Friday, June 8, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - L is for Lotus Sutra

Sekmet's Day
LuniSol - Moonth 7, Day 2
Metonic - Year 17, Lunation 203, Day 20
Dreamspell - Blue Spectral Monkey (11 Chuen) - Kin 11
Mayan Tzolk'in - 3 Kan (Yellow Electric Seed) - Kin 224
Mayan Ha'ab - 7 Zolz

The Lotus Sutra is believed to be the last teachings of the historical Buddha. The complete name of this teaching is Sutra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma and includes 2 other sutras called Innumberable Meanings and Contemplation of the Dharma Practice of Universal Sage Bodhisattva. Together, these are known as the Threefold Lotus Sutra.

The Lotus Sutra itself purports to be the most important of all the sutras. Only certain sects of Buddhism such as Nichiren Buddhism believe this to be true. I personally believe that all of the Buddha's teachings have merit. One of  the main points of this sutra is that the Buddha uses skillful means to teach. For example, he may have told farmers one thing and merchants another. Is this contradictory? No. He taught each group according to their understanding. Reminds you of anyone you know? (*cough* Jesus *cough*)

There are many parables and fantastic imagery in this sutra. It is not an easy read and you cannot take many things literally. I recommend the translations by Burton Watson (ISBN 9780861715718) and Gene Reeves (ISBN 9780231081610).

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