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    "Life Span of the Thus Come One" chapter

    Abbreviated as the "Life Span" chapter. The sixteenth chapter of the Lotus sutra, in which Shakyamuni Buddha reveals that he originally attained enlightenment in the far distant past rather than in his present life in India as his listeners generally thought. The chapter title "The Life Span of the Thus Come One" means the duration of Shyakyamuni's life as a Buddha, that is, how much time has passed since he originally attained Buddhahood. T'ien-t'ai (538-597) of China ranks it as the key chapter of the essential teaching, or the latter fourteen chapters of the sutra. The chapter opens with three exhortations and four entreaties, in which the Buddha three times admonishes the multitude to believe and understand his truthful words, and the assembly four times begs him to preach. Shakyamuni then says, "You must listen carefully and hear of the Thus Come One's secret and his transcendental powers." He proceeds to explain that, while all heavenly and human beings and 'asuras' believe that he first attained enlightenment in his present lifetime under the 'bodhi' tree, it has actually been an incalculable length of time since he attained enlightenment. He then offers a dramatic description of the magnitude of this immeasurably long period. He describes taking a vast number of worlds, grinding them to dust, and then traversing the universe, dropping a particle each time one passes an equally vast number of worlds. Having exhausted all the dust particles, one takes all the worlds traversed, whether they have received a dust particle or not, and grinds them to dust. Then Shakyamuni says: "Let one particle represent one 'kalpa'. The time that has passed since I attained Buddhahood surpasses this by a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million 'nayuta asamkhya kalpas'." Commentaries on this chapter refer to this cosmically immense period as "numberless major world system dust particle 'kalpas'." In the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra, Shayamuni thus refutes the view that he attained enlightenment for the first time in this life in India and reveals his original attainment of enlightenment in the remote past. T'ien-t'ai refers to this in 'The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra' and 'The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra' as "opening the near and revealing the distant," "casting off the transient and revealing the true," and "opening the transient and revealing the true." Here, "the transient" means Shakyamuni's transient status, and "the true" means his true identity. From his original attainment of Buddhahood, Shakyamuni declares, he has constantly been here in this 'saha' world preaching the Law, appearing as many different Buddhas and using various means to save living beings. Though he says that he enters nirvana, he merely uses his death as a means to arouse in people the desire to seek a Buddha. He then illustrates this idea with the parable of the skilled physician and his sick children. In the parable, the children of a skilled physician have accidentally swallowed poison. Having lost their senses, they refuse the medicine their father offers them as an antidote. The father then goes off to a remote place and sends a message informing the children he has died. Shocked to their senses, the children take the medicine their father has left for them and are cured. The Buddha is compared to the father in this parable, living beings to the children who have drunk poison, and the Buddha's entry into Nirvana to the father's report of his own death--an expedient means to arouse in people the aspiration for enlightenment. The chapter concludes with a verse section, which restates the important teaching of the preceding prose section.

    In 'Profound Meaning', T'ien-t'ai interprets the "Life Span" chapter as revealing the three mystic principles of the true cause (the cause for Shakyamuni's original attainment of enlightenment, the true effect (his original enlightenment), and the true land (the place where the Buddha lives and teaches). He interprets the passage "Originally I practiced the bodhisattva way..." as indicating the stage of non-regression, or the eleventh of the fifty-two stages of bodhisattva practice, which he explained as the true causes that enabled Shakyamuni to attain Buddhahood. In answer to the question of what Shakyamuni practiced in order to reach the stage of non-regression, Nichiren (1222-1282) identified it as the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

    From the 'Dictionary of Buddhism'
    Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

    Comment


      Reply to StoneGirl

      Hey! Thanks for your writing. I believe that if all of us sat down with each other and were honest we would find that we are all in some way or another going thru similar situations. That is why our lives have probably come together here, for support, encouragement and to help each other through it all.
      It brings value to my experiences when it helps someone else get through their own. And it also encourages me that I too am not going through it alone.
      We will get through this StoneGirl! Love, SG

      Ptd! I would love to sit and watch you type all that in.....how do you not get booted?

      Comment


        <grinning>

        wisdom
        Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

        Comment


          A parable?

          PTB?

          Wisdom?

          Grasshopper

          Comment


            PTD

            Wisdom?
            maybe "passion+ compassion" is more like it?
            but can't speak for you, and thank you for shareing it!
            Hi everyone , SG,Socal,GordyP,PTD, good to start my day here, and got to go, bye.....

            stonegirl
            Last edited by stonegirl; 10-22-2004, 10:18.

            Comment


              The Importance of Flexible Thinking

              There is a reciprocal relationship between a supple mind and the ability to shift perspective. A supple, flexible mind helps us address our problems from a variety of perspectives, and, conversely, deliberately trying to objectively examine our problems from a variety of perspectives can be seen as flexibility training for the mind. In today's world, the attempt to develop a flexible mode of thinking isn't simply a self-indulgent exercise for idle intellectuals - it is a matter of survival.

              Life today is characterized by sudden, unexpected, and sometimes violent change. A supple mind can help us reconcile the external changes going on all around us. It can also help us integrate all of our internal conflicts, inconsistencies, and ambivalence. Without cultivating a pliant mind, our outlook becomes brittle and our relationship to the rest of the world becomes characterized by fear. But by adopting a flexible, malleable approach to life, we ce can maintain our composure even in the most restless and turbulent conditions. It is through our efforts to achieve a flexible mind that we can nurture the resiliency of the human spirit.

              His Holiness the Dalai Lama


              The advice of this twenty-first century Buddhist appears to me to be ringing true for all the active contributors to this thread at the present time. For me, after an extended period of apparent idleness and inactivity, sudden changes are now flying at me from all directions! Without an effort to remain flexible in my thinking when dealing with such changes, I would not have been able to handle it, to survive. It has involved the opening of doors that were long shut within me, and allowing the warmth existing behind those doors to open my eyes and reconfirm I am no different than anyone else, as they are no different than me. To realize again I am indeed still a part of our human community has given me an inner-happiness I haven't enjoyed in years.

              As I read the postings from you here, relating the changing situations now occuring in your lives as well, I can't help feeling the message above is particularly pertinent to all of us right now. Am I wrong or haven't Southern Girl, SoCal, StoneGirl, and PTDoobie experienced some recent extraordinary turbulence in their lives, as I have? Certainly not turbulence which has created changes of an identical nature, but still some pretty mind-blowing, life-altering changes just the same? I know in my case, there's no way I would have interpreted my changes as something which created such a centered happiness within me if I had kept my feelings and beliefs hardened and inflexible. And my feelings would have remained hardened, without a doubt, if I had not "stumbled" into your lives at the moment I did. Kind of eerie and weird, don't-cha think? Just why and how this all happened is beyond my comprehension, but just the same, many thanks from me for being at this place at this time!

              Keep writing and sharing,

              GordyP
              Find the good, and praise it

              Comment


                Loving you and your post Gordy P

                That was great Gordy P! You have come along way in 2 weeks from dusting it off and taking it around the corner. You have been a perfect example to me of when senior leaders would say you can chant and chant and chant and with a simple change of attitude and understanding, the piece fits and it all falls into place. There are no coincidences just synchronicities. (Big words for early in the am) And at this point and time, this too is where I get my encouragement. I look forward to reading it everyday. And we hooked Stonegirl too. What a benefit!
                Wouldn't it be great if at sometime we all could meet? Put all the pieces together. That would be a great meeting! Hope you all have a great day and know that you are in my prayers daily. SG

                Comment


                  Wow!

                  This is kinda tripping me out. You guys are getting along as well with each other as you do with me. We have another kind friend that has just joined the celebration. He has PM'ed me saying he is going to try chanting. If he does, he will see what we are talking about, and hopefully share his experiences.

                  When that occurs, hopefully the others beyond us five or six will begin really communicating. People already seek from this person, so he is already well respected. His influence will be felt here, and it is the karma of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that has influenced this to be the reality that is unfolding.

                  This should be really entertaining!

                  I can't wait to see what happens!

                  Thomas
                  Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                  Comment


                    inner happiness

                    Gordy!

                    That is an awesome revelation about yourself and your life. Isn't it great how all the answers are within and now you have the secret to find those answers? Only when you find yourself in the deepest shit - that is where you can really see the power. I know others following this thread are now trying to chant because of your experience. You are creating more and more fortune for yourself. Forge on!

                    Nice to see you here stonegirl! at first I had one interpretation about your login, but as I was chanting about everyone today I then figured out where it really came from. How dense am I?

                    PTB....errrrr PTD and SG and Vegas.....Hello! Been a stranger, kinda busy. GTG, cya

                    Process of Growth and Self-Realization
                    Every single person has tremendous potential which is largely untapped. Through one's human revolution(chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo), this potential can be revealed and we can establish an independent, unconquerable self; enabling one to deal creatively with any situation that life has to offer. This process enables one to keep growing and developing indefinitely.

                    (taken from Buddhist concepts)
                    SoCal

                    Comment


                      kalpa

                      In ancient Indian cosmology, an extremely long period of time. There are various views on the length of a 'kalpa.' According to 'The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom,' a 'kalpa' is longer than the time required to wear away a cue of rock forty 'ri' (one 'ri' being about 450 meters) on each side, by brushing it with a piece of cloth once every hundred years. 'Great Perfection of Wisdom' also defines a 'kalpa' as being longer than time needed to remove all the mustard seeds filling a city of forty 'ri' square, if one takes away one seed every hundred years. Nearly identical explanations appear in the Miscellaneous Agama Sutra, where the length of each side of the rock is given as one 'yojana (about 7 kilometers), and the size of the city as one 'yojana' square.

                      The word 'kalpa' is also used in describing the formation and disintegration of the world. According to Buddhist cosmology, a world perpetually repeats a four-stage cycle of formation, continuance, decline, and disintegration. The periods corresponding to these four stages are called the four 'kalpas.' Each of these four 'kalpas'--the 'kalpa' of formation, the 'kalpa' of continuance, the 'kalpa' of decline, and the 'kalpa' of disintegration--lasts for twenty small 'kalpas'. A small 'kalpa' is defined in terms of cyclical changes said to occur repeatedly in the human life span during the 'kalpa' of continuance. Over the course of a small 'kalpa' the human life span increases from 10 to 80,000 years and then decreases from 80,000 to 10 years. The increase of life span occurs at a rate of one year every hundred years, and the decrease of life span also occurs in the same way. During the 'kalpa' of continuance, a world and its inhabitants continue to exist for twenty small 'kalpas', that is, while the human life span repeats its increase and decrease in this way. The time required for the life span to increase from 10 to 80,000 years is 79,990 years multiplied by 100, which equals 7,999,000 years. Exactly the same number of years is necessary for the decrease in life span from 80,000 to 10 years; that is, 7,999,000 is multiplied by two, equaling 15,998,000 years. Thus, this number represents the length of a small 'kalpa.' Because a small 'kalpa' is often described simply as a 'kalpa', 15,998,000 years, or about 16,000,000 years, is often given as the definition of the length of a 'kalpa'.

                      From the 'Dictionary of Buddhism'
                      Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                      Comment


                        ten onenesses

                        Also, ten non-dualities. Ten principles set forth by Miao-lo (711-782) in 'The Annotations on "The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra".' In this work, Miao-lo discusses the ten mystic principles of the theoretical teaching (first half) of the Lotus Sutra and the ten mystic principles of the essential teaching (latter half) of the sutra, which T'ien-t'ai expounded in The 'Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra', and reveals the ten onenesses. The section of Miao-lo's work that explains this principle later became an independent work called 'The Ten Onenesses.' In it, Miao-lo states that the concept of the ten onenesses includes the ten mystic principles of both the theoretical and essential teachings. The ten onenesses are as follows: (1) The oneness of body and mind. What one observes in meditation is one mind or one thought (Jpn 'ichinen'), which is an indivisible whole of body and mind. (2) The onenesses of internal and external. Though the object of meditation is divided into two--the internal object, or the realm of one mind, a psychosomatic entity; and the external object, or the external world of physical and spiritual phenomena--these two are non-dual because one mind embodies the three truths and includes all three thousand realms. (3) The oneness of the result of practice and the true nature of life. This means that the true nature of life, or the true nature of all phenomena, is no different from what one ultimately attains through Buddhist practice. The true nature moves one to practice, and practice enables one to manifest the true nature. (4) The onenesses of cause and effect. "Cause" here means ordinary people, and "effect," Buddhahood. The oneness of cause and effect means that the Buddha nature inherent in the ordinary person is the same as the Buddha nature that the Buddha has manifested. (5) The oneness of the impure and the pure. Because ignorance and delusion and enlightenment are two expressions of the same mind and essentially one, the impure mind shrouded in ignorance is itself the pure mind that is enlightened. (6) The oneness of life and its environment. Both the Buddha as a living being and the Buddha land as the environment exist in one mind and are therefore non-dual. (7) The oneness of self and others. "Self" means the Buddha, who teaches, "others" means ordinary people, who are taught and enlightened. But they are non-dual because both the Buddha and ordinary people embody the three truths and are endowed with the three thousand realms. In other words, both self (Buddhaood) and others (the nine worlds) are inherent in one mind. (8) The oneness of thought, word and deed. The Buddha saves people through his three categories of action--thought, speech, and behavior. These three categories of the Buddha are no different from those of ordinary people because they arise from the three thousand realms inherent in both. Moreover, these three exist in one mind as a psychosomatic whole and therefore are one. (9) The oneness of the provisional and true teachings. The Buddha preaches the provisional teachings (the three vehicles) and the true teaching (the one vehicle) according to the people's capacity. Because they both spring from the Buddha's enlightened mind, however, they are non-dual. (10) The oneness of benefits. Though people receive differing benefits according to the level of the Buddha's teaching that they practice (such as provisional and true), both the Buddha and the people ultimately enjoy the same benefit, just as plants in a field are all nourished equally by the rain.

                        From the 'Dictionary of Buddhism'
                        Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                        Comment


                          Are anyone's perceptions being stimulated by all of my typing? Should I continue to present concepts that are ultimately brain candy since all are included in the simple invocation of the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo? It is because this is so simple that I feel compelled to share the depth of consideration that transpired over thousands of years that led to the ability and karma to be able to perceive and experience this personification of the Law in its simplest and, at the same time, most complex form.

                          We can say as simply as "Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" all that is necessary to engage the influence of activating our Buddha nature; something that took contemplative meditation and years to achieve otherwise. This is tremendous good fortune beyond imagination, beyond the capacity to perceive, in the absence of enlightenment. But we enter that life-state every time we say Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Fact.

                          Is everyone grasping what I am explaining through the presentation of definitions? Are there ANY questions? Please ask away if there are. Yoda is still lurking, so there is almost nothing one could ask that could not be responded to.

                          Thomas
                          Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                          Comment


                            three truths

                            Also, threefold truth, triple truth or three perceptions of the truth. The truth of non-substantiality, the truth of temporary existence, and the truth of the Middle Way. The three integral aspects of the truth, or ultimate reality, formulated by T'ien-t'ai (538-597) in 'The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra' and 'Great Concentrations and Insight.' The truth of non-substantiality means that phenomena have no existence of their own; their true nature is non-substantial, indefinable in terms of existence or nonexistence. The truth of temporary existence means that, although non-substantial, all things possess a temporary reality that is in constant flux. The truth of the Middle Way means that the true nature of phenomena is that they are neither non-substantial nor temporary, although they display attributes of both. The Middle Way is the essence of things that continues either in a manifest or latent state. According to T'ien-t'ai's explanation, the Tripitaka teaching and the connecting teaching do not reveal the truth of the Middle Way and therefore lack the three truths. The specific teaching reveals the three truths but shows them as being separate from and independent of one another; that is, it does not teach that these are inseparable aspects of all phenomena. This view is called the separation of the three truths. The perfect teaching views the three as an integral whole, each possessing all three within itself. This is called the unification of the three truths.

                            From the "Dictionary of Buddhism'
                            Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                            Comment


                              Man who stand on toilet is high on pot.

                              Keep typing away PTD. Sometimes it is so deep not to stimulate the questions but it is mind blowing info takin in its context of when and who expounded these teachings.
                              SoCal

                              Comment


                                threefold contemplation in a single mind

                                Also, threefold contemplation. A method of meditation formulated by T'ien-t'ai (538-597) in 'Great Concentrations and Insight,' intended to enable one to perceive the unification of the three truths of non-substantiality, temporary existence, and the Middle Way.

                                While the concept of unification of the three truths constitutes the doctrinal core of T'ien-t'ai's teachings, threefold contemplation in a single mind constitutes the core of T'ien-t'ai's practice. T'ien-t'ai doctrine regards each phenomena as a perfect unity of the three truths and sets forth the threefold contemplation in a single mind as the practice by which one attains insight into this perfect unity. This contemplation involves perceiving the three truths as simultaneously and perfectly integrated and infused in each phenomenon. By doing so, one is said to rid oneself of the three categories of illusion and acquire at once the three kinds of wisdom--the wisdom of the two vehicles, the wisdom of the bodhisattvas, and the Buddha wisdom. T'ien-t'ai also describes a single mind as comprising the three thousand realms. In this sense, threefold contemplation in a single mind is equal to observing a single moment of life and seeing the three thousand realms within it. At the same time, one perceives that all phenomena consist of the three thousand realms.

                                From the 'Dictionary of Buddhism'
                                Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

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