The Heart of Wisdom
This is what I once heard at the time the Blessed One was seated on Vulture’s Peak in Rajagriha with a huge congregation of the exalted community of Bhikshus and Bodhisattvas. At that time the Blessed One was dwelling in the meditation called “Profound Vision.”
At that time, also, the great Bodhisattva, the heroic being, Arya Avalokiteshvara, while reviewing the profound characteristics of the Prajña-paramita reviewed also the natural voidness of the five aggregates.
Then the elder Shariputra, moved by the power of the Buddha, addressed Arya Avalokiteshvara with these words: “How should a son or a daughter of a good family who wishes to perform the profound practice of the Prajña-paramita train themselves?” The Great Being, the Bodhisattva Arya Avalokiteshvara replied this to Sharadvatiputra, “Shariputra! That son or daughter of a good family who wishes to perform the profound practice of the Prajña-paramita should first rightly see that all the aggregates, by their very nature, are void.
Form is void. Voidness is form. Voidness is not other than form nor is form other than voidness.
So, too, all feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness are void.
Shariputra! In the same way all dharmas are empty, devoid of characteristics, unborn, unstopped, unsullied, unpurified, undecreased, and unfilled.
Therefore, Shariputra, in voidness there is no form, no feeling, no perception, no impulses, no consciousness, no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no dharmas. There is no element of eye, and so on through the element of mind and the element of mental consciousness. There is no ignorance, no elimination of ignorance; no death and decay and no elimination of death and decay.
There is no pain, no origin, no cessation, no path; no wisdom, no attainment, no non-attainment.
Shariputra, because nothing is really obtained, all Bodhisattvas who have no fear rely on and dwell in Prajña-paramita, for they have no mental obscurations. They are perfectly liberated and have gone completely beyond deception. Relying on Prajña-paramita, all the Buddhas of the three times are completely enlightened to that unsurpassable, pure, and perfect enlightenment.
Therefore the mantra of Prajña-paramita, the mantra of great awareness, the unsurpassable mantra, the mantra that equalizes all unequal things, and the mantra that fully allays all pains, should because it is not false, be known as truth. The mantra of Prajña-paramita is spoken thus:
TADYATHA: GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA!
Shariputra! In this way great Bodhisattvas, heroic beings should train in the profound Prajña-paramita.”
Then the Blessed One arose from that meditation called “Profound Vision” and spoke to the great Bodhisattva, the heroic being Arya Avalokiteshvara: “Well said, Noble Son, well said! It is just so. One should practice Prajña-paramita as you have taught and all the Tathagatas will rejoice.”
When the Blessed One had spoken thus, the elder Sharadvatiputra and the Bodhisattva, the great being, Arya Avalokiteshvara, together with all that assembly of gods, as well as humans, demi-gods and gandharvas joyfully praised the words of the Blessed One.