The Tibetan script is the standard version, and compares with
copies I have seen from most sources. I would appreciate reports of any
typos. To see a diagram of the Tibetan
alphabet, click here.
The Tibetan Phonetics, which appear above each line of Tibetan
script, are a simplification of Lhasa standard Tibetan. Standard pronunciation
is much degenerated from what it was when the spelling was fixed, and many
letters are now silent or alter the sound of other letters. However, the
Ladakhi pronunciation in the sound clips here is closer to the spelling
and, presumably, the "original" pronunciation.
The Tibetan-English verbatim "translation,"
which appears below each line of Tibetan, is the main thing of interest,
as it reveals the root meaning of the words--words chosen with obvious
care in translation from the original Sanskrit. In some important places
there are big differences from most English translations I have seen, including
the crucial passage in which Chenrezig is asked how a man should be "taught,"
but answers instead "thus shall he see" and immediately
makes the core statement of Buddhist metaphysics: Form is void. To me this
implies that wisdom can't be taught, but seeing is believing.
This "translation" is cribbed word by word from Tibetan-English
Dictionary by Chandra Das, Rinsen Book Company, Kyoto, 1981 (reprinted
from the First Edition, Calcutta, 1902) Title Pages I have added as little interpretation as possible.
Many words are standard "technical terms" for translation from
Sanskrit and require explanation--for example "form" and "void."
Other people have done this better than I ever could.
The Sound Clips were read by Thubsten Gelek
(pictured) at Ridzong Monastery, Ladakh, in July 1982 and recorded by me.
There was only one "take." His pronunciation is Ladakhi/Western
Tibetan. In the western regions, pronunciation follows spelling much more
closely. The further you go west, the fewer silent letters there are. In
language no less than in art and philosophy, Ladakh preserves an older
heritage than even Tibet itself.
However, this means that the sound clips do not match the written pronunciation.
Also, Gelek reads very fast, slurring some phrases. Nevertheless,
this is how people speak and how the sutra is read in that country. (The
incredible speed of Gelek's recitation also helps keep the sound files
small; nevertheless, some of the wavs are 250K or so and take a minute
to download. The MP3s are around 100K, the Real Audios around 20K.)
December 2005: Added MP3 version. Edited Introduction. Added title
pages of Chandra Das dictionary.
May 2000: Fixed several typos in Tibetan. Thanks for the reports!
September 99: RealAudio version of entire sutra (Tibetan only). CLICK HERE
July 99: Redesign of all pages (much better, at least on my system). New pages 14-18 (complete).
New Tibetan Alphabet chart.
Print This: Entire Heart Sutra in Tibetan only (350K jpg). CLICK HERE
Thanks to Edward Conze; to Geshe Tsultrim Gyaltsen for teaching
me Tibetan and recommending this text to me; to Thubsten Gelek for reading
it for me and being such a good host and friend; and to Rohn Parsons who
made sure I continued the study we had each begun when we met at the Burmese
Vihar in Bodhgaya--ding!. Thug je che!