Heart Sutra, by Geshe Kunkhen
May 8, 2008 6:18 AM   Subscribe

Here's a small representation of some of the culture that many Tibetan protesters hope to save from eradication in Tibet: Heart Sutra, by Geshe Kunkhen.

Geshe Kunkhen will be leading classes on a Buddhist text throughout the summer and fall at Tibet House in NYC. Info here.
posted by flapjax at midnite (18 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good luck! 1.3 billion Chinese know that Tibet has been part of China for over 5,000 years and that means that they have the right to do whatever they f*cking please there. Starving out monks and dispossessing or randomly jailing ordinary people is an Internal Matter of China and your Western meddling and lying distortion is not appreciated.
posted by alexwoods at 7:25 AM on May 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


I liked the comment by a Turkish user on YouTube: "hey ma┼čallah"
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:49 AM on May 8, 2008


Luckily, the Heart Sutra itself is not about to be eradicated soon, as it has been one of the most widely treasured texts all over the Buddhist world for more than ten centuries. It's short enough to reprint it here. This is the translation that I chanted at San Francisco Zen Center when I was a student, and is still one of the more cogent translations out there:


Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, when practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita, perceived that all five skandhas in their own being are empty and was saved from all suffering.

O Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness; emptiness does not differ from form. That which is form is emptiness; that which is emptiness, form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, formations, consciousness.

O Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness. they do not appear nor disappear, are not tainted nor pure, do not increase nor decrease. Therefore in emptiness: no form, no feelings, no perceptions, no formations, no consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of eyes...until no realm of mind-consciousness; no ignorance and also no extinction of it...until no old-age and death and also no extinction of it; no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path, no cognition, also no attainment with nothing to attain.

A bodhisattva depends on Prajna Paramita and the mind is no hindrance. Without any hindrance no fears exist. Far apart from every perverted view one dwells in nirvana. In the three worlds all buddhas depend on Prajna Paramita and attain unsurpassed complete perfect enlightenment. Therefore, know the Prajna Paramita is the great transcendent mantra, is the great bright mantra, is the utmost mantra, is the supreme mantra which is able to relieve all suffering and is true not false; so proclaim the Prajna Paramita mantra, proclaim the mantra that says:

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha!



Understanding the sutra fully requires both meditation (for a taste of "emptiness," which does not mean "nothingness" and has also been translated as "boundlessness") and a bit of scholarship (to know who, say, "Sariputra" refers to), but there was a visceral power in hearing this text chanted by many voices at dawn. It still gives me a frisson. Imagine if the text of a Gregorian Chant sung in every church included the words "no God, no Jesus, no Mary, no testament, no angels, no prayer, no priest, no church..."

One of the things I like about Buddhism is that it has its own negation or complement at the heart of it, in this text and others.
posted by digaman at 7:57 AM on May 8, 2008 [6 favorites]


Previous throatsinging posts on MeFi.

(here's the throat-sung version of Love Will Tear Us Apart mentioned in the final link)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:00 AM on May 8, 2008


This is the translation that I chanted at San Francisco Zen Center when I was a student, and is still one of the more cogent translations out there

what bollocks. this is the true version:

Thus have I heard:

Once UbuRoivas was procrastinating in MetaFilter at Intar Tubes Mountain, together with a great gathering of the sangha of MeFites and a great gathering of the sangha of Lurkers. At that time the Blessed One entered the samadhi that expresses the dharma called "profound illumination" and at the same time, noble UbuRoivas, the bodhisattva MahaFilttva, while practicing the profound prajnamatafilta, saw in this way: he saw the seven subsites to be empty of nature.

Then, through the power of the tubes, venerable Burhanistan said to noble UbuRoivas, the bodhisattva MahaFilttva, "How should a son or daughter of noble family train, who wishes to go beyond the names and the named into the undifferentiated bliss of now?"

Addressed in this way, noble UbuRoivas, the bodhisattva MahaFilttva, said to venerable Burhanistan, "O Burhanistan, a son or daughter of noble family who wishes to practice the profound prajnamatafilta should see in this way:

When the MeFite UbuRoivas
Was Coursing in the Deep Prajna Matafilta
He Perceived That All Seven Subsites Are Empty
Thus He Overcame All Ills and Suffering.

Oh, Burhanistan, Form Does not Differ From the Void,
And the Void Does Not Differ From Form.
Form is Void and Void is Form;
The Same is True For Blue,
Green, Grey and Miscellaneous.

Burhanistan, the Characteristics of the
Voidness of All Posts
Are Non-Arising, Non-Ceasing, Non-Defiled,
Non-Pure, Non-Increasing, Non-Decreasing.

Therefore, in the Site There Are No Forms,
No Feelings, Perceptions, Volitions or Consciousness.

No Post, Comment, Favourite, Flag, Callout or Snark;
No Tag, Flameout, Deletion, Lolcat, Wikipedia or Mushroom Object;
No Realm of the YouTube,
Until We Come to No realm of Consciousness.

No Ignorance and Also No Ending of Ignorance,
Until We Come to No Moderation and Cabal and
No Ending of Moderation and Cabal.

Also, There is No Truth of Commenting,
Of the Cause of Commenting,
Of the Cessation of Commenting, Nor of the Post.

There is No Wisdom, and There is No Attainment Whatsoever.

Because There is Nothing to be Attained,
The MeFite Relying On Prajna Matafilta Has
No Obstruction in His Mind.

Because There is No Obstruction, He Has no Fear,
And He Passes Far Beyond Confused Imagination.

And Reaches Ultimate Procrastination.

The MeFites of the Past, Present and Future,
By Relying on Prajna Matafilta
Have Attained Supreme Pointlessness.

Therefore, the Prajna Matafilta is the Great Magic Spell,
The Spell of Illumination, the Supreme Spell,
Which Can Truly Protect One From All Flameouts Without Fail.

Therefore He Uttered the Spell of Prajnamatafilta,
Saying Ubu, Ubu, Paratubu, Paratubguburoivasvaha!

posted by UbuRoivas at 8:01 AM on May 8, 2008 [8 favorites]


Ubu, that will make me smile all day.
posted by desjardins at 8:09 AM on May 8, 2008


awesome! because i've vowed not to smile until every sentient being has passed into smiledom!

one more down, only - um, how many insects are there, exactly? and are algae sentient?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:11 AM on May 8, 2008


are algae sentient?

"Mu!"


Zen humor, sorry.

posted by digaman at 9:20 AM on May 8, 2008


Am I the only person here who thinks Buddhism is as much a crock of shit as Christianity? Oh, I am? Oh...ok.
Nevermind.
Sorry. I'll go to fark.
posted by GoingToShopping at 9:35 AM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm a buddhist and I agree with you, GoingToShopping. It's pretty much all a crock of shit. (does that make us crockpots instead of crackpots?)

Anyway, my favorite buddhist video is Snoop Yakky Yak.
posted by desjardins at 9:51 AM on May 8, 2008


Don't worry, GTS, Zen masters agree with you.

But what is shit? That's as good a koan as any other.
posted by digaman at 9:55 AM on May 8, 2008


But what is shit? That's as good a koan as any other.

If he cannot truly see the shit, how may he see the way?
posted by loquacious at 10:58 AM on May 8, 2008


digaman: Imagine if the text of a Gregorian Chant sung in every church included the words "no God, no Jesus, no Mary, no testament, no angels, no prayer, no priest, no church..."

Imagine, indeed.
posted by symbioid at 11:02 AM on May 8, 2008


Didn't know this was on YouTube. Man, it's really the gift you didn't ask for and yet which just keeps giving and giving and giving. And giving. And giving. And giving. And giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and so on and so on and so on.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:18 AM on May 8, 2008


digaman: Imagine if the text of a Gregorian Chant sung in every church included the words "no God, no Jesus, no Mary, no testament, no angels, no prayer, no priest, no church..."

Well, to be fair, Christianity has a well-established tradition of negative theology which suggests that all positive statements about God are false.
posted by nasreddin at 1:03 PM on May 8, 2008


Fascinating, nasreddin! I had heard the phrase "via negativa" in Jungian circles, but I'd never heard of negative theology. Thanks.
posted by digaman at 3:25 PM on May 8, 2008


The second book I ever read about Buddhism was "The Heart of Understanding" by Thich Nhat Han--his commentary on the HS. Still a favorite.

(The first was "The Three Pillars of Zen" by Philip Kapleau. Other all-time favs-- "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki and "The Myth of Freedom" by Chogyam Trungpa, which contains some of the best advice I've ever read on love. Also, "The Empty Mirror" by Janwillem van de Wetering--fascinating story of a westerner checking out the Zen thing in a Japanese monastery. More recently, I loved "Dharma Punx" by Noah Levine--the shit he went through before he got his head screwed on straight gives him a lot of credibility in my book.)

Also teaching in NYC this month: the Karmapa. (He's essentially the number 2 Tibetan spiritual leader; I've heard good things about him as a teacher from western folks.)
posted by flotson at 6:38 PM on May 9, 2008


Tibetan Monks Sealed in Monastery in Sichuan Request Permission to Pray for Chinese Quake Victims
posted by homunculus at 11:02 PM on May 23, 2008


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