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Sat, Mar 02


Virtual Event

Open to all - Yogacara - Lankavatara Sutra

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Open to all - Yogacara - Lankavatara Sutra
Open to all - Yogacara - Lankavatara Sutra

Time & Location

Mar 02, 2024, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Virtual Event


About the event

Keeping on with our series of teachings on the Yogacara, this month we'll focus on the Lankavatara Sutra, a major sutra of the Mahayana cannon.

The Lankavatara Sutra is a foundational text in Mahayana Buddhism, particularly revered within the Zen and Chan traditions. This sutra, whose title can be translated as "The Scripture of the Descent into Lanka," is believed to have been composed between the 2nd and 4th centuries CE, though its origins are shrouded in the mists of time and the complexity of Buddhist textual history.

The narrative framework of the Lankavatara Sutra is set around a dialogue that takes place in Lanka (traditionally identified with Sri Lanka), where the Buddha, upon his mythical descent, imparts wisdom to a gathering of bodhisattvas, divine beings, and the ruler of Lanka, Ravana. This dialogue serves as a vehicle for the exploration of profound philosophical concepts and teachings central to Mahayana Buddhism.

One of the core teachings of the Lankavatara Sutra is the doctrine of the mind-only (Cittamatra) or consciousness-only. This doctrine asserts that all phenomena are manifestations of the mind, challenging our conventional understanding of reality as something external and independent of perception. The sutra elaborates on the nature of consciousness and the way in which it constructs the experienced world, emphasizing the importance of transcending dualistic thought and realizing the non-duality of subject and object.

The text also delves into the concept of Buddha-nature, suggesting that all beings inherently possess the potential for enlightenment, a perspective that offers a universal path to liberation. Additionally, the sutra addresses the use of skillful means (upaya), the importance of meditation, and the role of intuition in the attainment of spiritual insight, laying the groundwork for the Zen emphasis on direct experience over doctrinal knowledge.

The Lankavatara Sutra has played a crucial role in the development of Buddhist thought and practice, influencing not only the philosophical discourse within Mahayana Buddhism but also the practical approaches to meditation and enlightenment. Its teachings on the nature of reality, perception, and consciousness have inspired generations of practitioners and scholars, making it a pivotal text in the study and practice of Buddhism.

As always, we're going to summarize the chapters of the Sutra and then move into the Yogacara themes present on it.

See you there!

#trc #yogacara #sutra #lankavatara

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