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Re: Re: God And Buddha...........

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Posted by Glenn on December 7, 2000 05:13:55 UTC

Have you encountered reading in the Lotus sutra or in the 12th or "Devadatta "Chapter version of the Lotus sutra in the Dragon King's Daughter ?

You know, Mr. Yanniru, i doubt you still very much influence in the ideas or teachings of Hinayana and provisional mahayana Buddhism and see Buddhism,in general, all the same. But you have not grasp essence of Buddhism. Indeed, you have been practiced Zen Buddhism, tibetan Budhism, cambodian Buddhism and other pre-lotus sutras teachings that urge to practice monastic discipline keeping the precepts for oneself.
On the other hand, The Lotus Sutra urges people to carry out the bodhisattva practice-- that is, to relieve suffering and bring joy to others. It maintains that self-actualization comes through real effort and constructive engagement in securing the welfare of others. This is in marked contrast with the view some hold of Buddhism as an ascetic, reclusive or passive religion. A true Buddhist is not a static- seating and just concentrating and find some many awesome buddha statues- but rather Buddhism as a dynamic and active Buddhist who engage into the society deals with the people surrounds you. There is no greater or worthier of respect that Human Life itself. This is the teaching of the Lotus sutra.Indeed, the lotus sutra is a Humanism of Buddhist law and the equality of all men and women are equal to attain Buddhahood.THis is what has been taught in the Lotus Sutra, a revolutionary sutra that discard all provisional sutras.

In many Buddhist writings it was taught that women could never become Buddhas. One sutra states, "Even if the eyes of the Buddhas of the three existences were to fall to the ground, no woman of any of the realms of existence could ever attain Buddhahood."

This no doubt reflects the prevailing view of women in India during the fifth century B.C.E. when they were considered more or less the property of their husbands. However, it is said that in response to requests from his aunt and other women, Shakyamuni allowed women to become nuns and carry out monastic practice after establishing eight rules which they should follow. According to Indian studies specialist Dr. Hajime Nakamura, "The appearance [in Buddhism] of an order of nuns was an astonishing development in world religious history. No such female religious order existed in Europe, North Africa, West Asia or East Asia at the time. Buddhism was the first tradition to produce one."

However, in the following centuries, prevailing perceptions of women began to reassert themselves, and it was commonly believed that women would have to be reborn as men and carry out endless austerities before being able to attain Buddhahood. The bhikshuni sangha, or order of Buddhist nuns, declined and nearly disappeared.

Nichiren, the 13th-century Buddhist monk whose teachings SGI members follow, was a firm believer in the equality of men and women. He wrote, "There should be no discrimination among those who propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law, be they men or women" (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin (WND), The True Aspect of All Phenomena, p. 385). This was a revolutionary statement for his time, when women were almost totally dependent on men. The "three obediences," which was deeply-entrenched in Japanese culture, dictated that a Japanese woman should first obey her parents; then she should obey her husband; and finally, in old age, she should obey her son. [Note: Sanju, the "three obediences," are based on the teachings of Confucius, and the tradition is still observed by the older generation in some remote rural villages.]

Nichiren sent letters of encouragement to many of his female followers and gave several the title of "Shonin," or saint. The strength of faith and independence of spirit shown by these women impressed him deeply. To Nichimyo Shonin, he wrote: "Never have I heard of a woman who journeyed a thousand ri in search of Buddhism as you did. . . . you are the foremost votary of the Lotus Sutra among the women of Japan" (WND, Letter to the Sage Nichinyo, p. 324).

In the 12th or "Devadatta" chapter of the version of the Lotus Sutra cited by Nichiren, Shakyamuni demonstrates that Buddhahood is within reach "even" for women. It is revealed that an eight-year-old female dragon has been able to attain Buddhahood quickly by practicing the Lotus Sutra.

This girl, often known as the dragon king's daughter, appears and dramatically demonstrates her attainment of Buddhahood, illustrating the principle of becoming a Buddha in one's present form. She overturns the prevailing belief that enlightenment could only be attained after carrying out painful practices over an extremely long period of time. The dragon girl has the form of an animal; she is female; and she is very young. That she should be the very first to demonstrate the immediate attainment of Buddhahood is striking, even shocking.

Nichiren stresses, ". . . among the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, that of women attaining Buddhahood is first" (WND, The Sutra of Requital, p. 930). And, in another letter, he writes, "When I, Nichiren, read the sutras other than the Lotus Sutra, I have not the slightest wish to become a woman. One sutra condemns women as messengers of hell. Another describes them as great serpents. . . . Only in the Lotus Sutra do we read that a woman who embraces this sutra not only excels all other women but surpasses all men" (WND, The Unity of Husband and Wife, p. 463-464). Nichiren vowed to share the Lotus Sutra's hopeful message with all the women of Japan.

Buddhism views distinctions of gender, race and age as differences which exist in order to enrich our individual experience and human society as a whole. The Lotus Sutra is sometimes called the teaching of nondiscrimination, because it reveals that the state of Buddhahood is inherent in all phenomena. There is no difference between men and women in terms of their capacity to attain Buddhahood, as both are equally manifestations of the ultimate reality. If we consider the eternity of life, it is also clear that we may be born as a man in one life, and as a woman in another.

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda states, "The important thing is that both women and men become happy as human beings. Becoming happy is the objective; everything else is a means. The fundamental point of the 'declaration of women's rights' arising from the Lotus Sutra is that each person has the innate potential and the right to realize a state of life of the greatest happiness."

Regarding the topic about Buddhalands which state in the Lotus sutra find similar to the Buddhist principle of the ONNESS OF LIFE AND ITS ENVIRONMENT.
The Buddhist principle of the oneness of self and environment (esho funi) means that life (sho) and its environment (e) are inseparable (funi). Funi translates as "two but not two." This means that although we perceive things around us as separate from us, there is a dimension of our lives that is one with the universe. At the most fundamental level of life itself, there is no separation between ourselves and the environment.

Buddhism teaches that life manifests itself in both a living subject and an objective environment. Nichiren wrote, "Life at each moment encompasses . . . both self and environment of all sentient beings in every condition of life as well as insentient beings--plants, sky and earth, on down to the most minute particles of dust."

"Life" means the subjective self that experiences the effects of past actions and is capable of creating new causes for the future. The environment is the objective realm where the karmic effects of life take shape. Each living being has his or her own unique environment. For example, a person whose inner life is in a state of hell may perceive the environment of the inside of a crowded subway train as being hellish, while a person in the state known in Buddhism as bodhisattva might manage to feel compassion and a sense of camaraderie with fellow passengers.

People also create physical environments which reflect their inner reality. For instance, someone who is depressed is likely to neglect his home and personal appearance. On the other hand, someone who is secure and generous creates a warm and attractive environment around them.

An elderly couple tend a watermelon field
According to Buddhism, everything around us, including work and family relationships, is the reflection of our inner lives. Everything is perceived through the self and alters according to the individual's inner state of life. Thus, if we change ourselves, our circumstances will inevitably change also.

This is a liberating concept as it means that there is no need to seek enlightenment outside ourselves or in a particular place. Wherever we are, in whatever circumstances, we can bring forth our innate Buddhahood, thus transforming our experience of our environment into "The Buddha's land"-- a joy-filled place where we create value for ourselves and for others.

As Nichiren wrote, "If the minds of the people are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two lands, pure and impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds." (Here "evil" means self-centered and shortsighted actions based on greed, arrogance, fear and aggression.)
ThE simply illustrated by the natural environment in different societies. In some rural environments, indigenous peoples show deep respect for their natural surroundings, and only use those resources that they need. Therefore the riches of nature are preserved, providing protection and sustenance in return. However, in developed areas where materialism and greed predominate, the environment frequently has been devoured and stripped, with catastrophic effects.

The single most positive action we can make for society and the land is to transform our own lives, so that we are no longer dominated by anger, greed and fear. When we manifest wisdom, generosity and integrity, we naturally make more valuable choices, and we will find that our surroundings are nurturing and supportive. Often, we cannot foresee the long-term results of our actions, and it is hard to believe that one individual's choices can affect the state of the world. Buddhism, however, teaches that through the oneness of self and environment, everything is interconnected.

The more we believe that our actions do make a difference and base our actions on our interconnectedness, the greater the difference we can make.

Best regards,

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