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I got a bum steer on something, and had to reword this piece.
That it why we should not be attached to views. Making mistakes
and correcting them is how we learn. So far, the other points in
the original still check out. So if you read this earlier, it might
have changed. I am now satisfied the wording. Also, thanks to
Pam for catching another error, which I have since corrected.
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Most of you have probably heard of Kuan Yin? She is the Chinese female Bodhisattva of Compassion; one of the Four Mahasattva Bodhisattvas associated with the Flower Garland Sutra and Mahayana Buddhism in general. Her full name in Chinese, given with romanized Mandarin, Sino-Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese readings, is:
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Shi, Ze, Se, The {}: meaning world. The Sanskrit would be Loka, meaning land, place, world, etcetera.
Yin, On. Um, Am {}: meaning sounds or cries. The Sanskrit would be Svara; meaning “noise,” or “sound.”
Thus, Kuanshiyin literally means something like “Observing the cries of the World,” an action of compassion. The most common Sanskrit name is Avalokitesvara. Strangely, neither “world” nor “sound” is found in this name. The three Sanskrit words are:
Ava: Descend, come down, downward.
Lokita: Beheld; past participle of lok.
Isvara: Lord, ruler, sovereign
Thus it means something like “Lord Who Looks Down,” which is a bit different than the Chinese “Observer of the World’s Cries.” Loka {world} is possibly not there simply because it would sound redundant as “Lokalokita.” Loka might be inferred, and it is found in an alternate name; Lokesvara {Loka-Isvara}, meaning “Ruler of the World.”
Also absent is “svara” {noise, sound}. This might be inferred from a double entendre of esvara/isvara. However, some scholars now believe that his/her original name was Avalokitasvara, with svara {sound}, rather than isvara {ruler, lord, master}. It is thought that svara was changed to isvara sometime after the 7th Century CE. Kuanshiyin would then be a fairly literal translation of Avalokitasvara {[One] who observes the [world's] cries and descends}.
Kuanshiyin {kanzeon}, often shortened as Kuan Yin {Kannon}, is the most common Sinic translation of Avalokitesvara or, perhaps more correctly, Avaloltasvara. It is the one used by Kumarijiva and is thus found in the Myoho Renge Kyo {Chinese version of the Lotus Sutra} Chapter 25.
However, in the Heart Sutra, the name Kan {観} Ji{ 自} Zai {在} is used instead of Kuanshiyin. I was told that this means something like; “Observing At Will” or ‘Master of Observation” {thanks P. Jones a.k.a youzhangme}; and was likely a more literal translation of Avalokitesvara {Lord Who Looks Down}.
The Chinese name of the Heart Sutra is 般若心経; read as Hannya Shin Gyo {Heart of Wisdom Sutra} in Sino-Japanese. The Sanskrit name of this jewel of a sutra is Prajna Hridaya Sutra. Hannya {般若} is transliteration of Prajna, and Gyo {経} (phonetic alteration of kyo) is a translation of Sutra; so all is fine and well there.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket The curious thing is that “hridaya,” rather than “citta,” is translated as shin. Hridaya means either the biological heart, or is used metaphorically as kernal, core, or essence; as in “heart of the matter.” So here, in the Heart Sutra, shin represents heart, in the metaphorical sense of essense, kernal, or core.
Citta means something like mind, heart, and soul. It is mind, but not the organic brain {manas]; it is heart, but not the organic heart {hridaya}. Citta refers to intelligence or mental and spiritual energy.
If I understand correctly, the kanji character shin {} can be used to mean either mind or heart; in both the literal senses of brain and biological heart; as well as in the abstract and metaphorical senses of mind-energy and essence.
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Note: A fuller title of the Heart Sutra would be Seson Hannya Haramitta Shin Gyo. There, Haramitta is a transliteration of Paramita. Seson is a translation of Bhagavata. meaning “Blessed One,” or “World Honored One.” In romanized Sanskrit; it is Bhagavata Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra; or in English; ” The Blessed One’s Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra.”
One thing to iterate; the Indic, Pali and Sanskrit, languages of the suttas and sutras are more advanced, for discussing technical aspects of religious philosophy, than the Sinic languages to which they were translated. That is why we see more than one Indic term collapsed into a single kanji. Hridaya {biologocal heart or kernal/core} and Shin {mind, heart, soul, spirit) both translated as , read as kokoro {kun} or shin {On}, is one example.
Another confusing thing is that there are a number of Kanji read as shin. At least two or three of these are, or ought to be, familiar to most Buddhists, even SGI members. But that, Sino-japanese homophones that become homonyms in romanji, is another blog. Moreover, I don’t want to kick fellow SGI members in the shins, but study “outside the box” of President Ikeda’s lectures and Organizational publications is another issue as well. See: Who Put the Shu in the Shoshu? {scroll up to the top} at A Byrd’s Eye View.