Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lankavatara Sutra

I found this book on my shelf and gave it a first read through. I noted that Sangharakshita hasn't done a seminar on it, while he's done many seminars on Mahayana Sutras. When you listen to the brief two comments on Free Buddhist Audio, he just summarizes it, and does not linger on it. He seems to know about it. He says it's a yogacara sutra, important in Ch'an Buddhism and very influential.

Padmavajra says it's a complex and rich sutra, and a grab bag, and reiterates what Sangharakshita says, that it was Bodhidharma's favorite sutra.

I read the "Epitomized" version, based on DT Suzuki's translation, compiled and edited by Dwight Goddard, which unfortunately cuts out the chapter on vegetarianism, which I was looking forward to reading. Another chapter is cut out as well. Other versions are more expensive, and here are versions on line, check out the Wikipedia page on the Lankavatara Sutra.

Perhaps it was good for me to read this streamlined version, because it is quite a complicated text. I can't say I got it, but there were times when I was reading it that I felt something strongly stirring in me, and it had an effect on me. I would like to study it more in depth.

I'm not a idealist, though as time goes on and on, I forget about the world of truth and move more towards the world of subjectivity. In a crucial way, we do make the world with our minds. When you work with a couple in therapy, the biggest foe to harmony is one's perception of truth. If you can get the couple to appreciate the other person's subjective reality and listen to their experience, then there's a better shot of blending together, instead of fighting it out for the truth, even though I often agree with the truth seeker. There's a school of psychoanalysis called intersubjectivist, and Wikipedia lists Stephen Mitchell as one, I'm not sure if that's true, but I'm dying to read Jessica Benjamine.

Looking on Goodreads, I find only 3 members comments on it, one longer one and two short comments. I was aghast when a commercial played on goodreads, so I'm not recommending that site any more. Anyone know a book social media site that is commercial free?

More importantly I'd appreciate any good links about the Lankavatara Sutra, as I try to learn more about this sutra. Seems very important and I'm surprised there's not more on line about it. I'm a bit hesitant to read Suzuki's book on it, outside the expense, because of a recent negative evaluation of him in the Western Buddhist Review, which has a new issue out by the way!

I will note Jayarava's essay on his excellent blog.

Also The Eternal Legacy has a chapter on the sutra, which I will read now.

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