The Lotus Sutra: Literally the work of Gautama Buddha?

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Re: The Lotus Sutra: Literally the work of Gautama Buddha?

Postby illarraza » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:49 am

OregonBuddhist wrote:Probably THE most sensitive question one could ask on a Nichiren forum, so I need to mention upfront that I'm not trying to start controversy, and I've been practicing chants for two years now, with both the Hoben and Juryo chapters memorized. I'm now working on other chapters. I suppose you could say that I AM a Nichiren Buddhist.

That much said, isn't it generally recognized that the Lotus Sutra is symbolic? I mean, to my understanding, not even the Theravada sutras are the verbatim word of the historical Gautama Buddha, but were themselves written down about two hundred years after his death. To my understanding, the Mahayana sutras are in reality "symbolic" revelations of the Buddha. I know that there are probably very orthodox followers of various Mahayana schools who literally believe the Mahayana sutras are the literal words of the Buddha -- but don't most agree that they are symbolically from the Buddha?

Again, I don't mean this as an insult. It reminds me of what a mentor of mine, a man with a PhD in psychology and a lover of Shakespeare, once said to me, "I don't know if Shakespeare actually wrote the Shakespeare plays. They were probably the work of Francis Bacon. But they're good plays no matter who wrote them."

Hi OB. There are various teaching methods employed by the Buddha in the Lotus Sutra: simile; metaphor; parable [of which there are seven]; skillful or expedient means; logic; historical precedent; narration [current events and prior birth stories]; questions and answers; and most importantly, a direct exposition of his Enlightenment. When studying the Lotus Sutra one can reflect, "here the Buddha is speaking of his experience in a previous existence and here the Buddha is answering the question of Sariputra", etc. Are there worlds where the Buddha actually experienced parthenogenesis as the physiological method of reproducing the species or is it a metaphor or is it something else? Is the Treasure Tower a metaphor only? Bodhisattvas 500 feet tall on other worlds? Flying cars? Some things are fruitless to question or contemplate and the Buddha was silent.


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