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Why Edited ‘Sutras’ Should Not Be Used

Special Feature From ‘Buddhist Confessions & Resolutions:

It is inappropriate to promote or defend the use of ‘compilations’ of cut-and-pasted, and thus heavily edited so-called ‘sutras’ – because this is the unauthorised alteration of the Buddha’s skilfully chosen and therefore specific words, and the putting of unenlightened words into his golden mouth instead.

Such texts cannot be considered authentic sutras at all as true sutras are direct and unadulterated teachings from the Buddha personally, as faithfully remembered, mindfully recorded and accurately translated. [Our confession is that we have not spoken up on this enough to uphold the integrity of the Buddha’s pure teachings.]

Resolution: As the 13th Patriarch of the Pure Land tradition Great Master Yin Guang (净宗十三祖印光大师) admonished, to promote edited ‘sutras’ is to ‘stir up matters when there should be none’ (无事生事). Here is a simple 3-point argument on why edited ‘sutras’ should never replace sutras historically upheld by the Patriarchs.

  1. If an edited ‘sutra’ is JUST as ‘pure’ as the authentic sutra,
    why not stick to the authentic one?
    There is NO need to 无事生事 by promoting another ‘version’.
  2. If an edited ‘sutra’ is NOT as pure as the authentic sutra,
    why promote the edited one?
    There is NO need to 无事生事 by promoting a lesser ‘version’.
  3. ‘If’ an edited ‘sutra’ is MORE ‘pure’ than the authentic sutra,
    this is impossible, as the authentic one is already perfectly pure.
    There is NO need to 无事生事 by promoting a lesser ‘version’.

印光大师, who is acknowledged as a manifestation of Mahastamaprapta Bodhisattva (大势至菩萨) advocated usage of the ‘Immeasurable Life Sutra (As Spoken By The Buddha)’ (佛说无量寿经) translated by Cao-Wei Dynasty’s Tripitaka Master Samghavarman from India (曹魏天竺三藏康僧铠). He spoke against the promotion of edited ‘sutras’ both in the past and in future times.

Edited ‘sutras’ should NEVER be promoted as equal alternatives to authentic sutras. We must promote authentic sutras to perpetuate them for future generations. As 佛说无量寿经 will be the last practical sutra to remain in our world, we must ensure that we uphold the right version now.

– By Fellow Dharma Protectors

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