Daniel Reid

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Poetry

Prajna Paramita - The Heart Sutra

Translated from the Chinese version by Daniel Reid

Deep within the practice of the Prajna Paramita,
     the Bodhisattva Kuan Yin
     saw with luminous clarity
     that all five aspects of human existence
     are essentially empty,
     and thereby transcended all suffering and strife.

Sariputra: form differs not from space;
     space differs not from form;
     form is essentially space;
     space is the essence of form;
     sensation, thought, conduct, and consciousness are all the same as this.

Sariputra: all phenomena are devoid of definition;
     neither created nor destroyed;
     neither polluted nor pure;
     neither increasing nor decreasing.

Thus within space there is no form,
     nor sensation, thought, conduct, or consciousness;
     no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind;
     no shape, sound, smell, taste, touch, or thought;
     no dimension of sight,
     nor even a dimesnion of thought;
     no ignorance and no cessation of ignorance;
     no old age and death,
     and no cessation of old age and death;
     no suffering, no origin of suffering,
     no extinction of suffering, and no path;
     no knowledge and nothing to gain.

Because there is nothing to gain,
     bodhisattvas rely on the Prajna Paramita
     and build no barriers in their minds;
     and because they build no barriers,
     they have no fear,
     and steer clear of distorted fantasy,
     extinguishing all illusion.

All Buddhas of the past, present, and future
     rely on the Prajna Paramita
     to attain the great perfection
     of fully awakened awareness.

Thus it is known that the Prajna Paramita
     is a great spiritual mantra,
     is a great enlightened mantra,
     is an unsurpassed mantra,
     is a peerless mantra.
     It can eliminate all suffering and pain.
     It is true; it is real; it is not false.
     Thus we recite the Prajna Paramita mantra.
     So let's say the mantra now:
     “Om Gatay, Gatay, Para-gatay, Para-sam-gatay. Bodhi Svaha!”

(“Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond, Gone Completely Beyond. May All Awaken Now!”)