Tag Archives: LS22

Day 22

Day 22 covers all of Chapter 17, The Variety of Merits.

Having last month considered those who do not speak ill of this sūtra but rejoice at hearing, the merits of those who keep or copies it or causes others to copy it after my extinction.

“Ajita! Anyone who, after hearing this sūtra, keeps or copies it or causes others to copy it after my extinction, should be considered to have already built many hundreds of thousands of billions of monasteries, that is to say, innumerable monasteries, each of which was installed with thirty-two beautiful halls made of red candana, eight times as tall as the tala-tree, and spacious enough to accommodate one hundred thousand bhikṣus. He also should be considered to have already furnished [those monasteries] with gardens, forests, pools for bathing, promenades, and caves for the practice of dhyāna, and filled [those monasteries] with clothing, food, drink, bedding, medicine, and things for amusements, and offered [those monasteries] to me and to the Saṃgha of bhikṣus in my presence. Therefore, I say, ‘Anyone who keeps, reads or recites this sūtra, expounds it to others, copies it, causes others to copy it, or makes offerings to a copy of it after my extinction, need not build a stupa or a monastery, or make offering to the Saṃgha.’ Needless to say, anyone who not only keeps this sūtra but also gives alms, observe the precepts, practices patience, makes endeavors, concentrates his mind, and seeks wisdom, will be able to obtain the most excellent and innumerable merits. His merits will be as limitless as the sky is in the east, west, south, north, the four intermediate quarters, the zenith, and the nadir. These innumerable merits of his will help him obtain the knowledge of the equality and differences of all things.

See Hearing and Accepting by Faith

Hearing and Accepting by Faith

The previous chapter, “The Duration of the Life of the Tathagata,” explained that the Buddha’s life span is eternal. This teaching is the most important of the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, the merits or benefits which the teaching brings us must be immeasurably great. That indeed is the case. This chapter, the “Variety of Merits,” minutely delineates the benefits coming to anyone who hears Chapter Sixteen and accepts it by faith. The “variety” referred to means classifying and explaining those benefits in detail.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 22

Day 22 covers all of Chapter 17, The Variety of Merits.

Having last month heard the innumerable merits of those hear of the Buddha’s longevity and understand the meaning, we consider those who do not speak ill of this sūtra but rejoice at hearing.

“Furthermore, the good men or women who do not speak ill of this sūtra but rejoice at hearing it after my extinction, should be considered, know this, to have already understood my longevity by firm faith. It is needless to say this of those who [not only rejoice at hearing this sūtra but also] read, recite and keep it. They also should be considered to be carrying me on their heads. Ajita! They need not build a stupa or a monastery in my honor, or make the four kinds of offerings’ to the Saṃgha because those who keep, read and recite this sūtra should be considered to have already built a stupa or a monastery or made offerings to the Saṃgha. They should be considered to have already erected a stupa of the seven treasures tall enough to reach the Heaven of Brahman, the upper part of the stupa being the smaller. They should be considered to have already equipped the stupa with streamers, canopies and jeweled bells, and enshrined my śarīras therein. They also should be considered to have already offered flowers, incense, necklaces, incense powder, incense applicable to the skin, incense to burn, drums, music, reed pipes, flutes, harps, various kinds of dances, and songs of praise sung with wonderful voices [to the stupa ] continuously for many thousands of billions of kalpas.

The Daily Dharma from Aug. 5, 2017, offers this:

Furthermore, the good men or women who do not speak ill of this sūtra but rejoice at hearing it after my extinction, should be considered, know this, to have already understood my longevity by firm faith.

The Buddha makes this declaration to his disciple Maitreya in Chapter Seventeen of the Lotus Sūtra. After learning the merits of understanding the ever-present nature of the Buddha, Maitreya hears that this understanding is present in anyone who finds joy in this sūtra. From the parables told earlier in the sūtra, we know that this joy is not the same as the joy that comes from ending suffering. It is the joy in our awakening Buddha nature.

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

Day 22

Day 22 covers all of Chapter 17, The Variety of Merits.

Having last month heard the innumerable merits of those who have firm faith, we consider those who hear of the Buddha’s longevity and understand the meaning.

“Furthermore, Ajita! Those who hear of my longevity of which I told you, and understand the meaning of my words, will be able to obtain innumerable merits, which will help them attain the unsurpassed wisdom of the Tathāgata. Needless to say, those who hear this sūtra, cause others to hear it, keep it, cause others to keep it, copy it, cause others to copy it, or offer flowers, incense, necklaces, banners, streamers, canopies, perfumed oil, and lamps of butter oil to a copy of it, will be able to obtain immeasurable merits. These merits will help them obtain the knowledge of the equality and differences of all things.

“Ajita! The good men or women who hear of my longevity of which I told you, and understand it by firm faith, will be able to see that I am expounding the Dharma on Mt. Gṛdhrakūṭa, surrounded by great Bodhisattvas and Śrāvakas. They also will be able to see that the ground of this Sahā-World is made of lapis lazuli, that the ground is even, that the eight roads are marked off by ropes of Jambunada gold, that the jeweled trees are standing in lines, and that the magnificent buildings are made of treasures. They also will be able to see that the Bodhisattvas are living in those buildings. They will be able to sec all this because, know this, they have already understood [my longevity] by firm faith.

The Daily Dharma from Sept. 9, 2016, offers this:

The Buddha gives this explanation to Maitreya Bodhisattva, whom he calls Ajita – Invincible, in Chapter Seventeen of the Lotus Sūtra. We can hear this explanation as a promise of some great otherworldly vision which will be revealed to us if our faith is strong enough. We can also hear it as a promise that we will learn to deny that all the terrible things in the world as as bad as we think. But when we remember the Buddha telling us, “I do not see the world as others do,” then we realize that our faith brings us to the Buddha’s own mind, where we can accept this frightening and dangerous world for what it is, and work to make it better for all beings.

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

Day 22

Day 22 covers all of Chapter 17, The Variety of Merits.

Having last month heard in gāthās of the innumerable merits to obtained by understanding by faith the longevity of the Buddha, we consider those who have firm faith.

Those who firmly believe [my longevity ],
And have no doubts about it
Even for a moment,
Will be able to obtain more merits [than he].

The Bodhisattvas who have practiced the Way
For the past innumerable kalpas,
Will believe my longevity
When they hear of it.

They will receive this sūtra on their heads,
And wish:
“May we live long and save all living beings
Just as the World-Honored One of today,
Who is the King of the Śākyas, [saves them]
By expounding the Dharma without fear
At the place of enlightenment
With [a voice like] a lion’s roar!
When we sit at the place of enlightenment,
Respected by all living beings,
May we preach that we also shall live
As long [as the World-Honored One of today]!”

Those who have firm faith,
And who are pure and upright,
And who hear much and memorize all teachings,
And who understand my words
According to their meaning,
Will have no doubts [about my longevity].

No doubts here.

Day 22

Day 22 covers all of Chapter 17, The Variety of Merits.

Having last month concluded the innumerable merits to obtained by understanding by faith the longevity of the Buddha, we repeat in gāthās:

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

Suppose someone practiced
The five paramitas
For eighty billion nayuta kalpas
In order to attain the wisdom of the Buddha.

Throughout these kalpas he offered
Wonderful food and drink,
Excellent garments and bedding,
And monasteries made of candana
And adorned with gardens and forests
To the Buddhas,
To the cause-knowers, to the disciples,
And to the Bodhisattvas.

Throughout these kalpas he made
These various and wonderful offerings
In order to attain
The enlightenment of the Buddha.

He also observed the precepts,
Kept purity and faultlessness,
And sought the unsurpassed enlightenment
Extolled by the Buddhas.

He was patient, gentle,
And friendly with others.
Even when many evils troubled him,
His mind was not moved.

He endured all insults and disturbances
Inflicted upon him by arrogant people who thought
That they had already obtained the Dharma.

He was strenuous and resolute in mind.
He concentrated his mind,
And refrained from indolence
For many hundreds of millions of kalpas.

He Lived in a retired place
For innumerable kalpas.
He sat or walked to avoid drowsiness
And to concentrate his mind.

By doing so, he became able to practice
Many dhyāna-concentrations.
His mind was peaceful, not distracted
For eighty billion kalpas.

With these merits of concentration of his mind,
He sought unsurpassed enlightenment, saying:
“I will complete all these dhyāna-concentrations,
And obtain the knowledge of all things.”

He performed
The meritorious practices
As previously stated
For hundreds of thousands of billions of kalpas.

The good men or women who believe my longevity,
Of which I told you,
Even at a moment’s thought
Will be able to obtain more merits than he.

I believe! I believe!

Day 22

Day 22 covers all of Chapter 17, The Variety of Merits.

Having last month concluded Maitreya’s gāthās of praise for the Buddha, we come to the innumerable merits to obtained by understanding by faith the longevity of the Buddha.

Thereupon the Buddha said to Maitreya Bodhisattva-mahāsattva: “Ajita! Anyone who hears that my life is so long, and understands it by faith even at a moment’s thought, will be able to obtain innumerable merits. Suppose good men or women practiced [the six pāramitās] except the prajñā-pāramitā, that is, the five pāramitās: the dāna-pāramitā, the sīla-pāramitā, the kṣānti-pāramitā, the vīrya-pāramitā, and the dhyāna-pāramitā, for eighty billion nayuta kalpas in order to attain Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. These merits of the good men or women are far less than one hundredth or one thousandth of the merits of the person [who understand my longevity by faith even at a moment’s thought], or less than his merits divided by one hundred thousand billion. [The superiority of his merits to theirs] cannot be explained by any calculation or parable or simile.

It cannot be that the good man who obtained merits [by understanding my longevity by faith even at a moment’s thought] falters in walking the Way to Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi.”

The Daily Dharma from April 10, 2017, offers this:

The Buddha makes this declaration to the Bodhisattva Maitreya in Chapter Seventeen of the Lotus Sūtra. We all have experiences that take a long time either to understand or to realize what affect they have had on our lives. We may even forget the experience and not be able to connect it with a present situation. This is also true with the experience of hearing the Buddha teach. We hear him declare that he is ever-present, always leading us to enlightenment. Then the memory of that teaching becomes obscured by our daily pursuits and attachments. By reminding ourselves and each other of this highest teaching, we regain our right minds and walk confidently on the path to the Buddha’s own enlightenment (Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi).

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

Day 22

Day 22 covers all of Chapter 17, The Variety of Merits.

Having last month covered the gāthās and the benefits of hearing of the longevity of the Buddha, we conclude Maitreya’s gāthās of praise for the Buddha.

You expounded the teachings
Immeasurable and inconceivable,
And benefited living beings
As limitless as the sky.

[The gods] rained down mandārava-flower ,
And mahā-mandārava-flowers of heaven.
Sakras and Brahmans came from the [other] Buddha-worlds
As many as there are sands in the River Ganges.

[The gods] rained down candana and aloes [powder],
And offered it to the Buddhas.
The powder came down fluttering
Just as birds fly down from the sky.

Heavenly drums automatically sounded
Wonderful in the sky.
Thousands of billions of heavenly garments
Whirled down.

[The gods] burned priceless incense which was put
In wonderful incense-burners of many treasures.
The incense-burners automatically went around,
And the odor was offered to the World-Honored Ones.

The great Bodhisattvas lined up vertically one upon another
To the Heaven of Brahman, holding
Billions of lofty and wonderful canopies and streamers
Made of the seven treasures.

[The great Bodhisattvas] hoisted before the Buddha
Jeweled banner adorned with excellent streamers.
They also praised the Tathāgatas
With tens of millions of gāthās.

I have never seen these things before.
All living beings
Rejoice at hearing
That the duration of your life is immeasurable.

Your fame is extended over the worlds of the ten quarters.
You benefit all living beings.
The root of good which they have planted
Will help them aspire for unsurpassed [enlightenment].

Underscore “The root of good which they have planted
Will help them aspire for unsurpassed [enlightenment]
” and visualize a root feeding a tree of enlightenment.

Day 22

Day 22 covers all of Chapter 17, The Variety of Merits.

Having last month covered the opening of the chapter, we come to the gathas and the benefits of hearing of the longevity of the Buddha:

Thereupon Maitreya Bodhisattva rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, joined his hands together towards the Buddha, and sang in gathas:

You expounded a rare teaching.
I have never heard it before.
You have great powers.
The duration of your life is immeasurable.

Having heard from you that they were given
The various benefits of the Dharma,
The innumerable sons of yours
Were filled with joy.

Some of them reached the stage of irrevocability.
Some obtained dharanis, or eloquence without hindrance,
Or the all-holding formulas
For memorizing billions of repetitions of teachings.

Bodhisattvas as many as the particles of earth
Of one thousand million Sumeru-worlds obtained
The faculty of turning
The irrevocable wheel of the Dharma.

Bodhisattvas as many as the particles of earth
Of one million Sumeru-worlds obtained
The faculty of turning
The wheel of the pure Dharma.

Bodhisattvas as many as the particles of earth
Of one thousand Sumeru-worlds obtained
The faculty of attaining the enlightenment of the Buddha
After eight rebirths.

Bodhisattvas numbering four times or three times or twice
The number of the particles of earth of the four continents
Obtained the faculty of becoming Buddhas
After four, three or two rebirths respectfully.

Bodhisattvas as many as the particles of earth
Of the four continents obtained
The faculty of attaining the knowledge of all things
immediately after this life.

Having heard of your longevity,
They obtained these effects and rewards,
Pure, immeasurable, and without asravas.
Having heard from you
Of the duration of your life,
Living beings as many as the particles of earth
Of eight Sumeru-worlds
Aspired for unsurpassed [enlightenment].

In reading this chapter it occurred to me that I want someday to write down all of the effects and rewards I have earned with my faith in the Lotus Sutra.

Day 22

Day 22 covers all of Chapter 17, The Variety of Merits.

Having last month finished Chapter 17, it’s time to begin again with
The Variety of Merits.

Thereupon the innumerable, asamkhya living beings in the great congregation, who had heard from the Buddha that the duration of his life was so many kalpas as previously stated, obtained great benefits.

At that time the World-Honored One said to Maitreya Bodhisattva-mahasattva:

Ajita! When I said that the duration of my life was so long, six hundred and eighty billion nayuta living beings, that is, the living beings as many as there are sands in the River Ganges, obtained the truth of birthlessness. Bodhisattva-mahasattvas numbering one thousand times the number of these living beings obtained the dharanis by which they could memorize all that they had heard. Bodhisattva-mahasattvas as many as the particles of earth of a Sumeru-world obtained eloquence without hindrance. Another group of Bodhisattva-mahasattvas as many as the particles of earth of a Sumeru world obtained the dharanis by which they could memorize many hundreds of thousands of billions of repetitions of teachings. Bodhisattva-mahasattvas as many as the particles of earth of one thousand million Sumeru-worlds obtained the faculty of turning the irrevocable wheel of the Dharma. Bodhisattva-mahasaltvas as many as the particles of earth of one million Sumeru-worlds obtained the faculty of turning the wheel of the pure Dharma. Bodhisattva-mahasattvas as many as the particles of earth of one thousand Sumeru-worlds obtained the faculty of attaining Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi after eight rebirths. Bodhisattva-mahasattvas four times the number of the particles of earth of the four continents obtained the faculty of attaining Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi after four rebirths. Bodhisattva­-mahasattvas three times the number of the particles of earth of the four continents obtained the faculty of attaining Anuttara-samyak-­sambodhi after three rebirths. Bodhisattva-mahasattvas twice the number of the particles of earth of the four continents obtained the faculty of attaining Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi after two rebirths. Bodhisattva-mahasattvas as many as the particles of earth of the four continents obtained the faculty of attaining Anuttara-samyak­-sambodhi immediately after this life. Living beings as many as the particles of earth of eight Sumeru-worlds aspired for Anuttara-­samyak-sambodhi.

When the Buddha said that these Bodhisattva-mahasattvas had obtained the great benefits of the Dharma, [the gods] in heaven rained mandarava-flowers and maha-mandarava-flowers on the many hundreds of thousands of billions of Buddhas sitting on the lion-like seats under the jeweled trees. They also rained those flowers on [the two Buddhas:] Many-Treasures Tathagata, who had passed away a long time ago, and Sakyamuni Buddha, both of whom were sitting on the lion-like seat in the stupa of the seven treasures. They also rained those flowers on the great Bodhisattvas’ and the four kinds of devotees. They also rained the fine powder of the incense of candana and aloes [on them). Heavenly drums automatically sounded wonderful and deep in the sky. [The gods] also rained thousands of heavenly garments and hung many necklaces made of pearls, mani gems or free-at-will gems over the nine quarters. They also burned priceless incense which was put in incense-burners of many treasures. The incense-burners automatically went around the great congregation, and the odor of the incense was offered to all the members of the congregation. Above each of the Buddhas [sitting under the trees], Bodhisattvas lined up vertically one upon another to the Heaven of Brahman, holding canopies and streamers. They praised the Buddhas, singing innumerable verses with their wonderful voices.

Someday I want to try to illustrate Bodhisattvas lined up vertically one upon another to the Heaven of Brahman, holding canopies and streamers.