Tag Archives: LS26

Day 26

Day 26 concludes Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas, includes Chapter 22, Transmission, and introduces Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month met Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha, we are introduced to Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva.

“Thereupon [Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue] Buddha expounded the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva, to the other Bodhisattvas, and also to the Śrāvakas. Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva willingly practiced austerities under Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha. He walked about the world, seeking Buddhahood strenuously with all his heart for twelve thousand years until at last he obtained the samadhi by which he could transform himself into any other living being: Having obtained this samadhi, he had great joy.

“He thought, ‘I have obtained the samadhi by which I can transform myself into any other living being because I heard the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma. Now I will make offerings to Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha and also to the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.’

“He entered into this samadhi at once. He filled the sky with the clouds of mandārava-flowers, mahā-mandārava-flowers and the powdered incense of hard and black candana, and rained down those flowers and incense. He also rained down the powdered incense of the candana grown on this shore of the sea [between Mt. Sumeru and the Jambudvipa]. Six shu of this incense was worth the Sahā-World. He offered all these things to the Buddha.

See The Most Important Bodhisattva Practice

The Most Important Bodhisattva Practice

[T]he lotus flower symbolizes the most important Bodhisattva practices in Mahayana Buddhism. In Chapter Fifteen, “Bodhisattvas from Underground,” it says

The Buddha’s children have studied the way of Bodhisattvas well. They are no more defiled by worldliness just as a lotus flower is not defiled by water.

The lovely lotus flower grows out of muddy water and is not defiled by it. In the same way, Bodhisattvas, persons who put the Buddha’s teachings into practice, can live in the midst of a world defiled by vice and corruption, and yet not be contaminated by it. They can teach and awaken other people while keeping their own minds pure. They can save others, however, only when they live with them here in this evil world.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 26

Day 26 concludes Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas, includes Chapter 22, Transmission, and introduces Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month concluded Chapter 22, Transmission, we begin Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Thereupon Star-King-Flower Bodhisattva said to the Buddha:

“World-Honored One! Why does Medicine-King Bodhisattva walk about this Sahā-World? World-Honored One! This Medicine-King Bodhisattva will have to practice hundreds of thousands of billions of nayutas of austerities in this world. World-Honored One! Tell me why! Not only the gods, dragons, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, men and nonhuman beings but also the Bodhisattvas who have come from the other worlds’ and the Śrāvakas present here will be glad to hear the reason.”

Thereupon the Buddha said to Star-King-Flower Bodhisattva:

“Innumerable kalpas ago, that is, as many kalpas as there are sands in the River Ganges ago, there lived a Buddha called Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue, the Tathāgata, the Deserver of Offerings, the Perfectly Enlightened One, the Man of Wisdom and Practice, the Well-Gone, the Knower of the World, the Unsurpassed Man, the Controller of Men, the Teacher of Gods and Men, the Buddha, the World-Honored One. He was accompanied by eight thousand million great Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas and also by great Śrāvakas numbering seventy-two times as many as there are sands in the River Ganges. The duration of his life was forty-two thousand kalpas. So were the durations of the lives of the Bodhisattvas. His world was devoid of women, hellish denizens, hungry spirits, animals and asuras. There was no calamity in his world. The ground of his world was as even as the palm of the hand. It was made of lapis lazuli, adorned with jeweled trees, and covered with a jeweled awning from which the streamers of jeweled flowers were hanging down. Jeweled vases and incense-burners were seen everywhere in that world. There was a platform of the seven treasures at the distance of a bowshot from each of the jeweled trees under which the Bodhisattvas and Śrāvakas were sitting. On each of the platforms of treasures, myriads of millions of gods were making heavenly music, singing songs of praise of the Buddha, and offering the music and songs to the Buddha.

See Medicine-King’s samadhi

Medicine-King’s samadhi

The story of Medicine-King Bodhisattva begins with an explanation of his accomplishments in a previous life. In Chapter Ten, the “Teacher of the Law,” Medicine-King represented eighty thousand Bodhisattvas who heard Sakyamuni teach. In this chapter, Sakyamuni tells a Bodhisattva by the name of Star-King-Flower about the Medicine-King.

A long time ago, there was a Buddha called Sun-MoonPure-Bright-Virtue Tathagata. Among his many disciples, there was one named Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva. He studied the Lotus Sutra under this Buddha, and underwent difficult practices for many years until he attained the samadhi by which he could transform himself into any other living being (p. 299-300).

The samadhi by which he could transform himself into any other living being is the samadhi (the power of concentration) that is the ability to show an appropriate physical form according to the person’s capacity to whom he preaches the dharma.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 26

Day 26 concludes Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas, includes Chapter 22, Transmission, and introduces Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month begun Chapter 22, Transmission, we conclude the chapter today.

Having heard these words of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas were filled with great joy. With more respect than ever, they bent forward, bowed, joined their hands together towards him, and said simultaneously. “We will do as you command. Certainly, World-Honored One! Do not worry!”

The Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas said simultaneously twice more, “We will do as you command. Certainly, World-Honored One! Do not worry!”

Thereupon Śākyamuni Buddha, wishing to send back to their home worlds [Many-Treasures Buddha and] the Buddhas of his replicas, who had come from the worlds of the ten quarters, said, “May the Buddhas be where they wish to be! May the stupa of Many-Treasures Buddha be where it was!”

Having heard these words of the Buddha, not only the innumerable Buddhas of his replicas, who had come from the worlds of the ten quarters and were sitting on the lion-like seats under the jeweled trees, Many-Treasures Buddha, and the great multitude of the innumerable, asaṃkhya Bodhisattvas, including Superior-Practice, but also the four kinds of devotees including Śāriputra and other Śrāvakas, and the gods, men and asuras of the world, had great joy.

See Kanjin Honzon Sho

Kanjin Honzon Sho

Nichiren compared his own position to that of Superb-Action Bodhisattva. After he was sent into exile on the Island of Sado, Nichiren began to make this comparison with increasing frequency. He stated it explicitly in his writing, Kanjin Honzon Sho (“A Treatise Revealing the Spiritual Contemplation of the Most-Venerable-One”). This essay is considered the most important of his many writings. Although its logical arguments resist condensation into a few words, here is a brief summary of what he said.

According to the teachings of Great Master Chih-i, the practical side of the Lotus Sutra is the doctrine of “one thought is the three thousand worlds” (ichinen-sanzen). However, if this doctrine is left in its original form, it is not a suitable practice for unenlightened people in this Age of Degeneration. If the theory of “one thought is the three thousand worlds” is followed through to its logical conclusion, it will be seen that the perfect Buddha resides in the hearts of unenlightened people. Then its realistic practice is clear. The effect attained by the Buddha’s practice and all the virtues of his enlightenment are summed up and put into the five [Chinese] letters of the Sacred Title, MYO-HO-REN-GE-KYO (“The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law”). Sakyamuni transmitted it to everyone, the enlightened and the unenlightened, so that they might uphold and practice this Sacred Title (Daimoku).

According to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, our World of Endurance is itself the eternal and everlasting Pure Land and this ever-existing and unchanging world of the Buddha exists in our own minds. This is taught in the Lotus Sutra especially in the eight chapters, from Chapter Fifteen, the “Appearance of Bodhisattvas from Underground,” to Chapter Twenty-two, “Transmission.” It says in these eight chapters that Sakyamuni, who was seated in the Stupa of Treasures, summoned from beneath the earth countless Great Bodhisattvas headed by Superb-Action Bodhisattva. He transmitted to them the five letters of MYO-HO-REN-GE-KYO, which is the essence of the Lotus Sutra, and assigned them to disseminate it. The meaning of this decisive event is of fundamental significance. The scene of this transmission is the Most-Venerable-One (Honzon) and everyone should recognize it as such. All living beings should chant the Sacred Title of NAMU-MYO-HO-REN-GE-KYO and direct their veneration toward what is depicted here.

This Most-Venerable-One was revealed only in the Age of Degeneration. The Bodhisattvas from Underground did not appear during the Ages of Right Teaching and Counterfeit Teaching. They were assigned to appear here in our country, now in this Age of Degeneration. The Four Great Bodhisattvas, Superb-Action, Limitless-Action, Pure-Action, and Steadily-Established-Action, are the representatives of the Bodhisattvas who welled up from beneath the earth. They were told to come now, during the Age of Degeneration, disseminate the Sacred Title, and lead unenlightened living beings to Buddhahood.

Thus Nichiren maintains that the Bodhisattvas from Underground and their leaders’ the Four Great Bodhisattvas, will appear in Japan during the Age of Degeneration. He discusses this in his essay, Shoho Sho, “The Reality of All Things,” saying that Bodhisattva Superb-Action, who was instructecl by Sakyamuni to disseminate the Sutra in the future, has already come in the person of Nichiren himself:

I, Nichiren, a man born in the Age of Degeneration, have nearly achieved the task of pioneering the propagation of the Wonderful Law, the task assigned to the Bodhisattva SuperbAction. . . It is indeed too high an honor for me, a common mortal … I, Nichiren, am the one who takes the lead of the Bodhisattvas from Underground. Then may I not be one of them? If I am one of them, why may not all my disciples and followers be their kinsmen? If you are one in faith with Nichiren, you too are one of the Bodhisattvas from Underground.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 26

Day 26 concludes Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas, includes Chapter 22, Transmission, and introduces Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month concluded Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas, we begin Chapter 22, Transmission.

Thereupon Śākyamuni Buddha rose from the seat of the Dharma, and by his great supernatural powers, put his right hand on the heads of the innumerable Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas, and said:

“For many hundreds of thousands of billions of asaṃkhyas of kalpas, I studied and practiced the Dharma difficult to obtain, and [finally attained] Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. Now I will transmit the Dharma to you. Propagate it with all your hearts, and make it known far and wide!”

He put his [right] hand on their heads twice more, and said:

“For many hundreds of thousands of billions of asaṃkhyas of kalpas, I studied and practiced the Dharma difficult to obtain, and [finally attained] Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. Now I will transmit [the Dharma] to you. Keep, read, recite and expound [this sūtra in which the Dharma is given], and cause all living beings to hear it and know it! Why is that? It is because I have great compassion. I do not begrudge anything. I am fearless. I wish to give the wisdom of the Buddha, the wisdom of the Tathāgata, the wisdom of the Self-Existing One, to all living beings. I am the great almsgiver to all living beings. Follow me, and study my teachings without begrudging efforts! In the future, when you see good men or women who believe in the wisdom of the Tathāgata, you should expound this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to them, and cause them to hear and know [this sūtra] so that they may be able to obtain the wisdom of the Buddha. When you see anyone who does not receive [this sūtra] by faith, you should show him some other profound teachings of mine, teach him, benefit him, and cause him to rejoice. When you do all this, you will be able to repay the favors given to you by the Buddhas.”

The Daily Dharma from Feb. 23, 2017, offers this:

When you see anyone who does not receive [this sūtra] by faith, you should show him some other profound teachings of mine, teach him, benefit him, and cause him to rejoice. When you do all this, you will be able to repay the favors given to you by the Buddhas.

The Buddha gives these instructions in Chapter Twenty-Two of the Lotus Sūtra. They remind us to be patient with those whom we work to benefit. Even though they may not be ready to hear the Wonderful Dharma, we can use the Expedient Teachings to prepare them for the Buddha’s highest teaching. When we are assured that countless beings are helping us all to become enlightened, we are less likely to be disappointed in the progress that we see.

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

Day 26

Day 26 concludes Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas, includes Chapter 22, Transmission, and introduces Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month heard in gāthās the praise for keeper of this sutra, we conclude Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas.

The Buddhas sat at the place of enlightenment,
And obtained the hidden core.
Anyone who keeps this sūtra will be able
To obtain the same before long.

Anyone who keeps this sūtra
Will be able to expound
The meanings of the teachings,
And the names and words [of this sūtra].
Their eloquence will be as boundless
And as unhindered as the wind in the sky.

Anyone who understands why the Buddhas expound [many] sūtras,
Who knows the position [of this sūtra in the series of sūtras],
And who expounds it after my extinction
According to its true meaning,
Will be able to eliminate the darkness
Of the living beings of the world where he walks about,
Just as the light of the sun and the moon
Eliminates all darkness.
He will be able to cause innumerable Bodhisattvas
To dwell finally in the One Vehicle.

Therefore, the man of wisdom
Who hears the benefits of these merits
And who keeps this sūtra after my extinction,
Will be able to attain
The enlightenment of the Buddha
Definitely and doubtlessly.

The Daily Dharma from April 16, 2016, offers this:

The Buddha sings these verses to Superior-Practice Bodhisattva (Jōgyo, Viśiṣṭacārītra) in Chapter Twenty-One of the Lotus Sūtra. Superior-Practice is the embodiment of the fourth vow of a Bodhisattva: The Buddha’s teachings are immeasurable; I vow to attain supreme enlightenment. It is through our determination to benefit all beings, and our confidence in the Wonderful Dharma of the Lotus Sūtra, that we maintain our lives in this world of conflict.

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

Day 26

Day 26 concludes Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas, includes Chapter 22, Transmission, and introduces Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month heard of the Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas in gāthās, we hear the praise for keeper of this sutra.

Even if I praise for innumerable kalpas
The keeper of this sūtra,
To whom it is to be transmitted,
I cannot praise him highly enough.

His merits are as limitless,
As infinite, as boundless
As the skies of the worlds
Of the ten quarters.

Anyone who keeps this sūtra
Will be able to see me. He also will be able to see
Many-Treasures Buddha,
[The Buddhas of] my replicas,
And the Bodhisattvas whom I have taught today.

Anyone who keeps this sūtra will be able to cause me to rejoice.
He also will be able to bring joy
To [the Buddhas of] my replicas
And also to Many-Treasures Buddha who once passed away.

He also will be able to see
The present, past and future Buddhas
Of the worlds of the ten quarters,
Make offerings to them, and cause them to rejoice.

Last month I remarked upon the unfathomable idea of “an enlightened being ‘joyfully’ acting’ in response to the vow of the Bodhisattvas from underground. And this month I smile at the promise that, as a keeper of this sūtra, I will cause Śākyamuni “to rejoice. He also will be able to bring joy To [the Buddhas of] my replicas And also to Many-Treasures Buddha who once passed away.”

Pure joy.

Day 26

Day 26 concludes Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas, includes Chapter 22, Transmission, and introduces Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month heard what is revealed and expounded explicitly in this sūtra, we return to the Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas in gāthās.

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

The Buddhas, the World-Saviors, have
Great supernatural powers.
They display their immeasurable, supernatural powers
In order to cause all living beings to rejoice.
The tips of their tongues reach the Heaven of Brahman.
Innumerable rays of light are emitted from their bodies.
For those who are seeking the enlightenment of the Buddha
The Buddhas do these things rarely to be seen.

The sound of coughing of the Buddhas
And the sound of their finger-snapping
Reverberate over the worlds of the ten quarters,
And the ground [of those worlds] quakes in the six ways.

The Buddhas joyfully display
Their immeasurable, supernatural powers
Because [the Bodhisattvas from underground]
[Vow to] keep this sūtra after my extinction.

For today I’m struck by the concept of an enlightened being “joyfully” acting in response to the vow of Bodhisattvas from underground. What would that joy be like?