A. Hand-copying the Sutras itself is not meditation just like wheat flour itself is not bread. It can be meditation only when you keep the question, ‘Who or what is making my body copy this Sutra?’ just as wheat flour becomes bread only when you knead the flour and bake it.
If you can keep such curiosity, all of your acts, whatever you may do, can be meditation. During a walk, you can practice walking meditation. When drinking tea, you can practice tea meditation. When talking with others, you practice talking meditation. If you can turn all your acts into meditation like this, you can be said to have become one with your practice. This means that you are very near the final goal. However, hand-copying the Sutras without such a question may enhance your penmanship, but it has nothing to do with enlightenment.
Master: “How do you practice these days in order to attain enlightenment?”
Student: “I hand-copy the Diamond Sutra.”
Master: “How long does it take to hand-copy the Sutra?”
Student: “It takes almost a day.”
Master: “You still don’t know how to copy the Sutras. You should be able to do it in a second.”
Student: “How can you do that in a second?”
Master: “Shall I show you how?”
Student: “Of course, Sir.”
Master: (slapping the student in the face) “Do you see the Sutra?”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway