Archive for December, 2014
- The Exalted One,
the Lady of Conquest,
the Sutra on the Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom
[Tibetan translator’s note:
The name of this sutra in Sanskrit is Arya Bhagavati Prajnya Paramita Hirdaya. In Tibetan this is Pakpa Chomden Dema Sherabkyi Parultu Chinpay Nyingpo. (In English this is The Lady of Conquest, the Exalted Sutra on the Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom.)
This work is completed in a single sheaf. I bow first to all the enlightened beings, and to every warrior saint.]
Once I heard this teaching.
The Conqueror was staying on Vulture’s Peak, in the Keep of the King. With him was a great gathering of monks, and a great gathering of warrior saints.
At a certain moment the Conqueror went into deep meditation on the part of the teaching known as the “awareness of the profound.” At that moment too did the realized being, the great warrior, the lord of power, Loving Eyes, see into this one deep practice, the practice of the perfection of wisdom. And he saw perfectly that the five heaps—the five parts of a person—were empty of any nature of their own.
And then, by the power of the Enlightened One, the junior monk named Shari Putra turned and asked this question of the great warrior, Loving Eyes, the realized one, the lord of power:
“If any son or daughter of noble family hoped to follow the deep practice of the perfection of wisdom, what would they have to do?”
This then is the answer that the lord of power, the realized one, the great warrior Loving Eyes gave to the junior monk named Shari Putra:
“Here, Shari Putra, is what any son or daughter of noble family should see who hopes to follow the deep practice of the perfection of wisdom.
“See first all five heaps—all five parts to a person—as being empty of any essence of their own. Your body is empty; emptiness is your body. Emptiness is nothing but your body, and your body is nothing but emptiness.
“The same is true of your feelings, and your ability to discriminate between things, and the other factors that make you up, and all the different kinds of awareness that you possess: all of them are empty.
“And thus we can say, Shari Putra, that every existing thing is emptiness. Nothing has any characteristic of its own. Nothing ever begins. Nothing ever ends. Nothing is ever impure. Nothing ever becomes pure. Nothing ever gets less, and nothing ever becomes more.
“And thus can we say, Shari Putra, that with emptiness there is no body. There are no feelings. There is no ability to discriminate. There are none of the other factors that make you up, and there is no awareness.
“There are no eyes; no ears; no nose; no tongue; no body; no mind; nothing to see; nothing to hear; nothing to smell; nothing to taste; nothing to touch; and nothing to think of.
“There is no part of you that sees. There is no part of you that is aware of
what you see; and this is true all the way up to the part of you that thinks, and the part of you that is aware that you are thinking.
“There is no misunderstanding your world. There is no stopping this misunderstanding, and the same is true all the way up to your old age and your death, and to stopping your old age and your death.
“There is no suffering. There is no source of this suffering. There is no stopping this suffering. There is no path to stop this suffering.
“There is no knowledge. There is nothing to reach. And there is nothing not to reach.
“Thus it is, Shari Putra, that warrior saints have nothing to reach; and because of this, they are able to practice the perfection of wisdom, and stay in this perfection of wisdom. This frees them of every obstacle in their minds, and this frees them from all fear. They go beyond all wrong ways of thinking, and reach to the ultimate end of nirvana.
“All the Enlightened Beings of the past, and present, and the future too follow this same perfection of wisdom, and thus bring themselves to perfect enlightenment: to the matchless state of a totally enlightened Buddha.
“Thus are they the sacred words of the perfection of wisdom; the sacred words of great knowledge; sacred words of the unsurpassable; sacred words that are equal to the One beyond all equal; sacred words that put a final end to every form of pain; sacred words you should know are true, for false they cannot be; sacred words of the perfection of wisdom, which here I speak for you:
Tadya ta, ga-te ga-te, para ga-te,
para sang ga-te, bodhi so ha. (x3)
“And thus it is, Shari Putra, that great warrior saints must train themselves in the profound perfection of wisdom.”
With this, the Conqueror stirred himself from his deep state of meditation. He turned to the great warrior, to the realized one, Loving Eyes, the lord of power, and blessed his words, saying, “True.” “True,” he said, and “True” again.
“Thus it is, o son of noble family; and thus is it. One should follow the profound perfection of wisdom just as you have taught it. Every one of Those Gone Thus rejoice in your words as I do.”
And when the Conqueror had spoken thus, the junior monk Shari Putra took joy; and the warrior, the realized one, Loving Eyes, the lord of power, took joy as well. And all the assembled disciples took joy, and so did the entire world—with its gods, and its men, and near-gods and spirits too—take joy. All sang their praises of what the Conqueror had spoken.
[This ends the sutra of the greater way known as The Lady of Conquest, the Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom. It was first translated from Sanskrit by the Indian abbot Vimala Mitra together with a master Tibetan translator, the venerable Rinchen De. It was later checked and standardized by the master translators and editors Gelo and Namka, among others. The translation into English was completed by the American geshe Gelong Lobsang Chunzin, Michael Roach, with the assistance of the American woman with lifetime vows, Christie McNally.]