Friday, September 27, 2013

The Lotus Sutra (Chapter 2)

Dhr. Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; based on Burton Watson translation

Chapter II: Expedient Means
At that time the World-Honored One calmly arose from his meditative-absorption (samadhi) and addressed Sariputra, saying: "The wisdom of the buddhas is infinitely profound and immeasurable. 

The door to this profound wisdom is difficult to understand and difficult to enter. Not one of the hearers (shravakas) or nonteaching-buddhas (pratyekabuddhas) is able to comprehend it.
"What is the reason for this? A [supremely enlightened samma-sam-] Buddha has personally attended [on] a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million, a countless number of buddhas and has fully carried out an immeasurable number of religious practices. He has exerted himself bravely and vigorously, and his name is universally known. He has realized the Dharma that is profound and never known before, and preaches it in accordance with what is appropriate, yet his intention is difficult to understand.
"Sariputra, ever since I attained buddhahood, I have through various causes and various similes widely expounded my teachings and have used countless expedient means to guide living beings and cause them to renounce attachments. Why is this? 

It is because the Thus Come One (Tathagata) is fully possessed by both expedient means and the perfection of wisdom.

A lotus, its beauty and fragrance, arise from mud.
"Sariputra, the wisdom of the Thus Come One is expansive and profound. He has immeasurable [mercy], unlimited [eloquence], power, fearlessness, concentration, emancipation, and meditative-absorptions, and has deeply entered the boundless and awakened to the Dharma never before attained.
"Sariputra, the Thus Come One knows how to make various kinds of distinctions and to expound the teachings skillfully. His words are soft and gentle and delight the hearts of the assembly.
"Sariputra, to sum it up: the Buddha has fully realized the Dharma that is limitless, boundless, never attained before.

"But stop, Sariputra, I will say no more. Why? It is because what the Buddha has achieved is the rarest and most difficult-to-understand Dharma [truth]. The true entity of all phenomena can only be understood and shared between buddhas. This reality consists of the appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, inherent cause, relation, latent effect, manifest effect, and their consistency from beginning to end."
At that time the World-Honored One, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse, saying:

The great hero of the world is unfathomable. Among heavenly beings or the people of the world, among all living beings, none can understand the Buddha. The Buddha's power, fearlessness, emancipation, and meditative-absorptions, and the Buddha's other attributes -- no one can reckon or fathom.
Earlier, under the guidance of countless buddhas, he fully acquired and practiced various ways, profound, subtle, and wonderful doctrines that are hard to see and hard to understand.
For immeasurable millions of aeons (kalpas) he has been practicing these ways until in the place of practice he achieved the goal. I have already come to know-and-see completely this great goal and recompense, the meaning of these various natures and characteristics.

I and the other buddhas of the ten directions can now understand these things. This Dharma cannot be described, words fall silent before it. Among the other kinds of living beings there are none who can comprehend it, except the... More

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