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.
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