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November 18 , 2008

The Diamond Sutra


The Diamond Sūtra is a short and well-known Mahāyāna sūtra from the Prajñāpāramitā, or "Perfection of Wisdom" genre, and emphasizes the practice of non-abiding and non-attachment. Note that the title properly translated is the Diamond Cutter of Perfect Wisdom although it is popular to refer to it as the Diamond Sūtra. A copy of the Chinese version of Diamond Sūtra, found among the Dunhuang manuscripts in the early 20th century and dated back to 868, is, in the words of the British Library, "the earliest complete survival of a dated printed book." In the sūtra, the Buddha has finished his daily walk with the monks to gather offerings of food, and he sits down to rest. Elder Subhūti comes forth and asks the Buddha a question. What follows is a dialogue regarding the nature of perception. The Buddha is generally thought to be trying to help Subhūti unlearn his preconceived, limited notions of the nature of reality and enlightenment.

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