The Heart of Prajñā Pāramitā Sūtra: with “Verses Without A Stand” and Prose Commentary

Buddhist Text Translation Society
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Often cited as perhaps the best-known Mahayana Buddhist sutra, the Heart Sutra has been chanted daily in Buddhist monasteries in Asia for more than a thousand years. This sutra, the “heart” of the larger Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Wisdom) Sutra, describes the experience of the liberation of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteśvara, through the insight gained from deep meditation into the fundamental emptiness of all phenomena. With commentary by the Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua, one of the foremost Tripitaka and Chan masters of Chinese Buddhism in the United States. Translated by Ronald Epstein, PhD.
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About the author

Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua (1918-1995)

 Hsuan Hua (Xuanhua, 1918-1995) was a monastic reformer and the first Chinese master to teach Buddhism to large numbers of Westerners. He emphasized the primacy of the monastic tradition, the essential role of moral education, the need for Buddhists to ground themselves in traditional spiritual practice and authentic scripture, and the importance of mutual respect and understanding among religions. This included clearly explaining the essential principles of the Buddha’s original teachings, and organizing and supporting the translation of the Buddhist canon into English and other languages.

 

Born in 1918 to a peasant family in a small village south of Harbin, in northeast China, Master Hua was the youngest of eight children. He formally became a Buddhist, in his mid-teens and was given the Dharma name Anci (Peace and Compassion). After his mother’s death, when he was 19, he became a monk and was given the name To Lun (Dulun “Liberator from the Wheel of Rebirth”). He meditated by his mother’s grave for three years and practiced other austerities before receiving full ordination in 1947 at the Buddhist holy mountain Putuoshan.

 

At Nanhua Monastery in Guangdong Province, he received the Dharma-seal of the Weiyang (also pronounced Guiyang) Chan lineage from the Elder Chan Master Xuyun (1840-1959). Master Xuyun also bestowed upon him the Dharma-transmission name Hsuan Hua (Xuanhua “Proclaim and Transform”).

 

In 1949, Master Hua left China for Hong Kong, where he taught meditation, lectured on the Buddhist sutras, and helped to establish three Buddhist monasteries. In 1962, he traveled to the United States at the invitation of disciples, who formerly lived in Hong Kong, but were then living in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he began lecturing at the San Francisco Buddhist Lecture Hall (Sanfanshi Fojiao Jiangtang). In 1970, Master Hua moved from Chinatown to the newly established Gold Mountain Monastery (Jinshan Si) in the Mission District of San Francisco. In 1975, Master Hua established the organization’s first branch monastery – Gold Wheel Temple (Jinlun Si) in Los Angeles – and in 1976 he established a new headquarters at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (Wan Fo Sheng Cheng), in Ukiah, California.

 

Additionally, he founded the Buddhist Text Translation Society with the goal of translating the Buddhist canon. It has now published well over a hundred volumes of translations, including several of the major Mahayana sutras with Master Hua’s commentaries.

 In 1995, after a long and tireless career, Master Hua passed away at the age of 77.

In his final instructions he said: “After I depart, you can recite the Avataṃsaka Sutra and the name of the Buddha Amitābha for however many days you would like, perhaps seven days or forty-nine days. After cremating my body, scatter all my remains in the air. I do not want you to do anything else at all. Do not build me any pagodas or memorials. I came into the world without anything; when I depart, I still do not want anything, and I do not want to leave any traces in the world…. From emptiness I came; to emptiness I return.” 

 Ronald Epstein, translated this text. He is a practicing Buddhist scholar,  who holds a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and recently retired from teaching Buddhist studies and world religions at San Francisco State University.

 

 

 

 

 

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Additional Information

Publisher
Buddhist Text Translation Society
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Published on
Dec 31, 1980
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Pages
140
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ISBN
9781601030412
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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