Watch this viral video of a Zen priest singing the “Heart Sutra” with acoustic backing

A video of the Japanese band Kissaquo reciting the “Heart Sutra” has gone viral, collecting nearly a million views.

Lilly Greenblatt
12 February 2018

A video of the Japanese band Kissaquo reciting the Heart Sutra has gone viral, collecting over a million views.

In Kissaquo’s performance of Buddhism’s Heart Sutra, the musical duo adds guitar, drums, and melody to the Buddhist scripture, recited in Japanese. But the track is a crossover hit, going viral on social media in America. That’s an impressive feat for a millennia-old Buddhist scripture. The Heart Sutra is revered by many Buddhists as a perfect explication of the nature of reality.

Watch Kissaquo recite their unique rendition of the Heart Sutra below:

Founded in 2003, Kissaquo is a duo comprised of Yakushiji Kanji and Yamamoto Satoshi. Alongside his career in music, Kanji, a Zen priest, also serves director of a Buddhist temple in Ehime, Japan. The group has eight singles and three albums, and perform most often in temples in Kyoto.

The Heart Sutra is one of the most popular Buddhist scriptures, and is especially famous for the lines, “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” For more on what that means, exactly, read Karl Brunnholz’s teaching “The Heart Sutra Will Change You Forever.”

Lilly Greenblatt

Lilly Greenblatt is the digital editor of You can find more about her at