The goal of this paper is to begin a conversation between the speculative vision of the Lotus Sutra and the life of devotion it inspires, on the one hand, and the theological and spiritual tradition of the Philokalia, on the other. The purpose of this dialogue is to highlight the points of contact between the notion of Buddhahood and devotional practice intimated in the Lotus Sutra and the soteriological thrust of certain currents of early Christian thought, such as the Origenist spiritual tradition of the fourth century. The first part of the paper outlines the cosmological and anthropological views of the school of Evagrios Pontikos (345–390), underscoring the centrality of the dialectic between unity and multiplicity, as well as the propaedeutic value of the mission of Christ against a stark contrast between undifferentiated noetic oneness and the plurality of material difference; this approach is then contrasted with the Chalcedonian understanding of the hypostatic union, where the uniqueness of the incarnation is the pivot of a redemptive pedagogy that ratifies and confirms the material order in all its specificity and contingency. The second part of the paper offers an overview of certain themes of the Lotus Sutra, such as the soteriological value of the Buddha nature, its different manifestations within the world of conventional reality, and its implications for devotional practice, as well as the "sacramental" understanding of the natural order. The paper argues that the vision of the Lotus Sutra appears to be in greater agreement with the soteriology and Christology developed by Evagrios than with the later developments, which followed the council of Chalcedon and emphasized the uniqueness and radical "otherness" of the incarnation of Christ.


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pp. 63-78
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