Monthly Archives: 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 into a highly intricate esoteric-system based on the vehicle of the Lotus Sutra. The Great Mahāvariocana Buddha became center-stage as one entered into cosmic-union with this Great-Buddha of the Mystical Sun through the three mysteries: the forming of mudrās or elaborate hand gestures; the chanting of sacred mantras, or dhāraṇīs; and the daily contemplation and meditation with Buddhist-deities, or symbols bearing the mark of the deities, usually through mandalas that could be outwardly created or inwardly visualized. Tendai-Buddhism also utilizes the “Lotus Repentance Meditation”, its purpose is to bring about satori, or the spark of enlightenment. One such example of the meditation; ceremony runs as follows: read more

Posted in The Lotus Sutra | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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: read more

Posted in The Lotus Sutra | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

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 refuge. Yes, Avalokiteśvara is the one who hears and comforts all those who are in physical, mental, or spiritual bondage. Avalokiteśvara is the one who hears the cries of the poor! read more

Posted in The Lotus Sutra | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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; absolvement implies totally erasing it—as if it was never there to begin with. The forgiveness factor is a personal thing for the apparent person—in this sense it’s a release from guilt and nothing more. So in actuality it’s a “skandhic-thing”. Yet we know that when the skandhas are disbanded there was really no-person in the first place. Hence, what need forgiveness? read more

Posted in Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

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, 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 was respectfully surrounded by a great assembly of countless, innumerable bodhisattvas, and he expounded his teaching for them. The ray of light emitted from the tuft of white hair between the eyebrows of Śākyamuni Buddha illuminated that entire world. read more

Posted in The Lotus Sutra | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


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: read more

Posted in The Lotus Sutra | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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. read more

Posted in The Lotus Sutra | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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 kalpas ago. Ever since that time he has been present in our saha-world teaching the Buddhadharma; what’s even more remarkable in all of this is that such passages infer that he is still present even now, not only in our own particular realm but in countless others as well, in his Sambhogakāyic-form. In light of this it’s apparent that his Supreme Teaching Career will be a Spiritually-Perpetual One, stating, “I abide forever with you without entering parinirvana.” He also points out that his awakening and apparent entry into nirvana was essentially all skillful means at his disposal in order to encourage an awakening in the Mind of all living beings who hunger for the Buddhadharma. Take a moment and absorb this spiritual-realization. Śākyamuni’s Spirit is with us even now, in Sambhogakāyic-form. This would be equivalent in Western Spirituality of Jesus still being present to devotees in the mode of the Holy Spirit. Hence, Śākyamuni is still present both in Sambhogakāyic and in Dharmakāyic (Absolute Dharma-Body of Perfect Suchness) Realizations. Of course, deluded people (those still not awakened to their own Buddha-nature) will not be aware of his ever-abiding presence. In order to counteract this, the Blessed One supplied the following parable as the prescription against the disease of avidya: read more

Posted in The Lotus Sutra | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 female, both of whom secured their own realization of Buddhahood. It opens with the Buddha describing one of his previous existences when he was a discontented king who sought the doctrine of truth. He made it be known that he would become anyone’s servant who could reveal this Buddha-gnosis. A lowly hermit approaches him and conveys the importance of the Lotus Sutra. The king subsequently becomes the hermit’s personal-servant during which time he becomes enlightened to the teachings of the Sutra. The Buddha reveals that this hermit was non-other than Devadatta in a previous incarnation. Devadatta’s reputation was less than spectacular: read more

Posted in The Lotus Sutra | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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 read more

Posted in Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment