Tag Archives: LS19

Day 19

Day 19 concludes Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices, and begins Chapter 15, The Appearance of Bodhisattvas from Underground.

Having last month concluded Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices, with a dream sequence, with begin Chapter 15, The Appearance of Bodhisattvas from Underground.

Thereupon the Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas, more than eight times the number of the sands of the River Ganges, who had come from the other worlds, rose from among the great multitude, joined their hands together towards the Buddha, bowed to him, and said:

“World-Honored One! If you permit us to protect, keep, read, recite and copy this sūtra, and make offerings to it strenuously in this Sahā-World after your-extinction, we will [do so, and] expound it in this world.”

Thereupon the Buddha said to those Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas:

“No, good men! I do not want you to protect or keep this sūtra because there are Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas sixty thousand times as many as the sands of the River Ganges in this Sahā-World. They are each accompanied by attendants also numbering sixty thousand times as many as the sands of the River Ganges. They will protect, keep, read, recite and expound this sūtra after my extinction.”

See The Bodhisattvas from Underground

The Bodhisattvas from Underground

We recall that in Chapter Eleven, “Beholding the Stupa of Treasures,” Sakyamuni had appealed from within the Stupa to the congregation. “Is there anyone here,” he asked, “who is willing to expound the Lotus Sutra in the world after my extinction? I wish to hand it on to someone so that it can be perpetuated.” In Chapter Thirteen, “Encouragement for Keeping the Sutra,” eighty thousand Bodhisattvas of superior quality, such as Medicine-King Bodhisattva, and eighty thousand billion other great Bodhisattvas respond to his appeal and offer to keep and spread the Sutra in our world. But Sakyamuni did not answer them. Instead, he went on to expound Chapter Fourteen, “Peaceful Practices.” As Chapter Fifteen begins, countless Bodhisattvas, “more than eight times the number of sands in the River Ganges,” stand up before the Buddha and reiterate their offer to spread the Sutra. “We are the ones,” they promise, “who will disseminate the Lotus Sutra in this World of Endurance.” But Sakyamuni gives them an unexpected answer:

“No,” he said, “You don’t need to protect or uphold this sutra, because there are (already) Bodhisattvas in this World of Endurance, as many as sixty thousand times the number of sands in the River Ganges, and they are the ones who will assume the responsibility for disseminating the Sutra in this Saha-world.”

No sooner had he spoken these words, when the ground quaked and cracked, and countless Bodhisattvas emerged from beneath the earth like clouds, and sprang up into the air. All of these extraordinary beings were golden colored. They emitted brilliant rays of light, and displayed the “thirty-two marks of Buddhas.”

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 19

Day 19 concludes Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices, and begins Chapter 15, The Appearance of Bodhisattvas from Underground.

Having last month heard the merits of anyone who reads this sūtra, we conclude Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices, with a dream sequence.

He will see only wonderful things in his dream.
He will dream:
‘Surrounded by bhikṣus,
The Tathāgatas are sitting
On the lion-like seats,
And expounding the Dharma.’

He also will dream:
‘As many living beings, including dragons and asuras,
As there are sands in the River Ganges
Are joining their hands together
Towards me respectfully,
And I am expounding the Dharma to them.’

He also will dream:
‘The bodies of the Buddhas are golden-colored.
They are emitting innumerable ray of light,
And illumining all things.
The Buddhas are expounding all teachings
With their brahma voices.
I am among the four kinds of devotees
To whom a Buddha is expounding
The unsurpassed Dharma.
I praised the Buddha
With my hands joined together.
I heard the Dharma from him with joy.
I made offerings to him, and obtained dharanis.
I also obtained irrevocable wisdom.
The Buddha knew
That I entered deep into the Way to Buddhahood.
So he assured me of my future attainment
Of perfect enlightenment, saying:
‘Good man, in your future life,
You will be able to attain immeasurable wisdom,
That is, the great enlightenment: of the Buddha.
Your world will be pure and large
Without a parallel.
There will be the four kinds of devotees there.
They will hear the Dharma from you
With their hands joined together.’

He also will dream:
‘I am now in the forest of a mountain.
[ studied and practiced good teachings.
[ attained the truth of the reality of all things.
I am now in deep dhyāna-concentration.
I see the Buddhas of the worlds of the ten quarters.’

He also will have a good dream:
‘The bodies of the Buddhas are golden-colored.
They are adorned with a hundred marks of merits.
Having heard the Dharma from them,
I am now expounding it to others.’

He also will dream:
‘Although I was a king,
I gave up the five desires
And the most wonderful pleasures.
I left my palace and attendants,
And reached the place of enlightenment.
I sat on the lion-like seat under the Bodhi-tree,
And sought enlightenment.
After seven days, I obtained the wisdom of the Buddhas
And attained unsurpassed enlightenment.
I emerged [from dhyāna] and turned the wheel of the Dharma.
I expounded the Dharma to the four kinds of devotees
For a thousand billion kalpas.
I expounded the Wonderful Dharma-without-āsravas
And saved innumerable living beings.
Then I entered into Nirvana
Just as a flame dies when smoke is gone.’

Anyone who expounds
This supreme teaching
In the evil world after [my extinction]
Will obtain great benefits as previously stated.

See Peaceful Practices of Resolution

Peaceful Practices of Resolution

This is to resolve solemnly to make every effort to realize and spread the Lotus Sutra in the Age of Degeneration, or the evil world of the future. There are three points.

  1. The Bodhisattva should have great loving-kindness toward both clergy and laity, and great compassion toward those who are not Bodhisattvas. (This is called the subject of resolution.)
  2. The reason is that people do not understand that the Buddha expounded expedient teachings according to the capacities of living beings, and they neither believe it nor understand it. (This is the reason for resolution.)
  3. Therefore, when a Bodhisattva attains supreme-perfect-enlightenment, he or she will resolve to lead all people to the Lotus Sutra, and by means of his acquired supernatural powers and wisdom, cause them to understand the law (p. 220).
Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 19

Day 19 concludes Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices, and begins Chapter 15, The Appearance of Bodhisattvas from Underground.

Having last month considered the Parable of the Priceless Gem in the Topknot, we hear the merits of anyone who reads this sūtra.

This is the most honorable sūtra.
It is superior to all the other sūtras.
I kept it [in secret]
And refrained from expounding it.
Now is the time to do so.
Therefore, I expound it to you now.

Anyone who seeks
The enlightenment of the Buddha
And wishes to expound this sūtra
In peaceful ways after my extinction,
Should practice
These four sets of things.

Anyone who reads this sūtra
Will be free from grief,
Sorrow, disease or pain.
His complexion will be fair.
He will not be poor,
Humble or ugly.

All living beings
Will wish to see him
Just as they wish to see sages and saints.
Celestial pages will serve him.

He will not be struck with swords or sticks.
He will not be poisoned.
If anyone speaks ill of him,
The speaker’s mouth will be shut.
He will be able to go anywhere
As fearless as the lion king.
The light of his wisdom will be
As bright as that of the sun.

See Four Kinds of Peaceful Practices

Four Kinds of Peaceful Practices

“Peaceful practices” designates ways to preach and spread the Sutra while keeping your body and mind relaxed and peaceful. The chapter discusses four kinds of peaceful practices: those of body, mouth, mind, and resolution (vows).

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 19

Day 19 concludes Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices, and begins Chapter 15, The Appearance of Bodhisattvas from Underground.

Having last month begun the gāthās, we consider the Parable of the Priceless Gem in the Topknot.

I will tell you a parable.
A wheel-turning-holy-king was powerful.
Some of his soldiers
Distinguished themselves in war.
He was glad to honor them.
He gave them elephants or horses,
Vehicles or ornaments,
Paddy fields or houses,
Villages or cities,
Garments or various treasures,
Menservants or maidservants,
Or other valuables.

He took a brilliant gem
Out of his top-knot
And gave it to the bravest man
Who had done the most difficult feats.

I am like the king.
I am the King of the Dharma.
I have the great power of patience
And the treasury of wisdom.
I save all living beings in the world by the Dharma
Out of my great compassion towards them.

The people were under the pressure
Of various sufferings.
They were fighting with the Maras
In order to emancipate themselves
From suffering.
Because I saw all this,
I expounded various teachings to them.
I expounded many sūtras with skillful expedients.

Now I know that they can understand the Sutra
Of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.
Therefore, I expound it to them lastly
Just as the king took the brilliant gem
Out of his top-knot
And gave it [to the bravest man lastly].

See Shakubuku and Shoju and Peaceful Practices

Shakubuku and Shoju and Peaceful Practices

[T]he Sutra says that anyone who reads, recites, and expounds the Lotus Sutra will be attractive in appearance, fearless, safe from accidents, and served by angels from heaven. It goes on to say that the figure of the Buddha will appear in the dreams of such a person, lead him or her to renounce the world, attain enlightenment, and enter Nirvana just as the Buddha does.

This is an outline of the chapter called “Peaceful Practices.” The message of this chapter stands in contrast with that of the previous chapter, “Encouragement for Keeping the Sutra.” In that chapter, we recall, the Sutra tells us that we should be ready to accept any difficulty, and endure patiently if we come under persecution while spreading the Sutra. This also means that, in order to spread the Sutra, we must try to convince and convert someone who may be causing us problems. Later, in Chapter Twenty, “Never-Despise Bodhisattva,” the Sutra will tell us about a Bodhisattva named Never-Despise, who used to bow to and respect everyone he met, preaching the law to them, even when they hit him or threw stones at him.

Great Master Chih-i and Nichiren called such ways of spreading the Dharma, shakubuku, meaning “converting others by persistent preaching.” On the other hand, spreading the law by peaceful practices, as described in this chapter, is called shoju, “accepting.”

Shakubuku is the way to reproach opponents for their errors and make them awaken from their illusions. Shoju is to lead and convince them by respectfully accepting and understanding their viewpoints and situations. The difference between these two ways of propagation depends on the times and the abilities of the hearers to understand. Although the two methods seem to be entirely different, they have the same aim—to save others. Therefore, they share the same spirit.

In the history of Buddhism, Great Master Chih-i generally undertook the way of shoju, and Nichiren generally practiced the way of shakubuku. However, Chih-i also valued the spirit of shakubuku, and Nichiren also gave importance to the spirit of shoju. In our times, the way of shoju seems more appropriate, but it must be flavored with the spirit of shakubuku, too.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 19

Day 19 concludes Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices, and begins Chapter 15, The Appearance of Bodhisattvas from Underground.

Having last month considered the superiority of this Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, we repeat in gāthās.

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

Be patient, and compassionate
Towards all living beings,
And then expound this sūtra
Praised by the Buddhas!

Anyone who keeps this sūtra
In the latter days after my extinction
Should have compassion towards laymen and monks
And towards those who are not Bodhisattvas.
He should think:
‘They do not hear this sūtra.
They do not believe it.
This is their great fault.
When I attain the enlightenment of the Buddha,
I will expound the Dharma to them
With expedients
And cause them to dwell in it.’

Underscore patient and compassionate towards all living beings.

Day 19

Day 19 concludes Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices, and begins Chapter 15, The Appearance of Bodhisattvas from Underground.

Having last month considered the Parable of the Priceless Gem in the Top Knot, we hear of the superiority of this Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

“Mañjuśrī! This Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma is the most excellent and profound teaching of all the Tathāgatas. Therefore, I expound it lastly just as the powerful king gave the brilliant gem lastly, the one which he had kept [in his topknot) for a long time.

“Mañjuśrī! This Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma is the treasury of the hidden core of the Buddhas, of the Tathāgatas. It is superior to all the other sūtras. I kept it [in secret] and refrained from expounding it for the long night. Now I expound it to you today for the first time.”

The most excellent and profound and superior to all the other sūtras – Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo