Tag Archives: Étienne Lamotte

Reflections on the Saṃdhinirmocana Sūtra

This series will expound upon a seminal and early text of the Yogācāra school. The Saṃdhinirmocana Sūtra (Ārya-saṃdhi-nirmocana-sūtra) actually predates the proclaimed formulators of the Yogācāra school proper, Asanga and his half-brother Vasubandhu. The Sutra is comprised of different parts, the earliest being composed in India during the Second Century AD and its finalized form in the Third. One of the theories, to which I endorse, suggests that the text was written by monks or yogins who comprised exceptional Siddhis-powers and subsequently, (through visualization) inspirationally became the mouthpiece for the Buddha and the Maha-Bodhisattvas who questioned him in the text. According to one of its earliest commentators, Jñānagarbha, Saṃdhinirmocana “means ‘cutting the knots of the afflictive obstructions and the obstructions to omniscience’ through definitely freeing the profound thought [of Buddha]. It is a “sutra” because it is simply a complete statement of what is definite.” (John Powers Two commentaries on the Samdhinirmocana-Sutra /​ by Asanga and Jnanagarbha, pg.68) read more

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The Propagation of the Dharma

14. The Propagation of the Dharma

(Burton Watson) Then the Buddha addressed the bodhisattva Maitreya, saying, “Maitreya, I now take this Law of anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, gathered over countless millions of asamkhya kalpas, and entrust it to you. In the latter age after the Buddha has passed into extinction, you must employ your supernatural powers to propagate sutras such as this, spreading them throughout the continent of Jambudvipa and never allowing them to be wiped out. Why? Because in the ages to come there will be good men and good women, as well as heavenly beings, dragons, spirits, gandharvas, rakshasas, and others, who will set their minds on attaining anuttara-samyak-sambodhi and will delight in the great Law If they are unable to hear sutras such as this, they will lose the opportunity to gain excellent benefits. But if beings such as these hear these sutras, they will surely believe and delight greatly in them and set their minds on a rare achievement. Therefore you must respectfully accept these and, considering how living beings can best gain benefits from them, expound them far and wide.

The great Spiritual-Propagator of the Buddhadharma in this dharma-ending age (we are currently in the midst of that last dharma-cycle) has been designated to the Maha-Bodhisattva Maitreya (the Buddha-heir apparent of this saha-realm)—who, though presently in the Tushita-heavens periodically descends (wonderfully portrayed in Tozen’s Dharmakaya Sutra) to confer “annuttara-samyak-sambodhi” upon worthy recipients. Breaking it down somewhat, annuttara=superiorly incomparable; samyak=perfect; sambodhi=supreme-enlightened one who penetrates the depths of Buddha-gnosis. This honor is not just conferred upon humans, as we learned through our study of the Lankavatara Sutra wherein Ravana, the Overlord of the Yakshas, also received this Honorary Salutation. read more

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