[Buddha-l] Happy Halloween! Buddha-L is defunct!

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 1 02:30:58 MDT 2013

>   Before this list goes away I was hoping that I could get some pointers
> to good translations and commentaries regarding the Surangama Sutra. donna 
> Bair-Mundy, Ph.D.


First, one has to distinguish between two entirely different texts.

One is a "legitimate" Indian text that survives in Chinese translation 
called the Surangama-samadhi sutra. It was often translated together with 
the Vimalakirti Sutra. Etienne Lamotte translated that into French with 
excellent annotation, and Sara Webb-Boin translated that into English. You 
can get a PDF of the English version at 
Some years also found the French edition in an online PDF. If you search 
around the web you can probably find that as well, if you prefer.

The other text, which is the one I suspect you are interested in, is a 
Chinese apocryphal text, which means it was composed in China but was passed 
off as a translation of an Indian text. It has been very popular in East 
Asia and Vietnam, and remains so to this day. There is an old but decent 
translation of it by Lu Kuan-yu (also known as Charles Luk). A PDF at 
This includes selections from the commentary by Hanshan Deqing (Han-shan 
te-ch'ing) -- that's Silly Mountain, not the poet Cold Mountain. Hanshan was 
one of the most important and brilliant Buddhist monks of the Ming dynasty, 
sometimes considered the 7th patriarch of Chan. Lu translated many of 
Hanshan's works.

Master Hsuan Hua (Xuanhua) of the 10,000 Buddhas held the apocryphal 
Suramgama in high regard so back in the '70s his followers published a 
serialized translation interspersed between his commentary. After he died, 
they redid the work, attempted to argue that it was an authentic Indian text 
(elsewise, why devote so much devotion to it?), and that is available here:
To sample their earlier work and get a sense of their approach, see Ron 
Epstein's website:

Beyond that, time to learn Chinese.


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