Beholding the Precious Stupa from Chapter 11 of Lotus Sutra
As the story about becoming a Buddha or “awakened” one continues, the 11th
Chapter of the Lotus Sutra is so delightful. It starts with a beautiful seven color rainbow and appearing within these seven heavenly rays are seven precious gems, sparkling gold, silver, lapis lazuli [ the beautiful dark blue gem stones ] moonstones, [often found on the seashore ] agates [ with there multi-dimensional ageless formations ] and carnelian [in a wide variety of color, including the rare royal, peacock blue ]
The precious stupa in the sky just above us reaches up to embrace four heavenly kings and thirty three gods, who have come for a major conference. As the ceremony starts the Buddha Abundant Treasure, from the far Eastern Universe, cries out to Shakyamuni,
remember now, he is in the Treasure Tower that has appeared in the sky: “all thou sayest is true.” Where upon Bodhisattva Great Eloquence says, “ let this assembly of buddhas, leaders and their entourages, from the worlds of all directions gather now and listen well.”
It is understood then that something special is about to be announced and shared.
In fact this gathering has come to bear witness that a great Buddha has come to mother Earth, our “saha world of endurance” for the first time, now some 3,000 years ago.
The first thing this great assembly asks of the Buddha is “art thou free from disease
and distress?” How well they understood the problems of humanity. What great compassion for they understood that unless the Buddha, you and I are in excellent health of Body, Mind and Spirit, unless one is free of mental anguish one will be unable to teach the message of spiritual sustain-ability and peaceful means fully and correctly.
Next, we find that this Earthly Buddha is recently re-born; here we are are asked if we believe in “re-birth, our past, present and future? We learn that this Buddha had been passed away for an immeasurable length of time. Then, we are told why he has been re-born here amongst us, “so that the wonderful Flower Law Sutra may ever exist in this Saha World.” As the Buddha begins to speak he shares, “I will go anywhere, forever to hear this Law.” Now the great assembly in the sky asks that he open this story of the Universal Law here on Earth, and they come forward with the many gifts they have brought; Prince Shakyamuni proceeds to thank everyone and explains that
he cannot spread the wisdom teachings alone. And he asks that, “after my extinction let him/her [come] before the Buddha and declare his/her vow and by reason of this personal vow, sound forth the lions roar.” Meaning the voice of those sharing, reading, speaking even one line of this buddhist philosophy; he asks that you and I to be the teachers of this Buddha-way to spiritual sustain-ability and peaceful means.
We are told faith in oneself is not an easy task, indeed, “this is a difficult task.” And, more difficult still is to teach the universal Law for there are twelve ways of sharing this infinite wisdom: 1 ] the various sutras and books, theological discussion 2 ] repetitional chanting [geya’s] 3 ] predictions 4 ] poetry 5 ] impromtu discourses 6 ] reasonings or practical proof 7 ] parables 8 ] discussion of former things 9 ] birth stories 10 ] multitude of various scripture 11 ] expansion of these scriptures and 12 ] dogmatic discussions [ what works for me. ]
Which is to say there is room for all humanity and all cultures without discrimination in the Buddha world of faith, practice and study, a true freedom. Shakyamuni then tells all this great gathering, “I have taught in innumerable lands and taught many sutras; but amongst them all this sutra [Lotus Sutra ] is the chief and when it is understood and kept then he/she will quickly awaken.”
How much fun is this, a discovery of ones Buddha nature, a place for sharing, for discussion and disagreement, a place to come to one’s own conclusions not because
of church law or religious order, but through finding ones own true Self.
Next the assembly and we are told, “having awakened by reading, reciting and receiving the words of the teacher, by practice of the Buddha-way, one comes in the presence of the Buddha to announce his/her vow to spread this good Law of peaceful means.” Some of you here have stepped up and taken your Buddhist Vows and this brings a responsibility to spead this good Law and help end suffering.
Then the promise is shared, “such a person is called a Law Keeper, an observer of the Way. Speedily shall he/she attain the Buddha-way, finding joy, health, happiness and a great peace within; not only here but also in future existences.” Here then is the Buddha’s promise, having taken one’s vow of responsibility, one will achieve great happiness. In this Eleventh Chapter we find that those at this Ceremony also find it difficult to understand, the question being: how does one face their Buddha nature. And part of that answer comes when we realize this Precious Stupa did not arrive from the heavens, but arose from within mother Earth. The lesson here is that our Buddha nature does not come from some heaven but is contained within our temporary individual Body, Mind and Sprit in the here and now. We learn from our reading and sharing that when we practice our Buddha-way, the Energy of the Buddha Light will come from afar to praise and protect us for sharing this peaceful teaching by helping to bring peace in our family, our community and on mother Earth. This we do by living lives of Health, Happiness and prosperity for ourselves and sharing this bright life with others not so fortunate.
We are reminded here that our Meditation is for enlightenment of oneself, where going
out and sharing our Buddha nature is to help relieve the suffering of others. This Precious Stupa in the sky remains throughout Chapters Eleven to Twenty Two,
not including Chapter 12, which was inserted into the Lotus Sutra about 600 years after the Buddha’s passing. Many of life’s principles are revealed in this most wonderful doctrine, the Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma; even as we come here today, come forth with the Light and Energy of the lions roar of our voices and mother earth becomes a better place; with hope for peace, understanding and respect for all humanity. I deeply respect you, you are the difference for daily peaceful means.
Thus It Has Been Shared, Respectfully, TM Henry