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or play in your default media player (MP3, 8min 55sec, 3.6MB) More audio More about the Diamond Sutra The Diamond Sutra is a fantastic artefact.

It's a Chinese Buddhist document dating from 868AD; it was when China was the centre of the world.

So very early on you get in Buddhist cave temples multiple images of Buddhas on the cave walls, and this is an example of that.

And you get of course donors paying for the copying of sutra. This was made as a copy by Wang Jie and at the end of the manuscript if you scroll down and look right at the end there's a little note saying 'Made by Wang Jie in May 868 on behalf of his parents and for the merit of all sentient beings in the world'.

Like many manuscript scrolls like this, it might have been used in a temple.

And monks or Wang Jie himself might have unrolled it and read it, in time to monks chanting the sutra, and if you listen to the Turning the Pages, there's monks chanting on that.

So Subhuti asks these questions of the Buddha and the Buddha explains and so the Sutra explains this essential teaching of Buddhism.

The Diamond Sutra starts off with an illustrated frontispiece.The Buddhist canon is an enormous multi-volume work.First are all the lectures of the Buddha, the sutra, and then there were philosophical treatises, discussions of the lectures, and then there was a third part of the canon which was about how Buddhist monks should live their lives.'Sutra' is an ancient Indian word meaning a sort of classical text, and it was later taken up by the Buddhists when Buddhism came into India after the birth of the Sakyamuni, the Historical Buddha.And it got used in Buddhism to mean the words, the sermons, the lectures of the Historical Buddha himself.The frontispiece is one illustration; it would have been printed by woodblock.

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