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Vulture Peak (Grdhrakuta) in Rajgir where the Buddha inspired Avalokiteshvara to give The Heart Sutra - the Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutram  requested by Sariputra, rock that looks like a vulture; upper right, facing left. India | by Wonderlane
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Vulture Peak (Grdhrakuta) in Rajgir where the Buddha inspired Avalokiteshvara to give The Heart Sutra - the Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutram requested by Sariputra, rock that looks like a vulture; upper right, facing left. India

The rock ABOVE the shrine that looks like a vulture; upper right, facing left.

 

THIS ROCK IS NOT BELOW THE SHRINE, BUT, RATHER, ON THE ROCK SPIRE COVERED WITH PRAYER FLAGS BETWEEN THE PATH UP AND THE SHRINE, I.E. YOU SEE THE ROCK SPIRE BEFORE WALKING UP AND CLOCKWISE AROUND IT TO THE SHRINE.

 

Vulture peak clarification:

www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/4244061036/

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2D8epuXla8&feature=related

 

The shrine at Vulture Peak (Grdhrakuta) is located at the top of this hill - shown in the next image in this photostream

www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/3678731097/

 

Vulture Peak is in Rajgir, northern Inda. It is where the Buddha inspired Avalokiteshvara to give the Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutram requested by Sariputra.

 

During the Buddha's time, under the patronage of the Rajgir King, there were many monasteries and tens of thousands of monks. The Buddha spent many years here bringing beings to bodhi.

 

The rock just below the shrine that looks like a vulture; upper right, facing left.

 

prajnaparamita hridaya sutra-perfect wisdom heart sutra

  

aryavalokitesvaro bodhisattvo

(Avalokateshvara bodhisattva)

 

gambhiram prajnaparamita caryam caramano vyavalokayati

(deep perfect wisdom action perform luminously)

 

sma panca skandhas tams ca sva bhava sunyam

(saw five bundles them own nature empty)

 

pasyati sma iha sariputra

(I saw oh Sariputra)

 

rupam sunyata va rupam rupan na prithak

(form emptiness evidently form form not different)

 

sunyata sunyataya na prithag rupam

(emptiness emptiness not different form)

 

yad rupam sa sunyata ya sunyata sa rupam

(this form that emptiness this emptiness that form)

 

evam eva vedana samjna samskara vijnanam

(like this feeling thought choice consciousness)

  

iha sariputra sarva dharma sunyata

(oh Sariputra all dharmas emptiness)

 

laksana anutpanna anruddha avmala anuna aparpurna

(mark not born not pure not increase not decrease)

 

ta sariputra sunyatayam

(therefore Sariputra in the middle of emptiness)

  

na rupam na vedana na samjna na samskara na vijnana

(no form no feeling no thought no choice no consciousness)

 

na caksuh srotam na ghrana jihva kaya manah

(no eye ear no nose tongue body mind)

 

na rupa sabda gandha rasa spistavya dharmah

(no form sound smell taste touch dharmas)

 

na caksur dhatur ya van na mano vijnanam dhatur

(no eye-area up to no mind-consciousness area)

  

na vidya na vidya na vidya ksayo va vidya ksayo

(no clarity no clarity no clarity exhaustion no clarity exhaustion)

 

ya van jaramaranam na jaramarana ksayo

(up to old age no old age exhaustion)

 

na duhkha samudaya nirdoha margajna

(no suffering end of suffering path)

 

na jnanam na prapti na bhismaya tasmai na prapti

(no knowledge no ownership no witnessing no thing to own)

  

tvad bodhisattva prajnaparamita asritya

(therefore bodhisattva perfect wisdom dwells)

 

viha ratya citta varano vidya ksayo na vidya ksayo

(in dwell thought no obstacle clarity exhaustion not clairty exhaustion)

 

ya van jaramaranam na jaramarana ksayo

(up to old age no old age exhaustion)

 

na duhkha samudaya nirodha margajna

(no suffering end of suffering path)

 

na jnanam na prapti na bhismaya tasmai na prapti

(no knowledge no property no witnessing no thing to own)

  

tvad bodhisattvanam prajnaparamita asritya

(therefore bodhisattva perfect wisdom dwells)

 

viha ratya citta varano citta varano

(in dwell thought no obstacle thought no obstacle)

 

na siddhitvad atrasto vipa ryasa ti kranto

(no existence fear fright inverse reverse ? separate)

 

ni stha nirvana tya dha vyava sthitah

(perfectly stands nirvana three worlds thing experiences)

  

sarva buddhah prajnaparamitam asritya

(all buddhas perfect wisdom dwell)

 

(a?)nuttaram samyaksambodhim abdhisambuddhah

(unexcelled ultimate perfect insight together ? buddhas)

 

ta smai jnata vyam

(therefore should know ?)

 

prajnaparamitamahamantram mahavidyamantram

(perfect wisdom great charm great clear charm)

  

anuttaramantram asamasama mantram

(unexcelled charm unequalled equal charm)

 

sarva duhkha prasa manam sa tyam ami thyatvat

(all suffering stop terminate genuine real not vain)

 

prajnaparamitayam ukto mantrah tadyatha

(perfect wisdom declaired charm saying)

  

GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA

(gone gone totally gone totally completely gone enlightenment awaken)

  

The text itself describes the mantra as "Mahāmantro, mahā-vidyā mantro, ‘nuttara mantro samasama-mantrah", which Conze translates as "The great mantra, the mantra of great knowledge, the utmost mantra, the unequalled mantra, the allayer of all suffering." These words are also used of the Buddha, and so the text seems to be equating the mantra with the Buddha. Although the translation is acceptable, the case ending in Sanskrit mantra is the feminine vocative, so gate is addressed to a feminine person/figure. A more accurate translation is "Oh she who is gone!" In this respect, the mantra appears to be keeping with the common tantric practice (a practice supported by the texts themselves) of anthropomorphizing the Perfection of Wisdom as the "Mother of Buddhas."

 

One can also interpret the mantra as the progressive steps along the five paths of the Bodhisattva, through the two preparatory stages (the path of accumulation and preparation — Gate, gate), through the first bhumi (path of insight — Pāragate), through the second to seventh bhumi (path of meditation — Pārasamgate), and through the eight to tenth bhumi (stage of no more learning — Bodhi svāhā). As Geshe Kelsang Gyatso explains in Heart of Wisdom: This mantra, retained in the original Sanskrit, explains in very condensed form the practice of the five Mahayana paths, which we attain and complete in dependence upon the perfection of wisdom.[37]

 

The current Dalai Lama explains the mantra in a discourse on the Heart Sutra both as an instruction for practice and as a device for measuring one's own level of spiritual attainment, and translates it as go, go, go beyond, go thoroughly beyond, and establish yourself in enlightenment. In the discourse, he gives a similar explanation to the four stages (the four go's) as in the previous paragraph. Unlike Greek, Sanskrit distinguishes between 'para' (across, as in Greek and our derivations) and 'pāra', which means across to the other side. The preposition 'sam' equates to the Greek 'συν', with (which here we can reasonably expand to together with). In fact this meaning has been known in western Sanskrit dictionaries at least since Monier Monier-Williams: he gave "saṃgata" as "come together , met , encountered , joined , united AV. &c. &c. ; allied with , friendly to" and many other phrases that imply joining together. So, "Gone across to the other side, together with" or even "Met upon the far shore" would be an absolutely literal and very Mahayana translation of 'Pārasamgate'. This may be understood as referring to liberating all beings, or to the bringing of one's entire world over onto the previously realised higher plane of energy, and as identical in meaning to the Zen saying "First there is a mountain [our initial condition of perception], then there is no mountain [pāragate], then there is [pārasamgate]". "Bodhi svāhā" - "Enlightenment, awaken!".

  

A Brief Comment on the title of "The Heart Sutra" appears to refer to the use of perfect wisdom (prajnaparamita) to cleanse error from the heart (hridaya). There are numerous variations of the sutra in Sanskrit and many other classical, Asian languages. Edward Conze did extensive work in this field, although his methods are now challenged by contemporary scientific philologists. The search for an ur-text is probably always going to be inconclusive, although some evidence points to the existence of a single, original version. This is of no consequence for people whose interest in the Sanskrit text is based on a desire to inspect the Sanskrit vocabulary of the concepts in "The Heart Sutra" or to draw spiritual nourishment from the elegantly poetic repetitions of the Sanskrit text that follows. A spiritual friend provided me with the materials I have used to prepare this version of the text in Buddhist Sanskrit. This text is modified from: Hurvitz, Leon. "Hsuan-tsang (602-664) and the _Heart Scripture_" in _Prajnaparamita and Related Systems: Studies in Honor of Edward Conze_ (University of California at Berkeley Press). 103-113. Hurvitz describes this text as "brahmanical" and reports that Hsuan-tsang transcribed it in Chinese characters from a wall of a cave at Ta hsing-shan-ssu in Lo-yang, China, apparently on the Silk Road, during the 7th century A.D. The context in which the Chinese scholar presented the Hridaya Sutra makes it clear that he considered it a magical text. Although this text is not precisely identical with existing English translations of "The Heart Sutra," it is obviously consistent with the Hridaya textual tradition. The Sanskrit scans metrically and by sense into mostly four line verses, a classical verse form that suggests a strong literary value in the text. Repetitions and thematic emphasis on the pervasiveness of emptiness (sunyata) characterize the text. I found that in order to preserve the sense of the verses it was necessary to shorten one verse to three lines, to lengthen another verse to five lines. I modified the Hurvitz text by eliminating all Sanskrit diacritical marks, regularizing the spacing of the Sanskrit words and their spelling, and adjusting the lines of the text according to sense and (in some cases) meter. I used Hurvitz's interlinear vocabulary as a base and added to it. The difficulties in this text are partly due to the obscurities of Buddhist Sanskrit, partly to the ackwardness of the transcription into Roman letters from Chinese phonological equivalents by Hurvitz, and mostly to my radically imperfect knowledge of Sanskrit. I accept full responsibility for the errors experts in the Sanskrit language will find here. May the merit of this effort benefit all sentient beings. [CORRECTION: Hsuan-tsung found the text on the stone wall of the Great Monastery of the Furtherance of Good, not on a cave wall. -MM]

 

-text selected by Steve D.

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Taken on February 19, 2009