Question: Why do Buddhists copy sutras when they are already available in books?
Answer: The practice of sutra-copying originated in the ancient days, when the printing press was not yet invented. The only way of reproducing and sharing the Buddha’s teachings on paper was by manual copying. In our modern day, this is still practised as mindful and repeated sutra-copying aids familiarisation and deeper contemplation of the profound teachings.
Sutra-copying also aids memorisation and internalisation of the teachings, as we learn to align our thoughts, words and deeds with what is written to purify ourselves. The more we practise sutra-copying, the more the compassion and wisdom expressed in the sutras should overflow into our everyday lives, as we actualise them to benefit one and all. As many sutras state that the devotional practice of sharing sutra verses is highly meritorious, it is good to dedicate the merits of sutra-copying with others.