Dharma ~ 달마

Sangha Dae Yen Sa offers a meditation and study group on Wednesday evenings from 7-9pm. The evening practice includes; bowing, seon meditation, recitation, chanting and tea. To receive regular information and announcements regarding current topics of study, or to request to be added to our email address book please contact us.


Heart Sutra
Various commentators divide this text into different numbers of sections. Briefly, the sutra describes the experience of liberation of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokitesvara(Kwan Seum Bosal), as a result of insight gained while engaged in deep meditation to awaken the faculty of prajna (wisdom). The insight refers to apprehension of the fundamental emptiness of all phenomena, known through and as the five aggregates of human existence (skandhas): form, feeling, volitions, perceptions, and consciousness. text and commentary here

The Lotus Sutra
This sutra is known for its extensive instruction on the concept and usage of skillful means, the seventh paramita or perfection of a Bodhisattva – mostly in the form of parables. It is also one of the first sutras to use the term Mahayana, or “Great Vehicle”, Buddhism. Another concept introduced by the Lotus Sutra is the idea that the Buddha is an eternal entity, who achieved nirvana eons ago, but willingly chose to remain in the cycle of rebirth (samsara) to help teach beings the Dharma time and again. The sutra speaks of a higher teaching but it doesn’t provide specific practices beyond the reading, copying, reciting, and preaching of the Sutra. text here

>> Commentary GuideLotusSutra

The Avatamsaka Sutra
The Avatamsaka Sutra is one of the most influential Mahayana sutras of East Asian Buddhism. The title is rendered in English as Flower Garland Sutra, Flower Adornment Sutra, or Flower Ornament Scripture. The Avatamsaka Sutra describes a cosmos of infinite realms upon realms, mutually containing one another. The vision expressed in this work was the foundation for the creation of the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism, which was characterized by a philosophy of interpenetration. Huayan is known as Hwaom in Korea and Kegon in Japan. text here

The Diamond Sutra 
The Diamond Sutra, like many Buddhist sutras, begins with the phrase “Thus have I heard”. In the sutra, the Buddha has finished his daily walk with the monks to gather offerings of food, and he sits down to rest. Elder Subhuti comes forth and asks the Buddha a question. What follows is a dialogue regarding the nature of perception. The Buddha often uses paradoxical phrases such as, “What is called the highest teaching is not the highest teaching”. The Buddha is generally thought to be trying to help Subhuti unlearn his preconceived, limited notions of the nature of reality and enlightenment. Emphasizing that all forms, thoughts and conceptions are ultimately illusory, he teaches that true enlightenment cannot be grasped through them; they must be set aside. text here

The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century CE. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Ch’an (Sanskrit: Dhyāna, Korean: Seon, Japanese: Zen) to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolinquan. Bodhidharma’s teachings and practice centered on meditation and the Lankavatara Sutra. text here

The Platform Sutra
The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch is a Chan Buddhist scripture that was composed in China during the 8th to 13th century. The “platform” refers to the podium on which a Buddhist teacher speaks. Its key theme are the direct perception of one’s true nature, and the unity in essence of śīla (conduct), dhyāna (meditation) and prajna (wisdom). The text centers around teachings and stories ascribed to the sixth Chan patriarch Huineng. It contains the well-known story of the contest for the succession of Hongren (enlightenment by the non-abiding), and discourses and dialogues attributed to Huineng. text here

The Gateless Gate
The common theme of the koans in this collection of koans is the inquiry and introspection of dualistic conceptualization. Each koan epitomizes one or more of the polarities of consciousness that act like an obstacle or wall to the insight. The student is challenged to transcend the polarity that the koan represents and demonstrate or show that transcendence to the Zen teacher… text here

The Collected Works of Korean Buddhism
The Collected Works of Korean Buddhism, in thirteen volumes, is the first comprehensive collection of Korean Buddhist materials ever to appear in a European language… text here