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According to British professor Paul Williams , "For many East Asian Buddhists since early times, the Lotus Sutra contains the final teaching of the Buddha, complete and sufficient for salvation. Translations of this title into the languages of some of these countries include: [note 1].

The chanting of the title as a mantra is the basic religious practice of his school. According to Fuse, the verse sections of chapters and 17 were probably created in the 1st century BCE, with the prose sections of these chapters added in the 1st century CE. He estimates the date of the 3rd stage ch. According to Stephen F. Teiser and Jacqueline Stone, there is consensus about the stages of composition but not about the dating of these strata.

Tamura argues that the first stage of composition ch. He dates the third stage ch. Karashima proposes another modified version of Fuse's hypothesis with the following sequence of composition: [10] [11]. His translation of a Nepalese Sanskrit manuscript of the Lotus Sutra , "Le Lotus de la bonne loi", was published posthumously in Western interest in the Lotus Sutra waned in the latter 19th century as Indo-centric scholars focused on older Pali and Sanskrit texts.

These scholars attempted to draw parallels between the Old and New Testaments to earlier Nikaya sutras and the Lotus Sutra. Abbreviated and "christo-centric" translations were published by Richard and Soothill. In the post World War II years, scholarly attention to the Lotus Sutra was inspired by renewed interest in Japanese Buddhism as well as archeological research in Dunhuang.

Each of these translations incorporate different approaches and styles that range from complex to simplified. The sutra is presented in the form of a drama consisting of several scenes. The difference between the two lies with the standpoint of who is preaching them. The Theoretical Teachings ch. On the other hand, Shakyamuni declares in the Essential Teachings ch. Chapter 1: Introduction — During a gathering at Vulture Peak , Shakyamuni Buddha goes into a state of deep meditative absorption samadhi , the earth shakes in six ways, and he brings forth a ray of light which illuminates thousands of buddha-fields in the east.

Scholars suggest that chapters contain the original form of the text. Chapter 2 explains the goals of early Buddhism , the Arhat and the Pratyekabuddha , as expedient means of teaching. The Buddha declares that there exists only one path, leading the bodhisattva to the full awakening of a Buddha. This concept is set forth in detail in chapters , using parables, narratives of previous existences and prophecies of enlightenment. Chapter 2: Expedient Means — Shakyamuni explains his use of skillful means to adapt his teachings according to the capacities of his audience.

Chapter 3: Simile and Parable — The Buddha teaches a parable in which a father uses the promise of various toy carts to get his children out of a burning house. This symbolizes how the Buddha uses the Three Vehicles : Arhatship , Pratyekabuddhahood and Samyaksambuddhahood , as skillful means to liberate all beings — even though there is only one vehicle. Chapter 4: Belief and Understanding — Four senior disciples address the Buddha.

Chapter 7: The Parable of Phantom City — The Buddha teaches a parable about a group of people seeking a great treasure who are tired of their journey and wish to quit.

Their guide creates a magical phantom city for them to rest in and then makes it disappear. They tell the parable of a man who has fallen asleep after drinking and whose friend sews a jewel into his garment. When he wakes up he continues a life of poverty without realizing he is really rich, he only discovers the jewel after meeting his old friend again. Chapters expound the role of the bodhisattva and the concept of the eternal lifespan and omnipresence of the Buddha.

Chapter The Teacher of the Law — Presents the practices of teaching the sutra which includes accepting, embracing, reading, reciting, copying, explaining, propagating it, and living in accordance with its teachings. The teacher of the Dharma is praised as the messenger of the Buddha. Chapter Devadatta — Through the stories of the dragon king's daughter and Devadatta , the Buddha teaches that everyone can become enlightened — women, animals, and even the most sinful murderers.

Chapter Encouraging Devotion — The Buddha encourages all beings to embrace the teachings of the sutra in all times, even in the most difficult ages to come. The Buddha prophecies that nuns who are also present will become Buddhas. Chapter Peaceful Practices — Manjusri asks how a bodhisattva should spread the teaching. In his reply Shakyamuni Buddha describes the proper conduct and the appropriate sphere of relations of a bodhisattva. He is encouraged to explain the Mahayana teachings when he answers questions.

Chapter Emerging from the Earth — In this chapter countless bodhisattvas spring up from the earth , ready to teach, and the Buddha declares that he has trained these bodhisattvas in the remote past.

He then teaches the Parable of the Excellent Physician who entices his sons into taking his medicine by feigning his death.

Chapter Distinction in Benefits — The Buddha explains that since he has been teaching as many beings as the sands of the Ganges have been saved.

Chapter The Benefits of Responding with Joy — Faith in the teachings of the sutra brings much merit and lead to good rebirths. Chapter Benefits of the Teacher of the Law - the Buddha praises the merits of those who teach the sutra.

They will be able to purify the six senses. The bodhisattvas who have sprung from the earth ch. Chapter Entrustment — The Buddha transmits the Lotus Sutra to all bodhisattvas in his congregation and entrusts them with its safekeeping. Chapter "Entrustment" — the final chapter in the Sanskrit versions and the alternative Chinese translation.

Shioiri suggests that an earlier version of the sutra ended with this chapter. He assumes that the chapters were inserted later into the Sanskrit version. Chapter "Former Affairs of Bodhisattva Medicine King" — the Buddha tells the story of the 'Medicine King' Bodhisattva, who, in a previous life, burnt his body as a supreme offering to a Buddha.

His accumulated merits enable him to take 34 different forms to propagate the Lotus Sutra. Chapter 28 — Encouragement of the Bodhisattva Universal Worthy - a bodhisattva called "Universal Virtue" asks the Buddha how to preserve the sutra in the future.

Samantabhadra promises to protect and guard all those who keep this sutra in the future Age of Dharma Decline. As Paul Williams explains: []. Although the corpus of teachings attributed to the Buddha, if taken as a whole, embodies many contradictions, these contradictions are only apparent. Teachings are appropriate to the context in which they are given and thus their contradictions evaporate. There is no point in carrying the raft once the journey has been completed and its function fulfilled.

When used, such a teaching transcends itself. The sutra emphasizes that all these seemingly different teachings are actually just skillful applications of the one Dharma and thus all constitute the "One Buddha Vehicle and knowledge of all modes". The One Vehicle doctrine defines the enlightenment of a Buddha anuttara samyak sambhodi as the ultimative goal and the sutra predicts that all those who hear the Dharma will eventually achieve this goal.

Devadatta , who, according to the Pali texts, had attempted to kill the Buddha, receives a prediction of enlightenment. Although the term buddha-nature buddhadhatu is not mentioned once in the Lotus Sutra, Japanese scholars Hajime Nakamura and Akira Hirakawa suggest that the concept is implicitly present in the text. The life span of this primordial Buddha is beyond imagination, his biography and his apparent death are portrayed as skillful means to teach sentient beings.

In this way, since my attainment of Buddhahood it has been a very great interval of time. My life-span is incalculable asatkhyeyakalpas [rather a lot of aeons], ever enduring, never perishing. O good men! The life-span I achieved in my former treading of the bodhisattva path even now is not exhausted, for it is twice the above number.

Yet even now, though in reality I am not to pass into extinction [enter final nirvana], yet I proclaim that I am about to accept extinction. By resort to these expedient devices [this skill-in-means] the Thus Come One [the Tathagata] teaches and converts the beings. Crucially, not only are there multiple Buddhas in this view, but an infinite stream of Buddhas extending infinitely in space in the ten directions and through unquantifiable eons of time.

These bodhisattvas choose to remain in the world to save all beings and to keep the teaching alive. Reeves writes, "because the Buddha and his Dharma are alive in such bodhisattvas, he himself continues to be alive. The fantastically long life of the Buddha, in other words, is at least partly a function of and dependent on his being embodied in others.

The lotus flower imagery points to this quality of the bodhisattvas. The lotus symbolizes the bodhisattva who is rooted in the earthly mud and yet flowers above the water in the open air of enlightenment. According to Donald Lopez , the Lotus Sutra is "arguably the most famous of all Buddhist texts," presenting "a radical re-vision of both the Buddhist path and of the person of the Buddha.

The Lotus Sutra was frequently cited in Indian works by Nagarjuna , Vasubandhu , Candrakirti , Shantideva and several authors of the Madhyamaka and the Yogacara school. Daoxuan of the Tang Dynasty wrote that the Lotus Sutra was "the most important sutra in China". Tendai Buddhism was the dominant form of mainstream Buddhism in Japan for many years and the influential founders of popular Japanese Buddhist sects including Nichiren , Honen , Shinran and Dogen [] were trained as Tendai monks.

Some of these groups have pushed the study of the Lotus Sutra to a global scale. He also used the Lotus Sutra to move his sect from a "temple Buddhism" perspective to one based on social engagement. Various events from it are depicted in religious art. Motifs from the Lotus Sutra figure prominently in the Dunhuang caves built in the Sui era.

Tamura refers to the "Lotus Sutra literary genre. The Lotus Sutra has inspired a branch of folklore based on figures in the sutra or subsequent people who have embraced it. The Miraculous Tales of the Lotus Sutra [] is a collection of stories with folklore motifs based on "Buddhist pseudo-biographies. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Other traditions. The arrangement and numbering of chapters in Kumarajiva's translation is different. In fact, the so-called "lost" versions never existed as separate texts; their titles were simply variants of the titles of the three "surviving" versions. In terms of Buddhist doctrine, it is renowned for two powerful proclamations by the Buddha. The first is that there are not three vehicles to enlightenment but one, that all beings in the universe will one day become buddhas.

The second is that the Buddha did not die and pass into nirvana; in fact, his lifespan is immeasurable. The Doctrines and Practices of Nichiren Shoshu. Tendai Daishi Zenshu.


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According to British professor Paul Williams , "For many East Asian Buddhists since early times, the Lotus Sutra contains the final teaching of the Buddha, complete and sufficient for salvation. Translations of this title into the languages of some of these countries include: [note 1]. The chanting of the title as a mantra is the basic religious practice of his school. According to Fuse, the verse sections of chapters and 17 were probably created in the 1st century BCE, with the prose sections of these chapters added in the 1st century CE. He estimates the date of the 3rd stage ch.


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