What is Sutra
When Buddha enters into Nirvana, and until the next Buddha (Maitreya Buddha) arrives, we will rely on the Buddhism Sutra in order to know the Dharma of Gautama Buddha, as Sutra (Sanskrit for "thread") means the sermons of the historical Buddha.
The sutras were recited from the memory of Buddha's disciple, Ananda, at the First Buddhist Council. From Ananda's supreme photographic memory, they were collected in the part of the Tripitaka called the Sutra-pitaka. Therefore, most of the Sutra will start with a line "Thus I have heard". The "I" is Ananda.
Sutra illustrates what Gautama Buddha has discovered about the truth of this universe. Therefore, there is no better way to start practising Buddhism than to read the Sutra, as every word comes from Buddha's mouth and represents his thoughts about Buddhism.
The Five Periods of
Shakyamuni Buddha's Teachings
Buddhism Sutra is the foundation of Buddhism.
As Shakyamuni Buddha has preached for 49 years, a classification by TianTai School on Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings is established according to the order that the Dharma has been expounded.
The five periods are Avatamsaka Period, Agama Period, Vaipulya Period, Prajna Period and Lotus and Nirvana Period.
The Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra
“Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra”, or "Diamond Sutra", is one of the most important sutras from Prajna Paramita, or "Perfection of Wisdom".
This sutra emphasizes the practice of non-abiding and non-attachment.
Diamond is used as a metaphor that the Perfect Wisdom can shatter the illusions of this world and help practitioners discover the ultimate reality.
The ultimate truth, similar to diamond, will not be altered by time, place and illusion.
Sutra of the Merit and Virtue of the Past Vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata
Commonly referred to as the "Medicine Buddha", he is described as a doctor who cures suffering individuals with his teachings. He is the Buddha of the Eastern Pure Land.
Practicing “Medicine Sutra” would keep sentient beings away from nine kinds of unfortunate deaths and dangers imposed by bad spirits.
The practice of Medicine Sutra is a powerful method for healing and overcoming inner sickness due to attachment, hatred, and ignorance.
In the early morning, when one's mind is quiet and tranquil,
one should be awaken and cultivate Sutra, Mantra and Buddha's name.
It is essential to practise morning recitation every morning
because the recitation remind us the principals of being as a Buddhist
and the responsibility to benefit everyone with the knowledge that we have learnt from Buddha's teaching.
The meaning of chanting Evening Recitation is that the day has almost gone,
and we should evaluate our mistakes and avoid repeating them in the future.
Also, it is time to chant Sutra, Mantra and other chantings for generating and returning merits to the worlds.
The Universal Door Of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva
“The Universal Door of Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva” is a doctrine appeared at chapter twenty-five of “Lotus Sutra”.
It explains Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva's compassion and kindness,
and he will turn into 32 different identities to help people in suffering at any place and any time.
Hence, this doctrine is called "Universal Door"
because he, wihtout any discrimination, will observe and offer assitances for anyone who asks for his help.
This chapter is commonly circulated as an independent doctrine in Asia.