Commentaries on Sutras and Legacy Teachings
All Buddhist traditions study sutras (suttas), legacy commentaries, koans, and mondo discourses to find the guides to a noble life that awaken us to how the Universe is that were taught by the Buddha and his disciples, including both legacy and contemporary Masters. Here, both Ven. David and Ven. Wayne offer their insights and perceptions on these important teachings, and by doing so add to this rich tradition.
SUTRA: A sutra is a collection of canonical scriptures which are records of oral teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha. They are handed down in the Pali language in five volumes know as the Nikayas.
MONDO: A mondo is an official and often recorded session between a Zen Buddhist sensei/roshi and a student. The term is Japanese and comes from the Chinese word Wen-da. It is generally in a question and answer format. Dogen often used this method of teaching, for example. A commentary on a mondo is given in order to provide current day interpretation as most mondo’s are from the legacy masters and reflect a culture and language often centuries old.
KOAN: A koan is a method for teaching Buddhist concepts who’s meaning are difficult to put in to everyday language. The koan style originated in Ch’an Chinese practice and was adopted by Japanese Zen who took it to an artful level. What makes koan study difficult is the significant cultural differences and language used in the past. Therefore, contemporary Buddhist teachers have offered their own commentary that is meant to bridge this cultural gap.
LEGACY COMMENTARIES: Over the centuries Buddhist masters have given lessons or developed principles, either oral or written, based on their understanding of Buddhism philosophy, psychology, and spiritual practices. They are directed to both the laity and monastic community alike, in order to promote understanding and practice focus. It is the tradition of Buddhist teachers to present their own lessons based on these teachings in order to promote awareness and opportunities for awakening to Universal nature through both study and contemplative practice.