The Prajñaparamita Mantra- Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom
The Prajñaparamita Mantra is an ancient Buddhist chant for the perfection of transcendent wisdom that was gifted to humanity in the Prajñaparamita Sutra by Avalokitesvara, a benevolent deity of compassion. It has the power to clear the mind, open the heart center and remove obstacles on the path of enlightenment. It is a vehicle to move beyond the paradoxes of the mind and directly enter into nirvana, a blissful state of oneness that is beyond words, concepts, or material reality.
The mantra may be performed by chanting verbally or mentally. It also has a powerful effect when it is listened to and this effect increases through repeated listening. The words are as follows:
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha
Gone, gone, gone beyond the beyond. Hail to the one who awakens!
The Prajñaparamita Mantra famously concludes the shorter version of the Heart Sutra (Prajnaparamita Hridaya).
when pursuing the deep prajñaparamita,
recognized the five skandhas as completely empty
and passed beyond all vexations and distress.
Shariputra, appearances are not different from emptiness,
emptiness is not different to appearances.
Appearances are emptiness,
emptiness is an appearance.
Impressions, thoughts, associations
and knowing too, are also like this.
Shariputra, all dharmas are empty of appearances,
are not created, are not extinguished,
are not defiled, are not pure;
do not increase, do not decrease.
For this reason, amidst emptiness there are no appearances,
nor are there any impressions, thoughts, associations and knowing,
There is no eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch, ideas.
There are no colors, sounds, smells,
tastes and touch dharmas.
There is no eye-element up to no imagining nor knowledge element.
Neither is any non-understanding,
nor is there any end to non-understanding up to no old-age and death.
Neither is there any end to old-age and death.
There is no suffering, cause, extinction or path.
There is no knowledge nor anything to find.
Because there isn’t anything to find,
the bodhisattva is free because of relying upon prajñaparamita:
a heart without any obstruction.
Because there are no obstructions, there is no fear.
Abandoning, overturning dreams and concepts,
finally reaches nirvana.
Because all the Buddhas of the three times have relied upon prajñaparamita, they have found anuttarasamyaksambodhi.
For this reason, know prajñaparamita is the great spiritual mantra.
The great understanding mantra.
The supreme mantra.
The unequaled mantra, able to cut through all vexation
because in reality there is no emptiness.
Speak the prajñaparamita mantra, speak the mantra’s words:
gate gate paragate parasaṃgate bodhi svaha.
(Chinese to English translation, by Willam J. Giddings, 2003)
The recording of the mantra was sung by Lisa Ishwari Murphy and Jennifer Deveau and produced by Seth Misterka of Dynasty Electrik at the Fairhaven Healing Arts Center.
This particular recording frequently plays on repeat at Mile High Retreat where we see its compassionate and peaceful effect on the property and the surrounding neighborhood. After we began playing this recording, a resin statue of Avalokitesvara, the deity who first chanted this mantra, appeared to us in a second-hand shop in the mountain village of Crestline where we are based. That statue now graces our Great Room. Mantras are meditation in motion that can literally change your reality and manifest in many forms.