26 September 2012

Surangama Sutra Study Questions, part 8

 "The Surangama Mantra," pages 279-307.

In this passage, the sutra turns once again:  from exhortations on ethical purity, to the essentially esoteric matters of establishing a ritually pure space, and the recitatin of the Surangama dharani (also called a mantra). 

*Rather than attempting to probe these matters of faith analytically, I would invite you to consider them as means to an end.  These practices, particularly the recitation of mantra and dharani, have a long history as spiritual practices, which is to say, as methods, as means.  The  best way to find out how such practices work is to give them a good-faith try.  How?

*The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, a soto Zen group, has prepared an English translation of the dharani.  It is chantable and elegant, although some of the word choices are unconventional (what exactly is a "daemon" and what has it to do with Buddhism?).  If you are interested, you can find it here.  I have recited and copied this translation myself, and found it beneficial.

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