Opening Statement by Lifeforce:
"It is my sincere pleasure to welcome you to EverLifes Lotus
Garden. Your arrival here is auspicious. As you have come a long way in seeking my advice,
I will impart to you a parable from the Lotus Sutra. The Parable of the Great Rain Cloud
reveals the presence of a divine power that can transform all beings. In this tale the
Buddha is likened to a fabulously enormous cloud and its rain is a metaphor for the Lotus
Sutra. Accordingly, when this sutra is evoked, the Buddha rains Perfect Enlightenment upon
the mortal realm. Hence, the "downpour" of buddha-wisdom that flows from this
sutra is the Cause of Perfect Enlightenment. It can quench the spiritual thirst of all who
drink from it."
"Next, the Rain Cloud Parable addresses the question: how much
"rainwater" does one need to "drink" for Perfect Enlightenment to
blossom? The Parable instructs that just as different plants and species require different
amounts of nourishment to thrive, individuals and communities can take from this sutra an
appropriate amount of blessings as required by their particular characteristics
[i.e., karma]. While some will require more and others less "rain" to experience
its full power, this universally benevolent sutra neither discriminates nor shows favor
among its recipients. While one may drink more of its blessings than another, the sutra
neither provides more blessings nor shows greater favor to one who "drinks" more
of it. The Parable declares that one should take from it the appropriate amount of
nourishment one needs to sustain a thriving life in this case, "thriving"
is synonymous with a state of absolute happiness."
here is the Parable I promised. Listen carefully."
The Parable of the Great Rain Cloud
A dense cloud, spreading over and everywhere covering the whole
three-thousand great-thousand fold universe, pours down [its rain] equally at the same
time. Its moisture universally fertilizes the plants, trees, thickets, forests, and
[all] receive its share. From the rain of the one cloud [each plant]
according to the nature of its kind acquires its development, opening its blossoms and
bearing its fruit
The Declarer of Truth (Tathagata-Buddha) is also like this; he
appears in the world like the rising of [that] great cloud
I am the Declarer of
Truth, the Buddha, the World-honored One
I know the present world and the world to
come as they really are
I look upon all [living beings]
Everywhere [with] equal [eyes],
Without distinction of persons,
Or minds of love or hate.
I have no limitations [or partiality];
Ever to all [beings]
I preach the Law equally;
As [I preach] to one person,
So [I preach] to all
[But] beings, according to their nature,
Receive it differently,
Just as among plants and trees
Each takes a varying supply.
Closing remarks by Lifeforce:
"Through this Parable the Buddha declared that Perfect Enlightenment
will rain down with equanimity upon all living beings. All who hear this sutra will be
nourished by it. It was the Buddhas intention to open the Way of Buddhahood to all
people regardless of the differences among them. The Great Rain Cloud represented
his vast, unprejudiced and nourishing compassion for all that exists."
"The Great Rain Cloud, like Life itself, provides sustenance to the
living and allows them the opportunity for growth. In this context, the Buddha and Life
are interchangeable. Implied here is that the true identity of the Enlightened One
the Buddha is Life itself, and conversely, that Life is the Enlightened One. Just as
Life is compassionate and nondiscriminating in nourishing the entire plant kingdom, in
like manner the Buddha offers his illuminating power and wisdom as nourishment to all
beings. Thus, the Parable attributes to Perfect Enlightenment the power to sustain the
living and bear the fruition of mortal life."
"Through this Parable, Sakyamuni urged his disciples to approach this
sutra as a thirsty plant approaches rainwater. He encouraged them to take from the Lotus
Sutra the "rain of Perfect Enlightenment" that will nourish their Life.
Regardless of the type of being one may be or the state-of-being one may be in, he
declares that one who drinks from the pure waters of this True Reality (Skt. Dharma) will
partake of a universal enlightenment meant for one and all. Thus, he offers all living
beings an equal opportunity to illuminate their existence."
"While it holds out such fantastic promise, this Parable also places
its promise in your hands. It tells you that you have access to the Cause of Perfect
Enlightenment, the opportunity to employ it and the responsibility for manifesting it. The
Buddha has completed his personal responsibility to the mortal world by offering to you
the means to illuminate yourself. Should you decide to "drink" from this sutra
to your hearts content, your Life will blossom with everlasting fulfillment. The
strength of your desire to "drink" these pure waters and the amount of
"nourishment" you need (which is defined by the type of nature and karma you
have) will determine the magnitude of your self-actualized transformation."
"This parables Doctrine of Universal Access to Perfect
Enlightenment revised an earlier notion held as an absolute fact by Sakyamunis
disciples that Perfect Enlightenment was beyond the reach of common mortals.
Throughout his discourse Sakyamuni guided his followers toward lesser kinds of
enlightenment than his own. In relation to their practices and abilities they could attain
the enlightenment of Learning (Skt. arhat), the enlightenment of Realization (Skt.
prateykabuddha) and/or the enlightenment of Selflessness (Skt. bodhissatva). However,
through this Great Rain Cloud Parable the Lotus Sutra clarifies that all mortals possess
access to Perfect Enlightenment the unsurpassed enlightenment of all buddhas (Jpn.
san-myaku san-bodai), the supreme Reality of All Existence, the illumination of eternal
"This metaphor illustrated that while only one kind of enlightenment
really existed, Perfect Enlightenment manifested in a myriad of ways. Therein Sakyamuni
Buddha negated the idea held by his followers that a buddha must exude an exalted outward
appearance such as he, Sakyamuni, had exhibited. On the contrary, according to this
Parable, Buddhahood manifests in many forms. In this context, mortals could invoke Perfect
Enlightenment to cause their own uniquely individual characteristics to blossom forth with
enlightened fruition. Thus, the Parable repositions the state of Buddhahood from that of
an Effect as exemplified by the august appearance Sakyamuni had attained to
that of a Cause, wherein Perfect Enlightenment is not the goal but the vehicle of
"In stressing that the variable of thirst was the critical
determining factor in actuating Perfect Enlightenment, Sakyamuni called upon his followers
to put their faith in this sutra above all others past, present or future something
he had never asked of them in any of his previous teachings. In the Great Rain Cloud
Parable the Buddha equates faith with the thirst of a plant for rainwater. Accordingly,
the desire one harbors for hearing, seeing and discerning the Truth of the Reality of All
Existence which he reveals in a later chapter of the Lotus Sutra determines
how much one will be able to realize it. Accordingly, one who thirstily drinks the
Buddhas Perfect Enlightenment causes his own Buddhahood to blossom naturally, just
as water causes a plant to grow."
"One who chants Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo with the passion of a thirsty
plant may be said to be drinking the Cause of Perfect Enlightenment bequeathed in this
venerable sutra to the people of this era. Those who recognize this rare gift is meant for
them should heed this ancient message."