The Diamond Sutra is a powerful text that explains how we can realize our true nature – by seeing through the illusion of a separate self.  This ‘self’ can be compared to the clothes we put on top of our naked awareness. 

In preparation for the January 2020 Diamond Sutra course, Achariya Doug Duncan explains the Diamond Sutra in livestream format, with Q&A at the end.

Enlighten-Up is a monthly livestream session with Dharma Teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat. These candid talks on spirituality and awakening are to enliven and enlighten you, as the world spins in challenging times.

What can we learn from the Diamond Sutra?

History of the Diamond Sutra

The Diamond Sutra is a Mahayana text dating from between the 2nd and 5th Centuries. The Sanskrit title for the sūtra is the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, roughly translated as ‘The Perfection of Wisdom Text that Cuts Like a Thunderbolt’.

Mahayana is one of three ‘vehicles’ in Buddhism – one of its differentiating marks is its concern with helping those in the world.  Mahayana teachings focus heavily on compassion.

“Cut, cut and get to the nakedness

The perfection of wisdom is about learning to move into the wisdom innate in your being.  It is about learning to embrace the ‘nakedness’ of our innate awareness, beneath the ‘clothing’ of our self identity.

“Clothes” cover our true nature

Cutting through the illusion of a self leads to awakening.

Doug Sensei uses the metaphor of clothing as a way to understand the teaching.  If our true nature is naked, like we are at our birth, our unawake consciousness is wearing a “bathing suit”. Our karmic propensities add further layers of clothing that we put on top of that bathing suit.  Clothes represent the conditioning of family and society.  In our day to day lives we are caught up, tangled up, in the clothes.

Practice through meditation, karma yoga or service shows us that we need to look closely at the clothes, and take them off.

To be in true nature, we need to take off the clothes and be naked.

What are the qualities of nakedness?

The Diamond Sutra cuts through illusion and shows us a clear “diamond of the first water”.

That quality of diamond completely disappears, or is invisible in water.  This pure diamond nature represents the awakened mind.  There are no characteristics in the diamond, as there are no characteristics in the naked mind.

Generosity is the heart of the practice

Through generosity to self and others we can see through the illusion of clothing.  Where the ego hangs on is where it’s hardest to see the diamond nature.

Surrender into Silence

Behind all the noise of impurities or clothes, is that still Buddha who remained silent and held up a flower representative of no characteristics.

For the full story, watch the video below:

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