PZI Teacher Archives

Zen Luminaries: The Heart Sutra with Bill Porter (Red Pine)


Zen Luminaries: Bill Porter (aka Red Pine) joins Jon Joseph Roshi in meditation and conversation on the topics of Heart Sutra, his translation work, and life in Zen. Jordan McConnell sings the Heart Sutra. As recorded December 20, 2021.


A lively conversation on the great Heart Sutra with Jon Joseph Roshi and special guest Bill Porter, also known as Red Pine.

Here, Shariputra,
form is emptiness, emptiness is form;
emptiness is not separate from form,
form is not separate from emptiness;
whatever is form is emptiness,
whatever is emptiness is form

—from the Heart Sutra, translated by Red Pine

In his book, The Heart Sutra, Bill Porter quotes Fazang, founder of the Flower Garland (Huayan) school:

The Heart Sutra is a great torch that lights the darkest road, a swift boat that ferries us across the sea of suffering.

He adds his own comment: “It is a work of art, as much as of religion…distinguishing these two callings is both artificial and unfortunate.”

Bill Porter (Red Pine) is recognized as one of the world’s great translators of Chinese poetry and religious texts. He was the first to translate the entirety of 9th-century Chan poet Hanshan’s works into English, published as The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain. He has also translated several of the major Buddhist sutras, including the Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, and Platform Sutra.

Jon Joseph Roshi

Meditation and conversation on the Heart Sutra, and more.

—Jon Joseph

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