Tag Archives: LS15

Day 15

Day 15 concludes Chapter 10, The Teacher of the Dharma, and opens Chapter 11, Beholding the Stūpa of Treasures.

Having last month heard Great Eloquence Bodhisattava ask about the loud voice that came from within the Stupa, he hear the Buddha’s reply.

The Buddha said to him:

“The perfect body of a Tathāgata is in this stūpa of treasures. A long time ago there was a world called Treasure-Purity at the distance of many thousands of billions of asaṃkhyas of worlds to the east [of this world]. In that world lived a Buddha called Many-Treasures. When he was yet practicing the Way of Bodhisattvas, he made a great vow: ‘If anyone expounds a sūtra called the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma in any of the worlds of the ten quarters after I become a Buddha and pass away, I will cause my stūpa-mausoleum to spring up before him so that 1 may be able to prove the truthfulness of the sūtra and say ‘excellent’ in praise of him because I wish to hear that sūtra [directly from him].”

“He attained enlightenment[, and became a Buddha]. When he was about to pass away, he said to the bhikṣus in the presence of the great multitude of gods and men, ‘If you wish to make offerings to my perfect body after my extinction, erect a great stūpa!’

“If anyone expounds the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma in any of the worlds of the ten quarters, that Buddha, by his supernatural powers and by the power of his vow, will cause the stūpa of treasures enshrining his perfect body to spring up before the expounder of the sūtra. Then he will praise [the expounder of the sūtra], saying, ‘Excellent, excellent!’

“Great-Eloquence! Now Many-Treasures Tathāgata caused his stūpa to spring up from underground in order to hear the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma [directly from me]. Now he praised me, saying, ‘Excellent, excellent!’ ”

See One Single Entity

One Single Entity

Let us go back for a moment to the Stupa of Treasures. Ordinarily a Stupa is a mausoleum where the relics (ashes) of Sakyamuni are enshrined. Once Sakyamuni is extinct, living beings can worship him only in his relics. The Sutra says that Many-Treasures Buddha will appear whenever and wherever the Lotus Sutra is expounded. This means that the living Sakyamuni, represented by his relics, and the Lotus Sutra are united as one single entity.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 15

Day 15 concludes Chapter 10, The Teacher of the Dharma, and opens Chapter 11, Beholding the Stūpa of Treasures.

Having last month beheld the Stupa of Treasures, we hear a loud voice from within the Stupa.

Thereupon a loud voice of praise was heard from within the stupa of treasures:

“Excellent, excellent! You, Śākyamuni, the World-Honored One, have expounded to this great multitude the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, the Teaching of Equality, the Great Wisdom, the Dharma for Bodhisattvas, the Dharma Upheld by the Buddhas. So it is, so it is. What you, Śākyamuni, the World-Honored One, have expounded is all true.”

Thereupon the four kinds of devotees [in the congregation], having seen the great stupa of treasures hanging in the sky, and having heard the voice from within the stupa, had delight in the Dharma, but wondered why these unprecedented things had happened. They rose from their seats, joined their hands together [towards the stupa] respectfully, retired, and stood to one side.

Thereupon a Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas called Great-Eloquence, having noticed that the gods, men and asuras of the world had doubts, said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One! Why did this stupa of treasures spring up from underground? Why was that voice heard from within [the stupa]?”

See A Perfect, Ideal World

A Perfect, Ideal World

[T]he emergence of a perfect, ideal world is represented by the Stupa of Treasures hanging in space, which now becomes the setting for preaching. The sky in general symbolizes eternity and constancy.

Thus each of the seemingly fantastic events in this chapter has a symbolic meaning of the Buddhist ideal. Based on these ideas, the following chapters will gradually disclose the central thoughts of the Lotus Sutra: (1) the concept of the Original Buddha, and (2) the notion that our World of Endurance is essentially the same as the Pure World.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 15

Day 15 concludes Chapter 10, The Teacher of the Dharma, and opens Chapter 11, Beholding the Stūpa of Treasures.

Having last month concluded Chapter 10, The Teacher of the Dharma, we behold the Stupa of Treasures.

Thereupon a stupa of the seven treasures sprang up from underground and hung in the sky before the Buddha. The stupa was five hundred yojanas high and two hundred and fifty yojanas wide and deep. lt was adorned with various treasures. It was furnished with five thousand railings and ten million chambers. It was adorned with innumerable banners and streamers, from which jeweled necklaces and billions of jeweled bells were hanging down. The fragrance of tamalapattra and candana was sent forth from the four sides of the stupa to all the corners of the world. Many canopies, adorned with streamers, and made of the seven treasures-gold, silver, lapis lazuli, shell, agate, pearl and ruby were hanging in the sky [one upon another from the top of the stupa] up to the [heaven of the] palaces of the four heavenly-kings. The thirty-three gods offered a rain of heavenly mandārava-flowers to the stupa of treasures. Thousands of billions of living beings, including the other gods, dragons, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, men and nonhuman beings, also offered flowers, incense, necklaces, streamers, canopies and music to the stupa of treasures, venerated the stupa, honored it, and praised it.

Lotus World offers this on the arrival of the Stupa of Treasures:

The jeweled stupa arising from the earth represents the emergence of Buddhahood (the stupa) from the ground of Buddha-nature in people’s ordinary lives (the earth). The transformation of this world is a graphic reminder that this world is the real pure land where enlightenment actually occurs. The recall of the emanated Buddhas from the pure lands reveals that these idealized Buddhas are personifications of the enlightened qualities and inner life of the historical Shakyamuni Buddha. The image of Many Treasures Tathagata and Shakyamuni Buddha seated together symbolizes the unity of the true reality of life and the wisdom of the person who awakens to reality.Lotus World: An Illustrated Guide to the Gohonzon

Day 15

Day 15 concludes Chapter 10, The Teacher of the Dharma, and opens Chapter 11, Beholding the Stūpa of Treasures.

Having last month considered in gāthās the three things to do before expounding the Lotus Sūtra, we conclude Chapter 10.

If anyone speaks ill of you, or threatens you
With swords, sticks, tile-pieces or stones
While you are expounding this sūtra,
Think of me, and be patient!

My body is pure and indestructible.
I will appear in any of many thousands of billions of worlds
During many hundreds of millions of kalpas,
And expound the Dharma to the living beings.

If a teacher of the Dharma expounds this sūtra
After my extinction,
I will manifest the four kinds of devotees:
Bhikṣus, bhikṣunīs, and men and women of pure faith,
And dispatch them to him
So that they may make offerings to him,
And that they may lead many living beings,
Collecting them to hear the Dharma [from him].

If he is hated and threatened
With swords, sticks, tile-pieces or stones,
I will manifest men and dispatch them to him
In order to protect him.

If an expounder of the Dharma
Reads and recites this sūtra
In a retired and quiet place,
Where no human voice is heard,
I will show my pure and radiant body to him.
If he forgets a sentence or a phrase of this sūtra,
I will tell it to him
For his complete understanding.

Anyone who expounds this sūtra to the four kinds of devotees,
Or reads or recites this sūtra in a retired place,
After doing these [three] virtuous things,
Will be able to see me.

If he lives in a retired place,
I will dispatch gods, dragon-kings, yakṣas,
Demigods, and others to him,
And have them hear the Dharma [from him].

He will expound the Dharma with joy.
He will expound it without hindrance.
He will cause a great multitude to rejoice
Because he is protected by all the Buddhas.

Those who come to this teacher of the Dharma
Will be able to complete the Way of Bodhisattvas quickly.
Those who follow him and study will be able to see
As many Buddhas as there are sands in the River Ganges.

The Daily Dharma from April 18, 2017, offers this:

Anyone who expounds this sūtra to the four kinds of devotees,
Or reads or recites this sūtra in a retired place,
After doing these [three] virtuous things,
Will be able to see me.

The Buddha sings these verses to Medicine-King Bodhisattva in Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sūtra. While the Buddha was alive 2500 years ago, people traveled great distances and endure great hardships just to see him. Today, even though the man named Siddhartha Gautama is no longer in our world, we are assured that the ever-present Śākyamuni is always with us and leading us to his enlightenment. When we make the effort to keep, read, recite, copy and expound this Sūtra, it is as if we are traveling great distances and enduring great hardships.

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

Day 15

Day 15 concludes Chapter 10, The Teacher of the Dharma, and opens Chapter 11, Beholding the Stūpa of Treasures.

Having last month digressed to consider the thirsty man on a plateau, we return to the gāthās.

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

If you wish to give up all indolence,
Hear this sūtra!
It is difficult to hear this sūtra.
Few receive it by faith.

A man on a plateau, feeling thirsty,
Dug a hole in order to get water.
As long as he saw the dug-out lumps of earth were dry,
He knew that water was still far off.
When he found the earth wet and muddy,
He was convinced that water was near.

In the same manner, Medicine-King, know this!
Those who do not hear
The Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma
Are far from the wisdom of the Buddha.

In this profound sūtra
The teachings for the Śrāvakas are criticized.
Those who hear
That this sūtra is the king of all the sūtras,
And think over this sūtra clearly after hearing it,
Know this, will approach the wisdom of the Buddha.
If you wish to expound this sūtra,
Enter the room of the Tathāgata,
Wear the robe of the Tathāgata,
Sit on the seat of the Tathāgata,
[And after doing these three things,]
Expound it to people without fear!

To enter the room of the Tathāgata means to have great compassion.
To wear his robe means to be gentle and patient.
To sit on his seat means to see the voidness of all things.
Expound the Dharma only after you do these [three] things!

The Daily Dharma from March 14, 2017, offers this:

In this profound sūtra
The teachings for the Śrāvakas are criticized.
Those who hear
That this sūtra is the king of all the sūtras,
And think over this sūtra clearly after hearing it,
Know this, will approach the wisdom of the Buddha.

The Buddha sings these verses to Medicine-King Bodhisattva in Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sūtra. He has already declared that the sūtra he is teaching is the closest to his own wisdom, that it is different from anything he has taught before, and that it is the teaching for Bodhisattvas. The expedient teachings he gave to Śrāvakas before this sūtra were limited because they did not show the way to enlightenment for all beings. As we keep this sūtra in our minds, and learn to recognize it in our daily lives, we not only approach our own enlightenment, we lead all beings to enjoy the Buddha’s wisdom.

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

Day 15

Day 15 concludes Chapter 10, The Teacher of the Dharma, and opens Chapter 11, Beholding the Stūpa of Treasures.

Having last month learned of the benefits of expounding the sūtra, I want to pause before continuing wit the gāthās and return this:

“Medicine-King! Suppose a man on a plateau felt thirsty and sought water. He dug a hole in order to get water. As long as he saw the dug-out lumps of earth were dry, he knew that water was still far off. He went on digging, and then found the dug-out lumps of earth wet. When he finally found mud, he was convinced that water was near. In the same manner, know this, the Bodhisattvas who have not yet heard, understood or practised this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, are still far from Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. [The Bodhisattvas] who hear, understand, think over and practice this sūtra, will approach Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. Why is that? It is because Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi which all the Bodhisattvas [should attain] is expounded only in this sūtra. This sūtra opens the gate of expedients and reveals the seal of the truth. The store of this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma is sound and deep. No one can reach its core. Now I show it to the Bodhisattvas in order to teach them and cause them to attain [Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi].

This simile of the thirsty man on a plateau has always puzzled me. I couldn’t see a way to apply this to my life. That is until today when it occurred to me that I was like the thirsty man on a plateau more than 28 years ago when, recently divorced, I felt a thirst for something spiritual that had been missing in my life. I dug in search of something to quench this thirst and eventually was introduced to Soka Gakkai. The ground was wet and for two decades I made do, extracting what water I could from the mud. Eventually I grew tired of the mud and decided to dig further, to explore more, to practice and study more. The effort led me to a clear spring of water within Nichiren Shu and the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma. Today I drink to my heart’s content.

Day 15

Day 15 concludes Chapter 10, The Teacher of the Dharma, and opens Chapter 11, Beholding the Stūpa of Treasures.

Having last month learned of the necessity of hearing the sūtra, we now hear the benefits of expounding the sūtra.

“Medicine-King! The Bodhisattvas who, having been surprised at hearing this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, doubt and fear it, know this, are beginners in Bodhisattvahood. The Śrāvakas who, having been surprised at hearing this sūtra, doubt and fear it, know this, are men of arrogance.

“Medicine-King! How should the good men or women who live after my extinction expound this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to the four kinds of devotees when they wish to? They should enter the room of the Tathāgata, wear the robe of the Tathāgata, sit on the seat of the Tathāgata, and then expound this sūtra to the four kinds of devotees. To enter the room of the Tathāgata means to have great compassion towards all living beings. To wear the robe of the Tathāgata means to be gentle and patient. To sit on the seat of the Tathāgata means to see the voidness of all things. They should do these [three] things and then without indolence expound this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to Bodhisattvas and the four kinds of devotees.

“Medicine-King! Although I shall be in another world [after my extinction], I will manifest men and women [by my supernatural powers], dispatch them [to the expounder of the Dharma], and have them collect people to hear the Dharma from him. I also will manifest monks, nuns and men or women of faith [by my supernatural powers], dispatch them, and have them hear the Dharma from them. These people manifested [by my supernatural powers] will hear the Dharma [from him], receive it by faith, follow it, and not oppose it. If he lives in a retired place, I will dispatch gods, dragons, demigods, gandharvas, asuras, and others to him, and have them hear the Dharma from him. Although I shall be in another world, l will cause him to see me from time to time. If he forgets a phrase of this sūtra, I will tell it to him for his complete [understanding].”

The Daily Dharma from Aug. 23, 2016, offers this:

To enter the room of the Tathāgata means to have great compassion towards all living beings. To wear the robe of the Tathāgata means to be gentle and patient. To sit on the seat of the Tathāgata means to see the voidness of all things. They should do these [three] things and then without indolence expound this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to Bodhisattvas and the four kinds of devotees.

The Buddha, the Tathāgata, gives this description to Medicine-King Bodhisattva in Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sūtra. When we awaken to our nature as Bodhisattvas and resolve to benefit other beings, we often find we do not know how to accomplish this. In the Lotus Sūtra, the Buddha gives instructions for reaching others and helping them let go of their delusions. By voidness the Buddha does not mean that nothing exists, rather that nothing has an inherent existence. Nobody is innately ignorant or innately wise. When we maintain our resolve to improve the world, maintain our patience and increase our capacities, and see the possibility of enlightenment for everyone, then are we truly living the Buddha’s teachings.

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


Day 15

Day 15 concludes Chapter 10, The Teacher of the Dharma, and opens Chapter 11, Beholding the Stūpa of Treasures.

Having last month begun the instructions given to Medicine-King Bodhisattva, we learn of the necessity of hearing the sūtra.

“Medicine-King! Although many laymen or monks will practice the Way of Bodhisattvas, they will not be able to practice it satisfactorily, know this, unless they see, hear, read, recite, copy or keep this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma or make offerings to it. If they hear this sūtra, they will. Anyone who, while seeking the enlightenment of the Buddha, sees or hears this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, and after hearing it, understands it by faith and keeps it, know this, will approach Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi.

“Medicine-King! Suppose a man on a plateau felt thirsty and sought water. He dug a hole in order to get water. As long as he saw the dug-out lumps of earth were dry, he knew that water was still far off. He went on digging, and then found the dug-out lumps of earth wet. When he finally found mud, he was convinced that water was near. In the same manner, know this, the Bodhisattvas who have not yet heard, understood or practiced this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, are still far from Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. [The Bodhisattvas] who hear, understand, think over and practice this sūtra, will approach Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. Why is that? It is because Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi which all the Bodhisattvas [should attain] is expounded only in this sūtra. This sūtra opens the gate of expedients and reveals the seal of the truth. The store of this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma is sound and deep. No one can reach its core. Now I show it to the Bodhisattvas in order to teach them and cause them to attain [Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi].

The Daily Dharma from Jan. 17, 2017, offers this:

This sūtra opens the gate of expedients and reveals the seal of the truth. The store of this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma is sound and deep. No one can reach its core. Now I show it to the Bodhisattvas in order to teach them and cause them to attain [Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi].

The Buddha declares these lines to Medicine-King Bodhisattva in Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sūtra. At the beginning of the sūtra, the Buddha declared that he was no longer preparing those who hear him to receive his highest wisdom. The purpose of his instruction was always to lead all beings to unsurpassed enlightenment, even though it seemed that he was ending their suffering. When later the Buddha revealed his true existence as constantly present in our world, he showed that this teaching is not just something he did 2500 years ago. He is teaching this Wonderful Dharma for the benefit of all beings right now, today.

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