The Heart Sutra: The Womb of Buddhas
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The Heart Sutra is Buddhism in a nutshell. It has had the most profound and wide-reaching influence of any text in Buddhism. This short text covers more of the Buddha’s teachings than any other scripture, and it does so without being superficial or hurried. Although the original author is unknown, he was clearly someone with a deep realization of the Dharma.
For this new English translation, Red Pine, award-winning translator of Chinese poetry and religious texts, has utilized various Sanskrit and Chinese versions, refining the teachings of dozens of ancient teachers together with his own commentary to offer a profound word-for-word explication. Divided into four parts and broken into thirty-five lines to make it easier to study or chant, and containing a glossary of names, terms, and texts, The Heart Sutra is a wise book of deep teaching destined to become the standard edition of this timeless statement of Mahayana truth.
float but not so light that it floats away. Thus bodhisattvas practice giving and renunciation but not so much that they have nothing left with which to work. The paramita of morality is the keel, deep enough to hold the boat upright but not so deep that it drags the shoals or holds it back. Thus bodhisattvas observe precepts but not so many that they have no freedom of choice. The paramita of forbearance is the hull, wide enough to hold a deck but not so wide that it can’t cut through waves.
emptiness. And emptiness illuminates form. Without emptiness there is no form. Emptiness and form share the same nature.’ Hence, they are said to be “not separate.” This is the teaching of the One Path.” Te-ch’ing says, “The statement ‘form is not separate from emptiness’ destroys the ordinary person’s view of permanence. This is because ordinary people think that only their material body is real. And because they consider it permanent, they make hundred-year plans and don’t realize their body
Sutra were eventually recorded in written form by the Sarvastivadins, and thus came to form the Sangitiparyaya. (Erich Frauwallner, Studies in Abhidharma Literature, pp. 14-15) Although these explanations were attributed to Shariputra, they were continually revised and new interpretations added. Still, for such early Buddhist schools as the Sarvastivadins, Shariputra was the fount of all wisdom concerning the Abhidharma. The Dharmaskandha was another seminal work attributed to Shariputra, and
Mantras, p. 302). This mantra, however, has both. It contains the essential teaching of the Prajnaparamita and also enables those who chant it to join the lineage of buddhas who have their origin in this teaching. In his commentary, Vajrapani says, “The mantra of the Perfection of Wisdom is not a mantra for pacification, increase, power, or wrath. What is it? By merely understanding the meaning of this mantra, the mind is freed” (Donald Lopez, Elaborations on Emptiness, p. 213). A mantra is like
entities are real.” This was also the name of one of the most prominent and widespread early Buddhist sects in Northern and Central India as well as Central Asia. It is this teaching with which the first half of the Heart Sutra is contrasted. Unfortunately, much of our knowledge of this sect is based on texts, such as Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakosha, that are critical of it. Although there is very little in English on this sect or its teaching, for a useful survey of the literature see Sarvastivada