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Switch to Forum Live View Attaining Buddhahood In this lifetime
4 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2014 - 10:45AM #1
Posts: 595

On another post I read. there was a comment by the poster that stated the desire to attain Buddhahood in a single lifetime is tainted by an egocentric desire.  I started this thread because I found that comment to be so completely in contradiction to the Buddha's own stated desire and the Buddha's entire model of behavior towards all beings that I had to take it up as a topic.  My reason is because ain all my learning and studies of BUddhist teachings there is no greater goal for the Buddha then to assist all living beings to awaken to the Buddha nature within their own being as quickly as possible.  In fact, the reason why the Buddhist teachings evolved from Hinayana to Mahayana to Vajrayana was for the purpose of enabling people, especially spiritual and political leaders to attain Buddhahood in their own lifetime. (This ambition to awaken political leaders occurred after an extended period where many poltical leaders throughout India caused destruction to the Buddhist movements of their regions)

This flipping of the script, one that abandons the Buddha's views for one's own self serving perspective, ones own self proscribed interpretation of the philosophy and the practice, is how all the divisions, separations and disunity occurred within the Buddhist community. This is why the great teacher Tien tai of China, who asserted the teachings of the Lotus Sutra as the highest teaching, taught that one should not listen to a teacher who does not carry the sutra in hand. The development of the great vehicle Mahayana was grounded in seeking resolution over these conflicts many of which developed among the first 18 schools of Buddhism.

In the Nirvana Sutra there are four standards or reliances which are asserted for arriving at a correct understanding of Buddhism.  These are

1)  Rely upon the law and not upon persons

2)Rely upon the meaning of the teaching and not upon the words alone

3) Rely upon wisdom (parjna paramita) and not upon discriminative thinking

4) Rely upon sutras that are complete and final and not upon those that are not complete and final

I would be interested in others feed back on this important matter of Buddhist teaching and practice.

The teaching of attaining Buddhahood in a single moment known as "the teaching of perfect endowment" is the the very  essence of such teachings as the Lotus Sutra, Prajna Paramita Sutra, the Avatamsaka Sutra and the Nirvana Sutra, not to mention several others of the Mahayana and Vajrayana Corpus demonstrate. (The teaching of perfect endowment can only be taught within the mental state between mentor and disciple where all in attendance have acquired the conscious development to see the Buddha in his true state of perfect endowment. Only then does the Buddha expound such a teaching.  This is the state of consciousness expounded known as the Lotus Sutra) 

In the Lotus Sutra there is the famous phrase which lies at the heart of its teaching where the Buddha states,    

Because of the befuddlement of ordinary people,

though I live, I give out word I have entered extinction.

For if they see me constantly,

arrogance and selfishness arise in their minds.

Abandoning restraint, they give themselves up to the five desires

and fall into the evil paths of existence.

Always I am aware of which living beings

practice the way, and which do not,

and in response to their need for salvation

I preach various doctrines for them.

At all times I think to myself:

How can I cause living beings

to gain entry into the unsurpassed way

and quickly acquire the body of a buddha?

This phrase found at the end of the 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra completes the Buddha's profoundest exposition on the meaning and purpose of the various ways and means, introduced in the 2nd chapter, by which the Buddha imparts the doctrine to believers.

The essential purpose of the Lotus Sutra is to illuminate the profound relationship between skillfull means and the actual true wisdom or actual universal source of the Buddha's enlightenment. This is known as the Buddha wisdom and the doorway which leads to the Buddha wisdom.  This principle is embodied in the introductory phrase of the 2nd chapter (Expedient Means chapter) of the Lotus Sutra where the Buddha opens up the chapter by stating,

"At that time the world-honored one calmly arose from his samadhi and addressed Shariputra, saying: “The wisdom of the buddhas is infinitely profound and immeasurable. The door to this wisdom is difficult to understand and difficult to enter. Not one of the voice-hearers or pratyekabuddhas is able to comprehend it."

In the statement above the Buddha is praising both the Buddha wisdom itself and the doorway to the Buddha wisdom, describing both aspects of the teaching as exceedingly profound and difficult to understand.  This teaching itself is understood within the Lotus School as a secret or esoteric teaching in that the meaning implicit in this phrase alone embodies the very meaning and purpose of the Buddha's expounding of the Lotus Sutra. 

This teaching transmits the principle of how the Buddha wisdom is to be understood and transmitted to all future generations of mankind.  It shows that the method of teaching and practice has to be suited to the times, relativity of culture and to the people's capacity.  Herein lies the foundation of Nichiren's very own method of teaching and practice.  

The concept of attaining Buddhahood "quickly" in every age is the underlying reason for conveying the Lotus Sutra.  it is considered the most profound and most esoteric of all BUddhist teachings. It is derived from the deepest understanding of the meaning of the Buddha's enlightenment and draws together the point at which there is established the true one to one correspondence between the Buddha and his disciples regarding te correct universal wisdom and insight. It indicates that both the Buddha and disciple are of the same mind. This was always the Buddha's ultimate desire during his lifetime.   

Best to all

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