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Sessions

Defined by Emptiness: The Heart SutraTurning the Wheel of the Law: The Lotus SutraThe Heart of Compassion: The Lotus Sutra

Heart and Lotus Sutras/Turning the Wheel of the Law: The Lotus Sutra

Meditation and Reading taken from The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society
All other text is by Cynthia Stewart

For a historical introduction to this sacred text, see Leader Resource 1 - Historical Introduction -
Today's Themes

In Buddhist understanding, the Law that the Buddha preaches is not law because someone says it is so, it is simply the immutable truth of how the world works. Humans are born and begin desiring, bringing their own suffering into existence. Only by recognizing this can we learn to let go of desire – and thus let go of suffering. The Buddha, manifesting in this world out of compassion for all the suffering that beings bring upon themselves, will use any means necessary to shake beings out of their slumber so that they can recognize the truth of the law and begin to act upon it. In doing so, he turns the wheel of the Law – a wheel that shows not only where suffering begins, but where and for all time it ends.

Words used in this session:
Dharma, Dharma seal – teachings of the true nature of things
quiescence – complete rest, having no activity

Call To Worship

These are the ways we turn:

Turn right, turn left, turn at the light
Turn toward the light.
Turn on a dime, toss and turn in the night,
Turn the world around.
We turn a blind eye, turn the other cheek,
Watch the world turning and the turning of the seasons.

Yet all our turning is only movement,
And all our movement is only trying to get to one thing or away from another.
And turning and moving and trying, we are blinded to being and seeing and knowing.
For today let us turn our bodies to service, our hearts to compassion, and our thoughts to truth.

Let us once again turn to one another.

Meditation

Great Sage, turn the Dharma-wheel,
To reveal the marks of all Dharmas,
To cross over tormented living beings,
So they may gain great joy.
When living beings hear the Dharma,
They may gain the way, or be reborn in the heavens;
The evil paths will decrease
And those of patience and goodness will increase.

                        Lotus Sutra, Chapter 7
                        (Buddhist Text Translation Society translation)

Reading

If there are living beings,
Who do not know the origin of suffering,
Who are deeply attached to the cause of suffering,
Unable to leave if for even a moment,
For their sakes
I expediently speak of the Way.
The cause of all suffering
Is rooted in desire.

If one extinguishes greed and desire,
Suffering has nothing to rest upon.
The extinction of all suffering
Is called the third truth.
For the sake of the truth of Quiescence,
One cultivates the Way;
Leaving all suffering’s bonds
Is called the attainment of liberation…

I manifest within this world
To bring peace and tranquility to living beings…
This Dharma Seal of mine
Is spoken because I wish to benefit the world.

           Lotus Sutra, Chapter 3
           (Buddhist Text Translation Society translation)

Benediction

The Buddha calls us to extinguish all desires. If we cannot extinguish them all, may we extinguish one desire that brings us grief.

The Buddha calls us to compassion for all beings. If we cannot find compassion for all, may we feel compassion for one being more than yesterday.

The Buddha calls us to recognize the Ultimate Truth. If we cannot see to the heart of this Truth, may we recognize the smaller truths of love and kindness that are woven through our days.

Let us be where we are, go where we must, and travel our chosen paths in peace.