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Name of Heart Sutra non-English

Does anyone know the name of the Heart Sutra? It's a quite famous sutra and it is one of the shorter in length sutras. But I was wondering what the name is in original languages. For example is it a translation from "Citta Sutra"? Or some other names translated?


  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Hi @Jeffrey - a quick search of the internet suggests its Sanskrit name is Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran

    "Cittasūtra" is a Sanskritization, here meaning something that has been translated back into Sanskrit versus something from Sanskrit originally. It reflects the Chinese 心經, which literally means "Heart Sūtra." The ambiguity is found in that 心 is used to translate more than one Sanskrit/Prākrit term. Here "Hṛdayasūtra" would be better, because we have a Sanskrit recension of the Heart Sūtra. But the hṛdaya/citta ambiguity is present in 心.

    The Sanskrit title is how @Bunks has it above. You'll notice it's not called a sūtra. The earliest Heart Sūtra copies we have also don't call it a "sūtra." It is only in the later Tang-era traditions of China that we find "sūtra" appended to the end. Interesting historical trivia (IMO).

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited May 2020

    With regards to Chinese titles for the Heart Sūtra, we have 摩訶般若波羅蜜大明呪經 and 般若波羅蜜多心經, the first being "Mahāprajñāpāramitāmahāvidyamantrasūtra," meaning "The Sūtra of the Great Wisdom Mantra of the Great Wisdom-Perfection'" and the second being "Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasūtra" or "The Sūtra of the Heart of the Wisdom-Perfection."

    Something else interesting is that you literally have to order these Sanskrit and Chinese titles backwards in order to put them into English.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    [Lobster faints] TMI?

    Hope you are satisfied @Jeffrey ... I have been scholarised ... :p

  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran

    From the book by Thich Nhat Hahn which I just happen to have started rereading:

    What we commonly refer to as the “Heart Sutra” is a shortened translation of the Sanskrit title Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya-sūtram. Pāram means “the other shore,” ita means “gone”, and prajñā is “insight.” Hṛdaya means “heart” or “essence,” and a sūtra is a scripture. For this new translation I have used the phrase, The Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore, because in the final mantra there is also the expression pāragate, which means “having gone to the other shore.”

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