Heart Sutra Text
practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita,
A wise, compassionate disciple of Buddha was ... dwelling in the transcendent
Commentary (underlined words are defined below)
Prajna Paramita is an understanding and
analysis of all form-dharma and mind-dharma
through contemplations. Form-dharma refers
to perceptible objects making up the first of the Five
Skandhas, matter. The remaining four Skandhas, namely feeling (sensation),
perception (recognition cognition), impulses (volition, mental formation) and
consciousness, are all mind-dharmas. Prajna Paramita is a wonderful wisdom
attained through cultivation and practicing of meditation
and contemplation. Prajna Paramita is one of
the Six Paramitas practiced by all Bodhisattva.
- Sanskrit word, has many meanings in Buddhism (law, truth). Here it
mean all things, visible or invisible.
- abstract contemplation. There are four levels through which the mind frees
itself from all subjects and objective hindrances and reaches a state of
absolute indifference and annihilation of thought, perception, and will. See
- the fifth Paramitas. There are numerous methods
and subjects of meditation.
- the aggregates (heaps or groups) that together form one interdependent
unit which we perceive as the self. The 5 Skandhas are Form, Feeling,
Perception, Impulses (mental volition) and Consciousness.
- Means to cross over from this shore of births and deaths to the other
shore which is the Nirvana.
- Six Paramitas
The Six Paramitas or means of so doings are
(1) dana - charity/giving
(2) sila - moral/conduct/taking precepts
(3) ksanti - patience
(4) virya - vigor/devotion/energy
(5) dhyana - contemplation/meditation
(6) prajna - wisdom.
The Ten Paramitas are the above plus
(7) upaya - use of expedient or proper means
(8) pranidhana - vow of bodhi and helpfulness
(9) bala - strength
Childers gives the list of ten as the perfect exercise of
Each of the ten is divided into ordinary, superior and unlimited perfection,
making up to thirty in total.
- kindness/universal love and
- Sanskrit word for the Bodhisattva who Hears the
Sounds of the World. He rescues all beings by hearing their voices of
suffering and cries for help. One of the Four Great Bodhisattva,
he is the one with the greatest compassion and mercy.
- A Future Buddha who is a being destined to Buddhahood. Bodhi means
Enlightenment and Sattva means Sentient and Conscious. Therefore Bodhisattva
refers to the sentient being of or for the great wisdom and enlightenment.
Bodhisattva's vow/aim is the pursuit of Buddhahood and the salvation of
others and of all. He seeks enlightenment to enlighten others. He will
sacrifice himself to save the others. He is devoid of egoism and devoted to
help the others. The way and discipline of Bodhisattva is to benefit the
self and the others, leading to Buddhahood.