The Lotus Sutra and Meditatin Practice
The Lotus Sutra is one of the most important and sacred of Buddhist sutras. It is often considered a summary of The Buddha’s teaching, presented many years after he began to teach and share his experiences. The version considered here is the Kumarajiva translation, as translated by B. Watson; it may also be known as The Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law. I will not present the many core teaching noted in this sutra; instead I will focus on the end, about How to Practice Meditation. Since this is such an important sutra, you are strongly encouraged to look into the vast content in it on your own. One important thing I will note is that in this sutra The Buddha notes a unified, single path to enlightenment. In the past he noted that monastic practices, forest practices, and bodhisattva practices all held potential for all people to achieve enlightenment or awakening. Experts suspect that The Buddha taught this sutra in the 6th to 5th century BCE. Here, however, he emphasizes the bodhisattva path as the most important single path. Let us move now into the meditation instructions.
- Stand in prayer pose and circle the teacher three times. Another option would be to circle each person in your group; this fits well within the Buddha’s view that we all are buddhas.
- Bow, and kneel on one knee to signify readiness to pursue instructions on meditation practice.
- Close your eyes and sit (cross-legged) quietly.
- Remain in a dignified posture.
- Re-commit to your vow to reduce the suffering of others.
- Practice this meditation deeply. “Practice with…[your] entire mind…”(p. 370).
- As you sit contemplate how meditation is helpful in reducing earthly desires, especially six-senses contact conditioning.
- Imagine that your body holds 50 shades of white light.
- Make a profound assumption that this white light has healing properties.
- Now notice that the white healing light has taken on a golden-white shade.
- Feel this healing light in your body and on your skin. Notice how it sparkles.
- Imagine the golden white healing light coming to you from The Ten Directions (N, S, E, W, NE, SE, NW, SW, and UP and DOWN).
- Allow! Allow! Allow! Stay out of simple thinking. Just be!
- Feel inner joy, compassion for others/yourself, and tranquility.
- Simply allow yourself to be bathed in the healing golden white light.
- Now a big step: practice emitting the healing golden light from your inner body and into the room. This itself is a bodhisattva act.
- Add your own loving kindness.
- Do your best to detach from attachment, even attachment to this wonderful experience.
- Give repentance for any wrongs you are connecting with at this time.
- Improve your Karma by doing this as strongly as you can.
- Take refuge in The Buddha, in The Dharma, and In The Sangha.
- Now sit in utter silence for a longer period of time – just notice without any evaluation. Just be!
- When you hear the sound of the singing bowl, gently and slowly open your eyes, orient yourself, and prepare to enter a full conscious state
- The Buddha. (B. Watson, Trans.). (1993/1994). The Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 369-396. Nichiren Buddhist Library.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness