April 9, 2018 – New Heart Sutra Translation

Dear Sangha,
We hope you can join Jon and I this coming Monday when we will take a look at the Heart Sutra or as Thay translates it, The Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore. If you can find it, look for The Other Shore-A New Translation of the Heart Sutra With Commentaries by T.N.H.  (Parallax-Palm Leaves Press, 2017). This book goes into great detail explaining the Heart Sutra and about the problems with the old translation.  As you know, the old translation was very confusing and raised many questions.  We will look at some of this.  This is a very important sutra recited in monasteries and sanghas around the world and a very misunderstood sutra.

As Thay says, “The deepest of the Prajnaparamita teachings are the emptiness of self and the emptiness of all phenomena, and not the nonexistence or nonbeing of self and phenomena.”

Below is a link to a beautiful video on the Gayatri mantra as translated by Joseph Emet, a dharma teacher in Canada. This was a great way to start my morning.

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.

Enjoy your stopping, breathing, smiling


Dear Dharma Sisters and Brothers,
Here is a gatha in the footsteps of Thay’s gathas in his wonderful collection, Present Moment Wonderful Moment. Praised by the Buddha, the Gayatri Mantra is also a meditation and a prayer. I know at least one Dharma Teacher in our tradition who has used the original in weekly meetings. Personally, I find that it is more powerful in English than in Sanskrit. Words are effective not only because of their sound, but also because of what they mean.
In coming up with this version, I have been guided by translations of old masters, and the poem has taken shape over several months in the light of my own practice.
May it add a ray of the spring sun to your practice as well…
Joseph Emet

From the Plum Village Website:

On 11th September Thay completed a profound and beautiful new English translation of the Heart Sutra, one of the most important sutras in Mahayana Buddhism.

This new English translation is based on the new Vietnamese translation that Thay began working on three weeks ago at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Germany.


The Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore

while practicing deeply with
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore,
suddenly discovered that
all of the five Skandhas are equally empty,
and with this realisation
he overcame all Ill-being.

“Listen Sariputra,
this Body itself is Emptiness
and Emptiness itself is this Body.
This Body is not other than Emptiness
and Emptiness is not other than this Body.
The same is true of Feelings,
Perceptions, Mental Formations,
and Consciousness.

“Listen Sariputra,
all phenomena bear the mark of Emptiness;
their true nature is the nature of
no Birth no Death,
no Being no Non-being,
no Defilement no Purity,
no Increasing no Decreasing.

“That is why in Emptiness,
Body, Feelings, Perceptions,
Mental Formations and Consciousness
are not separate self entities.

The Heart Sutra Chant


Sheet music:


Tutorials from Sanga Songs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s