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The Sutra Petitioned by the Householder Uncouth

A third-turning sutra of the Buddha, with explanations by Tony Duff

TitleThe Sutra Petitioned by the Householder Uncouth
Sub-TitleA Teaching of the Buddha Showing All-Knowing Wisdom and the Householder’s Way
AuthorTony Duff and Tamas Agocs
Details216 pages, 0 colour plates, 6" X 9" (large format), US$25, available in PDF and Kindle e-book formats
ISBNpaper book 978-9937-572-56-9, e-book 978-9937-572-57-6
TextsTibetan text in Tibetan script included

This book presents a Great Vehicle sutra of the third turning of the wheel of dharma which has not been translated until now and which is regarded as specially important for two reasons.  Firstly the sutra deals with the issue of whether a bodhisatva can live a householder’s life and effectively practice dharma at a high level.  In the time when the Buddha gave this discourse it was regarded in Indian culture as a whole that it was necessary to leave the household and additionally to become ordained as a monk or nun in order to practice dharma at the highest level.  The Buddha ends the sutra by saying that not only is it possible to practise whilst living as a householder but that a householder bodhisatva can be a much more capable and effective bodhisatva than a bodhisatva living the celibate life of an ordained bodhisatva.

The person who petitioned the Buddha for his authoritative statements on this matter was a householder bodhisatva named “Uncouth”.  His concerns, which are the main issues in the sutra, result in the sutra fitting very closely with the situation of today’s Western Buddhists, most of whom do not wish to leave home and become mendicants and most of whom are equally determined that this should not mean that they are relegated to a life which has been officially stamped as lesser than that of an ordained life.  These have become prominent issues for Western Buddhists at this time and a careful consideration of the actual meaning embodied in this sutra can be a very fruitful exercise for today’s Western Buddhists.  I have found that investigating the sutra carefully raises many issues of great relevance and interest to today’s Western Buddhists, but more than that, the issues are raised in the environment of the Buddha giving his authoritative statements about them.  We found it to be very provocative but very rich at the same time.

The sutra is very rich; it has many very interesting threads.  Aside from the above, it has another very important feature, which is that it teaches non-dual wisdom at the highest level.  It is one of the ten sutras which the Other Emptiness followers of Tibet marked out as the ten essential sutras of the third turning that show the Other Emptiness meaning.  We have also translated another of those ten, which has the title “Point of Passage Wisdom Sutra”.  These two sutras are indispensable for those who are trying to understand the Other Emptiness teaching.  A lot more could be said about this but it would take up too much space here.  The book includes a long introduction which deals with the main themes of the household bodhisatva and Other Emptiness that appear in the sutra. The book contains a translation of the following sutra:
The nineteenth chapter of The Noble One, The Great Stack of Jewels’ dharma enumerations in a hundred thousand chapters: The one Petitioned by the Householder Uncouth

Download Tibetan text in TibetD format: not available yet.

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