Where to start

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Where to start

Postby timmy113 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:05 pm

I was just wondering where I should start with Sutras. I'm currently reading the Lotus Sutra. Not sure if there should be an order to reading them. Thanks everybody.
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Re: Where to start

Postby plwk » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:18 pm

I was just wondering where I should start with Sutras
The late Ven Master Xuan Hua opines...
http://cttbusa.org/vajrastrikes/buddhism.asp
Q : Which Sutra is suitable for beginners?
A : Any Sutra is suitable.


I'm currently reading the Lotus Sutra. Not sure if there should be an order to reading them
Well traditionally, it's known as the Threefold Lotus Sutra:
The prologue text, the main text & the epilogue text. Most people would have just read the main text when they encounter the Lotus Sutra.

Commentary resources here. Try also these subforums: 1 2. You can also google an entry on 'lotus sutra dharmawheel' for more discussions on it as the forum search function at the moment is not functioning due to some technical changes.

Above all, lots of patience :popcorn:
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Re: Where to start

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:01 pm

If you're not too familiar with Buddhism, then perhaps a treatise that summarizes the Sutras would be better.

Otherwise, there are so many Sutras, that it is as Master Xuan Hua says. The question shouldn't be 'where do I start?' but 'which do I read first?'. The Sutra of Golden Light is one of these.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Where to start

Postby Greg » Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:36 am

Konchog1 wrote:If you're not too familiar with Buddhism, then perhaps a treatise that summarizes the Sutras would be better.

Otherwise, there are so many Sutras, that it is as Master Xuan Hua says. The question shouldn't be 'where do I start?' but 'which do I read first?'. The Sutra of Golden Light is one of these.


Yes, and I would even take it a step further and say, you might be better off reading a work of contemporary scholarship like Paul Williams's Mahayana Buddhism to set everything in context a bit. But not everyone would agree.
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Re: Where to start

Postby randomseb » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:52 am

The Threefold Lotus sutra is a pretty heavy sutra to start on, weighty words, and lots of metaphors and parables in there!

The vimalakirti sutra is pretty easy to read.. some heavy content but the text is not complicated to read

I found reading the texts of the early zen masters, the Patriarchs and the like, helped me personally come to terms with what the sutras were trying to say, but this is just my own mind

Here, Try the Heart Sutra, it's short and simple (Ha! But it does get right to the heart of the matter. 5 heaps are usually called skandhas or aggregates)!

Heart Sutra - short version (translated by Edward Conze):
Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the Lovely, the Holy!

Avalokita, The Holy Lord and Bodhisattva, was moving in the deep course of the Wisdom which has gone beyond. He looked down from on high, He beheld but five heaps, and he saw that in their own-being they were empty.

Here, Sariputra, form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form, the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness.

Here, Sariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they are not produced or stopped, not defiled or immaculate, not deficient or complete.

Therefore, Sariputra, in emptiness there is no form, nor feeling, nor perception, nor impulse, nor consciousness; No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; No forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or objects of mind; No sight-organ element, and so forth, until we come to: No mind-consciousness element; There is no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, and so forth, until we come to: there is no decay and death, no extinction of decay and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path. There is no cognition, no attainment and non-attainment.

Therefore, Sariputra, it is because of his non-attainmentness that a Bodhisattva, through having relied on the Perfection of Wisdom, dwells without thought-coverings. In the absence of thought-coverings he has not been made to tremble, he has overcome what can upset, and in the end he attains to Nirvana.

All those who appear as Buddhas in the three periods of time fully awake to the utmost, right and perfect Enlightenment because they have relied on the Perfection of Wisdom.

Therefore one should know the prajnaparamita as the great spell, the spell of great knowledge, the utmost spell, the unequalled spell, allayer of all suffering, in truth - for what could go wrong? By the prajnaparamita has this spell been delivered. It runs like this:

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

(Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, all-hail!)
Disclaimer: If I have posted about something, then I obviously have no idea what I am talking about!
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