Today (the seventeenth day of the eleventh lunar month) is Amitabha Buddha’s birthday. I shall now make a vow regarding the Shurangama Sutra’s authenticity before the Buddhas of the ten directions.
Recently, some Ph.D.’s and scholars have criticized the Shurangama Sutra. They claim it was invented by later generations and not spoken by Shakyamuni Buddha. They have spread this rumor and tried to destroy this Sutra, causing Buddhists who lack true understanding to doubt. These people, who stir up a fuss by repeating what others say, are truly pathetic.
Today, I will vouch for the authenticity of the Shurangama Sutra before the assembly. Not only the Shurangama Sutra, but also the Shurangama Mantra is authentic. The Shurangama Sutra is the Buddha’s "true body" and the Buddha’s sharira; no one can destroy it. If the Shurangama Sutra exists, then the Proper Dharma exists. If the Shurangama Sutra ceases to exist, then the Proper Dharma will also vanish. If the Shurangama Sutra is inauthentic, then I vow to fall into the Hell of Pulling Tongues to undergo uninterrupted suffering.
In the future, I hope that everyone will use their Dharma-selecting vision and not follow any careless Ph.D.’s or irresponsible scholars who do research on how the Shurangama Sutra is counterfeit. Don’t let that rubbish influence you. Use your samadhi power to turn those states around. Why do some people claim that the Shurangama Sutra is false? Because their minds are not clear. They don’t want the Proper Dharma to remain in the world. Instead of telling people to cultivate, they try to destroy the Dharma.
The Shurangama Sutra says, "If one doesn’t cut off lust, one won’t be able to leave the dust." This sentence alone is enough to prove that this Sutra is definitely and beyond a shadow of doubt the wonderful doctrine spoken by the Buddha. If one doesn't cast out thoughts of lust, one cannot transcend the Three Realms. If one doesn’t cut off desire and love, it’s impossible to attain the fruition of sagehood.
The Shurangama Sutra also says, "Trying to cultivate samadhi without cutting off lust is like cooking sand trying to obtain rice. It can’t be done." If we contemplate the truth of this, we will know where the Treasury of the Proper Dharma Eye lies.
A genuine Buddhist will most assuredly support and protect the Shurangama Sutra and recite and uphold the Shurangama Mantra. From personal experience, I know that this Mantra's power is inconceivable.
I repeat my vow in order to emphasize that the Shurangama Sutra is an authentic, not a counterfeit, Sutra. If I am mistaken, then I vow to fall into the Hell of Pulling Tongues. I hope everyone is clear on this issue. Hold proper views and don’t disappoint me!
A talk given on January 21, 1978