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The Diamond Sutra, composed in India in the fourth century CE, is one of the most treasured works of Buddhist literature and is the oldest existing printed book in the world. It is known as the Diamond Sutra because its teachings are said to be like diamonds that cut away all dualistic thought, releasing one from the attachment to objects and bringing one to the further s The Diamond Sutra, composed in India in the fourth century CE, is one of the most treasured works of Buddhist literature and is the oldest existing printed book in the world. It is known as the Diamond Sutra because its teachings are said to be like diamonds that cut away all dualistic thought, releasing one from the attachment to objects and bringing one to the further shore of enlightenment. The format of this important sutra is presented as a conversation between the Buddha and one of his disciples. The Sutra of Hui-neng, also known as the Platform Sutra, contains the autobiography of a pivotal figure in Zen history and some of the most profound passages of Zen literature. Hui-neng (638–713) was the sixth patriarch of Zen in China, but is often regarded as the true father of the Zen tradition. He was a poor, illiterate woodcutter who is said to have attained enlightenment upon hearing a recitation of the Diamond Sutra. Together, these two scriptures present the central teaching of the Zen Buddhist tradition and are essential reading for all students of Buddhism.  


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The Diamond Sutra, composed in India in the fourth century CE, is one of the most treasured works of Buddhist literature and is the oldest existing printed book in the world. It is known as the Diamond Sutra because its teachings are said to be like diamonds that cut away all dualistic thought, releasing one from the attachment to objects and bringing one to the further s The Diamond Sutra, composed in India in the fourth century CE, is one of the most treasured works of Buddhist literature and is the oldest existing printed book in the world. It is known as the Diamond Sutra because its teachings are said to be like diamonds that cut away all dualistic thought, releasing one from the attachment to objects and bringing one to the further shore of enlightenment. The format of this important sutra is presented as a conversation between the Buddha and one of his disciples. The Sutra of Hui-neng, also known as the Platform Sutra, contains the autobiography of a pivotal figure in Zen history and some of the most profound passages of Zen literature. Hui-neng (638–713) was the sixth patriarch of Zen in China, but is often regarded as the true father of the Zen tradition. He was a poor, illiterate woodcutter who is said to have attained enlightenment upon hearing a recitation of the Diamond Sutra. Together, these two scriptures present the central teaching of the Zen Buddhist tradition and are essential reading for all students of Buddhism.  

30 review for The Diamond Sutra and the Sutra of Hui-neng (Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Okay - here I go again - as a Christian I'm probably not supposed to recommend Buddhist books, but if you’re going to read them Hui Neng’s the cream of the crop. I’d rank it right next to Bodhidharma at the top of my Buddhist books list. And the Diamond Sutra’s probably my favorite of the canonical Indian sutras, but the Chinese deemphasized the speculative and made Buddhism wacky fun (not to detract from Hui Neng’s substance and penetration). Down in the village getting drunk with the butchers. Okay - here I go again - as a Christian I'm probably not supposed to recommend Buddhist books, but if you’re going to read them Hui Neng’s the cream of the crop. I’d rank it right next to Bodhidharma at the top of my Buddhist books list. And the Diamond Sutra’s probably my favorite of the canonical Indian sutras, but the Chinese deemphasized the speculative and made Buddhism wacky fun (not to detract from Hui Neng’s substance and penetration). Down in the village getting drunk with the butchers. If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him. This must be where Kerouac got a lot of his inspiration, but unlike Jack Hui Neng could hold his liquor.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kira

    I actually have no idea how to rate a book like this. I can't give it five because I didn't actually like it that much, but I have to give it five because it's a cornerstone of eastern philosophy and as such transcends rating. So I'm screwed. Luckily, in eastern philosophy, A and not A is not a contradiction.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    These two texts are foundational texts for Buddhism. While there are many difficult passages for Western readers, the texts are remarkably clear and direct. This particular translation and the accompanying endnotes are very high quality. A necessary read for anyone with interest in Buddhism.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Misba Misba

    “Words cannot express truth; that which words express is not truth.” “Wheresoever are material characteristics there is delusion; but who so perceives that all characteristics are in fact no characteristics, perceives the Tathagata.” “So you should not be attached to things as being possessed of, or devoid of, intrinsic qualities.” “Does a man who has safely crossed a flood upon a raft continue his journey carrying that raft upon his head?” “Because the Tathagata has said that truth is uncontainable “Words cannot express truth; that which words express is not truth.” “Wheresoever are material characteristics there is delusion; but who so perceives that all characteristics are in fact no characteristics, perceives the Tathagata.” “So you should not be attached to things as being possessed of, or devoid of, intrinsic qualities.” “Does a man who has safely crossed a flood upon a raft continue his journey carrying that raft upon his head?” “Because the Tathagata has said that truth is uncontainable and inexpressible. It neither is nor is it not. Thus it is that this unformulated Principle is the foundation of the different systems of all the sages.” “There is no stream-entering. The disciple who pays no regard to form, sound, odor, taste, touch, or any quality, is called a Stream-entrant.” “All Bodhisattvas, lesser and great, should develop a pure, lucid mind, not depending upon sound, flavor, touch, odor, or any quality. A Bodhisattva should develop a mind which alights upon no thing whatsoever; and so should he establish it.” “Consequently those who have left behind every phenomenal distinction are called Buddhas all.” “Equally incalculable is the merit of the Bodhisattva who practices charity without any attachment to appearances.” “The Tathagata is He who declares that which is true; He who declares that which is fundamental; He who declares that which is ultimate. He does not declare that which is deceitful, nor that which is monstrous. Subhuti, that Truth to which the Tathagata has attained is neither real nor unreal.” “The Tathagata teaches that all these are not Mind; they are merely called "mind". Subhuti, it is impossible to retain past mind, impossible to hold on to present mind, and impossible to grasp future mind.” “Tathagata teaches that a perfectly-formed body is not really such; it is merely called "a perfectly-formed body." “The Tathagata may not be perceived by any phenomenal characteristic, because the Tathagata teaches that phenomenal characteristics are not really such; they are merely termed ‘phenomenal characteristics.’” “Subhuti, if a good man or a good woman ground an infinite number of galaxies of worlds to dust, would the resulting minute particles be many? Subhuti replied: Many indeed, World-honored One! Wherefore? Because if such were really minute particles Buddha would not have spoken of them as minute particles. For as to this, Buddha has declared that they are not really such. "Minute particles" is just the name given to them. Also, World-honored One, when the Tathagata speaks of galaxies of worlds, these are not worlds; for if reality could be predicated of a world it would be a self-existent cosmos and the Tathagata teaches that there is really no such thing. "Cosmos" is merely a figure of speech. [Then Buddha said]: Subhuti, words cannot explain the real nature of a cosmos. Only common people fettered with desire make use of this arbitrary method.”

  5. 4 out of 5

    Noah Daniels

    Perhaps it would be a little on the nose to call this work "enlightening", but the Diamond Sutra can serve to make clear several difficult Buddhist teachings. Religious texts can be used in teaching for a variety of purposes, but the most pressing is understanding student contexts. Being familiar with a student's faith can really help to build a relationship with that student.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Demi Black Cre8tive Dreamz

    Absolutely amazing

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    This took me a while to break into, but it was so worth it. Hui-Neng was an illiterate woodcarver who suddenly became enlightened upon hearing someone reciting the Diamond Sutra on a streetcorner, thus the two books are often published together. The Diamond Sutra rings like the clearest bell (so beautiful!), but the Sutra of Hui-Neng is ironically difficult, considering his sudden enlightenment. The book is both biography and record of his sermons/lectures/discussions with his students. They ask This took me a while to break into, but it was so worth it. Hui-Neng was an illiterate woodcarver who suddenly became enlightened upon hearing someone reciting the Diamond Sutra on a streetcorner, thus the two books are often published together. The Diamond Sutra rings like the clearest bell (so beautiful!), but the Sutra of Hui-Neng is ironically difficult, considering his sudden enlightenment. The book is both biography and record of his sermons/lectures/discussions with his students. They ask difficult questions about the nature of birth and death, enlightenment, and existence, and Hui-Neng is not shy about getting deep or technical. The subjects they cover involve subtle distinctions, and suggestions and commands that may seem impossible to execute, at least for the newcomer to Buddhist thought. It was breathtaking. I sat for a long while after I finished it, with the book still in my hands, reflecting on his lessons. His passing was so beautiful that I cried with joy. He would have admonished me for that: the body is not the eternal.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Seminal to an understanding of Buddhism. Preferable to the Tibetan treatises also featured on this list that imho show a good deal of distortion due to the infiltration of local traditions and deities.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Wruck

    An excellent classic of Mahayana Buddhism, wonderful to those interested in looking into the origins of Zen. A difficult place to start one's exploration of Buddhism but an excellent book nonetheless.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jon Tanner

    If you are a student of Zen, this is THE book. The Platform Sutra is essentially Hui-Neng's commentary on the Vajracchedika (Diamond) Sutra. These two books together are indispensable. If there is one book to read, it is this one. Hui-Neng's teachings are gold.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paul Kerschen

    That cover painting of Hui-Neng tearing up a sutra really says it all, even if on his deathbed he advised not going out of your way to dishonor them.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sam Beal

    Heavy read. I learned a lot but much of this went over my head. I look forward to reading this again in the future when I have more knowledge on the topic.

  13. 5 out of 5

    JD Moore

    This is a rather difficult work for the layman. If you have done a fair amount of meditation, you may get some material to advance your practice.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vinh Lê

    https://gocphongthuy.net/ chia sẻ kiến thức phật giáo https://gocphongthuy.net/ chia sẻ kiến thức phật giáo

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Redmon

    Though it’s not a part of this book, this quote sums it all up: “Countless words count less than the silent balance between yin and yang.”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Hatch

    I’m positive that several parts of this went over my head haha. A hard text but I enjoyed it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    I read this along with Thomas Cleary's translation (in Classics of Buddhism and Zen Vol. 3) which includes Hui Neng's commentary on the Diamond Sutra. Both the Price/Wong and Cleary translations are good, but it was helpful at times to compare them. For example, in section 7 (which concerns a dogmatic approach to the teachings of Buddha) Wong translates "wu-wei fa" as "this unformulated principle," where Cleary has "uncreated truth." Cleary's translation rings more true in the sense that what ca I read this along with Thomas Cleary's translation (in Classics of Buddhism and Zen Vol. 3) which includes Hui Neng's commentary on the Diamond Sutra. Both the Price/Wong and Cleary translations are good, but it was helpful at times to compare them. For example, in section 7 (which concerns a dogmatic approach to the teachings of Buddha) Wong translates "wu-wei fa" as "this unformulated principle," where Cleary has "uncreated truth." Cleary's translation rings more true in the sense that what cannot be permanently fixed cannot be said to have been created. And that is what this section is all about -- what can be said and what can be taught. "Unformulated" is perfectly acceptable, but the idea that truth cannot be "created" has roots in the fundamental concept of dependent arising, and I like that connection. Hui Neng's Commentary on the Diamond Sutra is only in the Cleary translation, so it certainly has that advantage. The Price/Wong version, on the other hand, is a little bit easier to read, though I had a few quibbles with the terminology. Which is a little ironic, because the main point of these texts is that if you're going to study Zen you have to get rid of your "quibbles."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Neil

    The Sutra of Hui-neng (aka The Platform Sutra) is the first sutra obviously composed by Chinese for Chinese. It's also the key textual moment when we see Chan (aka Zen) Buddhism emerge as the primary form of Buddhist religious expression in China. The sutra reads more like a story than scripture, and for this reason alone it's a fun read. If you're curious about Zen (when it started, how it started, why it started), this is the first sutra to read. If you're interested in a more "academic" study The Sutra of Hui-neng (aka The Platform Sutra) is the first sutra obviously composed by Chinese for Chinese. It's also the key textual moment when we see Chan (aka Zen) Buddhism emerge as the primary form of Buddhist religious expression in China. The sutra reads more like a story than scripture, and for this reason alone it's a fun read. If you're curious about Zen (when it started, how it started, why it started), this is the first sutra to read. If you're interested in a more "academic" study of the Platform Sutra, check out "The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch," translated and annotated by Philip Yampolsky, and published by Columbia University Press.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    This is a pair of foundation texts for Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism. The Diamond Sutra and the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (Hui Neng). The translation of the Diamond Sutra is good and has some useful explanatory notes. The translation of the Platform Sutra (Sutra of Hui Neng) leaves a lot to be desired. It is jargon-laden and the language is clumsy (the translation having been prepared by a non-native English speaker). The translation of the Platform Sutra by Philip Yamplosky is much better fo This is a pair of foundation texts for Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism. The Diamond Sutra and the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (Hui Neng). The translation of the Diamond Sutra is good and has some useful explanatory notes. The translation of the Platform Sutra (Sutra of Hui Neng) leaves a lot to be desired. It is jargon-laden and the language is clumsy (the translation having been prepared by a non-native English speaker). The translation of the Platform Sutra by Philip Yamplosky is much better for the general reader. This particular translation is only useful to the Buddhist practitioner studying under a master, who can explain the text.

  20. 4 out of 5

    J Dride

    The Diamond Sutra is one of the most important teachings in Buddhist thought and the oldest extant printed book in the world. On the first few readings i thought this to be one of the most confusing books i've ever read. Upon further readings I realized it is indeed one of the most confusing books I've ever read. Regardless, the few ideas in the Diamond Sutra that I do understand are fascinating. Great for train reading in the morning; i only need to read a few lines and i have ample ideas to ru The Diamond Sutra is one of the most important teachings in Buddhist thought and the oldest extant printed book in the world. On the first few readings i thought this to be one of the most confusing books i've ever read. Upon further readings I realized it is indeed one of the most confusing books I've ever read. Regardless, the few ideas in the Diamond Sutra that I do understand are fascinating. Great for train reading in the morning; i only need to read a few lines and i have ample ideas to ruminate on all day. Also, it being the oldest extant printed book in the world is reason enough to give it a look.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Will Harrison

    It's hard to verbalize what this book means to me...Though I consciously remember little of its deepest content I can't help but feel this is a profound read & that everyone should give it a shot; it's one of the key texts in Buddhism & the Sutra said to be the crystallization of the Buddha's teachings, the quickest way to enlightenment available for those who are poised to receive it...It's a spiritual text so it's good that it defies immediate explanation but my only wish with this text was th It's hard to verbalize what this book means to me...Though I consciously remember little of its deepest content I can't help but feel this is a profound read & that everyone should give it a shot; it's one of the key texts in Buddhism & the Sutra said to be the crystallization of the Buddha's teachings, the quickest way to enlightenment available for those who are poised to receive it...It's a spiritual text so it's good that it defies immediate explanation but my only wish with this text was that it was a bit more memorable for me, again I feel a deep connection with it but it's difficult to talk about coherently

  22. 5 out of 5

    R. August

    Excellent book, though some of the translations are a little burdensome with a few invented English words to try and avoid too much rewriting due to grammar. Excellent message of finding truth within yourself, not needing organized institutions, and warning against over-intellectualizing your practice. The fact that Hui-Neng was Chinese shown through a few times, shown by his reaction to losing face in front of a 13 year old, and general reactions to people from different parts of the country, b Excellent book, though some of the translations are a little burdensome with a few invented English words to try and avoid too much rewriting due to grammar. Excellent message of finding truth within yourself, not needing organized institutions, and warning against over-intellectualizing your practice. The fact that Hui-Neng was Chinese shown through a few times, shown by his reaction to losing face in front of a 13 year old, and general reactions to people from different parts of the country, but some baggage is hard to put down.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    Brain-melting. There is so much profound and subtle wisdom in the Diamond Sutra, it can be read and re-read and always produce a startling effect in your mind...er, no-mind. Very beautiful and challenging. This 'epitomised' version not recommended for buddhist beginners - try the one printed in Dwight Goddard's Buddhist Bible for more complete (though less immediate) version.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bill Gusky

    Seminal to an understanding of Buddhism. Preferable to the Tibetan treatises also featured on this list that imho show a good deal of distortion due to the infiltration of local traditions and deities.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    This is a great book everyone read it i recommend it

  26. 5 out of 5

    Balji

    good book

  27. 5 out of 5

    Painting

    Read 1990 Shambala Dragon Edition.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kendal

    Cuts through all the other crap.

  29. 5 out of 5

    James

    "Defilement [klesa] is enlightenment [bodhi]."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Titus L

    awesome and very inspiring book.... i made a machinima film of the related heart sutra here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-U1wU... awesome and very inspiring book.... i made a machinima film of the related heart sutra here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-U1wU...

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