(sutra). According to tradition, sutras derive directly from the Buddha. They are prose texts, each introduced by the words "Thus have I heard." These words are ascribed to Ananda, a student of the Buddha. After these introductory words, the circumstances that occasioned the Buddha to give the discourse are described, as well as the place, time of year, etc. Then the actual instruction follows, sometimes in the form of a dialogue. The style of the okyo is simple, popular, and didactically oriented, and they are rich in parables and allegories. (from The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen, Michael H. Kohn, trans., Boston: Shambhala, 1991)
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