New Publication: Surata’s Questions


Toh 71

Surata's Questions follows Surata, a seemingly poor vagabond endowed with a wealth of ethical virtue. The juxtaposition of Surata’s poverty with the abundance of his moral merits forms a central theme of the sūtra. After being tested by the god Śakra, Surata finds a precious gem that he decides to give to the poorest person in the city. The narrative’s irony ensues when Surata decides that King Prasenajit should receive the gem, since his ethical depravity vitiates his material wealth. The shock of Surata’s decision occasions a valuable lesson on true wealth lying in moral integrity, to which the Buddha himself attests upon his arrival midway through the sūtra. The sūtra concludes with King Prasenajit’s recognition of the error of his ways and the Buddha’s prophecy of Surata’s coming awakening.

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Surata’s Questions

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This is a free publication from 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, a non-profit organization sharing the gift of wisdom with the world.

The cultivation of generosity, or dāna—giving voluntarily with a view that something wholesome will come of it—is considered to be a fundamental Buddhist practice by all schools. The nature and quantity of the gift itself is often considered less important.