Doubting the Benefits of the Sutra of Golden Light

Doubting the Benefits of the Sutra of Golden Light

Date Posted:
August 2013

The Sutra of Golden Light lists many benefits, such as never taking rebirth in the lower realms, receiving the help of powerful gods and goddesses, etc. A student asked if these statements should be taken literally or interpreted. He and his mother had doubts.

Yes, you should believe all of what it says, all the benefits listed. You should believe everything it says there, just as it is stated. It’s all true. You should definitely believe what it says in the sutra. There is no need to interpret.

Those things, the incredible benefits, like never again taking lower rebirth and so forth, happen because of the purification. Just hearing the words of the sutra purifies so much negative karma.

You see, that is the Buddha’s skillful means; that is Shakyamuni Buddha’s incredibly skillful means. When sentient beings hear that sutra, it purifies their mind-streams. It’s like mantra, which has power because Buddha blesses it. A mantra is powerful because Buddha makes it powerful. This [ability] is one of Buddha’s ten powers, you see.

Once, I was reading the Sutra of Golden Light, and it talks all about the benefits; it goes on and on, talking about so many benefits. When I came to the end, I thought, “But what’s the actual sutra? Where’s the actual sutra?” But, it’s all the sutra. There’s no part that is it and the others are not.

The more you believe in the benefits, the better the effect the sutra has and the more benefits you will receive from it. So you should believe all of it. If you don’t believe what it says about receiving the benefits—if you look for some reason why it’s not true —then everywhere you look, you will find reasons not to believe.

Then you won’t believe anything anymore. Everywhere you look in Buddha’s teachings, you will have doubts and you won’t believe anything. Then you create the heavy negative karma of saying the Buddha’s teachings are not true, or that this is not actually the Buddha’s teaching. That becomes the cause for very much suffering, like they create in Hollywood—huge buildings burning and crashing down, people jumping and flying here and there, big disasters. [Rinpoche laughs] So, you should believe what the Sutra of Golden Light says.

But that doesn’t mean other sutras or Buddhist teachings are not interpretive. Some others need to be interpreted. You can’t believe everything they say.