Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On the Bodhisattva Precepts

Some readers will already be familiar with the 64 bodhisattva precepts, or at least their source.

For those less familiar, these precepts are found in the Brahmajala, or Brahma Net Sutra also known as "The Supreme Net (What the Teaching is Not)." It starts with this amusing story about a cranky guy named Suppiya following the Buddha and his followers around, relentlessly criticizing them. The dude just never shuts up. Buddha's followers get annoyed, and Buddha tells them not to worry about praise or blame.

Then, like a lot of sutras, it starts in with the long lists: 62 types of wrong view, based on the six gates (the senses, including mind) and whatever objects they find.

He also lists the primary and secondary precepts, and this is where the precepts I took on Saturday are found.

My initial encounter with this sutra was through Maurice Walshe's translation, but there are many others. I found this one online that looks pretty good, though I know nothing about the website. Reading the sutra on this page is nice because it has lots of hyperlinks to a glossary, so you can click on unfamiliar terms.

Enjoy, if this interests you.

[Photo: a sutra written on palm leaf manuscript]

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