The Shurangama Sutra

大佛顶首楞严经(英文正规版)The Shurangama Sutra – Prologue (1 of 11)

Thus have I heard: at one time the Buddha was staying in the city of Śrāvastī in a sublime abode in Prince Jetri’s Grove, together with a gathering of great monks, twelve hundred fifty in all. These disciples of the Buddha were all great Arhats, free of outflows: they abided in the Dharma and upheld it. They had completely transcended all existence, and their perfect demeanor inspired awe in every place they went. They followed the Buddha in turning the Wheel of Dharma, supremely worthy of what he had bestowed upon them. Stern and pure in their adherence to the monastic code, they were great exemplars for beings in the three realms of existence. To liberate beings they appeared in countless bodies in response to what those beings required, and in the future they would rescue other beings, who thereby would transcend the burden of their attachment to sense-objects.

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大佛顶首楞严经(英文正规版)The Shurangama Sutra – The Nature and Location of the Mind (2 of 11)

When Ānanda saw the Buddha, he bowed and wept in sorrow. He regretted that, since time without beginning, he had devoted himself to erudition but had not fully developed his practice on the Path. Respectfully and repeatedly he asked the Buddha to explain for him the elementary steps that lead to attainment in the wondrous practices of calming the mind, contemplative insight, and meditation in stillness — practices through which the Thus-Come Ones from all ten directions had become fully awakened.

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大佛顶首楞严经(英文正规版)The Shurangama Sutra – The Nature of Visual Awareness (3 of 11)

“Ānanda, a moment ago you said you saw my fist send forth light. What caused my fist to send forth light? How did I make the fist? And what were you seeing it with?”

Ānanda replied, “The Buddha’s body is the color of crimson-tinted gold from the River Jambu. His body is like a mountain of precious stones. It sends forth light because it is born of purity. With my own eyes I saw his hand when he held it up for us and made a fist by curling his wheel-imprinted fingers.”

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大佛顶首楞严经(英文正规版)The Shurangama Sutra – The Matrix of the Thus-Come One (4 of 11)

“Ananda, you have not yet understood that the objects we perceive are unreal and illusory. They are subject to change, appearing here and there and disappearing here and there. Yet these illusions, each with its conventional designation, are in fact within the essential, wondrous enlightenment. The same is true of the five aggregates, the six faculties, the twelve sites, and the eighteen constituent elements. It is an illusion that they come into being when both their causes and their conditions are present, and it is an illusion that they cease to be when either their causes or their conditions are absent. You simply have not yet understood that, fundamentally, everything that comes and goes, that comes into being and ceases to be, is within the true nature of the Matrix of the Thus-Come One, which is the wondrous, everlasting understanding — the unmoving, all-pervading, wondrous suchness of reality. But, though you may seek within the everlasting reality of the Matrix of the Thus-Come One for what comes and goes, for confusion and awakening, and for coming into being and ceasing to be, you will not find them there.”

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大佛顶首楞严经(英文正规版)The Shurangama Sutra – The Coming into Being of the World of Illusion (5 -11)

Then Pūrṇamaitrāyaṇīputra stood up amidst the great assembly. He uncovered his right shoulder, knelt with his right knee on the ground, respectfully placed his palms together, and said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, you who are foremost in virtue and in inspiring awe have just now eloquently proclaimed, for the sake of all beings, the ultimate truth taught by the Thus-Come Ones. The Thus-Come One has often praised me as the one most skilled in expounding the Dharma, but as I have been listening to the Thus-Come One’s voice as he has been setting forth such subtle and wonderful Dharma, I might as well be a deaf man trying to hear a mosquito from a distance of more than a hundred paces. Such a man could not even see the mosquito, let alone hear it.”

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大佛顶首楞严经(英文正规版)The Shurangama Sutra – Instructions for Practice (6 of 11)

Once again Ānanda wept as he bowed at the Buddha’s feet. Then he knelt, and with his palms joined he said respectfully to the Buddha, “The Supreme, Compassionate, Pure, and Noble King has skillfully opened our minds. In response to our various situations and circumstances, he has been able to urge us on and to pull us benighted ones out of the sea of suffering in which we have been drowning.”

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大佛顶首楞严经 二十五圣圆通章(英文正规版)The Shurangama Sutra – Twenty-Five Sages (7 of 11)

Having received this instruction from the Buddha, Ānanda and the others in the great assembly gained such wisdom and such a thorough and complete understanding that they now had no doubts about what the Buddha had said. Ānanda placed his palms together and bowed to the ground before the Buddha, and then said, “Today our bodies and minds have been filled with light, and we are delighted that our understanding is unimpeded. However, although we have now understood the meaning of ‘when the six are untied, the one will vanish,’ we do not yet know which one of the sense-faculties can lead us to break through to enlightenment.”

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大佛顶首楞严经 四种决定清净明诲(英文正规版)The Shurangama Sutra – Four Clear and Definitive Instructions on Purity (8 of 11)

Ānanda straightened his robes and in the midst of the assembly placed his palms together and bowed. At once joyful and sorrowful, he now understood perfectly the path his mind had taken. Wishing to benefit the beings of the future, he bowed his head and said respectfully, “Greatly Compassionate World-Honored One, now I understand this Dharma for becoming a Buddha. I can practice this method unhindered by the slightest doubt. I have often heard the Thus-Come One say that Bodhisattvas resolve to help others make the crossing before completing the crossing themselves, while the Buddhas, having already completed the crossing, act in the world by guiding others to enlightenment. I myself have not completed the crossing, but I vow to bring across all beings who live in the future in the time of the Dharma’s ending.”

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大佛顶首楞严经 楞严神咒(英文正规版)The Shurangama Sutra – The Śūraṅgama Mantra (9 of11)

“Ananda, you have asked about guarding and focusing the mind, and I have now told you about the wondrous method that will lead practition-ers to enter samādhi. If you seek to become a Bodhisattva, you must first follow the four instructions on purity so that your comportment may be as pure as the glistening frost. Then very naturally you will no more be able to commit the three errors of the mind and the four errors of speech than a tree is able to leaf out in freezing weather. How could anything demonic happen to someone who faithfully follows the four instructions on purity, Ānanda? How much the more will that person be protected if his mind is not paying attention to sights, sounds, odors, flavors, tangible objects, or objects of cognition!”

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大佛顶首楞严经(英文正规版)The Shurangama Sutra – Levels of Being (10 of 11)

Ānanda stood up, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to him respectfully, “I and those like me have been so unwise and dull-witted as to prefer the mere pursuit of learning to the attempt to put an end to our outflows. But now that the Buddha has kindly given us this instruction, our practice has been corrected. We are thoroughly delighted with the great benefit we have gained.”

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大佛顶首楞严经 五十阴魔(英文正规版)The Shurangama Sutra – Fifty Demonic States of Mind (11 of 11)

Then the Thus-Come One prepared to leave the Dharma seat. Rising from the Lion’s Throne, he placed his hand on the table before him, which was wrought of the seven precious things. But then, moving his body, which was the color of purple-golden mountains, he sat down again, and he said to Ānanda and to the rest of the great assembly, “You who still need instruction, you Hearers of the Teaching and you Solitary Sages, have now dedicated yourselves to attaining a great awakening — the supreme and wondrous enlightenment. I have now taught you the right method for practice. But you are still not aware of the subtle demonic events that can occur when you undertake the practices of calming the mind and contemplative insight. If you do not purify your mind, you will not be able to recognize demonic states as they arise. You will not find the right path, and you will fall into the error of wrong views.”

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