Category Archives: LS32

Day 4

Day 4 finishes Chapter 2, Expedients, and completes the first volume of the Sūtra of the Lotus flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month witnessed Śākyamuni’s first turning of the wheel of the Dharma, we learn of Śākyamuni’s decision to expound his wisdom.

Śāriputra, know this!
Then I saw many sons of mine,
Thousands of billions in number,
Seeking the enlightenment of the Buddha.
They came to me respectfully.
They had already heard
Expedient teachings
From the past Buddhas.

I thought:
“I appeared in this world
In order to expound my wisdom.
Now is the time to do this.”

Śāriputra, know this!
Men of dull capacity and of little wisdom cannot believe the Dharma.
Those who are attached to the appearances of things are arrogant.
They cannot believe it, either.

I am now joyful and fearless.
I have laid aside all expedient teachings.
l will expound only unsurpassed enlightenment
To Bodhisattvas.

The Bodhisattvas who hear the Dharma
Will be able to remove the mesh of doubts.
The twelve hundred Arhats also
Will become Buddhas.

Śākyamuni’s explanation –

Then I saw many sons of mine,
Thousands of billions in number,
Seeking the enlightenment of the Buddha.

– is a graphic reminder of the love of our spiritual father.

Day 2

Day 2 completes Chapter 1, Introductory.

Having last month considered the life of the lazy man, we conclude Chapter 1, Introductory.

The ray of light of [Sun-Moon-] Light Buddha,
That is, the good omen, was the same as what I see now.
Judging from this, the present Buddha also will expound
The Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

The good omen I see now is like that of old.
This is an expedient employed by the Buddhas.
The present Buddha is also emitting a ray of light
In order to reveal the truth of the reality [of all things].

[Mañjuśrī said to the multitude:]

All of you, know this, join your hands together,
And wait with one mind!
The Buddha will send the rain of the Dharma
And satisfy those who seek enlightenment.

The Buddha will remove
Any doubt of those who seek
The teaching of the Three Vehicles.
No question will be left unresolved.

The light of the Buddha’s wisdom reveals the truth of the reality of all things. Pay attention. Wait with one mind.

Day 1

Day 1 covers the first half of Chapter 1, Introductory

Having last month considered in gāthās the Bodhisattvas illumined by the light from the Buddha, we considered the offerings of those Bodhisattvas.

I also see some Bodhisattvas
Offering delicious food and drink
And hundreds of kinds of medicines
To the Buddha and the Sangha.

Some offer garments and beautiful robes
Worth tens of millions
Or beyond monetary value
To the Buddha and the Sangha.

Some offer thousands of billions
Of jeweled houses made of candana
And wonderful bedding
To the Buddha and the Sangha.

Some offer pure gardens and forests
Abounding in flowers and fruits,
And furnished with rivers, springs,
and pools for bathing,
To the Buddha and the Saṃgha.

I see those Bodhisattvas
Making offerings of those wonderful things
Joyfully and untiringly
In order to attain unsurpassed enlightenment.

This is the week of Fall Ohigan, a weeklong focus on living the life of the Six Paramitas. And the No. 1 Paramita: Giving. Just one more example of how the Introductory chapter sets the stage for what is to come.

Day 32

Day 32 covers Chapter 28, The Encouragement of Universal-Sage Bodhisattva, closing the Eighth Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month heard Universal-Sage Bodhisattva’s dhārāṇi spells, we learn of the supernatural powers of Universal­Sage.

[He said to the Buddha:]

“World-Honored One! It is by my supernatural powers, know this, that a Bodhisattva can hear these dhārāṇis. Anyone who keeps the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma [while it is] propagated in the Jambudvipa, should think, ‘I can keep [this sūtra] only by the supernatural powers of Universal­Sage.’ Anyone who keeps, reads and recites this sūtra, memorizes it correctly, understands the meanings of it, and acts according to it, know this, does the same practices that I do. He should be considered to have already planted deeply the roots of good under innumerable Buddhas [in his previous existence]. He will be caressed on the head by the hands of the Tathāgatas. Anyone who copies this sūtra will be reborn in the Heaven of the Trāyastriṃs̒a Gods immediately after his present life. On that occasion, eighty-four thousand goddesses will come and receive him, making many kinds of music. A crown of the seven treasures will be put on his head, and he will enjoy himself among the ladies in waiting. Needless to say, [more merits will be given to] the person who [not only copies this sūtra but also] keeps, reads and recites it, memorizes it correctly, understands the meanings of it, and acts according to it. Anyone who keeps, reads and recites this sūtra, and understands the meanings of it, will be given helping hands by one thousand Buddhas immediately after his present life. He will be fearless. He will not fall into any evil region. He will be reborn in the Tusiita Heaven. There he will go to Maitreya Bodhisattva who, adorned with the thirty-two marks, will be surrounded by great Bodhisattvas, and attended on by hundreds of thousands of billions of goddesses. He will be given the benefits of these merits. Therefore, anyone who has wisdom should copy this sūtra with all his heart, cause others to copy it, and also keep, read and recite it, memorize it correctly, and act according to it.

“World-Honored One! I will protect this sūtra with my supernatural powers so that it may be propagated and not be destroyed in the Jambudvipa after your extinction.”

Rather than be distracted by the idea of being reborn in the Heaven of the Trāyastriṃsa Gods … [where] eighty-four thousand goddesses will come and receive him or reborn in the Tusiita Heaven … attended on by hundreds of thousands of billions of goddesses, let’s consider this description of Universal Sage Bodhisattva – Samantabhadra – by Taigen Daniel Leighton in his book Faces of Compassion:

Fugen, samantabhadra, Universal SageSamantabhadra is the bodhisattva of enlightening activity in the world, representing the shining function of wisdom. Samantabhadra also embodies the luminous web of the interconnectedness of all beings, and radiant visions that express it. …

Samantabhadra and Manjushri are often paired together as attendants on either side of Shakyamuni Buddha, with Manjushri on his lion representing the essence of wisdom, and Samantabhadra, mounted on an elephant, representing the application of wisdom actively benefiting the world.

On the Shutei Mandala Gohonzon, Universal Sage Bodhisattva is on the left of the Daimoku in the row below Śākyamuni, with Mañjuśrī on the right of the Daimoku beneath Many Treasures.
Lotus World: An Illustrated Guide to the Gohonzon

Day 31

Day 31 covers Chapter 27, King Wonderful-Adornment as the Previous Life of a Bodhisattva.

Having last month witnessed the reaction of the sons when Cloud-Thunderpeal-Star-King-Flower-Wisdom Buddha expounded the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, we see the wonders displayed by the sons and the effect the sons have on their father.

“Thereupon the two sons went up to the sky seven times as high as the tala-tree, and displayed various wonders because they were thinking of their father. They walked, stood, sat, and reclined in the sky. Then they issued water from the upper parts of their bodies, and fire from the lower parts. Then they issued water from the lower parts of their bodies, and fire from the upper parts. Then they became giants large enough to fill the sky, became dwarfs, and became giant again. Then they disappeared from the sky and suddenly appeared on the earth. Then they dived into the earth just as into water, and stepped on the surface of water just as on the earth. [Then they went up to the sky and stayed there.] By displaying these various wonders, they purified the mind of their father, that is, of the king, and caused him to understand the Dharma by faith.

“Seeing [these wonders displayed by] the supernatural powers of his sons, the father had the greatest joy that he had ever had. He joined his hands together towards his sons [staying in the sky], and said, ‘Who is your teacher? Whose disciples are you?’

“The two sons said, ‘Great King! Cloud-Thunderpeal-Star-King-Flower-Wisdom Buddha, who is now sitting on the seat of the Dharma under the Bodhi-tree of the seven treasures, is expounding the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to all the gods and men of the world. He is our teacher. We are his disciples.

“The father said to them, ‘I also wish to see your teacher. I will go with you.’

The Daily Dharma from Sept. 29, 2016, offers this:

Seeing [these wonders displayed by] the supernatural powers of his sons, the father had the greatest joy that he had ever had. He joined his hands together towards his sons [staying in the sky], and said, ‘Who is your teacher? Whose disciples are you?’

King Wonderful-Adornment makes this declaration to his sons in Chapter Twenty-Seven of the Lotus Sūtra. His sons had been asked by their mother to display their supernatural powers to their father and awaken the desire in him to hear the Buddha Dharma. We all have abilities of which we are not aware, and can cultivate those abilities so that they may seem miraculous to those who do not understand them. But it is important for us not to fall in the trap of using these abilities to strengthen our ego delusion. Instead we should dedicate our talents towards awakening the joy of the Wonderful Dharma in all beings.

The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com

Day 30

Day 30 covers all of Chapter 26, Dhāraṇīs

Having last month covered Medicine-King Bodhisattva’s dhārāni-spells, we receive Brave-In-Giving Bodhisattva.

Thereupon Brave-In-Giving Bodhisattva said to the Buddha:

“World-Honored One! I also will utter dhārānis in order to protect the person who reads, recites and keeps the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma. If he keeps these dhārānis, this teacher of the Dharma will not have his weak points taken advantage of by any yakṣa, rākṣasa, pūtana, kṛtya, kumbhāṇḍa or hungry spirit.”

Then he uttered spells before the Buddha:

“Zarei (1), makazarei (2), ukki (3), mokki (4), arei (5), arahatei (6), netsureitei (7), netsureitahatei (8), ichini (9), ichini (10), shichini(11), netsureichini (12), netsurichihachi (13).”

[He said to the Buddha:]

“World-Honored One! These dhārānis, these divine spells, have already been uttered by as many Buddhas as there are sands in the River Ganges. Those Buddhas uttered them with joy. Those who attack and abuse this teacher of the Dharma should be considered to have attacked and abused those Buddhas.”

Protection of weak points: Everyone has them.

Day 29

Day 29 covers all of Chapter 25, The Universal Gate of World-Voice-Perceiver Bodhisattva.

Having last month covered examples of World-Voice-Perceiver’s powers in gāthās with, we consider his wisdom.

World-Voice-Perceiver will save
All living beings from misfortunes
And from innumerable sufferings of the world
By the wonderful power of his wisdom.

He has these supernatural powers.
He employs various expedients with his wisdom.
In the ten quarters there is no ksetra
In which he does not appear at all.

Hell, the region of hungry spirits, and the region of animals,
That is the [three) evil regions will be eliminated.
The sufferings of birth, old age, disease and death
Will gradually be eliminated.

He sees the truth of all things and their purity.
He sees all things with his great wisdom.
He sees all things with loving-kindness and compassion.
Think of him constantly! Look up at him constantly!

All darkness is dispelled by the light of his wisdom
As spotless and as pure as the light of the sun.
The light destroys the dangers of wind and fire,
And illumines the whole world brightly.

His precepts out of his loving-kindness brace us up as thunderbolts.
His wishes out of his compassion are as wonderful as large clouds.
He pours the rain of the Dharma as sweet as nectar,
And extinguishes the fire of illusions.

The Daily Dharma from May 17, 2017, offers this:

The Buddha gives this description of World-Voice-Perceiver Bodhisattva (Kannon, Kanzeon, Kuan Yin, Avalokitesvara) to Endless-Intent Bodhisattva in Chapter Twenty-Five of the Lotus Sūtra. This Bodhisattva is the embodiment of compassion. As we cultivate our own nature as Bodhisattvas, we find that the only thing that separates us from the happiness of others is our attachment and delusion. When we allow our compassion to grow, we come to see the world as it is.

The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com

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 witnessed Many Treasures Buddha invite Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva to come to the Sahā World, Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva arrives in the Sahā World.

[Before he started,] he stepped on a platform of the seven treasures. The platform went up to the sky seven times as high as the tala[-tree, and moved through the sky, carrying him]. Together with the Bodhisattvas surrounding him respectfully, he came to Mt. Gṛdhrakūṭa of this Sahā-World, and descended from the platform of the seven treasures. He came to Śākyamuni Buddha, carrying with him a necklace worth hundreds of thousands. He worshipped the feet of the Buddha with his head, offered the necklace to the Buddha, and said to him:

“World-Honored One! I bring you a message from Pure-Flower-Star-King-Wisdom Buddha. [He wishes to say this.] Are you in good health? Are you happy and peaceful or not? Are the four elements of your body working in harmony or not? Are the worldly affairs bearable or not? Are the living beings easy to save or not? Do they not have much greed, anger, ignorance, jealousy, stinginess and arrogance, or do they? Are they not undutiful to their parents, or are they? Are they not di respectful to śramaṇas, or are they? Do they not have wrong views, or do they? Are they not evil, or are they? Do they not fail to control their five desires, or do they? World-Honored One! Did they defeat the Maras, who are their enemies, or not. Is Many-Treasures Tathāgata, who passed away a long time ago and has now come here riding in the stupa of the seven treasures, hearing the Dharma or not? [Pure-Flower-Star-King-Wisdom Buddha] also wishes to know whether Many-Treasures Tathāgata is peaceful and healthy, and able to stay long or not World-Honored One! Now I wish to see Many-Treasures Buddha World-Honored One! Show him to me!”

Thereupon Śākyamuni Buddha said to Many-Treasure Buddha, “This Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva wishes to see you.”

Thereupon Many-Treasures Buddha said to Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva:

Excellent, excellent! You have come here to make offerings to Śākyamuni Buddha, hear the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, and see Mañjuśrī and others.”

The Daily Dharma from April 19, 2017, offers this:

The passage above is how Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva greets Śākyamuni Buddha in Chapter Twenty-Four of the Lotus Sūtra. This Bodhisattva asks not only about the Buddha, but about those whom the Buddha benefits with his teaching. The Buddha answers that those he teaches have prepared through innumerable lives to receive his wisdom. The questions of Wonderful-Voice show how we obscure the teaching through our delusion and attachments.

The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com

Day 27

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

Having last month heard of Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha’s plans to enter parinirvana, we witness Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva’s reaction.

“Having given these instructions to Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva, Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha entered into Nirvana in the last watch of that night. Having seen the extinction of the Buddha, Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva was overcome with sorrow. He adored the Buddha all the more. He made a pyre of the candana grown on this shore of the sea, offered it to the body of the Buddha, and burned it. After it burned up, he collected the śarīras. He made eighty-four thousand stupas of treasures[, and put the śarīras therein]. He erected eighty-four thousand stupas[, and enshrined the urns therein]. The stupas were higher than the Third Dhyana-Heaven. They were adorned with yastis. Many streamers and canopies were hanging down [from the stupas]. Many jeweled bells also were fixed [on the stupas].

“Thereupon Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva thought again, ‘I have now made these offerings, yet I do not think that they are enough. I will make another offering to the śarīras.’

“He said to the Bodhisattvas, to the great disciples, and also to all the other living beings in the great multitude including gods, dragons and yakṣas, ‘Look with one mind! Now I will make another offering to the śarīras of Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha.’

“Having said this, he burned his arms adorned with the marks of one hundred merits, and offered the light of the flame to the eighty-four thousand stupas for seventy-two thousand years. [By doing so,] he caused innumerable seekers of Śrāvakahood and many other asaṃkhyas of people to aspire for Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi, and obtain the samadhi by which they could transform themselves into the other living beings.

Following the transmission, the Lotus Sūtra offers examples of how followers of the Sūtra should behave. While I don’t endorse self-immolation, Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva’s offering “caused innumerable seekers of Śrāvakahood and many other asaṃkhyas of people to aspire for Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi,” and that’s a fine example of the Bodhisattva goal worth emulating.

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 heard in gāthās the praise for keeper of this sutra, we conclude Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas.

The Buddhas sat at the place of enlightenment,
And obtained the hidden core.
Anyone who keeps this sūtra will be able
To obtain the same before long.

Anyone who keeps this sūtra
Will be able to expound
The meanings of the teachings,
And the names and words [of this sūtra].
Their eloquence will be as boundless
And as unhindered as the wind in the sky.

Anyone who understands why the Buddhas expound [many] sūtras,
Who knows the position [of this sūtra in the series of sūtras],
And who expounds it after my extinction
According to its true meaning,
Will be able to eliminate the darkness
Of the living beings of the world where he walks about,
Just as the light of the sun and the moon
Eliminates all darkness.
He will be able to cause innumerable Bodhisattvas
To dwell finally in the One Vehicle.

Therefore, the man of wisdom
Who hears the benefits of these merits
And who keeps this sūtra after my extinction,
Will be able to attain
The enlightenment of the Buddha
Definitely and doubtlessly.

The Daily Dharma from April 16, 2016, offers this:

The Buddha sings these verses to Superior-Practice Bodhisattva (Jōgyo, Viśiṣṭacārītra) in Chapter Twenty-One of the Lotus Sūtra. Superior-Practice is the embodiment of the fourth vow of a Bodhisattva: The Buddha’s teachings are immeasurable; I vow to attain supreme enlightenment. It is through our determination to benefit all beings, and our confidence in the Wonderful Dharma of the Lotus Sūtra, that we maintain our lives in this world of conflict.

The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com