Heart sutra with commentary by Hsuan Hua

Discuss and learn about the traditional scriptures.

Heart sutra with commentary by Hsuan Hua

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed May 19, 2010 5:05 pm

The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra
with the Standless Verse Commentary
of the Venerable Master Hsüan Hua

Translated by Ron Epstein
Revised by Bhikshuni Heng Ch'ih


Translator's note: The original translation appeared in The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra with Verses Without a Stand and Prose Commentary, published by the Buddhist Text Translation Society in 1980. This translation will be included in the second edition.

[Text]The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra

[Commentary] Wonderful wisdom can reach the other shore right now.
The true mind itself is capable of merging with enlightenment’s source.
Dharma and analogy comprise its title which transcends the relative.
Empty of the attributes of all dharmas is this substance beyond words.
Its purpose and intent are fundamental non-attainability.
Its power and function: to eradicate the three obstacles entirely.
The real butter division is selected to describe the meaning of the teaching.
A maha propulsion against the current is the course of the Prajna boat.

When Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva

Reversing the light to shine within, Avalokiteshvara
Enlightens all the sentient beings, thus he is a Bodhisattva.
His mind is thus, thus, unmoving, a superior one at peace.
His total understanding of the ever-shining makes him a host and master.
When the six types of psychic powers become an ordinary matter,
Then even less can the winds and rains of the eight directions cause alarm.
Rolling it up retracts it and keeps it secretly hidden away.
Letting it go expands it so it fills the whole world entirely.

Was practicing the profound Prajna Paramita.

Practice the Way, cultivate yourself, and do not search outside.
The Prajna wisdom of your own nature is the deep, hidden cause.
White billows soar to the heavens, the black waves cease;
Effortlessly climb upon the other shore, which means reach Nirvana.
Time and again, time and again, don’t miss the chance.
Care for it, be diligent, take hold of the divine innocence.
Hazy, indistinct, an unclear mirage, thus the news arrives.
Now it’s there, now it’s not—see what is inherently esteemed.

He illuminated the five skandhas and saw that they are all empty.

The three lights shine everywhere, permeating the three forces.
The one returns to the place of union, yet the one comes forth again.
See that form is emptiness and see feeling the same way.
False thoughts are the shifting currents; formations, the arrangers of karma.
With consciousness, perceiver of differences, five aggregates, skandhas, are completed.
They are as flowers in a mirror, as the moon on water: beyond defiling dust.
When emptiness is not empty, one understands the great function.
To have vision and yet be without views is happiness indeed!

And he crossed beyond all suffering and difficulty.

Across the sea of suffering, one leaves the revolving wheel of rebirth.
When the rains disperse, the heavens clear, and the moon is fully bright.
The qian source is the Way-substance, among people the sage.
An undecaying golden body is extremely rare in the world.
Cast off life; what need of thousand-year drugs?
Reach tranquil cessation; wait ten thousand kalpas?
Five dwellings ended, the two deaths disappear forever.
Roam at will from East to West, throughout the Dharma Realm.

Shariputra.

Shariputra’s name means solid and enduring wisdom.
Another interpretation, “pelican,” describes the demeanor of his mother.
With precepts and samadhi perfect and bright, the pearl-light appears;
Understanding and practice interact, and his body becomes transparent.
How does there come to be great wisdom? Because the stupid make their mark.
While he was in his mother’s womb, a fine eloquence was evident.
This real wisdom is complete within all people.
Grasp it at Jeweled Wood Peak at Cao Creek.

Form does not differ from emptiness; emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness; emptiness itself is form.

“Form does not differ from emptiness” “is” is like “is not.”
“Emptiness does not differ from form”: the distinction is of substance and function.
“Form itself is emptiness”: its true source is fathomed.
“Emptiness itself is form”: the false flow dries up.
Mountains, rivers, and the great earth are but manifestations of consciousness.
“Dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows”—so it is!
Be careful not to seek outside maintain the Middle Way.
He who casts down strained threads of cause is the One Come Thus.

So too are feeling, cognition, formation, and consciousness. Shariputra, all dharmas are empty of characteristics. They are not produced, not destroyed, not defiled, not pure, and they neither increase nor decrease.

Feeling, cognition, formations, and consciousness are also like emptiness and form.
Again he calls, “Shariputra, pay attention, listen well!”
“All dharmas are empty of characteristics,” lacking a nature of their own.
“Not defiled, not pure,” they remain apart form corrupting filth.
“They neither increase nor diminish”—enlighten to the Middle in all its profundity.
In the pure and deep ultimate stillness, when all creation is transcended,
Suddenly awaken to the primal interpenetration of self and dharmas.

Therefore, in emptiness there is no form, feeling, cognition, formation, or consciousness; no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind; no sights, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, or dharmas; no field of the eyes, up to and including no field of mind-consciousness;

Therefore in emptiness there are no characteristics of form.
Feeling, cognition, formations, and consciousness disappear as well.
So do the six faculties and six objects, together with six consciousnesses.
Three minds come to three ceasings, and three closures are pierced.
The great cart of the white ox turns with the sound lin-lin.
A little yellow-faced child jumps and thumps in agitation.
If you ask what instructive meaning is to be found in that,
The front double-three and the back double-three meet.

And no ignorance or ending of ignorance, up to and including no old age and death or ending of old age and death.

“No ending of ignorance” means that its basic nature is empty.
False activity, discrimination, followed by name and form;
The six entrances, contact, feeling, love, grasping, having;
Rebirth, old age and death are each that way too.
For thousands of miles the sky is clear, without a cloud or a shadow.
Still water fills a deep pool and reveals the light of the moon.
Like people who drink when thirsty perceive for themselves the hot from the cold,
Merely talking about food or helping things grow: the work is always wanting.

There is no suffering, no accumulation, no cessation, no Way.

Each of the sufferings exerts pressure, and all attack together.
Accumulation is feelings which beckon, each unlike the other.
It is only through tranquil cessation that ultimate joy can be attained.
This is the Way that should be practiced to awaken to the emptiness of dharmas.
With three turnings of the Four Truths the Dharma Wheel revolves:
Seven Shares in Enlightenment, the Eight-fold Path, with Psychic Skills, Mindfulnesses and Efforts.
One day connect right through and realize sagehood;
Partial truth with residue is no more than a conjured city.

And no understanding and no attaining.

Six Paramitas involving phenomena belong to the Store-Teaching Bodhisattvas.
Sudden awakening to principle; the Perfect’s practice of Wonderful Enlightenment.
“No understanding” destroys attachment and empties every attribute;
“No attaining” is non-verification, and comprehends the fusion of dharmas.
Then, a jeweled realm appears on the tip of a single hair.
The Dharma Wheel is turned while one is seated in a mote of dust.
These words are spoken, yet few indeed will truly believe them;
I do not know how many know my sound.

Because nothing is attained, the Bodhisattva, through reliance on prajna paramita, is unimpeded in his mind.

There is no cultivation, no verification, no attainment.
All that is conditioned and has characteristics is destined to demise.
Bodhisattvas, awakened beings, in becoming enlightened to this truth,
Place trust in prajna to bring them even with the other shore.
The mind without impediments leaves the retribution-obstacle behind.
A nature totally, truly empty puts an end to words and thoughts.
I send these words to those of future worth: seek it in yourself;
A head piled on top of a head is the height of stupidity.

Because there is no impediment, he is not afraid, and he leaves distorted dream-thinking far behind.

“There is no impediment” means truly letting go.
When “he is not afraid,” obstacles made by karma depart.
With distortion left far behind, the characteristic of production is broken through.
Coarse, fine, and dust-and-sand delusions of your dream-thoughts become Thus.
As three obstacles finally dissolve, three virtues are perfected.
The interchangeable use of six faculties brings certification to six psychic powers.
To be able to fathom this wonderful truth is to directly enjoy its use.
Those who know easily enlighten the dark and difficult path.

Ultimately Nirvana! All Buddhas of the three periods of time Attainanuttarasamyaksambodhi through reliance on Prajna Paramita.

Virtue is nowhere incomplete, and all the obstacles perish.
This ultimately final perfect stillness is called Nirvana.
Those passed by, not yet come, and now existing,
All Buddhas of the three periods of time, rooted in a common source,
Having placed their reliance on this very Prajna Paramita,
Reach genuine enlightenment equal to that of the Supreme Immortal.
If only those who practice remain capable of diligence and vigor,
What worry can there be about not attaining the field of the Dharma nature?

Therefore know that Prajna Paramita is a great spiritual mantra, a great bright mantra, a supreme mantra, an unequalled mantra. It can remove all suffering; it is genuine and not false.

This “great spiritual mantra” is hard to fathom fully.
This “great bright mantra” illumines the trichiliocosm.
This “supreme mantra” leads to the utmost fruition of enlightenment.
This “unequalled mantra” helps us reach the ultimate peak.
It can remove all suffering and bring the turning wheel to a stop.
Since it is “genuine and not false,” it enables us all to progress.
What has been spoken here discloses the depths of profound Prajna,
And briefly explains the dhyana of the Patriarchs found in the East and West.

That is why the mantra of Prajna Paramita was spoken. Recite it like this:
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha!


As part of the esoteric, the mantra cannot be thought about;
Much like the edict of a monarch, its mandate is followed by one and all.
Similar as well to a secret password used among the troops,
If one’s reply the question is not fitting, one is quickly put in line.
The wonderful truth of the Great Vehicle entirely transcends distinctions.
Yet ordinary people see false conditioned cause as true.
Guided by the finger, gaze at the moon; the finger is not the moon.
Borrowing the mantra, light up the mind; the mantra is the mind.

From http://online.sfsu.edu/~rone/Buddhism/V ... erses.html

I thought this translation with its commentary might be a good subject for discussion.
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:53 am

Re: Heart sutra with commentary by Hsuan Hua

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed May 19, 2010 9:28 pm

I have a feeling that some of my difficulty understanding the commentary may be cultural to some degree or other and on the other hand sheer lack of experiential knowledge.

m0rl0ck wrote:When Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva

Reversing the light to shine within, Avalokiteshvara
Enlightens all the sentient beings, thus he is a Bodhisattva.
His mind is thus, thus, unmoving, a superior one at peace.
His total understanding of the ever-shining makes him a host and master.
When the six types of psychic powers become an ordinary matter,
Then even less can the winds and rains of the eight directions cause alarm.
Rolling it up retracts it and keeps it secretly hidden away.
Letting it go expands it so it fills the whole world entirely.



My first question is about the underlined portion in the above para. What is meant by the six types of psychic powers becoming an ordinary matter? I'm assuming its talking about the six sense organs, but as far as becoming an ordinary matter, anyone want to comment on that?
By the winds and rains of the eight directions, im assuming that its referring to samsara, physical and emotional and mental events, but what do the lines about rolling up, hidden away and letting go and filling referr to?

Thanks.

And i would appreciate it if only those with a good grounding in actual sitting practice would answer. Theory without practice is a joke.
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:53 am

Re: Heart sutra with commentary by Hsuan Hua

Postby Will » Wed May 19, 2010 11:22 pm

In addition to his inspired poetic verses, Master Hua also gave a prose commentary on both his verses & the sutra:

http://cttbusa.org/heartsutra/hs.htm

Using the link above, here is what he taught about the six powers:

Six types of psychic powers are an ordinary matter. If you can be in control, you will naturally have the six psychic powers. They are:
1) the psychic power of the heavenly eye; 2) the psychic power of the heavenly ear; 3) psychic power with regard to past lives; 4) psychic power with regard to the minds of others; 5) the spiritually based psychic powers; and 6) the psychic power of the extinction of outflows.

If you do not have the six types of psychic power, it is because you are not in control, because you are influenced by all the external circumstances you find yourself in. You are influenced by people and have no influence yourself to affect the situations that confront you. When you are able to turn situations around, then no matter what comes you will be unmoved. Don’t be bold and say that you already know how, because to be unmoved means that even in a dream you are not affected by states of consciousness. That is to be host and master. If you are not affected by internal or external states, and if you have real wisdom and the six psychic powers, then you have a very ordinary talent working for you – nothing spectacular, just something very ordinary.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
User avatar
Will
 
Posts: 1906
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am

Re: Heart sutra with commentary by Hsuan Hua

Postby Dexing » Thu May 20, 2010 2:58 am

m0rl0ck wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:When Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva

Reversing the light to shine within, Avalokiteshvara
Enlightens all the sentient beings, thus he is a Bodhisattva.
His mind is thus, thus, unmoving, a superior one at peace.
His total understanding of the ever-shining makes him a host and master.
When the six types of psychic powers become an ordinary matter,
Then even less can the winds and rains of the eight directions cause alarm.
Rolling it up retracts it and keeps it secretly hidden away.
Letting it go expands it so it fills the whole world entirely.



My first question is about the underlined portion in the above para. What is meant by the six types of psychic powers becoming an ordinary matter? I'm assuming its talking about the six sense organs, but as far as becoming an ordinary matter, anyone want to comment on that?
By the winds and rains of the eight directions, im assuming that its referring to samsara, physical and emotional and mental events, but what do the lines about rolling up, hidden away and letting go and filling referr to?

Thanks.

And i would appreciate it if only those with a good grounding in actual sitting practice would answer. Theory without practice is a joke.


Ven. Xuanhua's commentaries seem to carry a lot of that- terms which require a prior familiarity or further explanation.

Based on my personal practice, I can only offer this to what you've said:

Ordinary beings are always lost in thought, dreaming this and that, chasing this, evading that, attracting this, repelling that. Meanwhile our eyes are seeing, and our ears are hearing, but because of our habitual behavior we are not a part of that experience.

However, when our meditation practice becomes stronger we can stay with our experience longer. That is; we just see, just hear, just smell, just taste, just feel, just think- completely a part of that experience. Being in harmony with that experience, it becomes an ordinary matter. In fact, those senses never stop functioning all day long. It is naturally ordinary. But we are unaware of it because we are constantly lost in our thinking.

If we roll those experiences up in our thinking, we've hidden them away, even though they are functioning at all times. We are unaware of our life as it passes- not to mention insensitive to the needs of other beings surrounding us, or what impact our actions have upon them.

If we can let go of our habitual thinking — which doesn't mean to stop thinking, but just not attach to it creating an endless deluge of mindless nonsense — then we release it and expand our awareness of the moment.

It then fills the whole world because when we see, we just see, when we hear, we just hear. Everything is very clear. Then we can perceive suffering in this world and spontaneously function to help all beings.

It's really an ordinary matter- this enlightenment and bodhisattva action thing. But attached to thinking, we miss it all and put it so far from our reach. As 3rd Chan Patriarch Sengcan says in his Xinxinming;

"The Great Way is not difficult
for those who are unattached to preferences.
When love and hate are both absent,
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart."

In fact, that whole poem... that's right on the nose as far as I'm concerned.

Whether I'm right or wrong, that's at least my experience.

Hope it helps.

:namaste:
nopalabhyate...
User avatar
Dexing
 
Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:41 am

Re: Heart sutra with commentary by Hsuan Hua

Postby Huifeng » Thu May 20, 2010 6:16 am

m0rl0ck wrote:I have a feeling that some of my difficulty understanding the commentary may be cultural to some degree or other and on the other hand sheer lack of experiential knowledge.


A combination of our own experience, but also with the language of the Chinese, it's idiomatic Buddhist form, and the translation of this into English. The early BTTS translations are still very "Chinese", and one can almost back-translate them into Chinese, word for word.

m0rl0ck wrote:When Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva

Reversing the light to shine within, Avalokiteshvara
Enlightens all the sentient beings, thus he is a Bodhisattva.
His mind is thus, thus, unmoving, a superior one at peace.
His total understanding of the ever-shining makes him a host and master.
When the six types of psychic powers become an ordinary matter,
Then even less can the winds and rains of the eight directions cause alarm.
Rolling it up retracts it and keeps it secretly hidden away.
Letting it go expands it so it fills the whole world entirely.



My first question is about the underlined portion in the above para. What is meant by the six types of psychic powers becoming an ordinary matter? I'm assuming its talking about the six sense organs, but as far as becoming an ordinary matter, anyone want to comment on that?


The "six types of psychic power" 六通 are
1. telekinesis
2. divine vision
3. knowledge of others' minds
4. knowledge of (one's own) rebirths
5. knowledge of the arise and decease of beings (in various rebirths)
6. ending of defilements

He means that when one has reached the depths of calm and insight that even these are just regular experiences, then of course the "eight winds" will not be a problem at all.

These are not the "sense organs", but functions of the mind ONLY WHEN the mind is extremely purified.

By the winds and rains of the eight directions, im assuming that its referring to samsara, physical and emotional and mental events, but what do the lines about rolling up, hidden away and letting go and filling referr to?


The "eight winds" 八風 are: Praise and blame, gain and loss, happiness and pain, fame and infamy.

The "rolling up" and "hiding away" is an expression originally from Zhuangzi, I think. It comes from the perspective of the aforementioned extremely purified mind. At this level, when one wishes to direct the mind towards some object or event, including the application of higher knowledge (= psychic knowledge) towards that, then one can do so with mastery. The mind at this level can take on any size, from the minute to the immeasurable, to encompass the object in question. If one does not so wish, then the mind is left in an unmoving state, free from objects. The gist is complete mental mastery.

Thanks.


:anjali:

And i would appreciate it if only those with a good grounding in actual sitting practice would answer. Theory without practice is a joke.


Just my ramblings.
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: Heart sutra with commentary by Hsuan Hua

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu May 20, 2010 6:42 pm

Will wrote:In addition to his inspired poetic verses, Master Hua also gave a prose commentary on both his verses & the sutra:

http://cttbusa.org/heartsutra/hs.htm

Using the link above, here is what he taught about the six powers:

Six types of psychic powers are an ordinary matter. If you can be in control, you will naturally have the six psychic powers. They are:
1) the psychic power of the heavenly eye; 2) the psychic power of the heavenly ear; 3) psychic power with regard to past lives; 4) psychic power with regard to the minds of others; 5) the spiritually based psychic powers; and 6) the psychic power of the extinction of outflows.

If you do not have the six types of psychic power, it is because you are not in control, because you are influenced by all the external circumstances you find yourself in. You are influenced by people and have no influence yourself to affect the situations that confront you. When you are able to turn situations around, then no matter what comes you will be unmoved. Don’t be bold and say that you already know how, because to be unmoved means that even in a dream you are not affected by states of consciousness. That is to be host and master. If you are not affected by internal or external states, and if you have real wisdom and the six psychic powers, then you have a very ordinary talent working for you – nothing spectacular, just something very ordinary.


Ty for the link. It looks great :) I started wading thru yesterday.
:bow:
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:53 am

Re: Heart sutra with commentary by Hsuan Hua

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu May 20, 2010 6:46 pm

Huifeng wrote:
The "six types of psychic power" 六通 are
1. telekinesis
2. divine vision
3. knowledge of others' minds
4. knowledge of (one's own) rebirths
5. knowledge of the arise and decease of beings (in various rebirths)
6. ending of defilements

He means that when one has reached the depths of calm and insight that even these are just regular experiences, then of course the "eight winds" will not be a problem at all.

These are not the "sense organs", but functions of the mind ONLY WHEN the mind is extremely purified.

By the winds and rains of the eight directions, im assuming that its referring to samsara, physical and emotional and mental events, but what do the lines about rolling up, hidden away and letting go and filling referr to?


The "eight winds" 八風 are: Praise and blame, gain and loss, happiness and pain, fame and infamy.

The "rolling up" and "hiding away" is an expression originally from Zhuangzi, I think. It comes from the perspective of the aforementioned extremely purified mind. At this level, when one wishes to direct the mind towards some object or event, including the application of higher knowledge (= psychic knowledge) towards that, then one can do so with mastery. The mind at this level can take on any size, from the minute to the immeasurable, to encompass the object in question. If one does not so wish, then the mind is left in an unmoving state, free from objects. The gist is complete mental mastery.


Just my ramblings.


Really wonderful stuff Ven. H Thank you for helping abate my ignorance :) :bow:
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:53 am

Re: Heart sutra with commentary by Hsuan Hua

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu May 20, 2010 9:02 pm

Dexing wrote:

Whether I'm right or wrong, that's at least my experience.

Hope it helps.

:namaste:


Thank you, it did help :namaste:
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:53 am


Return to Sūtra Studies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

>