Sunday, May 17, 2009

Loutus Sutra Chapter 2

Again, I've no authority to teach from anyone; these are merely my thoughts as I read this stuff.

Using this translation, I think I can summarize some of the main points of this chapter...

1. There's an element of skill in Buddhism, especially with respect to "knowledge."

2. And it takes effort to get it.

3. And skilled practitioners can help other beings.

4. There's an element of "you're special if you believe this," and "you're conceited, proud, and deluded if you don't." But eventually, all beings will attain perfect enlightenment, apparently even the scoffers.

5. Here, in a nutshell is why skill is important:

It is but now and then, Sâriputra, that the Tathâgata preaches such a discourse on the law as this. just as but now and then is seen the blossom of the glomerous fig-tree, Sâriputra, so does the Tathâgata but now and then preach such a discourse on the law. Believe me, Sâriputra; I speak what is real, I speak what is truthful, I speak what is right. It is difficult to understand the exposition of the mystery of the Tathâgata, Sâriputra; for in elucidating the law, Sâriputra, I use hundred thousands of various skilful means, such as different interpretations, indications, explanations, illustrations. It is not by reasoning, Sâriputra, that the law is to be found: it is beyond the pale of reasoning, and must be learnt from the Tathâgata. For, Sâriputra, it is for a sole object, a sole aim, verily a lofty object, a lofty aim that the Buddha, the Tathâgata, &c., appears in the world. And what is that sole object, that sole aim, that lofty object, that lofty aim of the Buddha, the Tathâgata, &c., appearing in the world? To show all creatures the sight of Tathâgata-knowledge does the Buddha, the Tathâgata, &c., appear in the world; to open the eyes of creatures for the sight of Tathâgata-knowledge does the Buddha, the Tathâgata, &c., appear in the world.

There's thus a certain tension here: skill is needed to save all beings, but that skill shouldn't encompass someone that repudiates Buddhism itself.

This is actually a kind of important point, for those thinking that they should tolerate another's intolerance: There are some boundaries that one doesn't cross because then the baby is discarded with the bathwater.

Anyhow, if I've missed anything, or there should be something added, please let me know.

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