In the Zen hall (Zendo) and during sesshin, we daily recite ancient Zen texts, mostly translations from Sankrit. We recite quite fast and without intonement because the understanding of words and the dicursive thinking is not that important. Besides short texts like "The Four Great Vows" and "The Threefold refuge" people recite the heart sutra, one of the most popular religious text coming from Mahayana Buddhism.
The Four Great Vows | Shi-ku sei gan mon
Shu jō mu hen sei gan do
bon nō mu jin sei gan dan
hō mon mu ryō sei gan gaku
butsu dō mu jō sei gan jō.
Though the many beings are numberless,
I vow to save them all;
Though delusive passions and thoughts rise endlessly,
I vow to turn them around;
Though the Dharma is vast and fathomless,
I vow to realize it in full;
Though the Way of the Awakened is unsurpassed,
I vow to walk along, all the Way.
The Heart Sutra
Maha Prajna Paramita Hrdaya Sutra | Heart Sutra
practicing deep Prajna Paramita
clearly saw that all five skandhas are empty,
transforming all suffering and distress.
Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness,
emptiness no other than form;
form is emptiness, emptiness is form;
feeling, perception, mental reaction, consciousness
are also like this.
Shariputra, all dharmas are essentially empty:
not born, not destroyed;
not stained, not pure, without loss, without gain.
Therefore in emptiness there is no form, no feeling,
no perception, mental reaction, consciousness;
no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind;
no color , sound, smell, taste, touch, objects of mind;
no seeing and so on to no thinking;
no ignorance and also no ending of ignorance
and so on to no old age and death,
and also no ending of old age and death;
no suffering, cause of suffer ing, cessation, path;
no wisdom and no attainment.
Since there is nothing to attain,
the Bodhisattva lives by Prajna Paramita
with no hindrance in the mind; no hindrance, thus no fear:
far beyond delusive thinking right here is Nirvana.
All Buddhas past, present, and future
live by Prajna Paramita,
Therefore know that Prajna Paramita is
the great mantra, the wisdom mantra,
the unsurpassed mantra, the supreme mantra,
which completely removes all suffering.
This is truth, not mere formality.
Therefore set forth the prajna paramita mantra,
Set forth this mantra and proclaim:
Gaté, Gaté, Paragaté, Parasamgaté,
Avalokiteshwara: the bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas
The five skandhas: are the five aggregates through which the functioning and experience of an individual is created according to Buddhist phenomenology (form, feeling, perception, volition, consciousness)
Shariputra: was one of two principal disciples of the Buddha
Dharmas: here: the religious and moral doctrine of the rights and duties of each individual, Dharma therefore can generally refer to religious duty, as also mean social order, right conduct, or simply virtue
Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi: utmost, right and perfect enlightenment
Prajnaparamita: transcendent wisdom
Gaté, gaté, paragaté, parasamgaté, bodhi svaha: means something like "Go, go, go beyond, go far beyond - awaken - Hail!"
The Threefold Refuge
Ti-Sarana | The Threefold Refuge
Buddham Saranam Gacchami
Dhammam Saranam Gacchami
Sangham Saranam Gacchami
Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi
"The Threefold Refuge": I go to the Buddha for refuge, I go to the Dharma for refuge, I go to the Sangha for refuge.
Dharma : the teachings of the Buddhas; the universal truth; the principle of holiness; the principle of unity
Om: Mantra from Sanscrit; holy syllable of the supreme reality; the spoken essence of the universe, sometimes called "the mother of mantras"
Kanzeon | En-mei Jikku Kan-non Gyo
yo butsu u in
yo butsu u en
bup-pō sō en
jō-raku ga jō
chō nen kan-ze-on
bō nen kan-ze-on
nen nen jū shin ki
nen nen fu ri shin.
Salutation to the Awaken'd One!
With the Awaken'd One I'm one in Origin
In the Awaken'd One I'm one with all;
With the Awaken'd One, Dharma and Sangha I'm bound:
Eternal, joyous, pure.
Mornings my thought is Kanzeon.
Evenings my thought is Kanzeon.
Thought after thought arises in the Heart-Mind.
Thought after thought is not separate from Heart-Mind.
Kanzeon: Commonly known as the Goddess of Mercy; "the one who perceives the sounds of the world"; incarnation of mercy and compassion