Tag Archives: LS01

Day 1

Day 1 covers the first half of Chapter 1, Introductory

Having last month considered in gāthās the activities of the Bodhisattvas illumined by the light, we conclude today’s portion of Chapter 1.

The supernatural powers of the Buddha
And his wisdom are rare.
He is illumining innumerable worlds
By emitting a pure ray of light.
We were astonished
At seeing [those worlds].

Mañjuśrī, Son of the Buddha!
Remove our doubts!
The four kinds of devotees
Are looking up with joy at you and me,
Wishing to know why this ray of light is emitted
By the World-Honored One.

Son of the Buddha, answer me!
Remove our doubts and cause us to rejoice!
For what purpose is the Buddha
Emitting this ray of light?

Does he wish to expound the Wonderful Dharma
Which he attained when he was sitting
At the place of enlightenment?
Does he wish to assure us of our future Buddhahood?

He shows us the worlds of the Buddhas
Adorned with many treasures.
We can see the Buddhas of those worlds.
This cannot be for some insignificant reason.

Mañjuśrī, know this!
The four kinds of devotees and the dragons
Are looking at you, thinking:
“What is he going to say?”

See In the Buddha’s light

In the Buddha’s light

In the Buddha’s light, the congregation could see that some wise people had given up earthly desires, aware that all forms of existence are as insubstantial as the sky. Others made offerings to the relics of the Buddhas or built monuments (stupas) for them. For those in the congregation who could not make out all the details, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, who is to be our next Buddha, recounted everything he saw. The congregation was amazed at these things and thought there must be some explanation for them. Even Maitreya did not know the answer, so he put the question to Manjusri, who was considered the wisest of all the Buddha’s disciples, wiser, it was said, than any three men.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 1

Day 1 covers the first half of Chapter 1, Introductory

Having last month considered in gāthās the offerings of the Bodhisattvas illumined by the light, we see the activities of the Bodhisattvas.

Some Bodhisattvas expound
The truth of tranquil extinction,
And with various expedients,
Teach innumerable living beings.

I also see some Bodhisattvas
Who attained the following truth:
“The nature of things is not dual.
It is [formless] like the sky.”

I also see some sons of the Buddha
Having no attachment in their minds.
They seek unsurpassed enlightenment
With this wonderful wisdom.

Mañjuśrī!
Some Bodhisattvas make offerings
To the śarīras of a Buddha
After his extinction.

I also see some sons of the Buddha
Adorning the world of the Buddha
With as many stupa-mausoleums
As there are sands in the River Ganges.

Those stupas of treasures are
Lofty and wonderful.
They are five thousand yojanas high,
And two thousand yojanas wide and deep.

Each of the stupa-mausoleums has
One thousand pairs of banners and streamers.
It also has curtains adorned with gems.
It also has jeweled bells ringing.

Gods, dragons, men, and nonhuman beings
Constantly offer incense, flowers, and music
[To the stupa-mausoleums].

Mañjuśrī!
Those sons of the Buddha
Adorn the stupa-mausoleums
And offer the adornments
To the śarīras [of the Buddha].

The worlds [of the Buddha] naturally become
As wonderful and as beautiful
As the [flowers] of the kingly tree
In full bloom on the top of Mt. Sumeru.
The multitude of this congregation and I
Can see the various wonderful things
Of those worlds
By the ray of light of the Buddha [of this world].

See A Teaching Applicable Throughout the Cosmos

A Teaching Applicable Throughout the Cosmos

First of all, the narrative tells us that the Buddha’s light illuminated the east. Is there any special meaning to the east? One interpretation is that illuminating the east actually illuminating all directions, because the east represents them all. Another idea comes from Sanskrit. As the word purva (“east” in Sanskrit) also means “past” or “origin,” illuminating the east could be interpreted as “illuminating the origin of humanity.” At any rate, the chapter depicts in detail all kinds of spiritual seekers who are illuminated by the ray of light. This symbolizes the universality of the Lotus Sutra, a teaching that is applicable throughout the cosmos.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

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 1

Day 1 covers the first half of Chapter 1, Introductory

Having last month considered the kings and more Bodhisattvas illumined by the light from the Buddha, we considered the efforts of the Bodhisattvas.

I also see some sons of the Buddha
Concentrating their minds, having wisdom,
Expounding the Dharma to the multitude
With innumerable parables and similes,
Expounding the Dharma with joy,
Teaching [other] Bodhisattvas,
Defeating the army of Mara,
And beating the drum of the Dharma.

I also see some Bodhisattvas
Being tranquil and peacefully calm,
Not delighting in being respected
By gods or dragons.

I also see some Bodhisattva
Living in forests, and emitting ray of light
In order to have the denizens in hell,
And cause them to enter the Way to Buddhahood.

I also see some sons of the Buddha
Walking about forests without sleeping
In order to attain
The enlightenment of the Buddha.

I also see some of them
Observing the precepts with due deportment,
And keeping purity like that of gems,
In order to attain the enlightenment of the Buddha.

I also see some sons of the Buddha
Enduring abuse
Or blows with sticks
Inflicted by arrogant people
In order to attain
The enlightenment of the Buddha.

I also see some Bodhisattvas
Giving up wanton pleasures,
Parting from foolish companions,
Approaching men of wisdom,

Controlling their minds from distraction,
And concentrating their minds in hills or forests
For thousands of billions of years
In order to attain the enlightenment of the Buddha.

We do not practice in order to earn a seat in heaven. No. We practice “In order to attain the enlightenment of the Buddha.

Day 1

Day 1 covers the first half of Chapter 1, Introductory

Having last month considered the Bodhisattvas Maitreya sees, we consider the kings and more Bodhisattvas illumined by the light from the Buddha.

Mañjuśrī!
I see some kings coming to a Buddha,
And asking him about unsurpassed enlightenment.
They have renounced the world of pleasures,
Left their palaces,
Parted from their ministers and women,
And shaved their beard and hair.
They now wear monastic robes.

I also see some Bodhisattvas
Becoming bhikṣus,
Living alone in retired places,
And joyfully reciting sūtras.

I also see some Bodhisattvas
Zealously and courageously
Entering remote mountains, and pondering
The enlightenment of the Buddha.

I also see some of them having given up desires,
And living in retired places,
Entering deep into dhyāna-concentration,
And obtaining the five supernatural powers.

I also see some Bodhisattvas finding peace in dhyāna,
Joining their hands together [towards the Buddha],
And praising the King of the Dharma
With tens of millions of gāthās.

I also see some Bodhisattvas resolute in mind.
They have obtained profound wisdom
By questioning the Buddha.
And now they remember what they heard from him.

I have heard the first chapter described as difficult to read and difficult to understand and I agree, but only once. The first chapter foretells what we will see and learn in the Lotus Sutra and as I cycle through I’m reminded of kings who give up their thrones and bodhisattvas taking the form of bhikṣus in order to teach this Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma. I think to myself, “Pay attention. You’re going to see all this, too.”

Day 1

Day 1 covers the first half of Chapter 1, Introductory

Having last month considered the Buddhas Maitreya sees, we now consider the bodhisattvas he sees.

Mañjuśrī!
I see and hear
Hundreds of thousands of millions of things
Such as these
From this world.
I will tell you briefly some more of them.

I see as many Bodhisattvas of those worlds
As there are sands in the River Ganges,
Who are seeking the enlightenment of the Buddha
[In various ways] according to their environments

Some of them practice almsgiving.
They joyfully give treasures
Such as gold, silver,
Pearls, manis, shells, agates, and diamonds.
They also give menservants and maidservants,
Vehicles and palanquins adorned with treasures.

They proceed to the enlightenment of the Buddha
By the merits obtained thereby,
Wishing to obtain this vehicle,
The most excellent vehicle
In the triple world,
The vehicle praised by the Buddhas.

Some Bodhisattvas give
Jeweled chariots yoked with four horses,
Equipped with railings and flower-canopies,
And adorned on all sides.

I also see some Bodhisattvas
Offering their flesh or their limbs
Or their wives or their children
In order to attain unsurpassed enlightenment.

I also see some Bodhisattvas
Joyfully offering
Their heads or their eyes or their bodies
In order to attain the wisdom of the Buddha.

In reading today, I was struck by the efforts of the bodhisattvas in “seeking the enlightenment of the Buddha.”

They proceed to the enlightenment of the Buddha
By the merits obtained thereby,
Wishing to obtain this vehicle,
The most excellent vehicle
In the triple world,
The vehicle praised by the Buddhas.

It is not tax deductions that fuel my contributions to the support of Nichiren Shu.

Day 1

Day 1 covers the first half of Chapter 1, Introductory

Having last month begun Maitreya’s gāthās, we continue with the Buddhas Maitreya sees.

I also see the Buddhas,
The Saintly Masters, the Lion-like Ones,
Who are expounding
The most wonderful sūtra
With their pure and gentle voices,
And teaching
Many billions of Bodhisattvas.
The brahma voices of the Buddhas
Are deep and wonderful,
Causing people to wish to hear them.

I also see the Buddha of each of those worlds
Expounding his right teachings to all living beings
In order to cause them to attain enlightenment.

He explains his teachings
With stories of previous lives,
And with innumerable parables and similes.

To those who are confronted with sufferings,
And tired of old age, disease, and death,
The Buddha expounds the teaching of Nirvana,
And causes them to eliminate these sufferings.

To those who have merits,
Who have already made offerings to the past Buddhas,
And who are now seeking a more excellent teaching,
The Buddha expounds [the Way of] cause-knowers.

To the Buddha’s sons
Who are performing various practices,
And who are seeking unsurpassed wisdom,
The Buddha expounds the Pure Way.

We are seeing in Śākyamuni’s light Buddhas giving their “right teachings to all living beings in order to cause them to attain enlightenment.” Tomorrow, Mañjuśrī will recall in the past having seen Buddhas giving their “right teachings to all living beings in order to cause them to attain enlightenment.” And for the rest of the month we will have Śākyamuni giving his “right teachings to all living beings in order to cause them to attain enlightenment.” Among the various meanings of “Introductory,” the title of this first chapter, is this: “intended to persuade someone to purchase something for the first time.” To purchase with faith.

Day 1

Day 1 covers the first half of Chapter 1, Introductory

Having last month covered Maitreya’s reaction to the ray of light illuminating the worlds to the east in prose, we repeat in gathas.

Thereupon Maitreya Bodhisattva, wishing to repeat what he had said, asked him in gathas:

Mañjuśrī!
Why is the Leading Teacher
Emitting a great ray of light
From the white curl between his eyebrows?

[The gods] rained mandarava-flowers
And manjuaka-flowers.
A breeze carrying the fragrance of candana
Is delighting the multitude.

Because of this, the ground has become
Beautiful and pure;
And this world quaked
In the six ways.

The four kinds of devotees
Are joyful.
They are happier than ever
In body and mind.

The light from [the white curls]
Between the eyebrows of the Buddha illumines
Eighteen thousand worlds to the east.
Those worlds look golden-colored.

I see from this world
The living beings of the six regions
Extending down to the Avici Hell,
And up to the Highest Heaven

Of each of those worlds,
I see the region to which each living being is to go,
The good or evil karmas he is doing,
And the rewards or retributions he is going to have.

I’m pondering, as I always do at this point, what it would be like to “see the living beings of the six regions, extending down to the Avici Hell and up to the Highest Heaven” and to know “the region to which each living being is to go, The good or evil karmas he is doing, And the rewards or retributions he is going to have.”