Thursday, January 12, 2006

Simple Words - MDO

Ok, as I've been late with postings, here's another short one. mdo, this is in sanskrit sutra. A sutra, or མདོ། mdo, is usually something spoken by a Buddha. The reason it's best to say usually is that there are some texts by Indian commentators that has the word མདོ། mdo included, such as the Vinaya sutra, འདུལ་བ་མདོ་རྩ་བ། 'dul ba mdo rtsa ba. This text is the root text when studying the vows and moral conduct of monks and nuns.

Otherwise, the historical Buddha spoke many teachings, they were initially memorized, and then later written down, and these are the so called sutras, mdo. The Tibetans then later collected and translated the ones available in India around 800 to 1000 BC, and collected them to a set called བཀའ་འགྱུར། bka' 'gyur (KANGYUR). Note བཀའ། bka' means words of a Buddha, and འགྱུར། 'gyur is a very, very common word we will see many times in future, such as become. So it again points at a state where an enlightened being teaches by speaking.

As part of the sutra collection there's the ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏོ་ཕྱིན་པ། shes rab kyi pha rol to phyin pa collection of mdo. Some famous ones are the heart sutra,ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པའི་སྙིང་པོ། shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa'i snying po, or the perfection of wisdom in 8000 verses,ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏོ་ཕིན་པ་བརྒྱད་སྟོང་པ། shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa brgyad stong pa, but you could also call it བརྒྱད་སྟོང་པ། brgyad stong pa as the shorter name. There are sutras on the perfection of wisdom of 25000 verses, and 100000 verses. Supposedly there were even longer ones that we don't have available today.

Homework: Print out the heart sutra and place it in your car.

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