To hear, read, and recite..with a single mindOn Tue, 24 October, 2023 - 16:09
Greater still are the merits of those who hear, read and recite it with single mind, explain it clearly and distinctly to the people in the Great Assembly, and practise it as taught.
The White Lotus sutra
On a recent solitary retreat in a cabin in the Finnish countryside, in the midst of quiet countryside and mild autumn days, I spent a period every day for two weeks reading aloud the whole of the White Lotus Sutra.
Back in 1970 Bhante gave a series of talks based around this sutra which for many was a significant and inspiring part of their introduction to the Buddhist world. The White Lotus Sutra was hugely influential in the Buddhist tradition, especially in the Far East, but I know I am not alone in finding that going back to the sutra without the benefit of Sangharakshita’s commentary can initially be rather baffling.
A scholar writing the introduction to a new translation of the sutra made specifically for the benefit of people wanting to make sutra reading a part of their Buddhist practice, starts by pre-empting some obviously familiar first responses to the White Lotus Sutra. He quotes the Japanese Zen master Hakuin who wrote “What’s all this about being the ‘king of all sutras’? This is just a bunch of muddled parables and tall tales. It does not seem to include any actual – how shall we say ? - teachings.”