24 April 2013

Lotus Sutra Study Questions 20

Lotus Sutra chapter 20 tells the story of a bodhisattva called Never Despising (a previous incarnation of Buddha Shakyamuni).  This bodhisattva's life describes a helpful and profound practice that benefits oneself and others.  I encourage everyone to work with this practice.  Here is the gist of it:

Bodhisattva Never Despising responded internally to anyone he met in the same way, regardless of whether they agreed with him or treated him unkindly:
"I do not despise you
Because you will practice the Way
And become Buddhas."
Lotus Sutra, p. 289, Murano translation.
What does this mean?  It means that in all situations, Never Despising refused to give up on anyone as worthless, valueless, or hopeless.  He refused to assume anyone was, in the last analysis, his enemy, or some source of evil.  Instead, he recognized in everyone without exception their capacity for awakening, a capacity he himself was cultivating.  Put differently, he understood the spiritual unity of all life, and made it his practice to recognize this in everyone.

How is this helpful?  Well, for starters:
Those who were attached to [wrong] views
Were led into the Way
To the enlightenment of the Buddha
By this Bodhisattva.
Lotus Sutra, p. 290

Through this practice, Never Despising helped those around him transform hatred and ignorance into wisdom. 

This week's study question is rhetorical:  are you willing to give this practice a try?

1 comment:

  1. A teacher of mine once said, "People start practicing a religion because of the faith of the common practitioners, and they stop practicing because of the arrogance of the leaders." I believe that the practice of Bodhisattva Never Despising is the perfect protection against arrogance.