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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Lotus Sutra envelops and expands the Hinayana [Lesser Vehicle]

The Buddha, in a Hinayana Sutra, states:

'Thus I remembered my various past lives -
the first life, the second life, the third life,
the fourth life, the tenth life, the twentieth
life, the thirtieth life, the fortieth life, the
fiftieth life, the hundredth life, the thousandth
life, the hundred thousandth life, the countless
formations of the universe, the countless destructions
of the universe, the formations and destructions of
the universe. I remembered what my given names had
been, what my surnames were, what my tribal names
were, what I ate, what pleasures and sorrows I experienced.'

And in the culmination of the Buddhas lifetime teachings:

THE TATHAGATA ANNOUNCES THAT HE HAS ENTERED NIRVANA -- 'Saddharmapundarika,' [Lotus Sutra] Chapter XVI

But the time since I really attained Buddhahood
is as long ago and distant as that.
It is just in converting the mass of beings by expedients
and causing them to enter the Buddha Way
that I create such a preaching as this. You good sons.
The Sutra Canons which the Tathagata expounds
are all for saving and liberating the mass of beings
I either preach my own body
or preach the body of another or show my own body
or show the body of another or show my own matter
or show the matter of another. The various words I preach
are all true and not empty. What is the reason?
The Tathagata knows and sees the appearance
of the Three Worlds in accordance with reality:
there is no Birth-and-Death,
whether backsliding or emerging;
likewise there is neither existence in the world
nor extinction; they are not real; they are not void,
they are not thus; they are not different.
It is not as the Three Worlds
see the Three Worlds. In such a matter as this
the Tathagata sees clearly
and is without error. Because the various beings
have distinctions of various types of natures
and various types of recollections, I, desiring
to cause various good karmic roots to be produced
by means of considerable causalities,
parables, and words, preach various kinds of dharmas:
The work of the Buddha which I perform
I have never once abandoned even for a brief time.
Thus the time since I attained buddhahood
is very great, long and distant. My life is immeasurable
asemkheyas of kalpas
and I abide forever and am not extinguished.
You good sons. The life which I
achieved by originally practicing the bodhisattva way
is not yet extinguished
and it is twice the above number.
However, though it is not now real extinction,
yet I thereupon proclaim, I am going to take extinction.'
the Tathagata thus converts
the masses of beings by expedients. What is the reason?
If the Buddha were to abide for a long time in the world,
people of poor virtue would not plant good karmic roots
Being poor and lowly
and greedily attached to the five desires
they would fall into the midst of the net of thought
and wrong views. If they saw the Tathagata
ever present and not extinguished
they would then give rise to arrogant licentiousness
and nourish a disdainful idleness and could not produce
the thought that I am difficult to encounter
nor the mind of reverence. For this reason the Tathagata
preaches by expedience. The Bhikshus should know:
it is difficult to encounter
the Buddhas' coming forth in the world."
What is the reason? Of the various people poor in virtue,
having passed through immeasurable hundreds of
thousands of tens of thousands of tens of millions of
kalpasthere are those who see the Buddha
and those who do not see. Because of this fact
I say these words: Bhikshus!.
It is difficult to be able to see the Tathagata."
These beings having heard such words
will necessarily produce
the thought that I am difficult to encounter
and nourish affectionate longing in their hearts
and adoring the Buddha, will then plant good karmic roots.
For this reason although the Tathagata is not extinct
yet He says that He is extinct. Furthermore, good sons,
with the various Buddhas, the Tathagatas,
the Dharmas all are thus.
Because they are for saving the masses of beings
they are all true and not empty.

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