Advice from Rinpoche

Advice from Rinpoche Jul 2009 - Sanghata Sutra

The Sanghata Sutra

The Sanghata Sutra is a direct record of a teaching that was given by Buddha Shakyamuni on Vulture's Peak in Rajagriha. This discourse of the Buddha, like all Mahayana sutras, was memorized by his disciples and later written down in Sanskrit. However, the Sanghata Sutra is unique in that it is a teaching that the Buddha himself had heard from a previous Buddha, and it is also unique in the scope of the effects it has on those who recite it.

The Sanghata Sutra is one of a special set of sutras called dharma-paryayas, or 'transformative teachings' that function to transform those who hear or recite them in particular ways. One very powerful benefit is that at the time of death, any person who has recited the Sanghata Sutra will have visions of Buddhas who will come to comfort them during the death process. A further benefit is that wherever the Sanghata Sutra is established, the Buddhas are always present, as explained in the text itself. As such, the recitation can bestow a powerful blessing on the place where it is recited.

Benefits - By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche

The merit of just one set of buddhas equaling the number of sand grains in the River Ganga, even just one set - how much merit that is…is beyond words, unimaginable. Even just the merit that one buddha has collected is beyond words. So, now, beyond that, the merit that you collect every time you hear the Arya Sanghata Sutra is equal to twelve times the merit of the number of buddhas as there are sand grains in the River Ganga.

This means that anyone hearing it - animals, frogs, birds, so no question about pets like your beautiful cat, your darling cat, even spirits - collects that much merit. Can you imagine? It is like an impossible thing in the life that happens. When those animals, your cat and other animals, hear you recite Buddha's teachings, it definitely makes them to receive higher rebirth and to meet Dharma.

The very minute you hear it, the five uninterrupted negative karmas - the extremely heavy negative karmas that right after death, immediately without interruption of another life, you get born into hell; you get reborn in the lowest hot hell, which has the heaviest suffering of the lower realms, of which the life span lasts for one intermediate eon - those get completely purified. So, (if the five uninterrupted actions get purified), that means no question about the ten non-virtuous actions, they get purified also.

It is such an unbelievably easy way to make the life meaningful. You just put the CD in the car and you play it, that's it. As long as you are not deaf and can hear, you don't need to put much effort there. It's the easiest way to purify negative karma, the easiest way to collect unimaginable extensive merit. That means it is the quickest easiest way to achieve liberation from samsara, to finish all the oceans of samsaric suffering that one has experienced over and over numberless times without beginning, from time without beginning. Not only the people in the car, but also for anyone who hears it - it is a quick way to achieve enlightenment.

Also, more merit makes it easy and quick to realize the emptiness of the "I", the aggregates, phenomena; it is a quick way to eliminate the root of samsara, ignorance, and a quick way to actualize bodhichitta. You need so much merit, unbelievable, unbelievable merit to actualize bodhichitta. If you have bodhichitta, you are a bodhisattva. In that second, you become the spiritual son of all the buddhas, you receive the name. You become the supreme object of offerings of all the sentient beings.

They collect inconceivable merits when they make offerings to you. So when they see you, hear your voice, or you give something to them, or touch them. Even if some of the sentient beings harm you, after you have realization of bodhichitta, then from your side, you only benefit in return. You pray for good things to happen to that person. There is a saying with the bodhisattvas, "if you can't make a good connection by doing good things, then by doing some harm, make a connection with the bodhisattva."

So, if you read the Arya Sanghata Sutra, there is far greater merit (than just hearing it); then, if you write it - much, much more. Remember the merit of the buddhas equaling the number of grains of sand in the Ganges River times twelve? The amount of merit if you write it is eight times that (e.g., 96 x one set of buddhas).

The last time that I went to Singapore, and Malaysia, because of my little advertisement about how much more merit there is if you write it, many people wrote it and have finished it already. This is unbelievable. The director of the Singapore center told me about when they recited it - incredible things happened. Each time they gave me a little bit from that. That happened already two times. Also, it happened in Malaysia. Somebody offered $100K for a school. In New Zealand, Bruce Farley just read it maybe one time. When he read it in the gompa, he thought, "Buddha wouldn't lie," and with that strong faith he read it. He won the lottery - a large house in Australia. He didn't tell his wife or his parents. He invited his wife and his parents to Australia to see the house. He didn't tell them about the house, he just invited them. He wanted it to be a surprise. His idea was to sell the house and to use the money for Dharma projects. Then, a lady in Istituto Lama Tsong Khapa (in Italy) who had been smoking her whole life - she has been translating Dharma texts for Dharmarucci Publishing. She was unable to stop smoking for so many years. When she read this the first time, she was able to stop smoking like that (finger snap). That means that, really, Buddha is working, blessing through this text. Buddha is really in action.

So many people who have recited the Arya Sanghata Sutra have received so much benefit to their mind and to their heart, becoming more and more Dharma. So, also, every day to write even a few lines is extremely, unbelievably good. When you write it, of course you don't finish many pages, it is quite slow, but when you write, also you read, so that is the benefit. The only thing is if you only read it, you can finish in that day, in those hours. Of course, one can do a few lines writing and then read the whole text. That also can be done. Like that then, gradually, you can finish writing. I am extremely happy that you enjoy so much. You see the benefit that is working for your mind and you see that it is an amazing sutra.

For a copy of the Sutra, please click on the following:
http://www.fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/advice/pdf/sanghatajan07a4.pdf

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