Regard Sutras with Reverence

We, as Buddhist students, should have some common knowledge on how to place sutras. We should regard every sutra from the Tripitaka and Twelve Divisions as more important than our lives and any treasures.

The Vajra Sutra said, "In any place the Sutra text is found, there is the Buddha." In other words, sutra is where the Dharma body of the Buddha dwells. To assist printing of sutras, to read sutras, and to pay revere to sutras can open up limitless wisdom. In contrast, you could fall into undesirable realms if you do not revere sutras.

Cautions in sutras' placement are listed as following:

1. We should revere and treasure sutras as they are the Dharma Jewel and the compassionate vessel to cross living beings over the sea of suffering. Minor damage should be mended. Sutras should not be burned or tossed away. There are protecting dragons and deities around where sutras are placed. It is an immense offense if sutras are left damaged and unattended.

2. Buddhist sutras should be placed on top of other books. A general rule is original sutra texts such as the Sutras, the Vinaya, and the Shastras should be on the very top, followed by commentaries, general Buddhist texts, talks from sages or worthies, instructional books, and at the very bottom, worldly books.

3. Do not scribble on the sutras. Do not talk about worldly affairs or shoot the breeze in front of sutras, or even eat food while reading sutras.

4. Sutras should be placed on a pure location. Do not place them on impure places like the bed or the chair.

5. Do not carry sutras under the armpit. Do not carry sutras below the waist, either holding them with the hands or placing them in the pocket.

6. Do not put miscellaneous objects on the sutra table. Do not read sutras while lying down. Do not touch sutras with a dirty hand.

7. Do not try to blow the dust off sutras. Wipe it off with a clean cloth instead.

8. Cover sutras with a clean cloth when you go to bed if you use bedroom as your study (it is limited to a single person living a pure life). In addition, sutras should be placed on the head side.

9. Any filthy act is not allowed wherever sutras are placed.

10. Do not fold the sutra while reading it. Earmark the section at which you finish with a paper strip, but do not fold the corner of the page.

11. Read the sutra with full concentration. Close the sutra text when idle thoughts well up. You can go back to reading when idle thoughts are gone.

12. Circulate books if you do not read them.

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