The Heart Sutra Explained: Indian and Tibetan Commentaries by Donald S. Lopez, Jr.

By Donald S. Lopez, Jr.

Popular for its terse assertion of the perfection of knowledge, the Heart Sutra is the main recognized of Buddhist scriptures. the writer attracts on formerly unexamined commentaries, preserved in basic terms in Tibetan, to enquire the meanings derived from and invested into the sutra through the later interval of Indian Buddhism.

The center Sutra Explained bargains new insights on “form is vacancy, vacancy is form,” at the mantra “gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha,” and at the synthesis of Madhyamika, Yogacara, and tantric inspiration that characterised the ultimate interval of Buddhism in India. additionally it is entire translations of 2 19th century Tibetan commentaries demonstrating the selective appropriation of Indian sources.

“It makes a big contribution to Buddhist reviews by means of bringing forth new and significant fabric to contextualize some of the most liked and recognized Buddhist texts, the Heart Sutra. It does so in a way that's either scholarly and readable.” —Anne C. Klein, Stanford collage

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Sample text

The second component of the term is more problematic. In his classic study, The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature, Har Dayal lists seven possible interpretations of sa11va,2s three of which may be considered here. " Again, to gain some sense of how the term was understood by late (circa eighth century) Mahayana scholars in India, it is helpful to consider the Tibetan translation of bodhisallva, which is byang chub sems dpa: Byang chub is the translation of bodhi, enlightenment.

3), bound by the rope of contaminated actions and afflictions, wandering in the great well of saq1sara from the Peak of Cyclic Existence (bhaviigra) to the Most Tortuous Hell (avici), moving naturally downward, moving upward only with great exertion. The second compassion is called compassion observing phenomena in which the Bodhisattva observes sentient beings subject to impermanence and momentary disintegration, and feels compassion for them. Compassion of the unobservable is the compassion for sentient beings that observes them to be qualified by emptiness; they are unobservable as truly existent.

It was often the case in the translation of Sanskrit words into Tibetan that more than one of the Sanskrit connotations was rendered into the Tibetan term. " Sattva of bodhisattva became sems dpa: meaning "mind-hero," taking note of the fact that among the many meanings of sa/Iva, these two were significant in the translation of bodhisattva. 47 The feminine ending li, agreeing in gender with prajfilipiiramitli connotes the feminine nature of the perfection of wisdom. As stated in the Heart Siltra itself, all Buddhas arise from the practice of the perfection of wisdom.

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