Kazim, "My soul is ready Mr. Jones! How about yours?" Indiana Jones

I have been pondering the great Heart Sutra for some time now. My understanding is that millions of people chant this scripture daily around the world.

The Heart Sutra is “the single most commonly recited, copied and studied scripture in East Asian Buddhism.”[4][2][note 2] [note 3] It is recited by adherents of Mahayana schools of Buddhism regardless of sectarian affiliation.

from Wikipedia.

The earliest extant dated text of the Heart Sutra is a stone stele dated to 661 CE located at Yunju Temple and is part of the Fangshan Stone Sutra. It is also the earliest copy of Xuanzang’s 649 CE translation of the Heart Sutra (Taisho 221); made three years before Xuanzang passed away. My reading has indicated that Xuanzang traveled from China to India when it was forbidden to do foreign travel, because of his deep yearning to discover and translate sacred texts. It’s quite a story and adventure! China has recently released a movie called Xuan Zang that has received a best foreign film nomination.

It is somewhat foreign to we westerners, the sutra that basically states that form is emptiness, emptiness is form. There’s LOTS more. The orginal texts were thousands of stanzas long. The version that I study says,

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

when practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita

perceives that all five skandhas are empty

and is saved from all suffering and distress.


form does not differ from emptiness,

emptiness does not differ from form.

That which is form is emptiness,

that which is emptiness form.

The same is true of feelings,

perceptions, impulses, consciousness.


all dharmas are marked with emptiness;

they do not appear or disappear,

are not tainted or pure,

do not increase or decrease.

Therefore, in emptiness no form, no feelings,

perceptions, impulses, consciousness.

No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind;

no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch,

no object of mind;

no realm of eyes

and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness.

No ignorance and also no extinction of it,

and so forth until no old age and death

and also no extinction of them.

No suffering, no origination,

no stopping, no path, no cognition,

also no attainment with nothing to attain.

The Bodhisattva depends on Prajna Paramita

and the mind is no hindrance;

without any hindrance no fears exist.

Far apart from every perverted view one dwells in Nirvana.

In the three worlds

all Buddhas depend on Prajna Paramita

and attain Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi.

Therefore know that Prajna Paramita

is the great transcendent mantra,

is the great bright mantra,