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.

What is Sutra
Before Chanting

So, what activities are considered as misbehaving while chanting Buddhism Sutra?

1) Do not put Buddhist Sutra on a dirty table, at the bottom of a bookshelf, on a bed, on the headstock of a bed or inside of a closet
2) Do not create a bookmark by indenting a page or drawing a mark by applying force with your finger nail
3) Do not lick your finger while turning a page in the Sutra......

Before Chanting

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 Five Periods of Shakyamuni Buddha's Teachings
Shurangama Sutra

The word 'Shurangama' means 'absolutely firm and indestructible'.
As long as there is a place with "Shurangama Sutra", then there is still proper Dharma dwelt in the world.
This explains why "Shurangama Sutra" is highly significant in Buddhism.
"Shurangama Sutra" is often represented as the true body, relic, and stupa of Shakyamuni Buddha.
The content is spoken in the view of a Buddha toward the truth of existent, the world and the universe,
which are the ultimate keys to return back to the “Original”.
The ten chapters of “Shurangama Sutra” explain with great details about Buddhism principles,
moral discipline, essential Buddhist cosmology, development of Samadhi and different delusions during meditation.

Shurangama Sutra
Big Release Sutra

Currently, there is no English translation for this Sutra. After year 664, Big Release Sutra was no longer in circulation and had vanished in the history. At year 1900, more documents about this Sutra had been discovered inside a cave, on carved stones, on carved wood, as well as on walls. Finally, around year 2000, there are enough materials to re-create a complete version of this sutra.

Big Release Sutra

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.

Diamond Sutra
The Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra

Amitabha is the Buddha in Western Pure Land.
“The Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra”, or “Amitabha Sutra”, is a short but colorful doctrine.
It provides a basic understanding of Pure Land belief and practice.
It is also a rare sutra that is initialized by Shakyamuni Buddha,
rather than traditionally initialized by his disciples through questions and answers.
Therefore, this Sutra is highly significant,
and is chanted at the Evening Recitation everyday.

Amituofo Sutra

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.

Medicine Sutra
The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra

"The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra”, or “Heart Sutra”, is a foundational sutra in Buddhism.
Even though it is short and precise, “Heart Sutra” is the core, the essence, or the heart of Shakyamuni Buddha's teaching.
It is also considered as a summary of Buddha’s core teachings through the view of Emptiness.

Heart Sutra

Morning Recitation

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.

Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva

“Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapranidhana Sutra”, or “Earth Store Sutra”,
illustrates how Ksitigarbha becomes a Bodhisattva by being filial piety to his parents in his past lifetimes and by making great vows to rescue sentient beings.
The sutra also graphically describes about the consequence of karma and hells if someone commits into undesirable actions.
Ksitigarbha has vowed to instruct of all sentient beings in the six worlds between the Nirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha and the arrival of Maitreya.

Earth Store Sutra

Evening Recitation

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.

Universal Door