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BUDDHIST SUTRAS

 

 

 

THE PRAGŃĀ-PĀRAMITĀ-HRIDAYA-SŪTRA

(THE LARGER AND THE SMALLER TEXT)

As the short text and translation of these Sūtras were published in the Anecdota Oxoniensia, 1884, with Introduction and full notes, I did not at first intend to include them in this volume. But as I was told that this Sūtra is really the most widely read Buddhist text in Japan, to be seen everywhere on shrines, temples and monasteries, more admired, it may be, than understood by the Buddhist laity, I yielded to the wishes of my Buddhist friends, and have reprinted it so as to make this volume a really complete repository of all the important sacred texts on which Buddhism takes its stand in Japan. We have heard so much of late of a Buddhist propaganda for the conversion of the East and the West to the doctrines of Buddha, that it may be useful to see what the doctrines of the historical Buddha have become in the Mahāyāna-school, more particularly in the monasteries of Japan.

 

MAX MÜLLER. The Sacred Books of the East. Vol. XLIX.  Buddhist Mahāyāna Texts. Oxford, the Clarendon Press. 1894. (part II, p. XX)


 

THE LARGER PRAGŃĀ-PĀRAMITĀ-HRIDAYA-SŪTRA

Adoration to the Omniscient!

This I heard: At one time the Bhagavat dwelt at Rāgagriha, on the hill Gridhrakūta, together with a large number of Bhikshus and a large number of Bodhisattvas.

At that time the Bhagavat was absorbed in a meditation, called Gambhīrāvasambodha. And at the same time the great Bodhisattva Āryāvalokitesvara, performing his study in the deep Pragńāpāramitā, thought thus: 'There are the five Skandhas, and those he (the Buddha?) considered as something by nature empty.'

Then the venerable Sāriputra, through Buddha's power, thus spoke to the Bodhisattva Āryāvalokitesvara: 'If the son or daughter of a family wishes to perform the study in the deep Pragńāpāramitā, how is he to be taught?'

'On this the great Bodhisattva Āryāvalokitesvara thus spoke to the venerable Sāriputra: 'If the son or daughter of a family wishes to perform the study in the deep Pragńāpāramitā, he must think thus:

'There are five Skandhas, and these he considered as by their nature empty. Form is emptiness, and emptiness indeed is form. Emptiness is not different from form, form is not different from emptiness. What is form that is emptiness, what is emptiness that is form. Thus perception, name, conception, and knowledge also are emptiness. Thus, O Sāriputra, all things have the character of emptiness, they have no beginning, no end, they are faultless and not faultless, they are not imperfect and not perfect. Therefore, O Sāriputra, here in this emptiness there is no form, no perception, no name, no concept, no knowledge. No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. No form, sound, smell, taste, touch, and objects. There is no eye,' &c, till we come to 'there is no mind, no objects, no mind-knowledge. There is no knowledge, no ignorance, no destruction (of ignorance),' till we come to 'there is no decay and death, no destruction of decay and death; there are not (the Four Truths, viz.) that there is pain, origin of pain, stoppage of pain, and the path to it. There is no knowledge, no obtaining, no not-obtaining of Nirvāna. Therefore, O Sāriputra, as there is no obtaining (of Nirvāna), a man who has approached the Pragńāpāramitā of the Bodhisattvas, dwells (for a time) enveloped in consciousness. But when the envelopment of consciousness has been annihilated, then he becomes free of all fear, beyond the reach of change, enjoying final Nirvāna.

'All Buddhas of the past, present, and future, after approaching the Pragńāpāramitā, have awoke to the highest perfect knowledge.

'Therefore we ought to know the great verse of the Pragńāpāramitā, the verse of the great wisdom, the unsurpassed verse, the verse which appeases all pain —it is truth, because it is not false (1)— the verse proclaimed in the Pragńāpāramitā (2): "O wisdom, gone, gone, gone to the other shore, landed at the other shore, Svāhā!"

'Thus, O Sāriputra, should a Bodhisattva teach in the study of the deep Pragńāpāramitā.'

Then when the Bhagavat had risen from that meditation, he gave his approval to the venerable Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, saying: 'Well done, well done, noble son! So it is, noble son. So indeed must this study of the deep Pragńāpāramitā be performed. As it has been described by thee, it is applauded by Arhat Tathāgatas.' Thus spoke Bhagavat with joyful mind. And the venerable Sāriputra, and the honourable Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and the whole assembly, and the world of gods, men, demons, and fairies praised the speech of the Bhagavat.

Here ends the Pragńāpāramitāhridayasūtra.
 

 

THE SMALLER PRAGŃĀ- PĀRAMITĀ-HRIDAYA-SŪTRA

Adoration to the Omniscient!

The venerable Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, performing his study in the deep Pragńāpāramitā (perfection of wisdom), thought thus: 'There are the five Skandhas, and these he considered as by their nature empty (phenomenal).'

'O Sāriputra' he said, 'form here is emptiness, and emptiness indeed is form. Emptiness is not different from form, form is not different from emptiness. What is form that is emptiness, what is emptiness that is form.'

'The same applies to perception, name, conception, and knowledge.'

'Here, O Sāriputra all things have the character of emptiness, they have no beginning, no end, they are faultless and not faultless, they are not imperfect and not perfect. Therefore, O Sāriputra, in this emptiness there is no form, no perception, no name, no concepts, no knowledge. No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind. No form, sound, smell, taste, touch, objects.'

'There is no eye,' &c, till we come to 'there is no mind.'

(What is left out here are the eighteen Dhātus or aggregates, viz. eye, form, vision; ear, sound, hearing; nose, odour, smelling; tongue, flavour, tasting; body, touch, feeling; mind, objects, thought.)

'There is no knowledge, no ignorance, no destruction of knowledge, no destruction of ignorance, &c, till we come to 'there is no decay and death, no destruction of decay and death; there are not (the four truths, viz. that there) is pain, origin of pain, stoppage of pain, and the path to it. There is no knowledge, no obtaining (of Nirvāna).'

'A man who has approached the Pragńāpāramitā of the Bodhisattva dwells enveloped in consciousness (3). But when the envelopment of consciousness has been annihilated, then he becomes free of all fear, beyond the reach of change, enjoying final Nirvāna.'

'All Buddhas of the past, present, and future, after approaching the Pragńāpāramitā, have awoke to the highest perfect knowledge.'

'Therefore one ought to know the great verse of the Pragńāpāramitā, the verse of the great wisdom, the unsurpassed verse, the peerless verse, which appeases all pain —it is truth, because it is not false— the verse proclaimed in the Pragńāpāramitā: "O wisdom, gone, gone, gone to the other shore, landed at the other shore, Svāhā!"'

Thus ends the heart of the Pragńāpāramitā.


Source

The Larger Pragńā-pāramitā-hridaya-sūtra. The Smaller Pragńā-pāramitā-hridaya-sūtra

TRANSLATED FROM THE SANSKRIT BY F. MAX MÜLLER. The Sacred Books of the East. Vol. XLIX.  Buddhist Mahāyāna Texts. Oxford, the Clarendon Press. 1894. (part II, pp.147-154)

__________

(1) It is truth, not falsehood, W text.

(2) Fit for obtaining Pragńāpāramitā, W text.

(3) See Childers, s.v. kittam.

 

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