The Scripture of Great Wisdom

During June, 2018, our Thursday evening class explored The Scripture of Great Wisdom – The Heart Sutra.  Recommended reading includes:

“…and to the Source Kept True,”  Part I:  The Immaculacy of Emptiness
Rev. Master JIyu-Kennett, Journal of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, Spring, 1989
Essence of the Heart Sutra
The Dalai Lama, 2002
The Heart Sutra, Red Pine, 2004
The Heart Attack Sutra, Karl Brunnhölzl, 2012.
The Heart Sutra, Kazuaki Tanahashi, 2014

The following is a video of the Japanese band Kissaquo reciting the Heart Sutra.  In Kissaquo’s performance of Buddhism’s Heart Sutra, the musical duo adds guitar, drums, and melody to the Buddhist scripture, recited in Japanese. But the track is a crossover hit, going viral on social media in America. That’s an impressive feat for a millennia-old Buddhist scripture. The Heart Sutra is revered by many Buddhists as a perfect explication of the nature of reality.  Watch Kissaquo recite their unique rendition of the Heart Sutra below: 


The following are various translation of The Scripture of Great Wisdom  – The Heart Sutra, including Rev. Master Jiyu Kennett (Shasta Abbey). Kaz Tanahashi and Joan Halifax, Thich Nhat Hanh and Red Pine:

The Scripture of Great Wisdom
Translated by Rev. Master JIyu-Kennett

When one with deepest wisdom of the heart :
That is beyond discriminative thought,
The Holy Lord, – great Kanzeon Bosatsu, :
Knew that the skandhas five were, – as they are, – in their
self-nature, – void, unstained and pure.

O Shariputra, form is only pure, :
Pure is all form; there is, then, nothing more than this,
For what is form is pure  and what is pure is form;
The same is also true of all sensation, – thought, activity  and consciousness.

O Shariputra, here all things are pure
For they are neither wholly born nor do they wholly die;
They are not stained nor yet immaculate;
Increasing not, decreasing not.

O Shariputra, – in this pure there is no form, – sensation, –
thought, – activity or  consciousness; :
No eye, – ear, – nose, – tongue, – body, – mind;
No form, – no tastes, – sound, – colour, touch or objects;
Vision none; – no consciousness; – no knowledge and no sign of ignorance; :
Until we come to where old age and death have ceased –
And so has all extinction of old age and death.
For here there is no suffering, – nor yet again is there accumulation, :
Nor again annihilation nor an Eightfold Path, – no knowledge, no attainment.
In the mind of the Bosatsu who is truly one with Wisdom Great the obstacles dissolve :
And – going on beyond this human mind he is Nirvana.
All the Buddhas True of present, past, and future they ARE all,
Because upon Great Wisdom they rely, the perfect and most high enlightenment.
The Prajnaparamita one should know to be the Greatest Mantra of them all,
The highest and most peerless Mantra too; allayer of all pain Great Wisdom is.
It is the very Truth, no falsehood here.
This is the Mantra of Great Wisdom, hear!
O Buddha, going, going, going on beyond,
And always going on beyond, always becoming Buddha,
Hail! Hail! Hail!


The Sutra on the Heart of Realizing Wisdom Beyond Wisdom
Translated by Kaz Tanahashi and Joan Halifax

Avalokiteshvara, who helps all to awaken, moves in the deep course of
realizing wisdom beyond wisdom,
sees that all five streams of
body, heart, and mind are without boundary,
and frees all from anguish.

O Shariputra [who listens to the teachings of the Buddha],
form is not separate from boundlessness;
boundlessness is not separate from form.
Form is boundlessness; boundlessness is form.
Feelings, perceptions, inclinations, and discernment are also like this

O Shariputra,
boundlessness is the nature of all things.
It neither arises nor perishes,
neither stains nor purifies,
neither increases nor decreases.
Boundlessness is not limited by form,
nor by feelings, perceptions, inclinations, or discernment.
it is free of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind;
free of sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and any object of mind;
free of sensory realms, including the realm of the mind.

It is free of ignorance and the end of ignorance. Boundlessness is free of old age and death,
and free of the end of old age and death.
It is free of suffering, arising, cessation, and path, and free of wisdom and attainment.
Being free of attainment, those who help all to awaken
abide in the realization of wisdom beyond wisdom
and live with an unhindered mind.
Without hindrance, the mind has no fear.

Free from confusion, those who lead all to liberation
embody profound serenity.
all those in the past, present, and future
who realize wisdom beyond wisdom,
manifest unsurpassable and thorough awakening.

Know that realizing wisdom beyond wisdom is no other than this wondrous mantra, luminous, unequalled, and supreme.
It relieves all suffering.
It is genuine, not illusory.
So set forth this mantra of realizing wisdom beyond wisdom.
set forth this mantra that says:


The Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
Translated by Thich Nhat Hanh

while practicing deeply with
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore, suddenly discovered that
all of the five Skandhas are equally empty, and with this realisation
he overcame all Ill-being.

“Listen Sariputra,
this Body itself is Emptiness
and Emptiness itself is this Body.This Body is not other than Emptiness and Emptiness is not other than this Body.The same is true of Feelings, Perceptions, Mental Formations,
and Consciousness.

“Listen Sariputra,
all phenomena bear the mark of Emptiness;their true nature is the nature of
no Birth no Death,
no Being no Non-being,
no Defilement no Purity,
no Increasing no Decreasing.

“That is why in Emptiness, Body, Feelings, Perceptions, Mental Formations and Consciousness are not separate self entities.

The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena which are the six Sense Organs, the six Sense Objects,
and the six Consciousnesses
are also not separate self entities.

The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising and their Extinction
are also not separate self entities.

Ill-being, the Causes of Ill-being, the End of Ill-being, the Path, insight and attainment,

are also not separate self entities.

Whoever can see this
no longer needs anything to attain.

Bodhisattvas who practice
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore see no more obstacles in their mind,

and because there
are no more obstacles in their mind, they can overcome all fear,

destroy all wrong perceptions and realize Perfect Nirvana.

“All Buddhas in the past, present and future by practicing
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore are all capable of attaining Authentic and Perfect Enlightenment.

“Therefore Sariputra,
it should be known that
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore 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
a mantra to praise
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore:

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha! Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha! Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!”

Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra The Heart Sutra
Translated by Red Pine

The noble Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva,
while practicing the deep practice of Prajnaparamita, looked upon the five skandhas
and seeing they were empty of self-existence,
said, “Here, Shariputra,
form is emptiness, emptiness is form;
emptiness is not separate from form,

form is not separate from emptiness; whatever is form is emptiness,

whatever is emptiness is form.
The same holds for sensation and perception,

memory and consciousness.
Here, Shariputra, all dharmas are defined by emptiness not birth or destruction, purity or defilement,

completeness or deficiency.
Therefore, Shariputra, in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, no perception, no memory and no

no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body and no mind; no shape, no sound, no smell, no taste, no feeling

and no thought;
no element of perception, from eye to conceptual

no causal link, from ignorance to old age and death,
and no end of causal link, from ignorance to old age and death; no suffering, no source, no relief, no path;
no knowledge, no attainment and no non-attainment. Therefore, Shariputra, without attainment,
bodhisattvas take refuge in Prajnaparamita
and live without walls of the mind.
Without walls of the mind and thus without fears,
they see through delusions and finally nirvana.
All buddhas past, present and future
also take refuge in Prajnaparamita
and realize unexcelled, perfect enlightenment.
You should therefore know the great mantra of Prajnaparamita, the mantra of great magic,
the unexcelled mantra,
the mantra equal to the unequalled,
which heals all suffering and is true, not false,
the mantra in Prajnaparamita spoken thus:
“Gate, gate, paragate, parasangate, bodhi svaha.”