The Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore

Thich Nhat Hanh’s Retranslation of the Heart Sutra

September 11, 2014

Avalokiteshvara, 

while practicing deeply with

the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore,

suddenly discovered that

all of the Five Skandhas are equally empty,

and with this realization he overcame all ill-being.

“Listen, Sariputra,

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.

The same is true of feelings, perceptions, mental formations,

and consciousness.

“Listen, Sariputra,

all phenomena bear the mark of emptiness;

their true nature is the nature of

no birth, no death,

no being, no non-being,

no defilement, no immaculacy,

no increasing, no decreasing.

“That is why in emptiness,

body, feelings, perceptions,

mental formations, and consciousness

are not separate self entities.

“The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena, which are the six sense organs,

the six sense objects,

and the six consciousnesses,

are also not separate self entities

“The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising

and their extinction

are also not separate self entities.

Ill-being, the causes of ill-being,

the end of ill-being, the path,

insight, and attainment,

are also not separate self entities.

“Whoever can see this

no longer needs anything to attain.

“Bodhisattvas who practice

the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore

see no more obstacles in their mind,

and because there

are no more obstacles in their mind,

they can overcome all fear,

destroy all wrong perceptions,

and realize perfect nirvana.

All Buddhas in the past, present, and future

by practicing

the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore

are all capable of attaining

authentic and perfect enlightenment.

“Therefore, Sariputra,

it should be known that

the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore

is a great mantra,

the most illuminating mantra,

the highest mantra,

a mantra beyond compare,

the true wisdom that has the power

to put an end to all kinds of suffering.

Therefore let us proclaim

a mantra to praise

the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore:

“Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha!

Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha!

Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha!”