Lotus Sutra, one of the influential Buddhist sutra in Buddhism, is considered as the highly valued Mahayana Buddhist Sutras in Mahayana Buddhism. Lotus Sutra is widely used in Asian Countries that specialize in Mahayana Buddhism. It is also said that many Buddhist tradition such as Tendai, Tiantai, Nichiren and Cheontae schools of Buddhism were established on the basis of Lotus Sutra. In Mahayana Buddhism, Buddhist monks contain the ultimate and important teachings of Buddha and many Buddhist devout and followers considered reciting of texts of lotus sutra very auspicious.
Lotus Sutra in Sanskrit Language
Lotus Sutras is known as “Saddharma-pundarika Sutra” in Sanskrit language and is translated as “Sutra of the Lotus of the Wonderful view” and “Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of Fine Dharma”. This Sutra is believed to contain the actual words said by Gautama Buddha himself. Lotus Sutra is one of the few Buddhist scriptures that are written in The Sanskrit language. According to Buddhist scriptures, Shakyamuni Buddha preached about Lotus sutra when he entered the state of Nirvana.
The Lotus Sutra is considered as the Lord Buddha’s ultimate teachings and contains the text related to the final form of Dharma. Lotus Sutra also contains Buddha’s knowledge of universal salvation, the true nature of Buddhahood, and best means of attaining Buddhahood. All other Buddhist sutras are for the sake of true Lotus Sutra and early Buddhist monks even called Lotus sutra “The king of the Sutras”. Among various Buddhist schools such as Esoteric, Hua Yen, Pure Land, Tian Tai Buddhist schools considered as Lotus Sutra as the most fundamental Sutras since Tian Tai Buddhist school was formed on the features of early Lotus Sutras (that is still exist).
Depth Look on Lotus Sutra
Lotus Sutra in Buddhism was the earliest Buddhist scriptures that mentioned the “Great Vehicle” or Mahayana in its texts. In Lotus sutra, it is mentioned that even though Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment and could leave this cycle of Samsara, yet he chose to stay here so that he could help all the sentient beings who were suffering in this world. Buddhist Schools that focus on fundamental lotus sutra always focus on the extensive use of Seven Paramita or Perfection of Bodhisattva.
The wonderful Dharma Flower Sutra was developed on the basis of Dharma and lotus flower according to Seven Title Classifications since, Dharma is considered difficult to understand and the lotus flower is used as an analogy to understand the Dharma.
Meaning of Wonderful Dharma Flower Sutra is described below.
Dharma is quite difficult to understand since Lord Buddha always explained Dharma on the basis of causes, conditions, expression and analogies. So understanding dharma is not quite wonderful but lotus sutra describes how wonderful Dharma is. Therefore, Dharma is quite wonderful when one is hearing or studying the Dharma.
When Lord Buddha attained nirvana; he had the knowledge of every universal mystery as well as every truth on the living beings and the life in the earth. So Buddha entrusted all of his knowledge in Buddhist doctrine so that every sentient beings could go the realm of Buddhahood. But not every level of living beings can gain that knowledge through Buddhist doctrine. So Buddha entrusted his knowledge to three Vehicles for the sake of Sravaka (Sound hearer), Pratyeka Buddha (Condition Enlightened one) and Bodhisattvas,
Lotus Flower being one of the beautiful and noble flowers, was used to represent the Wonderful Dharma provided by One Buddha Vehicle. It is said that there are two aspects of Lotus Flower. They are:
• Meaning of Lotus flower above water
• Meaning of Blossoming of Lotus flower
Sutra is considered as the common title while Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower is the specific wonderful title.
Lotus Sutra can be described on the basis of three important principles. They are:
- All Vehicles are One Vehicle
Lord Buddha mentioned about the three vehicles so that all kinds and level of people can learn and attain Nirvana. These three vehicles are known as Triyana and these three vehicles are one vehicle but different means used by people to attain Nirvana.
- All beings eventually become Buddha
The three vehicles are used so that all kinds of sentient beings can attain Nirvana. In lotus sutra, Lord Buddha was depicted as the “Dharmakarya” which means all living beings after attaining Nirvana can awaken their true nature.
- Importance of Faith and Nature of Buddhas
Lotus Sutra is the main means that tell that Lord Buddha is an eternal entity and only who have the utmost faith and devotion can truly awaken Nirvana.
The ultimate teachings of Lord Buddha, Lotus Sutra is taught using seven parables. These seven parables are the seven side stories that teach about the true meaning of Lotus Sutra. They are:
- The Burning House
- The Prodigal Son
- The Medicinal Herbs
- The Phantom city
- The Gem in the jacket
- The Gem in the king’s Topknot
- The excellent Physician