Every morning during the ceremony we chant this sutra together. It is one of the most important sutras in Mahayana Buddhism and is chanted every day after zazen in Temples.
It is Avalokiteshvara (wisdom) giving a teaching which is addressed to Shariputra (intellect). When we understand that form is no other than emptiness, (and emptiness no other than form), we realise true wisdom. A wisdom that delivers all beings from suffering.
Master Taisen Deshimaru said, ‘We must understand deeply that we as individuals are not separate from the whole of humanity, nor from the whole of nature, the whole of the universe. For this we need wisdom: true, disinterested, pure wisdom. I believe in the Hannya Shingyo, in this perfect, limitless wisdom, unbounded by “isms.” I believe that the spirit of this sutra can transform the present paralysis of the world…’.
The following is an English translation of this Sutra
(Essence of the Sutra of Great Wisdom
that enables all beings to go beyond)
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara through the profound practice of Great Wisdom (Hannya Haramita) sees that the five aggregates are empty (ku) and thus helps all suffering beings.
Shariputra, phenomenon (shiki) are no other than emptiness (ku), ku no other than shiki. Shiki becomes ku, ku becomes shiki. (form is emptiness, emptiness is form.) It is the same for perception, thought, action and consciousness. Shariputra, all existences are ku, they are neither born nor extinguished, neither impure nor pure, and they neither grow nor decay. Thus in ku there are no five elements, no six sense organs, no six sense objects, no six consciousnesses, neither ignorance nor extinction of ignorance, neither old age or the extinction of old age, neither death nor the extinction of death, no four noble truths, no wisdom, no attainment, but only the attainment of no attainment: mushotoku.
Thus the Bodhisattva, through this profound practice, has a mind at peace an is without fear. All illusion and attachment have been cast aside, and the Bodhisattva attains the ultimate satori. All the Buddhas of past , present and future attain understanding of this Great Wisdom that delivers all beings from suffering and enables them to find nirvana.
Understand then that Hannya haramita is the universal sutra, the great luminous sutra, the highest incomparable sutra by which one can cut all suffering, allowing us to find reality in true ku.
Go, go, go beyond,
Go together beyond the beyond,
To the shore of satori.