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Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra (69 hits)


Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra, The [法華文句] (Chin Fa-hua-wen-chü;  Hokke-mongu): One of T’ien-t’ai’s three major works, the others being The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra and Great Concentration and Insight. A ten-volume commentary on the Lotus Sutra, presented originally as a lecture in 587 by T’ien-t’ai, and recorded and compiled by his disciple Chang-an. Each volume consists of two parts. In the section of this work dealing with the “Introduction” (first) chapter of the sutra, T’ien-t’ai divides the Lotus Sutra into three parts: preparation, revelation, and transmission. The teaching of preparation readies people to receive the truth, revelation is the truth that the Buddha imparts, and transmission urges that the truth revealed be handed down for the future. T’ien-t’ai defines the “Introduction” chapter as preparation, the fifteen and a half chapters from the “Expedient Means” (second) chapter through the first half of the “Distinctions in Benefits” (seventeenth) chapter as revelation, and the eleven and a half chapters from the latter half of the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter through the “Universal Worthy” (twenty-eighth) chapter as transmission. T’ien-t’ai also divides the Lotus Sutra into two parts—the theoretical teaching (first fourteen chapters) and the essential teaching (latter fourteen chapters), and applies the three divisions of preparation, revelation, and transmission to each of these. Within the theoretical teaching, he defines the “Introduction” chapter as preparation, the eight chapters from the “Expedient Means” chapter through the “Prophecies” (ninth) chapter as revelation, and the five chapters from the “Teacher of the Law” (tenth) chapter through the “Peaceful Practices” (fourteenth) chapter as transmission. Concerning the essential teaching, he defines the first half of the “Emerging from the Earth” (fifteenth) chapter as preparation; the one chapter and two halves comprising the latter half of the “Emerging from the Earth” chapter, the entire “Life Span” (sixteenth) chapter, and the first half of the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter as revelation; and the eleven and a half chapters from the latter half of the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter through the “Universal Worthy” chapter as transmission.

Subsequently T’ien-t’ai sets forth four guidelines for interpreting the words and phrases of the Lotus Sutra: (1) Causes and conditions; to interpret the words and phrases of the sutra in terms of the causes and conditions that prompted the Buddha to expound them, and to grasp them in terms of the four ways of preaching, or the four ways in which Buddhas expound their teachings. (2) Correlated teachings; to interpret the sutra’s words and phrases in correlation with the four teachings of doctrine and the five periods. (3) The theoretical and essential teachings; to interpret the sutra’s words and phrases in light of the theoretical and essential teachings of the Lotus Sutra. (4) The observation of the mind; to perceive the truth within one’s own mind through the practice of meditation and also to interpret the words and phrases of the sutra from the standpoint of this perception of the truth. Using these four guidelines, T’ien-t’ai explains passages from each chapter of the Lotus Sutra to elucidate profound doctrines of the sutra such as the “replacement of the three vehicles with the one vehicle” and the “revelation of the Buddha’s original enlightenment in the remote past.”
Posted By: Steve Williams
Wednesday, June 10th 2020 at 5:29PM
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WOW.....what a big task...you are serious....!

...Great Ambition....

Wednesday, June 10th 2020 at 8:27PM
robert powell
I'm aiming for a primer. The "primer" I've been using for the last few years is 540 pages long with a glossary of 1374 entries. When I look back on my notes I recognize characters but can't immediately recall their meaning. I started out intending sort of a cheat sheet for myself and it went from there. Thanks Robert.

Wednesday, June 10th 2020 at 8:58PM
Steve Williams
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