The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

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The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:33 am

When I was first studying Buddhism, I was enrolled in Comparative Religion at University, and also learning meditation from a 'self-awareness' style of training centre. At the time, one of my University texts was a book called 'Buddhism: An Outline of its Teachings and Schools' by Hans Wolfgang Schumann. There was something in that book that has always stayed with me - one of those kinds of teachings which arrived at just the right moment. It was the observation that the Prajñāpāramitā sutras were, in most cases, very long, with many thousands of lines of texts - in some cases 108,000 lines. However there was also one version of the Prajñāpāramitā Sutra which was 'the shortest scripture in the world'. It consisted of one letter, namely the Sanskrit letter 'a':

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What is the significance of that letter, and how it could a single vowel comprise a Sutra?
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Re: The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

Postby Astus » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:47 am

Two things. The "a" sound is part of every Sanskrit consonant letter, so it is sort of the "universal basis". The "a" is also a negating prefix, like "un-" in English. Therefore "a" is like emptiness that is both universal and negates substance.
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Re: The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

Postby Huifeng » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:16 pm

Astus wrote:Two things. The "a" sound is part of every Sanskrit consonant letter, so it is sort of the "universal basis". The "a" is also a negating prefix, like "un-" in English. Therefore "a" is like emptiness that is both universal and negates substance.


Fairly well sums it up.

Or, "a" both is everything, and negates everything.

You can also check out the dharani methods with each syllable from the medium length Prajnaparamita, starting with "a", for "anutpada", "non-arising", as "all dharmas do not arise".

~~Huifeng
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Re: The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

Postby Kare » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:46 pm

That sutra is not so bad, but I find it a little too long and garrulous.
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Re: The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:24 pm

The one in zero letters is vastly superior, in my opinion.
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Re: The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

Postby Pedestrian » Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:23 pm

Huifeng wrote:
Astus wrote:Two things. The "a" sound is part of every Sanskrit consonant letter, so it is sort of the "universal basis". The "a" is also a negating prefix, like "un-" in English. Therefore "a" is like emptiness that is both universal and negates substance.


Fairly well sums it up.

Or, "a" both is everything, and negates everything.

You can also check out the dharani methods with each syllable from the medium length Prajnaparamita, starting with "a", for "anutpada", "non-arising", as "all dharmas do not arise".

~~Huifeng


Thank you both. (Oh, and hi, Huifeng.)
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Re: The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

Postby pemachophel » Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:52 pm

Prajnaparamita in a Single Letter

Gya-gar ke-du: Akakasharam Prajnaparamita Sarva Tathagata Ma Nama

Bod ke-du: De-zhin-sheg-pa Tham-che Kyi Yum Shey-rab kyi Pha-rol-tu-chin-pa Yi-ge Chig-ma Zhey-ja-wa Shuk-so

I prostrate to the Supreme Mother, Prajna-paramita!

Thus I have heard:

Once the Blessed One was dwelling in the royal domain of the Vulture Peak Mountain together with 83 monks and many tens of billions of Bodhisatvas who were all abiding together as one skillful expedient device. Furthermore, at that time, at that moment, the Blessed One spoke thus to the Venerable Ananda:

“Ananda, this is the Prajnaparamita in a single feminine letter. For the benefit and happiness of all sentient beings, you should hold it. It goes thus:

“AH.”

When the Blessed One had said this, that whole gathering and the world with its gods, men, asuras, and gandharvas, their hearts full of joy, praised the words of the Blessed One.

Thus the Prajnaparamita in a Single Femine Letter, the Mother of All Sugatas is complete.
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Re: The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:26 pm

I prostrate to the Supreme Mother, Prajna-paramita!


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Painting of Prajnaparamita personified. Sanskrit Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra manuscript written in the Ranjana script. Nalanda, Bihar, India. Circa 700-1100 CE.
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Re: The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:48 am

The Terma Heart Sutra of the Single Letter Prajnaparamita

In the Indian Language (Sanskrit): Bhagaviti Prajanaparamita Hridaya

In the Tibetan Language: Sherab kyi Pharoltuchinpa’i Nyingpo

In the English Language: The Heart-Essence of the Far-Reaching Perfection of Discerning Wisdom, the Transcendent Conquering Goddess

HOMAGE TO THE TRANSCENDENT CONQUERING GODDESS, THE FAR-REACHING PERFECTION OF DISCERNING WISDOM!

“And so, thus:

AH

This is known as the Far-Reaching Perfection of Discerning Wisdom in a Single Letter.”

They all praised what had been spoken by the Blessed One.

THE SINGLE LETTER [THE HEART-ESSENCE OF THE FAR-REACHING PERFECTION OF DISCERNING WISDOM] IS COMPLETE.

Translated by Eric Tsiknopoulos (Sherab Zangpo)
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Re: The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

Postby Kare » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:57 pm

.
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Re: The Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter

Postby pueraeternus » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:40 pm

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If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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