Try your hand! Transcribing Buddhist sutras or tracing Buddhist images.

For this “Try Your Hand” segment, you may download specimen of Buddhist sutras and images free of charge to use as models. Approach the task with a light heart.

Writing brushes are customary. But you may use a pen, a pencil, a felt-tip pen, or other writing implements you are accustomed to.

About Transcribing Sutras

Buddhism was introduced into Japan in about 538. Sutras are texts containing Buddhist teachings. The Nihon Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan), the oldest Japanese book, records sutra transcription taking place at the Kawara-dera Temple in 673.
It is performed as mental training, as offerings to the deceased, or for the fulfilment of personal requests.

Free downloads of models (A4) for sutra transcribing

Print out the model. Then, transcribe a sutra by following the pale-ink letters with your writing implement.
Transcribe carefully, letter by letter.

transcribing sutra

Hannya Shingyo (The Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom Sutra)
hannya shingyo (420KB)

This sutra explains the way to enlightenment. It condenses an immense sutra composed of six million characters into only 276 characters.

Click here to hear! “The Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom Sutra” read aloud

About Transcribing Buddha Images

Place a sheet of clean paper over the model and carefully trace the image.

Free Downloads of Buddhist images for transcribing

Transcribing Fudo Myo-o is time-consuming. Concentrate completely and copy the image carefully, line by line. Save the face until last because, by the time you get around to it, you should have become accustomed to using your writing implement. When the transcription is finished, you should feel the image of Fudo Myo-o in your heart. That is the time to recite the mantra, or sacred utterances of Fudo Myo-o, and meditate.

transcribing buddha image

Fudo Myo-o (Acala or Wisdom King)
fudo myo-o(145KB)

Fudo Myo-o is revered in Esoteric Buddhism (Mikkyo) as an incarnation of Dainichi Buddha (Mahavairocana).

【 Ruby readings of the mantra of Fudo Myo-o 】

(Transliterated Japanese)
Nomaku, Sanmanda. Bazaradan, Senda, Makaroshada, Sowataya, Untarata, Kanman.

(Transliterated Sanskrit)
Na maḥ sa maṃ ta va jrā nāṃ ca ṇḍa ma hā ro ṣa ṇa spho ṭa ya hūṃ tra ṭ hāṃ māṃ

Before and After Transcribing Sutras or Buddha Images

Before starting, cleanse yourself by washing your hands and rinsing your mouth. Be calm and collected. Do not hurry.

You may frame your completed sutra transcriptions for yourself or donate them to a nearby Buddhist temple. Never merely ball them up and discard them as useless.

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