The Heart Sutra: Essay

I once asked a Tibetan monk which Sutra was considered the all-encompassing teaching of Buddhism. He replied that it would be The Heart Sutra. The monk Pema stated that although it is very short, it is without a doubt the foremost sutra on compassion. I was told that when reading it that one should think of openness of the heart and loving-kindness for all things. Buddhism is a beautiful philosophical approach as well as a religion. It makes no difference what your religious background is, you can find beauty in the words. Their sutras are like poetry, stanzas that speak of enlightenment and the dangers our materialistic world. In this vein, I place this Sutra here to begin the New Year with an open heart full of compassion and a mind concerned with spiritual growth. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

The Heart Sutra  
Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara,
while deeply immersed in prajna paramita,
clearly perceived the empty nature of the five skandhas,
and transcended all suffering.
Sariputra! Form is not different from emptiness,
emptiness is not different from form.
Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.
So it is with feeling, conception, volition, and consciousness.
Sariputra! All dharmas are empty in character;
neither arising nor ceasing,
neither impure nor pure,
neither increasing nor decreasing.
Therefore, in emptiness, there is no form;
there is no feeling, conception, volition, or consciousness;
no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind;
no form, sound, smell, taste, touch, or dharmas;
no realm of vision, and so forth, up to no realm of mind-consciousness;
no ignorance or ending of ignorance, and so forth,
up to no aging and death or ending of aging and death.
There is no suffering, no cause, no extinction, no path.
There is no wisdom and no attainment.
There is nothing to be attained.
By way of prajna paramita,
the bodhisattva's mind is free from hindrances.
With no hindrances, there is no fear;
freed from all distortion and delusion,
ultimate nirvana is reached.
By way of prajna paramita,
Buddhas of the past, present, and future,
attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.
Therefore, prajna paramita
is the great powerful mantra,
the great enlightening mantra,
the supreme and peerless mantra.
It can remove all suffering.
This is the truth beyond all doubt.
And the prajna paramita mantra is spoken thus:

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
(After chanting, one usually ends by saying "Om mani padme hung" )

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