Tag Archives: LS10

Day 10

Day 10 concludes Chapter 6, Assurance of Future Buddhahood, and opens Chapter 7, The Parable of a Magic City.

Having last month witnessed Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence attain the Dharma and then meet the 16 princes, we conclude this portion of Chapter 7 with the princes begging the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma.

“Thereupon the sixteen princes, having praised the Buddha with these gāthās, begged the World-Honored One to turn the wheel of the Dharma, saying, ‘World-Honored One! Expound the Dharma, and give peace and many benefits to gods and men out of your compassion towards them!’ They repeated this in gāthās:

You, the Hero of the World, are unequalled.
Adorned with the marks
Of one hundred merits,
You have obtained unsurpassed wisdom.
Expound the Dharma and save us
And other living beings of the world!

Expound the Dharma, reveal the Dharma,
And cause us to obtain that wisdom!
If we attain Buddhahood,
Others also will do the same.

You, the World-Honored One, know
What all living beings have deep in their minds,
What teachings they are practicing,
And how much power of wisdom they have.

You know their desires, the merits they obtained,
And the karmas they did
In their previous existence.
Turn the wheel of the unsurpassed Dharma!

See The True Pure Land

The True Pure Land

The Great Vehicle teaches us about the appearance of Buddhas in all of the worlds in the ten directions. When a Buddha appears in a certain world, that realm is named a “pure land.” For instance, Amitayus Buddha appeared in a world far to the west of our World of Endurance. His pure land was named Highest Joy or Land of Bliss. The worlds of the ten quarters are called “the other pure lands,” since they are on other sides of our World of Endurance. A pure land is an ideal world beyond the concrete reality of our world. But if the notion of pure lands were to ignore this world of ours (the only place of reality), those places would be no more than imaginary existences. The other pure lands would have no entities unless the real World of Endurance existed (that is, unless they originated here in our minds in harmony with the mind of the Buddha). Therefore a true pure land must be realized here where we are.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 10

Day 10 concludes Chapter 6, Assurance of Future Buddhahood, and opens Chapter 7, The Parable of a Magic City.

Having last month learned of Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence’s extended effort to acquire the Dharma of the Buddhas, we see him attain the Dharma and then meet the 16 princes.

“Bhikṣus! At the end of the period of ten small kalpas, the Dharma of the Buddhas came into the mind of Great-Universal­Wisdom-Excellence Buddha. Now he attained Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. Before he left home, he had sixteen sons. The first son was called Accumulated-Wisdom. Each of the sons had various playthings. When the sons heard that their father had attained Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi, they gave up the playthings, left home, and came to that Buddha.

“[When they were leaving home,] their mothers saw them off, weeping. Not only the wheel-turning-holy-king, who was their grandfather, but also one hundred ministers and hundreds of thousands of billions of subjects surrounded and followed the princes, wishing to come to the place of enlightenment, to see Great­Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata, to make offerings to that Buddha, respect him, honor him, and praise him.

“Having come [to that Buddha], the princes worshipped him at his feet with their heads, walked around him, joined their hands together towards him with all their hearts, looked up at the World­Honored One, and praised him in gāthās:

In order to save all living beings,
You, the World-Honored One,
Who have great powers and virtues,
[Made efforts] for many hundreds of millions of years.
Now you have become a Buddha.
You have finally fulfilled your vows. Congratulations!

You, the World-Honored One, are exceptional.
When you were sitting,
You were quiet and peaceful.
You did not move your body, hands or feet
For ten small kalpas.

Your mind was tranquil, not distracted.
You have finally obtained tranquil extinction.
You now dwell peacefully in the Dharma-without-āsravas.

Seeing that you have peacefully attained
The enlightenment of the Buddha,
We, too, have obtained benefits.
Congratulations! How glad we are!
All living beings are suffering.
Being blind, they have no leader.
They do not know how to stop suffering,
Or that they should seek emancipation.
In the long night fewer people go to heaven,
And more people go to the evil regions.
They go from darkness to darkness, and do not hear
Of the names of the Buddhas.

You are the Most Honorable One.
You have obtained the peaceful
Dharma-without-āsravas.
Not only we but also all gods and men
Will be able to obtain the greatest benefit.
Therefore, we bow and devote ourselves to you,
The Most Honorable One.

See The Realm of Origin

The Realm of Origin

The narrative of Great-Universally-Excelling-Wisdom Buddha can be considered an introduction to the “Realm of Origin” (Hommon), which is the key philosophy of the Lotus Sutra. In some ways, this story foreshadows the fundamental view of the Realm of Origin (Hommon), which will be revealed in later chapters, especially in Chapter Sixteen, “The Duration of the Life of the Buddha.” First, the facts that Great-Duration of the Life of the Buddha.” First, the facts that Great-Universally-Excelling-Wisdom Buddha expounded the Lotus Sutra a long time ago, and the sixteen princes kept it and continue to expound it even now, indicate that the Lotus Sutra is the eternal truth, transcending the concepts of time and space. Second, the fact that the Buddhas of the worlds of the ten directions obtained enlightenment through the Lotus Sutra suggests that all the teachings of and faith in the Buddhas are to be merged into the teachings of and faith in the Lotus Sutra. Finally, the central cosmic figure among these Buddhas is Sakyamuni, who resides in this World of Endurance (Saha-world).

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 10

Day 10 concludes Chapter 6, Assurance of Future Buddhahood, and opens Chapter 7, The Parable of a Magic City.

Having last month repeated the Buddha’s remembrance of Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence in gāthās, we learn of Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence’s extended effort to acquire the Dharma of the Buddhas.

The Buddha said to the bhikṣus:

“The duration of the life of Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Buddha was five hundred and forty billion nayuta kalpas. [Before he attained Buddhahood,] he sat at the place of enlightenment and defeated the army of Mara. He wished to attain Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi, but could not because the Dharma of the Buddhas had not yet come into his mind. He sat cross-legged without moving his mind and body for one to ten small kalpas. During all that time the Dharma of the Buddhas did not come into his mind.

“[Before he sat at the place of enlightenment,] the Trāyastriṃs̒a Gods prepared him a lion-like seat a yojana high under the Bodhi tree so that he might be able to attain Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi on that seat. When he sat on that seat, the Brahman-heavenly-kings rained heavenly flowers on the area extending a hundred yojanas in all directions from that seat. From time to time withered flowers were blown away by fragrant winds and new flowers were rained down. [The Brahman-heavenly-kings] continued this offering to him for fully ten small kalpas. [After he attained Buddhahood also,] they continued raining flowers until he passed away.

“[When he sat on that seat,] the four heavenly-kings beat heavenly drums, and the other gods made heavenly music and offered it to him. They continued these offerings also for fully ten small kalpas. [After he attained Buddhahood also,] they continued these offerings until he passed away.

See Three Methods of Expounding the Law

Three Methods of Expounding the Law

[Chapter 7, The Parable of a Magic City,] has two distinct parts. The first is a story of the previous existence of a Buddha called Great-Universally-Excelling-Wisdom. The second consists of the parable for which this chapter is named, “The Magic City.” The concept of previous existences is a fundamental teaching in Buddhism. Its rationale is that there must be some prior meaning or conditions before something else can come into existence. (Nothing comes from nothing, and nothing takes place without a cause.) The story of a previous life here refers to a particular incident in the past which has led to the emergence of a present situation—that is, the origin of things. In the Lotus Sutra, Sakyamuni is said to employ three methods of expounding the law: logical explanations, parables, and stories of previous lives.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 10

Day 10 concludes Chapter 6, Assurance of Future Buddhahood, and opens Chapter 7, The Parable of a Magic City.

Having last month begun Chapter 7, The Parable of a Magic City, we repeat the Buddha’s remembrance of Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence in gāthās:

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

According to my remembrance,
There lived a Buddha, an Honorable Biped,
Called Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence,
Countless kalpas ago.

Suppose someone smashed
All the earth-particles
Of one thousand million Sumeru-worlds
Into ink-powder.

He went, [carrying the ink-powder with him,]
And inked a dot as large as a particle of dust
On the world at a distance of one thousand worlds.
He repeated the inking until the ink-powder was exhausted.

Suppose the worlds
Through which he went,
Whether they were inked or not,
Were smashed into dust.

It is innumerable• kalpas,
More than the number
Of the particles of dust thus produced,
Since that Buddha passed away.

I remember the extinction of that Buddha
As vividly as if he had passed away just now,
By my unhindered wisdom; I also remember
The Śrāvakas and Bodhisattvas who lived [with him].

Bhikṣus, know this!
My wisdom is pure, wonderful,
Free from āsravas and from hindrance.
I know those who lived innumerable kalpas ago.

See Making Basic Lessons Easy to Understand

Making Basic Lessons Easy to Understand

Sakyamuni predicted the enlightenment of the four great disciples just as he had with Sariputra. Chapters Three (“A Parable”), Four (“Understanding by Faith”), and Five (“The Simile of Herbs”) had used parables to clarify the basic lesson from Chapter Two (“Expedients”) – namely, all teachings are only expedients leading to the One Buddha Vehicle. The parables were followed up with assurances of future Buddhahood. In the next chapter, “The Parable of the Magic City,” he employs a different teaching method, showing how events in the remote past can affect the present and the future. This is called teaching by affinities with the past. These three methods – doctrinal teaching, parables, and affinities – are known as the Three Stages of Preaching. All three are designed to make the basic lesson easy for us to understand.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 10

Day 10 concludes Chapter 6, Assurance of Future Buddhahood, and opens Chapter 7, The Parable of a Magic City.

Having last month completed the prediction of future Buddhahood for Great Maudgalyāyana and concluded Chapter 6, we begin Chapter 7, The Parable of a Magic City.

The Buddha said to the Bhikṣus:

“A countless, limitless, inconceivable, asaṃkhya number of kalpas ago, there lived a Buddha called Great-Universal-Wisdom­-Excellence, the Tathāgata, the Deserver of Offerings, the Perfectly Enlightened One, the Man of Wisdom and Practice, the Well-Gone, the Knower of the World, the Unsurpassed Man, the Controller of Men, the Teacher of Gods and Men, the Buddha, the World-­Honored One. His world was called Well-Composed; and the kalpa in which he became that Buddha, Great-Form.

“Bhikṣus! It is a very long time since that Buddha passed away. Suppose someone smashed all the earth-particles of one thousand million Sumeru-worlds into ink-powder. Then he went to the east[, carrying the ink-powder with him]. He inked a dot as large as a particle of dust [with that ink-powder] on the world at a distance of one thousand worlds from his world. Then he went again and repeated the inking of a dot on the world at every distance of one thousand worlds until the ink-powder was exhausted. What do you think of this? Do you think that any mathematician or any disciple of a mathematician could count the number of the worlds [he went through]?”

“No, we do not, World-Honored One!”

“Bhikṣus! Now all the worlds he went through, whether they were inked or not, were smashed into dust. The number of the kalpas which have elapsed since that Buddha passed away is many hundreds of thousands of billions of asaṃkhyas larger than the number of the particles of the dust thus produced. Yet I remember [the extinction of] that Buddha by my power of insight as vividly as if he had passed away today.”

Of all the powers of the Buddha, his power of insight that allows him to remember details as if the events occurred today is truly supernatural. This whole website seeks to cover my failing memory with tools for recollecting what I once knew.

Day 10

Day 10 concludes Chapter 6, Assurance of Future Buddhahood, and opens Chapter 7, The Parable of a Magic City.

Having last month begun the prediction of future Buddhahood for Great Maudgalyāyana, we complete the prediction in gāthās and conclude Chapter 6.

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

After he gives up his present existence,
This Great Maudgalyāyana, a disciple of mine,
Will see many Buddhas,
Many World-Honored Ones.
He will see eight thousand of them,
And then two hundred billions of them.

In order to attain
The enlightenment of the Buddha,
He will make offerings to them, and respect them.
He will perform brahma practices under those Buddhas,
And keep the teachings of those Buddhas
For innumerable kalpas.

After the extinction of each of those Buddhas,
He will erect a stūpa of the seven treasures.
There will be a long golden yasti
On the top of the stūpa.
He will offer flowers, incense and music
To the stūpa-mausoleum of the Buddha.

He will finally complete
The Way of Bodhisattvas,
And become a Buddha
Called Tamala [pattral-candana-Fragrance
In a world called
Mind-Happiness.

The duration of the life of that Buddha
Will be twenty-four [small] kalpas.
He will expound to gods and men
The enlightenment of the Buddha.

As many Śrāvakas as there are sands in the River Ganges
Will have the six supernatural powers,
Including the three major supernatural powers.
They will be exceedingly powerful and virtuous.

Innumerable Bodhisattvas also will live there.
They will be resolute in mind, and strenuous.
They will never falter
In seeking the wisdom of the Buddha.

After the extinction of that Buddha,
His right teachings
Will be preserved for forty small kalpas.
So will the counterfeit of them.

The five hundred disciples of mine
Are powerful and virtuous.
They also shall be assured
Of their future Buddhahood.
They will become Buddhas
In their future lives.

Now I will tell you
About my previous existence
And also about yours.
All of you, listen attentively!

At this point I want to attach some biographical information about Maudgalyayana, foremost in supernatural powers, from Lotus World:

Shariputra and his lifelong friend Maudgalyayana were born into brahmin families in neighboring villages near Rajagriha, the capital of the kingdom of Magadha, in ancient India. As young men they were both disillusioned with worldly life. Together they left home to find enlightenment and eventually became the leading disciples of the skeptical philosopher Sanjaya. This teaching did not satisfy them for long, however, so they both set out again to find the truth. The two friends made an agreement that whoever discovered it first would find and tell the other.

Shariputra traveled to Rajagriha. There he met Ashvajit. Ashvajit was one of the five ascetics who became the first disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha after he preached the sermon on the Middle Way and the Four Noble Truths at Deer park in Varanasi. Ashvajit’s calm demeanor so impressed Shariputra that he asked him who his teacher was and what teaching he had received. Ashvajit told Shariputra about Shakyamuni Buddha and gave him a summary of the Dharma as he understood it in the following verse:

Of those things that arise from a cause,
The Tathagata has told the cause,
And also what their cessation is:
This is the doctrine of the Great Recluse.

Upon hearing these words, Shariputra’s quick mind realized the profound implications of this seemingly simple verse and he became a stream-enterer, the first of four stages leading to complete liberation from birth and death. At that moment, he knew that Shakyamuni Buddha was the teacher he and his friend had been looking for.

Shariputra immediately found Maudgalyayana and shared Ashvajit’s verse with him. Maudgalyayana also became a stream-enterer; together the two agreed to see Shakyamuni Buddha. But first Shariputra insisted they go to their former teacher Sanjaya and try to convince him to join them. Sanjaya, however, was not willing to relinquish his position as a teacher in order to become the disciple of another. He even tried to convince Shariputra and Maudgalyayana to stay, offering them positions as co-leaders of his own movement. Shariputra and Maudgalyayana were not interested in mere leadership—they were determined to attain liberation under a true teacher, so they both left, taking half of Sanjaya’s 500 disciples with them.

When Shakyamuni Buddha saw the two friends coming to meet him, he announced to the assembly that they would become his chief disciples. The Buddha ordained the two as monks right away. After a week of intensive practice, Maudgalyayana attained the fourth stage of Hinayana enlightenment and became an arhat who would no longer have to be reborn.Lotus World: An Illustrated Guide to the Gohonzon