On the nature and message of the lotus stra in the light of early buddhism and buddhist scholarship (towards the beginnings of mahāyāna)
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Asian Philosophy 14 (3):209 – 221 (2004)
The aim of this paper is to compare the contents of the Lotus Stra and the style of presentation of its message with the thrust of the Buddha's teachings as they are preserved in the early Buddhist sources, particularly the Sutta Piaka of the Pāli Canon, and also in the Pāli commentarial literature. In the process it attempts to identify in the early sources the precedents of some of the bold statements in the Lotus Stra which appear as complete innovations, but may be elaborations of elements contained in Pāli sources in germinal form. Despite the difference in style, language and mythological imagery, the conclusion is that both the Sutta Piaka and the Lotus Stra express in their respective manners the true spirit of the Buddhist message. Attention is drawn also to the striking parallels between the Buddhist picture of the multiple universe and modern cosmological theories.
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