Ullambana Sutra

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The Ullambana Sutra (traditional Chinese: 佛說報恩奉盆經; ; pinyin: Fúshuō Bào'ēn Fèngpén jīng) is a Mahayana sutra which consists in a brief discourse given by the Gautama Buddha principally to the monk Maudgalyayana (Japanese Mokuren) on the practice of filial piety.

In the Ullambana Sutra, the Buddha instructs his disciple Maudgalyayana on how to obtain liberation for his mother, who had been reborn into a lower realm, by making food offerings to the sangha on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. This practice is the basis of the East Asian Ghost festival, including the Bon Festival, in honor of one's ancestors.

Buddhist tradition held that the sutra was translated from the Sanskrit by Dharmarakṣa. "Recent scholarship however, acknowledges that this sutra was not originally composed in India but in China in the mid-sixth century."[1]

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  1. ^ Bando, Shojun, transl. (2005). The Ullambana Sutra, in: Apocryphal Scriptures, Berkeley, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, ISBN 1-886439-29-X, p. 17

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