The Lotus Sutra, is the most important and influential sacred scriptures of the Mahayana Buddhists. The term “sutra” is derived from the Sanskrit language, which literally means a rope or a string that holds all things together, like a formula. The message of the Lotus Sutra is that of equality. Which affirms that the path to enlightenment is not reserved for any caste, creed, sect, gender, social standing or education. The Quran or Koran is the religious text of the Muslims, who believe the literal word of God revealed to Muhammad the prophet.
According to the Quran, God emphasizes that the highest transgression against Him is the practice of “shirk” or to set up partner or partners for God. Since the monotheistic approach is prevalent, the need to set up partners is not necessary. We have to remember that God is the One who provides for us. He is the Living, the Eternal, and not the dead prophets, messengers, saints or imams. The Lotus Sutra teaches the Bodhisattva ideal as a model of human behavior.
The Bodhisattva practice means to strive for one’s own enlightenment while working to relieve suffering and bring joy to others. This strive is called “Bodhicitta” and the path leading to it is the Bodhisattva Path. “What you are practicing is the bodhisattva way and as you gradually advance in practice and learning you are all certain to attain Buddhahood. ” -Lotus Sutra Chapter 5? [Translated by Burton Watson]. The Lotus Sutra lays emphasis in devotion and faith. The Sutra does not restrict only to those who live monastic austerities but to those who worship Buddha in many ways.
Humanity has received divine guidance through two channels: the word of Allah and the prophets who were chosen by Him to function together, and if one is ignored or neglected, the will of Allah cannot be known with any degree of accuracy. The Qur’an instructions are aimed at the general welfare of man and are based on possibilities within his reach. It’s a book of guidance for all humanity forever. Thus it does not address only the Arabs as told in the Quran. [16:1 & 2] GOD’s command has already been issued (and everything has already been written), so do not rush it.
Be He glorified; the Most High, far above any idols they set up. He sends down the angels with the revelations, carrying His commands, to whomever He chooses from among His servants: “You shall preach that there is no other god beside Me; You shall reverence Me. ” According to this sura the ‘shirk’ of setting up partners is wrong. The monotheistic principle can be found in the verse 2 of the Sura. Buddhism is a non-theistic religion unlike Islam. It’s mainly a philosophy to enhance life through enlightenment. On the contrary Islam is a monotheistic religious faith.
You shall preach that there is no other god beside Me; You shall reverence Me. ” According to Islam, all numerous gods that are believed and that the senses make somewhat probable in the first sight must be refused; and then in the search of the incomparable, real, one source of the existence and after a process of reasoning. However in the Lotus Sutra, idol worship is interpreted in a different way, worshiping the image of the Buddha is not idol worship. Idol worship indicates the idea of regarding the thing itself as the object of worship.
For example, that if one worships some object one’s disease will be cured, one will be spared from suffering, or one’s desires will be fulfilled. There is all the difference in the world between true worship and idol worship. The greatest veneration of the Buddha is to practice the Lotus Sutra, and the heaviest sin is to defame the lay devotees or monks who practice the sutra. The image worship of Buddha is done in order to show their boundless gratitude to the Buddha, who left them his precious teachings.
The reason the Surah 16 is named after a bee, The honeybee communicates with other honeybee using a dance language, which the scientists have discovered to be very complicated and highly developed. The bees attend the dancing for a while and then fly out to determine the food source on their own. If they are fortunate, they will find the food. If they fail, they will return to the nest and try again.
The exactness of the Qur’anic words in their reference to scientific phenomena occurs in Surah 16, ayath 68, which states: And Thy Lord inspired the bee, saying: Choose thou habitations in the hills and in the trees and in (men’s) habitations. ” ? In the above verse, Allah is commanding the bee to choose (to make a hive) a dwelling in the hills, trees and other places which man has built. In Arabic, the verb assumes a specific form when it is in the imperative form and can be either masculine or feminine according to the context. In the Lotus Sutra elimination of doubt is one thing. Faith approaches the same matter in a positive or pro-active sense.
In conclusion, The Quran and the Lotus Sutra talk about faith as an integral part of worship. Though the worship in both faiths lead to different objectives. Though the goal of Buddhism is Nirvana or Enlightenment. However in Islam, it is to follow the teachings of Allah to bring about change in one’s self. The bodhisattva ideal is central to the Mahayana Buddhist tradition as the individual who seeks enlightenment both for him–or herself and for others. Compassion, an empathetic sharing of the sufferings of others, is the bodhisattva’s greatest characteristic.