The Door To This Wisdom is Difficult to Enter

The Door To This Wisdom is Difficult to Enter

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The ONE-derful Law of the Lotus

“The Lotus Sutra is like the seed, the Buddha like the sower and the people like the field.”(WND-1, p748)

In the Forward to Burton Watson’s “The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras”, Daisaku Ikeda writes: 

“From Early Times the Lotus Sutra has been known as “the king of sutras.” …

The Lotus Sutra clearly and definitively reveals the buddha nature that is an integral part of the lives of all people. And it makes clear that the Buddha desires and acts so that all people, by opening up this buddha nature inherent within themselves, may attain the state of buddhahood for themselves. The sutra further stresses that the continued observance of such action is the true mission of the bodhisattva, and never ceases to praise the observance of this practice.

The buddha nature, which is inherent in all living beings, is a universal and fundamental source or fountain of hope.  When it is fully brought to light, it allows all human beings to realize their highest level of personal development and to attain unparalleled happiness and good fortune.  And the Lotus Sutra is the text that most forcefully asserts this truth.”


Within the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni talks about several other buddhas that have taught this sutra, and even though the words may be different, they all contain the one same universal truth.
Here are three of the Buddhas mentioned in the Sutra, the chapter they appear in, and how long their sutra was or lasted.

Chapter 1
“At this time the buddha Sun Moon Bright arose from his samadhi and … preached the great vehicle sutra called The Lotus of the Wonderful Law… For sixty small kalpas* the Buddha remained in his seat without rising, and the listeners in the assembly at that time also remained seated there for sixty small kalpas*” (p48)
Chapter 7
The buddha preached this [Lotus of the Wonderful Law] sutra for a period of eight thousand kalpas*, never once stopping to rest” (p171)
”preaching this Lotus Sutra in verse as numerous as Ganges sand” (p178)
Chapter 20
When this monk was on the point of death, he heard up in the sky fully twenty thousand, ten thousand, a million verses of the Lotus Sutra that had previously been preached  by the Buddha Awesome Sound King” (p309)

* A kalpa is approximately 16 million years!! So we have a Lotus Sutra in Chapter 1 lasting for 960 million years and a Lotus Sutra in Chapter 7 of infinite verses over 128,000,000,000 years !!!!

28 – 24 – 5

Nichiren Daishonin writes about Bodhisattva Never Disparaging and his own propagation and persecution in a letter to his disciples and lay supporters called “On the Buddha’s Prophecy”:

“The twenty-four characters of Never Disparaging and the five characters of Nichiren are different in wording, but accord with the same principle. The end of the Buddha Awesome Sound King’s Middle Day and the beginning of this Latter Day of the Law are exactly the same in method of conversion.”  (WND-1, p400)

Just before he passed away, Shakyamuni taught his version of the Lotus Sutra, and, according to Nichiren’s letter, he says that during the Middle Day of the Law, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging propagated the twenty-four character teaching and that in the early part of the Latter Day of the Law, he was propagating the five character teaching.

Apart from the Opening and Closing Sutras, there are 28 chapters in Shakyamuni’s Lotus Sutra.

“I have profound reverence for you, I would never dare treat you with disparagement or arrogance. Why? Because you are all practicing the bodhisattva way and are certain to attain Buddhahood.”
In Kumārajīva’s Chinese translation, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s phrase  consists of twenty-four characters.


“Included within the title, or daimoku, of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the entire sutra consisting of all eight volumes, twenty-eight chapters, and 69,384 characters, without the omission of a single character.“ (WND-1, p922)

“Myoho-renge-kyo is neither the scriptural text nor its meaning, but the heart of the entire sutra.”   (WND-1, p861)

"The same Lotus Sutra is expressed in different ways depending on the Buddha who preaches it, the time it is preached, and the capacity of the people to understand it."  Josei Toda

We can see that throughout the different periods of time from the pre-Shakyamuni Lotus Sutras, mentioned in The Lotus Sutra, to more recent times, that the Lotus Sutra has got shorter and shorter, and has gone from millions of verses to five characters.  It’s important to recognize though that it’s not the length of the sutra, or how long it takes to preach it, but the fact that they are all the universal Lotus Sutra in which a buddha reveals the ONE SINGLE LAW that can cause someone who aspires to seek enlightenment to achieve absolute happiness and gain supreme perfect enlightenment in this lifetime.

“Though the teaching I am now propagating seems limited, it is extremely profound.  That is because it goes deeper than the teaching expounded by T’ien-t’ai, Dengyō, and others.  It is the three important matters [the object of devotion of the essential teaching, namely the Gohonzon, the daimoku of the essential teaching and the sanctuary of the essential teaching, or the place where we practice] in the “Life Span” chapter of the essential teaching.  Practicing only the seven characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo seems limited, but since they are the master of all the Buddhas of the three existences, the teacher of all the bodhisattvas in the ten directions, and the guide that enables all living beings to attain the Buddha way, it is profound.”  (“Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment”, WND-1, p317)

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