Things to Do with the Sanghata
Things to Do with the Sanghata
The original source for ideas on what to do with the Sanghāta Sūtra is undoubtedly the Sanghāta itself. In the text, Buddha Shakyamuni and others discuss the benefits of reading the Ārya Sanghāta Sūtra, reciting it, memorizing it, reflecting on it, understanding it, prostrating to it with a mind of faith, writing it down, having it written, listening to it, hearing it completely to the end, just having it fall on one's ears, feeling pleased by it, honoring and venerating it, making drawings for it, offering flowers to it, offering incense, or fragrance, or garlands, or unguents, powders, robes, canopies, banners, or pennants, or joining together cymbals and rejoicing afterwards just once, approving of it by saying 'excellent, excellent.'
Despite how generous the Sanghāta is with its suggestions, nevertheless, creatives devotees of the Sanghāta Sūtra are still finding other things to do with the wondrous text called theĀrya Sanghāta Sūtra.
Of course, one can always read or recite the text. (For reciting, see our Guide to Reciting section; For reading, see our Guide for Readers.) But here are a few of the other ways that people have found to keep the Sanghāta Sūtra active on this planet earth.
Organizing a Festival of Merit
The Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore organized a festival at which visitors were provided with gold pens, tracing paper, and invited to copy out a few lines of the Sanghāta by hand. Six thousand people had the chance to connect in this way with the glorious Ārya Sanghāta Sūtra. Read about the festival of merit.
Copying the Sanghāta
Many fans of the text have made copies by hand, by photocopier, by printing books, in Tibetan, Chinese, English, French, and other languages. Read more about copying the sutra.
Producing Beautiful Editions
With the Sanskrit manuscripts of the Sanghāta that were found in the stupa at Gilgit were also the very first examples of decorated books we have in Indian history. One of these earliest Sanskrit manuscripts was discovered nestled between painted wooden book covers. A number of beautiful editions of the Sanghāta have been printed already, including 500 copies printed in gold ink in Singapore, and one hundred copies of the Tibetan text on rainbow-colored paper, which Lama Zopa Rinpoche offered to all the FPMT centers in 2004. (Some of the beautiful editions that have been produced in Chinese or Frenchcan be ordered online by donation.) But the early practice in India of creating book covers to protect and beautify the Sanghāta remains to be followed. For ideas as to how that might be done, click here to read about the use of book covers in Tibet, or click here to view book covers made for other texts in Tibet. Another practice of interest is the illumination of manuscripts. For some samples, and a good overview of this way of beautifying books, click here. An intimate connection in India between the practice of decorating books and the Sanghata has been noted by one art historian, who writes of the Sanskrit manuscripts of the Sanghata found at Gilgit:
The Gilgit manuscript covers, as well as manuscripts from the find, mark an important phase in the history of the art of the book inIndia…. That is, that a change took place in the concept of the book so that books were seen not merely as media for the conveyance of information but, for some reason or reasons as yet unclear, began to be conceived of as objects worthy of beautification. (Klimburg-Salter, 1990:817 - for bibliography, click here)
Playing for Others to Hear
A comic-strip artist in Mexico (and director of the Rechung Dorje Dharma center in Xalapa) leaves a CD of the Sanghāta playing loudly and continuously when he goes out, so the animals in the environment can benefit from hearing it. To download mp3 files of the Sanghāta recited in Tibetan, or to get other recordings of the sutra, click here.
Going for a Drive with the Sanghāta
For a tale of using the Sanghāta to make even a shopping trip meaningful, click here.
"It’s nice to memorize sutras to repay the kindness of Buddha," Lama Zopa Rinpoche has said. A number of students have already undertaken to memorize verse passages. We have yet to hear of someone memorizing the entire sutra...
Translating the Sanghāta into other Languages
For those who speak languages into which the Sanghāta has not been translated, translating it to make the benefits of the text available to its speakers is an immensely meritorious activity. Anyone considering doing so should first check to see if a translation project for their language is already under way. For further guidance on embarking on a project to translate the Sanghāta, click here.
For advice on reciting the Sanghāta Sūtra, click here.
To view a guide for readers, click here.