LOTUS SŪTRA, LECTURE NO. 2: CHAPTER II
[Third Lotus Sūtra Series]
Thursday Evening, October 23, 1969
Zen Mountain Center
[The recording starts with Suzuki-rōshi reading from: Saddharma-Pundarika or The Lotus of the True Law, translated by H. Kern, New York: Dover, 1963 (an unaltered reprint of the 1884 edition of “The Sacred Books of the East,” Vol. XXI), Chapter II, “Skillfulness,”
p. 30. He is continuing from approximately the point where he left off in SR-69-10-20.]
… out things difficult to understand.
The mystery of Tathāgata is difficult to understand, Shāriputra, because when they explain the law (or phenomena, things) that have their cause in themselves, they—they—they do so by means of skillfulness, by the display of knowledge, by argument, reasons, fundamental ideas, interpretations, and suggestions. By a variety of skillfulness they are able to release creatures that are attached to one point or another. The Tathāgata, Shāriputra, have acquired the highest perfection in skillfulness and the display of knowledge; they are endowed with wonderful properties, such as the display of free and unchecked knowledge; the power; the absence of hesitation; the independent conditions; the strength of the organs; the constituents of Bodhi; the contemplation; emancipations; meditations; the degree of concentration of mind. The Tathāgata, Shāriputra, are able to expound various things and have something wonderful and marvelous. Enough, Shāriputra, let it suffice to say that the Tathāgata have something extremely wonderful, Shāriputra. None but Tathāgata, Shāriputra, can impart to a Tathāgata those laws which the Tathāgatas knows—Tathāgata knows. And all ways [laws], Shāriputra, are taught by the Tathāgata, and by him alone; no one but he knows all laws, what they are, how they are, like what they are, of what characteristic and of what nature they are.
And on that occasion, to set forth the same subject more completely [copiously], the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
This chapter is, for us Sōtō students, a very important chapter. If you understand this chapter so far as I read, you will understand what is our transmission, what is our practice, what kind of life we have as a Sōtō Zen priest or Sōtō Zen children—disciples [laughs]. It is so important. But usually they don’t think this chapter is so important, and the most explanation of this chapter is very superficial. So I want you to, you know, read it over and over again [during] study period. I will take time and Dick [Baker] one line after one line very deeply and very widely.