This work is a commentary on the Śrīmālā-sūtra (Taisho No.16), and is considered to be the earliest of the "Commentaries on Three Sūtras" (Jp. San-gyō-gi-sho) composed by Prince Shōtoku. The Nihon-shoki ("Chronicles of Japan") records that Prince Shōtoku gave a discourse on the Śrīmālā-sūtra for Empress Suiko. It is considered that Prince Shōtoku chose this particular sūtra as the subject of his discourse to the Empress probably because the protagonist of the Śrīmālā-sūtra is a woman, Śrīmālā, and Empress Suiko was the first Empress in Japanese history. The present work was then put together in book-form in Chinese at a later date. Be that as it may, there is no changing the fact that this was the first written work composed by a Japanese.
The Nirvana Sutra deals with the teachings given by Śākyamuni shortly before his death (mahāparinirvāṇa). Nirvāṇa means "extinguishing the flames of passion and attaining the state of enlightenment." Since Śākyamuni attained enlightenment at the age of 35, he did in fact already enter nirvāṇa at this time. But because it was considered impossible to completely extinguish the passions while retaining a physical body, Śākyamuni’s death came to be called mahāparinirvāṇa, i.e. "the state of great serenity in which the flames of passion have been completely extinguished." The sūtra gives the teachings expounded by Śākyamuni immediately before his death. As it contains episodes relating to events before and after his death, it also has value as historical source material.
SourceSkt. Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra, translated into the Chinese by Dharmakṣema as Da banniepan jing (大般涅槃經). 40 fascicles. (Source: BDK America)
The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch consists of a record of the teachings of Hui-neng, the Sixth Patriarch of the Chan School in China, recorded by his disciple Fahai, and is known by several abbreviated titles such as Platform Sūtra or Platform Sūtra of the Dharma Treasure. It proclaims the independence of the Southern School of Chan from the Northern School on such subjects as "sudden enlightenment" (Ch. dun-wu) and the external expression of one's real nature (Ch. jian-xing).
The basic sūtra of the Faxiang School, The Scripture on the Explication of Underlying Meaning expounds the thought of the Yogācāra or Mind-Only School (Vijñānavāda), stating that all phenomena are manifestations of the mind. It belongs to the middle period of Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism and is considered to have been composed at the start of the fourth century A.D. It is divided into eight chapters, and gives a detailed exposition of the philosophy of the Yogācāra School. Judging from the fact that the greater part of this sūtra is quoted in the Yogācārabhūmi (Taishō 53), and that numerous citations from it are to be found in such works as the Mahāyānasaṃgraha (Taishō 57) and Jō-yui-shiki-ron (Taishō 54), it is clear that it exerted considerable influence in later times.
(Source: BDK America)
The Sutra of Queen Śrīmālā of the Lion's Roar
The Sutra of Queen Śrīmālā of the Lion's Roar, generally known by its abbreviated title of Śrīmālā-sūtra, was expounded by Śrīmālā, the daughter of King Prasenajit of Śrāvasti, under the inspiration of Śākyamuni. Its important subjects include the theory of the “One True Vehicle” and the dharmakāya. Distinguished from other sūtras with the leading role played by a woman, and with the guarantee given by Śākyamuni therein, the text celebrates the potential of all people to become Buddhas and provides textual authority to counteract cultural gender bias.
In Japan this sūtra is further distinguished by the commentary (Taishō 106) attributed to Prince Shōtoku, included in his “Commentaries on Three Sūtras” (Jp. San-gyō gi-sho).
Skt. Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanāda-sūtra, translated into the Chinese by Guṇabhadra as Shengman shizihou yisheng defang bianfang guang jing (勝鬘師子吼一乘大方便方廣經). 1 fascicle.
The Vimalakīrti Sutra
In The Vimalakīrti Sutra the protagonist is a layman by the name of Vimalakīrti, well-versed in the profundities of Mahāyāna Buddhism. He happens to fall ill, and the sūtra starts from the point where Śākyamuni, hearing of his illness, asks his disciples to go to visit him. However, since each of the disciples has in the past been got the better of by Vimalakīrti in some way or other, they all refuse to go; so in the end it is Mañjuśrī who agrees to visit him in their stead. As a result a discussion on the profound teachings of the Mahāyāna unfolds between Vimalakīrti and Mañjuśrī. This sūtra is held in high regard in Japan, not least because Prince Shōtoku included a commentary on it (Taishō 107) in his Commentaries on Three Sūtras (San-gyō-gi-sho). Beyond that, the text has considerable appeal due to its dramatic contents, and is an important key to an understanding of the profound thought of Mahāyāna Buddhism.Source:
Skt. Vimalakīrtinirdeśa-sūtra. Translated into the Chinese by Kumārajīva as Weimojie suoshuo jing (維摩詰所説經). 3 fascicles. (Source: BDK America)
Pages in category "BDK America"
This category contains only the following page.