Suppose parents who had an aversion to alcohol had a son who loved to drink liquor. Because of their love for their son and also to cater to his whim, they made it a point to offer him alcohol, pretending that they were also drinkers of liquor. The hopeless son then assumed that his parents truly loved alcohol. Sutras preached according to others’ minds are the same.
Nichiren wrote this passage in his treatise, The Sutra Preached in Accordance to [the Buddha’s] Own Mind (Zui-jii Gosho). In the Lotus Sūtra, the Buddha sets aside his expedient teachings and leads us to his own way of thinking. He knew the difficulty of changing our habits and beliefs, so he started by catering to our selfish desires to be happy and end our own suffering. For us to realize our full potential for wisdom and compassion, we must stand up to our fears and nourish our true nature as Bodhisattvas: beings who exist to create benefits for the entire universe.
The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com