praj~naa one's mind is free of hangups and obstructions. On account of the mind's being free of hangups and obstructions there is then no birth and death which could be feared. Hence it states that one has no fearfulness.
Since it is the case that there is no birth and death of which one can be afraid, then there is no result of buddhahood which can be sought after either. This is because the fearing of birth and death and the seeking after nirvana are all just manifestations of dream thinking and inverted [views]. The Perfect Enlightenment Sutra states that birth and death and nirvana are just like yesterday's dream. Thus, in the absence of praj~naa's perfect contemplation one is certainly unable to leave behind the marks of these inverted views and dream thinking. Since one is unable to leave behind inverted views and dream thinking one is certainly then unable to ultimately arrive at nirvana.
Now "nirvana" is a Sanskrit term. Here it is termed "still extinction" and also as "perfect stillness." This refers to perfectly ridding oneself of [the delusions corresponding to] the five dwelling stations and to achieving the eternal peace of still extinction. It is just the ultimate result to which the Buddhas return. The intent here is that one who is able to leave behind the sentiment [which clings to distinctions corresponding to] the Superior and the common person is then able to achieve realization of and entry into nirvana, that's all. If in the cultivation undertaken by the bodhisattva, he fails to pay heed to this point, it definitely does not constitute genuine cultivation.

Because the buddhas of the three periods of time rely upon the Praj~na-paaramitaa they gain anuttara-samyak-sa.mbodhi. Therefore one knows that the praj~na-paaramitaa is the great spirit mantra, it is the great bright mantra, it is the unsurpassed mantra, and it is the unequaled mantra which is able to get rid of all suffering and which is genuine and not false.
This is to say that it is not only the bodhisattvas who, relying upon this praj~naa, undertake their cultivation, but it is the buddhas of the three periods of time. There are none who do not rely upon this praj~naa in gaining perfect realization of the result of the unsurpassed, right, equal, and correct enlightenment. Hence [the Sutra] states, "Because the buddhas of the three periods of time rely upon the praj~naa-paaramitaa they gain anuttara-samyak-sa.mbodhi." This is a Sanskrit term. The "an-" means "not." "Uttara" means "surpassed." "Sam-" means "right." "Yak" means "equal." "Bodhi" means "enlightenment." This is the ultimate term for the result of buddhahood. Looking at it based on this one knows therefore that the Praj~naa-paaramitaa is able to drive away the demons of birth, death and the afflictions. Therefore [the Sutra] states that this is the great spirit mantra. It is able to break up the darkness of ignorance which has endured throughout the long night of birth and death. Therefore [the Sutra] states that it is the great bright mantra. Both within the world and beyond the world there is not one single dharma which is able to surpass praj~naa. Therefore [the Sutra] states that it is the unsurpassed mantra. Because praj~naa is the mother of all buddhas which gives birth to every one of the immeasurable number of meritorious qualities there is nothing within the world or beyond the world which equals it. It is only this which is able to equal every other. Hence [the Sutra] states that it is the unequaled mantra.
As for what is referred to as a "mantra," it is not the case that [aside from this] there is some other mantra. It is just this praj~naa which [itself] is it. Why is it then that it says "praj~naa" and then additionally refers to it as a "mantra"? It is on account of the speed of the spiritual efficacy associated with [these] ultimate words. They are like the secret orders used in the military. Among those who are able to silently carry out the actions there are none who are not decisively victorious. Praj~naa is able to demolish the demon armies of birth and death such that one is able to be decisively victorious in this same manner. So too, it is like a sweet dew [elixir]. One who drinks it is able to avoid death. And so if there is someone who possesses the flavor of praj~naa he is then able to suddenly get rid of the great calamity of birth and death. Hence it states that it is able to get rid of all suffering. That it then states that it is true, genuine and not false is in order to show that the speech of the Buddha is not erroneous. This is out of a desire that people will truly believe and not have doubts about it. [This is because] decisiveness in cultivation constitutes something which is essential.

Therefore he spoke the praj~napaaramitaa mantra. He then uttered the mantra, saying:
On account of praj~naa's truly possessing the quality of being able to get rid of suffering and bring about the achievement of bliss he therefore then spoke the secret mantra in order to cause people to silently hold it [in mind] so as to seize its rapid efficacy.
Gate Gate Paaragate Paarasa.mgate Bodhi Svaahaa.
This is Sanskrit. The text which comes prior to this constitutes the openly manifest declaration of praj~naa. This mantra constitutes the secret declaration of praj~naa. It is not such as admits of an intellectual understanding. One simply recites it silently. The speed of experiencing its efficacy resides specifically in the inconceivable and ineffable power which comes from forgetting one's emotions and cutting off [the pursuit of] understanding. Thus the reason for the speed of experiencing its beneficial effects lies in the originally existing light of the mind which is possessed by everyone. The buddhas achieve realization of it and employ it as the marvelous function of spiritual superknowledges. Beings remain confused with regard to it and employ it as the basis for engaging in erroneous thinking and [sense]-object weariness. The reason that one employs it every day and yet is unaware of it is due to one's own obscuration of the fundamental truth. Thus one undergoes bitter suffering unjustly. How could this not be lamentable?
One need only be able to awaken to that which originally exists and, right on the spot, reverse the illumination and reflect back [inwardly]. If one single-mindedly emmerses oneself in cultivation then the barrier of sentiments associated with birth and death will suddenly come crashing down. This is just like the case of a room which has remained dark for a thousand years. A single lamp is able to dispel [the darkness]. One need not seek elsewhere for any other skillful means. Where we possess the determination to go forth from birth and death, if we abandon this [method], it is not the case that there would be some ferry or raft [which we might avail ourselves of]. As has been said, when one is being tossed about on the waves in the middle of the sea of suffering, praj~naa is a ship. In the deep darkness of the long night, praj~naa is a lantern.
The fellows of today run off down dangerous roads. They drift about helplessly on the sea of suffering. Where there is someone possessed of his own free will and yet who fails to seek this out, I have no idea where he might [otherwise be able to] find a refuge. Even though this is the way it is, still, praj~naa is like [the magical sword known as] Syau-lyan which cut cleanly through anything it so much as contacted. Even though things were cut completely through by it, still, [the wielder] wouldn't even sense it. If one is not a spiritual sage then one is unable to put it to use, how much the more so would this be the case with a lesser fellow!

End Notes
1. I'm using the Yale romanization system for the pronunciation of Chinese characters here because it's the only system that when pronounced by the non-specialist guarantees at least a reasonably close approximation of the correct sounds of the characters. Both Pin Yin and Wade-Giles systems are perversely and absurdly misleading to anyone not already well versed in their bizarre idiosyncracies. So if you see something that looks like a romanization of a Chinese character, pronounce it like it looks and you'll be close enough. The Sanskrit terms are rendered with the current ASCII standard system with the exception of palatal "s" which is rendered as "sh".
2. The two kinds of birth and death refer to: a) gross physical birth and death; and b) the production and extinction which occurs at the subtlest level of existence.
3. The Chinese translation of the Heart Sutra renders the word "heart" with "syin" which means both "mind" and "heart." It is for this reason that Han-shan embarks on this reference to the concept of "mind."
4. "Superior" corresponds to the Sanskrit "aarya." It is actually a technical term referring to anyone who has realized the "path of seeing."
5. The five aggregates are the five fundamental components of being which the typical worldling seizes upon as constituting a "self": forms, feeling, perception, compositional factors, and consciousness.
6. "Venerable One" here refers to Shaariputra.
7. The four great elements are earth, water, fire, and air. In contexts where literal interpretation seems forced it is sometimes helpful to think in terms of solidity, liquidity, heat and whatever adjectives you might choose to describe "airiness" such as perhaps "mobility," "insubstantiality," etc.
8. The "Two Vehicles" refers to: a) the "hearers" or "disciples" who gain arhatship through hearing the teachings of the Buddha; and b) the pratyekabuddhas who are born when no buddha is in the world but nonetheless gain a relatively exalted level of liberation through meditation on causality.
9. The "three realms" are the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm.
10. "The myriad practices" refers to the practices undertaken by the bodhisattva in his aeons-long journey to buddhahood.
11. The "six perfections" are: giving, moral conduct, patience, vigor, meditative absorption, and wisdom.
12. The "Three Vehicles" are the practice modes of: the hearers, the pratyekabuddhas, and the bodhisattvas.

Copyright © 2001. Bhikshu Dharmamitra. All rights reserved.