For over a thousand years, the Śūraṅgama Sūtra — the “Sūtra of the Indestructible”— has been held in great esteem in the Mahāyāna Buddhist countries of East and Southeast Asia. In China the Sūtra has generally been considered as important, and has been as popular as the Lotus Sūtra, the Avataṁsaka Sūtra, the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra, the Heart Sūtra, and the Diamond Sūtra. The appeal of the Śūraṅgama Sūtra lies in the broad scope of its teachings and in the depth and clarity of its prescriptions for contemplative practice. Its wealth of theoretical and practical instruction in the spiritual life often made it the first major text to be studied by newly ordained monks, particularly in the Chan School. Many enlightened masters and illustrious monastic scholars have written exegetical commentaries on it. To this day, for both clergy and laity in the Chinese Buddhist tradition, the Śūraṅgama Sūtra continues to be the object of devout study, recitation, and memorization.
More specifically, the Śūraṅgama Sūtra has traditionally been regarded as a complete and practical manual for spiritual practice that will eventually lead to enlightenment. It gives instruction in the correct understanding of the Buddha-nature, which is the potential within all beings for becoming a Buddha. The Sūtra explains how and why this true nature is hidden within our ordinary experience of ourselves and of the world, and it shows how we can uncover this nature and recognize that it is our own true mind.