Parables in Lotus Sutra: The Burning Bush and The Lost Heir Instructor Three Parables from Lotus Sutra Introduction Buddhism as a religion has spread throughout the world, gaining popularity as it does. This has been facilitated by Buddhist teachings, for instance, Lotus Sutra, which is considered as the final and utmost teaching of the Buddha…
This analysis will consist of their summary as well as their meanings and applications to the modern society. Expedient means of teaching use everyday life experiences to enlighten people. Buddhism uses expedient means to skillfully device ways of teaching people and leads them to salvation. A Buddhist teaching is referred to as a true teaching only when it leads them to enlightenment and Buddha hood. The reason for applying expedient means of teachings is to reach the close-minded audience, for whom the teachings of Buddha are directed. All these teachings are goal oriented, and aimed at reaching the Truth of the One Vehicle, that is, The Lotus Sutra. Expedient means of teaching are delivered depending on the listeners listening and understanding ability as will be described in this paper. Parable of the Burning House Buddha narrated the parable of the burning house. This narrative was about a rich man who lived in an old large house that was near crumbling. The house was in such poor condition that all forms of creatures roamed around its hallways. The house had many people living in it, about five hundred. The house seemed haunted with pure evil. The rich owner had left the house and gone out for awhile. Upon his return, he found the house on fire (Watson and Kanai, 2010). The worn out partitions crumbled as the fire spread to the rest of the house, burning even the creatures that inhabited it. The most agonizing point is that the rich man’s sons were inside the burning house, playing games. The man sounded an alarm and shouted warnings to his sons to come out of the evil possessed and burning house, but to no avail. Instead, the sons continued playing their games ignoring their father’s pleas. To lure them out, the rich man devised a trick, where he told the boys that there were plenty of gifts waiting at the gate. He named goat carts, deer carts, and bullock carts for his sons. To entice them, he described the gifts as explicitly made for his sons, and the trick worked. His sons came out of the burning house to where their father was. This made their father happy, and he was pleased that his sons were safe. Then the sons demanded the gifts that their father had promised them, which was no problem because their rich father had many gifts in store (Watson and Kanai, 2010). The man offered his sons more magnificent carts that enormous than the ones he had promised them. The carts were ox drawn as opposed to the deer, goat, and bullock carts promised. The sons were extremely pleased and enjoyed their new gifts immensely, much to the satisfaction and content of their father. Meaning and Relevance of the Burning House Parable When the Buddha completes the story, he likens himself to the father in the story. The decaying and crumbling house represents the three-fold world. The old man’s children in the story are the disciples, whereas the ox carts symbolize true liberation. Just like the rich man, Buddha is the owner of all things in the world, and all living things are his children. Buddha remarks that the living, his children, is so attached to worldly possessions that they ignore teachings and instructions. In fact, they lack understanding and wisdom to analyze this world critically and identify the right path. When the man gave his sons the gifts, he did this out of love for his sons. In addition, he had many gifts, so much, that ...
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