Tag Archives: LS12

Day 12

Day 12 concludes Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City, and completes the Third Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month heard the 16 princes plea for the Buddha to expound the teaching of Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi, the Buddha assented to the appeal of the śramaṇeras.

“Seeing the sixteen princes having renounced the world, eight billion followers of the wheel-turning-holy-king begged the king to allow them to do the same. He conceded to them immediately.

“The Buddha assented to the appeal of the śramaṇeras, but it was twenty thousand kalpas afterwards that he expounded to the four kinds of devotees the sūtra of the Great Vehicle called the ‘Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, the Dharma for Bodhisattvas, the Dharma Upheld by the Buddhas.’

“When the Buddha completed the expounding of this sūtra, the sixteen śramaṇeras kept, recited and understood this sūtra in order to attain Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. The sixteen śramaṇeras, [ who were] Bodhisattvas, received this sūtra by faith. Some Śrāvakas understood it by faith, but the other Śrāvakas and other living beings, thousands of billions in number, doubted it.

See The Central Buddha

The Central Buddha

This is the narrative of Great-Universally-Excelling-Wisdom Buddha. After telling this story, Sakyamuni discloses that these sixteen Bodhisattva-disciples have already attained enlightenment and are now Buddhas. …

By listing the names of the Buddhas, Sakyamuni reveals that in a previous existence, he himself had been one of those sixteen princes who had become Bodhisattva-disciples. What is more, he proclaimed that he was the central Buddha, since he was the sixteenth of those princes, and the one who was to conclude the story.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 12

Day 12 concludes Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City, and completes the Third Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month heard Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata turn the wheel of the Dharma, we hear 16 princes plea for the Buddha to expound the teaching of Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi.

“When the Buddha expounded these teachings to the great multitude of gods and men, six hundred billion nayuta men emancipated themselves from āsravas, and obtained profound and wonderful dhyāna-concentrations, the six supernatural powers including the three major supernatural powers, and the eight emancipations because they gave up wrong views. At his second, third and fourth expoundings of these teachings also, thousands of billions of nayutas of living beings, that is, as many living beings as there are sands in the River Ganges, emancipated themselves from āsravas because they gave up wrong views. [They became Śrāvakas.] Those who became Śrāvakas thereafter were also innumerable, uncountable.

“The sixteen princes were young boys at that time. They renounced the world and became śramaṇeras. Their sense organs were keen; and their wisdom, bright. They had already made offerings to hundreds of thousands of billions of Buddhas, performed brahma practices, and sought Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi in their previous existence. They said to the Buddha simultaneously, ‘World-Honored One! All these Śrāvakas of great virtue, many thousands of billions in number, have already done [what they should do]. World-Honored One! Expound to us the teaching of Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi! If we hear that teaching, we will study and practice it. World-Honored One! We wish to have the insight of the Tathāgata. You know what we have deep in our minds.’

See Two Kinds of Nirvana

Two Kinds of Nirvana

The “two kinds of nirvana” refer to the enlightenment achieved by Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas under the guidance of the Lesser Vehicle. Because students of the Lesser Vehicle looked upon the world negatively (as something from which to escape), they eventually refused to continue the dangerous and tiresome journey through life. The enlightenment which they attained could be described as “reducing the body to ashes and the mind to annihilation in the great void.” But this, said the Buddha, is only an expedient along the journey. It is meant only to keep people from getting attached to physical or mental objects.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 12

Day 12 concludes Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City, and completes the Third Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month concluded Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City, we begin Day 12’s portion.

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion [worlds], having praised the Buddha with these gāthās, said to him, ‘World-Honored One! Turn the wheel of the Dharma so that
all living beings may be peaceful, and that they may be saved!’ They said in gāthās:

World-Honored One, turn the wheel of the Dharma,
Beat the drum of the Dharma as sweet as nectar,
Save the suffering beings,
And show them the way to Nirvāṇa!

Assent to our appeal!
You studied the Dharma for innumerable kalpas.
Expound it with your exceedingly wonderful voice
Out of your compassion towards us!

“Thereupon Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata, having assented to the appeals made by the Brahman-heavenly­kings of the words of the ten quarters and also by the sixteen princes, turned the wheel of the teaching [of the four truths] three times, making twelve proclamations altogether. The wheel of this teaching could not be turned by any other one in the world, be he a śramaṇas, a brahmana, a god, Mara or Brahman. The Buddha said, ‘This is suffering. This is the cause of suffering. This is extinction of suffering. This is the Way to extinction of suffering.’

“Then he expounded the teaching of the twelve causes, saying, ‘Ignorance causes predisposition. Predisposition causes consciousness. Consciousness causes name-and-form. Name­and-form causes the six sense organs. The six sense organs cause impression. Impression causes feeling. Feeling causes craving. Craving causes grasping. Grasping causes existence. Existence causes birth. Birth causes aging-and-death, grief, sorrow, suffering and lamentation. When ignorance is eliminated, predisposition is eliminated. When predisposition is eliminated, consciousness is eliminated. When consciousness is eliminated, name-and-form is eliminated. When name-and-form is eliminated, the six sense organs are eliminated. When the six sense organs are eliminated, impression is eliminated. When impression is eliminated, feeling is eliminated. When feeling is eliminated, craving is eliminated. When craving is eliminated, grasping is eliminated. When grasping is eliminated, existence is eliminated. When existence is eliminated, birth is eliminated. When birth is eliminated, aging-and-death, grief, sorrow, suffering and lamentation are eliminated.’

See Teachings for Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas

Teachings for Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas

The First Noble Truth is, “All is suffering.” Suffering here refers to the situation in which we cannot meet our desires or wishes. This truth implies that all life is suffering as long as we are dominated by greed, ignorance of the law, and hostility towards others. Our desires can never be fully satisfied.

The Second Noble Truth states, “The cause of sufferings is ignorance.” This means that suffering in life is caused by ignorance arising from our instincts, such as thirst, hunger, sex, and fear.

The Third Noble Truth states, “The extinction of ignorance is nirvana.” The sravakas took this to mean that ignorance could be extinguished only by quenching human desires.

The Fourth Noble Truth maintains, “The Way to Nirvana is by practicing the Eightfold Path.” The Eightfold Path consists of (1) right views (a correct understanding of the Four Noble Truths), (2) right thoughts (the ability to reflect on the Four Truths), (3) right speech (speaking only the truth and words of kindness), (4) right deeds (proper acts—that is, morality), (5) right livelihood (making a living without harming others), (6) right effort (or exertion), (7) right memory (memory of things beneficial to enlightenment), and (8) right concentration of mind (correct meditation).

The Twelve Interdependent Causes are: (1) ignorance, (2) predisposition, (3) consciousness, (4) “name and form” (an entity of mind and body), (5) the six sense-organs, (6) contact (touch), (7) sensation, (8) craving, (9) grasping, (10) existence, (11) birth, and (12) aging and death. (Since death results in “ignorance,” the whole cycle begins all over again.) Each cause is dependent on its predecessor. For instance, the first cause, ignorance, is the origin of all illusions. At the same time, it generates the second action of predisposition, which induces the third factor of consciousness (the first consciousness after conception takes place), which further produces the fourth cause of “name and form,” and so on. Since the world of illusions is gradually formed through this chain of actions, we will be able to attain enlightenment by eliminating these causes one by one, starting with the last cause.

It is generally said that the teaching of the Four Noble Truths is for sravakas, and that of the Twelve Causes is for Pratyekabuddhas.

Day 12

Day 12 concludes Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City, and completes the Third Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month paused along the road to the place of treasures, we conclude Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City.

I am like the leader.
I am the leader of all living beings.
I saw that halfway some got tired
With the seeking of enlightenment,
And that they could not pass through the dangerous road
Of birth-and-death and illusions.
Therefore, I expounded to them the teaching of Nirvāṇa
As an expedient to give them a rest, saying:
“You have already eliminated sufferings.
You have done everything you should do.”

Now I see that they have already attained Nirvāṇa
And that they have become Arhats.
Therefore, I now collect the great multitude,
And expound to them the true teaching.

The Buddhas expound the teaching of the Three Vehicles
Only as an expedient.
There is only the One Buddha-Vehicle.
The two [vehicles] were taught only as resting places.

Now I will tell you the truth.
What you attained is not [true] extinction.
Make great efforts in order to obtain
The Buddha’s knowledge of all things.
When you obtain the knowledge of all things
And the ten powers of the Buddha,
And the thirty-two physical marks,
You will be able to say that you attained true extinction.
The Buddhas, the Leaders, expound the teaching of Nirvāṇa
In order to give a rest [to all living beings].
When they see them having already had a rest,
They lead them to the wisdom of the Buddha.

[Here ends] the Third Volume of the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

See Sharing the Heart of the Buddha

Sharing the Heart of the Buddha

In the chapters which follow, the Lotus Sutra will affirm that: (1) faith in Sakyamuni Buddha of this our World of Endurance and (2) practices based on that faith should be the core of Buddhism, even though many subsidiary teachings may exist.

Meanwhile, the story of the sixteen princes is intended to teach that the Bodhisattvas (the princes) must do what Sakyamuni did – save all living beings by teaching the truth. Although the profound wisdom of the Buddha is beyond the reach of Bodhisattvas, they nevertheless share the heart of the Buddha. That heart is a commitment to universal salvation – the act of benefiting others.

In the chapters which follow, we shall see some examples of such acts performed by some of the Bodhisattvas, and the story of the sixteen princes here serves as an introduction to those practices.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 12

Day 12 concludes Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City, and completes the Third Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month witnessed how the sixteen śramaṇeras practiced the Way to Buddhahood and taught the Dharma, we consider the dangerous road to the place of treasures.

Suppose there was a bad and dangerous road.
Many wild animals lived in the neighborhood.
No man was there; no water nor grass there.
The road was so fearful.

Many tens of millions of people
Wished to pass through this dangerous road.
The road was very long.
It was five hundred yojanas long.

The people had a leader.
He had a good memory.
He was wise and resolute in mind.
He could save people from dangers.

Getting tired,
The people said to him:
“We are tired.
We wish to go back.”

He thought:
‘How pitiful they are!
Why do they wish to return
Without getting great treasures?’

Thinking of an expedient, he said to himself:
‘I will use my supernatural powers.’
He made a great city by magic,
And adorned it with houses.

The city was surrounded by gardens, forests,
And by ponds and pools for bathing.
Many-storied gates and tall buildings [in that city]
Were filled with men and women.

Having made all this by magic,
He consoled the people, saying:
“Do not be afraid! Enter that city!
And do anything you like!”

They entered that city,
And had great joy.
They felt peaceful,
And thought that they had already passed [through the road].

Seeing that they had already had a rest,
The leader collected them, and said:
“Go on ahead now! This is a magic city.
You were tired out halfway.
You wished to go back.
Therefore, I made this city by magic As an expedient.
Make efforts!
Let us go to the place of treasures!”

Onward!

Day 12

Day 12 concludes Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City, and completes the Third Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month witnessed the sixteen princes renouncing the world and becoming śramaṇeras, we continue in gāthās with how those sixteen śramaṇeras practiced the Way to Buddhahood and taught the Dharma.

Those sixteen śramaṇeras practiced the Way to Buddhahood.
They are now in the worlds of the ten quarters.
They have already attained
Perfect enlightenment [and become Buddhas].

Those who heard the Dharma from those śramaṇeras
Are now living under those Buddhas.
To those who are still in Śrāvakahood
[The Buddhas] teach the Way to Buddhahood.

I was one of the sixteen śramaṇeras.
You were among those to whom I expounded the Dharma.
Therefore, I now lead you with expedients
To the wisdom of the Buddha.

Because I taught you in my previous existence,
I expound the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma
In order to lead you into the Way to Buddhahood.
Think it over! Do not be surprised! Do not be afraid!

“Because I taught you in my previous existence…” I am able to hear today the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma. Imagine that.