The Great Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra is the classic short sutra of Mahayana Buddhism. It is concise and condensed to minimalist perfection. Who would dare to mess with it?
I guess that means me.
While the Heart Sutra sets the standard, the one thing I have always been unhappy with are the very shortcuts that give the sutra its conciseness. It takes shortcuts with reference to the 5 skandhas, the 18 dhatus (realms of senses), and the 12 nidanas (links of causation).
For the 5 skandhas, we always (ad nauseum?) hear the formula "form is emptiness; emptiness is form" stated and restated. But when do we hear "sensation is emptiness; emptiness is sensation" or "consciousness is emptiness; emptiness is consciousness"? We don't because the Heart Sutra just says "the same with sensation, perception, mental reactions, and consciousness." That shortcut of "the same with" is just what I object to.
Then when we come to the 18 dhatus and 12 nidanas we get "and so on to."
Well, I've "fixed" the problem. LOL!
There many English translations of the Heart Sutra here is the one my sangha, Rocks and Clouds Zendo, uses with the shortcuts removed and the lists restored to their full contents.
The Great Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, practicing deep Prajna Paramita,
clearly saw that all five skandhas are empty, transforming all suffering and distress.
form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form;
sensation is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly sensation;
,perception is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than perception;
perception is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly perception;
mental reaction is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than mental reaction;
mental reaction is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly mental reaction;
consciousness is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than consciousness;
consciousness is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly consciousness.
no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of thought;
no seeing, no hearing, no smelling, no tasting, no touching, no thinking;,
no ignorance and also no ending of ignorance,
no mental reaction and also no ending of mental reaction,
no name and form and also no ending of name and form,
no six sensory abodes and also no ending of six sensory abodes,
no contact and also no ending of contact,
no sensations and also no ending of sensations,
no craving and also no ending of craving,
no grasping and also no ending of grasping,
no becoming and also no ending of becoming,
no birth and also no ending of birth,
no old age and death and also no ending of old age and death;
no suffering, no cause of suffering, no cessation of suffering, no path to cessation of suffering;
no wisdom and no attainment.
with no hindrance in the mind; no hindrance and therefore no fear;
far beyond delusive thinking, right here is Nirvana.
All Buddhas of past, present, and future live by Prajna Paramita,
Therefore know that Prajna Paramita
is the great sacred mantra, the great vivid mantra,
the unsurpassed mantra, the supreme mantra,
which completely removes all suffering.
Therefore set forth the Prajna Paramita mantra,
set forth this mantra and proclaim:
Gate gate paragate parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!