This talk explores the common Mahayana symbolism of the lotus flower, the special significance of special images of flowering that are unique to the Dharma Flower Sutra (the Lotus Sutra), and the thrust of the idea of "flowering" both in the Sutra and in Mahayana in general. The Lotus Flower, rooted in mud and blossoming to the sky, is a symbolic expression of affirmation of the earth and of everyday life, but also of transcending the ordinary in important ways, perhaps the most important being the play of human imagination. In the title of the Dharma Flower Sutra itself, "flower" can just as easily be read as a verb, reflecting the idea of the bodhisattva way as a blossoming for others, a kind of dynamic engagement with others for the common good. In the end, all that the Dharma Flower Sutra wants of you or me is to be flowerings of Buddha Dharma, Buddha's flowers.
Gene Reeves is a noted scholar and practitioner of the Lotus Sutra, probably the most important Buddhist scripture in East Asia, who has taught and written about the Sutra for a quarter century. His excellent new translation The Lotus Sutra (Wisdom Publications) is now the standard modern translation. He has also edited the book A Buddhist Kaleidoscope: Essays on the Lotus Sutra, and his next book, The Stories of the Lotus Sutra, will be released this fall. Dr. Reeves was a lecturer at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and former Dean of the Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary in Hyde Park. He now lives in Tokyo, is affiliated with the Rissho Koseikai lay Buddhist organization, and has taught at the University of Tsukuba near Tokyo and the University of Peking.
Monday, August 16, 7:50 pm, following 7:10 zazen and service
Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, 1922 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago
Part of regular Ancient Dragon Zen Gate programs; all are welcome