June 22, 2017
Saddharma Pundarika or the Lotus Sutra is a Buddhist scripture, first written in 300 AD. According to Paul Williams, "For many East Asian Buddhists since early times the Lotus Sutra contains the final teaching of the Buddha, complete and sufficient for salvation."
Most historians believe the sutra was written in the 1st or 2nd century CE, probably by more than one writer. A translation was made from Sanskrit to Chinese in 255 CE, and this is the earliest historical documentation of its existence.
As with so many of the Mahayana sutras, the original text of the Lotus Sutra is lost. The several early Chinese translations are the oldest versions of the sutra that remain to us. In particular, a translation into Chinese by the monk Kamarajiva in 406 CE is believed to be the most faithful to the original text.
In the Lotus Sutra – literally The White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma – we read of the arrival of a sort of Alien named Gadgadasvara (Wonderful Voice) on a spaceship.
It was through deep meditation that Gadgadasvara was able to appear psychically on our planet, in front of the Buddha and his students. One of Buddha’s bodhisattva, Manjusri, asked about him. The Buddha replied that the visitor was a sage coming from another world.
Manjusri then asked if he could learn the same kind of space-travel meditation technique and if Gadgadasvara could visit them in flesh, not only in spirit. Gadgadasvara, so challenged, came to earth in his physical form (translating it into plain English):
accompanied by the noise of hundreds of thousands of musical instruments. He come to the earth after moving through the sky on a “tall tower.”
How he looked like? His face showed eyes resembling blue lotuses, his body was gold colored…and sparkled with a luster.
The Buddha points out to them that Gadgadasvara has the ability to assume many different forms and to take on many other appearances, if he wishes to do so.
Gadgadasvara then listens to the Buddha’s sermon, finally giving him a polite “goodbye” and departs:
he again mounted the tower and with the noise of hundreds of thousands of musical instruments he returned to his own world
He comments that the place he come from, the land of that sahā world, is uneven and irregular and is filled with mud, stones, mountains, and filth.
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