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About 法界圣凡水陆普度大斋胜会 The Great Assembly to Liberate All Beings of Water and Land

Friday, January 28, 2011

Heart Sutra

"Heart Sutra" creates logically "Living forever".
























Are you interested in the oriental philosophy or the process of thinking in Buddhism?

If you are interested in them, it is recommended that you read Heart Sutra.

It is stated in the Heart Sutra what oriental thinking is.

Heart Sutra is a sutra, yet also a philosophical paper.

The outline of Heart Sutra

The original name for the Heart Sutra in Sanskrit was "Prajna paramita hrdaya Sutra".

In the Hsuan-chuang translation, it is "般若波羅蜜多心経 ".

The Heart Sutra is a Buddhist scripture written in ancient India.

It is said that the Heart Sutra is the essence of the Daihannnya sutra, which amounts to 600 volumes, and explains that Kuh (sunya) is the core of Mahayanist Buddhism.

The original text of the Heart Sutra was written in the language of ancient India, Sanskrit.

After the Sutra was translated into Chinese, it came to Japan.

There are different versions of Heart Sutras that have been translated into Chinese, but the Heart Sutra generally recognized in Japan was translated by Hsuan-chuang.

He was one of the 4 major translators in China, who lived during the Tang Dynasty.

Hsuan-chuang left Changan, China in 629 A.D., and visited various regions of India.While in India he collected many Buddhist scriptures, and then returned to Changan in 645 A.D. Upon his return, he began to translate many Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. After working for 18 years, Hsuan-chuang finalized the translation of the Heart Sutra known today.

Heart Sutra expresses the idea of Kuh by using only 266 Chinese characters.

Prajna Paramita Hrdaya Sutra

観自在菩薩 行深般若波羅蜜多時 照見五蘊皆空 度一切苦厄      

Considering carefully with deep wisdom, Avalokiteshvara, who discerned the five skandhas (five aggregates) and Kuh (sunya), has understood all the distress of the world.

Avalokiteshvara, who is called the Goddess of Mercy, can freely perceive all things in the world.

"The five skandhas (five aggregates)" are the five elements recognized in Buddhism.

There are "Siki(rupa)", "Ju(vedana)", "Sou(sanjna)", "Gyou (samskara)",and "Shiki(vijnana)".These five elements constitute the existence of mankind.

"Siki (rupa)" means all things with color and form.

"Ju (vedana)" expresses perception

"Sou (sanjna)" is the same as recognition or conception.

"Gyou (samskara)" is translated into reaction, and

"Shiki (vijnana)" is translated into consciousness or mental function

"Kuh (sunya)" indicates "void or emptiness" when it is generally considered and spoken,.

Furthermore, "Kuh (sunya)" is indicated as a thought.

"Kuhn (sunya)" as "a Buddhistic thought" is not able to explain immediately. Since we want to understand "Kuh (sunya)", we are reading "Heart Sutra" just now.

Many Bodhisattvas and St.Buddhist have gathered around The Buddha.

Kanjizai Bosatu (Avalokiteshvara) is preaching for them.


O Shari Putra

Avalokiteshvara suggests to Shari Putra (St. Shirley in Buddha's 10 major pupils).

色不異空 空不異色 色即是空 空即是色

Siki (rupa) does not differ from Kuh (sunya), and Kuh (sunya) does not differ from Siki (rupa) either.

Siki (rupa) is identical with Kuh (sunya), and Kuh (sunya) is the same as that of Siki (rupa).

受想行識 亦復如是    

Ju (vedana), Sou (sanjna), Gyou (samskara), and Shiki (vijnana) are the same as Siki (rupa).

The relation between the“Five skandhas” and Kuh (sunya) is stated above.

The Kuh (sunya) at the Buddhistic core is connected with the Five skandhas which constitute a mankind.

This expresses that Kuh (sunya) is not a distant and unknown world.


Again Avalokiteshvara suggests to Shari Putra;


All things in the universe are various phases of Kuh (sunya).

All things in the universe will be drawn from Kuh.

不生不滅 不垢不浄 不増不減      

It is such a thing that does not appear nor disappear, not be pure but not impure, and does not increase but does not decrease, either.


Therefore, Kuh (sunya) is just in the middle of all things.

The concept of confrontation gives Kuh a clearer meaning. What does "being in the middle” mean?

There are many confrontation concepts.

For example,

left and right, brightness and darkness, increase and decrease, positive and negative, life and death, etc.

People gauge things using some degree of confrontation.

However, Kuh (sunya) does not affirm a confrontation concept and does not carry out denial, either.

The Sutra suggests that Kuh (sunya) is neither left nor right.

Therefore, Kuh (sunya) will be just in the middle.

Above, the Kuh (sunya) characteristic has been described.

Here, it has been explained that Kuh (sunya) is just in the middle of everything.

This interpretation completely differs from the descriptions found in the other explanations of Heart Sutra.

Many of the other explanations about this clause say "There is no Siki (rupa) in the Kuh (sunya)

 是故 空中無色

If interpreted as such, it is contradictory that Siki (rupa) is identical with Kuh

(sunya) and that Kuh (sunya) is the same as of Siki (rupa).

色即是空 空即是色

Let's recall the Kuh as language, now.

Kuh (sunya) in India is understands as the zero (0) place holder in a number.

Zero is in the middle of a positive number (Plus) and a negative number (Minus).

Zero is neither a positive number nor a negative number.

We know the concept of Zero;

Plus (+) and Minus (-) together make Zero (0).


3-3 = it is nothing,

3-5 = it cannot count.

Using arithmetic from the early the stages of elementary school, all of these answers are correct, yet by learning how to use zero the answers will be;

3-3=0, 3-5=-2.

Zero becomes the mathematical foundation for understanding the relationship between positive and negative and the concept of confrontation that occurs.

To understand this better, take the example of a boy with a basket of fruit.

He owns three oranges now.

If two oranges are eaten, one remains. Yet there will be nothing if he eats all three oranges.

It is impossible for him to eat four or five oranges. When the three oranges are finished, there will be nothing left, period.

However, if the concept of "zero" enters, the boy can count the non existent 4th and 5th oranges as minus 1 ( -1 ) and minus 2 ( -2 ), even though he will not be able to eat them.

If there is a concept of zero, from an infinite positive number to an infinite negative number, the numbers will continue forever on both sides. The start and the end are lost in a number.

Kuh (sunya) is not a number.

Although it should not be understood as zero, it seems like its concept is very similar to zero.

Therefore, Kuh will be used as a marker between the Buddhist concept of "life and death", much the same way zero is used to divide a number into positive (plus) and negative (minus).

Numerically Kuh can be represented as zero on a number line (... +1, 0, -1...).

"Number" (as in +1 and –1) can be used to represent "life".

Therefore, "life", "Kuh, and death" follow the linear order of "positive life", "Kuh" and "negative life". The concept of "death" disappears.

When the "concept of Kuh " intervenes between "life and death", death will not be relevant; rather the concept of "positive life and negative life" is formed.

...+1, 0, -1...

life & death >>> …+life, Kuh,-life…

Positive life is living now (alive).

Negative life is invisible and untouchable. (It is neither alive nor nothing)

It is speculated that positive life will transform into negative life by depending upon Kuh.

Therefore the start and the end will be lost in the "life", and people will be able to grow into the "negative life" through Kuh, after living their "positive life".

The concept of Kuh being "just in the middle of all things" is best demonstrated between life and death, and further clarifies its concept.

"Nothing" is explained by the following paragraph.


If there is no rupa and there is no vedana, sanjna, samskara or vijnana;

(If the five skandhas (five aggregates) does not exist;)


It has no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body or mind, and if it has no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body or mind;


It possesses no form, color, sound, smell, taste, touch or idea.


無苦集滅道 無知亦無得             

The world without an eye does not even have a light and remains as it is.

In the world without an ear, there is no silent skill and it remains as it is.

In the world without a nose, it does not even say that it does not smell and remains as it is.

Furthermore, in the unconscious world, it does not even consider growing into decay or death.

The twelve links in the chain of existence (nidanas) from "ignorance (avidya)" up to decay and death (jaramarana)" are lost.

Further, the four noble truths, awakening, and attainment of enlightenment are also lost. There is even no Buddhahood.

"The twelve links in the chain of existence (nidanas)" and "the four noble truths" are important Buddhist doctrines.

The five skandhas are five elements that constitute the existence of man.

If the five skandhas are missing, it is the same as being dead.

However, in the Heart Sutra, it does not say, "People died".

This is the doctrine in Buddhism of becoming settled.

以 無 所得

Here, it is explained that Nothing is self positioning.

(The stage of Nothing was indicated from having been stated until now )
Life can be viewed as transient, but it is important to remember that people do not become “nothing” after death.

故 菩提薩垂 依般若波羅蜜多 故心無圭礙      

Bodhisattvas who have discerned the stage of Nothing and depended on Prajna-paramita, have become free for all hindrances.

無圭礙故無有恐怖 遠離転倒夢想 究境涅槃      

Since he became free for all hindrances, he had no fear.

Therefore, he was separated from all the delusive and perverted ideas, and was able to come to a quiet fresh ground (Final Nirvana).

三世諸佛 依般若波羅蜜多故 得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提      

By relying on Prajna-paramit, all bodhisattvas and saints have obtained supremely perfect enlightenment (anuttara-samyak-sambodhi).

故知般若波羅蜜多 是大神呪 是大明呪
是無上呪 是無等等呪 能除一切苦 真実不虚            

Therefore, we know that Prajna-paramita is the perfect Mantra, the transcendent, utmost and supreme Mantra that is true without falsehood and can wipe out all sufferings.

故説般若波羅蜜多呪 即説呪曰    

Therefore, Buddhist praises and prays for the Prajna-paramita. Let's pray.

Languages to pray,

羯帝羯帝波羅羯帝 波羅僧羯帝 菩提僧莎訶

Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!

In the second half of the Heart Sutra, "Prajna Paramita" is repeated no less than 4 times.

The "prajna" is translated into "wisdom." "Prajna Paramita" is translated into "completion of wisdom."

However, it is difficult to understand the full meaning of "completion of wisdom."

Therefore, these Chinese characters explain the wonderful expression of Prajna Paramita.

波 (pa);

Wave “It is”.

羅 (ra);

“There is a belt of cloth” (= a belt like long thing).

蜜多 (mita);”There is much delicious sweet honey.”

An image comes to mind.

It is the Ganges; the big sacred river in India that is like a mother's un-exhaustive affection.

The wisdom is so deep that it can leave everything unsaid. It seems that Prajna Paramita is like such wisdom.

Heart Sutra describes the relation between the five aggregates and the Kuh first, which subsequently refers to the characteristic of Kuh and its explanation of Nothing.

It is further stated that spiritual enlightenment can be obtained by depending upon Prajna Paramita.

By using a syllogism with clear logic, the order of the text follows the pattern of introduction, development, turn and conclusion.

The poetry of the phoneme is evident in the execution of the clause.

In Buddhism, a person who comes to know spiritual enlightenment without the help of a teacher is also accepted. Yet, he shall attain the highest level of spiritual enlightenment only through Prajna Paramit.


During the lecture of Heart Sutra, Prof. Takagami explained it as follows.

It is rather difficult to explain briefly what Buddhist fundamental thought is.

I will think "Kuh", if it says at a word.

However, "Kuh" is one of the mysteries in Buddhism.

It is the exhibited secret.

Nobody can completely understand as one who understands it.

However, the instruction called Buddhism has described the Kuh from various angles and positions.

In the description of this Heart Sutra, it was explained that Kuh was just in the middle of all things.

It seems clear to include the concept of zero.

Kuh is made to intervene in between "life and death", and it seems that it is Buddhism, which creates "negative life".

People ask the meaning to which oneself is valid. It is an eternal theme whether life exists by chance or originates through necessity.

People can understand that death is necessary. However, they cannot understand the existence of the world after death.

Life is an accidental occurrence, and if death is the end for everyone, people should not worry about "the world after death." It is because all will become "nothing" when they die. Life returns to "nothing" throughout life.

If it is right, it is too sad to survive a lifetime of only pain.

If they say that your existence has value, it should not become "nothing" that you lived, even after finishing life.

Heart Sutra explains the concept of "Kuh" and "nothing", and is preaching logically the instruction that results in spiritual enlightenment.

After reading Heart Sutra, you may understand that the thinking that the balance is maintained and inclines toward neither is respected in Buddhism.

The harmony with artificiality and nature is the most modern problem.

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