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Zen & Buddhist Texts

Here are some of the core Buddhist and Zen texts.

The Dhammapada is a compilation of things the Buddha said about following the path.  It is probably popular because of the variety of subjects covered, its shortness and that it is accepted by all schools of Buddhism.

After his enlightenment, the Buddha spoke at the Deer Park in Sarnath about the nature of suffering and the path out of it.  This is referred to as the First Turning of the Dharma Wheel.

The Heart Sutra was expounded at a smaller hut.  Diamond Cutter Sutra (usually called the Diamond Sutra, for short) was spoken at a tiny hillside monastery.  The oldest remaining printed text in the world, is, by the way, the Diamond Sutra.  It resides in the British Museum, if you want to have a look.

A senior Tibetan monk once explained to me that if you go to these places you can see each is smaller than the last.  This meant that the Buddha meant each for a smaller audience.  They are very advanced texts that you won't understand without a good teacher.  I put them here for the curious to have a look at and for the use students without the money to buy a copy.  

The same monk also told me that rather than study many texts, is is usually better to choose one text to study your whole life.  This way you may be able to uncover the deeper meanings of the text. 

The Platform Sutra (more correctly called the Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra) is here.  Have a look.  I believe the copyright ran out on this version in 1997.  The English is a little old fashioned, since it was written in 1930

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