The One Vehicle is the teaching that there are no permanent barriers to attaining Buddhahood. Even the worst evil-doers have the ability to awaken to the truth about themselves, repent of their wrong-doing, and begin to follow the way to Buddhahood if they take faith in the One Vehicle. Those who are looked down upon by others for any reason also have the ability to awaken to the incomparable dignity of Buddhahood if they take faith in the One Vehicle. There is no discrimination in the One Vehicle. People may be different based on race, class, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, intelligence, personal habits, interests, spiritual maturity, and many other factors, but in the end all people have the same capacity to attain Buddhahood.Lotus Seeds
In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha finally introduced the One Vehicle of Buddhahood, which unifies and ultimately transcends the previous three vehicles. The One Vehicle is the teaching that all beings can attain Buddhahood. Even those following the Two Vehicles of the voice-hearers and privately awakened ones, whom the Buddha declared unfit to attain Buddhahood, would be able to do so. In fact, the Lotus Sutra states that they had been on the One Vehicle all along, though they did not know it. This attainment of Buddhahood by those following the Two Vehicles is the main theme of the first half of the Lotus Sutra. In order to ensure that this teaching is understood, the Buddha taught it in many different ways. He used philosophical discourses, parables, similes, past-life experiences, and ultimately gave predictions of Buddhahood to all his many disciples.
More astonishing was the fact that the Buddha predicted that even his traitorous cousin, Devadatta, who had tried to kill him and take over the Sangha, would attain Buddhahood in the future. Shortly after this prediction, an eight-year-old dragon-girl transformed into a Buddha before the eyes of the whole assembly – despite the culturally perceived impediments of her sex, her age, and her birth as an animal. These examples extend the idea that even those previously believed unfit to attain Buddhahood would be able to do so in the end.Lotus Seeds
Though the Buddha taught a variety of concepts, such as the Four Noble Truths for the monastic voice-hearers, Dependent Origination for the privately awakened ones, and the Six Perfection for those who wished to become buddhas (the vehicle of the bodhisattvas), they are all different aspects of the One Vehicle of Buddhahood. When the Buddha taught the One Vehicle in the Lotus Sutra, he finally made it clear that all along his intention had been to lead all beings to Buddhahood.Lotus Seeds
The Buddha is not some god-like entity. The inner life of Shakyamuni Buddha is within ourselves. The actual qualities and accomplishments of Shakyamnni Buddha flow naturally from his realization of the ultimate truth. They serve as an inspiration and a guide to what we are capable of doing when we take faith in the Buddha Dharma.Lotus Seeds
In Shakyamuni Buddha we can see the unity of the universal, the ideal, and the historical in an otherwise ordinary person who is no different than any of us, except for his awakening. By affirming the unity of the Three Bodies in Shakyamuni Buddha, we are affirming our own ability to awaken to the ultimate truth and to base our lives upon it.Lotus Seeds
Dependent Origination is the deeper meaning of the Middle Way taught by the Buddha as the path to Nirvana. It is the Middle Way between the one-sided view of existence, which a states that life is made up of separate independent substances, and the one-sided view of non-existence, which asserts that nothing in life is real. Neither of these extreme views recognizes life as a dynamic and interdependent process. Dependent Origination is the teaching that things have an existence based on causes and conditions. Therefore, one who is following the Middle Way will think in terms of causes and conditions rather than in terms of existence and non-existence. For the follower of the Middle Way, there are no longer any static or unchanging categories or boundaries.
Dependent Origination is the awareness of cause and effect, and the interdependence of all things. This awareness gives rise to an authentic sense of responsibility, genuine love, and compassion.Lotus Seeds
Buddhism can be confusing because to some people it seems like a religion, to others it seems like a philosophy, and to others it seems like an ancient tradition of psychology. Buddhism, however, cannot be reduced to any of these categories. At its heart, Buddhism is a world view based upon the awakening of the Buddha, and a way of life that leads to and is consistent with an awakened world view. This “awakening” refers to an awakening from the sleep of delusion and self-centeredness. This is the enlightenment that freed the Buddha from suffering and enabled him to reach out compassionately to others so that they could share his freedom. The Buddha also described and demonstrated the perfect wisdom and great compassion of one who had awakened to the true nature of reality.Lotus Seeds