The Lankavatara Sutra: Translation and Commentary

The Lankavatara Sutra: Translation and Commentary


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Having translated The Diamond Sutra and The Heart Sutra, and following with The Platform Sutra, Red Pine now turns his attention to perhaps the greatest Sutra of all. The Lankavatara Sutra is the holy grail of Zen. Zen’s first patriarch, Bodhidharma, gave a copy of this text to his successor, Hui-k’o, and told him everything he needed to know was in this book. Passed down from teacher to student ever since, this is the only Zen sutra ever spoken by the Buddha. Although it covers all the major teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, it contains but two teachings: that everything we perceive as being real is nothing but the perceptions of our own mind and that the knowledge of this is something that must be realized and experienced for oneself and cannot be expressed in words. In the words of Chinese Zen masters, these two teachings became known as “have a cup of tea” and “taste the tea.”

This is the first translation into English of the original text used by Bodhidharma, which was the Chinese translation made by Gunabhadra in 443 and upon which all Chinese Zen masters have relied ever since. In addition to presenting one of the most difficult of all Buddhist texts in clear English, Red Pine has also added summaries, explanations, and notes, including relevant Sanskrit terms on the basis of which the Chinese translation was made. This promises to become an essential text for anyone seeking to deepen their understanding or knowledge of Zen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619020993
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 02/12/2013
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 589,777
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Red Pine (Bill Porter) was born in Los Angeles in 1943 and attended graduate school at Columbia University. An acclaimed translator, his published works include three major Buddhist texts: The Platform Sutra , The Diamond Sutra , and The Heart Sutra. He is also the author of Zen Baggage , Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits. Red Pine has lived in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and has traveled extensively in China, visiting Zen temples and seeking out hermits. He lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

Table of Contents

Translator's Preface 1

Chapter 1 King Ravana's Request 21

Chapter 2 Mahamati's Questions 43

Chapter 3 More Questions 167

Chapter 4 Final Questions 233

Lankavatara Mantra 269

Glossary 271

Bibliography 301

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The Lankavatara Sutra: Translation and Commentary 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
American Buddhist writer and autodidact Red Pine provides a readable and well annotated modern translation of an important and philosophically difficult text of the meditation school of Buddhism, based on Chinese translations and compared with the Sanskrit, with a credible explanation of what it means. He thinks the dominant forms of Buddhist practice are "Zen, Pure Land, Tantric, Vipassana," a particularly 20th-century British or US view.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wisdom that will never be exceeded.