Zen Wisdom 129



Do you recommend reading the sutras?


There are two ways in which one can read sutras. One way is to read the sutras as you would any other book. In this sense, reasoning and intellect are involved, and the reader's intention is to understand what is being said. The second way is to recite, or chant, the sutra. In this approach, you are not trying to understand the content of the sutra. The purpose is to collect and focus the mind, and to cultivate samadhi power.

If you read a sutra for intellectual understanding, naturally you will encounter parts you do not understand. If the problem is terminology or a philosophical idea, you can check reference sources. However, if after checking references, you still do not understand, you should pass over it and continue to read. There will be parts in every sutra that will be beyond your comprehension. If you chant sutras, the purpose is not to intellectually understand what is written. If, while chanting the sutra, certain concepts come across, that is fine. You don't have to shut your mind to them.