Cosmology and Reality · Sutras (Suttas) · Visualizations on True Nature

Shurangama Sutra

Download the Shurangama Sutra with commentary by Charles Luk – Lu Kuan Yu


The Shurangama Sutra is a teaching between Shakyamuni Buddha and his cousin Ananda. Ananda, while a follower of the Buddha, had not “cracked” the problem of being drawn out into the world of delusion. Buddha takes pity on him, and teaches basic step by step how human beings become entangled and step by step how to extricate ourselves.

Upasaka Charles Luk has written a commentary which is very much tuned to the modern world. Charles Luk was a student of Xu Yun (or Hsu Yun…pronounced Shu Yun). Xu Yun (1840 – 1959) taught in our era, and knew very well the difficulties of practice in our age.

Charles Luk further clarifies the struggles Westerners have in their study, and uses the teaching of Xu Yun and the Shurangama Sutra to bring the core teaching to the surface for contemplation.

I found this Sutra when I was searching for the source of Xu Yun’s quote from the Buddha “The mad mind never halts, if it halts it is bodhi”. I to date have still not found the actual source of the quote, but was pointed in the direction of the Shurangama Sutra in search of it.

Below are the core teachings I have found in this Sutra. I hope they may be helpful to anyone reading this. – Thinking is unreal

Ananda comments that he thinks the mind which does not cling is the True Mind, but Buddha refutes this idea………….

“Ananda, this is your false thinking which arises from external objects, deludes your true nature and deceived you into mistaking a thief for your own son, thereby losing sight of what which is basically permanent; hence the round of birth and death.”

1.5 – Origin of inversion

Page 25 – Charles Luk commentary:

“For fundamentally you were not deluded but merely lost sight of Reality by wrongly clinging to unreality, hence your delusion in the midst of Enlightenment. This is exactly where your inversion lies”

Page 26 – Charles Luk commentary:

“Like an ignorant man who overlooks on the great ocean, but grasps at a floating bubble and regards it as the whole body of water in its immense expanse, you are double deluded amongst the deluded.? (Buddha saying these things rooted out the third aggregate sanjna and the first six consciousnesses in his dealing with the first basic inversion.

Then Ananda showed his second basic inversion, because he had hitherto recognized his discriminating mind as the true one…. but the Buddha disclosed the profound, bright, all-embracing True Mind …. but this did not mean Ananda’s experiential awakening to the True Mind…. so Ananda asked the Buddha to remove his doubt about this point.”

“The seventh consciousness is also called the clinging mind because it depends on inner and out causes… it has no substance when external data cease to exist….”

Page 27

Example of the finger pointing at the moon.

Example of the inn-keeper never leaving the inn.

Uncle Bucky’s thoughts:

All of nature is in the realm of enlightenment. The darkness of humanities ego is created by ourselves, due to fear, desire, and ignorance of our true nature. Therefore, humans live in this self-imposed dark prison, and our emancipation is also “self-realized”.  Humans are responsible for their exclusion from Eden, and also carry the keys to re-entering Eden.

So, we are living in delusion in the midst of Enlightenment. This is why many of the Chan and Zen teachers say there is nothing to be done, nothing to be attained, there is only realization of our True Nature. With that realization, all karma and delusion simply fall off like scales from our eyes.

Buddhism carries with it many outdated concepts, as well as many concepts which were common thinking in the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. The Law of Causation, and along with it Reincarnation are symbolic, but when taken literally, are no more correct than Heaven and Hell. Our true nature is far more like a leaf on a tree. The Tree of Life grows the leaf, feeds it, and when the leaf’s time is up, it falls from the tree, and nourishes the tree for a new leaf which grows in its place.

What is being said in the Shurangama Sutra, and the other Buddhist teachings, is a totally different “cosmology” than the common way of looking at the nature of things.

Essentially, humans exist as light…. perhaps the only thing which exists is light.

But we humans hide ourselves inside an egg of darkness…… a “hard shell” of our own making.

Eve eating the apple represents the fall of man into duality.

We are children of light.

In fact, there is no way to leave the light.

The only substance which exists is light.

But we humans find a way to  hide ourselves inside an egg of darkness…… of our own making.

The egg is duality and depends on duality.

A solid form built on separation.

Eve ate duality in the garden, and gave it to Adam to eat.

When we let go of duality and its nasty children, the light can shine through us again.


“Every moment is golden”

“Everything is perfect, so relax, pay attention, and realize this fact.”

“Let go now of clinging mind, and everything is just as it is”


Uncle Bucky’s notes:

Xu Yun students:  Fo Yuan, Jy Ding, Jing Hui, Charles Luk, Hsuan Hua**

Who is “Dharma Master To Lun” ?




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