Diamond Sutra

Diamond Sutra
in full Diamond-Cutter Perfection of Wisdom Sutra

Wisdom text of Mahayana Buddhism.

It was composed с AD 300 and translated into Chinese с AD 400. The best known of the wisdom texts contained in the Prajnaparamita, it is written in the form of a dialogue between the Buddha Gautama and a questioning disciple. The work emphasizes the transitory nature of the material world and suggests that spiritual fulfillment can be attained only by transcending ephemeral phenomena and abandoning rationalism.

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▪ Buddhist text
Sanskrit  Vajracchedikā-sūtra 

      (“Diamond Cutter Sūtra”), brief and very popular Mahāyāna Buddhist text, widely used in East Asia, and perhaps the best known of the 18 smaller “Wisdom” texts, which together with their commentaries are known as the Prajñāpāramitā. It takes the form of a dialogue in the presence of a company of monks and bodhisattvas (“Buddhas-to-be”) between the Buddha as teacher and a disciple as questioner. The Chinese translation, Chin-kang Ching (“Diamond Sūtra”), appeared about AD 400.

      The Diamond Sūtra expresses the Prajñāpāramitā emphasis upon the illusory nature of phenomena in these words: “Just as, in the vast ethereal sphere, stars and darkness, light and mirage, dew, foam, lightning, and clouds emerge, become visible, and vanish again, like the features of a dream—so everything endowed with an individual shape is to be regarded.” As with most of the shorter (and later) Prajñāpāramitā texts, the ideas are not argued or explained but boldly stated, often in striking paradoxes, including frequent identification of things with their opposites. Thus, the form of presentation underlines the text's thesis that spiritual realization depends upon transcending rational categories. Partly for this reason the Diamond Sūtra is considered the Sanskrit work closest in spirit to the philosophy of Zen.

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Universalium. 2010.

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