By Madeline Bocaro ©
Sadly, this is one of the final photos ever taken of John Lennon in December 1980 (by Bob Gruen).
His jacket bears a message from The Heart Sutra Mantra.
John’s jacket is by world-renowned Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto (famous for making David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust stage costumes in the early 1970s). Kansai’s name is embroidered underneath the dragon’s head on the right side of the jacket.
The kanji embroidered in golden thread on the left sleeve is from The Heart Sutra which is popular in Mahāyāna Buddhism.
The translation of its Sanskrit title, Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, is“The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom”.
The Heart Sutra states, “Form is empty / Emptiness is form”
The sutra concludes with the mantra:
“gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā”meaning:
“Gone, gone, everyone gone all the way to the other shore, awakening, now.”
The Heart Sūtra mantra in Sanskrit is: गते गते पारगते पारसंगते बोधि स्वाहा
It is the most commonly recited, copied and studied scripture in East Asian Buddhism.
Gone, Gone, Gone beyond Gone utterly beyond
Oh what an Awakening
Also see my other stories about Kansai: