The Prose & Verse of The Lotus Sutra

Chapter 2
Ways & Means

 Page 9

G. In Terms of the Sutras

  1. The Flower Garland (Avatamsaka) Sutra
    1. In terms of the doctrine, the words only had full meaning1.
    2. In terms of the time, there was the milk.
    3. There was one part on one’s own practice and one part on the influence of others.
    4. It only addressed the Bodhisattvas. Those of the Two Vehicles were like the deaf and dumb. The Bodhisattvas were still not yet able to inspire the provision and reality of their own practice in accordance with the wisdom in their own personal lives.
    5. When depending on the words of this Sutra, there was:
      “Teaching of these things to people who have never before faced them.”
  2. In Terms of the Sutras of the Three Baskets (Tripitaka)
    1. In terms of the Doctrine, the words only had half meanings1.
    2. In terms of the Dharma, there was only an influence on others.
    3. The time was that of the curdled milk.
    4. When depending on the words of the Sutra there was:
      “Standing outside the door, wearing clothes that are soiled and defiled, and holding a bowl for the discarding of dirt.”
    5. The people addressed were those of the Two Vehicles.
  3. In Terms of Sutras of the Universal Way (Vaipulya)
    1. In terms of the doctrine, there was ‘Dealing with the words of half meanings there is the discussion of the words with full meaning’1.
    2. The time was that of the curdled milk becoming the revived milk.
    3. In terms of the Dharma, there were the three kinds of influence on others and the one kind that was one’s own practice.
    4. When depending on the words of this Sutra, there was
      “The embodiment and aspects of faith come and go without difficulty.”
  4. In Terms of the Wisdom Sutras (Prajna)
    1. In the doctrine, there was ‘The discussion with words of full meaning in the zone of words with half meanings’1.
    2. The time was that of the revived milk becoming the ripened milk.
    3. In the Dharma, there were the two kinds of influence on others and the one kind that was one’s own practice.
    4. When depending on the words of the Sutra, there was
      “Getting beyond one's personal liberation,
      giving away that which is held onto, and
      everywhere making it understood.”
  5. In Terms of The Lotus Sutra (Saddharma Pundarika)
    1. In the doctrine, there was ‘the discarding of the words with half meanings and only discourse with words of full meaning’1.
    2. The time was that of only the ghee.
    3. In the Dharma, there was only one’s own practice.
    4. When depending on the words of the Sutra there was
      “Opening up the provision and revealing the reality”.

This reality is the children that I have produced. I am really their father. Having transmitted the karma of my house, I have bestowed the prophecy of enlightenment on them. The previous doctrines did not teach of this but now it is all inspired. Honestly and simply discarding the ways and means I now only teach of the supreme path of enlightenment.

Therefore The Chapter on Ways & Means is called the provision of one’s own practice. In the other teachings there was the dual wisdom that is sometimes from one’s own practice and sometimes from the influence of others.

And next…

  1. The Flower Garland Sutra deals with the duality of the Bodhisattvas, teaching one part on one's own practice1c and one part on the influence of others2d. It is not aimed at those of the Two Vehicles who do not hear or understand it.
  2. The Sutras of the Three Baskets deal with those of the Two Vehicles and teach only of a single part that is on the influence on others2a. It is not aimed at the Bodhisattvas and so it is not about one’s own practice.
  3. The Sutras of the Universal Way deal with the small becoming great. In dealing with those of the Two Vehicles it teaches two parts on the influence on others2a-b. In dealing with the Bodhisattvas it teaches of one part being about one's own practice and one part being about the influence of others2c-d.
  4. The Prajna Sutras also deal with three. It teaches of one part being about one's own practice and two parts being about the influence on others. It deals with those of the Two Vehicles by teaching of one kind of influence on others2b and it deals with the Bodhisattvas by teaching of one part on one's own practice and one part on the influence of others2c-d.
  5. The Lotus Sutra everywhere deals with the maturing of spiritual capacity, only clarifying one' own practice2d and not again discoursing on the influence of others.

The words of the Sutra say:
“The Bodhisattvas heard this teaching and the net of doubt was completely abolished. The twelve hundred Arhats all became enlightened as well.”
And it says:
“All living beings entered into the ways and means of their own practice”
And so we speak of “The Chapter on Ways and Means”.

H. Source and Manifestation

  1. The original ground of The One That Has Come3 has always realized and attained all that is provisional and real, and so we speak of one's own practice. In the interim The One That Has Come has taken on countless different manifestations and so there have been all of the other teachings. Today it takes on manifestation at the Bodhimandala of serene extinction. In the zone of the different influences from others it teaches of one’s own practice.
  2. Next it teaches only a single influence of others2a.
  3. Then it teaches of three2a-c.
  4. Then it teaches of two2b-c.
  5. Then it teaches of discarding the three and all those that called the provision and reality of influencing others.

In bundling them all together, the original provision is called the reality and the manifestations of reality are called the provisions. This is the provision and reality of one's own practice and the influence of others.

The conclusion of this is based on the four parts of the tetralemma.

  1. The original realization of Sariputra's own practice was both provisional and real4.
  2. In the Buddha's manifestation at Deer Park5 he only received a single influence from another.
  3. In The Sutras of the Universal Way he accepted one2d and refuted three2a-c.
  4. In The Prajna Sutras he turned the wheel of the one2d in the zone of the two2b-c.
  5. Finally in The Lotus Sutra he discarded the three2a-c and awakened to the one2d.

Everywhere there is the provision and reality that is the the influence of others. In bundling them together, all the provisions are that which is real and the manifestations of the real are that which is provisional. This is the provision and reality of one's own practice and the influence of others. This also involves the four phrases of the tetralemma.

Because of all of these meanings it is called The Chapter on Ways and Means.

 

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Footnotes:

1. Words with half meanings and full meanings: Words with half-meanings (literally 'half-words') are words that reveal some truth but produce some illusion. Words with full meaning (literally 'full-words') fully reveal truth and do not produce any illusion. The words of the small vehicle teachings are said to be half-words whereas the Great Vehicle teaching is said to be full words.

2. The Four Doctrines: The progressively deeper understandings of spiritual truth:
a. The Doctrine of the Three Baskets: The Truths of Birth & Extinction, on Causality & Conditions - For the Two Vehicles
b. The General Doctrine: The Truths Without Birth or Extinction, on Emptiness - For the Three Vehicles
c. The Specific Doctrine: The Limitless Truths, on That Which is Temporary - For the Bodhisattva
d. The Total Doctrine: The Innate Truth, on the Mean - For the Buddhas

3. The original ground of The One That Has Come: The eternal source of enlightenment as opposed to the countless manifestations of enlightenment that have appeared in the interim.

4. The teaching of The Flower Garland (Avatamsaka) Period

5. Deer Park: (S. Sarnath) The place where the Buddha first starting teaching of the Dharma ('turning the wheel of the Dharma'). Deer Park here refers to the teaching of the Three Baskets Doctrine. This is a reference to the teaching of the Agama (Nikaya) Sutras.

 

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