Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha meaning:
”Gone, gone, gone over, gone fully over. Awakened! So be it!”
The Heart Sutra has only 260 Chinese characters, yet, the Sutra contains everything a person needs to know about Buddhism. In addition, this Sutra has everything we need to know about cosmic reality.
Prajnaparamita mantra is found at the end of the Heart Sutra, also known as Wisdom Sutra or the Great Heart.
The exact origin of this Sutra is unknown, however, the Zen Buddhists and Pure Land Buddhists believe that Gautama Buddha himself spoke it, but the Tibetan Buddhists believe that it is a sutra which was spoken by Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas).
Nevertheless, this Sutra gives us solid ground for making peace with ourselves, for transcending the fear of birth and death, the duality of this and that.
Therefore, when we read and think about the Heart Sutra we discover our innate capacity to go beyond usual worries (work, family, money, etc), to go where complete spiritual awakening exits and all living beings are living in harmony and unison.
According to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the mantra translates as – “go, go, go beyond, go thoroughly beyond, and establish yourself in enlightenment” and works both as an instruction for practice and as a device for measuring one’s own level of spiritual attainment.
Prajnaparamita mantra meaning on syllables:
- GATE- literally translates as ”gone.”
- PARAGATE – literally translates as ”gone to the further shore.” The word ”para” represents ”the bank of a river opposite to the one on which one is presently standing.”
- PARASAMGATE – literally translates ”completely gone to the further shore.”
- BODHI – literally translates as ”awakening.”
- SVAHA – this is the last word of the Prajnaparamita mantra and is usually used at the end of many mantras. There are numerous translations of this word, however, the simplest meaning is “so be it” in Tibetan Buddhism tradition and “well said” in Hinduism.
The Heart Sutra
”Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion, when deeply practicing prajna-paramita, clearly saw that the 5 skandhas are all empty, and was saved from all suffering and distress.
Here, O Sariputra, Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form; Form does not differ from Emptiness, Emptiness does not differ from Form; whatever is Empty, that is Form, whatever is Form that is Empty. The same is true of perceptions, feelings, impulses, and consciousness.
O Sariputra, all dharmas are noted with Emptiness, they are neither imperfect nor perfect, they have no beginning and no end, neither deficient nor complete.
Therefore, in emptiness there is no form, feeling, formation, cognition, or consciousness; no eyes, ears, tongue, nose, body, or mind; no sights, smells, sounds, objects of touch, tastes, or Dharmas; no field of the eyes up to and including no field of mind-consciousness; no ending of ignorance or ignorance up to and including no old age and death or ending of old age and death.
There is no origination, no suffering, no path, no stopping, no cognition, no attainment, nor anything to attain. There is nothing to achieve and so Bodhisattvas can rely on the Perfection of Wisdom without trouble. Being without trouble they are not afraid, having overcome anything upsetting they attain Nirvana.
All Buddhas who appear in the 3 periods, completely Awake to the utmost perfect and right enlightenment due to the fact that they have relied on the Perfection of Wisdom.
For this reason, know prajñaparamita is the great spiritual mantra.
The great understanding mantra. The supreme mantra. The unequaled mantra, able to cut through all vexation because in reality there is no emptiness. Speak the mantra’s words:
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Para Sam gate Bodhi svaha.”
This profound Buddhist Sutra exists in 2 versions: a longer one and a shorter one. The longer has been extended by the addition of stereotypical passages commonly associated with Buddhist sutras composed in India, while the shorter appears to be the original text.
You can listen to the long version of the Heart Sutra below.