Spirituality X-Files

A Description Of An Alien Visit In The Buddhist Lotus Sutra

Saddharma Pundarika or the Lotus Sutra is a Buddhist scripture, first written in 300 AD. According to Paul Williams, “For many East Asian Buddhists since early times the Lotus Sutra contains the final teaching of the Buddha, complete and sufficient for salvation.”

Most historians believe the sutra was written in the 1st or 2nd century CE, probably by more than one writer. A translation was made from Sanskrit to Chinese in 255 CE, and this is the earliest historical documentation of its existence.

As with so many of the Mahayana sutras, the original text of the Lotus Sutra is lost. The several early Chinese translations are the oldest versions of the sutra that remain to us. In particular, a translation into Chinese by the monk Kamarajiva in 406 CE is believed to be the most faithful to the original text.

A Description Of An Alien Visit In The Buddhist Lotus SutraA Goryeo (a Korean dynasty) illustrated manuscript of the Lotus Sūtra, c.1340

 

Arrival of alien being

In the Lotus Sutra – literally The White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma  – we read of the arrival of a sort of Alien named Gadgadasvara (Wonderful Voice) on a spaceship.

It was through deep meditation that Gadgadasvara was able to appear psychically on our planet, in front of  the Buddha and his students. One of Buddha’s bodhisattva, Manjusri, asked about him. The Buddha replied that the visitor was a sage coming from another world.

A Description Of An Alien Visit In The Buddhist Lotus SutraBuddhist cosmology is surprisingly modern. Buddhism recognizes the existence of millions of other worlds and casually asserts that they are inhabited. Indeed, each inhabited world is stated to have a Buddha of its own.


Manjusri then asked if he could learn the same kind of space-travel meditation technique and if Gadgadasvara could visit them in flesh, not only in spirit. Gadgadasvara, so challenged, came to earth in his physical form (translating it into plain English):

accompanied by the noise of hundreds of thousands of musical instruments. He come to the earth after moving through the sky on a “tall tower.”

How he looked like?
His face showed eyes resembling blue lotuses, his body was gold colored…and sparkled with a luster.

The Buddha points out to them that Gadgadasvara has the ability to assume many different forms and to take on many other appearances, if he wishes to do so.

Gadgadasvara then listens to the Buddha’s sermon, finally giving him a polite “goodbye” and departs:

he again mounted the tower and with the noise of hundreds of thousands of musical instruments he returned to his own world

He comments that the place he come from, the land of that sahā world, is uneven and irregular and is filled with mud, stones, mountains, and filth.

Considering that the Lotus Sutra was written around the 3rd century AD and the English translation was made in 1884, the concept of interstellar travel is surprisingly matter of fact.  It is stated explicitly in the chapter that extra-terrestrials can travel between worlds and that visits to earth are not uncommon.  Somewhat more surprising is the concept that instantaneous mental communication between enlightened beings on many worlds is possible and indeed a common activity.  This is surprisingly similar to the idea of “entanglement” from physics, or instantaneous communication between widely separated particles.
It is also interesting that chapter 23 of the Lotus Sutra states explicitly that contacts between humans and non-human aliens can be in the form of polite discussions and scholarly exchanges of information.
A Description Of An Alien Visit In The Buddhist Lotus SutraBuddha Sakyamuni announces the dharma to his disciples (Image Source)
It is intriguing that the historical Buddha was not at all surprised by an alien visit, and rather casually explained to his followers what was taking place.  The inference is that Buddha’s on various planets are aware of one another.
Since most of the literature dealing with alien contacts tacitly assumes superior wisdom on the part of the aliens, it is also interesting that chapter 23 describes a visit by an alien specifically to listen to a sermon by a human teacher.

In conclusion, chapter 23 of the Lotus Sutra does not contain ambiguous discussions that have to be twisted and distorted to reflect some form of alien contact.  Chapter 23 asserts specifically that interplanetary travel and contacts between humans and aliens actually occur.  Further, the same chapter asserts that such contacts can be benign and cause no harm to either terrestrial or extraterrestrial participants.
originally written by Capers Jones 
A Description Of An Alien Visit In The Buddhist Lotus Sutra
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