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Switch to Forum Live View The Meaning of the Lotus Sutra
8 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2010 - 8:43AM #21
Posts: 14,245

Dear Bhakta_glenn:

the Ego
I was this afternoon, instructing an elderly badminton player on this very subject! At the end of the practise session, as often, I got her to hold her racquet, as I was doing, in her non-dominant left hand. This always cheers her (temporarily) out of her usual gloomy mood! Innocent For most people, driven to prop up an idea of success (accomplishment) tend to always use their dominant hand. But using the non-dominant one occasionally, causes everyone (else) to revert magically to the state of the beginners, fumbling with their serves! Then immediately we can see that in some way our façade crumbles. I like to do this as an exercise. Plus I felt I had to, myself, as I am otherwise such a strong player that the women complain! Foot in mouth

looks nice
It "ticked all the boxes" of my wish-list. Having dithered expensively (time-is-money); I hired a buyer's agent. He briskly got the hang of what I wanted, and found it for me. Its main window faces north (towards the sunshine), as part of the top energy-efficiency design.

House front

On Tuesday (after the public holiday long weekend), I'll visit a mortgage broker. I will consequently have to get used to "ascetic poverty", as my money will empty into this project for the foreseeable future. Money mouth

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8 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2010 - 2:59AM #22
Posts: 1,420
Once again, all quotes must be marked with single apostrophes, double apostrophes, or indentation. Please read the local rules and the quoting guidelines.

If you have your preferences set to block messages from non-friends, I can't send a message explaining why your post was removed and containing the text of the post. I do send a copy of the message to Bnet explaining why I was unable to send a copy to the poster. I have no way of knowing whether Bnet passes the message to the poster.
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8 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2010 - 2:59AM #23
Posts: 1,552

While it is always nice to have the opportunity to discuss the Dharma online, one must not forget that there is a difference between doing so with annoymous handles...and doing so at an actual Buddhist monastery, among monks and lay practitioners, with a sensei in charge.

If folks want answers of great insight and power, in addition to one's daily practices, that is the place to seek clarity.


I go to the Buddha for refuge.

I go to the Order for refuge.

I go to the Dharma for refuge.



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8 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2010 - 9:59AM #24
Posts: 595

«The ultimate teaching of the sutra, however, is implied to the reader that "full Buddhahood"  is only arrived at by exposure to the truths expressed implicitly in  the Lotus Sutra via its many parables and references to a heretofore  less clearly imagined cosmological order.»"

The above, stated in an earlier post, is very superficial and a rather denegrating representation of the Lotus Sutra.  There is an implication of disbelief in its form of expression.  

According to the greatest Mahayana scholars the Lotus Sutra is the most profound Mahayana sutra.  While other sutras are given the title great and vast, the Lotus Sutra is given the title of most wonderous and most subtle of all sutras. It is the teaching  expounded over an 8 year period constituting the last phase of the Buddha's preaching beginning when the Buddha was age 72  and concluding at the age of 80, three months befor the Buddha passes  away.

The Lotus Sutra weaves together in a most subtle manner the principle of the  oneness of the Three Bodies of the Buddha. It not only expounds the  Buddha wisdom from the distinct attributes of the three bodies but also  displays how they work together as one truth and as one single body of  eternal wisdom.

The Lotus Sutra calls for belief through faith and practice and guarantees that understanding will arise from within one's own life itself. It is the Buddha's own self practice. This is stated in many of its chapters. There are also many principles of profound meditation including the samadhi of immeasurable expedient meanings derive from one law, the samadhi of dust particle kalpas, the samadhi of attaining Buddhahood in one's present form in any of the ten states of mind, the principle of the ten suchnesses or true aspect of all phenomena, the mutual possession of the ten worlds and the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of existence, contemplation on the life span of the Buddha, the practice for onesell and other and of attaining Buddhahood through propogation in the evil filled later age of the law. There is also the meditation on the purity of the saha world while practicing as a Bodhisattva.  This is known as the the principle of coursing through the world in a state of ease and bliss while purging the world of  many evils and saving immeasurable living beings. The Lotus Sutra constitutes the Buddha's own practice throughout the three existences of past, present and future.

In this respect the teaching of the Lotus Sutra is actually the most comprehensive teaching. Not even the Flower Garland Sutra can compare with it.  This is because the Lotus Sutra contains the attainment of sambodai by the voice hearer disciples whereas there is no basis for this kind of manifestation in the Flower Garland Sutra.

The Great Bodhisattva Vasubandhu likened the Lotus Sutra to the very seeds of Buddhahood and the seeds without peer. It is yogic wisdom, vast and profound profound, the object of Buddha's wisdom and the source of the enlightenment of all Buddhas. Like all the Mahayana sutras it falls into a class of sutras known as Vaipulya sutra or "teaching of great extent" and teachings of correct and equal or non discriminatory truth. This approach seeks to explain the entire deep meaning and purpose of the Buddha's life time of preaching in a single sutra for purposes of warding off doubt, slander, partial views, confusion and slander among students of later ages.  This is why the Mahayana class of sutras have numerous comprehensive meanings strewn through its many chapters.



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8 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2010 - 1:48PM #25
Posts: 1,420
Please follow the rules on quoting.
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8 years ago  ::  Oct 15, 2010 - 2:18PM #26
Posts: 595

All those who wish to enter the repository of wisdom contained within the sutras should know that the persons to which the Buddha directs his thoughts are themselves memes or objects of deep symbolic meaning and entire schools of Buddhist philosoph in themselves. 

Shariputra embodies the exalted wisdom of all the voice hearer (Tripitaka / Abhidharma) disciples. 

Maitreya embodies the wisdom of the Cittamatra (Mind Only) school

Manjushri embodies the wisdom of the Mahdyamaka (Middleway) school

All the great Bodhisattvas from other worlds such as Avalokiteshvara, Samanthabadra and Bhaisajya-raja embody the Bodhisattva wisdom of the Flower Garland (Avatamsaka) Sutra. The Flower Garland Sutra is the teaching of perfected wisdom and insight observed by the Buddha in the company of great beings before he began to collect his Earth Bound (Saha) disciples. Therefore there is no mention of Shariputa, Mudgalayana, Mahakashyapa and the others disciples in the Flower Garland Sutra.   However Samantabadra, Avalokiteshvara and the other Bodhisattvas and Buddhas are present when the Flower Garland Sutra was taught. The principle of the original Buddha is also mentioned in the form of Sun Seed (tranquil Light) or Vairochana Buddha.

The four bodhisattvas who appear from beneath the Earth in the 15th  chapter represent the correct teaching and correct practice asserted by  the Buddha in his true aspect through the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra.

In this and many other ways, the Lotus Sutra is possessed of extremely deep and concentrated forms of wisdom and insight into the true nature of the mind and reality as percieved by the Buddha.

As the Buddha addresses these exalted persons so is the sutra addressing and correcting the fallacies of these respective schools of Buddhist thought.  This is the purpose of the Lotus Sutra.


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7 years ago  ::  Feb 28, 2011 - 1:11PM #27
Posts: 595

For those who truly wish to "read" the Lotus Sutra and understand it from the point of view of the Buddha, one would need to take on the same spiritual posture as the Buddha when reading it.  This practice of recitation is called "Gongyo" or "assiduous practice".

This spiritual posture aggregates onto itself the collective wisdom expounded in all the other sutras. In other words, one would need to emulate the wisdom of the three turnings of the wheel of the Law prior to expounding the Lotus Sutra. Prior to expounding the Lotus Sutra the Buddha had already established the grounding of the Prajna Paramita, Avatamsaka, Vimalakirti, Lankavatarra and the Mahavairochana Sutras.

For purposes of his thesis on the true meaning of the Lotus Sutra Nichiren establishes the following essential principles of the prior sutras as follows.  Quoting on the profound principles established by Mahayana sutras prior to the Lotus Sutra's exposition, Nichiren shows the profound build up to the meaning of the Lotus Sutra.


“ ‘Now, World-Honored One, in
the third period of your teaching, for
the sake of those who wish to practice
the vehicle that saves all beings, you
taught that all phenomena are without
distinctive natures, that there is no
birth or death, that all things are basically
in a state of quietude, and that
the nature of beings as they exist constitutes
nirvana—and then you have
taught that the “nature” you spoke of
itself lacks anything that can be called a
nature. You have turned the wheel of

the correct Law and expounded these
doctrines in their perfect form. This is
most wonderful, the rarest thing of all.
This wheel of the Law that you have
turned leaves no room for improvement,
no room for doubt. It is truly
complete and final in meaning and
offers no opportunity for dispute.’ ”

"The Great Wisdom Sutra says:
“When one regards whatever teachings
one hears, either secular or Buddhist,
as an expedient means, one is brought
to understand that these can be incorporated
into the profound principles
that prajna, or Buddha wisdom, alone
can grasp. When, with the same wisdom,
one understands that all secular
matters and actions represent the essential
nature of things, one will see not
a thing that is outside that essential

"The first volume of the Mahavairochana
Sutra states: “Master of Secrets
[Vajrasattva], there is a great vehicle
practice that arouses the mind that is
without attachment to things and leads
one to understand that all phenomena
are without individual natures. Why is
this? Because in past times those who
practiced this way were able to observe
the alaya-consciousness within the five
components, and to realize that individual
natures are illusory.”

"The same sutra also says: “Master of
Secrets, these men in this way cast aside
the concept of non-self and came to
realize that the mind exists in a realm
of complete freedom, and that the individual
mind has from the beginning
never known birth [or death].”
It also says: “Emptiness is by nature
removed from the sense organs and
their objects. It has no form or boundaries;
beyond any futile theory, it is
equal to space. It represents the ultimate
in the absence of individual

"It also says: “The Buddha Mahavairochana
addressed the Master of Secrets,
saying, ‘Master of Secrets, what is the
meaning of enlightenment? It means
to understand one’s own mind as it
truly is.’ ”

"The Flower Garland Sutra states:
“Among the various beings of all the
different worlds, there are few who
seek to practice the vehicle of the
voice-hearers. There are still fewer
who seek that of the cause-awakened
ones, and those who seek the great
vehicle are extremely rare. To seek the
great vehicle is relatively easy to do, but
to believe in the doctrines of this sutra
is difficult in the extreme. And how
much more difficult it is to uphold this
sutra, keep its teachings correctly in
mind, practice them as directed, and
understand their true meaning."


The above helps to frame the substance of the principle of wisdom that the Buddha wishes to share with all beings.  Yet because it is non-dualistic it is extremely subtle and lacking in any charcateristic on its own.  From this viewpoint we can begin to understand why it is so difficult to bring about a oneness and unity of purpose among even two highly intelligent human beings. The principle of wisdom involved is of such subtle perfection, so unalloyed that the very spectre of even two human beings sharing in its pristine purity is unfathomable. 

In the second chapter of the Lotus Sutra the Buddha begins to speak spontaneously to Sariputra and by inference all other common mortals; the class of those common mortals that can understand the Buddha wisdom through direct exposition. This is known as the preaching directed at common mortals of superior wisdom, those with "little dust in their eyes". The Buddha begins by explaining that the Buddha wisdom can only be shared between a Buddha and another Buddha; ie., beings that are awakened to the non-dual, unconditional oneness of all reality.

This scenario in itself indicates that there is actually no scenario taking place. There are actually no persons present in the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra actually seeks to convey the single mind, the onenesss of mind of all Buddha's. The Lotus Sutra points to the seemless integration of all beings and the actual spiritual state of the true Buddha sangha. The great teacher of the Lotus Sutra, Tien Tai stated that the Lotus Sutra itself depicts the principle of the Three thousand realms in a single moment of thought.

The entire Lotus Sutra actually reflects the quality of the Buddha's wisdom in a single thought moment.  It seeks to convey the true state of the Buddha's mind from his own side. Therefore those who can grasp the Lotus Sutra are in a state of oneness with all Buddhas. 

The Lotus Sutra depicts the eternal consciousness of all Buddhas.  It therefore serves as the mental gateway to the eternal realm of all Buddhas in any age of mankind in the period after the Buddhas death.

Nichiren was the first person to grasp with his entire being the sacred meaning of the Lotus Sutra, to put this principle into practice in the evil filled later day of law. Such principles as confronting the three powerful enemies, fullfilling the principle of the six difficult and nine easy acts and calling for the wide spread propogation of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren is therefore the cause of Buddha wisdom in the period after the Buddha's passing and Shakyamuni Buddha is the effect of Buddha wisdom.

Most human beings do not have the good fortune to grasp this most essential principle of Buddhism. For those who wish to obtain it the first step is to regard the Lotus Sutra as the highest of all Buddhist teachings and begin reciting itsd words with genuine faith. .

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7 years ago  ::  Mar 04, 2011 - 6:58PM #28
Posts: 595

Among the profound contributions made by the Buddha to all mankind concerns his unique insights into the true nature of the mind and life itself. The Buddha was among the first humans to make clear that the mind contains vast and boundless potential.  The Buddha also stated that there were more things that he understood about life that went unsaid than all the things that he actually had said. In this regard the titile of the introductory sutra in the three part Lotus sutra is known as the "Innumerable Meanings Derive From One Law" sutra.

If we are to agree that the profound wisdom discovered by the Buddha in the great depth of the mind is an ineffable wisdom, an unspeakable wisdom, then the Innumerable Meanings Sutra serves to summarize the layer of Buddha wisdom that is speakable or effable.  This sutra seeks to aggregate the causes and outcomes of all actions ever taken by living beings since the infinite past and points to the practices of the Bodhisattva as the highest causes which bring great merit to oneself in the depth of their lives.  

Such a feat can only be performed by the Buddha. This is because the Buddhas enlightenment derives from having percieved the karmic law that governs the outcomes of all living beings.

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7 years ago  ::  Mar 15, 2011 - 5:03PM #29
Posts: 595

The vocation of people who awaken to the Buddha wisdom is the application of the most meaningful  form of compassion and wisdom that ushers all beings access to the "abode of all Buddha's", the Buddha wisdom, as effectively and quickly as possible. This is how the Lotus Sutra defines the purpose of Buddhism. It is like the case of a parent who would sacrifice even their own lives if this were necessary to insure the happiness of their children. In this regard the Buddha used the concept of nirvana to engender in all people with a sense of awe and respect for the Buddha in order to guide them towards his highest teaching. In other words, since death is such a mystery to all living beings, the Buddha used the spectre of his own passing away in order to induce people to his highest teaching and wisdom; that of the eternal law (Buddha Dharma), the eternal unconditional aspect of life itself.

Such a wisdom and insight is taught in many Mahayana sutras but most specifically within the Lotus Sutra. The Buddha knew that his teachings would fall into confusion in the period after his passing. Therefore the Buddha left his most profound insight into the nature of life and reality in the form of the Lotus and Nirvana sutras.  This is not to say that such sutras as the Flower Garland Sutra and Prajnaparamita sutras are not as profound. But simply that from the point of view of the teaching process undertaken by all Buddhas; that of preparation, revelation and transmission, the Lotus Sutra offers the most substantive explication of the Buddha's most far reaching purpose, his causal relationship to his disciples and the process by which the Buddha's wisdom was transmitted to them. 

The Lotus Sutra offers the two most fundamental teachings of the Buddha for all generations after his death; the hidden meaning behind all of his ways and means and secondly a revelation of the true extent of his inner life and mind of Buddha wisdom.  These matters are exceedingly wonderous for all disciples of the Buddha to embrace. They are as available to all people today as they were during the Buddha's lifetime.

1) The Buddha within the teaching of the 2nd chapter of the Lotus Sutra thoroughly explains the gateway which leads all people into the realm and source of Buddha wisdom. Here the term Buddha wisdom means the actual ground of wisdom, the wellspring from which derives all of the Buddha's ways, means and methods. This gateway is known as "the various skillfull expedient means".  This statement includes by way of summary all of the expedient teachings of the Buddha.

An analysis of the Buddha's lifetime of teachings reveals three forms of gateway teachings.  These three expedient gateways to enter the Buddha wisdom that were demonstrated throughout the prior 40 years of preaching are then discared in favor of the actual universal gateway, that is the actual source of the Buddha wisdom for all beings within the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra. The three forms of expedient gateway, consisting of dualistic wisdom, include the ways and means of all the nine lower worlds of existence from hellish states to the bodhisattva state stemming from thoughts, words and deeds committed since the infinite past.

2)  The second fundamental teaching is the actual revelation and display of the Buddha's inner being to all people. Here the Buddha displays the fruit of his practices and observances going back to the infinite past and shows how all forms of causality in the mundane world possess the marks and signs of the Dharma Law to which the Buddha was awakened.  This is the meaning of transforming the nine lower worlds into the one world Buddhahood and Buddhahood becoming one with the nine lower worlds. This is why in the Lotus Sutra we find the meaning of the Saha world transformed into "the land of eternal tranquil light".  

Nichiren Daishonin, in mastering the depth of the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra revealed that the Law to which all Buddha's awaken and the fundamental Law of the universe itself is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Nichiren states it this way.

In the sutra it says, ‘What is referred to as            all dharmas.’ The text continues until, ‘There is a final  superlative            that is equally present in the other nine such qualities (the ten aspects of all dharmas).’ The  Universal Teacher Myôraku explains this by saying, ‘The            true aspect must imply all dharmas, all dharmas must imply the  ten such qualities, the ten such qualities must imply the            ten realms of dharmas and the ten realms of dharmas imply the  body and its terrain.’ Tendai said, ‘It is only in the present            sutra that all the dharmas of the ten such qualities and the  ten realms of dharmas of the three thousand are correctly            put together.’ The Universal Teacher Nangaku said, ‘Why            is it called Myôhô renge kyô, the Sutra on the Lotus  Flower            of the Utterness of the Dharma? The answer is, because the  utterness is the utterness of all beings and because the dharma            is not separate from the dharmas of all beings.’ Tendai also  makes this clear by saying, ‘The dharma of all beings is their            utterness.’    "The True Aspect of all Phenomena"WND V1

"Now we come to consider the original gateway, which was destined solely  for the people of correct propensities at the beginning of the final  phase of the dharma of Shakyamuni. That is to say, if we first take a  look at the period when the seeds are those of the primordial sowing  which, nurtured by the Buddha Daitsû (Dipankara) and afterwards through the first  four periods of teachings prior to the Dharma Flower Sutra and  the temporary gateway (manifest doctrine of the Lotus Sutra), they ripened. On coming to the original gateway(source doctrine of the Lotus Sutra),  these seeds were brought to the attainment of both the Universal  Enlightenment [Tôgaku] and the Enlightenment to Utterness [Myôgaku].

On taking a second look, the original gateway is quite unlike the  temporary gateway, the introduction (15th chapter of the LS), the essential doctrine (16th chapter) as well as  the transmission to be widely propagated of the original gateway (21st chapter), in  that they all refer to the beginning of the final phase of the dharma.  The original gateway when the Buddha Shakyamuni was in the world and  that of the beginning of the final phase of his dharma, are a pure  circle, but the former is his teaching of the harvest [the fulfillment  of the seeds of enlightenment that were implanted by a Buddha in the  distant past, which matured and brought about emancipation]. However,  this is the Buddha Teaching of the seeds situated in the simultaneity of  cause and effect of the Utterness of the Dharma (the ceremony held in the state of awareness of the eternity of life). The former doctrine (The doctrine of Harvest or true effect) is  based on the second half of the Fifteenth Chapter on the Bodhisattvas  Springing up from the Earth, the whole of the Sixteenth Chapter on the  Life Span of the Tathâgata and the first half of the Seventeenth Chapter  on the Discrimination of the Meritorious Virtues. This later doctrine  is the teaching of the five ideograms for Nam myôhô renge kyô only (The Doctrine of Sowing or True Cause)."  The True Object for Observing the Mind - WND V1


The above teaching serves to illustrate the yogic wisdom of deep contemplative insight reagrdaing the true nature of the mind of all living beings. Nichiren Daishonin opened up this wisdom of the simultaneity of sowing and harvesting the Buddha wisdom in the single doctrine of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo for the sake of all mankind by clarifying that the the seeds of Buddhahood for all future generations were planted in the depth of the Lotus Sutra. This teaching contains the merits of all Buddhist practices.  In other words the fruition of all good fortune and the Buddha's enlightenment lay embedded within the wisdom teaching of the Lotus Sutra.  This is the universal gateway provided by all Buddha's and the secret wisdom of LIFE itself.

Nichiren in one of his famous writings states,

"Never seek this Gohonzon outside
yourself. The Gohonzon exists only
within the mortal flesh of us ordinary
people who embrace the Lotus Sutra
and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
The body is the palace of the ninth
consciousness, the unchanging reality
that reigns over all of life’s functions.
To be endowed with the Ten Worlds
means that all ten, without a single
exception, exist in one world. Because
of this it is called a mandala. Mandala
is a Sanskrit word that is translated
as “perfectly endowed” or “a cluster
of blessings.” This Gohonzon also is
found only in the two characters for
faith. This is what the sutra means
when it states that one can “gain entrance
through faith alone."  WND V1 pg832

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7 years ago  ::  Mar 30, 2011 - 2:36PM #30
Posts: 595

The abhidharma itself makes clear that the Buddha's words aka Buddha's thoughts derive from an eternal consciousness and possess the marks and meanings of transcendental wisdom and insight. All philosophy in general but most of all Buddhist philosophy in particular opens up an entire new realm of conscious awareness within human life. In BUddhism this term is known as paramartha or ultimate truth. Just as it is now believed that consciousness itself is an emergent property within life, a phenomena which chaos theory says is a whole whose qualities are greater than the sum of its parts, in the same way the wisdom of the Buddha is an emergent property within consciousness which transcends the boundaries of conventional consciousness itself.

In the final analysis the great accomplishment of the Buddha was his capacity to merge conventional truth, consciousness (words and nouns) with ultimate truth, consciousness or names into a single great truth. This single great truth is known as the Buddha vehicle doctrine aka the Lotus Sutra. 

In the next post I will treat the connection between the Lotus Sutra and the Vajrayana esoteric teachings of Buddhism, the connections between the Tien Tai school of Japan founded by Dengyo Daishi and the esoteric True Word or Shingon School founded by Kobo Daishi and how this history leads back to to the developments in esoteric / trantric Buddhism as taught in Tibetan Buddhism. 

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