Mañjuśrī’s Monology

Manmono

Both Maitreya and Mañjuśrī give wonderful monologues, both in prose and gatha (poetic) form, respectively asking and responding as to the nature of the Buddha’s Illumination. Portions from Mañjuśrī’s Monologue in prose form are as follows:

Thereupon Manjuśrī spoke to Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya and the other worthy beings: “O sons of a virtuous family! I am very sure that the Buddha, the Bhagavat, will now teach the great Dharma, rain down the great Dharma, blow the conch of the great Dharma, beat the drum of the great Dharma, and reveal the meaning of the great Dharma. “O sons of a virtuous family! I have seen buddhas in the past who have shown this marvel and have taught the great Dharma immediately after emitting a ray of light. Therefore, you should know that in the very same way the Buddha has now emitted this light and has shown this marvel in order to cause all sentient beings to hear and understand the Dharma which in all the worlds is difficult to understand.

Interesting here how Mañjuśrī is relating the fact that this Illuminative Action on the part of the Blessed-One has been carried out time and time again by other Buddhas (Yet all Primordially the same),  in such manner, throughout the millennium. We learn that both Mañjuśrī and Maitreya have also been present through these occurrences, albeit in different reincarnated personas. All the Buddha’s that he recollects each bore the same name:

Candrasūryapradīpa, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. He taught the True Dharma that was good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end. It was profound in meaning, elegant in speech, and endowed with the character of the pure path of discipline and integrity.

Mañjuśrī goes on to explain that this Buddha employed different expedient means for each of the three vehicles:

To those seeking for the śrāvaka vehicle he taught the Dharma with respect to the Four Noble Truths, causing them to overcome birth, old age, illness, and death and to attain nirvana. He taught the Dharma with respect to dependent origination to the pratyekabuddhas; and to the bodhisattvas he taught the Dharma with respect to the six perfections (pāramitās), causing them to attain highest, complete enlightenment and perfect all-knowledge (sarvajnātā).

Śrāvaka: this is the “voice-hearers”, the early followers of the Blessed One who were taught the outward form of the Four Noble Truths; thus they are known as followers of the Śrāvakayāna, or Vehicle of the Hearers.

Pratyekabuddhas: these are those solitary practitioners who come to know the Buddhadharma primarily through their own efforts without the outside aid of any teacher.

Bodhisattvas: the awakened Bodhi-beings of the Buddhadharma, who are formed through the six perfections, or pāramitās. The best-known enumeration of the perfections is a group of six: [giving (DĀNA), morality(ŚĪLA), patience or forbearance (KṢĀNTI), effort (VĪRYA), concentration (DHYĀNA), and wisdom (PRAJÑĀ).” Buswell Jr., Robert E.; Donald S., Jr. Lopez (2013-11-24). The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Kindle Locations 42608-42611). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.].

O Maitreya! You should know that these buddhas, beginning from the first up to the last, all had the same name Candrasūryapradīpa, endowed with the ten epithets. The Dharma that they taught was good in the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Not only this, but Mañjuśrī relates how similar actions (The tuft of White hair, the falling of those majestic flowers, the forthcoming Illumination and the Preaching of the Lotus Sutra) have occurred time after time in the long affairs of the Buddhas. This is a manifestation that these Blessed Actions have been and shall always be Eternal Ones, forever taking place whenever an assembly is ready to hear the Sutra. Hence, the hearing and Teaching of the Lotus Sutra IS Mystically-Perpetual; in a very Real sense, YOU hearing this now are present IN THAT ASSEMBLY.

Wrapping-up the first chapter, we see how this majestic account is really a prelude to those pertinent concerns that shall be forthcoming: the One Vehicle, Expedient Means, and the Primordial-Buddha.

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