Tag Archives: LS07

Day 7

Day 7 concludes Chapter 3, A Parable, and begins Chapter 4, Understanding by Faith.

Having last month considered some of the punishments for scowling at and doubting this sūtra, we consider more of the consequences for slandering the sūtra.

Some of them will become men again.
They will be foolish, short, ugly,
Crooked, crippled, blind, deaf,
And hunchbacked.
No one will believe their words.
They will always have fetid breath.
They will be possessed by demons.
Poverty-stricken and mean,
They will be employed by others.
Worn-out, thin,
And subject to many diseases,
They will have no one to rely on.
Anyone who employs them
Will not take care of them.
They will lose before long
What little they may have earned.
When they study medicine,
And treat a patient with a proper remedy,
The patient will have another disease
Or die.
When they are ill in health,
No one will cure them.
Even when they take a good medicine,
They will suffer all the more.
They will be attacked by others,
Or robbed or stolen from.
Their sins will incur these misfortunes.
These sinful people will never be able to see
The Buddha, the King of the Saints,
Who expounds the Dharma
And teaches all living beings.
They will always be reborn
In the places of difficulty
[In seeing the Buddha].
They will be mad, deaf or distracted.
They will never be able to hear the Dharma.
For as many kalpas
As there are sands in the River Ganges,
They will be deaf and dumb.
They will not have all the sense organs.
Accustomed to living in hell,
They will take it for their playground.
Accustomed to living in other evil regions,
They will take them for their homes. They will live
Among camels, asses, wild boars, and dogs.
Those who slander this sūtra
Will be punished like this.

When they are reborn in the world of men,
Deafness, blindness, dumbness,
Poverty, and many other defects
Will be their ornaments;
Dropsy, diabetes, mange,
Leprosy, carbuncles, and many other diseases
Will be their garments.
They will always smell bad.
They will be filthy and defiled.
Deeply attached to the view
That the self exists,
They will aggravate their anger.
Their lust will not discriminate
Between [humans,] birds or beasts.
Those who slander this sūtra
Will be punished like this.

(The Buddha said to Śāriputra:)
A kalpa will not be long enough to describe
The punishments to be inflicted
Upon those who slander this sūtra.

See One Single Teaching

One Single Teaching

The first half of the Lotus Sutra (Shakumon) expounds the teaching of the One Vehicle. The several schools of Buddhism, which are divided roughly into three types (Sravaka-Vehicle, Pratyekabuddha-Vehicle, and Bodhisattva-Vehicle), are unified in the one single teaching of the One Vehicle. Since the number three represents all the various Buddhist Teachings, “three” here implies “many” or “all.”

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 7

Day 7 concludes Chapter 3, A Parable, and begins Chapter 4, Understanding by Faith.

Having last month considered some people to avoid when expounding the sūtra, we learn of some of the punishments for scowling at and doubting this sūtra.

Some will scowl at this sūtra
And doubt it.
Listen! I will tell you
How they will be punished.

In my lifetime or after my extinction
Some will slander this sūtra,
And despise the person
Who reads or recites
Or copies or keeps this sūtra.
They will hate him,
Look at him with jealousy,
And harbor enmity against him.
Listen! I will tell you
How they will be punished.

When their present lives end,
They will fall into the Avici Hell.
They will live there for a kalpa,
And have their rebirth in the same hell.
This rebirth of theirs will be repeated
For innumerable kalpas.

After that they will be reborn
In the world of animals.
Some of them will become dogs or small foxes.
They will be bald, thin and black.
They will suffer from mange and leprosy
Men will treat them mercilessly,
And hate and despise them.
They will always suffer from hunger and thirst.
Their bones will project; their flesh sag.
They will always suffer in their present existence.
After their death, they will be put
Under pieces of tile or stones.
Those who destroy the seeds of Buddhahood
Will be punished like this.

Some of them will become
Camels or asses.
They will always be heavily loaded,
And beaten with sticks or whips.
They will think of nothing
But water and hay.
Those who slander this sūtra
Will be punished like this.

Some of them will become small foxes.
They will suffer
From mange and leprosy.
They will have only one eye
When they come to a town,
They will be struck by boys.
Some of them
Will be beaten to death.
After they die
They will become boas.
Their bodies will be large,
Five hundred yojanas long.
They will be deaf and stupid.

They will wriggle along without legs.
They will be bitten
By many small vermin.
They will suffer day and night.
They will have no time to take a rest.
Those who slander this sūtra
Will be punished like this.

See Narratives of the Buddha in the Future

Narratives of the Buddha in the Future

The Lotus Sutra can be seen as a book of prophetic teachings. For this reason, Nichiren called these teachings “narratives of the Buddha in the future.” These narratives of the future, however, do not merely prophesy what will happen in coming generations. Their point is that Sakyamuni teaches living beings how to perform practices in an era when he does not physically exist. Since the words of the Buddha are true, we are expected to accept them as the Truth, and we are all required to follow the teaching

Nichiren actually put into practice what the Lotus Sutra had expounded concerning its propagation in the future. His determined efforts, however, raised opposition, which led to persecutions.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 7

Day 7 concludes Chapter 3, A Parable, and begins Chapter 4, Understanding by Faith.

Having last month heard the merits of rejoicing and believing this Sūtra, we consider some people to avoid when expounding the sūtra.

Śāriputra
Do not expound this sūtra
To those who are arrogant and idle,
And who think that the self exists!

Do not expound it to men of little wisdom!
They would not be able to understand it
Even if they heard it
Because they are deeply attached to the five desires.

Those who do not believe this sūtra
But slander it,
Will destroy the seeds of Buddhahood
Of all living beings of the world.

See All Existence Is Suffering

All Existence Is Suffering

Another important point of the parable [of the Burning House] is that we humans are allegorically illustrated as living in a burning house. The burning, of course, symbolizes our suffering. From the Buddhist viewpoint, suffering is an inescapable fact of life, as illustrated in the dictum, “All existence is suffering.” Many people think this view is too pessimistic, but that is not the case. The dictum is presented as a bare fact, neither good or bad. Biological suffering is a part of life. The question is, What can we do about it?

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 7

Day 7 concludes Chapter 3, A Parable, and begins Chapter 4, Understanding by Faith.

Having last month adjusted the end break for Day 7’s portion of Chapter 4, Understanding by Faith, we return to our regularly scheduled broadcast and the merits of rejoicing and believing this Sūtra.

I am the King of the Dharma.
I expound the Dharma without hindrance.
l appeared in this world
In order to give peace to all living beings.

Śāriputra!
I expound this seal of the Dharma
In order to benefit
[All living beings] of the world.
Do not propagate it carelessly
At the place where you are!

Anyone who rejoices at hearing this sūtra,
And who receives it respectfully,
Know this, has already reached
The stage of avaivartika.

Anyone who believes and receives this sūtra
Should be considered
To have already seen the past Buddhas,
Respected them, made offerings to them,
And heard the Dharma from them
In his previous existence.

Anyone who believes what you expound
Should be considered
To have already seen all of us,
That is, you and me,
And the Saṃgha of bhikṣus,
And the Bodhisattvas.

I expound only to people of profound wisdom
This Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma
Because men of little wisdom would doubt this sūtra,
And not understand it even if they heard it.
No Śrāvaka
Or Pratyekabuddha
Can understand
This sūtra.

Even you, Śāriputra,
Have understood this sūtra
Only by faith.
Needless to say,
The other Śrāvakas cannot do otherwise.
They will be able to follow this sūtra
Only because they believe my words,
Not because they have wisdom.

See Doctrines in the Lotus Sutra

Doctrines in the Lotus Sutra

The Buddhist faith often expounds difficult doctrines consisting of abstract philosophical ideas. When it comes to the Lotus Sutra, however, such complicated dogmas do not appear on the surface. For this reason, some critics have argued that there are no doctrines in the Lotus Sutra. But this is not true. The Lotus Sutra does contain profound philosophical thoughts. Instead of using tortuous logic, however, the Sutra explains its philosophy in the simplified form of stories, drawing on examples familiar to us from everyday life. This is why we find many parables in the text.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 7

Day 7 concludes Chapter 3, A Parable, and begins Chapter 4, Understanding by Faith.

Last month considered the expedient lessons of the past from Chapter 3, A Parable. Before continuing I need to reset the end of Day 7. The following text is moved from Chapter 4, Understanding by Faith. This should be the last modification needed to bring the English breaks in line with the Shindoku.

“World-Honored One! Allow us to explain our understanding by telling a parable. Suppose there lived a man [in a certain country]. When he was a little boy, he ran away from his father. [The boy] lived in another country for a long time, say, for ten, twenty or fifty years. As time passed by, he became poorer. He wandered about all directions, seeking food and clothing.

“While wandering here and there, he happened to walk towards his home country. At that time his father stayed in a city [of that country]. He had been vainly looking for his son ever since. He was now very rich. He had innumerable treasures. His storehouses were filled with gold, silver, lapis lazuli, coral, amber and crystal. He had many servants, clerks, and secretaries. He also had countless elephants, horses, carts, cows, and sheep. He invested his money in all the other countries, and earned interest. He dealt with many merchants and customers.

“The poor son, having wandered from town to town, from country to country, from village to village, came to the city where his father was living. The father had been thinking of him for more than fifty years since he had lost him, but never told others [that he had a missing son]. He was alone, pining for his son. He thought, ‘I am old and decrepit. I have many treasures. My storehouses are filled with gold, silver, and other treasures. But I have no son [other than the missing one]. When I die, my treasures will be scattered and lost. I have no one to transfer my treasures to. Therefore, I am always yearning for my son.’ The father thought again, ‘If I can find my son and give him my treasures, I shall be happy and peaceful, and have nothing more to worry about.’

“World-Honored One! At that time the poor son, who had worked at various places as a day worker, happened to come to the house of his father. Standing by the gate of the house, he saw his father in the distance. His father was sitting on a lion-like seat, putting his feet on a jeweled footstool. Brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, and householders surrounded him respectfully. He was adorned with a necklace of pearls worth ten million. The secretaries and servants were standing on either side of him, holding insect-sweepers made of white hairs. Above him was a jeweled awning, from which streamers of flowers were hanging down. Perfume was sprayed and beautiful flowers were strewn on the ground. He was exhibiting treasures and engaging in trade. Adorned with these various things, he looked extraordinarily powerful and virtuous.

“Seeing the exceedingly powerful father, the poor son was frightened. He regretted that he had come there. He thought, ‘Is he a king or someone like a king? This is not the place where I can get something by labor. I had better go to a village of the poor, where I can work to get food and clothing easily. If I stay here any longer, I shall be forced to work.’

“Having thought this, the poor son ran away. The rich man, who was sitting on the lion-like seat, recognized him at first sight as his son. He was delighted. He thought, ‘Now I have found the person to whom I can transfer my treasures and storehouses. I have been thinking of my son all this time, but I have had no way to find him. Now he has come by himself all of a sudden. This is just what I wanted. I am old, but not too old to lose any attachment [to my treasures].’

“He immediately dispatched a man standing beside him to quickly bring back the poor son. The messenger ran up to the poor son and caught him. The poor son was frightened. He cried, ‘You Devil! I have done nothing wrong. Why do you catch me?’

“The messenger pulled him by force. The poor son thought, ‘I am caught though I am not guilty. I shall be killed.’ More and more frightened, the poor son fainted and fell to the ground. Seeing all this in the distance, the father said to the messenger, ‘I do not want him any more. Do not bring him forcibly! Pour cold water on his face and bring him to himself! Do not talk with him any more!’

“The father said this because he had realized that his son was too base and mean to meet a noble man [like his father]. He knew that the man was his son, but expediently refrained from telling to others that that was his son. [The messenger poured water on the son. The son was brought to himself.] The messenger said to him, ‘Now you are released. You can go anywhere you like.’

“The poor son had the greatest joy that he had ever had. He stood up and went to a village of the poor to get food and clothing.

Kanta Tsukamoto Shonin‘s Spring Writings offers this on this section:

Even if we meet the teaching of the Lotus Sutra, which makes us awaken our Buddha-nature, most of us do not study or understand it because it is a difficult teaching and is too noble, and we run away just like the son when he saw the rich man. After all, we alone are responsible for making our lives empty or fruitless, because we are unaware of our ability or potential. Even though we tend to be like this, the Eternal Buddha always wishes to lead and support all of us, as his children, with great compassion. In order to make us awaken the Buddha-nature, He leads us according to our natures, capacities and circumstances, and dispatches someone to us to give us various advice, even if it takes a long time. It is just like the rich man who approached his son wearing dirty clothing, to encourage him.Spring Writings

Day 7

Day 7 concludes Chapter 3, A Parable, and begins Chapter 4, Understanding by Faith.

Having last month considered that Buddha is our father and we are all Bodhisattvas, we consider the expedient lessons of the past.

[I said:]
“To those who have little wisdom,
And who are deeply attached to sensual desires,
The Buddhas expound the truth that all is suffering.
Those [who hear this truth]
Will have the greatest joy that they have ever had.
The statement of the Buddhas that all is suffering
Is true, not false.
To those who are ignorant
Of the cause of all sufferings,
And who are too deeply attached
To the cause of suffering
To give it up even for a moment,
The Buddhas expound
The [eight right] ways as expedients.

The cause of suffering is greed.
When greed is eliminated,
There is nothing to be attached to.
The extinction of suffering
Is called the third truth.
In order to attain this extinction,
The [eight right] ways must be practiced.
Freedom from the bonds of suffering[,]
[That is, from illusions] is called emancipation.”

From what illusions can one be emancipated, however,
[By the practice of the eight right ways]?
He can be emancipated only from unreal things
[That is, from the five desires] thereby.
He cannot be emancipated from all illusions.
The Buddhas say
That he has not yet attained
The true extinction
Because he has not yet attained
Unsurpassed enlightenment.
I also do not think that I have led him
To the [true] extinction thereby.

I recently finished Basic Buddhist Concepts by Kogen Mizuno. As one would expect from a book that seeks to offer the foundations for all Buddhism, a lot of time is spent on Four Noble Truths. Reading that left me to recall (as we see in today’s portion of the Lotus Sūtra):

From what illusions can one be emancipated, however,
[By the practice of the eight right ways]?
He can be emancipated only from unreal things
[That is, from the five desires] thereby.
He cannot be emancipated from all illusions.