The Diamond Sutra: Transforming the Way We Perceive the World
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In this brilliant new translation and commentary on The Diamond Sutra--one of the sublime wisdom teachings of Mahayana Buddhism--Mu Soeng integrates this ancient wisdom teaching with current scientific and psychological thought. His clear and readable commentary traces the connections between these teachings and contemporary theories of quantum reality, explores the sutra within the framework of Buddhist meditation practices, and provides a comprehensive historical survey of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. Mu Soeng's goal throughout is to reveal the inspiration and wisdom of The Diamond Sutra to today's reader in an accessible, engaging, and modern manner.
Sanskritized—not always well from a classical point of view.19 As a general characterization, Mahayana sutras are a poetry of religious faith, a far cry from the dry analyses and categories of the Abhidharma. The exuberance of the Mahayanists seems at odds with the austere practices and minimalist doctrines of Nikaya Buddhism and may have been a celebration of an environment of intellectual freedom within the new written culture where they found themselves free to reinterpret the traditional
sayings. Perhaps none is more baffling than Buddha’s words “saving all beings knowing full well that there is no one to save.” Subsequent “systematic updated interpretations” within the Mahayana gave rise to the philosophical schools of Madhyamaka and Yogachara in India. Each of these three phases of Indian Mahayana—Prajnaparamita, Madhyamaka, and Yogachara—has played a complementarily influential role in the emergence of numerous schools of Buddhism in China, Korea, Japan, and Tibet. The
to the concept of upaya. We find in the Lotus Sutra a parable of a burning house, which is perhaps the best known upaya parable in the Mahayana sutras. It uses the hypothetical situation of an immensely wealthy father in a fabulous mansion with many rooms in which his many children are playing, each one fascinated with his or her own toys. Suddenly the house catches on fire and is in imminent danger of burning to the ground with the children still inside engrossed with their toys. The wise
away); (3) divine eye (being able to see things from far away); (4) memory of one’s former lives; (5) knowledge of others’ minds and thoughts; and (6) the extinction of the outflows, namely, sensuality, becoming, and ignorance. The first five superknowledges are shamanic powers, aspired to by shamans in every traditional culture, yet considered mundane by Buddhists who seek primarily the sixth superknowledge. Only arhats realize the sixth superknowledge. For them, the first five powers are
generation in every Buddhist culture. The term sasana is perhaps the nearest ancient equivalent of the modern expression “Buddhism.” (The term as an “ism” has been an attempt by European colonizers to understand a foreign tradition through their own religious and conceptual framework; many of the assumptions implicit in the European framework do not obtain in Buddhist history in Asia. This continues to be a subtle problem in our contemporary understanding of the tradition.) Sasana, [in its