Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

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ryan_oliveira
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Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by ryan_oliveira » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:04 pm

Does a sutra need to have a Sanskrit or Pali version to be considered authentic?

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Queequeg
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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:18 pm

In response to both questions, depends on who you ask.

The evidence suggests the sutra was composed in China.

Assuming it was composed in China, does that make it inauthentic?

Some might say, "yes, inauthentic." Some might ask whether it accords with the Buddha's teachings. If it rings with the Buddha's voice (Buddha Vacana), it may be considered authentic.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:13 pm

ryan_oliveira wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:04 pm
Does a sutra need to have a Sanskrit or Pali version to be considered authentic?
No. Authority is not determined by which language it was written in. Many, maybe most, are records of spoken teachings. And Buddha may not have spoken what is called Pali or even Sanskrit.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:56 pm

ryan_oliveira wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:04 pm
Does a sutra need to have a Sanskrit or Pali version to be considered authentic?
Why does this concern you?
"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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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by ryan_oliveira » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:02 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:56 pm
ryan_oliveira wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:04 pm
Does a sutra need to have a Sanskrit or Pali version to be considered authentic?
Why does this concern you?
Honestly, I don't know.

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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Sentient Light » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:38 pm

I'm not entirely sure if it matters if the sutra itself is authentic. The dharani exists independently of the sutra, in many different versions, including Sanskrit copies, and Tibetan versions. I think it's quite likely that the dharani itself is of Indic origin.

Since it was circulating independently, and was becoming a popular method to subdue demons, my hypothesis is that it was felt a sutra was necessary to legitimize the dharani, and what ended up happening is that an earlier translation of Sanskrit material was used as the base: in the Sardulakarnavadana of the Divyavadana, a girl falls in love with Ananda after he accepts an offering from her, and consults her mother--a sorceress--who uses a magical spell to bring Ananda to the girl. The Buddha sees this with his omniscience and intervenes with a dharani.

Sound familiar?

So my theory here is basically that this avadana was used as the narrative template for the Surangama Sutra, in order to house a dharani that had been circulating independently and was already being used by the monastic sangha.
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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by ItsRaining » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:38 am

Sentient Light wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:38 pm
I'm not entirely sure if it matters if the sutra itself is authentic. The dharani exists independently of the sutra, in many different versions, including Sanskrit copies, and Tibetan versions. I think it's quite likely that the dharani itself is of Indic origin.

Since it was circulating independently, and was becoming a popular method to subdue demons, my hypothesis is that it was felt a sutra was necessary to legitimize the dharani, and what ended up happening is that an earlier translation of Sanskrit material was used as the base: in the Sardulakarnavadana of the Divyavadana, a girl falls in love with Ananda after he accepts an offering from her, and consults her mother--a sorceress--who uses a magical spell to bring Ananda to the girl. The Buddha sees this with his omniscience and intervenes with a dharani.

Sound familiar?

So my theory here is basically that this avadana was used as the narrative template for the Surangama Sutra, in order to house a dharani that had been circulating independently and was already being used by the monastic sangha.
I’ve seen the opposite suggested, that the Dharani is involved along with the methods of its practice due to the popularity’s of mantra and esoteric practice during the time of composition. But it’s the content which makes the Sutra so popular and special. It employs typical Buddhist arguments to demonstrate not emptiness as usual but the inseparability of emptiness (principle) and form (function) of the mind. Applying it the mind, faculties, and skhandas, etc. and providing a detailed map of the path as well as it’s pitfalls.

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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Aemilius » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:04 pm

Sentient Light wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:38 pm
I'm not entirely sure if it matters if the sutra itself is authentic. The dharani exists independently of the sutra, in many different versions, including Sanskrit copies, and Tibetan versions. I think it's quite likely that the dharani itself is of Indic origin.

Since it was circulating independently, and was becoming a popular method to subdue demons, my hypothesis is that it was felt a sutra was necessary to legitimize the dharani, and what ended up happening is that an earlier translation of Sanskrit material was used as the base: in the Sardulakarnavadana of the Divyavadana, a girl falls in love with Ananda after he accepts an offering from her, and consults her mother--a sorceress--who uses a magical spell to bring Ananda to the girl. The Buddha sees this with his omniscience and intervenes with a dharani.

Sound familiar?

So my theory here is basically that this avadana was used as the narrative template for the Surangama Sutra, in order to house a dharani that had been circulating independently and was already being used by the monastic sangha.
The ultimate reality is different (than the ordinary mundane one). This one instance or one occurrence of Ananda etc.. has multiple facets. This event occurs simultaneously in different realms, in the six realms and in the unconditioned realms. That is why it has many facets, an endless variety of aspects. That is how a whole sutra can arise from this event, and it is all true when seen with a supramundane vision, with a supramundane eye.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Aemilius » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:14 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:18 pm
In response to both questions, depends on who you ask.

The evidence suggests the sutra was composed in China.

Assuming it was composed in China, does that make it inauthentic?

Some might say, "yes, inauthentic." Some might ask whether it accords with the Buddha's teachings. If it rings with the Buddha's voice (Buddha Vacana), it may be considered authentic.
They say that a sanskrit language palm leaf manuscript has been found, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5 ... S%C5%ABtra
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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Queequeg
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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:49 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:14 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:18 pm
In response to both questions, depends on who you ask.

The evidence suggests the sutra was composed in China.

Assuming it was composed in China, does that make it inauthentic?

Some might say, "yes, inauthentic." Some might ask whether it accords with the Buddha's teachings. If it rings with the Buddha's voice (Buddha Vacana), it may be considered authentic.
They say that a sanskrit language palm leaf manuscript has been found, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5 ... S%C5%ABtra
Is a text authentic because there is a Sanskrit edition?

This is a general question merely for discussion purposes. Nothing really to do with Surangama except that this question was prompted by this comment.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:03 pm

when i readed it years ago i seemed to me there was 2 or 3 "hands" behind, there was inconsistency in "the rhythm" of lecture in between this 2 or 3 parts.

it's not a bad material, it has interesting things, but personally i don't fully accept it.

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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Sādhaka » Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:37 pm

The Śūraṅgama Sūtra is not in the Tibetan bka'-'gyur.

But the Śūraṅgama Samādhi Sūtra is in the bka’-‘gyur.

This in itself does not automatically discount the Śūraṅgama Sūtra as authentic; however maybe there’s a reason for it.
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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:20 pm

Something about having a poisoned arrow stuck in one's eyeball comes to mind.
"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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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:28 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:20 pm
Something about having a poisoned arrow stuck in one's eyeball comes to mind.
In some cases that is good counsel. Could also be terrible counsel.

Part of the reason one might ask about authenticity is to determine if the text actually helps with getting the arrow out of the eye. Might just be rubbing more poison into the eye. You know, fake teachers, fake teachings, charlatans, BS...



Gotta be careful about what we put in our heads.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:46 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:28 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:20 pm
Something about having a poisoned arrow stuck in one's eyeball comes to mind.
In some cases that is good counsel. Could also be terrible counsel.

Part of the reason one might ask about authenticity is to determine if the text actually helps with getting the arrow out of the eye. Might just be rubbing more poison into the eye. You know, fake teachers, fake teachings, charlatans, BS...

Gotta be careful about what we put in our heads.
In which case it would make more sense to ask if the Sutra is listed in Canonical collections, than if it exists in one language or another.
"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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Queequeg
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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:03 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:46 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:28 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:20 pm
Something about having a poisoned arrow stuck in one's eyeball comes to mind.
In some cases that is good counsel. Could also be terrible counsel.

Part of the reason one might ask about authenticity is to determine if the text actually helps with getting the arrow out of the eye. Might just be rubbing more poison into the eye. You know, fake teachers, fake teachings, charlatans, BS...

Gotta be careful about what we put in our heads.
In which case it would make more sense to ask if the Sutra is listed in Canonical collections, than if it exists in one language or another.
Yes, sort of, maybe. There are numerous texts in the East Asian canon of questionable authenticity... Some texts make it into the canon just because of their vintage.

This is not to suggest anything about the Surangama Sutra. I have no idea about its authenticity.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Grigoris
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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:20 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:03 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:46 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:28 pm


In some cases that is good counsel. Could also be terrible counsel.

Part of the reason one might ask about authenticity is to determine if the text actually helps with getting the arrow out of the eye. Might just be rubbing more poison into the eye. You know, fake teachers, fake teachings, charlatans, BS...

Gotta be careful about what we put in our heads.
In which case it would make more sense to ask if the Sutra is listed in Canonical collections, than if it exists in one language or another.
Yes, sort of, maybe. There are numerous texts in the East Asian canon of questionable authenticity... Some texts make it into the canon just because of their vintage.

This is not to suggest anything about the Surangama Sutra. I have no idea about its authenticity.
What is the criteria for "authenticity" when it comes to Buddhist texts? Carbon dating? (A)Historical references? If it is Budhhavacana?
"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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Queequeg
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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:32 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:20 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:03 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:46 pm
In which case it would make more sense to ask if the Sutra is listed in Canonical collections, than if it exists in one language or another.
Yes, sort of, maybe. There are numerous texts in the East Asian canon of questionable authenticity... Some texts make it into the canon just because of their vintage.

This is not to suggest anything about the Surangama Sutra. I have no idea about its authenticity.
What is the criteria for "authenticity" when it comes to Buddhist texts? Carbon dating? (A)Historical references? If it is Budhhavacana?
Are you really asking that? You've been around long enough to know, it depends. Ask the fundies looking for Gotama and they'll tell you one thing. Ask someone who accepts termas and its a different story.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

如傑優婆塞
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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by 如傑優婆塞 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:00 am

I'm not entirely sure if it matters if the sutra itself is authentic. The dharani exists independently of the sutra, in many different versions, including Sanskrit copies, and Tibetan versions. I think it's quite likely that the dharani itself is of Indic origin.

Since it was circulating independently, and was becoming a popular method to subdue demons, my hypothesis is that it was felt a sutra was necessary to legitimize the dharani, and what ended up happening is that an earlier translation of Sanskrit material was used as the base: in the Sardulakarnavadana of the Divyavadana, a girl falls in love with Ananda after he accepts an offering from her, and consults her mother--a sorceress--who uses a magical spell to bring Ananda to the girl. The Buddha sees this with his omniscience and intervenes with a dharani.

Sound familiar?

So my theory here is basically that this avadana was used as the narrative template for the Surangama Sutra, in order to house a dharani that had been circulating independently and was already being used by the monastic sangha.
You may or may not know but this reminds me of the Charles Luk translation edition which I used to have where he tossed out the entire Dhāraṇī because it was felt that it would not be of much use to the Western audience, if I recall correctly. And I used to read those online articles (which are now gone) that reviewed his work with scathing criticisms about this from a particular US Buddhist group (best to remain unmentionable) that ardently promotes this text and particularly its Dhāraṇī.

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Re: Is Śūraṅgama Sūtra authentic?

Post by humble.student » Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:01 am

如傑優婆塞 wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:00 am
I'm not entirely sure if it matters if the sutra itself is authentic. The dharani exists independently of the sutra, in many different versions, including Sanskrit copies, and Tibetan versions. I think it's quite likely that the dharani itself is of Indic origin.

Since it was circulating independently, and was becoming a popular method to subdue demons, my hypothesis is that it was felt a sutra was necessary to legitimize the dharani, and what ended up happening is that an earlier translation of Sanskrit material was used as the base: in the Sardulakarnavadana of the Divyavadana, a girl falls in love with Ananda after he accepts an offering from her, and consults her mother--a sorceress--who uses a magical spell to bring Ananda to the girl. The Buddha sees this with his omniscience and intervenes with a dharani.

Sound familiar?

So my theory here is basically that this avadana was used as the narrative template for the Surangama Sutra, in order to house a dharani that had been circulating independently and was already being used by the monastic sangha.
You may or may not know but this reminds me of the Charles Luk translation edition which I used to have where he tossed out the entire Dhāraṇī because it was felt that it would not be of much use to the Western audience, if I recall correctly. And I used to read those online articles (which are now gone) that reviewed his work with scathing criticisms about this from a particular US Buddhist group (best to remain unmentionable) that ardently promotes this text and particularly its Dhāraṇī.
Luk left out the chapter on the mantra and mandala as he did not want readers to get the wrong impression (magic, superstition, etc) which would detract from the teachings of the sutra. He also felt it was a hopeless task to try to reverse engineer the Chinese transliteration of the mantra into something approximating the original, and that Western readers would not be interested anyhow.

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