Discuss the primary virtues to cultivate, the main spiritual practices to undertake, the duration of the path as found in the Lotus Sutra and in East Asian traditions based on the Lotus.
The lotus sutra which is a translation of the Sutra of the Lotus of the Wonderful Law has been referred to many Buddhists time and again. It contains numerous parables such as the burning house, the prodigal son, the medicinal herbs, the phantom city, the gem in the jacket, the gem in the King’s top-knot, and the excellent physician among others that help give teaching to its readers (Williams, p.72).
In His teachings Buddha gives the spiritual reality of following the teachings where he bases his assurance on enlightened minds. He assures enlightenment of all aspects of life to all who practice his teaching s. In the third chapter the parable of the escape from the burning house the readers are assured protection and the enlightenment over life and death. In chapter four the parable of the rich man and his son teach the faithful on faith and understanding (Wynne, p.79).
The Lotus also teaches on health where the presences of many plants that are nutritious indicate the providence of health to all. The great rain is seen to come from the almighty so as to give his people good health. it also emphasis the need for faith where all the followers must live according to the teachings and practice faith that is manifested in accepting, reading, embracing, reciting, teaching, copying, and spreading the Sutra (Williams, p.103).
Buddhists must also keep peace and be ever contented with what the have in that the deeds, thoughts, and words must be of high reproach. One must also be prayerful in the spiritual life and be able to keep faith through the bad and good times. One must also practice self sacrifice, confession and fulfill all the vows (Williams, p.158).
What is the role of belief and faith in the spirituality advocated by the Lotus Sutra? What is the role of experience and personal verification on such a path? Compare and contrast the role of the Buddha in the dispensation of the dharma in Mainstream and Lotus Sutra-Buddhism.
Faith and belief are vital elements of the Buddhist religion; faith has been stressed and emphasized a lot by the teaching. The Buddhists believe in Buddha as the Supreme Being and His function as a teacher to all other beings is unquestionable. This is also based on trust and confidence and compulsory belief in the attainment of spiritual freedom and salvation knowledge of the teachings (Wynne, p.59). Chapter nineteen of the lotus focuses on keeping faith as a virtue where it should be done in the good and bad times.
In taking the path of belief and faith then one is expected to dedicate his being to Buddha through practicing all the commands. Reading the lotus sutra and practicing it should always be a responsibility in that all the primary virtues are cultivated; the main spiritual practices are adhered to and the faith is kept (Wynne, p.114). Believing is vital for all who take this path in that whatever is written in the lotus sutra and other books is true and unquestionable and that it passes on enlightenment. The persons must therefore read, accept, embrace, recite, teach, copy, propagate and live according to the sutra (Williams, p.103).
The role of Buddha in Buddhism is the rediscovering of the ultimate principle of truth which is contained in the dharma (Wynne, p.26). He also establishes a religious order and spiritual customs that is aimed at preserving the religious practices and teachings so that they can be passed on to the future generations.