This paper examines the message, content, and import of the Lotus Sūtra from a four-point framework proposed by the late Frederick Streng Jr., in his work Ways of Being Religious (with Charles Lloyd et al.), which provides a working definition of "religion" as a way of ultimate transformation that includes (1) a view of the human problematic, (2) teaching on ultimate reality and human ultimate destiny as a resolution of that problematic, (3) prescriptions for religious praxis toward the attainment of that ultimate destiny, and (4) social expressions that bond the community of adherents. The paper goes on to suggest themes for comparative reflection and interreligious dialogue issuing forth from the four points that mark the Lotus Sūtra's religious message, specifically naming resonant issues in Christian theology, such as on the dual nature of the human condition (as depraved and yet at the same time saved by grace—simul justus et peccator); the personal and impersonal dimensions of Divine Reality, self-power, and Other-power in religious praxis, religious faith, and socioecological engagement. In sum, a rereading of the Lotus Sūtra may provide insight into issues under discussion in other religious traditions.


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pp. 39-61
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