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The Lotus Sutra

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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  709 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Since its appearance in China in the third century, the Lotus Sutra has been regarded as one of the most illustrious scriptures in the Mahayana Buddhist canon. The object of intense veneration among generations of Buddhists in China, Korea, Japan, and other parts of East Asia, it has attracted more commentary than any other Buddhist scripture and has had a profound impact...more
Paperback, 390 pages
Published April 7th 1994 by Columbia University Press (first published 1975)
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Community Reviews

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Ms Piot
This is a awakening teaching. Allegorical in it's telling, it explains the true nature of humanity -- of the ultimate equality of us all in our infinite potential. Perhaps the first true self-empowerment teaching (but oh! so much more!), it is also the foundation for Nichiren Buddhism, an incredibly powerful, practical method of faith, practice, and study for achieving absolute happiness and wisdom and living your life to its fullest potential. Best read and discussed with a friend who knows...
Volmarr
Apr 07, 2014 Volmarr rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People wanting to learn Mahayana Buddhism
Shelves: owned, buddhist-read
This is basically _the_ book to read to come to understand Mahayana Buddhism. The best way to read it is go to your local Mahayana Buddhist temple at any time that the monks are chanting it and read along to yourself this nice English version of it. Sutras of this sort are best when you can feel the energies of it, as well as read it, at the same time. The chanting provides that energy charge of it. Any Vietnamese or Korean Buddhist temple probably has monks who chant the Lotus Sutra. Normally t...more
Elon-str
This is the Buddha's mind in print! I have continuosly read this book. I have read this book 9 times and I am working on my 10th. Wonderful..
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
Shannon
This is the best version of the Lotus Sutra I've ever read. Most of the Sanskrit words are translated into English, which is fairly unusual for Lotus Sutra translations. It is repetitive, as some others have pointed out, but the reader must understand that the Lotus Sutra is written in the language of poetry. It's not a directly instructional, how-to book, or a book of rational knowledge about the world, although it does contain a few bits of that. It's about the life condition (what SGI Buddhis...more
Jess
Oh wow, I was so looking forward to this book, b/c I love reading about Buddhism, but this was NOT what I was expecting! It's a really ancient text--supposedly it surfaced around 0 C.E., about 500 years after the lifetime of Buddha (word on the street was that it had been protected in the dragon world during that period). It's very repetitious, and doesn't seem to get much to the heart of Buddhism. More about jeweled realms, and how we should give jewels and flowers and beautiful robes and the l...more
Neil
The Lotus Sutra is probably the most famous Buddhist scripture in East Asia. For this reason alone, it's worth reading (assuming you're interested in East Asian civilization, that is!). But this is a tough read if you have no point of reference on the history of Buddhism in China in, say, the 3rd to 7th centuries.

The key theme in this book is that of 'expedient means,' the excuse the Mahayana Buddhists give for previous forms of Buddhism that have been introduced into China before the arrival of...more
Fenixbird SandS
Sep 10, 2009 Fenixbird SandS marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Buddhists, Sutra students
Recommended to Fenixbird by: Joseph Pierre
Quoting another's review "...Three of the Buddha's greatest sermons, May 28, 2000
By Joseph H Pierre "Joe Pierre" (Salem, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

The word 'Sutra,' literally means 'thread' or 'string.' The scriptures containing the teachings of the Buddha. Most of the major Sutras were originally written in Pali or Sanscrit, although some were written in Tibetan or Chinese. They are among the world's oldest literature.

These Sutras are called The Sutra of Innume...more
Daniel
Watson's translation is beautiful poetry that I enjoyed reading from start to finish. The theology wasn't what I was expecting. If Busby Berkeley had directed a Buddhist text, it would have been like this. Asuras and gandharvas are bursting out of the scenery every time you turn around. A cast of thousands, ten thousands, millions, 48 million Ganges sands. It was entertaining but I don't feel much the wiser. I'm a Hindu myself (a "heretical" view, according to this text), and prefer the Samnyasa...more
Eva Shang
The Lotus Sutra seemed to me more like a self-promotional text than a text about Buddhism. I asked my professor in class, "Why are all the numbers so huge and why is everything so SHINY?" Descriptions of jewels and "thousands of millions of bodhisattvas" abound. While there are some interesting parables in here, like a prodigal son story and the story of the burning house, others seem like total stretches that attempt to explain why Buddhism is actually lying to us for our own good. Oh and don't...more
Amina
Well, I spent almost two years with this book, and can't say I really understood it, or was even able to read all of it, or even felt a spark of kinship. When I hear others talk about The Lotus Sutra, I do, but not in my own reading. So much worship (?) in it, which I'm not sure I like, but also a glimpse of Indra's net and that enormity, which I do. Not that it's about "liking."
Melinda
This is the teaching of the Buddha and is the sutra used by the Nicherin Buddhists in their practice. Many volumes have been written to translate what this sutra means. However iit is beautiful to read as it was written and then read the lenghty translations. The Nicherin chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo comes from this Sutra. I have chanting this for over a year.
Dusty White
This is far and away the best version of any English translation. It alone has footnotes that reveal extremely important information and clarifications you will not find in any other source. It also has the unpolluted version of the Dragon Princess chapter.

If you are going to read the sutra in English, you should read THIS version first.
Carrie
This might be about to go into a very special bookshelf called books that have fallen into the bath and are too sopping wet to read. I was still trying to figure out what expedient means means when it expediently, or unexpediently, fell. Oddly, the cover is curling up so it looks like a scroll...hmmmm, mystical.
Thomas
Watson's translation is clear and convincing, as usual. The Lotus Sutra is a collection of mostly devotional sermons, and Watson renders the poetry beautifully. This probably isn't the best place to pick up the basics of Mahayana Buddhism, but culturally it's important.
Chris
I read this for a Buddhist texts class in college. I didn't like it then, and if I read it again I think I'd have the same opinion. I'll leave it at that.
Malaika
I read this in hardcover, but didn't find it in the list. It's good but very old-school in language so it takes effort to read it.
Erika S
Feb 25, 2012 Erika S is currently reading it
I'm going to start a district-wide book club sort of thing when I start reading this over the summer. It should be pretty cool.
David Melik
Jul 02, 2007 David Melik rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystics
Shelves: philosophy, mythology
I read this at http://lotus.nichirenshu.org/nav/lotu... . It is quite an interesting and entertaining sutra.
Iain Coggins
The basis of my faith. Commentary to follow once I've compared to the new edition out last year.
Minerva T.y.
Awesome translation! The first Lotus Sutra that I read 10 years ago. :)
Chad
Long and repetitive, mostly an academic translation.
Mark W. Cole
A good translation of this ancient text.
Stephen
Excellent and beautiful translation
Alex
Excellent notes, excellent translation.
BakuDreamer
only read about half of this
Thomas
Read in Chinese.
Kelsey
Kelsey marked it as to-read
Sep 26, 2014
Noelene Fraser
Noelene Fraser marked it as to-read
Sep 26, 2014
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