Tag Archives: LS22

Day 22

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

Having last month begun in gāthās reciting the merits of anyone who keeps this sūtra, we conclude Chapter 17, The Variety of Merits.

Anyone who keeps this sūtra should be considered
To have already built a monastery
Made of the cow-head candana,
installed with thirty-two beautiful hall ,
Eight times as tall as the tala-tree,
Provided with delicious food and drink,
With wonderful garments and bedding,
With accommodations for one hundred thousand people,
With gardens, forests, and pools for bathing,
And with promenades and caves for the practice of dhyāna.
He should be considered lo have already offered
That monastery to me in my presence.

Anyone who not only understands
This sūtra by faith
But also keeps, reads and recites it,
And copies it, or causes others to copy it,
And strews flowers, incense,
And incense powder to a copy of it,
And lights lamps of the perfumed oil
Of sumanas, campaka, and atimuktaka
Around the copy of this sūtra
And offers the light thus produced to it,
Will be able to obtain innumerable merits.
His merits will be as limitless as the sky.

Needless to say, so will be the merits of the person
Who keeps this sūtra, gives alms, observes the precepts,
Practices patience, prefers dhyāna-concentrations,
And does not get angry or speak ill of others.

Anyone who respects the stupa-mausoleum,
Who is modest before bhikṣus,
Who gives up self-conceit,
Who always thinks of wisdom,
Who does not get angry when asked questions,
And who expounds the Dharma
According to the capacities of the questioners,
Will be able to obtain innumerable merits.

When you see any teacher of the Dharma
Who has obtained these merits,
You should strew heavenly flowers to him,
Dress him in a heavenly garment,
Worship his feet with your head,
And think that he will become a Buddha.

You should think
“He will go to the place of enlightenment before long.
He will be free from āsravas and free from causality.
He will benefit all gods and men.”

Erect a stupa in the place
Where he expounded even a gāthā of this sūtra
While he was standing,
Walking, sitting or reclining!
Adorn the stupa beautifully,
And make various offerings to it!

He is my son.
I will accept his place as mine.
I will be there.
I will walk, sit or recline there.

See Keeping and Practicing the Lotus Sutra

Keeping and Practicing the Lotus Sutra

The Sutra says that, of course, building splendid stupas and temples, or contributing monetary donations and treasures to the Sangha produce many merits, because such deeds are evidence of a faithful heart. But compared to them, the merit which one obtains by keeping and practicing the Lotus Sutra is much more. It is true that there are stages in the practice of keeping the Sutra, as we have seen. But among those stages, the first one—having a joyful heart when one hears the Sutra—has the most significant meaning. Likewise, in the “Four Faiths in the Present,” which we discussed first, “Understanding by Faith in a Single Moment’s Thought” is mentioned first. It is only thanks to the faith and joy occurring within us the first time we grasp the meaning of the Lotus Sutra that we decide to practice it, act according to it, and finally attain enlightenment.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 22

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

Having last month considered the merits of any good man or woman who keeps, reads, or recites this sūtra, we repeat in gāthās.

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

Anyone who keeps this sūtra
After my extinction
Will be able to obtain
Innumerable merits a previously stated.

He should be considered
To have already made various offerings.
He should be considered
To have already built a stupa
With a yasti soaring up to the Heaven of Brahman,
The upper part of it being the smaller,
A stupa which was adorned with the seven treasures,
And with thousands of billions of jeweled bells
Sounding wonderful when fanned by the wind.
He should be considered to have already enshrined
My śarīras in this stupa,
And offered flowers, incense, necklaces, heavenly garments,
And various kinds of music to it,
And lit lamps of perfumed oil around it for innumerable kalpas.

Anyone who keeps this sūtra in the evil world
In the age of the decline of my teachings
Should be considered
To have already made these offerings.

See Four Faiths in the Present

Four Faiths in the Present

The Four Faiths in the Present mean four steps of belief: Understanding by Faith in a Single Moment’s Thought, Understanding the Meaning, Disseminating it to Others, and Entering into Deep Faith.

  1. Understanding by Faith in a Single Moment’s Thought.
    As a first step, if anyone opens the heart in faith and understands the gist of the Sutra, even for just a moment, his or her happiness and virtue will be everlasting (p. 254-255
  2. Understanding the Meaning.
    In the next step, one becomes clearly aware of the inner meaning of the Sutra.
  3. Disseminating it to Others.
    In the third step, one’s practice makes further progress. The practitioner upholds and copies the Lotus Sutra, not only for personal satisfaction, but also for the sake of others, expounding it to them, and having them copy it, too, or make offerings to it (p. 257).
  4. Entering into Deep Faith.
    At the fourth step, the practitioner mentally sees clearly the figure of the Original Buddha and his Pure Land and is able to enter into the state of deep faith, thanks to the teaching of the “Duration of the Life of the Tathagata” (p. 258).
Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 22

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

Having last month considered the merits of those who keep or copy this Sūtra, we consider what such a practice tells us.

“Anyone who reads, recites or keeps this sūtra, expounds it to others, copies it, or causes others to copy it [in my lifetime,] should be considered to have already built stupas and monasteries, made offerings to the Saṃgha of Śrāvakas, praised them, praised Bodhisattvas for their merits by hundreds of thousands of billions of ways of praising, expounded this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to others with various stories of previous lives according to the meanings of it, observed the precepts without fallacy, lived with gentle persons, practiced patience, refrained from anger, become resolute in mind, preferred sitting in dhyāna, practiced deep concentrations of mind, become strenuous and brave, practiced good teachings, become clever and wise, and answered questions satisfactorily.

Ajita! Any good man or woman who keeps, reads, or recites this sūtra after my extinction, also will be able to obtain these merits. Know this! He or she should be considered to have already reached the place of enlightenment, approached Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi, and sat under the tree of enlightenment. Ajita! Erect a stupa in the place where he or she sat, stood or walked! All gods and men should make offerings to that stupa just as they do lo the stupa of a Buddha.”

See Four Faiths and the Five Stages

Four Faiths and the Five Stages

Sakyamuni Buddha continues teaching Maitreya about benefits which one can obtain after hearing the chapter, “The Duration of the Life of the Tathagata.” He explains how practitioners of the Dharma, even those who have just begun to practice, should believe and accept this Sutra, and what merits they will obtain. This is called the “Four Faiths in the Present and the Five Stages in the Future,” or the “Four Faiths and the Five Stages,” and has long been considered an important teaching. “The present” means the present then, when Sakyamuni was in this world, and not our present today. At that time, there were four stages in the ideal method of faith and practice for his disciples. “The future” means after Sakyamuni has passed away, which is to say, our present and future. Now there are five levels or stages for practitioners of the Lotus Sutra. The names, “four faiths and five stages,” are not found in the Sutra itself. Great Master Chih-i discerned them in this chapter, named them, and spoke about them in his book, The Words of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law. His analysis has stood the test of time, and we should examine it further.

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