These four illuminating texts provide tremendous value in understanding the Tiantai tradition. Taishō 276 and 277 are considered, with the Lotus Sutra, to constitute the “Three-fold Lotus Sutra.” Taishō 1519 provides a commentary on the Lotus Sutra attributed to Vasubandhu himself. And Taishō 1931 is identified by its translators as “the most useful and reliable introduction to the complexities of Tiantai thought.”
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The Infinite Meaning Sutra
The Sūtra of Infinite Meaning forms part of the so-called “Threefold Lotus Sūtra” and was composed as an introduction to the Lotus Sūtra itself (Taishō 262), with its contents based upon the essence of the latter. The term “Infinite Meaning” in the title derives from the idea that since man’s defiling elements are infinite in number, the number of teachings to be taught must also be infinite, resulting in the fact that the meanings of those teachings also become infinite.
Translated by Dharmāgatayaśas into the Chinese as Wuliangyi jing (無量義經). 1 fascicle.
The Sutra Expounded by the Buddha on Practice of the Way through Contemplation of the Bodhisattva All-embracing Goodness
The Sūtra of Meditation on the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra is also known as The Sutra Expounded by the Buddha on Practice of the Way through Contemplation of the Bodhisattva of All-embracing Goodness. It forms the last part of the “Threefold Lotus Sūtra,” and takes up from where the last chapter of the Lotus Sūtra (The Encouragements of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra; Skt.: Samantabhadrotsāhana-parivarta) ends. It is regarded as the conclusion to the Lotus Sūtra (Taishō 262). It recounts Śākyamuni’s lesson, delivered in the last three months of his life, to meditate upon how the bodhisattva Samantabhadra practices and to repent of the sins committed by the six sensory organs.
Translated into the Chinese by Dharmamitra as Guan Puxian pusa xingfa jing (觀普賢菩薩行法經). 1 fascicle.
The Commentary on the Lotus Sutra
The Commentary on the Lotus Sutra is a commentary (upadeśa) on the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtra or Lotus Sūtra, emphasizing the ekayāna, the single buddha vehicle to enlightenment, and the tathāgatagarbha. Note that the text of the Lotus Sūtra upon which it is based differs from that translated into Chinese by Kumārajīva (Taishō 12), bearing instead a close resemblance to the Nepalese manuscripts of the sūtra.
Skt. Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-upadeśa, composed by Vasubandhu. Translated into the Chinese by Bodhiruci and Tan-lin, as Miaofa lianhua jing youbotishe (妙法蓮華經憂波提舍). 2 fascicles.
A Guide to the Tiantai Fourfold Teachings
A Guide to the Tiantai Fourfold Teachings was written by the Korean monk Chegwan in the late tenth century as an introduction to the teachings of Tiantai Zhiyi, and is composed as an outline of the Tiantai fourfold teachings central to Zhiyi’s thought. The work is also known as the Outline of the Four Teachings or the Record of Chegwan.
Recorded in Chinese by Chegwan as Tiantai sijiao yi (天台四教儀). 1 fascicle.