Heart Sutra

Definition - What does Heart Sutra mean?

The "Heart Sutra" is one of the most popular scriptures in the Mahayana tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It is one of 40 sutras that comprise the "Prajnaparamita Sutras," which were believed to have been written between 100 B.C.E. and 500 C.E. Buddhists recite the "Heart Sutra" daily during meditation and at meetings.

In Sanskrit, the "Heart Sutra" is called "Prajna Paramitahrdaya," which translates as "the heart of the perfection of wisdom.” It describes the nature of emptiness, or sunyata, a principal concept in Buddhism.

Yogapedia explains Heart Sutra

In the brief "Heart Sutra," the buddha of compassion, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, shares teachings with the monk, Shariputra. Among them are the Buddhist concepts of sunyata, the five skandhas, and The Four Noble Truths (of suffering).

The "Heart Sutra" contains the Prajna Paramita mantra, which Buddhists may recite daily:

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.

It is translated as: “Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, awaken, all hail.” This mantra refers to the absence of thoughts, which opens the yogi to spiritual awakening.

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