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As we will see in the next section, the earliest extant appearance of the Heart Sutra is a Chinese translation made by a Central Asian monk sometime between A.D. 2OO and 250. It is widely believed that the sutra was written in the 2nd century and was soon translated into Chinese and Tibetan.


As the Heart Sutra spread from its (probable) Indian roots to Tibet and China and then later to Japan, Korea and beyond, translations and commentaries flourished. Contemporary translations are translations from a variety of earlier translations, both Chinese, Tibetan and Sanskrit.

Click here to open a few different translations that you can follow in this course and in others in Ashoka's Heart Sutra study center: