There are many many Mahayana sutras, only some of which have been translated into English. In our Study Guide, we consider just a few of those we feel are most important for our study and practice.
If early Buddhism is psychologically oriented, focusing on individual liberation and serious spiritual cultivation, Mahayana Buddhism is largely a Buddhism of enthusiasm, devotion, and faith. Its vision is cosmic and extravagant, its literature expansive, poetic, almost over the top.
The Lotus Sutra was a major influence on Dōgen’s Zen and the most widely read Buddhist text throughout the Far East. The Avatamsaka Sutra’s cosmic vision of worlds within worlds, atoms within atoms, time and space dissolved, seems to anticipate quantum physics. Its teachings stand behind much of Chinese Zen, as do those of the Vimalakirti sutra, a much shorter and pithier text. The Surangama and Lankavatara sutras are a little more obscure but have been important to our study for their analysis of perception and consciousness.
The many sutras on the topic of Emptiness are also crucial Mahayana texts that can be considered as a separate category. We consider these texts in Topic 8 in the Study Guide, Emptiness Teachings.
Please note: we are currently the process of editing and properly categorizing our teachings library. The teachings will become available here in the study guide as soon as they’re ready, please check back soon.
1. The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti
By Vimalakirti | 1987 | Pennsylvania State University Press | ISBN 0271006013
2. The Flower Ornament Scripture | A Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra
Thomas Cleary, Translator | 1993 | Shambhala | ISBN 0877739404
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3. Lotus Sutra
Burton Watson, Translator | 2004 | Columbia University | ISBN 0231081618