Archive for March, 2014

Nichiren Nights and the Great Tendai Sun

From this series on the Lotus Sutra it’s not hard to imagine why mystical-movements evolved from its teachings. The Japanese Tendai-School has its roots within the Chinese Tiantai Tradition and was established by a monk named Saichō, whom like his Shingon counterpart, the great Kūkai, had traveled and studied first hand in China. While Saichō emphasized encompassing many forms of Buddhist practice under the canopy of the Lotus Sutra, it was long after his death that Tendai-Buddhism evolved Read more [...]

Lotus Sutra Dharanis

Dhāraṇīs are special mystical-invocations used to provide spiritual-protection for its recipients. The ones encountered in chapter 26 are meant to protect the teachings of the Lotus Sutra and its devotees. Herein we find many diverse beings uttering dhāraṇīs, from Bodhisattvas (like Medicine King) and even from rākṣasīs. The following is one uttered by Vaishravana, protector of the world: A ri, na ri, to na ri, a na ro, na bi, ku na bi. Through this invocation Vaishravana Read more [...]

The Universal Gateway of the Bodhisattva Who Hears the Cries of the Poor

Those reading this title from Chapter 25 from translations that don't utilize the sanskrit might not realize this refers to non-other than our own beloved Avalokiteśvara. This entire chapter is in honor of the Greatest (in our own saha-realm) Bodhisattva of Compassion, the Universal-Gateway that invites all the “spiritually” poor, all the lost and forsaken, those stricken with vile diseases and addictions—yea all who are in desperate need of spiritual healing, to come and find spiritual Read more [...]

What Need Forgiveness?

Recently a question was asked about understanding of forgiveness from a Ch’an perspective. An aspiring Ch’an adept would learn soon enough that this is a totally meaningless question. For instance, the Diamond Sutra would ask, “Forgiveness from what and for whom?” From this realization forgiveness is a useless platitude. Even within the Catholic Confessional the priest “absolves” one from sin, but the actual “forgiveness” needs to be done by oneself, to be able to forgive oneself; Read more [...]

A Most Compassionate Light

Thereupon, the Buddha Śākyamuni emitted a ray of light from his topknot (uṣṇīṣa), the mark of a great person, and also from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows (ūrṇā), thus illuminating all the buddha worlds in the east equal to the sands of one hundred and eight myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers. Beyond this number of worlds was the buddha world called Vairocanaraśmipratimaṇḍitā. In that world was the buddha named Kamaladala Vimalanakṣatrarājasaṃkusumitābhijna, Read more [...]

Self-Immolation

Without question the most extreme forms of homage that traces its roots back to the Lotus Sutra (in particular Chapter 23) is that of self-immolation. Of course the most recent occurrences of this extremity are occurring in Tibet, where Tibetans are choosing to self-immolate themselves in order to win freedom from Chinese Rule. Yet, this practice can trace itself back to the Lotus: Beginning around the end of the fourth century of the Common Era, and continuing sporadically into modern times, Read more [...]

Sweet Anointing From Above

Upon hearing the Blessed One expound on his eternal-lifespan, the Lotus Sutra goes on to explain in the ensuing chapters how immeasurable sentient beings may draw merit from this realization. (from Chapter 17) At that time the Buddha addressed Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya, saying: “O Ajita! Those sentient beings who hear about the great length of the Buddha’s lifespan, and can awaken even a single thought of willing acceptance, will all obtain immeasurable merit. If there are sons Read more [...]

The Hidden Elixir That Heals All Woes

Chapters 13-21 addresses the spiritual careers of bodhisattvas accompanied with prescriptions for right conduct and proper ways in which to reverence the Lotus Sutra. Chapter 16 is unique on its own since it focuses on the vast spiritual career of Śākyamuni, one that stretches across endless eons. It’s in this chapter that he declares that his supreme awakening beneath the Bodhi-Tree during this present life-cycle was not the first such instance, as the original occasion took place inconceivable Read more [...]

The Days of Hermits, Scoundrels, and a Dragon Princess

Chapter 12 is the quintessential text in Buddhism conveying the all-encompassing ascendancy of Buddha-nature. It reveals that regardless of one’s moral stature, sexual identity, or karmic-predispositions, the potential-seed of Buddhahood is indigenous to all sentient beings. The “awakening” to one’s Buddha-nature is fully developed in this Chapter known as “Devadatta” that is essentially comprised of two segments—the first concerning a notorious man and the second involving a young Read more [...]

Atsuya Okuda—the Sound of the (zen) Bamboo Flute

Tozen dropped-off this marvelous link...enjoy! Atsuya Okuda, producer of The Sound of Zen 2002 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sound_of_Zen music-link: http://okudaatsuya.com/sound_koku.html (click on any of the Japanese words above the black bar to hear his creations). Read more [...]
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