My Search for the Lotus Sutra

By Kavita Awasthi

I started practicing Buddhism a little more than a year ago. I had been practicing Vipassna and Reiki till then, but had been feeling that either it was too tough for me to do on a day-to-day basis (Vipassna) or I was not finding all my answers (Reiki). Neither had I found the answers in the books I'd been reading, though, I could feel that I was coming close. But I still wanted more!

Also, interestingly, in my younger days I'd read a romance novel by Barbara Cartland in which the destined-for-each-other couple travel to Tibet to find a very important but missing Buddhist manuscript which had been hidden by the monks to save it from the Chinese onslaught. They never find the manuscript, but come away with some other important books, and of course they fall in love. (At least this is what I think the story was about.) But can you guess what was the name of this manuscript that this couple was looking for? Yes, the Lotus Sutra. And this story stuck in my memory long after all the other mush that I've read in my life has faded. I would remember it often and wonder if this Sutra was pure fiction or whether it was still lost or what could be in it.

When in April last year, I was told over a lunch (which I had tried to avoid but for some reason didn't protest hard enough) about this practice and that it derives its basic philosophy from the Lotus Sutra, I flipped. This is what I had been looking for, even though I didn't know why, since I did not know what was in this Sutra or whether it would give me what I wanted. But I knew that I had to read it even if I had to do this practice to get to it.

For six months, I kept asking members if they had a copy of the Lotus Sutra. But for one reason or another I didn't get a copy. In the meantime, I started doing gongyo and felt still more desperate to understand what I was reading but I was told that I'd get the benefits even though I may not understand it, even Japanese people didn't understand it. But that wasn't good enough for me. I'd started this practice to read the Sutra. The benefits were fine but not my focus. I have always been a pretty impatient person and tend to lose interest fast if things don't make sense. So, I kept chanting (it was a little off and on at that time) and kept pestering one of my practicing friends to get me the Sutra to read.

Then at last, I got a copy of the "Lectures on the Hoben and Juryo" chapters by Mr. Ikeda. That gave me some relief. I was getting somewhere. But, I still didn't have all the parts of this book, only parts 1 and 2. So, the search went on. Then in December, I hit upon Will Kallander's site [www.gosho.net] and found the Lotus Sutra there. I printed the whole Sutra (and jammed my office printers for a while) and immediately got down to reading it. (Great, great blessings for Will Kallander.) I took two days off from work to do a proper reading (reported myself sick at work, as I was, hungry for the Lotus Sutra for so long). Felt great after finishing it, liberated, on the other side.

Now, my gongyo feels better to me, warm and welcoming. I feel protected and happy in most difficult of situations (my difficulties are few and light). And I am grateful. The Mystic Law works. I've got what I wanted.  Thanks!!!!

With regards and best wishes,

Kavita