Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One was dwelling in Rajagriha at Vulture Peak mountain, together with a great gathering of the sangha of monks and a great gathering of the sangha of bodhisattvas. At that time the Blessed One entered the samadhi that expresses the dharma called “profound illumination,” and at the same time noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, while practicing the profound perfection of wisdom, saw in this way: he saw the five skandhas to be empty of nature.

Then through the power of the Buddha, venerable Shariputra said to noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, “How should a son or daughter of noble family train, who wishes to practice the profound perfection of wisdom?”

Addressed in this way, noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, said to venerable Shariputra, “O Shariputra, a son or daughter of noble family who wishes to practice the profound perfection of wisdom should see in this way: seeing the five skandhas to be empty of nature. Form is emptiness; emptiness also is form. Emptiness is no other than form; form is no other than emptiness. In the same way, feeling, perception, formation and consciousness are emptiness. Thus, Shariputra, all dharmas are emptiness. There are no characteristics. There is no birth and no cessation. There is no impurity and no purity. There is no decrease and no increase. Therefore, Shariputra, in emptiness there is no form, no feeling, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no appearance, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no dharmas; no eye element up to no mind element, no element of dharmas, no mind consciousness element; no ignorance, no cessation of ignorance up to no old age and death, no cessation of old age and death; no suffering, no origin of suffering, no cessation of suffering, no path, no wisdom, no attainment and no non-attainment. Therefore, Shariputra, since the bodhisattvas have no attainment, they abide by means of the perfection of wisdom.

Since there is no obscuration of mind, there is no fear. They transcend falsity and attain complete nirvana. All the buddhas of the three times, by means of the perfection of wisdom, fully awaken to unsurpassable, true, complete enlightenment. Therefore, the great mantra of the perfection of wisdom, the mantra of great insight, the unsurpassed mantra, the unequalled mantra, the mantra that calms all suffering, should be known as truth, since there is no deception. The perfection of wisdom mantra is said in this way:

OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA

Thus, Shariputra, the bodhisattva mahasattva should train in the profound perfection of wisdom.

Then the Blessed One arose from that samadhi and praised noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, saying, “Good, good, O son of noble family; thus it is, O son of noble family, thus it is. One should practice the profound perfection of wisdom just as you have taught and all the tathagatas will rejoice.”

When the Blessed One had said this, venerable Shariputra and noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, that whole assembly and the world with its gods, humans, asuras and gandharvas rejoiced and praised the words of the Blessed One.

Translation by the Nalanda Translation Committee.

Shakyamuni Buddha

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