Parallel Tibetan and English translation
with recorded sound clips in Tibetan

Each page (1-17) gives Tibetan script, Tibetan phonetics,
Tibetan-English verbatim translation, English gloss; and sound clip of the page read in Tibetan.

To enter now, select MP3 Version ..or. RealAudio Version ..or. WAV Version.

In addition, you can hear the entire Heart Sutra in MP3, entire Heart Sutra in RealAudio,
view and print the entire sutra as a jpeg, or learn the Tibetan alphabet.


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.

Thubsten Gelek
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!

MP3 Version
RealAudio Version
WAV Version

Best viewed at monitor resolution 600x800, Text size = 0.
please send comments to :