Notes on lotus sutra legend: Hogon and Renzo and the Lotus Sutra in Mahayana Buddhism

Paul Williams’ “Mahayana Buddhism” tr. From the Polish version

Publisher: Publisher A
ISBN: 83-912388-3-0
Sutra (lotus) and its influence Saddharmapundarika

There were once two Japanese priests, Hogon and Renzo. Hogon Awatamsaki practiced reciting sutras, while Renzo was dedicated to the Sutra (Lotus) Saddharmapundarika. Through the power and virtue of the Sutra Awatamsaki, a deity regularly brought Hogon food. One day, out of the goodness of heart, (and probably a bit of spiritual pride), Hogon asked that the deity bring food for two and Renzo was invited to dinner. Unfortunately, despite the agreement of the deity to do so, on the appointed day there was not any food. Evening came and Renzo, realizing that it may be better to spend the time to come home. When he left the hermitage, a deity appeared burdened with food. On the surface, it may seem that Renzo lacked virtues – but nothing could be further from the truth. Renzo, through the power of Lotus Sutra came in the company of so many invisible protective deities that the poor Sutra Awatamsaki deity could not access the threshold! And Hogon made ​​so great an impression that stopped all reciting of sutras and Awatamsaki became an ardent supporter of Lotus Sutra. Religious practice is often a matter of power, and Lotus Sutra has great magical power.

This story, and many similar, comes from Hokkegenki, eleventh collection of wonderful stories proving the efficacy of faith in, recitation, copy and distribute all Lotus Sutra (trans. In Dyskra 1983: 59-60). For many Buddhists in East Asia Lotus Sutra is the Buddhist equivalent of the Bible – the book revealed that contains the ultimate truth and sufficient to bring liberation. According to many contemporary Japanese Buddhists who follow the example of Nichiren (1222-1282), Lotus Sutra is not only sufficient to trigger, but it is the only sutra, which can be done in the current era of spiritual decline (jap .: Mappo). Chinese tradition speaks of the court official who for thirty years every day recite the entire sutra, and when exceeded eighty, he recited it three times a day. One Chinese abbot in thirty years recited Lotos 37,000 times. If you believe some Japanese Hokkegenki recite the entire sutra over thirty times a day and 1,000 times per month 1!

Each text arousing so much enthusiasm (and constituting a great inspiration for art and literature of East Asia) requires close examination. Lotus Sutra Sanskrit text preserved in many different versions, mostly in fragments, and its history is complex. The earliest preserved Chinese translation made by Dharmarakszitę was founded in 286 AD (reviewed in 290 r.). However, the version that won the East Asia and, therefore, was by far the most important effect of the importance of this sutra acquired in East Asian Buddhism, was translated Kumaradżiwy and his team of translators made ​​in the year 406 2. Incidentally, we should not think that if we are to dealing with sutra originally composed in India, in the case of any differences remaining Sanskrit text must represent an earlier and more authentic version, than any Chinese translation. Stan Canon, printing and storing texts in China, made the Chinese translations are often much earlier from the Sanskrit manuscript. Treatment survivor of the original Sanskrit manuscript as associated with text and historical problems.

Kumaradżiwy Lotus Sutra consists of twenty-eight chapters. It is not a work uniform. Japanese scholars who have done extensive research on it, tend to the view that the oldest part formed between the first century BC and the first century AD (ch. 1-9 and ch. 17). Most of the text was established at the end of the second age of 3.

Lotus is the sutra of a drama. Followed by frequent changes of scenes and, apart from its message, its success largely sutra probably owes some intriguing przypowieściom. The antiquity of this sutra clearly attest to the fact that it must prove its importance in spite of those who are ridiculed both sutra itself, as well as those who preach it. In accordance with the Sino-Japanese tradition Lotus Sutra was the final teaching of the Buddha, delivered just before it manifested parnirwanę him, his death – or in the light of science itself Lotus Sutra, the disappearance of human eyes.

In this sutra Buddha Shakyamuni strives to convince his listeners that he was infinitely superior to the Buddha, in terms of cognitive and spiritual, those who have reached other religious objects, Buddhist and Buddhist:

The hero of the World is inconceivable.
No god, no mortal or
Among the variety of living beings
He can not know the Buddha.
No one can fathom
Buddha power … its kind of fearlessness, …
Deliverances … and samadhi
And other of his dharma. (P.23)

However, in order to adapt his teaching to the level of the audience, the Buddha used skillful means or methods (revels / upajakauśalja). Science of skill in means or skillful means is the key doctrine of Mahayana and one of the key Lotus Sutra teachings. This was undoubtedly one of the factors which contributed to the success of this sutra in East Asia. Among the main problems faced by Buddhist missionaries steel in the early transmission of Buddhism to China, and then, of course, to other countries in East Asia, was on one hand the number of seemingly contradictory teachings attributed to the Buddha, on the other hand is an urgent need to adapt to the Buddhist doctrine of cultures very different from the culture Indian. In general, according to the doctrine of skillful means Buddha adapts his teaching to the level of the audience. Therefore, most, if not all of the teachings of the Buddha are relative values ​​and are only relative truth. It should be used as a ladder or by using the ancient Buddhist metaphor, as the raft used to cross the river. When the journey is completed, the raft has fulfilled its function and does not make sense to carry it on. If the study is completed, more than herself. Thus, although science attributed to the Buddha, if you take it as a whole, contain many contradictions, contradictions are apparent. The teachings are adapted to the context in which they are granted. Their truth is relative, so the contradiction disappears 4.

In China, the doctrine of skillful means Buddhist philosophical schools led to the creation of a regime called Panchiao. Each school is planning hierarchy of the Buddha rising to the highest science, ‘truest’ learning, which embodies the main sutra this school. Each school teaching explains the purpose of each doctrine and why only her own sutra embodies the ultimate learning – in so far as the ultimate science can be expressed in words. Moreover, the doctrine of skillful means, operating in a philosophical system, in which all phenomena have only a relative existence, requires almost limitless flexibility in adapting the teachings of the Buddha to changing circumstances. Buddha teaches because of his infinite compassion for sentient beings. All teachings are perfectly matched to the level of those for whom they are intended. Any adaptation, if it is caused by the bodhisattva of compassion and wisdom and is suitable for the recipient, is a part of Buddhism. Buddha or bodhisattva can not even preach the Buddhist teachings, if it serves the good of creatures. In fact, in Buddhism Mahayana doctrine of skillful means goes beyond simply adapting the doctrine to the level of the audience, and refers to any behavior of Buddha or Bodhisattva, which does not correspond to our expectations, but caused resulting from the wisdom of compassion, is the benefit of others. This is well illustrated another sutra, entirely dedicated to skillful measures whose short title is Upajakauśalja Sutra. It contains a series of questions and answers regarding the legendary events in the life of Siddharta, which, as it turns out, they were not what they seemed to be, but served a higher purpose – presenting the teachings of the Buddha. For example, why the Buddha, who was free from karmic obstacles and omniscient, not użebrał anything and came back empty-handed? He did so, it seems, out of compassion for the monks in the future who, sometimes they come back empty-handed (Chang 1983: 459). The person laying this sutra time probably did not know what to do or need to demonstrate ingenuity to explain some behavior of the Buddha. …

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