The Surangama Sutra

The Surangama Sutra <<大佛頂首楞嚴經>>, a detailed and thorough direction for spiritual practice, has been considered one of the most important Buddhist texts, especially in the Chan Buddhism tradition. There is even a Chinese saying 「自從一讀楞嚴後,不看人間糟粕書」- “Once you have read (and realized) the teachings of Surangama Sutra, all other books on earth appear to be waste of time”.

In other words, if you had to choose one book/sutra to read, the Surangama Sutra would be the one.

Therefore, I decided to spend time combing through the English translation, one section at a time, making it as stress-free to read as possible. It would be too much an unfortunate loss, if we’re intimidated by the ancient Chinese text and gave up making efforts to appreciate it …

Opening Verse for the Sutra

It is such a blessing to encounter
This supreme, sophisticated, subtle and sublime wisdom.
Now that I have gone through hundreds of millions of lifetimes,
And finally get to see it and hear it, to receive it and practice it,
I must work hard to realize the truth in the Tathagata’s teachings!

Chapter One

Section 1: Prologue

Section 2: The Quest for Spiritual Enlightenment

Section 3 – (1) Is the Mind Inside or Outside the Body?

Section 3 – (2) Is the Mind in the Eyes?

Section 3 – (3) Does the Mind Come into Being in Response to Conditions?

Section 3 – (4) Is the Mind in the Middle?

Section 3 – (5) Or Perhaps the Mind Has No Specific Location?

Section 4: The Ordinary Mind and the Original Mind

Section 5: It Is the Mind That Sees

Section 6: Visual Awareness Does Not Move

Chapter Two

Section 1: Visual Awareness Does Not Perish

Section 2: All Phenomena Returnable to Causes Are Unreal

Section 3: Eliminating Discrimination and Revealing the Essential Bodhi

Section 4: Exposing the Faulty Nature of Discrimination and Pointing Directly to the One Mind

Chapter Three

Section 1: The Six Entrances of Illusions

Section 2: The Twelve Ayatana (Six Sense Organs & Six Sense Data)

Section 3: The Eighteen Realms of Perception

(To be continued)

Closing Verse

May the merit of this practice
Adorn all Buddhas’ Pure Lands.
Repay the kindness we received,
And relieve the suffering in the world.
Anyone who sees and hears it,
Will activate their Buddha Mind and Bodhi Heart.
Once our accumulated karmas have been purified,
May we all be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss!