19 July 2013

Lotus Sutra Study Questions 28

With Chapter 28, the Lotus Sutra comes to a conclusion.  This chapter introduces us to the bodhisattva Samantabhadra (his name is Fugen in Japanese, and sometimes translated as Universal Sage Bodhisattva in English).  Samantabhadra makes a series of vows to protect the Lotus Sutra teachings, and to protect those who put them into practice.  This comes after Buddha Shakyamuni explains what one must do in order to access these teachings in the time after his passing (which is to say, right now): 
1. Secure the protection of the Buddhas, 2. plant the roots of virtue, 3. reach the stage of steadiness [in proceeding to enlightenment], and 4. resolve to save all living beings (pp.336-337, Murano translation).
Samantabhadra is associated with action and activity in the world.  What does it mean that the Lotus ends by giving him the last word?  Looking back through all 28 chapters, what relationship do you see between the contemplative teachings and the activities described in this sutra?

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