The Confessional Samadhi of the Lotus Sutra, page 7

 

4. Requesting1 the Three Treasures

Having already offered service in thought, word and deed2, the practitioner then burns incense and scatters flowers. With a single mind and true presence of mind3, and with the mindset of the previous offering of service, one respectfully requests the Three Treasures. In requesting the Three Treasures, one reflects on them in one's mind and faces straight towards them. The mouth calls out the names. Each one is respectfully requested in accordance with the teaching. One does not allow the mind to become scattered, distracted, or frivolous. With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

One recognizes that Sakyamuni’s Spiritual Body5 is like empty space, without the aspects of coming or going. Those of all the other Buddhas are also like this. In one’s thoughts one remembers Mt. Gridhrakuta6. The great multitudes encircle it and come in to the Bodhimandala where they receive one’s respectful requests and sincere offering of service. With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

In one's mind one thinks of the Buddha Abundant Treasures, and the Tower springing up from the earth. His reflection is manifested in the Bodhimandala where He receives one’s offering of service. With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

In one's mind, one thinks of all of the Spiritual Emanations of the Buddha, all gathering around like clouds, each under a bejeweled tree8, receiving one’s offering of service. With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

In one's mind, one thinks of Buddhas of the Past like the Buddha Bright Lamp of the Sun & Moon9, the Buddhas of the Present like the Buddha Royal Constellation of Pure Blossoms10, and the Buddhas of the Future like the Buddha Blossom of Light11. These Buddhas come forth and receive one’s offering of service. With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

In one's mind, one turns one's thoughts eastward, where the Buddhas have bodies of a golden hue, possess the major and minor signs12, and emit a great bright light. With great multitudes encircling them in front and back, they come forward into the Bodhimandala that is everywhere in empty space and receive one’s offering of service. In the south, north, and west, in the four intermediary points, and above & below, it is also like this. With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

In one's mind, one thinks of the very deep secret mystery that is the Treasury of the Dharma13. It is being completely revealed before one as it receives one’s offering of service. With a single mind one respectfully requests:

In one's mind one thinks of all the Buddhas of the Ten Directions, and their Treasury of Dharma that is completely manifested in the Bodhimandala and receiving one’s offering of service. With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

In one's mind one thinks of Manjusri with countless Bodhisattvas around him, receiving one’s offering of service. With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

The thoughts in one's mind are as before. With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

In one's mind, one thinks of the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue, and His vehicle that is the Six-Tusked Royal White Elephant31. Because all living beings rejoice upon seeing him with his limitless followers, He enters into the Bodhimandala and receives one’s offering of service.

With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

With a single mind, one respectfully requests:

In one's mind one thinks of all the Bodhisattvas, the disciples, and those that are self-awakened32 in the Ten Directions. Emitting a great bright light and encircled by many followers, they come into the Bodhimandala and receive one’s offering of service.

With a single mind, one respectfully requests all the gods, dragons, yaksas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras and mahoragas33 that are human but not human, all in The Sutra Lotus Blossom of the Wonderful Dharma. One requests each and every one of them with all of their followers in the darkest reaches of space.

One respectfully requests each and all of them like this, with the five members34 dropping to the ground. Then, one again kneels with one’s right knee on the ground, burns incense and scatters flowers, and from the beginning praises the names and respectfully requests each one of them. Having respectfully requested them like this three times, one should declare from the mouth:

Practitioners should arrange and express the ‘Requesting of the Buddhas’ as they wish, using their own power of wisdom

 

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Footnotes:

1. Requesting: Summoning, invoking, conjuring, inviting

2. Thought, word and deed: The three karma, creators of spiritual destinys: The body, the mouth, and the thinking mind offer service: #1 The body stands, kneels, bows & gestures with the hands #2 The mouth speaks #3 The mind remembers & reflects

3. Proper presence of mind: (S. Smriti) remembrance, mindfulness

4. The Buddha Sakyamuni: In the first half of the Lotus Sutra, He was the Buddha of the present who had attained enlightenment at Bodh-Gaya and was now revealing The Lotus Sutra. As such, He was seen as the Body of Response (S. Nirmana-kaya) that had manifested Himself in this world as a response to save living beings. His spiritual emanations appearing in the 11th Chapter (The Treasure Tower) reveal His wisdom and virtues, which are his Body of Retribution or Reward (S. Sambhoga-Kaya). In the second half (Chapters 15-28) He is revealed to be the Original Buddha and is seen as the Spiritual Body (S. Dharma-kaya) and as the Innate Threefold Body of The One That Has Come (S. Tathagata) - simultaneously the Spiritual Body (The Body of Dharma or truth, which teaches), The Body of the Reward (wisdom & virtue, which is attained), & the Body of the Response (which responds to need, manifesting in this world in order to enlighten living beings).

5.Spiritual Body: (S. Dharmakaya) Spiritual Life, Embodiment of Spiritaul Truth or Reality

6. Mt. Gridhrakuta: Vulture's Peak - The site where Sakyamuni taught The Lotus Sutra.

7. The Buddha Abundant Treasure: (S. Prabhuta-ratna) Buddha of the ancient past, from the eastern land Treasure of Purity. This Buddha made a vow to appear in his Treasure Tower to attest to the truth any time The Lotus Sutra is taught. The Buddha Abundant Treasure represents the ‘Whole Body’ of the Original Buddha from the ancient past and the Spiritual Body. Those following Him were His spiritual emanations (‘Separate Bodies’), just as now there are the spiritual emanations of the Buddha Sakyamuni.

8. Under jeweled trees: In the 11th Chapter (The Treasure Tower), each of the emanations appears under a bejeweled tree (the place for attaining enlightenment) & on a lion’s throne (the place for teaching the Dharma).

9. The Buddha Bright Lamp of the Sun & Moon: (S. Candra-Surya Pradipa) In Chapter One of The Lotus Sutra, Sakyamuni had just taught The Sutra of Limitless Meanings and deeply entered into the Samadhi of Limitless Meanings. There were many auspicious signs such as the quaking of the earth, the raining of blossoms, and the appearance of a ray of light from the middle of the brow of the Buddha that illuminated all the realms from the lowest Avici Hell to the highest Akanistha Heaven. The Bodhisattva Maitreya asked the Bodhisattva Manjusri to explain this. Manjusri explained that long before a Buddha named Bright Lamp of the Sun and Moon exhibited the same signs after entering into the Samadhi of Limitless Meanings and then taught the highest teaching of all, The Lotus Sutra, and that Sakyamuni would now do the same. There are said to have been 20,000 such appearances of this Buddha in the ancient past. Chih-I explains that the Sun represents Prajna (spiritual insight), the Moon represents Samadhi (concentration), and the Lamp repesents lighting the way for living beings.

10. The Buddha Royal Constellation of Pure Blossoms: In the 24th Chapter (The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound), this Buddha is in an eastern land called Adorned With Pure Light where there is a Bodhisattva named Wonderful Sound who has mastered countless Samadhis (16 are cited) and travels to the Saha (this, ‘endured’) world to visit and pay respects to the Buddha Sakyamuni and the Buddha Abundant Treasures in the Treasure Tower. The Buddha Royal Constellation of Pure Blossoms of Wisdom admonishes him not to look down on those of the Saha world, because of its condition and the small size of the people there.

11. The Buddha Blossom of Light: (S. Padmaprabha) In the 3rd Chapter (The Parable) of The Lotus Sutra, Sakyamuni make a prophecy that his disciple Sariputra will become the Buddha Blossom of Light, the first such prophecy about one of his own disciples and about those who have only aspired to become Arhats. The Land of this Buddha will be Undefiled, and the Age will be Adorned With Great Treasure.

12. Major and Minor Signs: The 32 major and 80 minor ideal physical characteristics that were visually contemplated. They represent the physically manifested life of the Buddha (Nirmanakaya)

13. The Treasury of the Dharma: The treasury of Buddhist teachings and practices which are all contained in The Lotus Sutra

14. The Bodhisattva Manjusri: (Manju = beautiful Sri = virtue) One of the most prominent Bodhisattvas of Mahayana Buddhism, Manjusri personifies wisdom (Prajna) and insight into the highest meaning of emptiness and transcendence. In the 1st (Introductory) chapter of The Lotus Sutra, he predicts the teaching of The Lotus Sutra by Sakyamuni, citing his own former life as the Bodhisattva Wonderful Light in which he saw similar signs (earth quaking, raining flowers, a ray of light from the Buddha’s brow, etc.) when the Buddha Bright Lamp of the Sun & Moon began to teach The Lotus Sutra. In the 12th Chapter (Devadatta) Manjusri relates to the Bodhisattva Gathering of Wisdom how he has just returned from the Sagara (Sea) Dragon King’s abode in the ocean where he has converted the residents of the deep, where even an eight year-old Naga (Dragon) girl will quickly attain enlightenment. In the 14th Chapter (Practice of Peace & Contentment), Manjusri asks the Buddha how Bodhisattvas will embrace the Sutra in the future age of evil, and Sakyamuni responds to him with the four means of contentment. In the 24th Chapter (The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound) he sees the auspicious signs of the Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound and asks the Buddha what Samadhi he practiced to produce these powers and asks to see him. Sakyamuni has Abundant Treasures manifest the Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound.

15. The Bodhisattva Maitreya: (means ‘Friend’) Often called Ajita (‘Invincible’) by Sakyamuni. Prominent in many Mahayana Sutras and throughout The Lotus Sutra, he personifies the qualities of benevolence, kindness, and mercy. In the 1st (Introductory) Chapter of The Lotus Sutra, he sees the signs that the Buddha makes upon entering into the Samadhi of Limitless Meanings and asks Manjusri to explain them. In the 15th Chapter (Springing Up From the Earth) Sakyamuni tells the Bodhisattvas of the provisional teachings that they need not worry about protecting the Sutra in the later age of evil, when suddenly the earth trembles and millions of Bodhisattvas spring forth from the earth. Maitreya speaks for the other Bodhisattvas in asking about this and how Sakyamuni could have trained all of these Bodhisattvas in his short lifespan. In the 16th Chapter (Measuring the Life of The One That Has Come) Sakyamuni explains His eternal nature to Maitreya. In the 17th Chapter (Distinguishing the Merits & Virtues) and the 18th Chapter (The Merits and Virtues of Joyful Acceptance) Sakyamuni explains to Maitreya the benefits of hearing and believing, and then joyfully accepting and propagating this Sutra. He is said to be waiting in the Tusita Heaven to become the next Buddha, as alluded to in Chapter 28 (Encouragement of the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue).

16. The Bodhisattva Medicine King: (S. Bhaisajya-raja) Sakyamuni addresses the Bodhisattva Medicine King when teaching the 10th Chapter of The Lotus Sutra (The Master of the Dharma) about hearing, reading, understanding, reciting, copying, teaching and practicing the Sutra. In the 13th Chapter (Encouragement in Embrace of the Sutra) the Bodhisattva vows to embrace the Sutra in the future age of evil (as does the Bodhisattva Great Eloquence). The Bodhisattva Medicine King is featured in Chapter 23 (The History of the Bodhisattva Medicine King). Long ago as the Bodhisattva The One Who All Rejoice to See, he heard The Lotus Sutra taught by the Buddha Pure Bright Virtue of the Sun & Moon (S. Candra-Vimala Surya-Prabhasa-Sri) and learned the Samadhi of Manifesting All Incarnations. In homage he burned himself as a sacrifice. In another incarnation burned his arms. Through his devotions he later became the Bodhisattva Medicine King, the Bodhisattva of Healing. Mentioned briefly in Chapter 24, he is dispenser of Dharanis (magic prayers) in Chapter 26 (Dharanis) and in Chapter 27 (History of King Wonderful Adornment) he is in a former life known as Eye of Purity (as in ‘diagnosis’), the older brother of Treasury of Purity (as in ‘treatment’ and who was to become the Bodhisattva Best Medicine). These two are the sons of the King Wonderful Adornment and his wife, Pure Virtue, who they succeed in converting from Brahmanism. The Bodhisattva Medicine King is also featured in a number of other Sutras.

17. The Bodhisattva Best Medicine: (S. Bhaisajya-samudgata) - the younger brother of the Bodhisattva Medicine King. His older brother is known as Eye of Purity (as in ‘diagnosis’). The Bodhisattva Best Medicine is known as Treasury of Purity (as in ‘treatment’). Featured in Chapter 27 as indicated above.

18. The Bodhisattva Observing the Sounds of the World: (S. Avalokitesvara) The Bodhisattva of Compassion - One of the best known and most often worshipped of the Mahayana Bodhisattvas. In the 25th Chapter (The Universal Door of the Bodhisattva Observing the Sounds of the World) the Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Will asks Sakyamuni why the Bodhisattva Observing the Sounds of the World was named so, how the Bodhisattva comes and goes in this, endured Saha world, and how the Bodhisattva bestow benefits. Sakyamuni explains that calling out the Bodhisattva’s name will protect one from all kinds of dangers, afflictions, and sufferings, and will provide every manner of benefit, worldly or spiritual. The Bodhisattva comes and goes by manifesting all kinds of incarnations and bestows benefits by taking away the fear of living beings. The Bodhisattva is called the Bestower of Fearlessness.

19. The Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Will: (S. Aksayamati) In the 25th Chapter (The Universal Door of the Bodhisattva Observing the Sounds of the World) the Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Will asked the questions above, and then offered a necklace to the Bodhisattva Observing the Sounds of the World. First declining it, the Bodhisattva then accepts it and gives half to Sakyamuni and half to the Buddha Abundant Treasure.

20. The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound: (S. Gadgadasvara) Featured in the 24th Chapter (The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound) – Sakyamuni emits a beam of light from the crown of his head and another from the white tuft of hair between his brows, illuminating a land far to the east called Adorned with Pure Light, where there is a Buddha named Royal Constellation of Pure Blossoms. There is a Bodhisattva there named Wonderful Sound who has attained countless Samadhis (16 are cited). He tells the Buddha of this land he must travel to the Saha (‘Endured’) world and offer alms and worship to the Buddhas Sakyamuni, Abundant Treasures & the all the Bodhisattvas there. He does so after being admonished not to look down them because of their small size and the condition of the Saha world. He presents his many auspicious signs and beautiful music as he offers worship.

21. The Bodhisattva Blossom of Virtue: (S. Padma-sri) In the 24th Chapter (The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound) after the Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound has presented his auspicious signs and music, the Bodhisattva Blossom of Virtue asks Sakyamuni what roots of virtue this Bodhisattva planted to attain these powers. The Buddha tells how the Bodhisattva long ago was in the Land Manifesting All Worlds where he offered service and alms to the Buddha Royal Thunderclouds for 12,000 years using musical instruments and offering 84000 precious alms-bowls, and practiced the Samadhi of Manifesting All Kinds of Incarnations. After the Buddha taught this chapter, the Bodhisattva Blossom of Virtue attained the Samadhi of the Lotus Sutra.

22. The Bodhisattva Ever Diligent: (S. Nitya-virya) In the 19th Chapter (Merits & Virtues of the Dharma Master), Sakyamuni addresses the Bodhisattva Ever Diligent, explaining the practices (#1 Upon hearing the sutra, accepting & rejoicing in it #2 Reading and chanting it #3 Teaching it #4 Practicing observation of it #5 Spiritual transformation through one’s own practice & the influence of others) and benefits (purification of the six senses) of the Dharma Master.

23. The Bodhisattva Endowed With Great Energy: (S. Mahasthama-prapta) In the 20th Chapter (The Bodhisattva Never Belittling) Sakyamuni addresses the Bodhisattva Endowed With Great Energy and tells of a time in the ancient past when there was a Buddha named Royal Voice of Majesty who entered into Nirvana. In the age of the Copied Dharma, there was a Bodhisattva Never Belittling who never studied the Sutra but still revered and saw the Buddha inside everyone, including those that despised, reviled and persecuted him. They beat him and stoned him to near death. Then he finally heard The Lotus Sutra, clarified his six senses, prolonged his life, and earned the respect of his persecutors. They became his followers as he taught the Sutra. This Bodhisattva was none other than Sakyamuni Himself in a former life.

24. The Bodhisattva Great Eloquence: (S. Maha-pratibhana) In the 11th Chapter (The Treasure Tower), when the Treasure Tower rises up from the earth, the Bodhisattva Great Eloquence asks Sakyamuni to explain this sign and expresses a desire to see the Buddha of the Past Abundant Treasure and the Emanations of the current Buddha Sakyamuni. In the 13th Chapter (Encouragement in Embrace of the Sutra) the Bodhisattva vows to embrace the Sutra in the future evil age (with the Bodhisattva Medicine King).

25. The Bodhisattva Gathering of Wisdom: (S. Prajnakuta) In the 12th Chapter (Devadatta) of The Lotus Sutra, the Bodhisattva Gathering of Wisdom, asks his leader the Buddha Abundant Treasures if they should now leave, but Sakyamuni convinces him to stay and converse with Manjusri. Manjusri has just returned from the Sagara (Sea) Dragon’s abode in the ocean where he has converted the myriad residents of the deep, including an eight year-old Naga (Dragon) girl who will quickly attain enlightenment. Sariputra and the Bodhisattva Gathering of Wisdom come to believe and accept this.

26. The Bodhisattva Royal Constellation of Blossoms: (S. Naksatra-raja Sankusumita-bhijna) In the 23rd Chapter (The Bodhisattva Medicine King), Sakyamuni addresses the Bodhisattva Royal Constellation of Blossoms when asked why the Bodhisattva Medicine King must wander throughout the Saha world and suffer so much hardship (described above). Sakyamuni entrusts this chapter to the Bodhisattva Royal Constellation of Blossoms, who will guard and propagate it in the later age of evil.

27. The Bodhisattva Valiant Offering: (S. Pradhanasura) Like the Bodhisattva Medicine King, in the 26th Chapter (Dharanis) the Bodhisattva Valiant Offering vows to protect those that read, write, accept and embrace the dharanis (magic prayers).

28. The Bodhisattva Embracing the Earth: (S. Dharanimdhara) At the end of the 25th Chapter (The Universal Door to the Bodhisattva Observing the Sound of the World) the Bodhisattva Embracing the Earth stands up and praises the blessings for those that listen to this chapter.

29. The Bodhisattva Supreme Conduct: (S. Visistacaritra) In the 15th Chapter (Springing Up From the Earth) Sakyamuni tells the Bodhisattvas that they need not worry about protecting the Sutra in the latter days after the Buddha’s extinction. Suddenly the earth trembles and millions of Bodhisattvas spring forth from the earth. They are led by Four Bodhisattvas who will embrace and propagate The Lotus Sutra in the latter days after the Buddha’s extinction, including the Bodhisattva Supreme Conduct. These Bodhisattvas have followed the Buddha Sakyamuni spreading The Lotus Sutra from the eternal past. In the 21st Chapter (The Spiritual Power of the One That Has Come), the Bodhisattva Supreme Conduct and the other Bodhisattvas that sprang up from the earth vow to propagate the Sutra far and wide after the Buddha’s extinction. The Buddha extends his long broad tongue up to the Brahma Heaven (chanting) and radiates light from every pore of his body into the ten directions, as do all the Buddhas. The Buddha tells the Bodhisattva Supreme Conduct and the others that all the Tathagata’s teachings, practices, spiritual powers, and secrets are included in this Sutra, and that they must propagate it after the Buddha’s extinction. In the 22nd Chapter (The Entrusting of the Commission) Sakyamuni puts his right hand on the head of the Bodhisattvas and entrusts them with the commission to carry on the propagation of The Lotus Sutra after the extinction of the Buddha. The Bodhisattvas vow to do so. The ceremony ends.

30. The Bodhisattva Universal Virtue: (S. Samantabhadra) One of the important Bodhisattvas of the Great Vehicle (Mahayana) Sutras, personifying the spiritual power & majesty of Virtue and protecting the principle of the true aspect of reality. In the 28th Chapter (Encouragement of the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue), the Bodhisattva comes to Mt. Gridhrakuta (Vulture’s Peak) from the east and asks Sakyamuni how living beings will acquire The Lotus Sutra after the extinction of the Buddha. The Buddha offered four conditions #1 Protecting and remembering the Buddha #2 Planting roots of virtue #3 Entering proper concentration (samadhi) #4 Inspiring the mind to save all living beings. The Bodhisattva Universal Virtue promises to protect all who accept & embrace The Lotus Sutra in the last 500-year period after the Buddha’s extinction. He will mount his six-tusked Royal White Elephant to protect them from evil & assist them in their practice. He will protect those that practice the 21-day Samadhi of The Lotus Sutra with diligence and a single mind. If these people should die they will be brought to the Tusita Heaven to be with Maitreya for his advent as the next Buddha. Those that try to do harm to them will be punished. The Bodhisattva Universal Virtue is Master of the Confession in the single-volume Sutra on the Observation of the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue that closes The Lotus Sutra cycle. In it, the Buddha teaches of the Confessional Samadhi of the Lotus Sutra, the purification of the Six Senses, and the visualization the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue, the Treasure Tower, the Buddha Sakyamuni, the Buddha Abundant Treasures, and all of the Three Treasures as they appear in The Lotus Sutra.

31. Six-Tusked Royal White Elephant: The Vehicle of the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue - As explained by Chih-I, the elephant has great power, expressing the Spiritual Body (Dharmakaya) that shoulders the load. Being unafflicted and undefiled, it is spoken of as being white. The Six Spiritual Penetrations are the use of meditative concentration. The six tusks represent its sharp use, the keenness of observation. The six spiritual penetrations are 1. The Divine Eye that sees what others cannot see 2. The Divine Ear that hears what others cannot hear  3. The ability to penetrate the minds of others 4. The ability to see past lives 5. The ability to be or to go anywhere at will 6. The ability to penetrate all afflictions

32. Disciples (S. Sravakas) and those that are self-awakened (S. Pratyekabuddhas): Those of the Two Vehicles, who received the Buddha’s prediction of enlightenment in The Lotus Sutra.

33. Gods, dragons, yaksas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras and mahoragas: The Eight Groups of Vedic or Brahmanic ‘human but not human’ spiritual beings in The Lotus Sutra and other Sutras:

34. The Five Members: The head, the two arms & the two legs

35. The Sutra on the Lotus Blossom of the Wonderful Dharma: (C. Miao-Fa Lien-Hua Ching, J. Myoho Renge Kyo) Door to the Dharma: (S. Dharmaparyaya) Buddhist means to enlightenment; Buddhist teachings/practices

36. The Six Paths: The realm of good & evil in the threefold realm of mortal existence: Hell, Hunger, Brutality, Personal Demons, Personality & Heaven 

 

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