Shurangama Sutra


The Fundamental Importance of the Shurangama Sutra

Shurangama Sutra - Text
Shurangama Sutra - Commentary

Within Buddhism, there are very many important sutras. However, the most important sutra is the Shurangama Sutra. If there are places which have the Shurangama Sutra, then the Proper Dharma dwells in the world. If there is no Shurangama Sutra, then the Dharma-ending Age appears. Therefore, we Buddhist disciples, each and every one, must use our strength and our blood, sweat, and toil to protect the Shurangama Sutra. In the Sutra of the Ultimate Extinction of the Dharma, it says very, very clearly that in the Dharma-ending Age, the Shurangama Sutra will be the first to disappear. The rest of the sutras will follow. As long as Shurangama Sutra does not disappear, then the Proper Dharma Age is present.

Because of that, we Buddhist disciples must use our lives to protect the Shurangama Sutra, must use vows and resolution to protect the Shurangama Sutra, and must cause the Shurangama Sutra to be known far and wide, reaching every nook and cranny, reaching into each and every dust-mote, reaching out to the exhaustion of empty space and of the Dharma Realm. If we can do that, then the Proper Dharma will continue radiating great light for a long time to come.

The Shurangama Sutra is the Buddha's true body

Why would the Shurangama Sutra be destroyed? It is too true. The Shurangama Sutra is the Buddha's true body. The Shurangama Sutra is the Buddha's sharira. The Shurangama Sutra is the Buddha's true and actual stupa and shrine. Therefore, because the Shurangama Sutra is so true, all the demon kings use all kinds of methods to destroy the Shurangama Sutra. They begin by starting rumors, saying that the Shurangama Sutra is phony. Why do they say the Shurangama Sutra is phony? Since the Shurangama Sutra speaks too truly, especially in the sections on the Four Decisive Deeds, the Twenty-five Sages Describing Perfect Penetration, and the States of the Fifty Skandha Demons. Those of off-center persuasions and externally-oriented ways, weird demons and strange freaks, are unable to stand it. Consequently there are a good many senseless people who claim that the Shurangama Sutra is a forgery.

Now, the principles set forth in the Shurangama Sutra are on the one hand proper, and on the other in accord with principle, and the weird demons and strange freaks, those in various cults and sects, are thus exposed. Even so, many people, in particular unwise scholars and garbage-collecting professors “Tread upon the holy writ.” With their extremely scant and partial understanding, they are confused and unclear, lacking real erudition and true and actual wisdom. That is why they resort to baseless criticism. We who study the Buddhadharma should be acutely aware of these circumstances. Therefore, wherever we go, we should mention the Shurangama Sutra. Wherever we go, we should propagate the Shurangama Sutra. Wherever we go, we should introduce the Shurangama Sutra to people. Why is that? It is to help the Proper Dharma long to dwell in the world.


Investigate the Shurangama Sutra to quickly accomplish Buddhahood

If the Shurangama Sutra is regarded as true, then there is no problem. To verify its truth, let me say that if the Shurangama Sutra were phony, then I would willingly fall into the hells forever through all eternity . for being unable to recognize the Buddhadharma . for mistaking the false for true. If the Shurangama Sutra is true, then life after life in every time I make the vow to propagate the Great Dharma of the Shurangama, that I shall in every time and every place expound upon the true principles of the Shurangama.

Everyone should pay attention to the following point. How could the Shurangama Sutra not have been spoken by the Buddha? No one else could have spoken the Shurangama Sutra. And so I hope that all those people who make senseless accusations will wake up fast and stop creating the causes for suffering in the Hell of Pulling Out Tongues. No matter who the scholar is, no matter what country students of the Buddhadharma are from, all should quickly mend their ways, admit their mistakes, and bring about a change. There is no greater good than that.

I can then say that all who look at the Shurangama Sutra, all who listen to the Shurangama Sutra, and all who investigate the Shurangama Sutra, will very quickly accomplish Buddhahood.

A complete and practical manual for spiritual practice

Many enlightened masters and illustrious monastic scholars have written exegetical commentaries on it. To this day, for both clergy and laity in the Chinese Buddhist tradition, the Shurangama Sutra continues to be the object of devout study, recitation, and memorization. More specifically, the Shurangama Sutra has traditionally been regarded as a complete and practical manual for spiritual practice that will eventually lead to enlightenment.

It gives instruction in the correct understanding of the Buddha-nature, which is the potential within all beings for becoming a Buddha. The Sutra explains how and why this true nature is hidden within our ordinary experience of ourselves and of the world, and it shows how we can uncover this nature and recognize that it is our own true mind. The Sutra also explains that personal integrity and purity of conduct are essential prerequisites for spiritual awakening. It presents the general principles of Buddhist meditation, introduces several specific meditation methods, and recommends which methods are the most effective and the easiest to practice.

Further, a considerable portion of the Sutra is devoted to guidelines for discerning what understandings and practices are correct and which deviate into wrong ones. It explains how our own intentional acts, whether physical, verbal, or mental, directly result in our experiences, including our future rebirths at various levels of being, both human and nonhuman. It shows how correct action can also lead to initial awakenings and eventually to the perfect enlightenment of the Buddhas.

Shurangama Samadhi

Much of the Sutra is devoted to the Buddha Sakyamuni’s instructions to the monk Ananda, whose personal story provides a narrative frame for the entire discourse. Joined by several of his enlightened disciples, the Buddha shows Ananda how to turn the attention of his sense-faculties inward in order to achieve a deeply focused state of meditation known as samadhi.

He tells Ananda that by practicing a particular form of samadhi, the Shurangama Samadhi, he and anyone else who also maintains purity of conduct and develops right understanding can gain an awakening that is equal to the awakening experienced by all Buddhas.

At the heart of the Sutra is the Shurangama Mantra. The Sutra promises that the practice of reciting this mantra, in the context of the other practices taught in the Sutra, can succeed in eliminating whatever internal or external obstacles may lie in the way of spiritual progress. To this day, monks and nuns in the Chinese Buddhist tradition, as well as many practitioners among the laity, recite the mantra every morning as an essential aspect of daily practice.




大佛頂首楞嚴經 - 經文
大佛頂首楞嚴經 - 淺釋