Diamond Sutra Authorship (TNH Heart and Diamond Sutra)

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Norden
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Diamond Sutra Authorship (TNH Heart and Diamond Sutra)

Post by Norden »


Moderator note: it is best to start new topics rather than posting on old threads. - Hazel.

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Nicholas2727 wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:40 am I have been interested in studying the Heart and Diamond Sutra and wondered how TNH translations and commentaries are? His book "the diamond that cuts through illusion" and "the heart of understanding" seem to be popular, although I wanted some other opinions on if this is a good place to start. I have always enjoyed TNH style, which is another reason I was interested in starting with these. If anyone has a different suggestion please let me know.
Hi,

I'm interested to know who wrote the diamond sutra or vajracheddika prajna paramita sutta? I think you know better than me therefore I asked this question.
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Hazel
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Re: Diamond Sutra Authorship (TNH Heart and Diamond Sutra)

Post by Hazel »

Keep in mind we are on Mahayana Buddhist forum so the canned answer is that they are words spoken by the Buddha that were passed on through oral tradition until being written down. Academic discussion that questions authenticity is general suited elsewhere.


Remember we are in the academic discussion subforum, so please discuss with academic rigour.

Happy Pride month to my queer dharma siblings!
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Zhen Li
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Re: Diamond Sutra Authorship (TNH Heart and Diamond Sutra)

Post by Zhen Li »

Norden wrote: Sat May 15, 2021 4:16 pm Hi,

I'm interested to know who wrote the diamond sutra or vajracheddika prajna paramita sutta? I think you know better than me therefore I asked this question.
Well of course we would say that they were "spoken" by the Buddha, but the Buddha did not "write" them with a pen or carve the letters into palm leaves. Prior to being written they were memorised by monks and bodhisattvas, but there are some theories that written drafts or summaries could have accompanied oral traditions—the primary and most important aspect in Buddhist transmission, however, is generally held to be memorisation, so even when there are manuscripts, they seem to be more objects of worship than of study. Nāgārjuna apparently retrieved manuscripts which had been hidden or stored in other realms, and finding hidden treasure texts is something which became important in the Tibetan tradition. Revelation by bodhisattvas is also something which is said to have occured.

As for the actual question of who wrote these, it is hard to know about the early period, because we need ritual manuals to know about who is permitted to "write down" sūtras. In India and Nepal there were scribe classes who were permitted to do this task with the blessings of monastics. There are also instructions which specify that teachers, such as vajrācāryas, are responsible for this task. It invovles the empowerment of the body of the scribe, as well as the materials used—we can find this information in the Kriyāsaṅgrahapañjikā.

As for specific sūtras, sometimes scribes are mentioned in colophons, but I don't think we can know the earliest scribes' names.
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Javierfv1212
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Re: Diamond Sutra Authorship (TNH Heart and Diamond Sutra)

Post by Javierfv1212 »

The truth is that nobody in the academy claims to be able to answer your question. There are not enough historical sources to be able to answer it.
It is quite impossible to find the Buddha anywhere other than in one's own mind.
A person who is ignorant of this may seek externally,
but how is it possible to find oneself through seeking anywhere other than in oneself?
Someone who seeks their own nature externally is like a fool who, giving a performance in the middle of a crowd, forgets who he is and then seeks everywhere else to find himself.
— Padmasambhava
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