Sūtra of the Great Illumination Mantra of Mahā-Prajńā-Pāramitā
Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the Later Qin Dynasty
The Tripiṭaka Master Kumārajīva from Kucha
As Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva went deep into prajńā-pāramitā, he saw in his illumination the emptiness of the five aggregates, [the realization of] which delivers one from all suffering and tribulations.
“Śāriputra, because form is empty, it does not have the appearance of decay. Because sensory reception is empty, it does not have the appearance of sensory experience. Because perception is empty, it does not have the appearance of cognition. Because mental processing is empty, it does not have the appearance of formation. Because consciousness is empty, it does not have the appearance of awareness.
“Why? Because, Śāriputra, form is no different from emptiness; emptiness is no different from form. In effect, form is emptiness and emptiness is form. The same is true for sensory reception, perception, mental processing, and consciousness. Śāriputra, dharmas, with empty appearances, have neither birth nor death, neither impurity nor purity, neither increase nor decrease. Emptiness, the true reality, is not of the past, present, or future.
“Therefore, in emptiness there is no form, nor sensory reception, perception, mental processing, or consciousness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mental faculty, nor sights, sounds, scents, flavors, tactile sensations, or mental objects; no spheres, from eye sphere to mental consciousness sphere. There is neither ignorance nor ending of ignorance, neither old age and death nor ending of old age and death. There is no suffering, accumulation [of afflictions], cessation [of suffering], or the path. There is neither wisdom-knowledge nor attainment because there is nothing to attain.
“Bodhisattvas, because they rely on prajńā-pāramitā, have no hindrances in their minds. Without hindrance, they have no fear. Staying far from inverted dreaming and thinking, they will ultimately attain nirvāṇa. Buddhas of the past, present, and future, because they rely on prajńā-pāramitā, all attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi.
“Hence, we know that the Prajńā-Pāramitā [Mantra] is the great illumination mantra, the unsurpassed illumination mantra, the unequaled illumination mantra, which can remove all suffering. It is true, not false. Hence the Prajńā-Pāramitā Mantra is pronounced. Then the mantra goes:
gate gate pāragate pāra-saṁgate bodhi svāhā ||”
—Sūtra of the Great Illumination Mantra of Mahā-Prajńā-Pāramitā
Translated from the digital Chinese Canon (T08n0250)