The Prajna Paramita Hrdaya Sutta is used very often in Zen Schools. In this brief teaching is contained all you need to know about the nature of self and practice. It contains the nature of “sunyata”, of emptiness and the processes that comprise our form, inputs, mental formations and how the mind arises due to the interaction with other forms. It gets to the heart of the truth, the wisdom practice of seeing the universe and self as they are.

It only takes a short time to read, it can take a lifetime to truly understand it’s meaning:

The Maha Prajna Paramita Hrdaya Sutta (The Heart Sutra)

Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion,
when deeply practicing prajna-paramita,
clearly saw that the five skandhas are all empty,
and was saved from all suffering and distress.

Sariputra, form is no different to emptiness,
emptiness no different to form.
That which is form is emptiness,
that which is emptiness, form.
Sensations, perceptions, impressions,
and consciousness are also like this.

Sariputra, all things and phenomena are marked by emptiness;
they are neither appearing nor disappearing, neither impure nor pure,
neither increasing nor decreasing.

Therefore, in emptiness, no forms, no sensations, perceptions, impressions, or consciousness;
no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind;
no sights, sounds, odors, tastes, objects of touch or
objects of mind;
no realm of sight,  no realm of consciousness;
no ignorance and no end of ignorance,
no aging and death, no end of aging and death;
no suffering, accumulation, cessation, or path;
no wisdom and no attainment.

With nothing to attain, bodhisattvas rely on prajna-paramita, so their minds are without hindrance.

They are without hindrance, and thus without fear.

Far apart from all confused dreams, they dwell in nirvana.

All buddhas of the past, present and future rely on prajna-paramita, and attain the unexcelled, right, all-pervading way.

Therefore, know that the prajna-paramita is the great transcendent mantra, the great bright mantra, the supreme mantra, the unequalled balanced mantra, that can eliminate all suffering, and is real, not false.

So proclaim the prajna-paramita mantra that says:

gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi, svaha!
gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi, svaha!
gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi, svaha!

 

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