The Heart Sutra

The Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokateshvara, while in deep meditative concentration, absorption and curious inquiry, looked deeply into the nature of experience, penetrated fully to the intuitve realization of the emptiness of the skandhas and after completely seeing and knowing this for himself in depth, he became completely free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
Seeing the wise Sharaputra was still bound by conceptual knowledge he came to him and said,
Form is emptiness
And emptiness is form
Form is not different than emptiness
And emptiness is not different from form
Form itself IS emptiness
And emptiness itself IS form
The same is true for all the other things we take, cling to and believe to be a “me”
Like sensations of pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral
Perceptions, those moments of recognition of perceiving something based on memories and prior experiences
Impulses, those urges that move us to take volitional actions
Or the six streams of consciousness
All phenomena are marked with emptiness
They do not appear or disappear
Are not tainted or pure
And do not increase or decrease
Therefore when you rest and abide in emptiness
Not grasping, not clinging, not conceptually designating
There in that freedom
There is no form
No feelings
No perceptions
No impulses
No identifying with the six streams of consciousness
There’s also
No Eyes
No Ears
No Nose
No Tongue
No Body
No mind
There’s no concepts like
Feeling tones
And no thoughts
No elements of perception
From eye consciousness to conceptual consciousness
In that freedom there’s no ignorance or the ending of ignorance
Even concepts like old age and death or the ending of old age and death are gone
In that freedom there is no suffering, no causes of suffering, or end of suffering
There is no path
No insight
And no attainment
Because there is nothing to attain
Those Bodhisattvas who practice this penetrating wisdom of the Prajna Paramita are free
No longer trapped by concepts and hindrances
They overcome all fear
Destroy all distorted views
Even that of nirvana
All Buddhas of the past, present and future
Take refuge in Prajna Paramita
and realize unexcelled, perfect enlightenment.
Therefore Sariputra,
it should be known that
the Prajna Paramita,
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore,
the deep intuitive knowing that goes beyond,
is a Great Mantra,
the most illuminating mantra,
the highest mantra,
a mantra beyond compare,
the True Wisdom that has the
power to put an end to all kinds of suffering.
Therefore let us proclaim the mantra of the Prajna Paramita
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Totally gone
Gone completely
To the other shore
How amazing!
(A modern expanded translation of the Heart Sutra by Ian Paul Marshall)

By Ian Marshall

Ian Paul Marshall has been initiated by the Dalai Lama, is trained in Zen as transmitted through the teachings of the Venerable Dr. Thich Thien-An and Seung Sahn Dae Jong Sa and is the founder of based out of Toronto, Canada.