Deciphering the Lotus Sutra: Commentary by Gene Reeves (Chapter 3)
The Parable of the Burning House is interpreted as saying that the world is like a burning house…leading some to think that our goal should be to escape from the burning house that is this world. But escaping from the world is not at all what the Sutra teaches. Elsewhere it makes clear that we are to work in the world to help or save others.
The point here is more that we are like children at play, not paying enough attention to the environment around us. Perhaps it is not the whole world that is in flames but our own complacency. Thus leaving the house is not escaping from the world but leaving behind our play-world, our attachments and illusions, in order to enter the real world.
Awakening is more a road than a destination, more a commencement than a conclusion – a responsibility as much as an achievement.
To enter the Buddha Way is not a matter of attaining some great height from which one can boast or look down on others. It is to enter a difficult path, a way.
The Lotus Sutra uses personal language to speak of an ultimately important reality. Far from being “absolute,” or even “omniscient,” as the Buddhist tradition has sometimes claimed, the Buddha of the Dharma Flower Sutra is someone who is very concerned for his children. This means that the happiness of the Buddha, the fulfillment of the Buddha’s purpose, depends – again – on us.
Source: The Stories of the Lotus Sutra