The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom - A Meditation Text

Expanded from a translation of the 'Heart Sutra' text by Philip Kapleau, and using further translations by Jayarava from Chinese and Sanskrit texts, with additions suggested by work by Analayo on Compassion and Emptiness in Early Buddhism.

The Heart of The Perfection of Wisdom

Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply, saw that experiences,
like illusions, are empty of substance or essence; and sundered the bonds that caused him suffering.

So, Sariputra, he said, forms, for example, are empty: forms are an expression of emptiness, emptiness is expressed in forms;

Feelings also are empty: feelings are an expression of emptiness; emptiness is expressed in feelings.

Perceptions are empty: perceptions are an expression of emptiness; emptiness is expressed in perceptions.

Habits, for example, are empty: habits are an expression of emptiness; emptiness is expressed in habits;

And finally: thoughts are empty: thoughts are an expression of emptiness; emptiness is expressed in thoughts.

All experience is a ceaseless flux, without beginning or end;.
Nothing is complete, and nothing is incomplete; nothing is pure, but nothing is impure.

So, experiencing emptiness, it is as though there are no forms, there are no feelings,
there are no perceptions, no habits, no thoughts.

No objects for the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body or the mind.
And therefore: no shapes, no sounds, no smells, no tastes, no sensations of touch,
nor what the mind clings on to.

No ignorance or end of it, nor all that comes of ignorance: no ageing or dying,
no cessation of these.

Nor is there pain, or cause of pain or end of pain, or Noble Path to lead from pain;
no knowledge, no attainment: attainment too is empty.

So, the Bodhisattva, clinging to nothing whatever but dwelling in perfect wisdom,
is freed from delusive hindrances and rid of the fears bred by them :
rid of fears arising from craving, rid of fears arising from anger,
rid of fears arising from lethargy and fatigue,
rid of fears arising from anxiety and remorse, rid of fears arising from doubt.

And so,
Letting go the multitude of Things, he experiences spaciousness without limit.
Letting go the endless rounds of Thinking, he experiences the infinite present moment, arising and ceasing
And letting go of the Self, he experiences boundless compassion.

In this way the Bodhisattva reaches clearest Nirvana.

And indeed, Bodhisattvas of past and present and bodhisattvas of future time,
using this purest wisdom, come to full and perfect vision.

Hear, then, the radiant verses of perfect wisdom - the Prajnaparamita,
how they ease, with their truth, our suffering:

Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha.
Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond – what a blessed awakening, all is well.