Sadi Minh Thien's Column
Over the past few months, I have been reading a translation of the Lotus Sutra and thought I would share a few thoughts about what meaning this sutra has held for one who is young in the Dharma as I am.
The Lotus Sutra is widely regarded as one of the most influential sutras in Buddhism. It is highly valued in the Mahayana tradition which spread throughout East Asia and is part of my tradition as well. Probably the key message I derived from my first foray into this wonderful, deep but complicated sutra (at least for me) is that "Buddhahood" - a condition of absolute happiness, freedom from fear and from all illusions - is inherent in all life. The development of this inner life state enables us all to overcome our problems and live a fulfilled and active life, fully engaged with others and society. One writer I came across on the internet stated it this way - "...Rather than stressing impermanence and the need to eliminate earthly desires and attachments, this sutra is a teaching which affirms our realities of daily life."
It is said that the Lotus Sutra is unique among the teachings of the Buddha in that it makes Awakening a possibility open to all people, without distinctions based upon gender, race, social standing or education and directs all of us towards a fuller expression of compassion to all beings.
This teaching can resonate in today's world where divisions are so strongly held against others for their race, their gender and sexual orientation, as well as for their spiritual practices, social and economic status and national and political beliefs. Seeing every being as a Buddha can help us eliminate our judgments and discriminations based primarily our own "stuff" and move us all forward in creating a more loving and compassionate world we so desperately need and seek. The elements and message of this sutra brings to my mind the lyrics of John Lennon's song, "Imagine", which for many people has become a prayer...
"Imagine there's no heaven, It's easy if you try
ll below us, Above us only sky
Imagine all the people, Living for today...
Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too
Imagine all the people, Living life in peace....
Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people, Sharing all the world....
You may say I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us, And the world will live as one"
May all Beings be Happy and Free...
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa