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Studying the Heart Sutra: Basic Sources and Methods (A Response to Ng and Ānando)

Issue: Vol 37 No. 2 (2020)

Journal: Buddhist Studies Review

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Buddhist Studies

DOI: 10.1558/bsrv.41982


This article illustrates the importance of research methods in Buddhist Studies using the recent article on the Heart Sutra by Ng and Ānando (2019) as a case study. The authors make a novel conjecture about the Heart Sutra to explain a difference between the Xīnjīng (T 251) and the Dàmíngzhòujīng (T 250) but in doing so they neglect the relevant research methods and critical thinking. Their selection of literary resources is somewhat erratic and their evaluation of them appears to contain bias. The authors did not consult relevant Sanskrit texts (including the Sanskrit Heart Sutra). The logic applied to their source materials appears to be faulty at times and this causes them to arrive at an unconvincing conclusion. By going over the same ground, using more appropriate methods and materials, a far better explanation of the problem emerges.

Author: Jayarava Attwood

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