Talk:Heart Sutra

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Possible Error[edit]

tasmat sariputra sunyatayam na rupam na vedana na samjna na samskara na vijnanam

Therefore, Shariputra, in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, no volition, no consciousness,

In above, "na vedana" is not translated and omitted, I think. Anyone who can translate Sanskrit, would you correct this? --JustinPark 09:50, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Complete text[edit]

Someone recently added the complete text of the sutra to this entry. I'm not sure -- should it be removed to Wikisource? Are there copyright issues? The Sanskrit version is probably okay, but the translation might belong to somebody. - Nat Krause 10:48, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Your caution to copyright infringement is correct. In this case, there is no need to worry because this is a new translation.

Possible IPA version[edit]

I've doubtless got this wrong, given the vagueness of the current pronunciation guide, hence my posing it here for integration by someone who can check it --bjh21 12:46, 4 May 2005 (UTC):

guh-tay guh-tay gəteɪ gəteɪ
pah-rah-guh-tay pɑɹɑ gəteɪ
pah-rah-sahm-gah-tay pɑɹɑsɑm gəteɪ
boh-dee swah-hah bəʊdiː swɑhɑ
That looks right to me, or at least close enough to get started with. I'll replace the article text. Thanks. - Nat Krause 14:45, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

Sutras not spoken by Buddha[edit]

Are there any other examples of sutras that are not the direct word of the Buddha? I'd like to have said that the Heart Sutra is unique in this regard, but I don't know. --MrDemeanour 09:15, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Sure, there are certainly some Pali suttas spoken by a high-level disciple, such as Sariputra. Perhaps the Heart Sutra is the only Mahayana sutra not spoken by the Buddha? I have no idea off the top of my head.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 21:47, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually there is no way to be sure that any text purporting to be the word of the Buddha actually is. mahaabaala (talk) 16:52, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Of course. The idea is, other texts called Sutra DO purport to quote the Buddha. This text quotes Avalokitesvara, not the Buddha. Bertport (talk) 18:47, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Sutras Not Spoken by the Buddha[edit]

It's doubtful that any of the Mahayana Sutras were "spoken by the Buddha". The Prajnaparamita Sutras did not appear until about the 1st Century CE. The earliest text known was the Pefect Wisdom in 8,000 lines. From 100-300 CE it was expanded to 100,000 lines. From 300-500 CE condensed scriptures (including the Heart Sutra) appeared. From 600-1200 CE, Tantric sutras appeared. Therefore, the first of these sutras appeared approximately 500 years after the paranirvana of the Buddha and were central to the development of the Mahayana, "which was developed in conscious opposition to the conceptual realism, distinctionism and dualism of the Abhidharma schools". (all above comes from Kajiyama Yuichi in Buddhist Spirituality: Indian Southeast Asian, Tibetan, Early Chinese, Motilal Banarsidass, 1994, ISBN 81-208-1255-1) Hope this clarifies somewhat this difficult issue. Thinman10

You are right. The Prajnaparamita Sutras begin with evam maya shrutam, and many of them (this includes the Heart Sutra), are not believed to be spoken by the Buddha. In all probablities, they are not even spoken by Avalokisteshwara to Sariptura. However, does it matter, as long as it is believed to be true? deeptrivia (talk) 22:01, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

No-one can ever "prove" that the Buddha actually said the words recorded and attributed to him in the Pali Canon, written down some 444 years after his Parinirvana. This happened in Sri Lanka at about the same time as the Mahayana scriptures started to be written down elsewhere. Even though a sutta might be considered by some to be the word of the Buddha, I think that when it comes to Mahayana and Vajrayana, a discourse is not judged by strict lineage, but whatever is well-spoken is the word of the Buddha. In fact, the impression I get from most Mahayana sutras is that they try to evoke an emotion rather than providing material for analytical study. --- Andkaha(talk) 02:22, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, we are definitely talking about which scriptures describe themselves as spoken by the Buddha, and which do not.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 02:45, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Then there's the Platform Sutra of the Fifth Patriarch...Not that the Platform Sutra has ever been ascribed to the historical Buddha, but it does indicate a certain flexibility in the label 'sutra'. Ultimately, of course, whether a particular writing was ever literally said by the historical Buddha is less important than the soteriological function of the work. The goal of Buddhism is liberation from suffering, not adhering to doctrine. Hence, the Chan (Zen)school was quite willing to go "outside" the sutras in its search for freedom (although it must be remembered that much of Chan was grounded in traditional Buddhist practices, including studying the sutras). Thinman10

Can this section form a content to be directed to the section of Authentication? I'm wondering if there is anyone having done the comparason on the accuracy of the text evolved from Sanskrit and Pali which are the two major sources of the text origin. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:38, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Musical setting[edit]

There is a popular chorus of the Heart Sutra sung in Sanskrit and available in mp3 format on the net. Below is one of the web site hosting the above mentioned mp3

Does anyone know the origin and other details of this version? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kamleong (talkcontribs) 05:33, 30 October 2007 (UTC) That should be from Imee Ooi's "Mantras of the Sanskrit".

The musical setting section has now become a trivia list, I think we should either remove it or convert it into a paragraph in the article about how it has been incorporated in modern music because of WP:TRIVIA. Just having a list of songs that incorporate it without any citations doesn't seem to me to add anything to the discussion of what the heart sutra is. Any objections? Any thoughts? - Owlmonkey (talk) 04:34, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
I think there's real value in providing a list of recordings and musical interpretations. How easy is it to find this information, otherwise? Google doesn't have an "audio" search. Converting into a paragraph is good; it encourages editors to think of it as something that gets textual treatment with citations, etc. Bertport (talk) 15:34, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Modified section on The Text[edit]

Changed the section The Text to read as follows:

Briefly, the sutra describes the insight of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteśvara, while engaged in deep meditation, representing the faculty of prajña (wisdom). The insight refers to the fundamental emptiness of all phenomena

Emphasis is on the sutra's depiction on the experience of insight, prajna, and emptiness and consequently liberation, missing in the original description —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:19, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

The rap group the wu-tang clan uses this heart sutra apparently at the end of the song Life Changes a tribute to one of their fellow groupmates who passed away. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:49, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Two Quibbles[edit]

Hi everybody. There are two little things in the introduction that bother me. Number one is : "The Heart Sutra is usually considered a member of the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitā) class of Mahāyāna Buddhist literature." Usually? Is there some doubt as to whether or not the Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya Sūtra is an example of Prajñāpāramitā literaature? I think we should take a bold stand here and get rid of the "ususally considered!" (Less words is almost always better, anyway.)

Number two: "The use of the Heart Sutra is particularly emphasized in Buddhist traditions of East Asia." Tibet and Mongolia are in Central Asia. Is that the comparison you are making? Who else is there? As far as I can see it is pretty much emphasized everywere. I don't think that sentence makes much sense, frankly.OldMonkeyPuzzle (talk) 04:18, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

I think you're making good points here, and I've made edits accordingly. Bertport (talk) 05:32, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

More Tibet[edit]

A bigger thing from the intro: "In some Chinese versions of the text, starting with that of Fayue dating to about 735[4], the Buddha confirms and praises the words of Avalokiteśvara, although this is not included in either the extant Sanskrit version nor the preeminent Chinese version translated by Xuanzang."

But what is being descibe here is the official, canonical Tibetan version of the Heart Sutra. Here is a link to the Tibetan versian.

This isn't obscure of controvesial. It wouldn't in and of itself need a footnote. And we must not make the Dalai Lama angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

Great article, by the way, to whoever is responsible. OldMonkeyPuzzle (talk) 04:18, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm also familiar with a translation from Tibetan that includes the extra framing text. Certainly, we should not limit it to "some Chinese versions", so I removed "Chinese". I don't follow what you're trying to say, though, abut controversy and the DL. But the point stands that Fayue's edition is the first known one to include the extra text. Is there, in fact, a single, authoritative text for all of Tibetan Buddhism? If so, and if we can reference a reliable source that clearly states as much, then that would be a good note to add to the article. It would be great also to write up the known history of the Tibetan version(s), if possible. Bertport (talk) 05:39, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Hi Bertport. There is an official Tibetan canon. It's called the Kanjur. It's sort of like the Pali Canon in that it is in fact the official canon for all of Tibetan (and Mongolian) Buddhism, but it's said to be incredibly huge but a bit fuzzy around the edges (i.e. there are alot of iffy cases and so on) like the Mahayana "Canon," which isn't official at all, as far as I can see.
It was adding the word Tibetan that was important. All Tibetan versions of Mahayan suttras were tanslated from Chinese or Sanskrit, so that' not at all an issue. I will look for some good sources about this, but, believe it or not, I once heard His Holiness in a talk say that he had just heard that there was a shorter version of the Heart Sutra, and he found this difficult to believe! Anyway, back in a jiff. OldMonkeyPuzzle (talk) 21:02, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
The jiff is over. Here it is from a book by his holiness That whole chapter is about the subject. OldMonkeyPuzzle (talk) 21:25, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
i don't know of any serious argument against the Heart Sutra being included in the Kangyur, but it's still not clear whether the Heart Sutra has been translated into Tibetan more than once, whether different lineages use different translations, etc. so I'm wary of assertions about "the official, canonical Tibetan version of the Heart Sutra". It may well be that all Tibetan translations include the framing text, which would be interesting to note. Your memory of an HHDL quip suggests as much, but is not definitive. As for the source you linked, that's a basis for saying that at least one Tibetan version includes the framing text. Bertport (talk) 00:44, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
It never occured to me to question the idea that it is "the Tibetan version." The whole thing, including the beginning and the end, have all kinds of esoteric signifigance I imagine it is different in different places. But who knows? OldMonkeyPuzzle (talk) 03:56, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

As I understand it the HS exists in just two versions: long and short. All Chinese commentaries are on the short version, and all Tibetan commentaries are on the long version. Which suggests that Tibetans never had the short version - they imported sūtras from Indian very much later than the Chinese did (almost 1000 years). This fits with Nattier's suggests life span of the text. I summarise Nattiers article here: The Heart Sūtra. Both versions are Canonical in their respective milieus - and though the Chinese tended to translate things multiple times and retain the different versions, the Tibetan translators were more organised and efficient and tended to standardise - meaning they only have the one translation. Any esoteric significance is read back into the text since it was not composed as an esoteric text. But this is fine - we all see the world from our own pov. mahaabaala (talk) 16:46, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Undid Revision[edit]


Austerlitz -- (talk) 15:34, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Here we have an anonymous user adding an editorial leading with the problematic "Scholars say ...." Which scholars? That's called weasel wording. Then, the point is unduly belabored. Yes, Avalokitesvara, who represents compassion, is chosen to speak on wisdom. The point can be made in one or two sentences, and the source attributed. Bertport (talk) 16:26, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Please do it yourself.
Austerlitz -- (talk) 19:26, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh, you don't want to? Oh, you can't? Bertport (talk).
Austerlitz -- (talk) 10:05, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually, this is already covered in the article. It's already noted that Avalokitesvara is the bodhisattva of compassion. Bertport (talk) 15:40, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Heart Suttra more like Essence Suttra?[edit]

I read a very convincing story that Heart is actually Essence lost in translation.

An apparently learned chap argued as follows;

There is a common belief that shin should be translated as heart, as it is an interpretation of the chinese xin, which means heart, essence or spirit.

However; the original is in Sanskrit. And sanskrit has a huge amount of words for consciousnes. There are 8 layers of it. And there is a very concrete direct way of saying heart, as in the organ. The word xin is also used for essence and spirit. The word it was translated from was essence. Because xin also means heart confusion arose.

In fact he argues; the suttra is a summary of the maka hannya haramita. Hence essence (or summarizing) suttra.

I can't retrieve the article right now, but it appears very very important and the dude made a good plea.

Maybe an expert can take a better look?

Or maybe someone will find the article while looking for several translations of the "heart" suttra. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:34, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Well, there's no conflict, because "heart" in English means both the heart organ and also the "core" or "essence" of something. So, "Heart Sutra" covers both possible meanings (as I believe the Chinese does, as well).—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 05:47, 4 August 2009 (UTC)


The article states that the -e ending is grammatically the feminine vocative, but this is limited in two senses. If the mantra is in Classical Sanskrit then there is an equal likelihood that the ending indicates masculine or neuter 'locative' as any Sanskrit grammar will tell you. Although Conze dismisses these options there is no solid reason to do so.

However the assumption that the mantra follows the rules of Classical Sanskrit is probably wrong. Certainly most tantras are written in Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit which evolved from various regional prakrits and shows a great deal of variability of case endings compared to Classical Sanskrit. More specifically in Magadhi (and BHS) the -e can be a masculine nominative - other possibilities suggest themselves as well.

Even though the sūtra itself is in Classical Sanskrit there is ample evidence in the Chinese Canon (according to Nattier's article on the sūtra) to suggest that the mantra was once a free-floating entity that was not originally attached solely to this sūtra. The practice of adding dhāraṇī's to Mahāyāna sūtras seems to begun in about the 4th century. The mantra and the text were probably not composed at the same time.

In any case the suggestion that the mantra is comprehensible from the point of view Classical Sanskrit Grammar is unlikely to be true. The phrase is not a grammatical sentence, and none of the bits of it form a grammatical sentence. The best conclusion is that it's not really Sanskrit, just some Sanskrit words strung together, perhaps with BHS case endings, perhaps not.

As other authors have pointed out (Gomez and Wayman) there is no consensus on what the Heart Sūtra represents or means - everyone understands it from the the point of view of the tradition they are in. It is a cipher. Trying to come to definite conclusions about this text and particularly the mantra has lead to some of the most confused and confusing things ever written about Buddhism, even when the person such as Dr's Conze and Suzuki are intelligent and learned.

The level of certainty expressed in the article is much higher than warranted, and some of what it says about the mantra is just wrong.

mahaabaala (talk) 11:41, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

You're right. I think some of the material was added by enthusiastic students of a particular teacher, and they placed his teachings here as if his interpretations were facts. Please revise the section if you are so inclined. Bertport (talk) 13:55, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
OK. I've had a go at making it more informative and less sectarian. Arguably the Sanskrit analysis is original research I suppose. My Wiki-fu is a bit rusty, and my spelling in Both English and Sanskrit untrust-worthy, so feel free to tidy and amend as necessary. mahaabaala (talk) 16:35, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

"Many Hong Kong pop singers, such as the Four Heavenly Kings rarely choral sang that song in a 1999 Chichi earthquake fund raising program (香港演藝界921傳心傳意大行動) as in buddhist religious practise to transter good merit to the people." -- the phrase 'rarely choral sang' is clunky but I don't know the original intent —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:01, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm not entirely sure, but I made it comprehensible as well as I could and moved it to better spot.Sylvain1972 (talk) 15:17, 12 March 2010 (UTC)


There seems to be inconsistency as to use of The Heart Sutra as though this were the title of the written work or the usage without italics. Which is the usual? --LilHelpa (talk) 16:34, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

External links section[edit]

To respond to the banner in external links section, I have looked at all of them. This is a collection of websites and blogs with translations of Heart Sutra and does not contribute anything new to the subject of page. To me it looks as advertisement of centers or blogs. Almost every Zen Center or Tibetan Center will have some version of sutra on their site, but this does not justify for them to be linked to Wiki. I would exclude entire section. Spt51 (talk) 22:54, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Are you suggesting that an article for a sutra should not link to actual translations of the sutra? Isn't that exactly what external links are supposed to be used for on such a page? Tengu800 (talk) 23:28, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Mixed feelings. One one hand, Tengu, you're right. From the WP:EL guideline: "...acceptable links include those that contain further research that is accurate and on-topic [or] information that could not be added to the article for reasons such as copyright or amount of detail...". It seems thoroughly appropriate to include a link to a translation, and since such complexity is involved in the source and translation of some of these texts, multiple translations are warranted.
On the other hand, from the same guideline: "Links in the 'External links' section should be kept to a minimum." And a few of them (the blogspot blog of sutra translations, for instance), run close to some of the guidelines about what to avoid. There is potential for a "promotional" interpretation of a number of these sites, as Spt51 suggests.
I definitely think the article should link to a few definitive/representative translations, especially if they are hosted by established and respected organizations (similar to WP:RS guidelines). To a degree, we should consider reflecting the variety of translation, giving due weight. If a reader desires more or different translations, a search engine will easily provide more than the article could ever list. Exactly which translations and sources are appropriate to include, I'm not yet sure. /ninly(talk) 15:12, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
There is a translation on Wikisource. Can someone decide which sites are respectable and carry different versions and are clearly not promotional? I would definitely get rid of links to posting of sutra on blogs and sites which look as advertisement of organizations. Same is with commentaries. All Zen teachers do comment on this sutra and many centers publish it on their sites. I do not think links to Zen Centers and other Buddhist groups should be attached here in excess. Printed materials can be included in bibliography section. It is easy to search internet for commentaries, if one needs to find them. Spt51 (talk) 18:18, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Another way to include different translations could be to find printed materials with translation from Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese and include them under heading "translations". You may also find the versions chanted in all Mahayana schools if they are different, and try to upload to Wikimedia, to avoid dealing with external sites. The point here is not to abuse this section and prevent promotions or advertisements of particular places, or teachers.Spt51 (talk) 19:13, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for doing the job! Looks great now. Spt51 (talk) 14:54, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

"Lede" or lead should not throw so much weight onto the one writer "Red Pine".[edit]

The following is not appropriate in the first paragraph of the artice: "Buddhist writer and translator Red Pine calls the Heart Sūtra the best known[1] and most popular of all Buddhist scriptures." Conze would be more appropriate as the first of the third parties to be cited. The way this is written, one gets the impression that Red Pine is something on the order of a Robert Thurman level expert, the definitive English language commentator on the sutras. I don't know that Red Pine is that, or that he or anyone else contends that he is. IMO an article on a centuries old sutra should have a tone of objectivity. Quoting a contemporary writer, and one who is not as far as I know the world's leading expert on the topic, in the beginning of the article seems to be reflective of perhaps the enthusiasm of the editor rather than an NPOV perspective. Is the right view on my part? Is not right action to delete the line or move it further down? Geofferybard (talk) 21:03, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Honestly, Conze's views are quite antiquated, and anything he wrote about matter decades ago isn't optimal for quoting anyhow. Red Pine has written the most comprehensive book, which includes a set of translations and commentaries of the Heart Sutra, so I think his views deserve some respect on the matter. He certainly has gone further than Conze on the matter. His works also show a greater depth of understanding, which is essential for such a topic. In contrast, scholars like Conze, Nattier, and Thurman tend to be a bit "thick" in some of their views, and far from actual Buddhist traditions and interpretations. Tengu800 (talk) 23:10, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Red Pine is not a reliable guide to the Sanskrit text. And it is wholly a matter of opinion to say that he has greater depth of understanding. Not an opinion I share. His dismissal of Nattier for example is based on a trivial misunderstanding of what constitutes evidence. Nattier's 90 page exploration of the composition is the very epitome of excellent textual scholarship. Red Pine's views are derivative and over-represented on this page. People like Donald Lopez deserve much greater prominence - particularly for his translation and study of the traditional commentaries on this text. Conze was the pioneer in this field and cannot be ignored just because further study has been done. But certainly where Red Pine regurgitates Conze's research as though making an original contribution it should be attributed to the proper source, such as the idea that the text might represent a response to the Sarvāstivadins (Conze 1948: 39) Jayarava (talk) 15:24, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
These are good thoughtful points; I only mentioned Conze exactly because he is historically prior to, say, Red Pine, but admittedly antiquity is not a basis for highlighting in the "lede" or lead paragraph. But it is no disrespect to Red Pine to recognize that, in the vast swath of Buddhism, or even of Orientalist and post-Orientalist Buddhology, he is still relatively new. In my remarks on the Talk page of the Rigpa article at I pretty much lay out a view which probably warrants expansion, to wit that "ancient venerable texts, and words, with ancient lineage, need to be discussed, in their opening paragraphs, in an objective manner which does not in any manner highlight any one particular school of thought or, especially, any one particular contemporary writer."
This issue could become particularly thorny if different schools of thought vie for position in the articles and the best way to avoid such disputes is to have a fair across the board policy in which anything even remotely interpretable as promoting one contemporary school or writer is discouraged when it is equally possible to write a four square NPOV article which does not rely upon contemporaries. And if you view, for instance, you will see that no contemproraries are mentioned and that only Conze is mentioned, and he, far down in the article. I think that article sets a much better style and one which is much more resilient to any sort of edit conflicts, going forward. Geof Bard  गीता Discussion May Buddha-Nature fill the whole universe now   19:49, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
Hmm... the general style of this article leaves much to be desired. It seems like on a lot of these Wikipedia Buddhism articles, too much of the article text is basically like a tug of war between scholars, and it doesn't form a cohesive and informative article as a whole (especially not for curious beginners to the subject). Worse yet is that Buddhology tends to be like all academic fields, in that there is competition including fierce egos and in-fighting. For this reason, I don't see scholars as being a neutral or NPOV resource in general. Like any resource, "sectarian" or "non-sectarian", any intro material should be reasonably simple and to-the-point. With that in mind, I've made an edit which may help some things and clean it up. Best regards. Tengu800 (talk) 00:41, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

Translations of mantra[edit]

Why are there so many translations of the mantra, especially into languages that have not traditionally practiced Mahayana Buddhism? For example, the Polish translation appears here. Why? If we are including modern translations of the mantra, then that could potentially involve every language on Earth. Also, the Telugu and Tamil translations seem out of place, as there have not been classical translations of the Heart Sutra into either language. As far as I am aware, the only relevant translations would be: Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, Vietnamese, and Korean. Translation into Japanese kana seems out of place as well, as the Japanese use the Chinese Buddhist canon, which is basically all Kanji. Tengu800 16:07, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Matter is empty[edit]

I've never come across 'form' being glossed as 'matter' before. I think this is either POV or OR, and I think it needs a cite if it is to be restored. MrDemeanour (talk) 19:23, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Also: unless every other translation of this text in common circulation is incorrect, then the speaker *does indeed* enumerate the other skhandas as being empty, and *does not* emphatically refer to the skandhas (sp?) 'themselves'. I see now that Lhundrup, the editor behind these changes, has been permablocked for being a bit bonkers. He's made some decent minor edits to this article, but these two were vandalism. MrDemeanour (talk) 19:57, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Red Pine[edit]

A huge number of references on this page are to the rather idiosyncratic and frequently erroneous translation of, and commentary on, the Heart Sutra by Red Pine. People ought to be warned that though Mr Pine is popular, he is a less than reliable guide to the Sanskrit text. Jayarava (talk) 07:45, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

a huge range of translations are available. A selected bibliography below taken from Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra: Translated from the the Chinese Version of Xuanzang. Buddha's Light Publishing (2006). Let's have a more representative page. Jayarava (talk) 18:10, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

In particular Mr Pine peddles the idea that a copy of the Heart Sutra in Chinese existed before the 7th century. There is no extant text for this. Thus the earliest copy of the sutra is from the 7th century - 609 CE in fact. Stories of earlier copies may be motivated by an attempt to give an apocryphal text authority. Jayarava (talk) 18:17, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Where it says that Red Pine "argued that the Heart Sūtra is specifically a response to Sarvastivada teachings" what it should really say is that Red Pine rehearses the arguments put forward by Edward Conze regarding the text being a response to Sarvāstivada teachings. And it should add that this contradicts Conze's idea that it was composed late so is not very plausible. Jayarava (talk) 15:10, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

I've just edited the section on Nattier's hypothesis which suggested that the thesis was "far from universally accepted" on the basis of red Pine's rejection in favour of his own made up theory of a lost Pañcavimśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra manuscript which has the same wording as the extant Sanskrit Hṛdaya mss. A single dissenter, and that on rather spurious grounds by someone who cannot even read the Sanskrit text properly, is not really grounds for suggesting that the scholarly consensus is widely disputed. Red Pine is a lone voice and his argument is illogical and largely irrelevant to serious scholarship of this text. Red Pine and his opinions are still vastly over represented (and over rated!) on this page. Jayarava (talk) 16:50, 19 July 2014 (UTC)


This is the list of mss. used by Conze to produce his critical edition: Conze, Edward. (1967) ‘The Prajñāpāramitā-Hṛdaya Sūtra’ in Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies: Selected Essays, Bruno Cassirer. p. 147-167. (Originally published in: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1948, pp. 33-51.) on p.154

Nepalese manuscripts=N.
  • Na; LT. India Office no. 7712 (1). Eighteenth century?
  • Nb: LT. Cambridge Add 1485. f. I6~I8. A.D. 1677.
  • Nc: LT. MS Bodl. 1449 (59) fol. 74V-75V. A.D. 1819
  • Nd: LT. RAS, no. 79 V. f. 15-16b. c. 1820.
  • Ne: LT. Cambridge Add. 1553. f. 4~7b. Eighteenth century.
  • Nf: Calcutta As. Soc. Bengal B 5 (35).
  • Ng; Calcutta ASB B 65 (10).
  • Nh: fragment, only first 6 lines: Cambridge Add 1164 2 II.
  • Ni: LT. Société Asiatique no. 14, fol. 18b, -19b. No. 21.
  • Nk: LT. Cambridge Add 1680 ix. Begins at no. 8. ca 1200.
  • Nl: Cambr. Add. 1164.2.
  • Nm: Bibliothèque Nationale 62, no. 139. ca 1800. = Cf


  • Ja: MS in Horyuji Temple. ST. A.D. 609. [facsimile shown on the page - very corrupt ms.]
  • Jb; MS brought in ninth century by Yeun, disciple of Kukai. In MM pp. -.51-4.

Chinese Translations=ChT
Short text:
  • ChT1: Kumarajīva ca 400. [date and authorship are apocryphal]. Taishō 8.250
  • ChT2: Yiian-tsang, 649. [earliest extant Chinese of the Heart Sutra]. Taishō 8.251
Long Text:
  • ChT5: Dharmacandra, 741.
  • ChT6: Prajfia 790.
  • ChT7: Prajnacakra 861.
  • ChT8: Fa-cheng 856.
  • ChT9: Danapala c. 1000.
  • Long text: Kanjur. ca 750.

Jayarava (talk) 22:31, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Published Editions of the Sanskrit Text.[edit]

  • Conze, Edward (1948) ‘Text, Sources, and Bibliography of the Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya.’ Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, April 80(1-2): 33-51.
  • Conze, Edward. (1967) ‘The Prajñāpāramitā-Hṛdaya Sūtra’ in Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies: Selected Essays, Bruno Cassirer, pp. 147-167. Modified version of Conze (1948).
  • Milloué, L de (1883) ‘Quelques mots sur les anciens textes sanskrits du Japon, à propos d'une traduction inédite du Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya-sūtra par MM. Paul Regnand et Y. Ymaizoumi d'après un vieux texte sanskrit-japonais. Actes du Sixième Congrès international des orientalistes tenu en 1883 à Leide, 3e partie, section 2: Aryenne (Leide, E. J. Brill, 1885), p. 181-197. [Sanskrit text based on Freer’s polyglot edition] Online:
  • Mironov, N.D. (1933) The Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasūtra as an inscription.’ Urusvati Journal. Vol 3: 73-78. Online:
  • Müller, Max. (1881) ‘The Ancient Palm Leaves containing the Prajñāpāramitā-Hṛidaya Sūtra and Uṣniṣa-vijaya-Dhāraṇi.’ in Buddhist Texts from Japan (Vol 1.iii). Oxford University Press. Online: [Horiuzi Palm-leaf Manuscript]
  • Shaku Hannya (1923) ‘The Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya Sutra,’ The Eastern Buddhist. 2: 163-175.
  • Vaidya, P.L. (1961) Mahāyāna-sūtra-saṁgrahaḥ (part 1). Buddhist Sanskrit Texts No. 17. Darbhanga: The Mithila Institute. Online: [Devanāgarī text based on Müller 1881]

Of these Conze's (1948, 1967) edition has become the standard in the West. I think the two Japanese mss., which form the basis of Müller (1881) and Shaku (1923), are still influential in Japan. Vaidya's (1961) Devanāgarī edition is based on Müller (1881). It's worth noting that there is a huge amount of variation in the sources.

The image on the page of a Sogdian manuscript (highly corrupt) may well be the Bibliothèque Nationale ms. mentioned by Conze (1967: 154. Sources Nm and Cg). I'm still looking for conformation.

I've left this in 'talk' because it's still original research. A publication may follow. Jayarava (talk) 09:04, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Translation Bibliography[edit]

Translations from Chinese:

  • Fox, Douglas A. Heart of Buddhist Wisdom: A Translation of the Heart Sutra With Historical Introduction and Commentary. Lewiston : Edwin Mell en Press, 1985.
  • Hsüan Hua. The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra, With Verses Without a Stand and Prose Commentary. San Francisco : The Budd hist Text Translation Soci ety, 1980.
  • Hurvit z, Leon . “Hsüan -tsang (602-664) and the Heart Scripture.” in Prajñāpāramitā and Related Systems: Studies in Honor of Edward Conze, ed. Lewis Lancaster, Berkeley Buddhist Studies Series No. 1, 103-21. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977.
  • Luk, Charles. Bilingual Buddhist Series: Sutras & Scriptures; Vol. I. Kaohsiung, Taiwan: Fu Kuang Publis her,r, 1962.
  • McRae, John. “Ch’an Commentaries on the Heart Sūtra: Preliminary Inferences on the Permutation of Chinese Buddhism,” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 11, No. 2. (1988): 87-155.
  • Nhat Hanh, Thich. The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajñaparamita Heart Sutra. Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1988.
  • Shih, Heng-Ching. A Comprehensive Commentary on the Heart Sutra (Prajñāpāramitā-Hrdaya-Sūtra). In collaboration with Dan Lusthaus. Berkeley: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, 2001.
  • Teiser, Stephen F. “Heart Sūtra.” In Ways With Words: Writing About Reading Texts From Early China, ed. Yu, Paulin e, Peter Bol, Stephen Owen, and Willard Peterson, 113-116. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
  • West, Stephen H. “Heart Sūtra.” In Ways With Words: Writing About Reading Texts From Early China, ed. Yu, Paulin e, Peter Bol, Stephen Owen, and Willard Peterson, 116-118. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Translations from Sanskrit:

  • Conze, Edward . Buddhist Wisdom: The Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra. New York: Vintage Books, 2001.
  • Dalai Lama and Thuptpten Jinpa. The Essence of the Heart Sutra: The Dalai Lama’s Heart of Wisdom Teachings. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2002.
  • Hixon, Lex. Mother of the Buddhas: Meditation on the Prajnaparamita Sutra. Wheaton: Quest Books, 1993.
  • Nattier, Jan. “The Heart Sūtra: A Chinese ApocryphalText?”, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, vol. 15, no. 2 (1992), 153-223.

Translations from both Chinese and Sanskrit:

  • Red Pine. The Heart Sutra: The Womb of Buddhas. Washington, DC: Shoemaker & Hoard, 2004.

Translations from both Sanskrit and Tibetan:

  • Lopez, Donald S., Jr. Elaborations on Emptiness: Uses of the Heart Sūtra. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1996.
  • Lopez, Donald S., Jr. The Heart Sūtra Explained: Indian and Tibetan Commentaries. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988.

Jayarava (talk) 18:07, 28 November 2012 (UTC)