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Describing the Indescribable: A Commentary of the Diamond Sutra [Paperback]

Hsing Yun
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications,U.S.; 1st Edition edition (1 Jan 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861711866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861711864
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,348,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Buddhist Classic 18 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Diamond Sutra is among the most popular works of the Prajnaparamita group of Sutras. Indeed, it is one of the most popular Sutras within the Mahayana cannon as a whole.

This translation, by Tom Graham, is based on Kumarajiva's text, which is probably the most widely used single source for translations of the Diamond Sutra. The commentary is by Master Hsing Yun, the forty-eighth patriarch of the Lin Chi (Rinzai) School of Zen Buddhism. The text presents the complete translation of the Sutra followed by a series of chapters which quote each section of the sutra in turn and provide commentary on it.

"The Diamond Sutra beats with two hearts: one is wisdom and the other is compassion. To be wise is to know and understand the essence of awareness. To be compassionate is to know and understand the essence of intention. In the Diamond Sutra, the Buddha shows us that ultimately, compassion and wisdom are one."
-from the Introduction by Master Hsing Yun

"A brilliant translation with a lucid and accessible commentary. Master Hsing Yun is truly a leading light of contemporary Chinese Buddhism."
-Professor Lance E. Nelson, University of San Diego

"A very important contribution to the study of Buddhism, ably and readably translated. I strongly recommend reading it."
-Ananda Guruge

Another excellent version of the Diamond Sutra is The Diamond Sutra: The Perfection of Wisdom by Red Pine. Unlike most English translations of the Diamond Sutra, which are typically based on a single text, Red Pine has consulted a wide range of source texts for his edition.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very lucid introduction to the Diamond Sutra 21 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback
The Diamond Sutra is sometimes very difficult to understand. This wonderfully lucid book is the best introduction to the sutra which I've read so far. It presents a complete translation of the sutra and then deals with each section in turn through a sequence of short, readable chapters. Each chapter is also full of quotations from other Chan (Chinese Zen) masters. Hsing Yun has inspired my practice and shown me how the sutra relates in very practical ways to living a more enlightened life. In particular Yun has made me think about my intentions. Emphasis on mindful awareness is only one side of the coin. We need to consciously clarify our intentions to begin to awaken to life, in life, for life. Buy it!
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarity and Wisdom 2 Aug 2002
By charles hardy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Diamond Sutra is one of the most revered sacred
texts in the Buddhist canon. Master Hsing Yun has
given western readers a gift beyond measure.
His translation is poetic, yet clear. Beautiful in
form, the reader is transported back to the Jeta Grove
to receive the teaching.
The accompanying commentary is wonderful. Context
for the Diamond Sutra is provided through examples from
other Sutras and Buddhist teachers.
The format of the book lends itself to
introspection. I found myself reading a chapter,
then the commentary, followed by a brief period of
contemplation. This method helped me to understand
the content in a more meaningful way.
Master Hsing Yun and the translators, have given us profound teachings, presented in a clear and
understandable form.
They are to be congratulated, and we are grateful
for their contribution to Buddhism.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful Commentary 29 Feb 2004
By Swing King - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a really indispensable companion for anyone who is familiar with and has read a translation of The Diamond Sutra. Master Hsing Yun expresses his own wealth of compassion by offering us this amazingly insightful book. The author tells us that in order to uphold the truths within the Diamond Cutter, we must practice generosity. In fact he has an entire chapter in this work covering that subject alone. He argues that the Diamond Sutra teaches us how to purify our intentions as we find perfect clarity of consciousness. By reciting even a few verses of this wonderful sutra, as the Buddha even says all throughout the Diamond Cutter, we lead others by our EXAMPLE to the Buddha's Dharma. The Buddha often says in the Diamond sutra that leading others to the path of the Buddha is actually one of the highest forms of compassion and generosity one can offer. In essence, to be fully understood, the Diamond Sutra must as a requisite be shared with others.
When our intentions are pure, we see others as they really are. Otherwise we see some muddled reflection of how our mind is feeling while defiled. It's true, too. Think of how when you are grumpy, others are a bother to you. "Go away," you say to yourself under muttered whispers. But our whole lives are dependant on others. If it wasn't for other people's love and kindness, I would have not only died as an infant but would never even have been born. Hsing Yun masterfully weaves the heart of The Diamond Sutra into this very central theme. That of giving to other sentient beings in every capacity we are capable of carrying out with our entire being. Order this book, it's a Wisdom publication - so you know you cannot go wrong.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inconceivably Great 7 Aug 2011
By Brandon Lott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Subhuti, if I were to say completely how great is the goodness attained by a good man or a good woman who practices, reads, and chants this sutra in the Dharma declining age, there would be those whose minds would become crazy upon hearing this, and they would form deep doubts and not believe it. Subhuti, it is enough to know that this sutra is inconceivably great, and that the rewards it offers are inconceivably great." Buddha from The Diamond Sutra.

"Once during the T'ang Dynasty, Prince Liang Wu asked a Ch'an master to explain the Diamond Sutra to him. The master came in and sat down, and then he tapped a ruler for silence. The he got up and left. A monk who was present at the time asked the prince if he had understood the teaching. The prince replied, 'I am as mystified by it as if I had fallen five miles into a thick fog.' The monk then said, "There is nothing anyone can say about the Diamond Sutra. The master revealed the depths of its mysteries by leaving the room altogether'." Master Hsing Yun telling a story to illuminate the beauty of "Describing the Indescribable."

This is the single greatest teaching I have ever received out of many years of spiritual search, study and practice. It changed my life in ways only that something so precious (as a diamond) can. If you allow yourself to be open and practice its depths ... it will transform you ... from a lump of coal into a diamond in the "Jeweled Net of Indra."
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