Category Archives: LS32

Day 28

Day 28 covers all of Chapter 24, Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, and concludes the Seventh Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month considered Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva’s great supernatural powers and the power of wisdom, we learn of the samadhi practiced by Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva.

Thereupon Flower-Virtue Bodhisattva said to the Buddha:

“World-Honored One! This Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva planted deeply the roots of good. World-Honored One! What is the name of the samadhi by which he can transform himself into various living beings and appear in various places to save all living beings?”

The Buddha said to Flower-Virtue Bodhisattva:

“Good man! This is called the ‘samadhi by which one can transform oneself into any other living being.’ Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva entered into this samadhi and benefited innumerable living beings as previously stated.”

When the Buddha expounded this chapter of Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, the eighty-four thousand people, who had come accompanying Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, obtained the ability to practice the samadhi by which they could transform themselves into other living beings. Innumerable Bodhisattvas of this Sahā-World also obtained the ability to practice this samadhi. They also obtained dharanis.

See The Pure Land Everywhere

The Pure Land Everywhere

This chapter, “Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva,” contains some interesting teachings. Since the Saha-world we live in is filled with evil and impurity, it is called “the defiled land.” It is also called the World of Forbearance or Endurance, because the living beings which dwell here endure many sufferings. An ideal world, on the other hand, is called a Pure Land. Before the Lotus Sutra was taught, it was believed that a Pure Land can exist only somewhere else, somewhere far away from this defiled land. One such Pure Land is mentioned in the Lotus Sutra. It is the Western Paradise of Amitayus. However, the Pure Land of the Lotus Sutra exists not only in the west, but everywhere.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 27

Day 27 concludes Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month compared the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, we consider the merits of the Sūtra.

“Star-King-Flower! This sūtra saves all living beings. This sūtra saves them from all sufferings, and gives them great benefits. All living beings will be able to fulfill their wishes by this sūtra just as a man who reaches a pond of fresh water when he is thirsty, just as a man who gets fire when he suffers from cold, just as a man who is given a garment when he is naked, just as a party of merchants who find a leader just as a child who meets its mother, just as a man who gets a ship when he wants to cross [a river], just as a patient who finds a physician, just as a man who is given a light in the darkness, just as a poor man who gets a treasure, just as the people of a nation who see a new king enthroned, just as a trader who reaches the seacoast. Just as a torch dispels darkness, this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma saves all living beings from all sufferings, from all diseases, and from all the bonds of birth and death. The merits to be given to the person who, after hearing this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, copies it, or causes others to copy it, cannot be measured even by the wisdom of the Buddha. Neither can the merits to be given to the person who copies this sūtra and offers flowers, incense, necklaces, incense to burn, powdered incense, incense applicable to the skin, streamers, canopies, garments, and various kinds of lamps such as lamps of butter oil, oil lamps, lamps of perfumed oil, lamps of campaka oil, lamps of sumanas oil, lamps of pāṭala oil, lamps of vārṣika oil, and lamps of navamālikā oil [to the copy of this sūtra].

See Bodhisattva Way

Bodhisattva Way

The Lesser Vehicle of the “Sravaka” and “Pratyekabuddha” drew a sharp line between this world of sufferings and the pure world of spirit. Its followers renounced worldly concerns, devoted their lives to religious austerities, and made every effort to attain absolute tranquility. This made for a two-dimensional world view, esteeming the pure world of spirit and devaluating the everyday world in which we live.

Bodhisattvas, on the other hand, saw the two worlds as one. They saw this world as the center stage for their religious practice, and preached that spiritual enlightenment must be realized in our life in this world. In short, the Bodhisattva’s mission to deliver people from suffering is to be accomplished in this world of sufferings.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 26

Day 26 concludes Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas, includes Chapter 22, Transmission, and introduces Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month met Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha, we are introduced to Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva.

“Thereupon [Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue] Buddha expounded the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva, to the other Bodhisattvas, and also to the Śrāvakas. Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva willingly practiced austerities under Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha. He walked about the world, seeking Buddhahood strenuously with all his heart for twelve thousand years until at last he obtained the samadhi by which he could transform himself into any other living being: Having obtained this samadhi, he had great joy.

“He thought, ‘I have obtained the samadhi by which I can transform myself into any other living being because I heard the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma. Now I will make offerings to Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha and also to the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.’

“He entered into this samadhi at once. He filled the sky with the clouds of mandārava-flowers, mahā-mandārava-flowers and the powdered incense of hard and black candana, and rained down those flowers and incense. He also rained down the powdered incense of the candana grown on this shore of the sea [between Mt. Sumeru and the Jambudvipa]. Six shu of this incense was worth the Sahā-World. He offered all these things to the Buddha.

See The Most Important Bodhisattva Practice

The Most Important Bodhisattva Practice

[T]he lotus flower symbolizes the most important Bodhisattva practices in Mahayana Buddhism. In Chapter Fifteen, “Bodhisattvas from Underground,” it says

The Buddha’s children have studied the way of Bodhisattvas well. They are no more defiled by worldliness just as a lotus flower is not defiled by water.

The lovely lotus flower grows out of muddy water and is not defiled by it. In the same way, Bodhisattvas, persons who put the Buddha’s teachings into practice, can live in the midst of a world defiled by vice and corruption, and yet not be contaminated by it. They can teach and awaken other people while keeping their own minds pure. They can save others, however, only when they live with them here in this evil world.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 25

Day 25 covers all of Chapter 20, Never-Despising Bodhisattva, and opens Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas.

Having last month encountered the arrogant bhikṣus, Never-Despising Bodhisattva encounters the the twenty thousand billion gāthās of the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

“Some of the four kinds of devotees had impure minds. They got angry, spoke ill of him and abused him, saying, ‘Where did this ignorant bhikṣu come from? He says that he does not despise us and assures us that we will become Buddhas. We do not need such a false assurance of our future Buddhahood.’ Although he was abused like this for many years, he did not get angry. He always said to them, ‘You will become Buddhas.’

“When he said this, people would strike him with a stick, a piece of wood, a piece of tile or a stone. He would run away to a distance, and say in a loud voice from afar, ‘I do not despise you. You will become Buddhas.’ Because he always said this, he was called Never-Despising by the arrogant bhikṣus, bhikṣunīs, upāsakās and upāsikās. When he was about to pass away, he heard [from a voice] in the sky the twenty thousand billion gāthās of the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, which had been expounded by the Powerful-Voice-King Buddha. Having kept all these gāthās, he was able to have his eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind purified as previously stated. Having his six sense-organs purified, he was able to prolong his life for two hundred billion nayuta more years. He expounded this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to many people [in his prolonged life]. The arrogant bhikṣus, bhikṣunīs, upāsakās and upāsikās, that is, the four kinds of devotees who had abused him and caused him to be called Never-Despising, saw that he had obtained great supernatural powers, the power of eloquence, and the great power of good tranquility. Having seen all this, and having heard the Dharma from him, they took faith in him, and followed him.

“This Bodhisattva also taught thousands of billions of living beings, and led them into the Way to Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. After the end of his prolonged life, he was able to meet two hundred thousand million Buddhas, all of them being called Sun-Moon-Light. He also expounded the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma under them. After that, he was able to meet two hundred thousand million Buddhas, all of them being called Cloud-Freedom-Light-King. He also kept, read and recited this sūtra, and expounded it to the four kinds of devotees under those Buddhas so that he was able to have his natural eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind purified and to become fearless in expounding the Dharma to the four kinds of devotees.

See Purification of Never-Despising Bodhisattva

Purification of Never-Despising Bodhisattva

Purification of the six senses, which we discussed in the previous chapter, “Merits of the Teacher of the Law,” means purification of the bodily senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and mind. Once Never-Despising had purified his six senses, he was able to extend his lifetime for many years, and teach the Sutra to others. Thanks to his teaching, the same arrogant and conceited priests who had persecuted him before, now came to believe in the Lotus Sutra, themselves. In this way, he led many people to supreme enlightenment, and he himself became a Buddha.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 24

Day 24 concludes Chapter 19, The Merits of the Teacher of the Dharma and closes the Sixth Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month considered eight hundred merits of the nose to be received by the Teacher of the Dharma, we repeat these in gāthās.

Thereupon the World-Honored One, wishing to repeat what he had said, sang in gāthās:

Their nose will be purified.
They will be able to know
The smells of all things,
Be they good or bad.

They will be able to recognize by smell
The sumanas-flowers and jātika-flowers;
Tamala[pattra] and candana;
Aloes and sappanwood;
Various flowers and fruits;
And all Jiving beings including men and women.

Anyone who expounds the Dharma will be able to locate
All living beings from afar by smell.
He will be able to locate by smell
The wheel-turning-kings of great [countries],
The wheel-turning-kings of small [countries],
And their sons, ministers and attendants.

He will be able to locate by smell
The wonderful treasures of personal ornaments,
The underground stores of treasures,
And the ladies of the wheel-turning-kings.

He will be able to recognize persons
By smelling their ornaments or garments
Or by smelling their necklaces
Or by smelling the incense applied to their skin.

Anyone who keeps
This Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma
Will be able to know by smell
Whether the gods are walking, sitting, playing or performing wonders.

Anyone who keeps this sūtra
Will be able to locate by smell, without moving about,
The flowers and fruits of trees,
And the oil taken from sumanas-flowers.

He will be able to recognize by smell
The flowers of the candana-trees
Blooming in steep mountains,
And the living beings in those mountains.

Anyone who keeps this sūtra
Will be able to locate by smell
The living beings in the Surrounding Iron Mountains,
In the oceans, and underground.

He will be able to know by smell
Whether asuras and their daughters
And their attendants are fighting
Or playing with each other.

He will be able to locate by smell
Lions, elephants, tigers,
Wolves, wild oxen and buffalos
In the wilderness and in steep places.

He will be able to know by smell
Whether an unborn child is a boy or a girl,
Or a child of ambiguous sex,
Or the embryo of a nonhuman being.

He will be able to know by smell
Whether a woman is an expectant mother,
Or whether she will give an easy birth
To a happy child or not.

He will be able to know by smell
What a man or a woman is thinking of,
Or whether he or she is greedy, ignorant or angry,
Or whether he or she is doing good.

He will be able to recognize by smell
The gold, silver, and other treasures
Deposited underground,
And the things enclosed in a copper box.

He will be able to know by smell
The values of various necklaces,
And the deposits of their materials,
And also to locate the necklaces [when they are lost].

He will be able to recognize by smell
The mandārava-flowers,
And the mañjūṣaka-flowers,
And the pārijātaka-trees in heaven.

He will be able to know by smell
Whether a heavenly palace
Adorned with jeweled flowers
Is superior, mean or inferior.

He will be able to recognize by smell
Gardens, forests, excellent palaces,
And the wonderful hall of the Dharma in heaven,
And other stately buildings where [the gods] enjoy themselves.

He will be able to know by smell
Whether the gods are hearing the Dharma
Or satisfying their five desires,
Or coming, going, walking, sitting or reclining.

He will be able to know by smell
Whether the goddesses, clad in the garments
Adorned with fragrant flowers,
Are playing as they are moving about.

He will be able to know by smell
Who has reached the Heaven of Brahman,
Who has entered into dhyāna,
And who has come out of it.

He will be able to know by smell
The person who has appeared for the first time in the Light-Sound Heaven
Or in the Universal-Pure Heaven or in the Highest Heaven,
And who has disappeared from there.

Anyone who keeps this sūtra
Will be able to locate by smell
The bhikṣus who are sitting or walking about
In seeking the Dharma strenuously,
And the bhikṣus who are reading or reciting [this] sūtra
Or devoting themselves
To sitting in dhyāna
Under the trees of forests.

He will be able to know by smell
The Bodhisattvas who are resolute in mind,
And who are sitting in dhyāna or reading [this] sūtra
Or reciting it or expounding it to others.

He will be able to locate by smell
The World-Honored One who is expounding the Dharma
Out of his compassion
Towards all living beings who respect him.

He will be able to know by smell
Those who rejoice at hearing [this] sūtra
From the Buddha,
And act according to the Dharma.

Anyone who keeps this sūtra
Will be able to have these merits of the nose
Although he has not yet obtained the nose
Of the Bodhisattva [who attained] the
Dharma-without-āsravas.

See Practitioners and Teachers

Practitioners and Teachers

In the previous chapter, “Merits of a Person Who Rejoices at Hearing This Sutra,” the merits acquired by those who have just begun practicing the teaching are emphasized. This chapter, on the other hand, “Merits of the Teachers of the Law,” speaks about merits acquired by practitioners in general. It is assumed that a practitioner of the Sutra will also be a teacher of the Dharma.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra