Between writing sessions, the text should be stored carefully, just as
one would any other holy object: on an altar, or in a high, clean
place. Even before the copy is complete, even if only a four-lined
verse is written, the Sanghata
is already endowed with all the qualities of the word of
the Buddha, and should be treated accordingly.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is pictured here copying the sutra by hand, in gold ink. This long and painstaking project was begun days after Rinpoche first read the Sanghata in 2002, at Deer Park Buddhist Center in Madison, WI. The cover page to this manuscript appears on the banner to this website.
There is also a Tibetan tradition known as 'offering garments' to books. This involves 'clothing' the book by painting the edges of the pages with saffron water, as an offering to the text itself. To do this, one mixes a generous amount of saffron with a very little boiling water. Then, allow it to sit until the water has turned a deep golden color, and cooled off. The darker, the better for the purpose of making this offering of garments. When the water has cooled, onesets a powerful virtuous movitation. Then, while visualizing that one is making this offering directly to the Sanghata itself, and to the Dharma in all its forms, one gently brushes the saffron water along the sides of the pages. One should use a new soft-bristled brush (or one that has only been used for Dharma purposes). As with other offering practices, this should be done with strong concentration, maintaining a clear positive motivation, and followed by dedication of merit. This offering of garments can also be done with red ink. Those who have seen many Tibetan texts will have noted that often there is red or golden edging to the pages. This is from the 'offering of garments.'
To further beautify your new copy of the Sanghata, see below for more suggestions.
Finally, your completed copy of the Arya Sanghata Sutra can be kept on your altar, offered to others, or placed inside stupas, but in any case it should be treated with all the care and respect that is due to the Dharma in physical form.
- Excerpt adapted from a letter Lama Zopa Rinpoche wrote to a student who had been reciting theSanghata together with a pet dog:
"It is very good if you can read a little of this sutra every day, even
just a few pages. Or you could write a little of it every day. When
writing this sutra, with every single word you write, you collect
extensive merit, even more merit than by reading it. By creating more
merits our life becomes easier, more wish-fulfilling, without
difficulties, an easier life, better health, longer life, more
harmony in your life, in the world and everywhere.
"You receive all the happiness from good karma. If you do not have good karma, then you are unhappy. This is most important for good rebirth, for your next life, to meet the Dharma, practice the path and achieve liberation from samsara, ultimate happiness and, most importantly, full, peerless happiness. Then you are able to benefit numberless sentient beings, each and every sentient being. By creating more merit, you become closer to actualizing the realizations. You become closer to enlightenment, and in this way closer to enlightening all sentient beings. You become closer to freeing all sentient beings from sufferings and the causes of suffering, and closer to bringing all beings quickly to enlightenment.
"So you are able to liberate all beings from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and bring them to happiness for their future lives, happiness for this life, and ultimate happiness - full enlightenment. Everything comes along the way, and all of this starts by creating more merit by reading and copying this sutra."
The following were prepared by Alan Carter for use by those writing out sutras to place inside the stupa being built at Bendigo, in Australia. Alan writes:
These are some instructions and tips from my own limited experience in sutra writing: