Welcome to EverLife’s Hall of Wisdom.

Inside this Hall you can travel back more than two millennia to a time when Wisdom — inclusive of but more profound than mere knowledge — encompassed all the Truths, Realities, Doctrines and Laws of Existence. Long before the scientific method had become the determinative means for deciphering the way things worked, sage men capable of exceptional intuitive sensitivity believed that all there was to know about existence could be divined by probing the depths of the mind. By skillfully deploying profound meditative trance (Skt. samadhi) they searched the universe for its secrets. The "Wisdom" they discovered defined the essential core inherent in all things, fostered the dynamic activity of all things in Nature, and constituted the innumerable and diverse facets of all things in the large-scale Universe. Enter EverLife’s Hall of Wisdom through the Eye of Wisdom and continue into its three lecture halls — respectively designated as: [A] Hall of Aspiring Wisdom, [B] Hall of Boundless Wisdom, and [C] Hall of Cosmic Wisdom. At each of these venues attend a seminar that may help you make sense of a wide range of Buddhist doctrines. Inside EverLife’s lecture halls you may encounter profound views on the scope, nature and essence of existence.

Seminar Programs:

Entry Point: Eye of Wisdom
Seminar A: Paths of Glory
Seminar B: The Well of Wisdom
Seminar C: Lotus in the Sky

 

 


ENTRY POINT:

In the Eye of Wisdom

Ancient sages regarded Nature as the product of a divine mind. In an effort to understand the "Wisdom" underlying the creation and dynamics of Nature they had developed skillful means for seeing beyond common human observation and comprehension. In acquiring the mystic "Eye of Wisdom" they were able to define the fundamental doctrines of existence. Consequently, they became the founders of religion, acted as liaisons between mortals and gods, and served as guides in the human journey through an otherwise dangerous and unpredictable cosmos.

Two and a half millennia ago India’s foremost historical sage, Sakyamuni, honored with the title of "Buddha" (Awakened One or Enlightened One), deemed the source of all universal and absolute Truths — including the laws of physical and spiritual existence — to be a single "cosmic mind" of transcending and boundless proportion. His ability to eye existence from the vantage of that "mind" constituted his achievement of the state of Perfect Enlightenment. The Buddha explained that countless buddhas, such as himself, appeared in mortal forms throughout numerous mortal "lands" in every direction across the universe. Each buddha knew all that the others knew — the Truth of the Reality of All Existence. Buddhas helped beings who aspired to attain the state of buddhahood acquire the "eye" with which they too could ascertain that ultimate Wisdom. The Enlightened One who appeared in this world understood the essence, nature and scope of all existence and regarded all beings with compassion — aiming to free all who lived in the land of enduring mortal suffering, Saha (i.e., Earth). His disciples equated liberation from rebirth in the mortal plane with extinction and believed that in death one’s essence entered Nirvana (a formless state of eternal joy). Nevertheless, in his final major treatise, the Buddha exclaimed that he wished only this: to bequeath to all mortals the inconceivable secret that he and other buddhas alone knew. He imparted therein the quintessential Buddha’s Wisdom — the elusive Truth of all Truths regarding what he termed "Real Nirvana," which once entered instantly transformed any mortal into a buddha (in the present moment).

Following Sakyamuni’s passing Buddhist scholars meditated on the emptiness from which the Buddha himself arose. They sought to find therein the "original mind," "enlightened-mind" or "transcendent consciousness" that housed the Buddha’s Wisdom. Sakyamuni had described it as a boundlessly rich storehouse containing an unclaimed bounty of indestructible joy and peace. Furthermore, he had announced to the surprise of his learned followers that this vault of enlightened Wisdom was inherently endowed within the life of every person. This doctrine suggested that in principle a common mortal being had the potential to unearth from within one’s essential self the Truth of the Reality of All Existence known only to buddhas. However, he had not clarified how this could be done until his treatise on the One Direct Vehicle (Lotus Sutra).

Like a seed poised to receive the water that would cause its germination, the vehicle of the Buddha’s Wisdom lay dormant deep below humanity’s cognitive surface awaiting only the nourishment that would cause it to awaken and arise until it found its way to fruition. Accordingly, the essence of human life contained within it all the wisdom in the entire cosmos — a veritable mirror image of the notion that the universe contained all beings. This doctrine unveiled the Buddha’s visionary view of an interpenetrating universe — wherein everything existed inside of everything else. His disciples inferred from this that one’s identity extended into a subconscious level and a superconscious dimension hidden below the cognitive plane of mortal experience. This principle suggested that in addition to the individual’s cognitive world, any number of people sharing a common thought formed a collective mind, and beyond that the cosmic superconscious mind could access any dimension of the universe and even pierce the relative bounds of space-time. The Lotus Sutra offered that the interpenetration of the essence of every mortal being with a single enlightened, everlasting cosmic consciousness (i.e., the Perfectly Enlightened Reality of Everlasting Life) coalesced into "Real Nirvana" to reveal the Buddha’s Wisdom residing within each mortal — an omnipresent Wisdom that extended beyond the range of relativity, birth and death, past, present and future, and manifested in myriad ways through a spectrum of diverse identities and individual expressions.

On the basis of the sutra’s declaration that Perfect Enlightenment (i.e., Everlasting Life) interpenetrated mortality, Nichiren, the thirteenth century champion of the Lotus Sutra, observed that human beings universally possessed the same fundamental identity that all buddhas shared. Hence, he concluded, it was possible for humans to access the source of Buddha Wisdom that all buddhas had pierced with the vehicle bequeathed in the Lotus Sutra. The appearance of a boundless "Lotus in the Sky" in the text of this sutra confirmed for Nichiren that at the nexus of the origin and culmination of All Existence, selfless volunteers possessing the essential Wisdom (of Everlasting Life) would be born in human form in the present. These eternal beings had vowed to aid humanity in rediscovering the originally-endowed enlightened identity embedded in all.

Nichiren unearthed from the Lotus Sutra the One Direct Vehicle with which all beings may find their way back to their ultimate self. He defined its essence as the invocation of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Nichiren explained that the buddhas who appeared in the sutra were representatives of the blossomed-state of immortal life and that the mortals in attendance represented the seed-state underlying the immortal identity. Accordingly, mortals could experience the identity of a buddha by embracing the "One Thought" that all buddhas (as Sakyamuni stated in the sutra) used throughout time-space to penetrate the state of buddhahood. Nichiren crystallized that "single thought" in a single phrase: the declaration of one’s concurrence [Nam (u)] with the sutra’s quintessential revelation — Myoho-Renge-Kyo (also, title of the Lotus Sutra). Accordingly, chanting this epithet would cause the Buddha’s Wisdom inherent in life to be awakened, much as all buddhas throughout past, present and future had done when they originally penetrated the realm of Perfect Enlightenment (according to the Lotus Sutra).

Sakyamuni had offered that whenever any buddhas concluded their discourse, they always concluded with the treatise on the Perfectly Endowed Truth of Everlasting Life (just as Sakyamuni had done in the Lotus Sutra). Hence, in a most profound sense anyone who chanted this phrase was instantly attending the pinnacle Ceremony in the Air (of pure Wisdom) divined in this sutra — a ceremony wherein the Buddha predicted that anyone attending it would achieve buddhahood. Thus, Nichiren crystallized the method that human beings may use to revive their immortal identity and cause its inherent treasure of joy and peace to be unveiled in their present mortal existence.

Hopefully, the seminar topics you explore in EverLife’s lecture halls will assist you in your efforts to trigger the blossoming of your fundamental identity. May the petals of boundless Wisdom grow from within you in every direction.




Introductions to Lecture Halls A, B and C:

 

 

LECTURE HALL A: Hall of Aspiring Wisdom
Seminar in Session: PATHS OF GLORY

Buffeted by the circumstances of existence, human beings cry out, "Why me?" Buddhism devised several ways one may endeavor to break the hold that suffering exerts. Long ago Buddhism’s paths of Learning, Realization and Selflessness led many to a state of liberation. However, from his vantage Sakyamuni regarded these paths of glory as limited means crafted for a limited time. He said that he had employed them himself throughout countless past lives devoted to a search for the meaning of life. In addition, he had used these methods in his present manifestation as the Buddha to prepare his disciples for accepting his ultimate revelation. In the Lotus Sutra the Buddha bequeathed to all who attended the secret of limitless Buddha Wisdom, a gift they never dreamed of receiving, having believed instead that the path to Perfect Enlightenment was too long, treacherous and inaccessible to traverse even in myriad lifetimes no less in the single lifetime of a mere human.


Introduction:

Humanity is on a journey. All are traveling together on one main road headed for the future, but this great wide way is actually composed of many personal roads. At times human beings consciously select their personal path; at other times they may find themselves on a road that seems to have appeared mysteriously beneath their feet. Some people travel in groups, large or small. Others travel alone. Some may be on a path of self-destruction. More aspire to glory. Many are mired in suffering, derailed like a roadside accident. Some push onward — challenging every obstacle in their path with courage and perseverance. While there are as many personal paths on the great road of existence as there are people, each individual’s way is composed of many narrower roads. Each of these constitutes an experience through which one travels for a period of time — at times brief, at other times prolonged. In a single lifetime people will negotiate many paths — some by design, some unexpected, some joyful, some chilling, some easy, some twisted, some in the company of others, some traveled alone.

Over the thousands of years since its inception Buddhism has offered various ways of liberating oneself from sufferings, whether they manifested in one’s body, mind or environment. Those who chose to follow one of the Buddha’s teachings acquired some part of Buddhism’s profound wisdom and used it to guide their way toward joy and peace. The various teachings espoused in the name of Sakyamuni, the historical Buddha (c. sixth century B.C.E.), or derived from them, are all included in the broad path known as the Buddha’s Way. However, the Buddha Way forks many times and heads in a variety of directions. At the first fork in the road a pursuer of Truth must choose between teachings that are aimed at the few (esoteric) and those that the Buddha had intended for the many (exoteric). At the next intersection one must decide between teachings that are progressive (indirect) and those that are instantaneous (direct). Lastly, the explorer must decide between those teachings that are temporary (expedient means) and those that are absolute (eternal). The exoteric-direct-eternal path is espoused by the Buddha only in the Lotus Sutra. Unlike any other path in the Buddha’s Way, this road is unfathomable — it has no apparent width nor length, no beginning and no end. Nevertheless, no one who walks through the pages of the Lotus Sutra can ignore the Buddha’s joyous and repeated lauding of the Perfectly Endowed Reality, Mystic Truth, Wonderful Law and Supreme Way delineated therein.


Enter Hall of Aspiring Wisdom:

PATHS OF GLORY

Outline of Seminar Topics:


Part I - Vehicles of Wisdom:

#1: The Path of Learning and  Realization
a. The Middle Path
b. Eightfold Noble Path
c. The enlightenment of the arhat

#2: The Path of Selflessness
a. Land of Actual Reward
b. The fifty-two stages of aspiration
c. The enlightenment of the bodhisattva
#3: The Path of Perfect Enlightenment
a. The paradox of Nirvana
b. The journey to the Place of Jewels
c. In the presence of Perfect Enlightenment

Part II - Buddhist Practices

#1: Meditations

#2: Recitations and Incantations

#3: Buddhist Iconography: From Buddha Images to Mandalas

 



 

LECTURE HALL B: Hall of Boundless Wisdom
Seminar in Session: THE WELL OF WISDOM

Ensconced deep within life, beneath the cognitive levels of the mind, extending far beyond the dimensions of space-time, emanating from the realms of past existence are properties that shape and color your identity. Buddhism offers a number of profound doctrines that link the breadth and depth of the cosmos with the life of a single individual. Accordingly, all that human beings are and ever will be emanates from a single source — an eternal wellspring of cosmic Wisdom.


Introduction:

Buddhism proposed that human experiences arise from a subcognitive well. Accordingly, the source of your thoughts, actions, sensations, even your surroundings and the circumstances of your existence is a cosmic wellspring hidden deep beneath the surface of consciousness. The water flowing unceasingly from this wellspring is composed of inherent causes (potentials). As it pours out of the fountainhead of life and into the sphere of your experiential existence, it turns into an unceasing flow of effects.

Human will is at the heart of this doctrine. Accordingly, your future is forged of causes you made in the past as well as those you continue to make in the present. Thus, the context and content of your present existence is derived from previously established causes. This doctrine of accountability is also designed to empower. Hence, it constitutes the foundation of Buddhism’s formula for change. By changing the causes you make now and in the future, you can change the effects due to arise at a future time. Of course, if you choose to act now in ways that are destructive, this is a formula for disaster. Conversely, if you seek a noble path, this is a formula for happiness, personal growth and development, and wisdom beyond your dreams.

In the course of a lifetime, change is inevitable. Nevertheless, it is not something that everyone desires. Most people either can’t discern the law of cause and effect at work in their lives; or, even if they do, they don’t believe in their own inherent power to direct it; or, if they do believe it, they may not be motivated to use Buddhism as the means of advancing their causes beyond the mundane; or, if they had given Buddhism a try, they may have decided that it didn’t work because the change they sought did not transpire in the time they had allotted.

The Buddha had provided various formulas for change. His immediate followers generally were wise enough to sense the wealth of blessings these vehicles offered. However, his Wisdom was not crafted for the sake of a talented few. His ultimate purpose was to impart to humanity the means for liberating all people from the ignobility of their suffering. Finally, in his climactic treatise, the Lotus Sutra, he bequeathed his Buddha Wisdom to the common mortal being of the present era (referring to humans of today). This sutra was to provide a well of blessings for those most desperate for change — people willing to try anything that might work. Sakyamuni prophesied that these will be desperate times when humanity will be plagued with a variety of desperate thoughts, actions, sensations, surroundings and circumstances. In this so-called Age of Decadence desperation would reign supreme until the Wisdom of this sutra can light the way for all the world.


Hall of Boundless Wisdom
[seminar to come]:

THE WELL OF WISDOM

Outline of Seminar Topics:


Part I - Major Doctrines of Buddhism:

#1: Equanimity

#2: Cause and Effect

#3: Transmigration

#4: The Five Eyes

Part II - Doctrinal Controversies of Buddhism:

#1: The diverse definitions of enlightenment

#2: In search for the nature of mortality

#3: Beyond the bounds of birth and death

#4: The many identities of the Buddha

#5: The mysterious origin of existence

 

 

LotusSkyicon.jpg (6557 bytes)

 

LECTURE HALL C: Hall of Cosmic Wisdom
Seminar in Session: LOTUS IN THE SKY

The Lotus Sutra completed the Buddha’s view of the Reality of All Existence. In it he revealed Everlasting Life to be the fountainhead of existence and, as such, offered that humanity had been eternally-endowed with the Gift of Everlasting Life. The sutra was also an oracle that looked far into the future and prophesied the transformation of the mortal abode through the resurrection of eternal beings in human form. The Lotus Sutra declared that in the face of powerful and insidious countervailing forces, with courage and fortitude these selfless volunteers would lead the way to the "Buddha-land" by revealing that the Reality of Everlasting Life existed within present mortal existence.


Introduction:

Sakyamuni revealed and defined Perfect Enlightenment in the Lotus Sutra and only in this sutra. Of all the assemblies who had gathered to hear his many other sutras, the congregation he had called together for this one was by far larger in number than any other. In this sutra the buddhas from throughout all directions of existence left their domains and traveled to a wondrous land he had prepared to receive them so that they may witness Sakyamuni impart the "ultimate teaching of all buddhas." For no other sutra, did they leave their lands. Herein, he declared that this sutra contained the "Direct Vehicle" of Perfect Enlightenment with which all buddhas were able to enter Buddha Wisdom. No other vehicle, he exclaimed, can be used to accomplish this feat. Moreover, he warned, this sutra was the "most difficult to understand, and the most difficult to practice." He prophesied that after his own death 2,000 years will pass before the validity of these teachings will become known. For the next 10,000 years, he asserted, a multitude of eternally selfless beings would be born into this mortal realm and in due course transform an Age of Decadence into an era built on pure Truth.

The Lotus Sutra prophesied that in these desperate times without the compass of Buddhist Wisdom one’s journey through the mortal field of existence will be aimless and lonely, like a ship without a rudder or an infant without a mother. However, it declared, the gift of Buddha Wisdom embodied therein could transform desperate people into wise sages, convert mortals into immortal beings, and turn their decadent lands into a land of pure bliss.

 

Hall of Cosmic Wisdom [seminar to come]:

LOTUS IN THE SKY

Outline of Seminar Topics:


Part I - Themes of the Lotus Sutra:

#1: Cosmic Interpenetration: Singularity of Innumerable Meanings

#2: Original Grace: the Gift of Perfect Enlightenment

#3: Real Nirvana: Obtaining Bliss in the Here-and-Now

#4: Three Kinds of Buddha-Trinities:
a. Manifestation, Karma and Omnipresence
b. Son, Holy Ghost and Father
c. Parent, Teacher and Sovereign

#5: The Buddha Declares His True Identity
a. Calling the Selfless Volunteers
b. Revelation of Eternal Life
c. Pledging to Transform the Future

#6: Threefold Secret Reality of Everlasting Life
a. Supreme Treasure
b. Quintessential Expression
c. Sacred Domain

Part II - Summaries of the Threefold Lotus Sutra:

#1: Sutra of Innumerable Meanings

#2: Sutra of the Perfectly Endowed Lotus

#3: Sutra of Universal Virtue

 


 

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