The Heart Sutra - English


The truth and wisdom of nirvana (The Heart Sutra)


{Opening}


The truth and wisdom of nirvana.


[MAKA HAN-NYA HA RA MI TA SHIN GYO]


Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva who experienced the nirvana taught one of the Buddha’s students, Śāriputra, about the truth and wisdom of nirvana.


[KAN JI ZAI BO SA, GYO JIN HAN-NYA HA RA MI TA JI]


{Summary}


If you have the right view, you will notice that everything but the nothingness is non-substance that will keep changing forever.  Once you fully noticed it, you will be eternally free from sufferings.


[SHO KEN, GO ON KAI KU, DO IS-SAI KU YAKU]


{Body}


Śāriputra, listen carefully.


[SHA RI SHI]


Anything your body recognizes is not different from something your mind recognizes.


Anything your mind recognizes is not different from something your body recognizes.


[SHIKI FU I KU, KU FU I SHIKI]


Anything your body recognizes has the same nature of something your mind recognizes. 


Anything your mind recognizes has the same nature of something your body recognizes.


[SHIKI SOKU ZE KU, KU SOKU ZE SHIKI]


Therefore, what your mind recognizes such as your feelings, images, conceptions, and judgment is non-substance.


[JU SO GYO SHIKI, YAKU BU NYO ZE]


Śāriputra, listen carefully.


[SHA RI SHI]


Everything but the nothingness is non-substance because of the never-changing nature of nothingness.


[ZE SHO HO KU SO]


No sooner had it been born than it perished.  No sooner had it perished than it was born.  No sooner had it been dirty than it was clean.  No sooner had it been clean than it was dirty.  No sooner had it increased than it decreased.  No sooner had it decreased than it increased. 


[FU SHO FU METSU, FU KU FUJO, FU ZO FU GEN]


Therefore, anything your body or mind recognizes is non-substance due to the nature of nothingness.


[ZE KO KU CHU, MU SHIKI MU JU SO GYO SHIKI]


Your sensory systems such as eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, and brain are non-substance.  Since the systems are non-substance, color, sound, aroma, taste, touch, and conception are also non-substance. 


[MU GEN-NI BI ZES-SHIN I, MU SHIKI SHO KO MI SOKU HO]


Anything you can see or anything you can feel is non-substance.  It does not matter if you feel sufferings or not.  It does not matter if you age and die or not.  Frankly speaking, the four noble truths are non-substance after all.  Knowing wisdom is non-substance.  Being enlightened is non-substance. 


[MU GEN KAI NAI SHI MU I SHIKI KAI, MU MU MYO YAKU MU MU MYO JIN, NAI SHI MU RO SHI, YAKU MU RO SHI JIN, MU KU SHU METSU DO, MU CHI YAKU MU TOKU I MU SHO TOK'-KO]


Bodhisattvas sought only the truth and wisdom of nirvana.


[BO DAI SAT-TA E, HAN-NYA HA RA MI TA KO]


Bodhisattvas (who attained the nirvana) did not have desires and attachments to non-substance.   Therefore, they felt no fear. 


[SHIM-MU KEI GE, MU KEI GE KO, MU U KU FU]


There is a huge difference in opinions between Buddhas (and Bodhisattvas) and us.  Our opinions are completely opposite to the Buddha’s opinions.  Our opinions look like fantasies or prejudices. 


[ON RI IS-SAI TEN DO MU SO]


{Conclusion}


Our final destination must be the nirvana.  Bodhisattvas in past reached the nirvana by the wisdom of nirvana.  Bodhisattvas are moving towards the nirvana by the wisdom.  Bodhisattvas of the future will reach the nirvana by the wisdom.  Namely, all the Bodhisattvas become selfless, therefore, the nothingness to attain the nirvana. 


[KU GYO NE HAN, SAN ZE SHO BUTSU E HAN-NYA HA RA MI TA KO, TOKU A NOKU TA RA SAM-MYAKU SAM-BO DAI]


It is the greatest thing to gain the wisdom of nirvana.  There is nothing better than this.  There is nothing other than this. 


[KO CHI, HAN-NYA HA RA MI TA, ZE DAI JIN SHU, ZE DAI MYO SHU, ZE MU JO SHU, ZE MU TO TO SHU]


You will be free from any suffering.  This is not a lie but the truth. 


[NO JO IS-SAI KU, SHIN JITSU FU KO]


{Offering}


Teach the wisdom of nirvana (nothingness) to anyone who wishes to attain the nirvana.


[KO SETSU, HAN-NYA HA RA MI TA SHU, SOKU SETSU SHU WATSU]


 {Encouraging Mantra}


Bodhisattvas, learn the wisdom to reach the nirvana.  Learn the wisdom to reach the nirvana.  Become Buddhas.


[GYA TEI GYA TEI HA RA GYA TEI, HARA SO GYA TEI, BO JI SO WA KA]


 {Closure}


The truth and wisdom of nirvana


[HAN-NYA SHIN GYO]


 


  The Heart Sutra and Shingyo Pre-sectarian Buddhism 


When the Buddha was alive, all of his teachings were transmitted orally in what are now known as sutras. Sutras are typically chanted and were written to have a specific flow to clearly give the teaching as well as have a pleasing flow. By repetitive chanting and memorization, monastics and lay people were both able to learn these teachings by heart and transmit them to future generations prior to the use of written records.


While pre-sectarian Buddhists can learn the middle way and the dependent origination through the Right Practice based on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, it is very difficult to learn about the nirvana because the Buddha did not clearly explain what the nirvana exactly looked like.  It was very natural for the Buddha not to explain explicitly since the nirvana is the state of nothingness. 

 

Shingyo Pre-sectarian Buddhism has used the Heart Sutra (Perfection of Wisdom Sutra) to learn not only the truth and wisdom of nirvana but also the way to enter nirvana.   This is because the essence of the sutra is actually explaining these through the effective comparison between basic characteristics of substance and basic characteristics of non-substance.