The Heart Sutra


Part One: A Brief Comment The title of "The Heart Sutra" appears to refer to the use of perfect wisdom (prajnaparamita) to cleanse error from the heart (hridaya). There are numerous variations of the sutra in Sanskrit and many other classical, Asian languages. Edward Conze did extensive work in this field, although his methods are now challenged by contemporary scientific philologists. The search for an ur-text is probably always going to be inconclusive, although some evidence points to the existence of a single, original version. This is of no consequence for people whose interest in the Sanskrit text is based on a desire to inspect the Sanskrit vocabulary of the concepts in "The Heart Sutra" or to draw spiritual nourishment from the elegantly poetic repetitions of the Sanskrit text that follows. A spiritual friend provided me with the materials I have used to prepare this version of the text in Buddhist Sanskrit. This text is modified from: Hurvitz, Leon. "Hsuan-tsang (602-664) and the _Heart Scripture_" in _Prajnaparamita and Related Systems: Studies in Honor of Edward Conze_ (University of California at Berkeley Press). 103-113. Hurvitz describes this text as "brahmanical" and reports that Hsuan-tsang transcribed it in Chinese characters from a wall of a cave at Ta hsing-shan-ssu in Lo-yang, China, apparently on the Silk Road, during the 7th century A.D. The context in which the Chinese scholar presentedthe _Hridaya Sutra_ makes it clear that he considered it a magical text. Although this text is not precisely identical with existing English translations of "The Heart Sutra," it is obviously consistent with the Hridaya textual tradition. The Sanskrit scans metrically and by sense into mostly four line verses, a classical verse form that suggests a strong literary value in the text. Repetitions and thematic emphasis on the pervasiveness of emptiness (sunyata) characterize the text. I found that in order to preserve the sense of the verses it was necessary to shorten one verse to three lines, to lengthen another verse to five lines. I modified the Hurvitz text by eliminating all Sanskrit diacritical marks, regularizing the spacing of the Sanskrit words and their spelling, and adjusting the lines of the text according to sense and (in some cases) meter. I used Hurvitz's interlinear vocabulary as a base and added to it. The difficulties in this text are partly due to the obscurities of Buddhist Sanskrit, partly to the ackwardness of the transcription into Roman letters from Chinese phonological equivalents by Hurvitz, and mostly to my radically imperfect knowledge of Sanskrit. I accept full responsibility for the errors experts in the Sanskrit language will find here. May the merit of this effort benefit all sentient beings. [CORRECTION: Hsuan-tsung found the text on the stone wall of the Great Monestary of the Furtherance of Good, not on a cave wall. -MM]

Part Two: The Buddhist Sanskirt Text with Interlinear Vocabulary prajnaparamita hridaya sutra (perfect wisdom heart sutra) aryavalokitesvaro bodhisattvo (Avalokateshvara bodhisattva) gambhiram prajnaparamita caryam caramano vyavalokayati (deep perfect wisdom action perform luminously) sma panca skandhas tams ca sva bhava sunyam (saw five bundles them own nature empty) pasyati sma iha sariputra (? saw oh Sariputra) rupam sunyata va rupam rupan na prithak (form emptiness evidently form form not different) sunyata sunyataya na prithag rupam (emptiness emptiness not different form) yad rupam sa sunyata ya sunyata sa rupam (this form that emptiness this emptiness that form) evam eva vedana samjna samskara vijnanam (like this feeling thought choice consiousness) iha sariputra sarva dharma sunyata (oh Sariputra all dharmas emptiness) laksana anutpanna anruddha avmala anuna aparpurna (mark not born not pure not increase not decrease ?) ta sariputra sunyatayam (therefore Sariputra in the middle of emptiness) na rupam na vedana na samjna na samskara na vijnana (no form no feeling no thought no choice no consciousness) na caksuh srotam na ghrana jihva kaya manah (no eye ear no nose tongue body mind) na rupa sabda gandha rasa spistavya dharmah (no form sound smell taste touch dharmas) na caksur dhatur ya van na mano vijnanam dhatur (no eye-area up to no mind-consciousness area) na vidya na vidya na vidya ksayo va vidya ksayo (no clarity no clarity no clarity exhaustion no clarity exhaustion) ya van jaramaranam na jaramarana ksayo (up to old age no old age exhaustion) na duhkha samudaya nirdoha margajna (no suffering end of suffering path) na jnanam na prapti na bhismaya tasmai na prapti (no knowledge no ownership no witnessing no thing to own) tvad bodhisattva prajnaparamita asritya (therefore bodhisattva perfect wisdom dwells) viha ratya citta varano vidya ksayo na vidya ksayo (in dwell thought no obstacle clarity exhaustion not clairty exhaustion) ya van jaramaranam na jaramarana ksayo (up to old age no old age exhaustion) na duhkha samudaya nirodha margajna (no suffering end of suffering path) na jnanam na prapti na bhismaya tasmai na prapti (no knowledge no property no witnessing no thing to own) tvad bodhisattvanam prajnaparamita asritya (therefore bodhisattva perfect wisdom dwells) viha ratya citta varano citta varano (in dwell thought no obstacle thought no obstacle) na siddhitvad atrasto vipa ryasa ti kranto (no existence fear fright inverse reverse ? separate) ni stha nirvana tya dha vyava sthitah (perfectly stands nirvana three worlds thing experiences) sarva buddhah prajnaparamitam asritya (all buddhas perfect wisdom dwell) (a?)nuttaram samyaksambodhim abdhisambuddhah (unexcelled ultimate perfect insight together ? buddhas) ta smai jnata vyam (therefore should know ?) prajnaparamitamahamantram mahavidyamantram (perfect wisdom great charm great clear charm) anuttaramantram asamasama mantram (unexcelled charm unequalled equal charm) sarva duhkha prasa manam sa tyam ami thyatvat (all suffering stop terminate genuine real not vain) prajnaparamitayam ukto mantrah tadyatha (perfect wisdom declaired charm saying) GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA

Prepared by: Dr. Michael E. Moriarty Communication Arts Department Valley City State University Valley City, North Dakota 58072 Redistribution permitted.

The Heart Sutra - Conze
Mahaprajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra (The Heart Sutra)
The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra
Heart of Perfect Wisdom
The Prajna Paramita Sutra
Dalai Lama's Heart Sutra Lecture
Introduction to Heart of the Prajna-Paramita Sutra
The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra
The Sutra of the Heart of the Lady Perfection of Wisdom
Tibetan Version of the Heart Sutra
The Great Transcending Wisdom Heart Sutra
The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra with the Standless Verse Commentary
The Heart Sutra: Prajnaparamita-Hridaya-Sutra
The Heart Sutra and the Mantra of our Life
The Heart Sutra
Heart Sutra Commentary by Brian Ruhe

Heart Sutra commentary by Thich Nhat Hanh
Heart Sutra of Wisdom
On The Heart Sutra, a Commentary
Maha Praja Paramita Heart Sutra

The Heart Sutra Commentary by Zen Master Seung Sahn
The Holy Heart Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom
The Heart Sutra: An Introduction to the Heart Sutra
The Heart Sutra: Commentary by Master Sheng-Yen