Lankavatara Sutra

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The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra (Sanskrit: लंकावतारसूत्र Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra; Traditional Chinese: 楞伽經; pinyin: léngqié jīng) is a sutra of Mahāyāna Buddhism. The sūtra recounts a teaching primarily between the Buddha and a bodhisattva named Mahāmati ("Great Wisdom"). The sūtra is set in Laṅkā, the island fortress capital of Rāvaṇa, the king of rākṣasas.

The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra figured prominently in the development of Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese Buddhism. It is also an important sūtra in Chinese Chán and its Japanese version, Zen.


Sūtra Doctrine

The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra draws upon the concepts and doctrines of Yogācāra and Tathāgatagarbha.[1] The most important doctrine issuing from the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra is that of the primacy of consciousness (Skt. vijñāna) and the teaching of consciousness as the only reality. The sūtra asserts that all the objects of the world, and the names and forms of experience, are merely manifestations of the mind. The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra describes the various tiers of consciousness in the individual, culminating in the "storehouse consciousness" (Skt. Ālayavijñāna), which is the base of the individual's deepest awareness and his tie to the cosmic.[citation needed]

Extant ancient editions

A number of ancient translations of the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra were made from Sanskrit into the Chinese language, as early as the 3rd century CE with a translation by the Indian monk Dharmarakṣa.[2] Of these, only three are now extant.

The first extant Chinese translation is Taisho Tripitaka 670 (楞伽阿跋多羅寶經). This is the earliest edition which was translated by Guṇabhadra in 443 CE, and divided into four fascicles.[3] This edition by Guṇabhadra is said to be the one handed down from the founder of Chinese Zen, Bodhidharma, to the Second Patriarch, Huike, saying:[4][5]

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