The Diamond Sutra is Printed

The Diamond Sutra is Printed May 11, 2015

Diamond Sutra Frontispiece
According to the date on the title page, an edition of the Diamond Sutra, one of the central texts of the Prajnaparamita Cycle of Mahayana Buddhism, was published on this day in 868. Making it the oldest known printed book. The book was discovered as part of the treasure trove of documents found in the Mogao caves at at Dunhuang, China by Aurel Stein in the early part of the twentieth century.

Important throughout Mahayana Buddhism, this is a central document in the Zen way. In the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Ancestor, the putative autobiography of Huineng, it was on hearing a line from this text that the young illiterate peasant had his great enlightenment experience.

I couldn’t find a public domain version I really liked to print here. Red Pine has a very readable version with some interesting commentaries, and I recommend the somewhat dated but still readable translation by D. T. Suzuki. And, here is a link to the Plum Village version.

And if you just want to hear it, here you go. (Listening to it is well known to bestow some serious good karma on the hearer. Just saying…)

Browse Our Archives