Knowledge, faith, and the importance of wise priests

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illarraza
Posts: 1021
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:30 am

Knowledge, faith, and the importance of wise priests

Post by illarraza »

“Knowledge without faith” describes those who are knowledgeable about the Buddhist doctrines but have no faith. These people will never attain Buddhahood. Those of “faith without knowledge” may lack knowledge but have faith and can attain Buddhahood. This is not merely my own opinion; it is stated clearly in the Lotus Sutra. In the second volume, the Buddha says, “Even you, Shāriputra, in the case of this sutra were able to gain entrance through faith alone, not because of any wisdom of your own.” This shows that even Shāriputra, unsurpassed in his wisdom, was able to attain Buddhahood only by embracing and firmly believing in this sutra, and that his wisdom alone did not enable him to become a Buddha. If Shāriputra could not attain Buddhahood through his wisdom, how can we ordinary people, with limited knowledge of the doctrines, dare to dream that we may attain Buddhahood when we do not have faith? The Buddha explains that people in the latter age will be arrogant, though their knowledge of the doctrines is trifling, and will show disrespect to the priests, neglect the Law, and thereby fall into the evil paths. If one truly understands the Buddhist teachings, one should show this in one’s respect for the priests, reverence for the Law, and offerings to the Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha is not among us now, so you must respect the teacher with enlightened wisdom as you would the Buddha himself. How, then, could you not receive blessings? If one wishes for happiness in one’s next existence, one should renounce one’s desire for fame and fortune and respect the priest who teaches the Lotus Sutra as one would a living Thus Come One, no matter how humble that priest’s station. Thus it is written in the sutra." - Letter to Niike
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