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Chapter 4: Heart
Note to the reader: In Both Pali and Sanskrit, the word `Citta` represents all the mental functions of humans, including feelings and emotions as well as the intellect. Most Chinese versions of Buddhist scriptures were based on the early translation system, which used the Chinese character hsin/xin for `Citta.` In the Chinese language, the character hsin or xin includes both the `head` and the `heart,` as well as the spirit, soul, conscience, and more. So when you see the word `heart` or `mind` or similar words in the text, please remember this point.
Chapter 3: Paramita
A very good evening to all masters and practitioners! Today, we shall continue with the Maha Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra. We shall talk about the word `paramita`. It is an ancient Sanskrit word in the language used in ancient India. The `ta` in the word `paramita` has no meaning. It is just an extension of paramita. It is an empty syllable, a sound with no meaning. How about `para`? `Para` means `the other shore`, the shore on the other side. `Mi` means to arrive or reach. `Ta` is something like `La` [a syllable without any meaning used by Chinese in daily speech]. So the word `paramita` means `to reach the other shore, la`. Therefore, the title of the sutra can be interpreted as `Reaching the Other Shore by Utilizing Great Wisdom`. This is what the whole sutra is all about.
Chapter 2: Prajna
A very good evening to all Masters and practitioners! Today, we will continue with the Maha Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra. We will expound on the word `prajna`. `Bo qie` is `prajna` in Taiwanese pronunciation, as is `ban ruo` [close to the `prajna` sound] in Mandarin, `bo ye` in Cantonese, and `bie zha` in Tibetan.
Chapter 1: Maha
Today, we shall start on the `Maha Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra`. The first thing about this sutra that we need to talk about is its title, which is the name of the sutra itself. Some sutras only have `Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra` without the word `maha`, whereas in other sutras, the word `maha` is present. We will first talk about the word `maha`. I am referring to the `Maha` as in `Maha Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra`. Everyone knows that Maha Twin Lotus Ponds means the Great Twin Lotus Ponds, so `maha` means great or big.
Every Saturday evening at 8pm, at the end of the cultivation session in the Redmond Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple, I would deliver a sermon on the Prajna Heart Sutra. I feel that the Prajna Heart Sutra contains true wisdom.
Some people say that the Diamond Sutra is a shorter version of the Maha Heart Sutra, and the Diamond Sutra is a longer version of the Heart Sutra. This theory is indeed well founded. The Heart Sutra is so short that it has only 260 words [in the Chinese version]. Yet, it encompasses two main Buddhism systemic teachings, existence and emptiness. It also sums up the essence of realization.