The Shurangama Sutra (Leng Yen Ching) was translated from Sanskrit into Chinese during the T’ang Dynasty by Shramana Paramiti of Central North India at Chih Chih Monastery, Canton, China, A.D. 705. In this sutra 25 sages explain the various methods that they used to pierce the knots of the senses, transcend the realm of birth and death, and attain enlightenment.
Commentary (abridged) by Ch’an Master Han Shan (1546-1623); Translated by Upasaka Lu K’uan Yu (Charles Luk)
Enlightenment in Mahayana Buddhism consists in transmuting the mind into the Great Mirror Wisdom. And so the Surangama Sutra points directly at the Mind which when stirred by the first thought creates the basic illusion of an ego and splits the Whole into subject and object. In consequence it is still a primary source for the Ch’an or Zen school.
In this sutra the Buddha began by stripping Ananda of this attachment to the illusory body and mind before revealing the One Mind. To teach how this One Mind can be realized he asked twenty-five Bodhisattvas to describe the different methods by which each had attained Enlightenment. Avalokiteshvara’s method was judged the most suitable for mankind today.
The Buddha disclosed the cause of transmigration through the six worlds and of the attainment of the four saintly planes, describing these ten regions in some detail. Finally he detailed and warned against clinging to the various mental states experienced when practicing the Surangama Samadhi.
We in the West know of the Creation according to the Bible, but readers will now find in this sutra how man and his world came into being as taught by the Buddha.
Lu K’uan Yu’s translation from the Chinese of this important sutra is based on Ch’an Master Han Shan’s late sixteenth century commentary, portions of which are included in the footnotes.
Lu Kíuan Yu was born in Canton in 1898 and left this world in 1978. His first Master was the Hutuktu of Sikong, an enlightened Great Lama. His second Master was the Venerable Ch’an Master Hsu Yun, the Dharma-successor of all five Ch’an sects of China.
Lu Kíuan Yu lived in Hong Kong and devoted himself to presenting as many Chinese Buddhist texts as possible so that Buddhism could be preserved at least in the West, should it be fated to disappear in the East as it seems to be.
Translated from Chinese by The Buddhist Text Translation Society, USA and other sources. The full title is known as The Sutra of the Foremost Shurangama at the Great Buddha’s Summit Concerning the Tathgata’s Secret Cause of Cultivation, His Certification to the Complete Meaning and all Bodhisattvas’ Myriad Practices. [Not complete]