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.
Last month covered the benefits obtained by Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva-mahasattva, and now we return to the All-Pure-Light-Adornment World and complete Chapter 24.
Thereupon Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva-mahasattva made offerings to Sakyamuni Buddha and to the stupa of ManyTreasures Buddha, [benefited the living beings of the SahaWorld,] and left for his home world] accompanied by the eighty-four thousand Bodhisattvas. 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 treasures rained down; and hundreds of thousands of billions of kinds of music were made. Having reached his home world, accompanied by the eighty-four thousand Bodhisattvas who surrounded him, he came to Pure-Flower-Star-King-Wisdom Buddha. He said to the Buddha:
World-Honored One! I went to the Saha-World and benefited the living beings there. I saw Sakyamuni Buddha and the stupa of Many-Treasures Buddha. I bowed and made offerings to them. I also saw Manjusri Bodhisattva, the Son of the King of the Dharma. [I also saw] Medkine-King Bodhisattva, Endeavor-Power-Obtainer Bodhisattva, Brave-In-Giving Bodhisattva, and others. I also caused these eighty-four thousand Bodhisattvas to obtain the ability to practise the samadhi by which they could transform themselves into any other living being.
When [Sakyamuni Buddha] expounded this chapter of the Coming and Going of Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva, forty-two thousand gods obtained the truth of birthlessness, and Flower-Virtue Bodhisattva obtained the ability to practice the samadhi for the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.
I’m pondering the position of gods and the truth of birthlessness. The truth of birthlessness is first mentioned in the Devadatta chapter as something to which some of his disciples will aspire. In The Variety of Merits, six hundred and eighty billion nayuta livings beings obtained the truth of birthlessness after Sakyamuni revealed the duration of his life in the previous chapter. Realizing the truth of birthlessness is one of the benefits obtained by a woman, reborn a man, who hears of the Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva. And, finally, 68,000 people obtained the truth of birthlessness when the Buddha expounded the Dharanis chapter.
Today’s quote from Awakening to the Lotus offers this on life and death and, I suppose, birthlessness:
The suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death are facts of everyone’s lives. No matter how developed science may become or how far medicine may advance, these cannot be avoided. Buddhism teaches, however, that when a person discovers that he or she exists within the life of the Eternal Buddha and can perceive the great stream of life flowing endlessly from the past through the present and into the future, he or she will escape the suffering that these events normally cause.
Awakening to the Lotus