Tag Archives: LS03

Day 3

Day 3 covers the first half of Chapter 2, Expedients.

Having last month considered the depth of the insight of the Tathāgatas in gāthās, we consider that the Dharma is inexplicable by words.

The Dharma cannot be shown.
It is inexplicable by words.
No one can understand it
Except the Buddhas
And the Bodhisattvas
Who are strong in the power of faith.

Even the Buddhas’ disciples who made offerings
To the [past] Buddhas in their previous existence,
[Even the disciples] who eliminated all asravas,
[Even the disciples] who are now at the final stage
Of their physical existence,
Cannot understand [the Dharma].

See The Buddhas Teach Only Bodhisattvas

The Buddhas Teach Only Bodhisattvas

Although the Buddha provided the “hearers,” “private Buddhas,” and Bodhisattvas with three different ways, the essence of the three identities is Bodhisattvahood. Those who don’t realize this fact and hold on to their particular beliefs that they are either arhats (perfect ones) or “private Buddhas” (self-enlightened), are neither true arhats nor true “private Buddhas.” When he is teaching them, the Buddha regards them as being Bodhisattvas. They must be Bodhisattvas at heart even if they are “hearers” or “private Buddhas” in appearance. This is why the sutra says, “The Buddhas teach only Bodhisattvas.”

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 3

Day 3 covers the first half of Chapter 2, Expedients.

Having last month considered the depth of the insight of the Tathāgatas, we repeat in gāthās.

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

The [ wisdom of the] World-Heroes is immeasurable.
None of the living beings in the world,
Including gods and men,
Knows the [ wisdom of the] Buddhas.

No one can measure the powers, fearlessness,
Emancipations, samādhis,
And other properties of the [present] Buddhas,
Because they, in their previous existence,
Followed innumerable Buddhas
And practiced the teachings of those Buddhas.

The profound and wonderful Dharma
Is difficult to see and difficult to understand.
I practiced the teachings of the [past] Buddhas
For many hundreds of millions of kalpas,
And became a Buddha at the place of enlightenment.
I have already attained the Dharma.

l know the various effects, rewards and retributions,
Natures and appearances of all things:
The Buddhas of the worlds of the ten quarters
Also know all this.

See Two Identities of the Great Vehicle

Two Identities of the Great Vehicle

[W]e need a central theme or foundation to unify our many theories of the truth—some theme which has already served us well in the past. So we pick out the one which has been of the most value. In Buddhism, the Bodhisattva Vehicle, or Great Vehicle, has been of the most value. Accordingly, the Great Vehicle has two identities: one which is unified as an expedient, and one which unifies the three expedients as the true teaching. The former is the Great Vehicle, the Bodhisattva Vehicle, in relation to the other two vehicles. The latter is the one which is higher in value and embraces the other two by transcending any contrast between them. In this case, the Bodhisattva Vehicle may be a synonym for the One Buddha Vehicle.

Since the Bodhisattva Vehicle is the basis for the unification of the three vehicles, it follows that the “hearers” and “private Buddhas” are themselves really Bodhisattvas without knowing it. So the Buddha says:

Sariputra! Some disciples of mine, who think they are arhats or Pratyekabuddhas, will not be my (true) disciples or (true) arhats or (true) Pratyekabuddhas if they do not hear or know that the Buddhas . . teach only Bodhisattvas” (p. 33).

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 3

Day 3 covers the first half of Chapter 2, Expedients.

Having last month been introduced to the idea of expedient teachings, we consider the depth of the insight of the Tathāgatas.

“Śāriputra! The insight of the Tathāgatas is wide and deep. [The Tathāgatas] have all the [states of mind towards] innumerable [living beings,] unhindered [eloquence,] powers, fearlessness, dhyāna-concentrations, emancipations, and samādhis. They entered deep into boundlessness, and attained the Dharma which you have never heard before.

“Śāriputra! The Tathāgatas divide [the Dharma] into various teachings, and expound those teachings to all living beings so skillfully and with such gentle voices that living beings are delighted. Śāriputra! In short, the Buddhas attained the innumerable teachings which you have never heard before. No more, Śāriputra, will I say because the Dharma attained by the Buddhas is the highest Truth, rare [to hear] and difficult to understand. Only the Buddhas attained [the highest Truth, that is,] the reality of all things’ in regard to their appearances as such, their natures as such, their entities as such, their powers as such, their activities as such, their primary causes as such, their environmental causes as such, their effects as such, their rewards and retributions as such, and their equality as such [despite these differences].

See The Reality of All Things

The Reality of All Things

[T]he “Ten Suchnesses” … form one of the Buddha’s best known teachings. Reality in the “reality of all things” means “substance” or “existence.” According to this teaching, the true nature of existence (the reality of all things) can be seen in nine aspects as such: (1) their objective appearances (attributes), (2) their subjective natures (inner natures), (3) their entities (forms), (4) their powers (inner potentials), (5) their functions and activities, (6) their primary or direct causes, (7) their environmental causes (indirect causes), (8) their effects upon others, and (9) their rewards and retributions upon themselves.

This is not a classification of existence, but an illustration of various viewpoints from which the true nature of existence may be understood. The viewer is the Buddha, these nine factors essentially make up a whole as a manifestation of his wisdom. From the first factor (appearances) through to the last (rewards and retributions), all are unified as one. Each is ultimately equal to the others, and so really only one “as such” exists. This one, the tenth factor, is called the “equality of the nine factors.’

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 3

Day 3 covers the first half of Chapter 2, Expedients.

Having last month concluded Day 3’s portion of Chapter 2, Expedients, we start again at the top.

Thereupon the World-Honored One emerged quietly from his samādhi, and said to Śāriputra:

“The wisdom of the [present] Buddhas is profound and immeasurable. The gate to it is difficult to understand and difficult to enter. [Their wisdom] cannot be understood by any Śrāvaka or Pratyekabuddha because the [present] Buddhas attended on many hundreds of thousands of billions of [past] Buddhas, and practiced the innumerable teachings of those Buddhas bravely and strenuously to their far-flung fame until they attained the profound Dharma which you have never heard before, [and became Buddhas,] and also because [since they became Buddhas] they have been expounding the Dharma according to the capacities of all living beings in such various ways that the true purpose of their [various] teachings is difficult to understand.

“Śāriputra! Since I became a Buddha, I [also] have been expounding various teachings with various stories of previous lives, with various parables, and with various similes. I have been leading all living beings with innumerable expedients in order to save them from various attachments, because I have the power to employ expedients and the power to perform the pāramitā of insight.

See Sariputra

Sariputra

In Chapter One, Sakyamuni entered into the samadhi (deep concentration) on the Innumerable Teachings, and his body and mind became motionless. Now at the beginning of this chapter, he emerges quietly from that samadhi and begins to speak to Sariputra, one of his disciples. “The wisdom of the Buddhas,” he says, “is profound and immeasurable. Their wisdom cannot be understood by any “hearer” or “private Buddha.”

Sakyamuni chose Sariputra deliberately. He was a good example of a “hearer” who had attained the highest rank and become an arhat. In addition, he was considered the wisest among the ten great disciples of the Buddha. The Buddha begins his sermon with a gentle but firm criticism of the “hearers” and “private Buddhas.” The wisdom of the real Buddhas, he says, is far beyond their comprehension. The disciples must break from any attachment to their own way. Its results are only partial, not complete.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 3

Day 3 covers the first half of Chapter 2, Expedients.

Having last month learned the goal of all Buddhas is to show the insight of the Buddha, we conclude Day 3’s portion of Chapter 2, Expedients.

“Śāriputra! The Buddhas appear in the evil worlds in which there are the five defilements. The worlds are defiled by the decay of the kalpa, by illusions, by the deterioration of the living beings, by wrong views, and by the shortening of lives. Śāriputra! When a kalpa is in decay, the living beings [in that kalpa] are so full of illusions, so greedy, and so jealous that they plant many roots of evil. Therefore, the Buddhas divide the One Buddha-Vehicle into three as an expedient.

“Śāriputra! Some disciples of mine, who think that they are Arhats or Pratyekabuddhas, will not be my disciples or Arhats or Pratyekabuddhas if they do not hear or know that the Buddhas, the Tathāgatas, teach only Bodhisattvas.

“Śāriputra! Some bhikṣus and bhikṣunīs do not seek Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi because they think that they have already attained Arhatship, that they have already reached the final stage of their physical existence, and that the Nirvāṇa attained by them is the final one. Know this! They are arrogant because it cannot be that the bhikṣus who attained Arhatship do not believe the Dharma. Some bhikṣus who live in a period in which no Buddha lives after my extinction may not believe the Dharma after they attain Arhatship because in that period it will be difficult to meet a person who keeps, reads, and recites this sūtra, and understands the meanings of it. They will be able to understand the Dharma when they meet another Buddha.

“Śāriputra and all of you present here! Understand the Dharma by faith with all your hearts! There is no vehicle other than the One Buddha-Vehicle.”

The Daily Dharma from March 12, 2017, offers this:

Śāriputra! Some disciples of mine, who think that they are Arhats or Pratyekabuddhas, will not be my disciples or Arhats or Pratyekabuddhas if they do not hear or know that the Buddhas, the Tathāgatas, teach only Bodhisattvas.

The Buddha makes this declaration to his disciple Śāriputra in Chapter Two of the Lotus Sutra. When the Buddha says he only teaches Bodhisattvas, he does not mean that he excludes anyone from his teaching. It is only when we realize and develop our capacities as Bodhisattvas, beings who exist to benefit all beings, rather than being preoccupied with our own suffering, can we hear, practice and appreciate the Buddha Dharma.

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

Day 3

Day 3 covers the first half of Chapter 2, Expedients.

Having last month learned that Buddhas teach only Bodhisattvas, we learn that their goal is to show the insight of the Buddha.

“Śāriputra! The present Buddhas, the present World-Honored Ones, of many hundreds of thousands of billions of Buddha-worlds of the ten quarters benefit all living beings, and give them peace. These Buddhas also expound various teachings with innumerable expedients, that is to say, with stories of previous lives, parables, similes and discourses, only for the purpose of revealing the One Buddha-Vehicle. The living beings who hear the teachings from these Buddhas will also finally obtain the knowledge of the equality and differences of all things.

“Śāriputra! These [present] Buddhas teach only Bodhisattvas because they wish to show the insight of the Buddha to all living beings, to cause them to obtain the insight of the Buddha, and to cause them to enter the Way to the insight of the Buddha.

“Śāriputra! So do I. I know that all living beings have various desires. I also know that they have attachments deep in their minds. Therefore, I expound various teachings to them with stories of previous lives, parables, similes and discourses, that is to say, with various expedients according to their natures.

“Śāriputra! I do all this for the purpose of causing them to realize the teaching of the One Buddha-Vehicle, that is, to obtain the knowledge of the equality and differences of all things. Śāriputra! There is not a second vehicle in the worlds of the ten quarters. How can there be a third?

Lotus Seeds” offers this on the topic of only teaching Bodhisattvas.

In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha states that he actually teaches only bodhisattvas. This means that even the voice-hearers who follow the Four Noble Truths or those who contemplate Dependent Origination are not authentic followers of the Buddha until they have the compassionate heart of a bodhisattva. Thus, it is not enough to simply follow the Eightfold Path. One must also follow it with the spirit of compassionate concern for others. The bodhisattvas do not practice only for their own benefit, they practice for the sake of all beings. This is because they are deeply aware of the interdependent nature of all things. That is, they realize that no one is disconnected from the whole. Therefore, the notion of a self-liberation apart from others is just another symptom of the delusion of a separate self.Lotus Seeds