Surangama Mantra/Dharani

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DGA
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Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by DGA » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:07 pm

I know the Surangama Dharani is recited extensively in Ch'an. I've heard it said that it's also practiced in some Korean and Japanese contexts. Does anyone know where or when this is so outside of Chinese-language schools, that is, where & how it has been transmitted?

thanks!

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:49 pm

Shasta Abbey, the Soto Zen branch in Northern California, has among their many ceremonies an English translation of the Shurangama Mantra. You might write someone there to get details of the mantra's use in Japanese Zen. http://www.shastaabbey.org/pdf/scriptureShurangama.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by DGA » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:01 pm

That's fantastic. Thanks, Will.

The reason I was asking is in part for reasons related to practice (I have an easier time with the Japanese way of pronouncing ancient Chinese syllables than the contemporary Chinese way... if only because I have more practice with it).

I'm also eager to learn how this teaching has been transmitted as a matter of historical interest.

I'll take a close look at the Shasta Abbey version...

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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by Seishin » Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:50 pm

Probably a bit late in replying here, but recently found this http://onedropzendo.org/sutras/SogenjiSutrabook.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Scroll down to Ryogon Gyo, which is the Shurangama Sutra/Dharani. At least, I think it is :thinking:

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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:52 pm

The valuable commentary on the mantra by Bodhisattva Hsuan Hua has come out recently, in Chinese. Whether it is the full commentary on all the verses I do not know. But if anyone reads Chinese I would like to know that.

http://www.bttsonline.org/product.aspx?pid=347" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:56 pm

Nicholas Weeks wrote:Shasta Abbey, the Soto Zen branch in Northern California, has among their many ceremonies an English translation of the Shurangama Mantra. You might write someone there to get details of the mantra's use in Japanese Zen.

http://www.shastaabbey.org/pdf/scriptureShurangama.pdf
Been using this English version done by the late Rev. Hubert Nearman - I think it conveys much virtue. Not like the Sanskrit or Chinese versions, but still a meritorious chant - takes about 30 minutes.
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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by Meido » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:25 pm

On the Rinzai side, the dharani is often recited on occasions like the New Year and the memorial day for the founder of a temple. Each of the Daihonzan have their customary ways of reciting it. Ryogonshu gyodo, a practice of reciting it while walking in the Buddha Hall, can be seen here (thanks again to the One Drop folks):

http://onedropzen.org/blog/community/co ... utra_gyodo

In terms of non-monastic ceremony, it's basically used for exorcism. For example, situations where the heart mantra is recited while sprinkling salt and water at the four corners of each room in a building.

~ Meido
Even though you have attained insight into the True Nature (kensho), there is yet the barrier of differentiation, and there is the One Path of Advanced Practice. If you have not yet even seen into the True Nature, what a lot there is yet to do! - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:18 am

Meido,

The monastics in your video are chanting the Surangama Sutra, not the mantra. That is what the caption says - which is it? Of course the mantra is a small part of the entire sutra, so maybe that is what the caption means.

I know many Chinese and Japanese temples chant every morning the Surangama mantra.
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by Meido » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:42 am

Despite the caption they would not be chanting the entire text, just the dharani portion from the 7th fascicle. In other words the Sino-Japanese version of this:

https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=232#p1572

Chanting just that would be the usual practice in Rinzai monasteries on the occasions I mentioned, at the conclusion of the spring/summer training period, etc.

The "mantra" I mentioned in connection to other ceremony is found at the conclusion of the dharani, i.e.

Om anale visade vira vajra-dhare bandha bandhani vajrapani phat hum trum phat svaha.

That's one version anyway. In the Sino-Japanese: Om onori bishachi bira-hojo-ratori hodo-hodo-ni hojara-honihan kuku-tsuryohan somoko.

~ Meido
Even though you have attained insight into the True Nature (kensho), there is yet the barrier of differentiation, and there is the One Path of Advanced Practice. If you have not yet even seen into the True Nature, what a lot there is yet to do! - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:56 am

The "mantra" I mentioned in connection to other ceremony is found at the conclusion of the dharani, i.e.

Om anale visade vira vajra-dhare bandha bandhani vajrapani phat hum trum phat svaha.
Yes, that is the heart of the mantra and for those unable to memorize the entire thing, this heart section is a good substitute.

Rev. Nearman's poetic rendering is:
Om to Thee, Flame of the Sweet Dew, blaze forth in all Your brilliance and purity, shine forth
Your skilful tenderness !
O Vajrap6ni, Heroic One, Thee who holdest the Diamond of Wisdom in Thy hand, restrain all that
would fetter us! Peace!
Hum trum, Peace! All Hail!
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by thecowisflying » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:17 am

Meido wrote:On the Rinzai side, the dharani is often recited on occasions like the New Year and the memorial day for the founder of a temple. Each of the Daihonzan have their customary ways of reciting it. Ryogonshu gyodo, a practice of reciting it while walking in the Buddha Hall, can be seen here (thanks again to the One Drop folks):

http://onedropzen.org/blog/community/co ... utra_gyodo

In terms of non-monastic ceremony, it's basically used for exorcism. For example, situations where the heart mantra is recited while sprinkling salt and water at the four corners of each room in a building.

~ Meido
Is the Surangama Sutra considered as important in Japanese Zen as it is to Chinese Chan?

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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by Meido » Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:10 pm

thecowisflying wrote:Is the Surangama Sutra considered as important in Japanese Zen as it is to Chinese Chan?
My experience with a Chan and Zen lineages other than my own is minor. With that caveat, I would guess it has not been as popular in Japan as in China.

If its popularity in China was a later development, e.g. Han-Shan's interest in it during Ming, that would certainly explain why. It is of course recognized as a major text in Japanese Zen, but I have not heard that any Zen teacher has stressed the Surangama in the way that, say, Hsuan Hua did.

On the Rinzai side, aside from ceremonial use already noted, Torei mentions the Surangama as important for its exposition of delusive states that arise in practice. However, the Rinzai course of practice in general does not take sutras as a basis, and has a particular way of using them relatively late in one's so-called formal training. So the records of the Zen patriarchs,a lineage's shitsunai (inherited structure of sanzen practice including hidden notations), and primarily the oral instructions from one's teacher, will all be more important than any sutra to a Rinzai Zen trainee for years after entering the path. Which is not to say that someone going to Hanazono today won't pick up the Surangama and other sutras; just that actual practice doesn't require it.

On the Soto side, I'd rather let someone more familiar with that tradition answer. We do have this from Dogen:

https://books.google.com/books?id=mHJL5 ... 22&f=false

It would be interesting to learn if early Obaku-shu, being a Ming dynasty Chan transmission to Japan, stressed the Surangama in a way that the Song dynasty lines transmitted ~500 years earlier did not.

~ Meido
Even though you have attained insight into the True Nature (kensho), there is yet the barrier of differentiation, and there is the One Path of Advanced Practice. If you have not yet even seen into the True Nature, what a lot there is yet to do! - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: Surangama Mantra/Dharani

Post by thecowisflying » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:51 am

Meido wrote:
thecowisflying wrote:Is the Surangama Sutra considered as important in Japanese Zen as it is to Chinese Chan?
My experience with a Chan and Zen lineages other than my own is minor. With that caveat, I would guess it has not been as popular in Japan as in China.

If its popularity in China was a later development, e.g. Han-Shan's interest in it during Ming, that would certainly explain why. It is of course recognized as a major text in Japanese Zen, but I have not heard that any Zen teacher has stressed the Surangama in the way that, say, Hsuan Hua did.

On the Rinzai side, aside from ceremonial use already noted, Torei mentions the Surangama as important for its exposition of delusive states that arise in practice. However, the Rinzai course of practice in general does not take sutras as a basis, and has a particular way of using them relatively late in one's so-called formal training. So the records of the Zen patriarchs,a lineage's shitsunai (inherited structure of sanzen practice including hidden notations), and primarily the oral instructions from one's teacher, will all be more important than any sutra to a Rinzai Zen trainee for years after entering the path. Which is not to say that someone going to Hanazono today won't pick up the Surangama and other sutras; just that actual practice doesn't require it.

On the Soto side, I'd rather let someone more familiar with that tradition answer. We do have this from Dogen:

https://books.google.com/books?id=mHJL5 ... 22&f=false

It would be interesting to learn if early Obaku-shu, being a Ming dynasty Chan transmission to Japan, stressed the Surangama in a way that the Song dynasty lines transmitted ~500 years earlier did not.

~ Meido

Wow thanks!

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