Tag Archives: LS21

Day 21

Day 21 covers all of Chapter 16, The Duration of the Life of the Tathāgata.

Having last month heard Śākyamuni explain why he disappears, we learn about the pure land.

I can do all this by my supernatural powers.
I live on Mt. Sacred Eagle
And also in the other abodes
For asaṃkhya kalpas.

The [perverted] people think:
“This world is in a great fire.
The end of the kalpa [of destruction] is coming.”
In reality this world of mine is peaceful.
It is filled with gods and men.
The gardens, forests and stately buildings
Are adorned with various treasures;
The jeweled trees have many flowers and fruits;
The living beings are enjoying themselves;
And the gods are beating heavenly drums,
Making various kinds of music,
And raining mandārava-flowers on the great multitude and me.

[This] pure world of mine is indestructible.
But the [perverted] people think:
“It is full of sorrow, fear, and other sufferings.
It will soon burn away.”

Because of their evil karmas,
These sinful people will not be able
To hear even the names of the Three Treasures
During asaṃkhya kalpas.

To those who have accumulated merits,
And who are gentle and upright,
And who see me living here,
Expounding the Dharma,
I say:
“The duration of my life is immeasurable.”
To those who see me after a long time,
I say, “It is difficult to see a Buddha.”

See This Pure Land

This Pure Land

[I]t is important that the Pure Land should not be thought of as some faraway place. It should be manifested right here. Ideas can be realized (made real) only by us, the people of this world. Here in the Lotus Sutra, it is taught that the Pure Land should be realized in this Saha-world. An important teaching of the Lotus Sutra is that “the World of Endurance is itself the Pure Land.”

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 21

Day 21 covers all of Chapter 16, The Duration of the Life of the Tathāgata.

Having last month heard Śākyamuni explain his longevity in gāthās, we consider why he disappears.

In order to save the [perverted] people,
I expediently show my Nirvāṇa to them.
In reality I shall never pass away.
I always live here and expound the Dharma.

Although I always live here
With the perverted people
I disappear from their eyes
By my supernatural powers.

When they see me seemingly pass away,
And make offerings to my śarīras,
And adore me, admire me,
And become devout, upright and gentle,
And wish to see me
With all their hearts
At the cost of their lives,
I reappear on Mt. Sacred Eagle
With my Saṃgha,
And say to them:
“I always live here.
I shall never be extinct.
I show my extinction to you expediently
Although I never pass away.
I also expound the unsurpassed Dharma
To the living beings of the other worlds
If they respect me, believe me,
And wish to see me.
You have never heard this
Therefore, you thought that I pass away.”

I see the [perverted] people sinking
In an ocean of suffering.
Therefore, I disappear from their eyes
And cause them to admire me.
When they adore me,
I appear and expound the Dharma to them.

The Daily Dharma from May 21, 2017, offers this:

In order to save the [perverted] people,
I expediently show my Nirvāṇa to them.
In reality I shall never pass away.
I always live here and expound the Dharma.

The Buddha sings these verses in Chapter Sixteen of the Lotus Sūtra. This is part of the explanation that his existence in the physical form of Śākyamuni was only one way that he leads all beings to enlightenment. The Buddha described his ever-present nature as the most difficult of his teachings to believe and understand. Recognizing the presence of the Buddha in the world is the same as recognizing Buddha nature in ourselves and all beings. Knowing that the Buddha is always available to help us in this difficult practice of the Wonderful Dharma means we do not need to rely on our own limited abilities. The store of the Dharma is always available to us. We just need to find it and use it.

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

Day 21

Day 21 covers all of Chapter 16, The Duration of the Life of the Tathāgata.

Having last month compared Śākyamuni to the Physician at the conclusion of the prose section, we repeat in gāthās.

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

It is many hundreds of thousands
Of billions of trillions
Of asaṃkhyas of kalpas
Since I became the Buddha.

For the past innumerable kalpas
I have always been expounding the Dharma
To many hundreds of millions of living beings
In order to lead them into the Way to Buddhahood.

In order to save the [perverted] people,
I expediently show my Nirvāṇa to them.
In reality I shall never pass away.
I always live here and expound the Dharma.

The Daily Dharma from May 21, 2017, offers this:

The Buddha sings these verses in Chapter Sixteen of the Lotus Sūtra. This is part of the explanation that his existence in the physical form of Śākyamuni was only one way that he leads all beings to enlightenment. The Buddha described his ever-present nature as the most difficult of his teachings to believe and understand. Recognizing the presence of the Buddha in the world is the same as recognizing Buddha nature in ourselves and all beings. Knowing that the Buddha is always available to help us in this difficult practice of the Wonderful Dharma means we do not need to rely on our own limited abilities. The store of the Dharma is always available to us. We just need to find it and use it.

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

Day 21

Day 21 covers all of Chapter 16, The Duration of the Life of the Tathāgata.

Having last month concluded the Parable of the Skillful Physician and His Sick Children, we compare Śākyamuni to the Physician.

“Good men! What do you think of this? Do you think that anyone can accuse this excellent physician of falsehood?”

“No, World-Honored One!”

The Buddha said:

“I am like the father. It is many hundreds of thousands of billions of nayutas of asaṃkhyas of kalpas since I became the Buddha. In order to save the [perverted] people, I say expediently, ‘I shall pass away.’ No one will accuse me of falsehood by the [common] law.”

The Daily Dharma from June 5, 2017, offers this:

The Buddha gives this explanation in Chapter Sixteen of the Lotus Sūtra. In the story of the Physician and his children, the father leaves and sends word that he has died when his children refuse to take the antidote he has prepared for them. He gave his children no choice but to accept what they already had and make the effort to improve themselves and set aside their deluded minds. In the same way, when we take the Buddha for granted, and close our eyes to the Wonderful Dharma he has given us, he disappears. It is only when we open our eyes and see clearly this world and ourselves in it that we can recognize the Buddha and how he is always leading us.

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

Day 21

Day 21 covers all of Chapter 16, The Duration of the Life of the Tathāgata.

Having last month begun the Parable of the Skillful Physician and His Sick Children, we conclude the parable.

“The father thought, ‘These sons are pitiful. They are so poisoned that they are perverted. Although they rejoice at seeing me and ask me to cure them, they do not consent to take this good medicine. Now I will have them take it with an expedient.’

“He said to them, ‘Know this! Now I am old and decrepit. I shall die soon. lam leaving this good medicine here. Take it! Do not be afraid that you will not be cured!’ Having thus advised them, he went to a [remote] country again. Then he sent home a messenger to tell them, ‘Your father has just died.’

“Having heard that their father had passed away from this world, leaving them behind, they felt extremely sorry. They thought, ‘If our father were alive, he would love and protect us. Now he has
deserted us and died in a remote country.’

“They felt lonely and helpless because they thought that they were parentless and shelterless. Their constant sadness finally caused them to recover their right minds. They realized that the medicine had a good color, smell and taste. They took it and were completely cured of the poison. On hearing that they had recovered their health, the father returned home, and showed himself to them.

The Daily Dharma from Aug. 10, 2016, offers this:

The Buddha explains his parable of the wise physician in Chapter Sixteen of the Lotus Sūtra. In the story, the physician’s children take poison by mistake. Some refuse the antidote provided by their father until he leaves home and sends word back that he has died. The children realized that they had to accept what their father had left for them, rather than continuing to refuse his cure. In the Lotus Sūtra the Buddha stops adapting to our minds and brings us into his mind. It is only when we use our suffering to increase our determination to reach enlightenment, rather than as an indicator of our shortcomings, can we recover our right minds and realize what the Buddha teaches.

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

Day 21

Day 21 covers all of Chapter 16, The Duration of the Life of the Tathāgata.

Having last month considered the duration of the life of the Tathāgata, we begin the Parable of the Skillful Physician and His Sick Children.

“I will tell you a parable. There was once an excellent and wise physician. He was good at dispensing medicines and curing diseases. He had many sons, numbering ten, twenty, or a hundred. [One day] he went to a remote country on business. After he left home, the sons took poison. The poison passed into their bodies, and the sons writhed in agony, rolling on the ground. At that time the father returned home. Some sons had already lost their right minds while the others still had not. All the sons saw their father in the distance and had great joy. They begged him on their knees, saying, ‘You came back safely. We were ignorant. We took poison by mistake. Cure us, and give us back our lives!’

“Seeing his sons suffering so much, the father consulted books of prescriptions, and collected good herbs. having a good color, smell and taste. He compounded a medicine by pounding and sieving the herbs, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is a very good medicine. It has good color, smell and taste. Take it! It will remove the pain at once and you will not suffer any more.’

“The sons who had not lost their right minds saw that this good medicine had a good color and smell, took it at once, and were cured completely. But the sons who had already lost their right minds did not consent to take the medicine given to them, although they rejoiced at seeing their father come home and asked him to cure them, because they were so perverted that they did not believe that this medicine having a good color and smell had a good taste.

I read this portion of the parable many times before I realized this lesson in faith. We can test the appearance of something and the smell of it, but it is only when we consume something that we can learn of its taste. Fear that something will not taste good prevents us from trying. Faith allows us to consume the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma and to know the truth of its good taste.

Day 21

Day 21 covers all of Chapter 16, The Duration of the Life of the Tathāgata.

Having last month considered the Eternal Buddha’s purpose, we come to the duration of the life of the Tathāgata.

“Good men! The duration of my life, which I obtained by the practice of the way of Bodhisattvas, has not yet expired. It is twice as long as the length of time as previously stated. Although I shall never enter into Nirvāṇa, I say to men of little virtue, ‘I shall pass away.’ I teach them with this expedient. Why is that? It is because, if they see me for a long time, they will not plant the roots of good, but become poor and base, and cling to the five desires so much that they will be caught in the nets of wrong views. If they think that I am always here, and do not think that I will pass away, they will become too arrogant and lazy to realize the difficulty of seeing me, and they will not respect me. Therefore I say [to them] expediently, ‘Bhikṣus, know this! It is difficult to see a Buddha who appears in [this] world.’ Why is that? It is because some men of little virtue cannot see me even during many hundreds of thousands of billions of kalpas while the others can. Therefore, I say [to them], ‘Bhikṣus! It is difficult to see a Tathāgata.’ Those who hear this and know that it is difficult to see me, will adore me, admire me, and plant the roots of good. Therefore l say [to them], ‘I shall pass away,’ although I shall not.

“Good men! All the Buddhas, all the Tathāgatas, do the same as I do. [They expound their teachings] for the purpose of saving all living beings. Therefore, [their teachings] are true, not false.

The Daily Dharma from March 30, 2017, offers this:

Although I shall never enter into Nirvāṇa, I say to men of little virtue, ‘I shall pass away.’ I teach them with this expedient. Why is that? It is because, if they see me for a long time, they will not plant the roots of good, but become poor and base, and cling to the five desires so much that they will be caught in the nets of wrong views.

The Buddha gives this explanation in Chapter Sixteen of the Lotus Sutra. This Chapter is the first time he reveals himself as the Ever-Present Buddha who became enlightened in the far distant past and will continue to lead all beings to enlightenment into the far distant future. The Buddha uses the death of his physical body as an expedient so that those who take him for granted will make efforts to practice his teachings. When we practice the Wonderful Dharma of the Lotus Sūtra, then we learn to see the Buddha in ourselves and all beings.

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

Day 21

Day 21 covers all of Chapter 16, The Duration of the Life of the Tathāgata.

Having last month considered the expedients of the Eternal Buddha, we come to his purpose.

“Good men! All the sutras that I expounded [hitherto] were for the purpose of saving all living beings. I told the stories of my previous lives [in some sutras,] and the stories of the previous lives of other Buddhas [in other sutras]. I showed my replicas [in some sutras,] and my transformations [in other sutras]. I described my deeds [in some sutras,] and the deeds of others [in other sutras]. All that I say is true, not false, because I see the triple world as it is. I see that the triple world is the world in which the living beings have neither birth nor death, that is to say, do not appear or disappear, that it is the world in which I do not appear or from which l do not disappear, that it is not real or unreal, and that it is not as it seems or as it does not seem. I do not see the triple world in the same way as [the living beings of] the triple world do. I see all this clearly and infallibly. The living beings are various in their natures, desires, deeds, thoughts and opinions. Therefore, I expounded the dharma with various stories of previous lives, with various parables, similes and discourses, in order to cause all living beings to plant the roots of good. l have never stopped doing what I should do. As I said before, it is very long since I became the Buddha. The duration of my life is innumerable, asamkya kalpas. I am always here. I shall never pass away.

The Daily Dharma from July 19,2016, offers this:

All that I say is true, not false, because I see the triple world as it is. I see that the triple world is the world in which the living beings have neither birth nor death, that is to say, do not appear or disappear, that it is the world in which I do not appear or from which I do not disappear, that it is not real or unreal, and that it is not as it seems or as it does not seem. I do not see the triple world in the same way as [the living beings of] the triple world do. I see all this clearly and infallibly.

The Buddha makes this revelation in Chapter Sixteen of the Lotus Sūtra. In the story, he has just explained that although beings see him as a man who became enlightened after growing up as a crown prince, in reality he has been enlightened since an unimaginable amount of time in the past, and will continue to lead all beings to enlightenment for twice that period of time into the future. As we learn to see the historical Śākyamuni Buddha as the ever-present Śākyamuni Buddha, our vision of the world changes too.

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

Day 21

Day 21 covers all of Chapter 16, The Duration of the Life of the Tathāgata.

Having last month considered how old is really, really old, we come to the expedients of the Eternal Buddha.

Good men! During this time I gave various names to myself, for instance, the Burning-Light Buddha. I also said, ‘That Buddha entered into Nirvana.’ I did all these things only as expedients.

Good men! When some people came to me, I saw the strength of the power of their faith and of the other faculties of theirs with the eyes of the Buddha. Then I named myself differently, and told them of the duration of my life differently, according to their capacities. I also said to them, ‘I shall enter into Nirvana.’ I expounded the Wonderful Dharma with these various expedients, and caused the living beings to rejoice.

Good men! When I saw that some people of little virtue and of much defilement were seeking the teachings of the Lesser Vehicle, I told them, ‘I renounced my family when I was young, and attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi [forty and odd years ago].’ In reality I became the Buddha in the remotest past as I previously stated. I told them this as an expedient to teach them, to lead them into the Way to Buddhahood.

Lotus World: An Illustrated Guide to the Gohonzon offers a view on this:

This view of Shakyamuni Buddha, specifically in the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra [as the original and eternal Buddha], is the key to the true nature of enlightenment according to Nichiren Buddhism.

Shinjo Suguro explains that the original and eternal Shakyamuni Buddha provides Buddhism with a united faith:

“In Buddhism, various Buddhas have been established as objects of devotion for different pious believers. Since each Buddha has a good reason for being venerated, Buddhism permits us to worship any or all of them. Nevertheless, the Most-Venerable-One should be One, just as the Truth is One. The second half of the Lotus Sutra (Hammon) emphasizes such a Buddhist position regarding the unity of faith. As the object of faith is absolute, it must relate to the realm of eternity. Generally we think of Shakyamuni as a historical figure, bound by the limitations of time and space, and only a provisional manifestation of the infinite, eternal Buddha. According to the Lotus Sutra, however, every Buddha, including the historical Shakyamuni Buddha, is a representation of the eternal original being of Shakyamuni.”
Lotus World: An Illustrated Guide to the Gohonzon