Sutra Levels

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
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Tenma
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Sutra Levels

Post by Tenma » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:47 pm

So, I just found out that there are differences between levels of sutra from beginner to advanced. Could anyone please clarify the differences between different levels of sutra and what they are for? So there are sutras ONLY for advanced practitioners? I recall a certain forum I once posted about the Saraswati sadhana from East Buddhism, and was told that there wasn't reserved sutras. Yet there are? :rolleye:

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Grigoris
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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:58 pm

Well, some Sutra texts are more apocryphal than others and require commentaries to understand properly, but levels of Sutra? Nope. Never heard of that before.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Grigoris
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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:15 pm

Devote your time to Sutra that deals with central tenets: Heart Sutra, Lotus Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Vimalakirti Sutra, MahaPariNirvana Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra, etc... There are thousands of Sutra dealing with largely irrelevant details, and you would be wasting your time skirting around the edges rather than jumping in.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:15 pm

I asked a very similar question about "sūtra levels" in relation to the intersection between the Ākāśagarbhasūtra, Śikṣāsamuccaya, & Bodhicaryavatara recensions of Bodhisattva Vows & associated downfalls a while ago here, but didn't get much responce.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.

吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Punya » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:30 pm

Tenma wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:47 pm
So, I just found out that there are differences between levels of sutra from beginner to advanced. Could anyone please clarify the differences between different levels of sutra and what they are for? So there are sutras ONLY for advanced practitioners? I recall a certain forum I once posted about the Saraswati sadhana from East Buddhism, and was told that there wasn't reserved sutras. Yet there are? :rolleye:
It is likely that this is a reference to the three turnings. I found this good description on the Jonang Foundation website:
During his 45 year teaching career, it is said that the Buddha taught different degrees of reality according to varying circumstances and the disparate dispositions, personality types, and capacities of his students. In general, the entirety of the Buddha's sutra discourses are divided into 3 distinct sets of teachings or "turnings of the dharma wheel." These 3 "turnings" or revolutions of Shakyamuni's teachings are each considered to be complete cycles of explanation that correspond directly to the infinite diversity of individuals. Here is a brief overview of these 3 "turnings":

Shakyamuni Buddha's 1st "turning" was in Deer Park near the present-day city of Varanasi in Northern India. At this time, the Buddha described how the dependently co-arising nature of phenomena allows for the possibility of freedom from suffering. These teachings include the 4 Noble Truths and Dependent Co-arising and were collected into the body of literature known as the Abhidharma or Sciences of Mind and Reality. This first revolution acts as an antidote to the obsessive habit of clinging to an independent self as ultimately substantial.

Shakyamuni's 2nd "turning" was at Vulture Peak Mountain near Rajagriha. There, the Buddha taught how all phenomena lack intrinsic or absolute existence. These teachings were collected into the body of scriptures known as the Prajnaparamita Sutras or Transcendent Wisdom Scriptures. In particular, these teachings on emptiness were taught in order to liberate beings from their psychological and emotional fixations on even the subtlest aspects of reality.

The 3rd set of the Buddha's discourses were delivered at Mount Malaya and Vaishali. In contrast to his second turning, the Buddha's third revolution elucidated how a luminous enlightened essence known as "tathagatagarbha" or "Buddhanature" pervades all beings. These teachings were compiled into a set of sutras known as the Essence Sutras. This final cycle of teachings was taught by the Buddha in order to free beings from their obsessive tendencies of holding onto nihilistic beliefs about reality.
Beginners would normally start with sutras in the first turning and then progress through until the third is reached.
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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Sādhaka » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:35 pm

“...we should try to acquire clairvoyance. Without it, we are like a baby bird whose wings are undeveloped and has not yet grown feathers and remains stuck in its nest, unable to fly. Without clairvoyance, we cannot work for other sentient beings.” — Khunu Lama
“Just as a bird can not fly without both wings,
The welfare of others cannot be accomplished without the higher faculties of perception,
So diligently strive for your own wellbeing, whilst mentally considering the welfare of others.” — Longchenpa

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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Tenma » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:51 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:15 pm
Devote your time to Sutra that deals with central tenets: Heart Sutra, Lotus Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Vimalakirti Sutra, MahaPariNirvana Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra, etc... There are thousands of Sutra dealing with largely irrelevant details, and you would be wasting your time skirting around the edges rather than jumping in.
So why on earth are there silly sutras that go over irrelevant topics such as the Buddha's organ, all the benefits of writing sutras in your blood,.etc.?
That makes no sense, why on earth do they even exist?

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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:03 pm

Tenma wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:51 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:15 pm
Devote your time to Sutra that deals with central tenets: Heart Sutra, Lotus Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Vimalakirti Sutra, MahaPariNirvana Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra, etc... There are thousands of Sutra dealing with largely irrelevant details, and you would be wasting your time skirting around the edges rather than jumping in.
So why on earth are there silly sutras that go over irrelevant topics such as the Buddha's organ, all the benefits of writing sutras in your blood,.etc.?
That makes no sense, why on earth do they even exist?
I don't know. Maybe it is a case of Mara making work for idle hands? :smile:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Tenma
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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Tenma » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:04 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:03 pm
Tenma wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:51 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:15 pm
Devote your time to Sutra that deals with central tenets: Heart Sutra, Lotus Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Vimalakirti Sutra, MahaPariNirvana Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra, etc... There are thousands of Sutra dealing with largely irrelevant details, and you would be wasting your time skirting around the edges rather than jumping in.
So why on earth are there silly sutras that go over irrelevant topics such as the Buddha's organ, all the benefits of writing sutras in your blood,.etc.?
That makes no sense, why on earth do they even exist?
I don't know. Maybe it is a case of Mara making work for idle hands? :smile:
Perhaps it may be. What would the sutra "Ah" be? How shall that teach us?

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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by PuerAzaelis » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:05 pm

Tenma wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:51 pm
So why on earth are there silly sutras that go over irrelevant topics such as the Buddha's organ, all the benefits of writing sutras in your blood,.etc.?
That makes no sense, why on earth do they even exist?
People love to proliferate.

It helps them avoid the unacceptable.

Thus have I heard.
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

For posts from this user, see Karma Dondrup Tashi account.

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Grigoris
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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:05 pm

Tenma wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Perhaps it may be. What would the sutra "Ah" be? How shall that teach us?
The Heart Sutra in one syllable.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Tenma
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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Tenma » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:07 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:05 pm
Tenma wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Perhaps it may be. What would the sutra "Ah" be? How shall that teach us?
The Heart Sutra in one syllable.
Interesting. So that's Prajnaparamita's seed syllable?

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Grigoris
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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:09 pm

Tenma wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:07 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:05 pm
Tenma wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:04 pm
Perhaps it may be. What would the sutra "Ah" be? How shall that teach us?
The Heart Sutra in one syllable.
Interesting. So that's Prajnaparamita's seed syllable?
Yes. And Buddha Shakyamuni's seed syllable.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Grigoris
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Re: Sutra Levels

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:12 pm

Talking about proliferation and Mara making work... I think we can lay this one to rest. If anybody wishes to add something please contact me.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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