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Learn from the Buddha and Bodhisattvas with the Maharatnakuta Sutra by Garma C.C. Chang


Read online Garma C.C. Chang - A Treasury of Mahayana Sutras : Selections from the Maharatnakuta Sutra




If you are interested in learning more about Mahayana Buddhism, one of the most influential and diverse branches of Buddhism, you might want to read some of its canonical scriptures. One of the most important collections of Mahayana sutras is the Maharatnakuta Sutra, or the Treasury of Precious Sutras. This sutra contains 49 individual sutras that cover a wide range of topics and teachings, from miracles and emptiness to Pure Land and skillful means.




Read online Garma C.C. Chang - A Treasury of Mahayana Sutras : Selections from the Maharatnakuta Sut


Download: https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Furlcod.com%2F2ucEHt&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AOvVaw0Nccoj91UAWSkgEc481usN



In this article, we will introduce you to the Maharatnakuta Sutra, explain why it is important for Mahayana Buddhism, and show you how to read it online. We will also highlight some of the main themes and teachings that you can find in this sutra, and how they can enrich your understanding and practice of Buddhism.


Introduction




What is the Maharatnakuta Sutra?




The Maharatnakuta Sutra is one of the five major sutra groups in the Mahayana canon. The word maharatnakuta means "great heap of jewels" or "treasury of precious things", indicating the value and diversity of the sutras contained in this collection. The sutras were translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by various translators between the 4th and 6th centuries CE, and later compiled into a single volume by an unknown editor.


The Maharatnakuta Sutra consists of 49 individual sutras, each with its own title and content. Some of the sutras are short and concise, while others are long and elaborate. Some of the sutras are dialogues between the Buddha and his disciples or lay followers, while others are monologues by bodhisattvas or other celestial beings. Some of the sutras are doctrinal and philosophical, while others are practical and ethical. Some of the sutras are unique to this collection, while others are also found in other sutra groups.


The Maharatnakuta Sutra is not a systematic or coherent exposition of Mahayana Buddhism, but rather a rich and varied anthology of different perspectives and insights. It reflects the diversity and creativity of Mahayana Buddhism in its early stages of development, as well as its adaptation to different cultural and historical contexts.


Why is it important for Mahayana Buddhism?




The Maharatnakuta Sutra is important for Mahayana Buddhism for several reasons. First, it contains some of the earliest and most influential Mahayana sutras, such as the Sri-mala-devi-simhanada Sutra, which expounds the doctrine of tathagatagarbha or buddha-nature; the Akshobhya-vyuha Sutra, which describes the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha; and the Saddharma-pundarika Sutra, which teaches the universal potential of all beings to attain buddhahood.


Second, it covers a wide range of topics and teachings that are essential for Mahayana Buddhism, such as the concept of emptiness, the nature of consciousness, the practice of wisdom and compassion, the role of skillful means, the importance of vows and precepts, the cultivation of merit and rebirth, and the manifestation of buddha-qualities and powers.


Third, it showcases the diversity and innovation of Mahayana Buddhism, as it incorporates elements from various schools and traditions, such as Madhyamaka, Yogacara, Tathagatagarbha, Pure Land, and Tantric Buddhism. It also reflects the influence of different cultures and religions, such as Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Zoroastrianism.


Fourth, it provides a source of inspiration and guidance for Mahayana Buddhists of different times and places, as it contains stories, parables, metaphors, analogies, examples, prophecies, predictions, praises, prayers, vows, and blessings that can motivate and encourage practitioners to follow the path of the bodhisattva and attain buddhahood for the benefit of all beings.


How to read it online?




If you want to read the Maharatnakuta Sutra online, you have several options. One option is to read the English translation by Garma C.C. Chang, titled A Treasury of Mahayana Sutras: Selections from the Maharatnakuta Sutra. This translation contains 22 of the 49 sutras in the collection, selected and arranged to give a progressive introduction to Mahayana Buddhism. You can find this translation on Amazon.com, or you can download a PDF version from Terebess.hu.


Another option is to read the Chinese version of the Maharatnakuta Sutra, which is available on various websites that host Buddhist texts in Chinese. For example, you can find it on CBETA.org, which is a digital library of Chinese Buddhist texts. You can also find it on FGS.org.tw, which is the website of Fo Guang Shan, a Taiwanese Buddhist organization. If you can read Chinese, you can access the original text and compare it with the English translation.


A third option is to read other translations or studies of individual sutras in the Maharatnakuta Sutra, which may not be included in Chang's translation. For example, you can find an English translation of the Saddharma-pundarika Sutra, or the Lotus Sutra, by Leon Hurvitz on Amazon.com, or you can download a PDF version from BDKamerica.org. You can also find an English translation of the Sri-mala-devi-simhanada Sutra, or the Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala Sutra, by Alex Wayman and Hideko Wayman on Amazon.com, or you can download a PDF version from BDKamerica.org. You can also find various studies and commentaries on these sutras by scholars and practitioners online.


Main themes and teachings




Maya and miracles




One of the themes that appears in several sutras in the Maharatnakuta Sutra is the theme of maya and miracles. Maya means illusion or deception, and it refers to the way that things appear to be different from what they really are. Miracles are extraordinary events or phenomena that defy ordinary expectations or explanations. Both maya and miracles are used in Mahayana Buddhism to illustrate the nature of reality and the power of buddhas and bodhisattvas.


For example, in the Prophecy of the Magician Bhadra's Attainment of Buddhahood, we read about a young magician named Bhadra who performs various feats of magic to entertain people. He creates illusions of elephants, horses, chariots, palaces, gardens, mountains, rivers, and so on. He also makes himself appear as different animals or people. However, he does not realize that his magic is based on maya, and that he himself is also subject to maya. He thinks that he is superior to others because of his skills.


Emptiness




Another theme that appears in several sutras in the Maharatnakuta Sutra is the theme of emptiness. Emptiness means the lack of inherent existence or essence in all phenomena. It is one of the core teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, and it is based on the insight that everything is dependently originated and interrelated. Emptiness does not mean nihilism or annihilation, but rather the freedom from attachment and delusion. Emptiness also implies the potential for transformation and enlightenment.


For example, in the Demonstration of the Inconceivable State of Buddhahood, we read about a bodhisattva named Samantabhadra who demonstrates the emptiness of all phenomena by performing various miracles. He makes himself appear as different buddhas, bodhisattvas, gods, demons, animals, plants, and so on. He also makes himself appear as different worlds, universes, realms, and dimensions. He also makes himself appear as different sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, and thoughts. He does all this to show that nothing has a fixed or independent nature, and that everything is subject to change and impermanence.


In the same sutra, we also read about a dialogue between Samantabhadra and another bodhisattva named Vajragarbha who asks him about the meaning of emptiness. Samantabhadra explains that emptiness is not a negative or passive state, but rather a positive and dynamic state. He says that emptiness is the source of all virtues and wisdom, and that emptiness is the essence of buddhahood. He says that emptiness is not something to be feared or avoided, but rather something to be realized and embraced. He says that emptiness is not something to be grasped or conceptualized, but rather something to be experienced and manifested.


Consciousness




A third theme that appears in several sutras in the Maharatnakuta Sutra is the theme of consciousness. Consciousness means the faculty or function of awareness or cognition in all sentient beings. It is one of the main topics of investigation and analysis in Mahayana Buddhism, especially in the Yogacara school. Consciousness is also related to the concepts of mind, perception, cognition, thought, emotion, memory, imagination, and so on.


For example, in the Elucidation of Consciousness, we read about a discourse by a bodhisattva named Mahamati who explains the nature and function of consciousness to a group of monks. He says that there are eight types of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, mind-consciousness, manas-consciousness, and alaya-consciousness. He says that each type of consciousness has its own object and mode of operation.


He also says that consciousness is not a single or permanent entity, but rather a stream or continuum of momentary events. He says that consciousness is influenced by various factors such as karma, afflictions, habits, views, and so on. He says that consciousness can be purified or defiled depending on how one relates to it. He says that consciousness can be transformed or transcended by practicing wisdom and compassion.


Virtue and discipline




Pure Land




A fifth theme that appears in several sutras in the Maharatnakuta Sutra is the theme of Pure Land. Pure Land means a realm or world where a buddha or a bodhisattva resides and teaches. It is also a state of mind or heart that is free from defilements and suffering. Pure Land is one of the most popular and influential movements in Mahayana Buddhism, especially in East Asia. Pure Land is based on the faith and devotion to a buddha or a bodhisattva, and the aspiration to be reborn in their realm.


For example, in the Dharma-Door of Praising Tathagata Akshobhya's Merits, we read about a buddha named Akshobhya who lives in a realm called Abhirati, or the Joyous Land. This realm is described as a pure and blissful place where there is no evil, violence, or suffering. The beings who live there are endowed with wisdom and compassion, and they practice the teachings of Akshobhya. Akshobhya himself is praised for his virtues and powers, such as his immovability, his vow to never get angry, his ability to subdue demons, and his skillful means to benefit all beings.


In the same sutra, we also read about a discourse by another buddha named Sakyamuni who explains how to be reborn in Akshobhya's realm. He says that one needs to have faith in Akshobhya, praise his merits, make offerings to him, recite his name, visualize his form, and vow to be reborn in his realm. He also says that one needs to avoid killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, and intoxication. He says that by doing these practices sincerely and diligently, one can attain rebirth in Akshobhya's realm after death.


General Mahayana doctrine




A sixth theme that appears in several sutras in the Maharatnakuta Sutra is the theme of general Mahayana doctrine. General Mahayana doctrine means the teachings and principles that are common or fundamental to all Mahayana schools and traditions. It includes topics such as the nature and goal of buddhahood, the path and practice of bodhisattvas, the concept of tathagatagarbha or buddha-nature, the role of wisdom and compassion, and so on.


For example, in the True Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala, we read about a discourse by a queen named Srimala who expounds the doctrine of tathagatagarbha or buddha-nature. She says that all sentient beings have within them the essence or potential of buddhahood, which is eternal, pure, blissful, and selfless. She says that this essence is obscured by various defilements and afflictions that cause suffering and ignorance. She says that by practicing the six paramitas or perfections of generosity, morality, patience, diligence, meditation, and wisdom, one can remove these defilements and reveal one's true nature.


In the same sutra, we also read about a dialogue between Srimala and another buddha named Sakyamuni who confirms and praises her teachings. He says that her teachings are in accordance with the true Dharma or reality. He says that her teachings are beneficial for all beings who wish to attain buddhahood. He says that her teachings are rare and precious among all sutras. He also predicts that she will become a buddha named Universal Light in the future.


Skillful means




Conclusion




Summary of the main points




In this article, we have introduced you to the Maharatnakuta Sutra, one of the most important and diverse collections of Mahayana sutras. We have explained why it is important for Mahayana Buddhism, and how to read it online. We have also highlighted some of the main themes and teachings that you can find in this sutra, such as maya and miracles, emptiness, consciousness, virtue and discipline, Pure Land, general Mahayana doctrine, and skillful means.


We hope that this article has given you a glimpse of the richness and variety of the Maharatnakuta Sutra, and that it has inspired you to explore it further. We also hope that this article has helped you to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of Mahayana Buddhism, and that it has encouraged you to apply its teachings to your own life and practice.


Benefits of reading the sutra




Reading the Maharatnakuta Sutra can have many benefits for you, such as:



  • It can increase your knowledge and understanding of Mahayana Buddhism, its history, development, diversity, and relevance.



  • It can enhance your faith and devotion to buddhas and bodhisattvas, their qualities and activities, their vows and aspirations.



  • It can improve your skills and abilities in studying and interpreting Buddhist scriptures, their language and style, their structure and content.



  • It can deepen your insight and realization of the Dharma or reality, its nature and function, its emptiness and luminosity.



  • It can strengthen your compassion and altruism for all sentient beings, their suffering and happiness, their potential and buddhahood.



  • It can inspire you to follow the path of the bodhisattva, to practice the paramitas or perfections, to attain buddhahood for the benefit of all beings.



FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about the Maharatnakuta Sutra:



  • What is the difference between a sutra and a sutta?



A sutra is a Sanskrit word that means a discourse or a teaching. A sutta is a Pali word that means the same thing. Sanskrit and Pali are two ancient languages that were used to preserve Buddhist scriptures. Sanskrit is mainly used by Mahayana Buddhists, while Pali is mainly used by Theravada Buddhists. The Maharatnakuta Sutra is a Sanskrit text that belongs to the Mahayana canon.


  • Who is Garma C.C. Chang?



Garma C.C. Chang was a Tibetan Buddhist scholar and translator who lived from 1920 to 2008. He was born in China and studied Buddhism in Tibet, India, Japan, and Europe. He was one of the first scholars to introduce Tibetan Buddhism to the West. He translated many Tibetan Buddhist texts into English, including the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Six Yogas of Naropa, and the Mahamudra. He also translated some Chinese Buddhist texts into English, such as the Maharatnakuta Sutra, which he published in 1983.


  • How long does it take to read the Maharatnakuta Sutra?



The answer depends on how fast you read and how much time you have. The English translation by Garma C.C. Chang has about 500 pages. If you read one page per minute, it would take you about eight hours to finish it. If you read 10 pages per day, it would take you about 50 days to finish it. Of course, you don't have to read it all at once or in order. You can choose any sutra that interests you and read it at your own pace.


  • What are some other sutra collections in Mahayana Buddhism?



Besides the Maharatnakuta Sutra, there are four other major sutra groups in Mahayana Buddhism. They are:


  • The Avatamsaka Sutra, or the Flower Ornament Sutra, which describes the interpenetration and interdependence of all phenomena, and the vision and practice of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra.



  • The Prajnaparamita Sutras, or the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, which expound the doctrine of emptiness, and the vision and practice of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.



  • The Saddharma-pundarika Sutra, or the Lotus Sutra, which teaches the universal potential of all beings to attain buddhahood, and the vision and practice of the bodhisattva Manjusri.



  • The Nirvana Sutra, or the Parinirvana Sutra, which reveals the eternal and blissful nature of buddhahood, and the vision and practice of the bodhisattva Kasyapa.



  • How can I learn more about Mahayana Buddhism?



If you want to learn more about Mahayana Buddhism, there are many resources available online and offline. You can read books, articles, blogs, podcasts, videos, and so on. You can also join online or offline courses, groups, forums, communities, and so on. You can also visit temples, monasteries, centers, museums, and so on. You can also talk to teachers, monks, nuns, practitioners, and so on. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and a curious heart.


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