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Thread: Sutra Collections

  1. #1

    Sutra Collections

    Hello friends,

    While cruising the Buddha-Net today at lunch, I came across these two websites:

    http://buddhafolk.wordpress.com/best-su ... ce-places/
    --Blog and website owned by "Ven. Hong Yang, a bhikshuni ordained in Taiwan at the Yuan Heng Temple in Gaoshiung," which pointed me to

    http://buddhasutra.com/
    --A website claiming to have "all the Buddhist Sutras from A to Z" in English.

    I don't know if it contains all of the Sutras, but it certainly has quite a few. I just thought that I would post the links for any fellow Sutra-nerds who don't read Chinese/Sanskrit/Pali.

    I hope this is of some small use to somebody.

    Metta,

    Saijun

  2. #2

    Re: Sutra Collections

    Ta muchly Saijun,
    I have put that link into my favourites, very useful. I am sure someone will have a comment to make about the translations. :wink:

  3. #3

    Re: Sutra Collections

    Thank you for sharing this, Saijun.
    Gassho,
    Engyo

  4. #4

    Re: Sutra Collections

    Thanks man!

  5. #5

    Re: Sutra Collections

    Save for a few of the ones referenced in Zen (Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, etc.), I don't have much interest in studying the Pali canon. Forgive me for saying so, but so much of it is almost unreadable! The redudant teaching (or recording) style gets very annonying. Even some of the compilations by Bodhi Bikkhu, who elides much of the redunancy, are difficult to get through. And it's challenging to distinguish what are original thoughts of the Buddha, and what is a mishmash of Hindu/Brahmanic stories. I feel like you have to be a religious studies scholar to make anything of it. Not to mention the incredibly voluminous amount of sutras there are.

    Am I the only one? I feel a bit remiss for my disinterest...

    -Matt

  6. #6

    Re: Sutra Collections

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    Save for a few of the ones referenced in Zen (Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, etc.), I don't have much interest in studying the Pali canon. Forgive me for saying so, but so much of it is almost unreadable! The redudant teaching (or recording) style gets very annonying. Even some of the compilations by Bodhi Bikkhu, who elides much of the redunancy, are difficult to get through. And it's challenging to distinguish what are original thoughts of the Buddha, and what is a mishmash of Hindu/Brahmanic stories. I feel like you have to be a religious studies scholar to make anything of it. Not to mention the incredibly voluminous amount of sutras there are.

    Am I the only one? I feel a bit remiss for my disinterest...

    -Matt
    Hello Matt,

    I actually didn't post this for the Pali Suttas; they can be found in much more readable/accessible formats (in my opinion) at Access to Insight (http://www.accesstoinsight.org). I posted these links because they contained more Mahayana Sutras than I'd previously been able to find in one location.

    But, I'm sorry to have caused you grief. It wasn't my intention.

    Metta,

    Saijun

  7. #7

    Re: Sutra Collections

    Actually, my mistake, I shouldn't have said Pali, as I really meant to include most of the Mahayana sutras as well.

    No harm! I was just curious if there are others who are reluctant to study the sutras. Or if it's just me :shock:

  8. #8

    Re: Sutra Collections

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    No harm! I was just curious if there are others who are reluctant to study the sutras. Or if it's just me :shock:
    Nope. I don't study them either, but remember "beginners mind". Some of them have good koans. It's all just practice. Frankly, I'd stick with the Zen stuff for now.

    Gassho

    W

  9. #9

    Re: Sutra Collections

    Hiyas
    Nope not alone at all Matt!

    I agree it feels sometimes like a couple of degrees in some religious studies etc might just be the key Truth is for me, at this time, I study as I stumble across. By study, I read what is there and move on.
    May shed some light on other things, may not... if it does, great, and It will come up again sometime and the time then may be just right to set some synapses a firing.

    I do not search for exactly what Buddha said when and where, as its practice right here right now. Not discounting anything just not trying to grab at it.

    While that is true it also true that these were sometimes helpful pointers to what we maybe missing, other times just a way for a group to validate "their" practice as the right and true one. Either way good to look at as we tend to do that still today .

    So yeah not my #1 interested topic, and currently I am not seeking out any one sutta/sutra (oh reminds me, I should also look up the difference in those to words! ) in particular but I leave it open to chance. Of course if chance's name happens to be my teacher then at that time I will promptly pick up the reading ops:

    Gassho
    Shohei
    (probably not the best scholar- apologies to my all my teachers!)

  10. #10

    Re: Sutra Collections

    This thread had piqued my interest. I read a lot. And a lot of my reading is that of modern Zen teachers and very little of the original Buddhist texts. I have been thinking about changing that but still of the fence. While listening to Daido Roshi's most recent podcast (How Buddhas are Born) on WZEN he was apologizing for all the books he has written. How he feels they intellectualize the Dharma. On another podcast he had a funny comment on how when he hears someone regurgitate something he has said it makes him want to regurgitate. This makes me very cautious on my motivation when it comes to zen studies. Mostly I read to fill the time and keep my mind on the Dharma and not seeking any specific training. But it is difficult to keep mindful, maybe due to my western mind and upbringing, not wanting to have some sort of sequential and linear thinking path.

    Just some random thoughts...

    Gassho,
    Shawn

  11. #11

    Re: Sutra Collections

    Quote Originally Posted by Shohei
    So yeah not my #1 interested topic, and currently I am not seeking out any one sutta/sutra (oh reminds me, I should also look up the difference in those to words! )
    Isn't Sutra the Sanskrit pronunciation whereas Sutta would be the Pali...

    Theravada schools use the Pali Canon as one of their main texts, so they keep the words like Sutra and Dharma in Pali...

    Which is why (I think) they use the word Dhamma like the Dhammapada (as oppose to Dharma)

    So I do not think there is a difference beside language.


    Though I can be completely wrong here


    Gassho

    Seiryu

  12. #12

    Re: Sutra Collections

    Hello friends,

    I realize that I come across as a more sutra oriented fellow, but really it's all about balance; Dogen and Rujung both say that study of the Sutras is an important factor for awakening, no?

    And let's not forget that Bodhidharma himself is called a "master of the Lankavatara Sutra." Surely there could be something to it...

    "Two sides of the no-sided coin," no?

    In any event, the Sutra always in front of our eyes is the most important one, and deserving of all the study and awareness we have.

    Metta,

    Saijun

  13. #13

    Re: Sutra Collections

    Hi,

    I feel it good and nourishing to read Sutras and Suttas sometimes, although I try to keep a few thoughts (and non-thoughts) in mind in the reading.

    First, the Buddha was preaching to different people, in different circumstances with varying needs, and thus the content can vary quite a bit ... even within the pages of the same Sutta/Sutra. Rather like cookbooks, there is no one right way to make a delicious tomato soup! Different cooks and different tastes, but the same delicious tomato at heart!

    Also, cultures and times have changed, so some of the old beliefs and "ways of telling a story" may seem quaint to, for example, a person in the 21st century West. That is where the "non-thought" comes through, and the ability to "see through the words" (to the tomato). Mahayana Sutras especially are filled with all kinds of mythical creatures, magical situations, wild stories ... enough to put Harry Potter to shame! But, each was just a way of expressing the "magic and power" of the teachings they contain. I don't let the colorful wrapping paper hide the beautiful present inside.

    What is more, the Sutras were written by 1001 different writers, although each claiming to be the "words of the Buddha". Even the old pali Sutta were not written down for hundreds of years after the time of the Buddha, were passed down before then as an oral tradition, and thus can be assumed to have had many authors in the process of being written. So, one does not need to believe in every word as applying to every situation.

    A very good place to dip into the Pali Suttas is this book, an "abridged" collection by the wonderful translator, Bikkhu Bodhi ...



    In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon
    http://www.amazon.com/Buddhas-Words-Ant ... 0861714911

    Usually clear, simple, direct to read. (In fact, my one criticism of the book was the footnotes by Bikkhu Bodhi, which tended to take the 'clear and simple' and impose some rather strained Theravadan philosophical interpretations on the content that I found not helpful. However, to each his own).

    An excellent first, short Mahayana Sutra to read is The Vimalakirti Sutra (I recommend the translation by Burton Watson, although the Robert Thurman version is excellent too).

    http://www.amazon.com/Vimalakirti-Sutra ... 0231106564

    One of the most popular Asian classics for roughly two thousand years, the Vimalakirti Sutra stands out among the sacred texts of Mahayana Buddhism for its conciseness, its vivid and humorous episodes, its dramatic narratives, and its eloquent exposition of the key doctrine of emptiness or nondualism. Unlike most sutras, its central figure is not a Buddha but a wealthy townsman, who, in his mastery of doctrine and religious practice, epitomizes the ideal lay believer. For this reason, the sutra has held particular significance for men and women of the laity in Buddhist countries of Asia, assuring them that they can reach levels of spiritual attainment fully comparable to those accessible to monks and nuns of the monastic order. Esteemed translator Burton Watson has rendered a beautiful English translation from the popular Chinese version produced in 406 C.E. by the Central Asian scholar-monk Kumarajiva, which is widely acknowledged to be the most felicitous of the various Chinese translations of the sutra (the Sanskrit original of which was lost long ago) and is the form in which it has had the greatest influence in China, Japan, and other countries of East Asia.
    If one can "see through and see shining through" the several fantastic scenes, mythical creatures, magic and miracles and the rest of the wild ride ... it is a wild, magical, fantastic ride!

    After that, there are other Sutras to be familiar with at one time or another in the Zen Buddhist world ... the Lotus Sutra perhaps tops on the list, and one of the wildest rides of all.

    Gassho, J

  14. #14
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    Re: Sutra Collections

    Matt wrote:
    I was just curious if there are others who are reluctant to study the sutras. Or if it's just me
    Hi All,
    Currently i'm only working with the heart sutra(which I find amazing!). In fact once I finish the 2 books I'm working on now I'd really like to pick up the book "An Arrow To The Heart" or some other commentary on it. I've tiptoed into the lotus sutra but at this time I'm not interested in committing myself to a more in-depth study of them. Though I may feel different in the future as I'm sure there is much to be learned in their study.

    Gassho,
    John

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