The Prose & Verse of The Lotus Sutra

Chapter 2 - Ways & Means

 Text - Page 7

 

Sha

Ri

Hotsu

Nyo

Rai

No

Shu

Ju

(

Sariputra

)

As-It-Is

Come

Capable of

Kinds

Kinds

Fun

Betsu

Gyo

Sets-

Sho

Ho

Divisions

Distinctions

Skillful

Teaching

All

Things

Gon

Ji

Nyu

Nan

Et-

Ka

Shu

Shin

Speak

Terms

Soft

Gentle

Pleasing

Satisfying

Host of

Minds

"Sariputra, The One That Has Come is able to make all kinds of distinctions and is skillful in explaining all things spiritual, speaking in soft and gentle terms and pleasing all minds." 

The One That Has Come is able to make all kinds of distinctions and is skillful in explaining all things spiritual (Nyorai No Shuju Funbetsu Gyo Sets-sho Ho):
This refers to the provisional wisdom.

Speaking in soft and gentle terms and pleasing all minds (Gonji Nyunan Etka Shushin):
This refers to the real wisdom.

How does one attain this knowledge? Above the Buddha saw the other lands where the Buddhas taught, and he said:
"Their pure voices emit a soft and gentle sound."
Below, Sariputra heard this and understood, saying:
"Hear the Buddha's soft and gentle sound. It is deep, far reaching and very subtle. It is based on both the beginning and end of the word2. I recognize that this is the real wisdom."

Question:
Before, in the part on the praise of the dual wisdom, the real wisdom came first and the provisional wisdom came afterward. Now, why does the provisional wisdom come first and the real wisdom come afterwards?
Answer:
Before we desired to invoke words, and so we established the provision from the reality. Now we desire to get beyond words, and so it is necessary to wrap up the provisional wisdom and return to the real wisdom.
 

Sha

Ri

Hotsu

Shu

Yo

Gon

Shi

(

Sariputra

)

Take

Essence

Words

Of this

Mu

Ryo

Mu

Hen

Mi

Zo

U

Ho

Without

Measure

Without

Bounds

Not Yet

Before

Had

Dharma

Buts-

Shitsu

Jo

Ju

Buddha

Completely

Attain

Reach

"Sariputra, to take the essence of these words, a measureless, boundless spirituality never before known was completely realized by the Buddha."

From To take the essence of these words... (Shuyo Gonshi):
This refers to the sphere of the real wisdom.
The essence must not exceed the reality itself3.

A measureless, boundless spirituality never before known (Muryo Muhen Mizo U Ho):
This refers to the sphere of the provisional wisdom.
And in order to indicate the essence there must be a point of reference from which to begin4.

The sphere of the provisional wisdom is indicated to be Measureless and boundless (Muro Muhen), whereas
The sphere of the real wisdom is indicated to be the Spirituality never before known (Mizo U Ho).

And the Sutra speaks of these two things being Completely realized by the Buddha (Buts-shitsu Joju).
In cultivating the spiritual path and attaining the fruit, how may this be taught? If one only clarifies one of them, one does not speak of it completely. Having already indicated both provision and reality, its purpose will be clarified.

 

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Footnotes:

1. Those that are earnest aout it express it with diligence and enthusiasm: A reference to words in which the fullness of meaning transcends all illusion; There are words that produce no spiritual truth of course. Words that produce half-meanings are those that impart the spiritual truth heard from others, and that we repeat, reword, re-express. These are cognitive but aspire or point to meaningfulness. The cognitive aspects of this language are also full of illusions and limitations of meaning. They are full of contexts and agendas that are personal, cultural, etc., and only express a partial understanding of that which is truly inexpressible in mere words. Words that are most full of spiritual truth are those that we speak ourselves and express our most innermost aspiration for spiritual enlightenment. They are the words that are the most knowing of our true mind. These words would be our most heartfelt prayers (mantra, japa, dharani, shingon, daimoku, call them what you will) and the answers to them - the true words of the Buddha. In these words the cognitive aspects are utterly transcended and the meaning of significance is most clearly revealed.

2. Based on both the beginning and end of the word: Words of full meaning - based on the beginning (the correct literal, cognitive meaning) and the end (the true purpose or meaning behind them).

3. The essence must not exceed the reality itself: The aspect of reality; the true spiritual purpose or intent, the ultimate principle; the spirit of the law, the real meaning of the words.

4. A point of reference from which to begin: The aspect of provisionality; the factual, empirical or phenomenal reality. The letter of the law, the literal meaning of the words.

 

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  Since July 9, 2001


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