Tag Archives: LS28

The Lotus Sutra and Nichiren

Throughout the long history of admiration for the Lotus Sutra, there were many readers and devotees who contributed to its propagation. But only Nichiren devoted his life to reading the Lotus Sutra to such a profound extent, putting both his body and soul into understanding it.

Nichiren suffered numerous religious persecutions which jeopardized even his life. Thanks to these ordeals, however, he gained a deeper understanding of the Lotus Sutra, through which he was able to enter the realm of Buddhist Truth. The life-long experience of religious persecutions is unique to this saint, amounting to special ordeals worse than most ordinary men could endure.

Nichiren himself was aware of this, which is why he said, “Nichiren alone is able to read the words of the Sutra.”

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 28

Day 28 covers all of Chapter 24, Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, and concludes the Seventh Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month considered Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva’s great supernatural powers and the power of wisdom, we learn of the samadhi practiced by Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva.

Thereupon Flower-Virtue Bodhisattva said to the Buddha:

“World-Honored One! This Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva planted deeply the roots of good. World-Honored One! What is the name of the samadhi by which he can transform himself into various living beings and appear in various places to save all living beings?”

The Buddha said to Flower-Virtue Bodhisattva:

“Good man! This is called the ‘samadhi by which one can transform oneself into any other living being.’ Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva entered into this samadhi and benefited innumerable living beings as previously stated.”

When the Buddha expounded this chapter of Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, the eighty-four thousand people, who had come accompanying Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, obtained the ability to practice the samadhi by which they could transform themselves into other living beings. Innumerable Bodhisattvas of this Sahā-World also obtained the ability to practice this samadhi. They also obtained dharanis.

See The Pure Land Everywhere

The Pure Land Everywhere

This chapter, “Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva,” contains some interesting teachings. Since the Saha-world we live in is filled with evil and impurity, it is called “the defiled land.” It is also called the World of Forbearance or Endurance, because the living beings which dwell here endure many sufferings. An ideal world, on the other hand, is called a Pure Land. Before the Lotus Sutra was taught, it was believed that a Pure Land can exist only somewhere else, somewhere far away from this defiled land. One such Pure Land is mentioned in the Lotus Sutra. It is the Western Paradise of Amitayus. However, the Pure Land of the Lotus Sutra exists not only in the west, but everywhere.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 28

Day 28 covers all of Chapter 24, Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, and concludes the Seventh Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month considered Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva’s transformations, we consider his great supernatural powers and the power of wisdom.

“Flower-Virtue! This Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva protects all living beings in this Sahā-World. He transforms himself into one or another of these various living beings in this Sahā World and expounds this sūtra to all living beings without reducing his supernatural powers, [his power of] transformation, and his wisdom. He illumines this Sahā World with the many [rays of light] of his wisdom, and causes all living beings to know what they should know. He also does the same in the innumerable worlds of the ten quarters, that is, in as many worlds as, there are sands in the River Ganges. He takes the shape of a Śrāvaka and expounds the Dharma to those who are to be saved by a Śrāvaka. He takes the shape of a Pratyekabuddha and expounds the Dharma to those who are to be saved by a Pratyekabuddha. He takes the shape of another Bodhisattva and expounds the Dharma to those who are to be saved by that Bodhisattva. He takes the shape of a Buddha and expounds the Dharma to those who are to be saved by a Buddha. He takes these various shapes according to the capacities of those who are to be saved. He shows his extinction to those who are to be saved by his extinction. Flower-Virtue! Such are the great supernatural powers and the power of wisdom obtained by Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva-mahāsattva.”

See This World of Endurance is Pivotal

This World of Endurance is Pivotal

In this chapter, the Pure Land of Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva is described as existing in the east. According to the Lotus Sutra, however, the Pure Land should not be anywhere else than right here in our Saha-world. This idea was presented in Chapter Sixteen, the “Duration of the Life of the Tathagata.” It is a principal theme of the Lotus Sutra, which always emphasizes practice in our real world. It concludes that “the Saha-world itself is the Pure Land.

However, many Buddhists, who do not have a thorough understanding of the Lotus Sutra, still think of the Pure Land as being somewhere else, away from the Saha-world. The Lotus Sutra accommodates this popular belief and differentiates between the eastern Pure Land, the western Pure Land, and the defiled land. This chapter of Wonderful-Voice-Bodhisattva shows us that this World of Endurance is pivotal, however, no matter how inferior it may seem when compared to the pure lands of the east and west. It is here that people live and die. It is here that they conceive of pure lands existing either to their east or west. It is here that the Eternal Original Buddha reveals himself. It is here that the other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas come to pay homage. Thus Pure-Flower-Star-King-Wisdom Buddha warns Wonderful-Voice not to denigrate the World of Endurance. Its crucial importance belies its miserable outward appearance.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 28

Day 28 covers all of Chapter 24, Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, and concludes the Seventh Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month considered Flower-Virtue Bodhisattva’s question and Śākyamuni Buddha’s answer, we consider Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattvas transformations.

“Flower-Virtue! Now you see Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva here and nowhere else. But formerly he transformed himself into various living beings and expounded this sūtra to others in various places. He became King Brahman, King Sakra, Freedom God, Great-Freedom God, a great general in heaven, Vaisravana Heavenly-King, a wheel-turning-holy-king, the king of a small country, a rich man, a householder, a prime minister, a brahmana, a bhikṣu, a bhikṣunī, an upāsakā, an upāsikā, the wife of a rich man, that of a householder, that of a prime minister, that of a brahmana, a boy, a girl, a god, a dragon, a yakṣa, a gandharva, an asura, a garuda, a kiṃnara, a mahoraga, a human being or a nonhuman being. [After he transformed himself into one or another of these living beings,] he expounded this sūtra, and saved the hellish denizens, hungry spirits, animals, and all the other living beings in the places of difficulties. When he entered an imperial harem, he became a woman and expounded this sūtra.

See Devoting Ourselves to Service and Welfare of Others

Devoting Ourselves to Service and Welfare of Others

The samadhi by which one can transform himself into other living beings is a power of concentration acquired by practice. Such a miraculous phenomenon may sound impossible. However, when we sincerely devote ourselves to the service and welfare of others, we can reach a stage of nonself—real selflessness—and become one with them. In appearance, we may even look like one of them. An adult playing happily with children may look like a child himself. He may feel like a child, too. The children may even consider him to be one of them. Such “transformations” are far from impossible, but they do require a special state of mind. The samadhi by which one can transform himself into other living things is an expression of the Bodhisattva-spirit of devoting one’s self to others. Wonderful-Voice can transform himself into thirty-four bodies. In the next chapter, we meet a famous Bodhisattva with similar abilities.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 28

Day 28 covers all of Chapter 24, Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, and concludes the Seventh Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month the arrival of Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva in the Sahā World, we consider Flower-Virtue Bodhisattva’s question and Śākyamuni Buddha’s answer.

Thereupon Flower-Virtue Bodhisattva said to Śākyamuni Buddha:

“World-Honored One! What root of good did this Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva plant and what kind of meritorious deeds did he do in order to obtain this supernatural power?”

Śākyamuni Buddha said to Flower-Virtue Bodhisattva:

“There was once a Buddha called Cloud-Thunder-Sound-King, the Tathāgata, the Arhat, the Samyak-sambuddha. His world was called Appearance-Of-All-Worlds; and the kalpa in which he lived, Gladly-Seen. [There lived] a Bodhisattva called Wonderful-Voice [under that Buddha. The Bodhisattva] offered hundreds of thousands of kinds of music and eighty-four thousand patras of the seven treasures to Cloud-Thunder-Sound-King Buddha for twelve thousand years. Because of this, he was able to appear in the world of Pure-Flower-Star-King-Wisdom Buddha, and obtain supernatural power such as this.

“Flower-Virtue! What do you think of this? Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva who had offered the music and the jeweled bowls to Cloud-Thunder-Sound-King Buddha [at that time] was no one but this Wonderful-Virtue Bodhisattva-mahāsattva [whom you see here now].

“Flower-Virtue! This Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva already made offerings to innumerable Buddhas, attended on them, and planted the roots of virtue a long time ago. He also already saw hundreds of thousands of billions of nayutas of Buddhas, that is, as many Buddhas as there are sands in the River Ganges.

What root of good, indeed.

Day 28

Day 28 covers all of Chapter 24, Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, and concludes the Seventh Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month witnessed Many Treasures Buddha invite Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva to come to the Sahā World, Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva arrives in the Sahā World.

[Before he started,] he stepped on a platform of the seven treasures. The platform went up to the sky seven times as high as the tala[-tree, and moved through the sky, carrying him]. Together with the Bodhisattvas surrounding him respectfully, he came to Mt. Gṛdhrakūṭa of this Sahā-World, and descended from the platform of the seven treasures. He came to Śākyamuni Buddha, carrying with him a necklace worth hundreds of thousands. He worshipped the feet of the Buddha with his head, offered the necklace to the Buddha, and said to him:

“World-Honored One! I bring you a message from Pure-Flower-Star-King-Wisdom Buddha. [He wishes to say this.] Are you in good health? Are you happy and peaceful or not? Are the four elements of your body working in harmony or not? Are the worldly affairs bearable or not? Are the living beings easy to save or not? Do they not have much greed, anger, ignorance, jealousy, stinginess and arrogance, or do they? Are they not undutiful to their parents, or are they? Are they not di respectful to śramaṇas, or are they? Do they not have wrong views, or do they? Are they not evil, or are they? Do they not fail to control their five desires, or do they? World-Honored One! Did they defeat the Maras, who are their enemies, or not. Is Many-Treasures Tathāgata, who passed away a long time ago and has now come here riding in the stupa of the seven treasures, hearing the Dharma or not? [Pure-Flower-Star-King-Wisdom Buddha] also wishes to know whether Many-Treasures Tathāgata is peaceful and healthy, and able to stay long or not World-Honored One! Now I wish to see Many-Treasures Buddha World-Honored One! Show him to me!”

Thereupon Śākyamuni Buddha said to Many-Treasure Buddha, “This Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva wishes to see you.”

Thereupon Many-Treasures Buddha said to Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva:

Excellent, excellent! You have come here to make offerings to Śākyamuni Buddha, hear the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, and see Mañjuśrī and others.”

The Daily Dharma from April 19, 2017, offers this:

The passage above is how Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva greets Śākyamuni Buddha in Chapter Twenty-Four of the Lotus Sūtra. This Bodhisattva asks not only about the Buddha, but about those whom the Buddha benefits with his teaching. The Buddha answers that those he teaches have prepared through innumerable lives to receive his wisdom. The questions of Wonderful-Voice show how we obscure the teaching through our delusion and attachments.

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

Day 28

Day 28 covers all of Chapter 24, Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, and concludes the Seventh Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

Having last month witnessed a great omen in the Sahā World, Many Treasures Buddha calls for Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva to come to the Sahā World.

Mañjuśrī said to the Buddha:

“World-Honored One! What root of good did he plant and what kind of meritorious deed did he do in order to obtain this great supernatural power? What samadhi did he practice? Tell us the name of the samadhi! We also wish to practice it strenuously so that we may be able to see how tall he is and how he behaves himself. World-Honored One! Cause me to see him by your supernatural powers when he comes!”

Thereupon Śākyamuni Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “This Many-Treasures Tathāgata, who passed away a long time ago, will cause him to appear before you all.”

Thereupon Many-Treasures Buddha called [loudly] to [Wonderful-Voice] Bodhisattva [from afar], “Good man! Come! Mañjuśrī, the Son of the King of the Dharma, wishes to see you.”

Thereupon Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, accompanied by eighty-four thousand Bodhisattvas, left his world [for the Sahā World]. As they passed through the [one hundred and eight billion nayuta] worlds, the ground of those worlds quaked in the six ways; lotus flowers of the seven treasures rained [on those worlds], and hundreds of thousands of heavenly drums sounded [over those worlds] although no one beat them. The eyes of [Wonderful-Voice] Bodhisattva were as large as the leaves of the blue lotus. His face was more handsome than the combination of thousands of millions of moons. His body was golden-colored, and adorned with many hundreds of thousands of mark of merits. His power and virtue were great. His light was brilliant. His body had all the characteristics of the muscular body of Narayana.

This time through I am struck by the roles played here: Mañjuśrī asks Śākyamuni to be able to see Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva. Śākyamuni says Many-Treasures Buddha can make that happen. Many-Treasures Buddha issues his invitation, and in response Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, accompanied by eighty-four thousand Bodhisattvas, makes his way to the Sahā World. Just something to ponder.