05 September 2012

Surangama Study Questions, 5

Back to the heart of the matter...

On Part 5:  "Instructions for Practice," pages 169-201.

*Here, the Buddha seems to shift tactics in teaching the Sangha.  He relies less on elaborate logic than in previous sections, and more on concrete analogies:  objects such as a scarf or the sound of a bell that can be experienced with the senses of those present.  Why do you suppose the Buddha takes this approach at this point?

*What are some of the Buddha's specific instructions for the practice of the Path?  How do these emerge from or relate to the material presented previously?

*This may be a good time to consider the elements of the supernatural that are described in the sutra.  The Buddha's hands are webbed and his skin appears as purple-toned gold; at one point, the light of all the Buddhas in all directions floods the hall.  How does this impact you as a reader?  How do your values, preconceptions, and expectations interact with this spectacle?  By contrast, how might the members of a Chinese farming village in the year 1000 respond to hearing it, do you imagine?

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