Introduction to
Heart of the Prajna-Paramita Sutra

 Heart of the Prajna-Paramita Sutra, also called Heart Sutra, is the shortest and the most popular sutra in Buddhism. If the six hundred volumes of the Maha Projna Sutra can be summarized by the Diamond Sutra in around 5000 words, then the Diamond Sutra can be summarized by the Heart Sutra in around 250 words. The Heart Sutra is regarded as the summation of the wisdom of Buddha. It explains perfectly the teaching of non-attachment, which is basically the doctrine of emptiness.

Many people like to recite the Heart Sutra daily. However, they may not really and fully understand what it is. Some of them may have incredible response, and benefits. In Buddhism, reciting Buddha-name and sutra has great merit and virtues. And, it is one of the effective ways in cultivation of Buddhist Way. In nearly all Buddhist monastery and many Buddhist household, the Heart Sutra is recited by the people regularly on a daily basis.

If it is the first time you read Heart Sutra, you may find that it is difficult to understand because its way of thinking is different from the traditional ones. Therefore, you should be open-minded, and think deeply and carefully. The Heart Sutra reveals the entire secret of truth of the universe and life. Don't miss it, otherwise you'll regret.

The Heart Sutra is presented below in two different forms.

Click here for a complete version of the Sutra, translated into English from the Chinese translation by Hsuan Tsang Dharma Master, with interleaved outline, and appended by explanatory notes for some terminology used.

Click here for the beginning of a series of a commentary for the Heart Sutra. We put forward commentaries for the first eight lines in this issue; the rest will come in subsequent issues of Buddhist Door. Each commentary is accompanied by the Chinese version, as well as seal(s) in ancient Chinese, for the respective line(s).