Tag Archives: LS27

Day 27

Day 27 concludes Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month compared the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, we consider the merits of the Sūtra.

“Star-King-Flower! This sūtra saves all living beings. This sūtra saves them from all sufferings, and gives them great benefits. All living beings will be able to fulfill their wishes by this sūtra just as a man who reaches a pond of fresh water when he is thirsty, just as a man who gets fire when he suffers from cold, just as a man who is given a garment when he is naked, just as a party of merchants who find a leader just as a child who meets its mother, just as a man who gets a ship when he wants to cross [a river], just as a patient who finds a physician, just as a man who is given a light in the darkness, just as a poor man who gets a treasure, just as the people of a nation who see a new king enthroned, just as a trader who reaches the seacoast. Just as a torch dispels darkness, this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma saves all living beings from all sufferings, from all diseases, and from all the bonds of birth and death. The merits to be given to the person who, after hearing this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, copies it, or causes others to copy it, cannot be measured even by the wisdom of the Buddha. Neither can the merits to be given to the person who copies this sūtra and offers flowers, incense, necklaces, incense to burn, powdered incense, incense applicable to the skin, streamers, canopies, garments, and various kinds of lamps such as lamps of butter oil, oil lamps, lamps of perfumed oil, lamps of campaka oil, lamps of sumanas oil, lamps of pāṭala oil, lamps of vārṣika oil, and lamps of navamālikā oil [to the copy of this sūtra].

See Bodhisattva Way

Bodhisattva Way

The Lesser Vehicle of the “Sravaka” and “Pratyekabuddha” drew a sharp line between this world of sufferings and the pure world of spirit. Its followers renounced worldly concerns, devoted their lives to religious austerities, and made every effort to attain absolute tranquility. This made for a two-dimensional world view, esteeming the pure world of spirit and devaluating the everyday world in which we live.

Bodhisattvas, on the other hand, saw the two worlds as one. They saw this world as the center stage for their religious practice, and preached that spiritual enlightenment must be realized in our life in this world. In short, the Bodhisattva’s mission to deliver people from suffering is to be accomplished in this world of sufferings.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 27

Day 27 concludes Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month learned that Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva was no one but Medicine-King Bodhisattva of today, we compare the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

“Star-King-Flower! Just as the sea is larger than the rivers, this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma is more profound than any of the other sūtras expounded by the Tathāgatas. Just as Mt. Sumeru is the largest of all the mountains including earth mountains, black mountains, the Small Surrounding Iron Mountains, the Great Surrounding Iron Mountains, and the Ten Treasure Mountains, this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma is above all the other sūtras. Just as the Moon God is brighter than the stars, this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma gives us more light than any of the other sūtras numbering thousands of billions. Just as the Sun God dispels all darkness, this sūtra drives away all the darkness of evils. Just as the wheel-turning-holy-king is superior to the kings of small countries, this sūtra is more honorable than the other sūtras. Just as King Sakra is the king of the thirty-three gods, this sūtra is the king of all the sūtras. Just as the Great Brahman Heavenly-King is the father of all living beings, this sūtra is the father of all the sages and saints, of the Śrāvakas who have something more to learn, of the Śrāvakas who have nothing more to learn, and of those who aspire for Bodhisattvahood. Just as Srota-āpannas, Sakrdāgāmins, Anāgāmins, Arhats, and Pratyekabuddhas are superior to ordinary men, this sūtra is superior to any of the other sūtras expounded either by Tathāgatas or by Bodhisattvas or by Śrāvakas. The person who keeps this sūtra is superior to any other living being. Just as Bodhisattvas are superior to Śrāvakas or to Pratyekabuddhas, this sūtra is superior to any other sūtra. Just as the Buddha is the king of the Dharma, this sūtra is the king of all the sūtras.

See Realizing Buddhahood in One’s Heart

Realizing Buddhahood in One’s Heart

Who are the Bodhisattvas and what is meant by the hearts of Bodhisattvas? Bodhisattvas seek to save other people besides themselves, just as the Buddha did. The Bodhisattva heart is the same as the Buddha heart. It does not take much study or diligent practice to know the heart of the Buddha and make it one’s own. The Buddha is a symbol of the human ideal. Even an ignorant person can experience the Buddha’s heart by dedicating his or her own heart to Him, exalting Him as the ideal, wishing to follow His teachings, believing in and praying to Him, and putting such thoughts into practice to the best of one’s ability. It is possible for anyone to experience the heart of the Buddha; that is a way of Practice which is open to anyone. For example, someone who is trying to help another person or persons (the Bodhisattva Practice) is already experiencing the Buddha in his heart. Such a potential for realizing Buddhahood in one’s heart is something every one of us already possesses by nature. (The Buddha was a human being, and so are we; he achieved Buddhahood, and so can we.) This potential is called the “Buddha-nature.”

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 27

Day 27 concludes Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month considered what happened after Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings burned his arms, we learn that Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva was no one but Medicine-King Bodhisattva of today.

The Buddha said to Star-King-Flower Bodhisattva:

“What do you think of this? Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva was no one but Medicine-King Bodhisattva of today. He gave up his body in this way, offered it [to the Buddha], and repeated this offering many hundreds of thousands of billions of nayutas of times [in his previous existence]. [He knows that he can practice any austerity in this Sahā-World. Therefore, he does not mind walking about this world.]

“Star-King-Flower! Anyone who aspires for, and wishes to attain Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi, should offer a light to the stupa of the Buddha by burning a finger or a toe. Then he will be given more merits than the person who offers not only countries, cities, wives and children, but also the mountains, forests, rivers and ponds of the one thousand million Sumeru-worlds, and various kinds of treasures. But the merits to be given to the person who fills the one thousand million Sumeru-worlds with the seven treasures and offers that amount of the seven treasures to the Buddhas, to the Great Bodhisattvas, to the Pratyekabuddhas, and to the Arhats, are less than the merits to be given to the person who keeps even a single gāthā of four lines of this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

See The Spirit of Giving One’s Whole Self

The Spirit of Giving One’s Whole Self

The offering of burning the body, which plays such a prominent part of this chapter, should not be taken literally. It symbolizes the spirit of giving one’s whole self, believing wholeheartedly, embracing the Most-Venerable-One, and offering to serve the truth with all one’s body and soul.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 27

Day 27 concludes Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month witnessed Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva’s reaction to Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha’s entry into parinirvana, we consider what happened after Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings burned his arms.

“Having seen him deprived of his arms, the Bodhisattvas, gods, men, asuras and others were overcome with sorrow. They said, ‘This Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva is our teacher. He is leading us. Now he has burned off his arms. He is deformed.’

“Thereupon Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva vowed to the great multitude, saying, ‘I shall be able to obtain the golden body of the Buddha because I gave up my arms. If my words are true and not false, I shall be able to have my arms restored.’

“When he had made this vow, his arms were restored because his merits, virtues and wisdom were abundant. Thereupon the one thousand million Sumeru-worlds quaked in the six ways, and the gods rained down jeweled flowers. All the gods and men had the greatest joy that they had ever had.”

Underscore here his arms were restored because his merits, virtues and wisdom were abundant.

Day 27

Day 27 concludes Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month heard of Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha’s plans to enter parinirvana, we witness Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva’s reaction.

“Having given these instructions to Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva, Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha entered into Nirvana in the last watch of that night. Having seen the extinction of the Buddha, Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva was overcome with sorrow. He adored the Buddha all the more. He made a pyre of the candana grown on this shore of the sea, offered it to the body of the Buddha, and burned it. After it burned up, he collected the śarīras. He made eighty-four thousand stupas of treasures[, and put the śarīras therein]. He erected eighty-four thousand stupas[, and enshrined the urns therein]. The stupas were higher than the Third Dhyana-Heaven. They were adorned with yastis. Many streamers and canopies were hanging down [from the stupas]. Many jeweled bells also were fixed [on the stupas].

“Thereupon Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva thought again, ‘I have now made these offerings, yet I do not think that they are enough. I will make another offering to the śarīras.’

“He said to the Bodhisattvas, to the great disciples, and also to all the other living beings in the great multitude including gods, dragons and yakṣas, ‘Look with one mind! Now I will make another offering to the śarīras of Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha.’

“Having said this, he burned his arms adorned with the marks of one hundred merits, and offered the light of the flame to the eighty-four thousand stupas for seventy-two thousand years. [By doing so,] he caused innumerable seekers of Śrāvakahood and many other asaṃkhyas of people to aspire for Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi, and obtain the samadhi by which they could transform themselves into the other living beings.

Following the transmission, the Lotus Sūtra offers examples of how followers of the Sūtra should behave. While I don’t endorse self-immolation, Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva’s offering “caused innumerable seekers of Śrāvakahood and many other asaṃkhyas of people to aspire for Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi,” and that’s a fine example of the Bodhisattva goal worth emulating.

Day 27

Day 27 concludes Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month reached the end of Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva, we begin again at the top of Day 27.

“Having sung this gāthā, Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, ‘World-Honored One! You do not change, do you?’

“Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha said to Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva, ‘Good man! The time of my Nirvana is near at hand. The time of my extinction is coming. Prepare me a comfortable couch! I shall enter into Parinirvana tonight.’ “Then he instructed Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva, saying, ‘Good man! I will transmit all my teachings to you. [I also will transmit] to you all the Bodhisattvas and all my great disciples. [I also will transmit] to you my teachings for Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi. I also will transmit to you the one thousand Sumeru worlds made of the seven treasures, the jeweled trees, the jeweled platforms, and the gods attending on me. I also will transmit to you the śarīras to be left after my extinction. Distribute my śarīras far and wide and make offerings to them! Erect thousands of stupas [to enshrine them]!’

The Daily Dharma from May 29, 2017, offers this:

Having sung this gāthā, Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, ‘World-Honored One! You do not change, do you?’

This description of the life of Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva comes from Chapter Twenty-Three of the Lotus Sūtra. In a previous existence, this Bodhisattva had given up his body and his life for the sake of teaching the Wonderful Dharma. He was then reborn into a world in which the Buddha he served previously was still alive and benefitting all beings. Recognizing this unchanging aspect of the Buddha despite his changing appearances helps us see into our own capacity for enlightenment.

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

Day 27

Day 27 concludes Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month covered the merits to be obtained, we conclude the chapter.

“Therefore, Star-King-Flower! I will transmit this chapter of the Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva to you. Propagate this chapter throughout the Jambudvipa in the later five hundred years after my extinction lest it should be lost, and lest Mara the Evil One, the followers of Mara, gods, dragons, yakṣas, and kumbha]das should take advantage [of the weak points of the people of the Jambudvipa].

“Star-King-Flower! Protect this sūtra by your supernatural powers! Why is that? It is because this sūtra is a good medicine for the diseases of the people of the Jambudvipa. The patient who hears this sūtra will be cured of his disease at once. He will not grow old or die.

“Star-King-Flower! Strew blue lotus flower and a bowlful of powdered incense to the person who keep this sūtra when you see him! After strewing these things [to hi.ml, you should think, ‘Before long he will collect grass [for his seat], sit at the place of enlightenment, and defeat the army of Mara. He will blow the conch-shell horn of the Dharma, beat the drum of the great Dharma, and save all living beings from the ocean of old age, disease and death.’

“In this way, those who seek the enlightenment of the Buddha should respect the keeper of this sūtra whenever they see him.”

When the Buddha expounded this chapter of the Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva, eighty-four thousand Bodhisattvas obtained the dharanis by which they could understand the words of all living beings. Many-Treasures Tathāgata in the stupa of treasures praised Star-King-Flower Bodhisattva, saying:

“Excellent, excellent, Star-King-Flower! You obtained inconceivable merits. You asked this question to Śākyamuni Buddha, and benefited innumerable living beings.”

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

Star-King-Flower! Strew blue lotus flowers and a bowlful of powdered incense to the person who keeps this sūtra when you see him! After strewing these things [to him], you should think, ‘Before long he will collect grass [for his seat], sit at the place of enlightenment, and defeat the army of Māra. He will blow the conch-shell horn of the Dharma, beat the drum of the great Dharma, and save all living beings from the ocean of old age, disease and death.’

The Buddha gives this explanation to Star-King-Flower Bodhisattva in Chapter Twenty-Three of the Lotus Sūtra. Māra is the deity who creates confusion and delusion in the world. His army consists of those who reinforce these delusions and reward those who share them. Such rewards do not benefit those who receive them. They only serve to produce fear and attachment which creates misery in the world. With our practice of this Lotus Sūtra, we learn to recognize delusion for what it is, and reject the superficial benefits that come with it.

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