Tag Archives: LS01

Day 1

Day 1 covers the first half of Chapter 1, Introductory

Having last month been introduced to the Arhats, Śrāvakas and Bodhisattvas, we meet the remaining crowd.

Sakra-Devanam-Indra was also present. Twenty thousand gods were attending on him. There were also Beautiful-Moon God, Universal-Fragrance God, Treasure-Light God, and the four great heavenly-kings. Ten thousand gods were attending on them. Freedom God and Great-Freedom God were also present. Thirty thousand gods were attending on them. Brahman Heavenly-King who was the lord of the Saha-World, Great Brahman Sikhin, and Great Brahman Light were also present. Twelve thousand gods were attending on them.

There were also the eight dragon-kings: Nanda Dragon-King, Upananda Dragon-King, Sagara Dragon-King, Vasuki Dragon­King, Taksaka Dragon-King, Anavatapta Dragon-King, Manasvin Dragon-King, and Utpalaka Dragon-King, each accompanied by hundreds of thousands of attendants. There were also the four kiṃnara-kings: Dharma Kiṃnara-King, Wonderful-Dharma Kiṃnara-King, Great-Dharma Kiṃnara-King, and Dharma­Keeping Kiṃnara-King, each accompanied by hundreds of thousands of attendants.

There were also the four gandharva-kings: Musical Gandharva­King, Musical-Voice Gandharva-King, Beautiful Gandharva-King, and Beautiful-Voice Gandharva-King, each accompanied by hundreds of thousands of attendants.

There were also the four asura-kings: Balin Asura-King, Kharaskandha Asura-King, Vemacitrin Asura-King, and Rahu Asura-King, each accompanied by hundreds of thousands of attendants.

There were also the four garuda-kings: Great-Power-Virtue Garuda-King, Great-Body Garuda-King, Great-Fulfillment Garuda­King, and Free-At-Will Garuda-King, each accompanied by hundreds of thousands of attendants.

King Ajatasatru, who was the son of Vaidehi, was also present with his hundreds of thousands of attendants. They each worshipped the feet of the Buddha, retired, and sat to one side.

See A Teaching That Unifies All Beings

A Teaching That Unifies All Beings

Besides the mythological creatures, all kinds of human and nonhuman beings assembled around the Buddha to hear his sermon. Although many of them were natural enemies, their harmonious gathering together indicates that the teaching of the Lotus Sutra applies to and unifies all beings.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 1

Day 1 covers the first half of Chapter 1, Introductory

Having last month concluded today’s portion of Chapter 1, we return to the top.

Thus have I heard. The Buddha once lived on Mt. Gṛdhrakūṭa in the City of King-House? He was accompanied by twelve thousand great bhikṣus. They were Arhats. They had already eliminated āsravas, and had no illusions. They had already benefited themselves, broken off the bonds of existence [in the world of birth and death], and obtained liberty in their minds. They included Ājñāta-Kauṇḍinya, Mahā-Kāśyapa, Uruvilvā-Kāśyapa, Gaya-Kāśyapa, Nadi- Kāśyapa, Śāriputra, Great Maudgalyāyana, Mahā-Kātyāyana, Aniruddha, Kapphina, Gavampati, Revata, Pilindavatsa, Bakkula, Maha-Kausthila, Nanda, Sundarananda, Pūrṇa who was the son of Maitrāyanī, Subhūti, Ananda, and Rahula. They were great Arhats well known to the multitude.

There were also two thousand [Śrāvakas], some of whom had something more to learn while others had nothing more to learn. Maha-Prajapati Bhikṣunī was present with her six thousand attendants. Yasodhara Bhikṣunī, the mother of Rahula, was also present with her attendants.

There were also eighty thousand Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas. They never faltered in [seeking] Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. They had already obtained dharanis, turned the irrevocable wheel of the Dharma with eloquence according to the wishes [of all living beings], made offerings to many hundreds of thousands of Buddhas, and planted the roots of virtue under those Buddhas, by whom they had always been praised. They had already trained themselves out of their compassion towards others, entered the Way to the wisdom of the Buddha, obtained great wisdom, and reached the Other Shore so that their fame had already extended over innumerable worlds. They had already saved many hundreds of thousands of living beings. They included Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva, World-Voice-Perceiver Bodhisattva, Great-Power-Obtainer Bodhisattva, Constant-­Endeavor Bodhisattva, Never-Resting Bodhisattva, Treasure-­Palm Bodhisattva, Medicine-King Bodhisattva, Brave-In-Giving Bodhisattva, Treasure-Moon Bodhisattva, Moon-Light Bodhisattva, Full-Moon Bodhisattva, Great-Power Bodhisattva, Immeasurable­-Power Bodhisattva, Transcending-Triple-World Bodhisattva, Bhadrapala Bodhisattva, Maitreya Bodhisattva, Accumulated­-Treasure Bodhisattva, and Leading-Teacher Bodhisattva. Eighty thousand Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas such as these were present.

See Thus have I heard

Thus Have I Heard

“Thus have I heard,” literally means, “I have heard the Buddha’s teachings in this way.” But it also implies that others might have interpreted them in some other way. Sakyamuni employed an expedient method of preaching so that he could be understood by the individual listener in his or her particular situation. For this reason, the interpretations of his teachings varied among the believers. Thus a large number of sutras were created over the years, and they did not always agree in their details. The meaning of the Lotus Sutra, however, cannot be interpreted differently, because, unlike the others, it is not a mere expedient for some listeners only, but the final teaching for everyone. Therefore, this sutra expects us to read the opening words as, “I have heard THIS,” emphasizing that everyone surely hears and understands it the same way.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

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.