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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Reading 600 Volumes of the Prajnaparamita at Once


And in temple at end of the year we have a ceremony to read the 600 volumes of the Prajnaparamita Sutra. But actually we cannot read 600 volumes of the sutra, so the priest conducting the ceremony reads one volume of the 600 sutras. Then we have one volume, one of 600 read and the others are just turned instead of reading them. And so the most important volume will be recited by the priest who is conducting, and we receive this kind of prayer card from the temple. That is what we do. 
   --------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 68-12-29 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - D 

DC comment: Wonder what  he was calling a prayer card there. Maybe just holding up one of our chant cards?  No. If they chant something they chant, traditionally anyway, from a sutra book that opens like an accordion and it's not as large as our chant cards usually. I've done this ceremony in Japan with monks but we were all reading I think. I know we picked up all of the 600 volumes and opened them way up from both hands holding a volume on the right and then the left had pulling the left cover up and around in an arc so that the whole book fluttered by and then we'd go to another one. So each of the 600 was done by one of us and they were all done. Can't remember what we chanted but everyone was chanting different lines at the same time so I think now we'd maybe open one up and chant from what we saw when we opened it. Not sure. But it was neat and I'm glad I experienced that. - dc 

Photo is a Soto Zen daily sutra book which is what the volumes we turned looked like except they were old and a little worn from being fanned open and closed once a year for a long time.