The Heart Sutra – Thich Nhat Hanh
“Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha.” This ultimate mantra is one of the most important in Buddhism. Thich Nhat Hanh’s new translation of The Heart Sutra offers a great deal of enlightened, sometimes more advanced, information and process. Avalokitesvara and other great Bodhisattvas present important views of this pivotal Buddhist sutra. The words used to describe it – great, highest, illuminating, and the end of suffering – offer great hope to Buddhist practitioners. Gate, itself, implies ending suffering, liberation, mindfulness, ending duality, reaching the other shore (enlightenment, nirvana, etc.). Paragate implies going all the way to the other shore – becoming enlightened. Parasamgate sum implies the the world-wide sangha or the entire human community. Bodhi is the light inside, and Svaha means joy. Keep in mind there may be slightly different translations of these words in Buddhist texts.
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svah
In this paragraph, we go over chanting. Chant this: “Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha.” Or if you like in English: “Gone gone, all the way over, gone to the other shore of enlightenment.” This sutra is chanted deep from within the heart, your heart. It reflects the teachings of the Prajnaparamita. Ultimately it teaches the real truth of emptiness. Some say this mantra is even more important than The Diamond Sutra. The important teaching dealing with ultimate emptiness include sinlessness, aimlessness, ending conventional designation, The Middle Way, interbeing, and the ultimate interbeing of all that arises and falls – everything that exists. The Buddha’s words to Sariputra are relevant: “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.” Associated mudras with The Heart Sutra are placing the tips of mid-fingers to the tops of thumbs, and next tips of ring fingers touching tops of thumbs.
To learn more about The Heart Sutra see the book, Fragrant Palm Leaves. In the end, The Heart Sutra notes there is no self-narrative, so strive to go beyond craving, fear and suffering. To many chanting, meditating and practicing with The Heart Sutra are the highest forms of spiritual practice. Be courageous; practice! See what the outcomes are for you. Has practice impacted your thoughts, emotions, behaviors?
For more information refer to Thich Nhat Hanh (2017). The Other Shore: A New Translation of The Heart Sutra…Berkely, CA: Palm Leaves Press, pp. 115-120, etc.m
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness