The Heart Sutra decrypted

 

 

The Heart Sutra presents a highly compressed version of core Buddhist dogma.1,2 That dogma claims, albeit without providing cogent evidence, that all skandas (i.e. aggregates, indeed all dharmas = entities) are empty of inherent existence, elsewhere described as being without atta. However, in order to give the sutra its esoteric, specifically Mahayana twist, the compiler of this sutra, probably taking his lead from the idiot savant scholiast Nagarjuna, deliberately abstracted (and thus generalised) the sutra’s core meaning (about emptiness) by deleting the verbal elements ‘of inherent existence’ (elsewhere atta and atta’s property’) from the body of the text. When ‘empty of inherent existence’ became (abbreviated, hence abstracted as) ‘emptiness’ per se, the meaning of the sutra became uncertain, indeed, fuzzy (actually more irrational than it already was). Rather than restore the deleted words back into the sutra to recover the original meaning (read: dharma = dogma), Mahayana scholastics, specifically the closet Brahmin Nagarjuna, created a veritable tsunami of highly imaginative but fundamentally irrelevant and misleading commentaries (called ‘thickets of views’) about this distorted, because fundamental detail deleted version of Buddhist dogma.

 

The fundamentally meaningless (hence directed towards mental emptiness) mantra that ends the Heart Sutra is a further compression and abstraction to almost zero meaning content. Its repetition, as tantric quiescence device, runs, as it were, an almost empty tape in the head (i.e. one’s Bio-Nav). The final compression of the Buddhist CREDO is silence (i.e. Zero Response).

 

When the deleted words ‘of inherent existence’ are restored to the text, then the main body of the sutra reads as a simple (Theravada) restatement of core archaic Buddhist belief requiring neither interpretation nor commentary.

 

 

 

 

Translation by Donald S. Lopez, Jr3

 

The Mahayana text

with the words  ‘of inherent existence’

deleted from the body of the text

 

Inherent existence = svabhava sunyam = atma

Translation by Donald S. Lopez, Jr
 
The missing words restored by
 
Victor Langheld

 

Inherent existence atma (Pali: atta)

Empty of inherent existence anatma (Pali: anatta)

 

 

 

 

Pali Text sources

 

 

At that time, the Bodhisattva, the Mahasattva, the Superior Avalokitesvara was contemplating the practice of the profound perfection of wisdom and saw that those five aggregates also are empty of inherent existence.

 

Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form is not other than emptiness. In the same way, feeling, discrimina­tion, compositional factors, and consciousnesses are empty.

 

 

 

 

Sariputra, in that way all phenomena are empty, without characteristic, un­-produced, un-ceased, stainless, not stainless, undiminished, unfilled.

 

 

Therefore, Sariputra, in emptiness there is no form, no feeling, no discrimination, no compositional factors, no consciousness, no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind, no form, no sound, no odour, no taste, no object of touch, no phenomenon. There is no eye constituent, no mental constituent, up to and including no mental consciousness constituent. There is no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, up to and including no ageing and death and no extinction of ageing and death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similarly, there are no sufferings, no origins, no cessations, no paths, no wisdom, no attainment, and also no non-attainment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Therefore, Sariputra, because Bodhisattvas have no attainment they depend on and abide in the perfection of wisdom and their minds are without obstruction and without fear. Having completely passed beyond all error they go to the completion of nirvana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the Buddhas who abide in the three times have been fully awakened into unsurpassed, perfect, complete enlightenment through relying on the perfection of wisdom.

 

 

 

Therefore, the mantra of perfection of wisdom is the mantra of great knowledge, the unsurpassed mantra, the mantra equal to the unequalled, the mantra that thoroughly pacifies all suffering. Because it is not false it should be known to be true.

 

 

 

 

The mantra of the perfection of wisdom is stated:

 

“Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond, enlightenment., Svaha!”

 

 

At that time, the Bodhisattva, the Mahasattva, the Superior Avalokitesvara was contemplating the practice of the profound perfection of wisdom and saw that those five aggregates also are empty of inherent existence.

 

Form is emptiness of inherent existence; emptiness of inherent existence is form. Emptiness of inherent existence is not other than form; form is not other than emptiness of inherent existence. In the same way, feeling, discrimina­tion, compositional factors and consciousnesses are empty of inherent existence.

 

Sariputra, in that way all phenomena are empty of inherent existence, without inherent existence characteristic, un­-produced, un-ceased, stainless, not stainless, undiminished, unfilled.

 

Therefore, Sariputra, in emptiness of inherent existence there is

no inherently existing form,

no inherently existing feeling,

no inherently  existing discrimination,

no inherently  existing compositional factors,

no inherently  existing consciousness,

no inherently  existing eye,

no inherently  existing ear,

no inherently  existing nose,

no inherently  existing tongue,

no inherently  existing body,

no inherently  existing mind,

no inherently  existing form,

no inherently  existing sound,

no inherently  existing odour,

no inherently  existing taste,

no inherently  existing of touch,

no inherently  existing phenomenon.

There is no inherently  existing constituent,

no inherently  existing mental constituent,

up to and including no inherently  existing mental consciousness constituent. There is

no inherently  existing ignorance,

no inherently  existing extinction of ignorance, up to and including

no inherently  existing ageing and death and

no inherently  existing extinction of ageing and death.

 

Similarly, there are

no inherently  existing sufferings,

no inherently  existing origins,

no inherently  existing cessations,

no inherently  existing paths,

no inherently  existing wisdom,

no inherently  existing attainment, and also no inherently  existing non-attainment.

 

 

Therefore, Sariputra, because Bodhisattvas have no inherently  existing attainment they depend on and abide in the perfection of wisdom and their minds are without (possibly existing, but inherently non-existing) obstruction and without (possibly existing, but inherently non-existing) fear. Having completely passed beyond all (possibly existing but inherently non-existing) error they go to the completion of (inherently non-existing) nibbana.

 

 

All the Buddhas who abide in the (inherently non-existing) three times have been fully awakened into unsurpassed, perfect, complete (inherently non-existing) awakening through relying on the (inherently non-existing) perfection of wisdom.

 

Therefore, the mantra of perfection of wisdom (i.e. of the non-inherence of existence of all sankharas) is the mantra of great knowledge, the unsurpassed mantra, the mantra equal to the unequalled, the mantra that thoroughly pacifies all (existing (?) but inherently non-existing) suffering. Because it is not false it should be known to be true.

 

The mantra of the perfection of wisdom is stated:

 

Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond, awakened, Amen!.

 

To wit: “Empty, empty, empty, empty (= awakening). Amen!” Meditation using the mantra “Empty, empty, empty, empty” pacifies (i.e. eliminates distress). @ 100% application, 100% elimination of distress (hence nibbana) is achieved. The same affect is achieved by visualising the SRI Yantra.

 

Clinging to (or desiring) that which is empty of inherent existence leads to distress, and to the belated realization: “Vanity, Vanity, all is vanity”

 

 

 

The quasi deity =  Mahasattva Avalokitesvara appears to have been invented by a Mahayana sectarian.

 

 

Mahàvagga,

1st Khandhaka

 

Samyutta Nikàya
Division III Book 22 Chapter 2

 

Also S. 35:85 see below

 

 

 

ditto

 

 

 

 

ditto

 

 

 

 

Ittivutaka Sutta 44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Logic conclusion

 

 

Samyatta Nikaya 35:85 (see below)

 

Ud. 8:1-3d

S. 43:1-44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sabbe sankhara anatta, i.e. ‘Know, all emerged phenomena are empty of atta!”

Dhammapada

 

For empty of inherent existence (to wit: anatma) read: svabhāva-sunyān

For (the) emptiness…of inherent existence read: sunyata

 

Note: The Tathagata responded to the two questions about atta (≈ inherent existence) which the wanderer Vacchagotta put to him, namely “How is it, Master Gotama, does SELF (≈ inherent existence) exist?” and  “How is it, then, Master Gotama, does SELF (≈ inherent existence) not exist?” with silence.

 

For anatta read: empty of atta

To wit, empty of SELF (hence permanent and empty of distress)

 

Taken from the Samyutta Nikaya 35 : 85

 

Ananda said: “ ‘Empty world, empty world’ is said Lord; in what way is ‘empty world’ said?”

The Buddha answered: “It is because of what is empty of SELF and SELF’s property that ‘empty world’ is said, Ananda. And what is empty of SELF and SELF’s property? The eye ... forms ... eye-consciousness … eye‑contactany feeling ... born of eye-contact ... The ear, etc... The nose, etc.... The tongue, etc.... The body, etc.... The mind, etcany feeling whether pleasant, painful or neither-painful-nor‑pleasant born of mind-contact is empty of SELF and SELF’s property.”

 

 

1 … Similar to the Christian CREDO that includes the most important beliefs of post Augustinian Christianity

2…  E. Conze:  Buddhist Thought in India (1962

E. Conze:  Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies (1967)

3…  Donald S. Lopez, Jr: The Heart Sutra explained  (1988)

Donald S. Lopez, Jr:  Elaborations ion emptiness  (1996)

 

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