THREEFOLD LOTUS: ALL PATHS LEAD TO ENLIGHTENMENT

In Chapter 12 of the Lotus Sutra the Buddha teaches that everyone can become enlightened (women, animals, and even the most sinful murderers) through the stories of the dragon king’s daughter and Devadatta. The Innumerable Meanings Sutra (part of the Three-fold Lotus Sutra) says that “all dharmas are empty of intrinsic meaning” and the second Chapter says that the “true aspect of all phenomena” is expounded in the sutra’s second chapter, “Expedient Means,” saying that “All phenomena” include all things and activities throughout the universe and that the “True aspect” is the ultimate reality or true nature underlying and permeating all phenomena..

In Chapter Two Buddha states that all other sutras expounded in the past are only Expedient Means to lead everyone to the path of enlightenment. Shariputra asks Buddha to preach to other disciples “a Law never before known in the past”. Shakyamuni then teachers in Similes and Parables (The Parable of the Three Carts; the Burning House; The Parable of the Wealthy Man; the Medicinal Herbs; Gem in the Robe).

After hearing Buddha’s teachings even demons vowed with their own Dharani (ch. 26) to protect and spread the Buddha’s teachings. The sutra ends by being deeply enlightened and satisfied, the assembly departs, carrying on with their respective missions and paths.

These teachings have traditionally been understood to mean that all paths lead to enlightenment… Buddhism in this sense is catholic, since it is a Universal religion ( ‘catholic’ means universal. The Anglican Church describes itself as catholic. Thats why people often say Roman Catholic to be clear on which sense the word is being used!)

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