Open Questions and Possible Research Projects | Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya Essays | Vajracchedikā-prajñāpāramitā | Aṣṭasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā | Pañcaviṃśātisāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā | Sarvāstivāda |

See also my website of primary sources for Heart Sutra research: Xīnjīng | Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya

Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya Bibliography

Primary sources
Secondary Sources

Open Questions and Possible Research Projects

Last Updated: 4 June 2024

A list of open questions and potential projects for Buddhist Studies students/academics. Feel free to make suggestions in comments and I'll incorporate them. Let me know if you decide to take on one of these questions/projects.

Open Questions

  • Who composed the Heart Sutra?
  • Who completed the back-translation into Sanskrit? And when?
  • What is the basis for the dating and attribution of Chinese Heart Sutra texts (esp T 252, 253, 254, 255, 257)?
  • What, if any, role did Wu Zhao play in the creation and/or popularisation of the Heart Sutra?
  • When was the Dàmíngzhòu jīng (T 250) composed? Earliest ref is the Kaiyuan Catalogue, 730 CE. Earliest artefact?

Open Research Projects

  • Translate Jingmai's «般若波羅蜜多心經疏» "Commentary on the Prajñāpāramitāhrdaya" (X 26 No. 522). Investigate the provenance of the manuscript (a late Japanese copy?).
  • Transcribe and edit the manuscripts containing the commentary by Zhixian 智詵 (609-702). Partial text in Pelliot Chinois 4940. For other, incomplete copies of the same commentary, cf. the Pelliot Chinois 2178 verso B. 3, S. 839 and the mss. of Beijing 為52 (Pelliot Chinois 4489), 昆12 (Pelliot Chinois 4490) and 闕 9 (Pelliot Chinois 4491).
  • Re-translate Fazang's commentary (T 1712), since Cook's translation does not seem wholly reliable.
  • Compare the language of the commentaries by Kuījī and Woncheuk with other works known to be by them, to try to confirm their authorship. Try to identify *when* the commentaries were composed.
  • In 1932, Matsumoto Tokumyo argued (in German) that Rénwáng bōrě bōluómì jīng «仁王般若波羅蜜經» was composed in Chinese. A comparison of his reasoning with Nattier (1992) would be very helpful. Would make a good article.
  • List, transcribe, and make available images of all the Heart Sutra texts in older editions of the Chinese Tripiṭaka. Note variants.
  • List, transcribe, and make available images of all the Heart Sutra texts from Dunhuang. (Though see Ben Nourse's 2010 conference presentation which is a good preliminary survey. I got my copy direct from the author).

Translate articles into English language

  • ―. 1991. “Hannya shingyō seiritsuron josetsu―Maka hannya haramitsu dai myōju kyō to Daibon hannyakyō no kankei o chūshin to shite” 般若心経成立論序説 ― 『摩訶般若波羅蜜大明呪経』と『大品般若経』の関係を中心として [Prolegomenon to the formation of the Heart Sūtra: With a focus on the relationship between the Mo-ho po-jo po-lo-mi ta ming-chou ching and the Ta-p‘in po-jo ching]. Bukkyōgaku 仏教学 31: 41–86.
  • 贺铭 续小玉. (2017) “早期《心经》的版本”. In 石经研究. 第一辑, edited by 房山石经博物馆 and 房山石经与云居寺文化研究中心, 12-28. 北京 : 北京燕山出版社. [A ChatGPT translation is underway. J]

Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya Essays


Attwood, Jayarava. (2015). ‘Heart Murmurs: Some Problems with Conze’s Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya.’Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies 8: 28-48. [free access]

——. (2017). ‘Epithets of the Mantra in the Heart Sutra.’ Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies 12: 26–57.

——. (2017). ‘Form is (Not) Emptiness: The Enigma at the Heart of the Heart Sutra.’ Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies 13: 52–80.
——. (2018). ‘A Note on Niṣṭhānirvāṇa in the Heart Sutra.’ Journal of the Oxford Centre For Buddhist Studies 14: 10-17.

——. (2018). ‘The Buddhas of the Three Times and the Chinese Origins of the Heart Sutra.’ Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies 15: 9-27.

——. (2019). ‘Xuanzang’s Relationship to the Heart Sūtra in Light of the Fangshan Stele.’ Journal of Chinese Buddhist Studies 32: 1–30.

——. (2020). "Ungarbling Section VI of the Sanskrit Heart Sutra." Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies 18, 11-41.

——. (2020). "Edward Conze: A Re-evaluation of the Man and his Contribution to Prajñāpāramitā Studies." Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies 19, 22-51.

——. (2020). "The History of the Heart Sutra as a Palimpsest." Pacific World Series 4, no.1, 155-182.

——. (2020). "Studying The Heart Sutra: Basic Sources And Methods (A Response To Ng And Ānando)." Buddhist Studies Review 37 (1-2), 199–217.

——. (2021). "Preliminary Notes on the Extended Heart Sutra in Chinese." Asian Literature and Translation 8(1): 63–85. DOI:

——. (2021): "The Chinese Origins of the Heart Sutra Revisited: A Comparative Analysis of the Chinese and Sanskrit Texts." Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 44: 13-52. DOI 10.2143/JIABS.44.0.3290289

Blog Posts

Far from systematic, this collection of essays are my notes from several years of studying this text and its antecedents in the light of Jan Nattier's landmark, 1992 article (see the first essay on the list).
Heart Sutra Text & Antecedents
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Heart Sutra Flow of Texts
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1. The Heart Sūtra - Indian or Chinese? (17 Sep 2007) Precis of Jan Nattier's 1992 article on the provenance of the Heart Sutra.

2. Words in mantras that end in -e (6 Mar 2009) The Grammatical function of the -e case marker in mantras, suggesting that this is from Prakrit and indicates a masculine nominative singular.

3. Tadyathā in the Heart Sūtra. (13 Nov 2009) Grammar and syntax of tadyathā in relationship to mantras. Not originally intended to be included in recitation.

4. Some Additional Notes: The -e ending in mantras. (30 Jul 2010) Further note on the -e ending which shows that it was in widespread us as nominative singular in Northern India [Signe Cohen].

5. Heart Sutra Syntax .(23 Nov 2012) Initial notes on a grammatical error discovered in Conze's critical edition of the Sanskrit Heart Sutra, with proposed changes to the text. Now submitted to an academic journal.

6. Heart Sutra: Horiuzi Palm-leaf mss. Transcription (5 Dec 2012) An important Sanskrit manuscript of the Heart Sutra.

7. Emptiness for Beginners. (14 Feb 2013) Brief explanation of the concept of emptiness based on close study of Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamkakārikā.

8. Heart Sutra Mantra. (30 Aug 2013) Detailed notes on the source texts for the mantra found in the Heart Sutra. Definition of mantra vs dhāraṇī with suggestion that the "mantra" is in fact a dhāraṇī.

9. Heart Sutra Mantra Epithets. (6 Sep 2013) Notes on the epithets often associated with the mantra. Shows that "mantra" is probably the wrong Sanskrit word, and that the source texts, particularly Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra has "vidyā". Epithets are in fact unrelated to the dhāraṇī and refer to prajñāpāramitā more generally.

10. Who Translated the Heart Sutra into Sanskrit? (13 Sep 2013). Using idiosyncrasies in the language to place limits on who could have translated it from Chinese to Sanskrit.

11. Fixing Problems in the Sanskrit Heart Sūtra. (20 Sep 2013). Given the problems created by translating from Chinese into Sanskrit, how would we improve on the present sutra.

12. A New Sanskrit Heart Sutra. (27 Sep 2013). A revision of the edition of the Heart Sutra by Edward Conze, with some back story, notes and a new translation.

13. An Alternate Sanskrit Heart Sutra. (11 Oct 2013). A speculative text based on extracts of the Gilgit manuscript of the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra.

14. Why is there a Dhāraṇī in the Heart Sūtra? (18 Oct 2013) Looking at dhāraṇī, attitudes of scholars and the role of magic in Buddhism through the lens of Ariel Glucklich's work.

15. Variations in the Heart Sutra in Chinese. (25 Oct 2013) Examining a critique of Jan Nattier's Chinese origins thesis on the basis of variant readings in the Chinese Tripiṭaka.

16. The Act of Truth in Relation to the Heart Sutra. (1 Nov 2013) Description of the satyakiriya or act of truth, an obscure branch of Buddhist lore and how it might inform the use of a text like the Heart Sutra

17. Roots of the Heart Sutra. (15 Aug 2014). A possible source text for the epithets passage in the Hṛdaya in the form of a verse from the Ratnaguṇasaṃcayagāthā.

18. New Heart Sutra Manuscript. (26 Dec 2014). Diplomatic edition of EAP676/2/5: Ārya Pañcaviṁśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Mantranāma Dhāraṇī (aka the long text Heart Sutra).

19. Chinese Heart Sutra: Dates and Attributions. (3 April 2015). A critical review of Jan Nattier's arguments about the chronology of the Heart Sutra, in the light of a 2003 article by Dan Lusthaus presenting evidence which he argues poses a serious challenge to Nattier's theory.

20. Avalokiteśvara & the Heart Sutra. (24 Apr 2015) Forensic examination of the name in Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan, along with some notes about the role of the bodhisatva in the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya.

21. The Heart Sutra in Middle Chinese. (15 May 2015). A transcription of the Xīnjīng or the Heart Sutra according to the Baxter & Sagart reconstruction of Middle Chinese. This is the Heart Sutra as it might have sounded at the time it was composed.

22 Form is Emptiness.
A version of this essay will shortly appear in the Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, title
"Form is (not) Emptiness"

  • Part I: Establishing the Text. (17 Jul 2015) First part of this essay works through the process of establishing the text to be commented on. The method involves examining the manuscript/epigraphical tradition of Sanskrit and the canonical Chinese texts as well as versions of the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra in both languages.
  • Part II: Commentary. (24 Jul 2015) In the second part of this essay we briefly consider the traditional commentaries, then move on to treating the Aṣṭasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra as a commentary on the famous passage from the Heart Sutra, providing an authoritative alternative to the common Zen inspired readings of the text.
  • Part III: Commentary continued. (31 Jul 2015). In the third and final part of this essay we discover that the phrase rūpam śūnyatā śūnytaiva rūpaṃ has in fact been altered. In the Aṣṭa it is rūpameva māyā māyaiva rūpam. We explore the implications of this, and sum up the whole project.
23. Taishō 256: The Other Chinese Heart Sutra. (25 Dec 2015). A first look at the other short text Heart Sutra in the Chinese Tripiṭaka and the associated manuscript in the British Library. Previously attributed to Xuanzang, this essay shows why it is not associated with Amoghavajra.

24. The Oldest Dated Heart Sutra. (1 Jan 2015). The story of the stele commonly known as 集王聖教序并記 or Preface and Notes to the Preface to the Holy Teaching with the Collected Wang's Calligraphy. Erected in 672, composed using examples of the calligraphy of 王羲之 Wang Xizhi, it is the oldest dated version of the Heart Sutra.

25. Thich Nhat Hanh's Changes to The Heart Sutra. (04 March 2016). Critiquing TNH's response to discovering the inherent contradiction in the two phrases śūnyatā rūpam and śūnyatāyām na rūpam. He changes his translation to obscure this contradiction.

26. Further Problems with the Heart Sutra: aprāpti. (07 April 2017). Summarising and critically assess the article Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems by Huifeng (2014). Translating 無智亦無得 以無所得故.

27. Further Problems with the Heart Sutra: acittāvaraṇa. (14 Apr 2017). Summarising and critically assess the article Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems by Huifeng (2014). Translating the phrases 心無罣礙 and 無罣礙故.

28. Heart Sutra Anomaly. (20 Apr 2017). The problem of the phrase 是諸法空相 = sarvadharmāḥ śūnyatālakṣanā.

30. Fixing the Broken Heart Sutra. (11 August 2017). I show that Conze bungled the editing of the Section VI. of the Heart Sutra (Section VII in my nomenclature) and how to fix the received text.

31. Red Pine's "Vagaries of Sanskrit grammar". (13 October 2017). Pines struggle with the Sanskrit of Conze's Section VI text reveals that he tacitly translates the Chinese instead, but also highlights differences in the two versions at this point, which suggest the original translator misread the Chinese.

32. The Horror of Apocrypha. (20 October 2017). How Kaz Tanahashi avoids the reality that the Heart Sutra was composed in China, by inventing a pious fiction involving divine revelation in India.

34. Types of Errors in the Heart Sutra. (12 January 2018). A structuralist review of errors by type: scribal, editorial, mistranslation, etc.

35. The Chinese Origins of the Heart Sutra Revisited (19 January 2018). A review of the Chinese features found in the Heart Sutra.

36. Anupalambhayogena: An Underappreciated Mahāyāna Term (11 May 2018) Matt Orsborn (aka Huifeng) noted that the Chinese phrase—以無所得故—does not correspond to aprāptitvād but to Sanskrit anupalambhayogena. I show how this fits with Chapter 10 of the Pañcaviṃśātisāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra.

37. Review of Ji Yun's 'Is the Heart Sutra an Apocryphal Text? A Re-examination'. (01 June 2018). Very long (11k words) critical review.

38. The Earliest Dated Heart Sutra Revisited. (22 June 2018). Examination of the Fangshan Stele dated 661 CE (note before Xuanzang died).

39. Critical Thinking in Buddhist Historiography. (29 June 2018). Exploration of issues in historiography in relation to Xuanzang's biography composed by Huìlì and Yàncóng. Raises doubts about the trustworthiness of the source. [Watch out for an article by Jeffrey Kotyk on this subject!]

40. Sutras in Stone for the End of the Dharma. (06 July 2018). Background on Jìngwǎn (靜琬) and the Fángshān (房山) collection of stone sūtras containing the oldest dated Heart Sutra.

41. The True History of the Heart Sutra.
  1. Part I (03 August 2018). Bibliographies up to the Tang and early commentaries.
  2. Part II (10 August 2018). The historical background, Xuanzang, and the emergence of the Heart Sutra
  3. Part III (17 August 2018). Assessing the evidence, and outlining the true history of the Heart Sutra
42. Svāhā in The Heart Sutra Dhāraṇī. (05 July 2019). Looking especially at the various Chinese translations. If we assume only one character changed at a time, then they form a rough sequence.

43. Inscription of the Prajñāpāramitā Epithets (26 July 2019). Evidence from an inscription in Shandong Province that the epithets passage circulated separately in the mid 6th Century.

44. Notes on the History of the Dàmíngzhòujīng. (06 September 2019). Includes the scholarly consensus that the attribution to Kumārajīva is false and some provisional findings on the earliest dated physical text.

45. Another Failed Attempt to Refute the Chinese Origins Thesis. (13 September 2019). Critique of a summary of the thesis put forward by Harada Wasō.

46. Heart Sutra: Work, Text, Document. (11 Oct 2019). Some reflections on the nature of my project on the Heart Sutra and the nature of texts and in particular Buddhist texts.

47. Xuanzang and the Heart Sutra. (29 Nov 2019) Summary of my recent paper: 'Xuanzang’s Relationship to the Heart Sūtra in Light of the Fangshan Stele.' Journal of Chinese Buddhist Studies (2019, 32: 1–30).

48. Removing All Suffering. (3 Jan 2020). Problems with the Sanskrit translation of the phrase 能除一切苦 in the Heart Sutra.

49. Jingtai's Catalogue: Wu Zhao and Digest Texts. (21 Feb 2020). My detailed notes on an essay by Stefano Zacchetti in a volume on Chinese epigraphy. Zacchetti touches in two main subjects of interest to my research on the Heart Sutra: the role of Wu Zhao in mid-late 7th Century China and the place of digest texts in Chinese Buddhism.

50. Revisiting Avalokiteśvara in the Heart Sutra. (10 April 2020). Riffing on Max Deeg's argument that in the Notes on the Western Regions (西域記 Xīyù jì), Xuanzang uses Avalokiteśvara for didactic and political purposes. Avalokiteśvara in the Heart Sutra might be seen as a veiled reference to the admonition of Taizong in the Notes. Problematises the name Avalokitasvara.

51. Mantra in the Early Prajñāpāramitā Literature. (15 May 2020). Despite having proved that there is no mantra in the Heart Sutra (Attwood 2017b "Epithets) I decided it was worth looking at the few mentions of the word mantra in Aṣṭasāhasrikā and Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā to illustrate the attitude to mantra in those texts. What I find confirms that it is not likely that Indian Buddhists added a mantra to a Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra in the time frame usually assumed in the Indian origins thesis.

52. Did The Heart Sutra Ever Go To India? (05 June 2020). This essay covers the many difficulties we face in trying to reconstruct history using religious documents. It also critiques the kinds of assumptions that plague Buddhist Studies. I cast doubt on the idea that the Heart Sutra was ever known, let alone popular, in India. Rather, it seems more likely that it went directly from China to Tibet.

53. Notes on the Extended Heart Sutra.

54. The Extended Heart Sutra: Overview. (09 October 2020). A summary of the points raised in 53a-h.

55. An Alternative Wikipedia Entry for the Heart Sutra. (5 March 2021).

56. If You Meet Conze on the Road, Set Fire To Him. (16 April 2021). The problems of repudiating the law of non-contradiction.

57. Some Notes on Cessation and Prajñāpāramitā. (2 September 2022). Notes to accompany my article (2022) "The Cessation of Sensory Experience and Prajñāpāramitā Philosophy." International Journal of Buddhist Thought and Culture 32(1):111-148.

58. Just How Crazy if the Heart Sutra? (23 Sept 2022). A critique of the absurdist Tricycle Magazine article by Karl Brunnhölzl.

59. On the Indo-Tibetan Commentaries and Methods in Buddhist Studies. (11 November 2022). A critique of Mathes, Klaus‑Dieter. (2021). "The Eight Indian Commentaries on the Heart Sūtra’s Famous Formula 'Form Is Emptiness; Emptiness Is Form'."

60. On the Cognitive Linguistics of Emptiness. (24 March 2023)

61. Nattier's Response to Fukui on the Chinese Origins of the Heart Sutra. (14 April 2023)

62. The Lost Translations of the Heart Sutra (28 July 2023).

63. How Xuanzang Saw Dhāraṇī. (22 December 2023).

64. On the Evolution of the Heart Sutra (19 January 2024)

65. Oldest Heart Sutra Inscriptions (31 May 2024)

Vajracchedikā-prajñāpāramitā Essays

The use of Negation in Vajracchedikā. (15 Nov 2013). An exploration of Paul Harrison's argument about how to translate the negations in the sūtra.

Diamond Sutra: Connections to the Past (28 Feb 2014). Some parallels of Diamond Sūtra ideas in Pāli texts.

Nonsense and Nonsensibility. (14 Mar 2014). The role of paradox in the modern rhetoric of Buddhism and the purveyors of paradoxes.

Suzuki, Negation, and Bad Buddhist Philosophy (28 June 2019). Examining D. T. Suzuki's so-called logic of sokuhi 即非 (Ch. jí fēi). It turns out that Suzuki's project to replace "Western" logic rests on false East/West dichotomy, Japanese Nationalism, and his misreading of the Vajraccechikā.

Diamonds, Thunderbolts, and the Impossibility of Translation. (10 January 2020). Vajra "powerful" was the name of Indra's iron mace. Like his Greek counterpart, Zeus, Indra or Śakra did not throw thunderbolts and was not associated with thunder or lightning. The word is later applied to mythic thunderbolts and to diamonds, but diamonds conceived of as having magical properties. Vajracchedikā seems to mean "cuts the uncuttable".



Kātyāyana in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (26 Jun 2015). This essay tries to show that there are continuities between these two texts, linking Early Buddhist and Prajñāpāramitā thinking.

All of them Arahants. Notes on Aṣṭasāhasrikā and Speech Acts. (17 Nov 2017). Notes on aspects of translating Aṣṭa.


Falk, Harry and Karashima, Seishi. (2012) A first‐century Prajñāpāramitā manuscript from Gandhāra - parivarta 1 (Texts from the Split Collection 1). ARIRIAB XV, 19-61. Online:
Karashima Seishi. (2011) Critical edition of Lokakṣema's translation of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā. Tokyo: IRIAB, Soka University.
Mitra, Rajendralal. (1888) Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā. [Bibliotheca Indica 110]. Calcutta: Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal.
Vaidya, P.L. Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra. Darbhanga: The Mithila Institute, 1960. Gretil Archive, 2014. Including Karashima, S. (2013) On the "Missing" Portion in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā. ARIRIAB, 16: 189-192.
Wogihara U. (1935) Abhisamayālaṃkār'alokā Prajnāpāramitāvyākhyā (commentary on Aṣțasahasrika-Prajbāpāramitā) by Haribhadra, together with the text commented on. Tokyo: The Toyo bunko.
Yuyama, Akira. (1976) Prajñā-pāramitā-ratna-guṇa-saṃcaya-gāthā (Sanskrit Recension A). Cambridge University Press.



Dutt, N. (1934). Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: edited with critical notes and introduction. London, Luzac & Co, 1934.
Karashima, Seishi, et al. (2016) Mahāyāna Texts: Prajñāpāramitā Texts (1). Gilgit Manuscripts in the National Archives of India Facsimile Edition Volume II.1. The National Archives of India and The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology, Soka University, Tokyo.
Kimura, Takayasu. (2009). Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā.
Tokyo: Sankibo Busshorin
Zacchetti, Stefano. (2005) In Praise of the Light: A Critical Synoptic Edition with an Annotated Translation of Chapters 1-3 of Dharmarakṣa's Guang zan jing, Being the Earliest Chinese Translation of the Larger Prajñāpāramitā. (Bibliotheca Philologica et Philosophica Buddhica, 8). IRIAB. Sanskrit text also available from Gretil.

Sarvāstivāda Essays

The Prajñāpāramitā, especially the extracts found in the Hṛdaya, is partly a response to developments in mainstream Buddhism especially by the Ābhidharmikas of the the Sarvāstivāda sect. The Sarvāstivādins were the dominant sect of Buddhism in North Indian for a considerable period, before Mahāyāna Buddhism displaced them. Even those who reject their ideas, are forced to do so at length. The following essays are aimed specifically at providing background reading for those interested in Prajñāpāramitā.

Sarvāstivāda and the Chinese Sarva Sūtra. (25 April 2014) A preliminary to the following essays which examines the Sarvāstivāda metaphysics through the Chinese version of the seminal Sarva Sūtra.

Sarvāstivāda Approach to the Problem of Action at a Temporal Distance. (02 May 2014). Early Buddhist texts contain a fundamental contradiction between pratītyasamutpāda (which forbids effects after the conditions have ceased) and karma (which demands it). I call this the problem of Action at a Temporal Distance. See also my essay on the Theravāda approach.

Where and Why Did the Sarvāstivādins Go Wrong? (09 May 2014) As well as the problem of Action at a Temporal Distance, the Abhidharma project of cataloguing and classifying dharmas had inherent flaws that led Sarvāstivāda thinkers towards substance ontologies that the Prajñāpāramitā is a reaction against.

Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya Bibliography

See also my website for Heart Sutra primary sources - manuscripts and inscriptions in Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan.

Sanskrit Manuscripts

Cambridge Manuscripts (Transcribed Dec 2012)
  • Add 1164 (date uncertain, the script is similar to Add 1553)
  • Add 1485 (1677 CE)
  • Add 1553 (18th century)
  • Add 1680 (ca. 1200 CE)

Beneviste, Émile. (1940) Textes Sogdiens: édités, traduits et commentés.

Conze, Edward (1948) Text, Sources, and Bibliography of the Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, April 80(1-2): 33-51.

Conze, Edward. (1967) The Prajñāpāramitā-Hṛdaya Sūtra in Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies: Selected Essays, Bruno Cassirer, pp. 147-167. Modified version of Conze (1948).

Conze, Edward. (1975) Buddhist Wisdom Books: The Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra. George Allen & Unwin. First Ed. 1957.

EAP676/2/5: Ārya Pañcaviṁśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Mantranāma Dhāraṇī. Privately owned Ms. scanned as part of the British Library, Endangered Archives Project. See my diplomatic edition (2014).

Matsumoto, Tokumyo. (1932) Die Prajñāpāramitā Literatur. Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat zu Bonn. [based on T 8.256]

Milloué, L de (1883) Quelques mots sur les anciens textes sanskrits du Japon, à propos d'une traduction inédite du Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya-sūtra par MM. Paul Regnand et Y. Ymaizoumi d'après un vieux texte sanskrit-japonais. Actes du Sixième Congrès international des orientalistes tenu en 1883 à Leide, 3e partie, section 2: Aryenne (Leide, E. J. Brill, 1885), p. 181-197. [Sanskrit text based on Freer’s polyglot edition] Online:

Mironov, N.D. (1933) The Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasūtra as an inscription.’ Urusvati Journal. Vol 3: 73-78. Online:

Müller, Max. (1881) ‘The Ancient Palm Leaves containing the Prajñāpāramitā-Hṛidaya Sūtra and Uṣniṣa-vijaya-Dhāraṇi.’ in Buddhist Texts from Japan (Vol 1.iii). Oxford University Press. Online:

Shaku Hannya (1923) ‘The Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya Sutra,’ The Eastern Buddhist. 2(3&4): 163-175.

Vaidya, P.L. (1961) Mahāyāna-sūtra-saṃgrahaḥ (part 1). Buddhist Sanskrit Texts No. 17. Darbhanga: The Mithila Institute. Online: [Based on Müller 1881]

Xuánzàng (Mid 7th Century) 般若波羅蜜多心經. [Sanskrit Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya Sūtra transliterated with Hanzi]. Taishō Tripiṭaka. T 256. [Transcribed in Matsumoto, 1932.]


Links to CBETA version of the Taishō Tripiṭaka.

Short Text

T250 摩訶般若波羅蜜大明呪經 = Mahāprajñāpāramitā-mahāvidyā-sūtra.
T251 般若波羅蜜多心經 = Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya-sūtra.
T256 唐梵飜對字音般若波羅蜜多心經 Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya Sūtra: Tang Dynasty Sanskrit Translation with Correct Characters [Representing] Sounds. See also British Library manuscript (Or.8210/S.5648).

Long Text

T252 普遍智藏般若波羅蜜多心經 translated by 法月 Fǎyuè (Skt. *Dharmacandra?).
T253 般若波羅蜜多心經 translated by Prajñā, ca. 788 CE.
T254 般若波羅蜜多心經 translated by Prajñācakra, 861 CE.
T255 般若波羅蜜多心經translated from the Tibetan by Fǎchéng 法成, 856 CE, text found at 燉煌 Dūnhuáng.
T257 佛說聖佛母般若波羅蜜多經 translated by Dānapāla, 1005 CE.


Long Text

Silk, Jonathan A. (1994) The Heart Sūtra in Tibetan: a Critical Edition of the Two Recensions Contained in the Kanjur. Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, Universität Wien.

རྒྱ་གར་སྐད་དུ། བྷ་ག་བ་ཏཱི་པྲཛྙཱ་པཱ་ར་མི་ཏཱ་ཧྲྀ་ད་ཡ། (rgya gar skad du | bha ga ba ti pradznyā pā ra mi tā hri da ya) = Ārya Bhagavatī Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya. Long Text Heart Sutra in the Tibetan Kangyur, Derge Edition, Vol. 34: 144b.6-146a.3. Tibetan & Himalayan Library.

Short Text

Or. 8212/77
UEYAMA Daijun (1965) 敦煌出土のチベッ ト訳般若心經 [=Tibetan Version of the Prajñapāramitāhṛdayasūtra from Dūnhuáng]. Indogaku bukkyōgaku kenkyū 13(2): 783-779 [sic]. [Article is in Japanese].

Other Primary Sources

Asanga Abhidharmasamuccaya. Pradhan, Prahlad (Ed.) Visvabharati, Santiniketan. West Bengal, India. 1950. Online:

Asanga (aka Maitreyanath). Mahāyānasutrālaṅkāra. Bagchi, S. (ed). Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath. 2000. Online:

御製大乘妙法蓮華經序 [Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra] CBETA Ed. Online:

Bidyabinod, B. B. (1927) 'Fragment of a Prajnaparamita Manuscript from Central Asia', Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India32: 1-11. = AṣṭāB. Online: Gretil Archive:

Dutt, N. (1934) Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: edited with critical notes and introduction. London, Luzac & Co, 1934.

Konow, Sten (1942) 'Central Asian fragments of the Ashṭādaśasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā and of an unidentified text'. Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, 69. = AṣṭāK, unidentified = Praj(U1). Online: Gretil Archive.

KIMURA Takayasu (2010). Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā. Vol. I-1, Tokyo: Sankibo Busshorin 2007. Online: [Input by Klaus Wille, Göttingen, April 2010].

Vaidya, P.L., Ed. (1960) Saddharmapundarikasutra. (Buddhist Sanskrit Texts, 6) Darbhanga: The Mithila Institute. Online:

Vaidya, P. L. (1960) Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā. The Mithila Institute of Post-Graduate Studies and Research in Sanskrit Learning. Also online:

Vaida, P.L. 1961. Buddhist Sanskrit Texts No. 17 Mahāyāna-sūtra-saṃgrahaḥ (part 1). Darbhanga, The Mithila Institute of Post-Graduate Studies and Research in Sanskrit Learning. [contains both versions of the Heart Sūtra]

Secondary Sources

Translations of the Heart Sutra

Please note that I've made no attempt to systematically collect translations - they don't interest me very much in comparison to the text itself and offer very little illumination of the issues that concern me.

Conze, Edward. (1973). Perfect Wisdom: The Short Prajñāpāramitā Texts. Buddhist Publishing Group.

Conze, Edward. (1975). Buddhist Wisdom Books : Containing the Diamond Sūtra and the Heart Sūtra. 2nd Ed. London : George Allen & Unwin. First Ed. 1957.

Jones, Richard H. (2012) The Heart of Wisdom. Jackson Square Books.

Rulu (2011). ‘Sūtra of the Great Illumination Mantra of Mahā-Prajñā-Pāramitā.’ (T 250) Buddha Sūtras Mantras Sanskrit.

Tanahashi, Kazuki. (2014). The Heart Sutra: A Comprehensive Guide to the Classic of Mahayana Buddhism. Shambala.

Traditional Commentaries

Eckel, Malcolm David. (1987) Indian Commentaries on the Heart Sūtra: The Politics of Interpretation. The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. 10(2): 69-79

Hakeda, Yoshito (trans.) (1972). 'The Secret Key to the Heart Sutra' in Kūkai: Major Works. Columbia University Press.

Hyun Choo, B. (2006) An English Translation of the Banya paramilda simgyeong chan: Wonch'uk's Commentary on the Heart Sūtra (Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya-sūtra). International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture. 6: 121-205.

Lopez, Donald S. (1988) The Heart Sūtra Explained: Indian and Tibetan Commentaries. State University of New York Press.

Lopez, Donald S. (1996) Elaborations on Emptiness: Uses of the Heart Sutra. Princeton University press.

McRae, John R. (1988). "Ch'an Commentaries on the Heart Sûtra: Preliminary Inferences on the Permutation of Chinese Buddhism". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 11, no. 2: 87-115. Online:

Nhat Hanh, Thich. (2009)The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra. [Peter Levitt, ed.] Parallax Press.

Shih, Heng-Ching & Lusthaus, Dan. (2006) A Comprehensive Commentary on the Heart Sutra (Prajnaparamita-hyrdaya-sutra). Numata Center for Buddhist Translation & Research.


Other Works

Abé, Ryūichi (1999). The Weaving of Mantra: Kūkai and the Construction of Esoteric Buddhist Discourse. New York: Columbia University Press.

Jayarava, Attwood (2015). Heart Murmurs: Some Problems with Conze’s Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya. Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. 8. 2015: 28-48. [Paywall until 2016]

Bastow, David. (1995). The First Argument for Sarvāstivāda. Asian Philosophy 5(2), 109-125. Online:

Bhattacharya, Gouriswar. (2010). How to Justify the Spelling of the Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Term Bodhisatva? Franco, Eli & Zin, Monika (Eds). From Turfan to Ajanta: Frestschrift for Dieter Schlingloff on the Occasion of is Eightieth Birthday. Vol I. Lumbini International Research Institute.

Bühler, G (1881) Palaeographical Remarks on the Horiuzi Palm-Leaf Mss. in Müller (1881) [above], p.63-95.

CHOONG, Mun-keat. (1999) The Notion of Emptiness in Early Buddhism. 2nd. Ed. Motilal Banarsidass.

Cohen, Signe. (2002) On the Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit/Middle Indic Ending "-e" as a 'Magadhism'. Acta Orientalia 63: 67-9.

Copp, Paul. (2014) The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism. Columbia University Press.

Cox, Collett. (1995) Disputed Dharmas Early Buddhist Theories on Existence: An Annotated Translation of the Section on Factors Dissociated from Thought from Sanghabhadra's Nyāyānusāra. Tokyo The International Institute for Buddhist Studies. pdf.

Cox, Collett. (2004) From Category to Ontology: The Changing Role of Dharma in Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma. Journal of Indian Philosophy 32: 543-597.

Fukui Fumimasa (1981) Hannya shingyô no rekishiteki kenkyû. [= Historical studies of the Buddhist scripture Prajñaparamita-hrdaya or Heart Sutra.] Tōkyō: Shunjūsha.

Huifeng, Shi [釋慧峰; aka Orsborn, M. B.] (2008) A Survey Of Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra Translations In Chinese. Online:

Huifeng, Shi. (2014). Apocryphal Treatment for Conze's Heart Problems: "Non-attainment", "Apprehension", and "Mental Hanging" in the Prajñāpāramitā. Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. 6: 72-105.

Jayarava. (2011) Visible Mantra: Visualising and Writing Buddhist Mantras. Cambridge: Visible Mantra Books.

Ji Yun (2012) Is the Heart Sūtra an Apocryphal Text? – A Re-examination. 纪赟 —《心经》疑伪问题再研究. Fuyan Buddhist Studies, 7: 115-182 (2012), Fuyan Buddhist Institute. [Trans. Chin Shih-Foong (2017). Singapore Journal of Buddhist Studies, 4: 9-113. pdf 2018ūtra_an_Apocryphal_Text_A_Re-examination]

KARASHIMA Seishi [辛嶋靜志] (2013) A Glossary of Kumārajīva's Translation Of The Lotus Sutra [妙法蓮華經詞典]. Dharma Drum Buddhist College. Online:

Liying Kuo. (2014). Dhāraṇī Pillars in China: Functions and Symbols in Wong, Dorothy C. & Heldt, Gustav. (Eds) China and Beyond in the Mediaeval Period: Cultural Crossings and Inter-Regional Connections.

Lusthaus, Dan. (2003) The Heart Sūtra in Chinese Yogācāra: Some Comparative Comments on the Heart Sūtra Commentaries of Wŏnch’ŭk and K’uei-chi. International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture. September, Vol. 3: 59-103.

Mattice, Sarah A. 2021. Exploring the Heart Sutra. Lanham: Lexington Books.

McBride, Richard D, II. (2004) Is there really "Esoteric" Buddhism? Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. 27(2): 329-356.

Mu, Soeng Sunim. (1991) Heart Sutra: Ancient Buddhist Wisdom in the Light of Quantum Reality. Primary point Press.

Mu, Seong. (2010) The Heart of the Universe: Exploring the Heart Sutra. Wisdom Publications.

Nattier, Jan (1992). 'The Heart Sūtra: a Chinese apocryphal text?' Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. 15 (2) 153-223. Online:

Olivelle, Patrick. (2005) Unfaithful transmitters: philological criticism and critical editions of the Upaniṣads, in Language Texts and Society, Firenze University Press: 285 f. [originally published in Journal of Indian Philosophy 26, 1998: 173f.]

Sai Yau Siu. (2017) 略本《般若波羅蜜多心經》重探:漢譯、譯史及文本類型 (Reinvestigation into the Shorter Heart Sūtra: Chinese Translation, History, and Text Type). Department of Translation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Sheng, Ruth. (2011). The Development of Chinese Calligraphy in Relation to Buddhism and Politics During the Early Tang Era. A dissertation presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, University of Florida.

Stevens, John. (1995) Sacred Calligraphy of the East. (3rd ed.) Boston & London: Shambhala.

Studholme, Alexander (2002). The origins of oṃ manipadme hūṃ: a study of the Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtra. Albany: State university of New York Press.

Staal, Frits. 2008. Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights. Penguin.

Su, Ken [蘇錦坤 Sū Jǐnkūn] comments on binomial words in Chinese Buddhist translations in Ji (2012: 39)

Wong, Dorothy C. (2002). The Making of a Saint: Images of Xuanzang In East Asia. Early Medieval China 8, 43-81.

Wriggins, Salley Hovey. (2004). The Silk Road Journey with Xuanzang. (Rev Ed.) Icon Editions, Westview Press.

Yu, Pauline et al (eds.) (2000) Ways With Words: Writing About Reading texts From Early China. University of California Press. [Chapter 4. contains discussions of the text by various scholars].

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