20 March 2013

Lotus Sutra Study Questions 16

Buddha Shakyamuni, at the end of Chapter 16 of the Lotus Sutra, states:
I am always thinking:
"How shall I cause all living beings
To enter into the unsurpassed Way
And quickly become Buddhas?"
Murano translation, p. 249

Chapter 16 is a significant and often-discussed chapter.  In it, Buddha Shakyamuni makes two startling claims that fly in the face of convention and expectation.  To summarize:  while the Buddha  appears to live and die as an ordinary man, in reality, this is simply a trick or a ruse; the real Buddha is by nature very, very ancient, not dying and not taking birth, but the personal or historical Buddha appears to be mortal.  Why does the Buddha take this appearance?  So that beings will not become complacent in practice or take the teachings for granted in their present lives.

Question: What Buddha is eternal and always abiding, according to the teachings you have read so far in the Lotus Sutra?  On behalf of whom or what is Buddha Shakyamuni speaking here?

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