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The Heart Sutra

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  2,237 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
The Heart Sutra is Buddhism in a nutshell. It has had the most profound and wide-reaching influence of any text in Buddhism. This short text covers more of the Buddha's teachings than any other scripture, and it does so without being superficial or hurried. Although the original author is unknown, he was clearly someone with a deep realization of the Dharma.

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ebook, 208 pages
Published August 10th 2005 by Counterpoint LLC (first published 2004)
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Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Heart Sutra is only 35 lines long, yet one of the most important scriptures in Buddhism. We've read it and chanted it many, many times. It's importance equal to what The Lord's Prayer has for Christians. It's essence is "form is emptiness...emptiness is form." People study it a life time. I believe it's important to also know what the Dalai Lama said about the Heart cannot be grasped by intellect alone; it's just as important to practice it. This is a great translation, a study bo ...more
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just way too dense. I stopped reading about 1/3 of the way through. Some very good insight, but just not readible. I'll look at Thich Nhat Hahn's book on the Heart Sutra.

Also, I've moved away from Buddhist meditation to do more contemplative prayer, so just not as interested any more.
Will Kastner
May 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Valuable for me to always be "Currently Reading" this edition of this sutra.
Sept. 2012/Just re-read this again. Still fabulous.
Heidi The Hippie Reader
The author breaks the Sutra down to a line by line analysis which doesn't make for exciting reading, but it is thorough. He gives detailed Buddhist history and translation notes which can be confusing if the reader doesn't have an extensive background knowledge of the topic.

This book was definitely beyond me at this time but for the serious Buddhist practitioner, I could see this being very insightful and informative for contemplative practice.

For now, I find this sutra most helpful as a mind cl
Rivera Sun
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Red Pine's translations crack the diamond of Buddhist wisdom for me. I will forever be grateful to this blessed being for his humorous, thorough translations and commentaries that suit my American palate to the tee. He has a special way of reaching into my mind and pushing the boundaries of my thinking . . . and every now and then, all those lines of logic dissolve entirely, and the wisdom illuminates boundlessly.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Buddhism at its simplest (yet most paradoxical) is about no-mind, nothingness...form is void!
Aaron Wood
Feb 03, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Always reading this book
Jackson Hager
A wonderful, deeply insightful, and deeply beautiful translation of one of the most important Buddhist texts. Not only does Red Pine go line by line explaining the meaning of each word, he also takes the time to explain general Buddhist teachings. I would recommend this book to those familiar and unfamiliar to the words of the Buddha.
Koyote Blind
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book with heart and erudition, at the same time. The Heart Sutra is presented with an outstandingly poetic translation, and each verse is presented with helpful and intriguing historical annotations. The journey through the Heart Sutra is magnified and nuanced by cultural references and the valuable comparisons to other texts. I highly recommend this version.
Robin Friedman
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most famous of all Buddhist Scriptures, the Heart Sutra encompasses endless wisdom and spiritual guidance within its enigmatic 35 lines. The Heart Sutra is chanted several times daily at Mahayana Buddhist monasteries and temples throughout the world. It is work that will reward repeated and sustained attention. The Heart Sutra has been the subject of extensive commentary, both ancient and modern. One of the finest modern commentaries is the work of the American scholar and translator Red Pin ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome translation!
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books in the category. A line by line teaching helps even a basic reader grasp the gist of this beautiful sutra. You can't miss this one if you are reading up on the Heart sutra.
Matthew  Robinson
There are many wonderful translations and commentaries of the Heart Sutra available today. Red Pine is an undisputed master, but this is not my preferred choice.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(4.5) De Hartsoetra is een van de meest vertaalde soetra's ter wereld en niet zonder reden. Dit kleinood - de tekst zelf beslaat niet meer dan twee pagina's - heeft geleid tot vele interpretaties. Dat begint al in hoe de oorspronkelijke overlevering in het Sanskriet en Chinees tot veel nuances en misverstanden heeft geleid. Na een aantal (matige) versies in het Nederlands te hebben gelezen, verbaasde het me daarom dat Red Pine zo'n fijne klank en cadans heeft gevonden in zijn Engelse vertaling. ...more
Ann Tracy
too dense for my brain trama head.
Jan van Leent
The Heart Sutra - a very brief Sutra - is Buddhism in a nutshell.

Bernie Glassman says in “The Dude and the Zen Master” that the Heart Sutra begins with the most important word “Avalokiteshvara” or even better with the letter “A”. If this “A” is wholly encompassed, the Heart Sutra is all encompassed.

So true, bearing in mind the metaphor of the jewel net of Indra - in the Avatamsaka Sutra (translated by Thomas Cleary as “The Flower Ornament Scripture”) – stating that every single glass pearl in In
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
A year of studying The Heart Sutra leads Red Pine to the conclusion that this beloved sutra clarifies in a unique and profound way the Buddha's teaching on emptiness and suchness. He had overlooked the Heart Sutra, dismissing it as esoterica and perhaps not really aligned with his focus which is Soto Zen, until asked by a friend to translate it and prepare a commentary. He spent a year with it, and the texts that surround it and concluded that it is indeed the womb of buddhas..... Enjoyed it, as ...more
Aug 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly readable. Red Pine puts the sutra in its historical context as a rejection of the doctrines of a now obscure Buddhist sect, which helps explain exactly what the author was talking about.

He doesn't venture off much into the sort of Zen obscurity which you often find in this kind of thing, which is a definite plus. But he does seem to take too credulous an approach on some of the more fantastic elements presented here.
Sep 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book does a wonderful job of elucidating the sometimes confusing verbiage used in most translated Buddhist works. By tracing origin stories and the background stories of the gods associated with certain virtues, readers gain a better understanding of the core values and beliefs engrained into the Buddhist tradition. However, much of the descriptions and definitions I found unnecessary to understanding which made this book incredibly difficult to get through.
Kris Stark
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Heart Sutra deserves the global fanfare it gets, and Red Pine's translation and commentary fail to disappoint, as always. For such a short sutra, it is incredibly dense, and Red Pine very respectfully elucidates while providing necessary context. While I very much appreciate translations and commentaries I've read by Easterners, Red Pine is specifically adept at appealing to us Westerners.
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zen, philosophy
5 stars for the Heart Sutra, 4 stars for the commentary. Essentially all of Buddhism concentrated into a single poem (even though there are better places to start, for anyone just starting to read about it). As for the commentary, too much history for me in parts, but others greatly helped explain and clarify some of the lines.
Tough nut to crack...

Mr. Porter is so far doing an excellent job at providing the historical context for who this tiny bit of wording came to be, and came to be so revered. I had no idea that Buddhist in Afghanistan and Pakistan has such an influence on Chinese Buddhism. People got around back then. Fascinating stuff.
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the very best Heart Sutra commentaries written in English. Red Pine's knowledge of the Prajna Paramita literature, the Sanskrit language, history of Buddhism and Buddhist practice all come together in his commentary. This is a must read for any Buddhist practitioner.
Rick Smith
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent translation. Once again, Red Pine found the right words. At least, based upon the Chinese version, his translation sails way beyond mere competence. Excellent remarks on both the Sanskrit and Chinese add depth to this classic.
Derek Oz
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took a chinese philosophy class in college where I was required to pray with the monks once a week. It really got me back in touch with my spirituality. Not like that I'm going to start meditating again, but it's a worthwhile experience to try out.
Jun 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fresh translation with commentary. It was iffy in the middle but became wonderful in the end. He has wonderful insights, and writes well. I didn't like some of his interpretations, nor what he did with the Sanskrit, but toward the end he was exactly on.
Nov 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
Considerable insight into Buddhist thought, past and present, by focusing on one short sutra. But who will teach us about future Buddhist thought? When ans how will Buddhism account for human evolution and stop taking the current human form as some kind of optimum.
Not a easy read but worth the effort. The book is very scholarly and goes through the heart sutra line by line and provides author's commentaries as well as historical commentaries from past masters.
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Heart Sutra is one of those texts: it's so short, yet contains so much wisdom. This translation is wonderful (as is most of Red Pine's work), and the commentary is a great help in getting the most out of this sutra. Definetely recommend this version.
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very layman translation that makes an otherwise short but complicated text digestible. I wish Red Pine had provided more commentary other than clarification of facts regarding certain terms and concepts within the text. Otherwise a decent translation.
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“In a world where nothing exists by itself, where every division of one thing from another is a misperception - or misconception - of the way things really are, there are no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind.

We cannot, for example, draw a line around the eyes that is not necessarily arbitrary. There is no point at which the eyes begin or end, either in time or in space or conceptually. The eye bone is connected to the face bone, and the face bone is connected to the head bone, and the head bone is connected to the neck bone, and so it goes down to the toe bone, the floor bone, the earth bone, the worm bone, the dreaming butterfly bone. Thus, what we call our eyes are so many bubbles in a sea of foam. This is not only true of our eyes but of our other powers of sensation as well, including the mind.”
“Whatever is form is impermanent. And whatever is impermanent is suffering. And whatever is suffering is devoid of a self, devoid of a self and anything that might belong to a self. One who views things like this sees things as they really are. So, too, are sensation, perception, memory and consciousness impermanent. And being impermanent, they are suffering. And being suffering, they are devoid of a self and anything that might belong to a self. One who views things like this sees them as they really are. Those noble disciples who view things like this are repulsed by form and repulsed by sensation, perception, memory, and consciousness. And because they are repulsed by them, they do not delight in them. And because they do not delight in them, they are free of them.” 0 likes
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