24 September 2006 | wigowsky
The Diamond Sutra (or the Prajnaparamita Sutra)
After watching the movie a second time, I was determined to find out what the Old Monk had drawn on the deck of the hermitage. The only clue I had was the scene's subtitle: "Prajnaparamita Sutra it helps restore inner peace." Those were the words the Old Monk used to describe the sacred teachings that the Young Monk had to carve out as penance for his crime of passion. When I looked up the Prajnaparamita Sutra on the internet, I found out it was known as the Diamond Sutra of the Buddha.
The Buddha spoke the wise words in a monastery near Sravasti, saying that "this sutra should be called the Diamond that cuts through illusion because it has the capacity to cut through illusions and afflictions and bring us to the shore of liberation." There are 32 sutras or sections, and the 32 sections are also "marks" that are used to meditate on "the Tathagata" which means "the suchness of all things (dharmas)." The meaning of Tathagata is "does not come from anywhere and does not go anywhere." The insight into the truth of the sutras consists in a realization that "the idea of a self is not an idea, and the ideas of a person, a living being, and a life span are not ideas either." A self-realized or awakened "Buddha" is called a Buddha because he/she is free of ideas.
The "Buddha" in the Diamond Sutra is also called the World-Honored One, and his message can be summarized by two axioms: (1) "Someone who looks for me in form or seeks me in sound is on a mistaken path and cannot see the Tathagata." (2) "All composed things are like a dream, a phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning. That is how to meditate on them, that is how to observe them."
Now I will have to watch the movie a third time and meditate on the 32 marks that the Old Monk draws with the cat's tail on the floor of the ashram. I will also feel the urge to count and see if there are really 32 marks.