Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra

Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra

Product ID: 17489

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Author: Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
Translator(s): Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal
Year: 1998
Language: English
Pages: 464
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8121508339


The Lankavatara Sutra is one of the most important Mahayana texts, and the Nepalese Buddhists consider it to be one of the nine canonical texts. The text contains almost all the main ideas, both philosophical and theological, of Mahayana Buddhism. The Yogacara School of Mahayana considers this text to be its fundamental text, as it contains all those ideas of idealism, like Mind-only, store-house-consciousness, which would form the basis of the philosophy of this school.

As the text is terse, difficult to understand, and complex insofar as the presentation of ideas is concerned, the author has tried his best to explain the basic ideas of the Lankavatara in the context of historical evolution of Buddhism, which culminated in the emergence of Mahayana.

In the first part of the book the author has made a textual study of the text in the context of various translations that were carried out in China. Simultaneously the author also has pointed out the impact of the text exerted upon Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, and particularly upon the Zen. In the rest of the book the author has engaged himself in explaining the complex philosophical ideas that are to be found in the text, and how these ideas were made use of by various Buddhist schools.

The author also points out the intimate relationship that exists between the Lankavatara and Zen Buddhism. Although not exclusively a Zen text, yet its impact upon Zen cannot be denied. The non-Zen ideas of the text, particularly those pertaining to the Yogacara, have been discussed by the author in the third part of the book.

The author has prepared a glossary of Sanskrit terms for the benefit of Chinese and Japanese readers. The book, thus, has been written for all those who are deeply interested in Buddhist thought and philosophy. The Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra is the first attempt ever made at studying systematically the philosophical ideas and religious practices that are to be found in the Lankavatara Sutra. Those interested in Mahayana Buddhism will greatly benefit from the scholarly study of Prof. Suzuki of this important text.




I. An introduction to the study of the Lankavatara Sutra.

II. The Lankavatara Sutra and the teaching of Zen Buddhism:

1. General survey of the principal ideas expounded in the Sutra.
2. (a) The intellectual contents of the Buddhist experience. (b) The psychology of the Buddhist experience.
3. Life and works of the Bodhisattva.

III. Some of the important theories expounded in the Lankavatara Sutra:

1. The doctrine of Mind-only
2. The conception of no-birth
3. The triple body of the Buddha
4. The Tathagata
5. Other minor subjects

A Sanskrit-Chinese-English glossary