A dear and trusted friend, a brother really, sent this to me today. His point was solidarity between his faith and ours, a movement to prioritize Beauty over destruction, divisiveness and discord. I don’t know a lot about the sutras, but reading this brought a tear to my eye. I hope it does the same for you:
Brother, while the term Beauty isn’t directly translated from sanksrit, it is evident in Chapter 16 of the Lotus Sutra. I particularly like this chapter’s description of a world being ravaged by flames…when really there are SPARKLING PALACES and JEWELED TREES and GARDENS (oh my) but in short: We think the world is [messed up], when really it’s our conscious attachment to the idea that it’s [messed up], and ignorance of the joys that surround us everyday.
Here is the exact text from my sutra with commentary*. Thank you for including some, all, or none of this on the Church of Beauty’s Facebook. I hope to join the seminary one day:
From the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Marvelous Dharma:
Chapter 16 – “The Life Span of Tathagata”
“…For incalculable eons, I have continuously resided here on Mt. Gridhrakuta and everywhere else. At the end of an eon – when sentient beings seem to be consumed in a conflagration – my land remains tranquil and continuously full of celestial beings. Here, there are gardens and palaces sparkling with gems. The jeweled trees abound with flowers and fruits, and the sentient beings revel in them. Celestial Beings continually sound ethereal drums and create musical medleys, while showering Mandarava blossoms on Buddha and the great assembly”
“Although my pure land is immutable, sentient beings see it as fragmented and ravaged by flames – filled with suffering caused by grief and anxiety…But all who have accumulated merit, and are receptive and sincere, can clearly perceive my exposition of the Dharma”
In Chapter 16 of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni explains to the great assembly that there are times when we have our ‘backs to the wall’ with disagreements, hatred, and other kinds of suffering. In this kind of environment we can easily accept the delusion that the world we live in is ‘fragmented’ ….and ‘ filled with suffering caused by grief and anxiety’ and go about our day contributing to the world based on that perception. But Shakyamuni also reminds us to be aware of the Beauty that is always, and will always be here on Earth (Mt. Gridhrakuta) and everywhere else. Accumulating merit, being receptive to the Beauty of each other, ourselves, and our world, and being sincere in our benevolence is the exposition of the Dharma.
*from the Blue Sutra as translated by Reiyukai