The Surangama Sutra (Hero Method Teaching), is presented here by Charles Luk (Upasaka Lu Kuan Yu), translated from the Chinese text known as 'Leng Yen Ching'. It is believed within the Mahayana Buddhist tradition that in the Dharma ending age, which many believe is now, the Surangama Sutra will be the first of the Buddhist Sutras to disappear. This makes this translation all the more poignant for Buddhist practitioners. Ths version contains much, but not all of Ch'an master Han Shan's (1546-1623) enlightened commentary, which appears as ample footnotes to the main text itself. Luk's translation carries the following dedication:
'Respectfully dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Carroll Aitkins who are fervent Canadian Buddhists and whose very valuable and generous support has made possible my presentation of the important sermon which, according to the Buddha, will be the first sutra to disappear in this Dharma ending age.'
Luk has used the Chinese text that was translated from the Sanskrit by master Paramiti in 705AD. Master Paramiti lived in central north India, at Chih Chih monastery. In this sutra, The Lord Buddha asks Manjusri to choose the meditative method best suited for human beings. He chooses the method favoured by Avalokitesvara, which detaches the organ of hearing from its object, and then turns that organ in toward the stream of concentration. Pursued to its ultimate degree, the duality of 'movement' and 'stillness' is transcended. The sutra has 8 sections:
Part I. The Noumenon in the Tathagata Store. Part II. The Phenomenon in the Tathagata Store. Part III. The Tathagata Store Containing Both Noumenon and Phenomenon. Part IV. Self-Enlightenment. Part V. The Enlightenment of Others. Part VI. Bodhisattva Development Into Buddhahood. Part VII. The Six Planes of Existence Caused By Unenlightenment. Part VIII. Warning to Practisers: The Fifty False States Caused by the Five Aggregates.
As with all of Charles Luk's excellent translations, there is an extensive glossary of terms.
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This version of the Surangama Sutra is a treasure. The translation by Charles Luk is excellently crafted into english. One gets the feeling that he C.L.) understood what he was translating from the view of someone who had a deep meditation practice. This translation is then not just an academic exercise by an academic. The commentary by Master Han Shan is priceless. His insights add a dimension of clarity to the, sometimes, cryptic text. C.L. does not include the Surangama Mantra in his translation stating that the Chinese version of it is corrupted. As for the Surangama Sutra itself... it is the study of a lifetime... or maybe more. :)