About the Author
Dharma Master Cheng Yen was born in 1937 in a small town in Taichung County, Taiwan. When she was twenty-three years old, she left home to become a Buddhist nun, and was instructed by her mentor, Venerable Master Yin Shun, to work “for Buddha’s teachings, for sentient beings.” In 1966, she founded a charity, which later turned into the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, to “help the poor and educate the rich”—to give material aid to the needy and inspire love and humanity in both givers and recipients.
In recent years, Master Cheng Yen’s contributions have been increasingly recognized by the global community. In 2011, she was recognized with the Roosevelt Institute’s FDR Distinguished Public Service Award and was named to the 2011 TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people. In 2014, she was presented with Rotary International’s Award of Honor in recognition of her humanitarian efforts and contributions to world peace.
Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters covers the essence of the Buddhist teachings. For beginning spiritual practitioners, this sutra is truly the best entry point to the profound Buddha-Dharma.
The first chapter of the Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters clearly illustrates the sequence we should follow in our spiritual practice. The second and third chapters are mainly written for those who are ordained as monastics, while the fourth chapter and the chapters thereafter are guidelines for spiritual practice for people in general. In simple and plain words, the Buddha used vivid metaphors to patiently and repeatedly teach practitioners at different levels of cultivation. He wanted to show people how to reflect on themselves and how to practice the renunciation of evil and cultivation of goodness to bring out their life’s full potential. He laid out a bright path that leads directly toward a state of purity. With these teachings, people can follow the right path and reach a pure state of peace and joy.
Master Cheng Yen’s detailed explanations and apt interpretations have further closed the gap between this sutra and people living in our current time. We hope that those who read this sutra can inspire and encourage each other to walk the path. In doing so, they can share Dharma-joy and obtain the benefits of the Dharma together.