Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Heart Sutra : Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra

The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra :

Tadyata Om Gate Gate Para Gate Parasam Gate Bodhi Svaha 

Prajna = Wisdom 
Paramita = Perfection
The Prajnaparamita sutra is the most important text of Mahayana Buddhism, which emphasizes the doctrines of emptiness and bodhicitta.
The text is often represented and personified by a female deity.
She is depicted with four arms and seated in the vajra posture/cross legged. Her first two hands are in the meditation mudra. In her second left hand is a text, specifically The Heart Sutra and in her right second hand is a vajra, which symbolizes the indestructibility or diamond - like nature buddha-mind or enlighten mind. 

With Rao visiting Bhaktapur in Nepal 
While my time in Kopan Monastery and my Buddhist studies , i had the luck to meet a doctor, a scholar in Sanskrit and a Buddhist practitioner Rao Mallampati. He is a south Indian man but half of his life spent it working as researcher in America. During his personal retreat in Kopan, he engage with much kindness with me and was really happy to help me with the text of the Heart Sutra. As i have chanted in the past in Korean language, i have read it in English and heard it many times from Tibetan monks , but yet my need to connect in more profound way was there...So we set our days and some times at noon , sometimes at late afternoon, we had our a class. These days where these kind of days from your life that you see them as a " bookmark ". It was an exchange from heart to heart and when the base is beyond " i give and you take ", then something is really moving there.
To do the whole text in Sanskrit, and discover the meaning of every single word , it was a very unique experience. Many questions arose from my side , and many many things that i was reading in my Buddhist books , these days took a place in my mind. He also tried to teach me the correct pronunciation , and me i spend many afternoon trying to memorize the text in Sanskrit while doing kowra at Kopan's stupas ( Circumambulation ). No mention how easy was to learn it in this way. So Here it is the 4 parts of the Heart Sutra in Sanskrit and all my notes on English translation. I hope this will be helpful for anyone who is interesting in the text in its originally writing, in Sanskrit.  

on the above video at 0:17:16 there is a full recitation of the heart sutra in Sanskrit from a Buddhist monk  

Four parts:

  • Introduction
  • Abhidharma
  • Bodhisattva Path
  • Sutra 


Om namo bhagavatyai arya-prajnaparamitayai
Om Salutation to the blessed and noble one ( who has reached the other shore of the most excellent transcendental wisdom )

Verse1 : 
Arya-avalokitesvaro bodhisattvo /
The Noble Avalokateswaro Bodhisattva

Verse 2 :
Gambhiram prajnaparamita caryam caramano /
While practicing the deep practice of prajnaparamita

Verse 3 :
Vyavalokayati sma panca-skandhas /
Look upon the five skandas ( the 5 aggregates that gives the sense of our being. These are form, sensation, perception, memory, consciousness )

Verse 4 :
Tamscha svabhava sunyam pasyati sma. /
and saw them to be of any self - existence
Verse 5 :
Iha sariputra /
Here Sariputra ( son of Sari, first disciple of Buddha )
Verse 6 :
Rupam sunyata, sunyataya rupam /
Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form

Verse 7 :
Rupam na prithik sunyata, sunyataya na prithik rupam /
Emptiness is not separate from Form , Form is not separate of emptiness

Verse 8 :
Yad rupam sa sunyata, Sunyataya tad rupam /
Whatever is Form is Emptiness , whatever is Emptiness is Form

Verse 9 :
Evam eva, vedana samjna, samskara vijnanam. /
The same holds good for sensation, perception, memory, consciousness.
Verse 10 :
Iha sariputra sarva dharmah, sunyata laksanah /
Here Sariputra, all dharmas defiened by emptiness

Verse 11 :
Anutpanna, Aniruddha, Amala, Aviamala, Anuna, Aparipurnah. /
No birth or destruction , purity or defilement , completeness or deficient.



Verse 12-13 :
Tasmac sariputra sunyatayam na rupam na vedana, na samjna, na samskarah na vijnanam. /
Therefore sariputra in Emptiness there is no Form, no sensation, no perception, no memory, no consciousness.

Verse 14 :
Na cakshuh-srotra, ghrana-jihva, kaya-manamsi. /
No eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind

Verse 15 :
Na rupa sabda gandha rasa sprashtvaya dharmah. /
No shape, no sound, no smell, no taste, no feeling, no thoughts.

Verse 16 :
Na cakshur-dhatur yavan, na manovijnana-dhatuh. /
No element of perception from eye to conceptual consciousness.

Verse 17-18 :
Na avidya, na avidya-ksayo, yavan na jaramaranam, na jaramarana-ksayo./
No ignorance, nor the end of ignorance, or no to old age and death nor end of old age and death.
( the 12 depending origination factors :
  1. Ignorance
  2. Memory
  3. Consciousness 
  4. Name and Form
  5. The 6 senses
  6. Contact 
  7. Feeling
  8. Desire
  9. Grasping
  10. Arising
  11. Birth
  12. Old age and death )
Verse 19 :
Na duhkha, samudaya, nirodha, marga.
No suffering, no cause, no relief, nor path. /
( 4 noble truths :
  1. Truth of Suffering
  2. The Cause of Suffering
  3. The Truth of Cessation
  4. The Truth of Path )
Verse 20 :
Na jnanam, na praptir, na-apraptih.
No knowledge, no attainment, and no non-attainment.


Bodhisattva Path:

Verse 21-22 :
Tasmac Sariputra Apraptivad
Bodhisattvo prajna-paramitam Astritya /
Therefore Sariputra, without attainment Bodhisattvas take refuge in prajnaparamita.

Verse 23 :
Veharanty acitta Avarnah. /
and live without the walls of the mind.

Verse 24 :
Citta Avarana nastitvad atrastro /
Without walls of the mind thus without fears.

Verse 25 :
Viparasya atrikranto nishta nirvanah. /
They see through delusions and finally come to Nirvana.

Verse 26-27 :
Tryadva vyavashitah, sarava buddhah prajna - paramitam Astritya /
All Buddhas from 3 ages ( past, present and future )
take refuge in prajnaparamita

Verse 28 :
Anuttaram samyak sambodhim Ambhisumbuddhanah. /
and realize unexcelled  perfect enlightement.



Verse 29 :
Tasmac jnatavyam prajna-paramitam maha mantro. /
Therefore you should know the Great Mantra of prajnaparamita.

Verse 30 :
Maha Vidya mantra. /
The mantra of great magic.

Verse 31 :
Anuttara mantro. /
The unexcelled mantra.

Verse 32 :
Asamasama mantrah. /
The mantra equal to the unequal.

Verse 33 :
Sarva dukha prasamanah, satyam Amityuavat. /
Which heals all suffering , it all true and not false.

Verse 34 :
Prajna-paramittam ukto mantrah, tadyata
The mantra of prajna-paramitam does spoken

Verse 35 :
Gate , Gate , Paragati,
Parasam gate  Bodhi svaha 
Dedicate this post to all sentient beings and to my dharma friend Lama Lopon Sonam who with much patience try to answer and discuss all of my questions about life and its reality...


  1. Prajna paramitha heart sutra a great sutra I feel happy while listening this sutra I am happy ( this is my mail thanks for the lyric and I wanted to join the buddhism

    1. All over India there are lots of wonderful teachers, centers, monasteries and projects that support the Buddha teachings . India Nepal and Tibet are very blessed lands :) Hope you meet with the supreme happiness and never be separate from it!

  2. Dear Sissy Karydi...thank you for the above effort(Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra)...prajna is symbolised as Mother Goddess(shakti..Energy) ...and isn't it befitting that while searching for the sanskrit text i find it all from your site......may you always be full of wisdom and energy.....may you always reflect HER ....the WISDOM MOTHER all that you do/take up...regards...

  3. Dear Sissy

    I like this image of Prajnaparamita that is on your website very much and it is according to a sadhana my Tibetan teacher gave.

    Does the copyright rest with you? I see that other people have already posted it on the internet.

    We would like to include it inside a book that am helping prepare. It will be called "Sparks". You can see the work of James Low here and the other dharma books he has published.

    We don't expect the book will sell very widely. It may not even make enough money to cover the costs of self-publishing but if it helps some people then that is its purpose fulfilled.

    We are happy to pay for the permission to use the image. And look forward to hearing back from you.

    If you do not have the copyright do you know who has?

    yours in the dharma