Monday, 6 February 2017

CHANTING THE HEART SUTRA IN ENGLISH

Thus have I heard.  Once the Blessed One was dwelling in Rajagriha at Vulture Peak mountain, together with a great gathering of the sangha of monks and a great gathering of the sangha of bodhisattvas.  At that time the Blessed One entered the samadhi that expresses the dharma called “profound illumination,” and at the same time noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, while practicing the profound prajnaparamita, saw in this way: he saw the five skandhas to be empty of nature.

Then, through the power of the Buddha, venerable Shariputra said to noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva,  “How should a son or daughter of noble family train, who wishes to practice the profound prajnaparamita?”   
Addressed in this way, noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, said to venerable Shariputra,  “O Shariputra, a son or daughter of noble family who wishes to practice the profound prajnaparamita should see in this way: seeing the five skandhas to be empty of nature.  Form is emptiness; emptiness also is form. Emptiness is no other than form; form is no other than emptiness.  In the same way, feeling, perception, formation, and consciousness are emptiness.  Thus, Shariputra, all dharmas are emptiness.  There are no characteristics. There is no birth and no cessation.  There is no impurity and no purity. There is no decrease and no increase.  Therefore, Shariputra, in emptiness, there is no form, no feeling, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no appearance, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no dharmas; no eye dhatu up to no mind dhatu, no dhatu of dharmas, no mind consciousness dhatu; no ignorance, no end of ignorance up to no old age and death, no end of old age and death; no suffering, no origin of suffering, no cessation of suffering, no path, no wisdom, no attainment, and no nonattainment.  Therefore, Shariputra, since the bodhisattvas have no attainment, they abide by means of prajnaparamita. Since there is no obscuration of mind, there is no fear. They transcend falsity and attain complete nirvana. All the buddhas of the three times, by means of prajnaparamita, fully awaken to unsurpassable, true, complete enlightenment.  Therefore, the great mantra of prajnaparamita, the mantra of great insight, the unsurpassed mantra, the unequaled mantra, the mantra that calms all suffering, should be known as truth, since there is no deception.  The prajnaparamita mantra is said in this way:

OÎ GATE GATE PÅRAGATE PÅRASAMGATE BODHI SVÅHÅ

Thus, Shariputra, the bodhisattva mahAsattva should train in the profound prajnaparamita.”  

Then the Blessed One arose from that samadhi and praised noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, saying, “Good, good, O son of noble family;  thus it is, O son of noble family, thus it is.  One should practice the profound prajnaparamita just as you have taught and all the tathagatas will rejoice.”  

When the Blessed One had said this, venerable Shariputra and noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, that whole assembly and the world with its gods, humans, asuras, and gandharvas rejoiced and praised the words of the Blessed One. 

Source : The Heart Sutra from Nalanda Translation Committee’s website
© 1975, 1980 by the Nålandå Translation Committee. All rights reserved. Available on our website for personal use.

Heart Sutra Audio - Click here

All spiritual traditions have always used singing and chanting as an important part of their practice. It must have been the way texts have been passed along through generations in the times before people could read and write and book printing was invented. But there are many more reasons why chanting has a central place in so many spiritual traditions worldwide.
Chanting creates a bridge between the understanding of the head and the understanding of the heart. It brings body, speech and mind together in one flowing gesture. It is a joyful thing to do, which naturally brings forth your dignity; effortlessly you sit straight up, you concentrate, you relax and go through the words without any hesitation. You can use your voice to let every syllable resonate through your body and in this way let the words sink in all your cells, your whole being, way beyond the conceptual understanding.
Chanting, or let’s use the word reciting here; can be a way to build a relationship with a text, a friendship that grows, revealing insights and nuances as you get to know and appreciate each other better each time you meet again. It’s also an excellent way for a group to practice together. By chanting together right away a focus is established, and the group energy gets lifted up to a place where devotion is joyfully charged with the vibrations of all voices blending together.
I’ve heard it said that reciting sacred texts is also important because enables other beings, maybe animals or beings we can not see, to hear the sacred words and make a connection to the teachings. The Heart Sutra is an example of an extremely profound and sacred text that has been chanted for centuries, in many different languages in all the Asian countries where Buddhism is practiced.
The Nalanda Translation Committee, under the direction of Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, translated it into English, so westerners can now also chant it in a language they can understand and relate to. Here I would like to present my recorded version of this translation of the Heart Sutra.
It is meant to be chanted along, and I’ve tried to find a way so you can be free in choosing the pitch that you feel comfortable with and  whether you like to recite it in a monotonous manner or more melodic. Most important is that you chant it wholeheartedly, and with the confidence that, even though you might not understand the text completely, you connect with the deep meaning and the blessings of it. May it benefit many beings!
Source : In MUSIC by Rodrigo Reijers / http://levekunst.com/chanting-the-heart-sutra-in-english/