23 November 2012

Lotus Sutra Study Questions 1

Chapter One

(All citations refer to the Senchu Murano translation)

This chapter introduces the sutra.  In it, the Buddha remains silent, but demonstrates a supernatural feat that sets the assembly of gathered disciples astir with questions:  "Thereupon the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the white curls between his eyebrows, and illumined all the corners of eighteen thousand worlds..." (page 3).  What could this mean?

One bodhisattva present at that time, Manjushri, remembers a similar event in the remote past, and from this experience makes an announcement:
All of you, know this, join your hands together,
And wait with one mind!
The Buddha will send the rain of the Dharma
And satisfy those who seek enlightenment.

The Buddha will remove
Any doubt of those who seek
The teaching of the Three Vehicles.
No question will be unanswered. (page 22)
Later, we will investigate what the Buddha (that which removes all doubts) represents in this sutra. For now, let's consider how this sutra opens up.

With an introduction like this, what do you expect of the teaching to come?

What is the significance of the Buddha showing his disciples something they have never seen before?

1 comment:

  1. When I was doing my Masters on Educational Consultancy, I came upon some advice from a very successful educational consultant. He said that right away, the consultant should give the client something free and impressive so as to open them up to expecting the unexpected. To be open to receiving the unexpected, I believe, is one of the things this opening chapter accomplishes. As the American comedian Jimmy Durante used to say, "You ain't seen nothing yet"