Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

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Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby Rakshasa » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:52 am

Recently I read a very convincing analysis by Jan Nattier which puts forward the theory that Heart Sutra was made up by Huang Tsang in China and then translated into Sanskrit. Her arguments are very convincing. What are your views regarding this? Are there any refutations to her article?

I have always heard about Heart Sutra being more like a Dharani used for ritual purposes or to ward of spirits etc - since intellectual analysis of its core text doesn't reveal any profound ideas or doesn't even make mundane sense.
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Re: Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby Huifeng » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:11 pm

I think we've already got at least a couple of threads on this one...

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Re: Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby Leo Rivers » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:44 pm

I tried doing a search on dharmawheel and putting the two words in quotes didn't glue them together in the BOOLIAN search mode.

The following words in your search query were ignored because they are too common words: heart sūtra.
You must specify at least one word to search for. Each word must consist of at least 3 characters and must not contain more than 14 characters excluding wildcards.


PS: If the "Heart Sutra" is a late consolidation from Afghanistan or anywhere on the Silk Route is it any the less wonderful? Non Hindus can express Buddha Nature too. Or not.... ; )
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Re: Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby Anders » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:02 pm

Leo Rivers wrote:I tried doing a search on dharmawheel and putting the two words in quotes didn't glue them together in the BOOLIAN search mode.

The following words in your search query were ignored because they are too common words: heart sūtra.
You must specify at least one word to search for. Each word must consist of at least 3 characters and must not contain more than 14 characters excluding wildcards.

There are other options. :smile:

PS: If the "Heart Sutra" is a late consolidation from Afghanistan or anywhere on the Silk Route is it any the less wonderful? Non Hindus can express Buddha Nature too. Or not.... ; )


Indeed. I think it is difficult for modern western mahayana Buddhists to deny the evidence that the mahayana sutras are all compositions post-dating the Buddha. What matters is the question "do I think it was composed by a Buddha?" And given that, it hardly matters if it originated in India or China. Basically, it just means we apply the same criteria to Mahayana sutras as we do in coming to the teachings of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni: Is this profound and a teaching worth following?

And fwiw, there are sutras in the Chinese canon that have always been known to have been composed in China. They were new sutras recited by largely illiterate laypeople, yet displayed many literary traits and Dharma education that should make it basically impossible for such laypeople to compose them. As such, it was considered that they received these sutras from Buddhas directly and thusly accepted into the canon.
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Re: Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:10 pm

The literary ideas behind Mahāyāna scriptures are largely alien to modern folks. In respect to just Tibetan literature...

    "Much is also recycled, within a literary culture that normatively envisions contributors as tradents rather than innovators: in other words, the person producing a text sees himself as passing on existing knowledge, rather than creating new knowledge from nothing (I will elaborate further on the term tradent below). Texts can be substantially modified by other hands in subsequent re-publications, even while still retaining their original authorial (or revelatory) attribution."


http://blogs.orient.ox.ac.uk/kila/2010/ ... -tradents/

The Heart Sūtra is clearly a highly condensed version of Prajñāpāramitā literature, which was based on meaning drawn out from earlier Buddhist scriptures.
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Re: Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:15 pm

Rakshasa wrote:...since intellectual analysis of its core text doesn't reveal any profound ideas or doesn't even make mundane sense.
Boy have you heard wrong or what!!! :jawdrop:
Check out this teaching by the Dalai Lama
http://dalailama.com/webcasts/post/125- ... odhisattva
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:55 pm

In what way does the text of the Heart Sutra not make sense?

I feel that it says in a small space what some of the other Perfection of Wisdom Sutras take alot more time to lay out.

Oops just noticed my questions are redundant heh, but still it's one of my favorites so..

Also, does something being "boiled down" for purposes of recitation somehow make it less profound, and if so, why?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby songhill » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:00 pm

The most compelling part of her case, i.e., the evidence, is as follows:

More important for our purposes are two further features which are far more unexpected in a Mahayana scripture: first, that the sutra lacks a proper opening (that is, the requisite formula "Thus have I heard at one time. The Lord was staying at ...," specifying the location and circumstances of its preaching) and second, that it lacks a proper conclusion (in which some reference to the reaction of the audience is generally made). A third and most unexpected peculiarity is the fact that the Buddha himself makes no appearance whatsoever in this sutra - a defect that is perfunctorily remedied in the longer recension of the text, but appeared not to concern the compilers of the shorter version.


It may well not be a "Sutra" strictly speaking. Is it an abridgment, a recension, an abstract, or an epitome of an important section of a larger Sutra, for example, the Pancavimsatisahasrika-prajnaparamita-sutra? It could be.
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Re: Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby Leo Rivers » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:51 am

Pancavimsatisahasrika-prajnaparamita-sutra, the 25,000-Line Perfection of Wisdom version. Is this in translation? I understand the Conze 100,000 Line Mother to be something of a hybrid. I also get the impression it has the special wisdom chapter and even Yogacara references, (as to the three empty natures and the ground consciousness), to boot. Is this the real biggest version, (the 100,000 being mostly playing out all the lists), before the condensed Milk of all The Mothers... the Heart Sutra?

Anyone read Chinese? :namaste:


PS:
There are other options. :smile:
What an amazing trick! :applause: I have read that and several rebuttals, Red Pine and others more mist covered and with academic spectacles. To me, Sutra is like practice, it is proven if it furthers.
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Re: Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby Huifeng » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:12 am

Conze's "Large Sutra" is parts of the Pancavimsati- with other parts of the Astadasa-, mostly read through Haribhadra's Abhisamayalamkara, with some notes from Lamott'es trs. of the Upadesa at the start. A philological monster if ever there was one.

The Pancavimsati-sahasrika (25,000) or the Sata-sahasrika (100,000) have not been translated into English.

Some resources here: http://prajnacara.blogspot.tw/search/la ... naparamita

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Re: Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:00 pm

Rakshasa wrote:
I have always heard about Heart Sutra being more like a Dharani used for ritual purposes or to ward of spirits etc - since intellectual analysis of its core text doesn't reveal any profound ideas or doesn't even make mundane sense.



Actually if you read a really good commentary or heard a teaching from someone like HH Dalai Lama on the Heart Sutra I think you would feel differently. Because it is the most concise of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, each of the words is like a touchstone for a much deeper understanding. I suggest reading His Holiness the Dalai Lama's book on the text.

For a "taste" here is an extremely concise commentary by the late Geshe Tsultrim Gyaltsen http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect ... 4&chid=825

For a Chinese Buddhist interpretation there is this text by Grand Master Tan Hsu but I haven't read it yet so I am not sure how good the translation is. Ven. Hui Feng might have some better ideas.

www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/heartstr.htm
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Heart Sutra is apocryphal?

Postby vinodh » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:42 pm

Huifeng wrote:Conze's "Large Sutra" is parts of the Pancavimsati- with other parts of the Astadasa-, mostly read through Haribhadra's Abhisamayalamkara, with some notes from Lamott'es trs. of the Upadesa at the start. A philological monster if ever there was one.


I understand Conze's is primarily based on Ashtadasha, but when he recognised serious corruptions in Nepalese Manuscript of the Ashtadasha - he had switched to Panchavimsati for the corresponding sections.

If that's the case, how accurate is Conze's reconstruction of the Ashtadasha (through adaptive translation) ?

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na pudgalo na ca skandhā buddho jñānamanāsravam
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