A sutra is a stitch in time, or rather stitching comments in a pattern, through text or verse, that classically refer to statements of the Buddha. And, over time the major sutras (there may be as many as 64,000) are emboldened by dozens of translations and hundreds of commentaries by various ancestors.
To me, this is living-Buddha-ancestor learning and sharing the Dharma.
As we engage a sutra we look for the primary teachings of the Buddha around Impermanence, Interconnectedness, and Dis-ease. Hence the stitching of these "laws." with further explanations. This teaching is not teaching, but a description of what one experiences, which one does not know ahead of time and, can do so through seeing the dragon.
To get us started here is a brief commentary on the Diamond Sutra by Bargara 0'Brien.
And here Red Pine:
The Diamond Sutra may look like a book, but it's really the body of the Buddha. It's also your body, my body, all possible bodies. But it's a body with nothing inside and nothing outside. It doesn't exist in space or time. Nor is it a construct of the mind. It's no mind. And yet because it's no mind, it has room for compassion. This book is the offering of no mind, born of compassion for all suffering beings. Of all the sutras that teach this teaching, this is the diamond. Red Pine: https://www.amazon.com/\ ;/product/1582432562/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=lotushappines-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1582432562&linkId=3160dfb11bc205b007f27dad7ee3ca91
As we explore the diamond, I offer the 1992 translation of Thich Nhat Hanh The Diamond that Cuts Through IllusionParallax PressThe Diamond Sūtra with a Vietnamese Thiền commentary1992ISBN0-938077-51-1. The reason is it is a introduction to the more complicated earlier translations. Many years ago my teacher Taiun Elliston-roshi would provide side-by-side comparative translations and commentaries of a verse, gatha, or block of a sutra. This comparative approach showed me different perspectives. I thought I must find the "appropriate view." All translations are almost perfect. Seeking a "most appropriate" conclusion on my part, was the bain of the teaching. Rather than allowing that experience, is the teaching, While we cannot teach thusness, we can listen, point, encourage, and smile...
Below is the gatha written by Thich Nhat Hand as an introduction to his translation. We will review this Tuesday night August 24, 2021 and continue to explore the Sutra through Founder's Month in November, 2021. https://plumvillage.org/sutra/the-diamond-that-cuts-through-illusion/