The Door To This Wisdom is Difficult to Enter

The Door To This Wisdom is Difficult to Enter

Sunday, 23 February 2014

"This Is What I Heard" - The Title

"This is what I heard" (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, Chapter 1, p 35)

"In the first volume of [T’ien-T’ai’s] The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra we find a passage that states, “The word ‘this’ [of ‘This is what I heard’] indicates the essence of a doctrine heard from the Buddha.” … 
The Flower Garland Sutra begins: “The Great and Vast Buddha Flower Garland Sutra. This is what I heard.”   The Wisdom Sutra begins: “The Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra. This is what I heard.”   The Mahāvairochana Sutra begins: “The Mahāvairochana’s Protection through Supernatural Powers Sutra. This is what I heard.”   What does “this” indicate in these and all other sutras? It refers to the title of each sutra.   When the Buddha expounded a sutra, he put a title to it, revealing its ultimate principle. …
Our contemporaries think of the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo only as a name, but this is not correct. It is the essence, that is, the heart of the Lotus Sutra.   …  
Myoho-renge-kyo is neither the scriptural text nor its meaning, but the heart of the entire sutra.   Those who seek the heart of the sutra apart from its title are as foolish as the turtle who sought the monkey’s liver outside the monkey, or the monkey who left the forest and sought fruit on the seashore.”  (“This Is What I Heard”, WND-1, p859 - 861)
One thing worth pointing out here is that the title of this sutra is NOT “The Lotus Sutra” (Renge Kyo) but “The Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra”  (Myoho Renge Kyo).  The meaning in the title, the heart of the teaching is that there is a Mystic Law running throughout the universe based on cause and effect as symbolised by the Lotus Flower which seeds and blossoms at the same time.  Similarly, the Lotus Flower is a thing of great beauty (a revelation of Buddhahood) that is rooted within the dirt and muddy water (the Saha world).  
Again it’s easy to imagine this beautiful blossom just floating on the water, but underneath the surface, we can see that this beautiful flower is deeply rooted within the dirt at the bottom of the muddy pond.  So the title of the sutra contains this imagery of a strict Mystic law, the workings of cause and effect within our lives, and the phenomena of birth and the attainment of enlightenment occurring right where we are in an impure environment.
So what did I hear?  I heard "Myoho Renge Kyo" - the teaching of a Mystic Law based on the causes I make and their effects, and which will enable me to blossom and manifest my own Buddhahood even within the impure world in which I live.

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