The Lotus Sutra

‘The Buddha addressed Sariputra: “Such a wonderful Law as this is only preached by the buddha-tathagatas on rare occasions, just as the udumbara flower is seen but once in long periods. Sariputra, believe me, all of you; in the Buddha’s teaching no word is false. Sariputra, the meaning of the laws which the buddhas expound as opportunity serves is difficult to understand. Wherefore? Because I expound the laws by numberless tactful ways and with various reasonings and parabolic expressions. These laws cannot be understood by powers of thought or discrimination; only the buddhas can discern them. Wherefore? Because the buddhas, the world-honored ones, only on account of the one very great cause appear in the world. Sariputra, why do I say that the buddhas, the world-honored ones, only on account of the one very great cause appear in the world? Because the buddhas, the world-honored ones, desire to cause all living beings to open their eyes to the Buddha-knowledge so that they may gain the pure mind, therefore they appear in the world; because they desire to show all living beings the Buddha-knowledge, they appear in the world; because the desire to cause all living beings to apprehend the Buddha-knowledge, they appear in the world; because they desire to cause all living beings to enter the way of the Buddha-knowledge, they appear in the world. Sariputra, this is why it is only on account of the one very great cause that buddhas appear in the world.’

I had cause to read this paragraph at my recent class on the Bodhisattva Vows, as I tried to articulate what the ‘Buddha Way’ of the fourth vow means to me. There is something deeply settling about reading it again.

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