Far from systematic, this collection of essays are my notes from several years of studying this text and its antecedents in the light of Jan Nattier’s landmark, 1992 article (see the first essay on the list).
These essays have appeared on my blog. For more essays on Prajñāpāramitā see my blog page
Words in mantras that end in -e
(6 Mar 2009) The Grammatical function of the -e case marker in mantras, suggesting that this is from Prakrit and indicates a masculine nominative singular.
Tadyathā in the Heart Sūtra
. (13 Nov 2009) Grammar and syntax of tadyathā in relationship to mantras. Not originally intended to be included in recitation.
Heart Sutra Syntax
.(23 Nov 2012) Initial notes on a grammatical error discovered in Conze’s critical edition of the Sanskrit Heart Sutra, with proposed changes to the text. Now submitted to an academic journal.
Emptiness for Beginners
. (14 Feb 2013) Brief explanation of the concept of emptiness based on close study of Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamkakārikā
Heart Sutra Mantra
. (30 Aug 2013) Detailed notes on the source texts for the mantra found in the Heart Sutra. Definition of mantra vs dhāraṇī
with suggestion that the “mantra” is in fact a dhāraṇī
Heart Sutra Mantra Epithets
. (6 Sep 2013) Notes on the epithets often associated with the mantra. Shows that “mantra” is probably the wrong Sanskrit word, and that the source texts, particularly Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra
“. Epithets are in fact unrelated to the dhāraṇī
and refer to prajñāpāramitā
A New Sanskrit Heart Sutra
. (27 Sep 2013). A revision of the edition of the Heart Sutra by Edward Conze, with some back story, notes and a new translation.
Roots of the Heart Sutra
. (15 Aug 2014). A possible source text for the epithets passage in theHṛdaya
in the form of a verse from the Ratnaguṇasaṃcayagāthā
New Heart Sutra Manuscript
. (26 Dec 2014). Diplomatic edition of EAP676/2/5: Ārya Pañcaviṁśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Mantranāma Dhāraṇī
(aka the long text Heart Sutra).
Chinese Heart Sutra: Dates and Attributions
. (3 April 2015). A critical review of Jan Nattier’s arguments about the chronology of the Heart Sutra, in the light of a 2003 article by Dan Lusthaus presenting evidence which he argues poses a serious challenge to Nattier’s theory.
Avalokiteśvara & the Heart Sutra
. (24 Apr 2015) Forensic examination of the name in Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan, along with some notes about the role of the bodhisatva in thePrajñāpāramitāhṛdaya
The Heart Sutra in Middle Chinese
. (15 May 2015). A transcription of the Xīnjīng
or the Heart Sutra
according to the Baxter & Sagart reconstruction of Middle Chinese. This is the Heart Sutra as it might have sounded at the time it was composed.
Form is Emptiness. Part I: Establishing the Text
. (17 Jul 2015) First part of this essay works through the process of establishing the text to be commented on. The method involves examining the manuscript/ epigraphical tradition of Sanskrit and the canonical Chinese texts as well as versions of the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra
in both languages.
Form is Emptiness. Part II: Commentary
. (24 Jul 2015) In the second part of this essay we briefly consider the traditional commentaries, then move on to treating the Aṣṭasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra
as a commentary on the famous passage from the Heart Sutra, providing an authoritative alternative to the common Zen inspired readings of the text.
Form is Emptiness. Part III: Commentary continued
. (31 Jul 2015). In the third and final part of this essay we discover that the phraserūpam śūnyatā śūnytaiva rūpaṃ
has in fact been altered. In the Aṣṭa it is rūpameva māyā māyaiva rūpam
. We explore the implications of this, and sum up the whole project.
I’ve prepared a pdf of the three essays on form is emptinesscombined.