15 August 2012

Surangama Sutra Study Questions, part 2

I found last night's discussion of the Surangama Sutra's introduction and first few chapters to be engaging, lively, and bright.  It was a joy to peek into the meaning of the Buddha's teachings together.  As before, these questions are intended to promote a thoughtful engagement with the teachings and to get into the heart of the matter.

For Part II, "The Nature of Visual Awareness," pages 41-86:

*General advice:  It helps to approach this section with a gentle sense of humor.

*A sangha member, Kansei, describes this section as being like a Socratic dialogue:  Ananda puts forward a proposition, and the Buddha demonstrates how that proposition is upside-down and backwards.  What does this method tell us about the Buddha's approach to teaching and learning?  How does the Buddha expect people to learn?  Another way to approach this question:  What is it that Ananda has avoided doing in his own practice?  What is the Buddha trying to teach Ananda, and through his example, us here and now?

*The question, "What is the nature of visual awareness?" is considered at length in this section.  Why is this of concern?  What is the purpose behind laboring over this particular point?

*What is the nature of visual awareness, according to the Buddha?  Why does this matter?  Related question:  What does it mean to be "without outflows"?

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