Śramaṇa Chegwan on the Lotus Sūtra

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Śramaṇa Chegwan on the Lotus Sūtra

Post by Caoimhghín » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:31 pm

Śramaṇa Chegwan of the Korean Cheontae tradition, in his text "Tiāntāi Four Teachings Model" (天台四教儀), on the 4 modes and 5 periods. Translation A. Charles Muller. Parts of the text is presented from the POV of the Buddha, interestingly enough, even though no one believes the Buddha to have written it.


Next I will expound the Lotus sermon, disclosing the prior sudden and gradual, and merging it into the teaching that is neither sudden nor gradual. Therefore it is called disclosing the provisional and revealing the true 開權顯實. It is also called discarding the expedient and establishing the real 廢權立實, and it is also called uniting the three and returning them to the one 會三歸一.

一權一實 [圓實別權]各不相卽。大不納小故、
小、雖在座如聾若啞。是故所說法門 雖廣大圓滿、攝機不盡。

Although the terms provisional and true can be seen in both Lotus and pre-Lotus teachings, their implications are not the same in both cases. When we say that the pre-Lotus implications of provisional and true are not the same, it means that the Mahāyāna and Hīnayāna teachings are incommensurate with each other. This is like in the Flower Ornament period when the singular expedient and the singular real teachings [The Perfect is real, and the Distinct Teaching is provisional] could not be matched with each other. Since the Mahāyāna teaching did not include the Hīnayāna teaching, even though the Hīnayāna practitioners were sitting in the audience, it is as if they were deaf and dumb. Even though the dharma that was preached at this time was vast and complete, since it did not fully embrace all types of people, it did not fulfill the Tathāgata’s original intention for appearing in the world. Why not?

初頓部有一麤 [別教]一妙 [圓教]。一妙、則與法華無二無別。

The initial sudden phase of the teachings includes a crude portion [the Distinct Teaching] and a refined portion [the Perfect Teaching]. The refined portion is neither other than nor distinguished from the Lotus Sūtra. If there were a crude portion [in the Flower Ornament Sūtra], it is necessary to await its disclosure, assimilation, and removal by the Lotus, after which it can for the first time be called refined 妙.

次、鹿苑、但麤無妙 [藏教]次方等三麤、 [藏通別]一妙。 [圓教]次般若二麤、 [通別]一妙。 [圓教]來至法華會上。

In the next, the Deer Park period, there is only crudity and no refinement [the Tripiṭaka Teaching]. In the ensuing Vaipulya period, there are three cases of crudity [the Tripiṭaka, Shared, and Distinct Teachings] and one case of refinement [the Perfect Teaching]. In the ensuing Prajñā period there are two cases of crudity [the Shared and the Distinct teachings] and one case of refinement [the Perfect Teaching.]. Coming up to the outset of the Lotus sermon, [the Buddha] discloses them, merges them, and discards the prior four crude flavors, completing them in the refinement of the One Vehicle. The various flavors of the Perfect Teaching need not be disclosed again, since they are originally an amalgam, their disclosure is not necessary. These are merely the “combined,” “single,” “contrastive,” and “inclusive” within the phases and therefore do not come up to the level of the Lotus’ unadulterated coherence. The exclusive use of the word “refined” for the teachings of the Lotus is well-deserved here.

無二亦無三 [教一]正直捨方便。但說無上道 [行一]但爲菩薩。
不爲小乘 [人一]。世間相常住 [理一] 時人未得法華妙旨。

As the text [of the Lotus Sūtra] says: “In all the buddha-lands of the ten directions there is only the dharma of the One Vehicle—there are neither two, nor three” (T 262.9.8a17–18) . The teaching is one. He teaches the truth directly, eschewing expedients; he only teaches the peerless way (T 262.9.10a19) . The practice is one. This teaching is only for bodhisattvas; it is not for adherents of the Hīnayāna (T 262.9.18b20) . The person is one. The marks of the world are eternally abiding (T 262.9.9b10) . The principle is one. People of this period have not grasped the subtle message of the Lotus. They only see the metaphors for the various phases of this teaching, such as the three carts, the prodigal son, the conjured city, and so forth, and say that it does not come up to the level of other scriptures. Now, not knowing enough to hold in awe 17 the provisional teaching of the prior four periods, they exclusively exalt the great white bullock cart. After being entrusted with the family business, one merely proceeds to the treasure-land (nirvāṇa). Therefore one ends up committing the error of denigrating those provisional teachings.

約時、則日輪當午。罄無側影 [第五時]。約味、則從熟酥出醍醐。
此從摩訶般若出法華。 [五醍醐味]信解品云。

In terms of time of the day, it is like twelve noon, when no shadow is cast. This refers to the fifth time period. In terms of flavor, it is like ghee 醍醐 being produced from butter. That is, the Lotus Sūtra is produced from the matrix of the Mahāprajñāpāramitā [the fifth flavor, that of ghee]. As is stated in the chapter on Belief and Understanding: “He gathered his relatives and proclaimed: This is my true son, and I am his true father. I now bestow all that I have on my son, and entrust him with the family business. The poor son was happier than he had ever been. (T 262.9.17b9–15; Hurvitz, p. 88) . What does this mean?


Answer: After the Prajñā teachings he preaches the Lotus. Since he has already entrusted his son with the handling of the treasury and all of his possessions, when he approaches the time of his death, he directly and completely entrusts his son with the family business. This exemplifies the prior entrustment of the transmission of the teaching, wherein Subhūti, et al. all understood 18 the approach to the dharma. At the time of the preaching of the Lotus, he discloses, shows, enlightens, and lets all beings enter into the Buddha’s wisdom, such that they receive the assurance of future attainment of Buddhahood. Nirvāṇa Sūtra


Next he preaches the Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra, regarding which there are two implications. The first is for those whose faculties are immature, wherein he again explains the Four Teachings [of the Tripiṭaka, Shared, Distinct, and Perfect] along with a discussion of the Buddha-nature. He allows them to embody the true eternal, entering great nirvāṇa. Therefore it is called the teaching that cleans up after the harvest 捃拾教.


The second is for those in the latter age whose understanding is dull. They give rise to nihilistic views in the midst of their study of the Buddha’s teachings, bringing their life and wisdom to an early death and losing all contact with the dharma-body. The Buddha establishes three kinds of provisional teachings, which give support to the One, the Perfect, and the True. Therefore these are called the teachings that support the precepts and expound the eternal 扶律談常教. In terms of their teaching period and flavor, however, they are the same as the Lotus. In terms of their phase there is only a small difference in terms of purity and admixture of doctrine. Therefore the [Nirvāṇa Sūtra] says: “Great nirvāṇa is produced from [the matrix of the perfection of wisdom.” (T 375.12.691a5) The prior Lotus Sūtra, together with this text, comprises the fifth period of the teachings.


Question: Are the Four Teachings [of Tripiṭaka, Shared, Distinct, and Perfect] that this [Nirvāṇa] Sūtra teaches the same as or different from the Four Teachings that are fully described in the previously-discussed Vaipulya scriptures?


Answer: They are the same in name, but have differing implications. In the case of the four contained in the Vaipulyas, for the Perfect Teaching, the first and subsequent both include the understanding of the eternal. In the case of the Distinct Teaching, at first one does not understand, but later understands. In the case of the Tripiṭaka and Shared Teachings, one understands neither at first, nor later on. When the four are placed in the context of the Nirvāṇa Sūtra, one fully knows both at the beginning and later on.[/i]

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

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Re: Śramaṇa Chegwan on the Lotus Sūtra

Post by Queequeg » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:49 pm

I forgot how concise Chegwan was. Thanks.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Śramaṇa Chegwan on the Lotus Sūtra

Post by Caoimhghín » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:38 am

Śramaṇa Wonhyo on the Lotus Sūtra:

The Sūtra of the Lotus Blossom of the Marvelous Dharma reflects the broad purpose of all the buddhas in the ten directions and three divisions of time appearing in the world.

It is the vast gate through which all those of the nine paths and the four kinds of birth enter into the single way.

The text is artful and the meaning profound, such that there is no level of subtlety to which it does not reach.

Its words are well-arranged and its principle is all-embracing, and thus no teaching is not explained.

With the text and words being artful and well-arranged, the text is attractive, yet contains the real.

With the meaning and principle being profound and all-embracing, there is reality, yet it contains the provisional.

"The principle being profound and all-embracing" implies non-duality and non-distinction.

"The words being artful and well-arranged" implies opening the provisional to show the real.

"Opening the provisional" is like when the father reveals that the three wagons outside the gate are provisional — and that the jewelled city seen during the trip is conjured.

His enlightenment under the bodhi tree was not the beginning, and his passing into nirvāṇa between the śāla trees was not the end.

"Showing the real" is like when the Buddha shows that the beings born in four ways are all his children, and that the adherents of the two vehicles will all become buddhas.

Numerical calculation is not adequate to express the length of his life.

The eon-ending conflagration cannot scorch the ground of his Pure Land. This is what is meant by the "artfulness of the prose."

The meaning of "not-two" is that there is only one great matter, in the Buddha's view, which is to reveal the truth for sentient beings, show them, awaken them, and make them enter.

The Buddha's teaching being unsurpassed and unaltered, he has caused them to understand it and realize it.

The meaning of "no distinction" is like the three kinds of equality where all vehicles and all bodies follow the same method, and the mundane world and nirvāṇa have never been two different realities.

This is the subtle mystery of the meaning of the principle.

Thus, the text and its principles are both wondrous.

It is the principle that lacks no profundity, the standard free from crudity, and is thus called the marvelous dharma.

The provisional flowers are scattered broadly, and the real fruit is amply manifested.

With unsullied beauty, it is described as being like the lotus flower.

Yet why is the marvelous dharma which is perfectly excellent sometimes three, and sometimes one?

This perfected person, the Tathāgata, is most mysterious: how could his life span be determined as short or long?

Initially, one is dull-minded, and entering is not easy.

The children are all running around, so getting them out is extremely difficult.

It is here that the Tathāgata draws them out with expedients.

Enticing them with the goat-cart in the Deer Park, he shows them his coarse body that is dependent on physical existence.

Hitching up the white ox at Vulture Peak, he reveals his limitlessly long life.

"From here, he borrows the one to refute the three, and with the three removed, the one is also abandoned."

"He provisionally uses the long to remove the short, and once the short is removed, the long is forgotten."

Since this dharma cannot be shown, signs of the words and text are annihilated.

Vanishing, it can't be grasped; totally serene, it abandons all dependencies.

Not knowing what to call it, I am forced to name it the "flower of the marvelous dharma."

This being the case, those who share a seat and are allowed to listen will some day take the seat of the wheel turning kings, Indra, and Brahmā.

Those who hear a single phrase all attain the guarantee of the attainment of perfect enlightenment — not to mention that the merits of receiving and transmitting the teaching lie far beyond calculation.

The broad purport of the sūtra is shown in its title: thus it is called the Sūtra of the Lotus Blossom of the Marvelous Dharma.

(Translation A. C. Muller)

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

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