Vesak Day 2020 Reflections

They should know that they will be clad in the robe of the Buddha Sakyamuni- The Lotus Sutra Chapter XXVIII

How do you interpret “clad in the robe of the Buddha Sakyamuni”?

I have 3 ways of interpreting this:

  1. Protected by the virtues of Sakyamuni Buddha
  2. Aspiring to live up to and propagating the virtues of Sakyamuni Buddha
  3. Enlightened and bearing the same virtues of Sakyamuni Buddha

You can achieve the first level by preserving, reciting, correctly recalling, practicing and writing of the Lotus Sutra.

You can achieve the second level by being gentle and take on forebearance perfection (Khanti pāramī).

You can achieve the third level by fully internalising the Ten Suchness into you entirely.

So is there any further significance to “clad in the robe of the Buddha Sakyamuni”?

I think the most important significance is you are aware and declaring your spiritual identity. You are not expected to really put on a brown robe in real life. But a clear and distinct spiritual identity aids you in making more controlled and better think-through decisions.

While different schools of thoughts or scriptures can portray Buddha as mundane or just a human, the Lotus Sutra makes clear declaration that Sakyamuni Buddha is the Eternal Buddha that transcends time and has always been here in different names to preach the path to spiritual liberation in this very world that the usual Buddhism depicts as a suffering world.

On this day which commemorates the Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana of the Buddha, here I offer you another way to appreciate Sakyamuni Buddha.

Happy Vesak 2020!