The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra (Part 2)

28

Picture From: SGI Quarterly

Part 2: Introduction Chapter

  1. “This Is What I Heard”: The Pulse of the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple
  • A Western Xia proverb can be translated: “The wise person speaks gently and wins other’ allegiance, just as the Yellow River flows serenely and carries all with it.”
    • “Gently” does not mean a superficial show of courtesy but a genuine sincerity.
    • It means open, considerate attitude; a broadness of heart, a warmth that embraces others. Though the content of one’s words may be harsh or strict, when based on such genuine sincerity, they are in fact words of gentleness.
    • The meaning of this proverb would seem to be this: wise people speak clearly and reasonably; that is why they can enable people to grasp and accept what they are saying – much like the Yellow River, which flows powerfully while carrying many people gently upon its waters.
  • The second part of the “Introduction” chapter is when Shakyamuni enters “the Samadhi of the origin of immeasurable meanings” and manifests a variety of extraordinary phenomena.
    • “The Samadhi of the place of measurable meanings” refers to a state of mediation in which one concentrates his or her mind on the fundamental Law that is the source of the Buddha’s innumerable teachings.
  • It is not until the “Expedient Means” chapter that Shakyamuni calmly arises from his meditation and actually begins to preach the Lotus Sutra. The first chapter is devoted instead to describing the array of wondrous phenomena Shakyamuni manifests with his transcendental powers while in his state of intense meditation.
  • The gathering at Eagle Peak:
    • Lasted 8 years.
    • There were eighty thousand bodhisattvas and twelve thousand voice-hearers alone.
    • The bodhisattvas were headed by Yashodhar
    • The voice hearers were headed by Shariputra
  • The Lotus Sutra is the Law of Life and exists in the depths of ones being.
  • The Lotus Sutra was preached in different forms by other Buddhas such as Shakyamuni, T’ien-t’ai, Nichiren Daishonin, Sun Moon Bright etc. Therefore, there is a universal Lotus Sutra.
    • “The same Lotus Sutra is expressed in different ways, depending on the Buddha who preaches it, the time it is preached, and the capacity of the people to understand it. Thought the ultimate truth of the Lotus Sutra is identical in all cases, there will be differences in its presentation according to whether the living beings of a particular time have a strong or weak connection to Buddhism.” – Mr Toda
    • The ultimate truth is one, but it is expressed in many forms, and all of them are the Lotus Sutra. The universal Lotus Sutra is the teaching in which the Buddha reveals and makes accessible to all people the Law he has become enlightened to, the Law for attaining Buddhahood, so that all may achieve true happiness and ease.
    • Nichiren Daishonin spoke of the Lotus Sutra in terms of its comprehensive, abbreviated and essential forms. The essential form of the Lotus Sutra was his own Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, and the practice most appropriate for today is this essential Lotus Sutra.
    • Previously, the Buddha’s practiced the more lengthy versions of the Lotus Sutra.
    • There are three types of Lotus Sutra:
      • Twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra
      • T’ien-t’ai’s treatise Great Concentration and Insight
      • Nichiren Daishonin’s Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo
    • Only through the disciples’ faith in the mentor can they enter the world of the Buddha’s wisdom.
    • We should not read the sutra as something separate from ourselves. Instead, we should “hear” it as it applies to oneself and the Law of our lives.
      • Embrace Nam-Moyho-Renge-Kyo with our whole being.
    • The Lotus Sutra is a scripture for the time after the Buddha’s death.
    • Buddha’s wish to help all beings throughout eternity attain enlightenment, and that is the very purpose for their appearance in the world.
    • The compilation of the twenty-eight-chapter Lotus Sutra after Shakyamuni’s death was made possible by his disciples who shared with one another “This is what I heard,” out of their wish, based on the same state of life as the Buddha, to save all people. In this sense, the Lotus Sutra is an embodiment of the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple.
    • Great importance is placed on hearing the law.
      • Nichiren Diashonin also says, “This sutra makes ‘hearing’ the sole basis of practice’ (WND-2, 88). That is why the voice of the Buddha is so important. With regard to the character kyo (sutra) of Myoho-Renge-Kyo, he says: The voice carries out the work of the Buddha, and it is called kyo”
      • A French writer once said the voice is our second face. Though we may hide our true appearance, we cannot hide the voice.
      • Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is the fundamental rhythm of the universe, the most revered of all voices.
        • Nichiren Diashonin writes: “[W]hen once we chant Myoho-Renge-Kyo, with just that single sound we summon for the manifest the Buddha nature of all Buddhas…and all other living beings. This blessing is immeasurable and boundless.” (WND-1, 887)
      • There was an enormous number of beings assembled at eagle peak. (mentioned in detail on pages 84 and 85), however, they all could not have assembled there.
        • Mr Toda states: “Those who gathered [at Eagle Peak for the ceremony of the Lotus Sutra] were the voice-hearers and the Bodhisattvas who dwelled within Shakyamuni’s own life. Hence there is nothing to hinder even tens of millions of such voice hearers and bodhisattvas from assembling.”
        • Mr Toda also indicates that the Lotus Sutra is an expression of the realm of the Buddha’s own life, the world of enlightenment.
          • We can interpret all the different beings gathered to hear the sutra as symbolizing the different functions and workings inherent in life itself. In terms of the Ten Worlds, the assembly on Eagle Peak comprises beings from the worlds of bodhisattva, voice hearers (learning), heaven, humanity, anger, animality – these six, we can assume, are meant to represent all nine worlds from hell to bodhisattva. In other words, the great assembly of the “Introduction” chapter is a manifestation of all beings of the nine worlds enfolded within the Buddha’s own life. – Saito
          • In the Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, the Daishonin elucidates the significance of the great assembly in terms of explaining life itself. The presence of Ajnata Kaundinya, he says, “is showing that for us, the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, earthly desires are enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.
            • Kaundinya was Shakyamuni’s first disciple and King Ajatashatru was his last.
              • The King was guilty for plotting against Shakyamuni alongside Devadatta. However, towards the end of the King’s life he deeply regretted his actions and began following the Buddha’s teachings.
              • The King had murdered his father, King Bimbisara, attempted to kill his mother, Queen Vaidehi, and plotted against Shakyamuni. The Daishonin describes Ajatashatru’s betrayal as an example of the principle that “the revere relationship and the positive relationship are ultimately one.” This principle explains that both those who oppose and those who follow the Lotus Sutra can ultimately attain enlightenment. Therefore, even those who commit evil can attain Buddhahood through their reverse relationship formed by slandering the Law when they finally overcome their disbelief in the Lotus Sutra, as well as the poisons of greed and ignorance in their lives.
            • There is no distinction between men and women attain Buddhahood.

The Wisdom of The Lotus Sutra (Part 1)

Forward

“The compassion of the universe is the function inherently possessed by the Buddhahood. It is also the function of the inherent world of bodhisattva, the power of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Therefore, in a general sense, all living things in the universe are sacred Bodhisattvas of the Earth; whereas in a specific sense, Bodhisattvas of the Earth refer to those who have awakened to this Law of life. The path of the Bodhisattva lies in supremely humane action. And such action, fundamentally, is one with the function of compassion of the universe. When we pray, speak out and take action for the happiness of a friend, the eternal life of the universe manifests through our thoughts, words and deeds.” – President Daisaku Ikeda

Part 1: Prologue

  1. Surmounting the Absence of Philosophy in Our Age
  • Where have we come from? For what purpose were we born in this world?
    • Desire for an identity
    • Issue runs deep in issues such as racism etc.
  • If people’s hearts are laid to waste, their future will be dark even if they live in an affluent society.
  • Humanity locked up in an ‘invisible concentration camp’ – Endo
    • Prevailing mood in the world today is one of powerlessness. The feeling of powerlessness fuels a vicious cycle that can only worsen the situation and increase people’s sense of futility.
    • At the opposite extreme of this sense of powerlessness lie the Lotus Sutra’s philosophy of “three thousand realms in a single moment of life”
      • This principle teaches us that the inner determination of individual can transform everything; it gives ultimate expression to the infinite potential and dignity inherent in each human life.
    • Religion must always be for the people. People do not exist for the sake of religion. This must be the fundamental guideline of religion in the twenty-first century.
    • Society exists for the people and not the other way around.
    • The youth has a fervent desire to remain human under desperate circumstances.
      • Therefore, we need the reformation of society and the world through human revolution. That is the teaching of the Lotus Sutra. And actions directed towards that end, I would like to stress, represent the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra.
    • The Lotus Sutra teaches new principles of integration.
    • The Lotus Sutra – “the scripture of the lotus blossom of the Law,” as its Japanese name indicates – is the king of sutras. A king does not negate the existence of others; his role is to bring out the full potential of others.
      • “Ultimately, all phenomena are contained within one’s life, down to the last particle of dust. The nine mountains and the eight seas are encompassed in one’s body, and the sun, moon, and myriad stars are found in one’s life. We, however, are like a blind person who is incapable of seeing the images reflected in a mirror, or like an infant who has no fear of water or fire. The teachings such as those of the non-Buddhist writings and those of the Hinayana and provisional Mahayana Buddhist scriptures all partially explain the phenomena inherent in one’s life. They do not explain them as the Lotus Sutra does. Thus, among the sutras, there are both superior and inferior, and among people also, sages and worthies may be distinguished.” – Nichiren Daishonin
    • The Lotus Sutra helps on realize that they are a Buddha. It also dispels any feelings of powerlessness. It teaches a dynamic way of living in which we breathe the immense life of the universe itself. It teaches the true great adventure of self-reformation.
      • Lotus Sutra = “cosmic humanism”
    • “It is better to have wisdom without learning than learning without wisdom”
      • It is ideal to possess both wisdom and knowledge, but everything ultimately depends on wisdom. Our goal is happiness, and happiness cannot be attained through knowledge alone.
      • Knowledge can be transferred from one person to another, but wisdom cannot.
      • The only way to develop wisdom is to acquire it through personal experience.
    • German author and poet Hermann Hesse advocated the need for a revolution in consciousness.
  1. Making the Coming Age an Age of Life
  • How a nation handles a disaster says much about its culture.
  • We must work to create an age in which life is given supreme value.
  • The Buddha is life itself. The Buddha does not exist outside us but within our lives. The Buddha is the real entity of the cosmic life.
  • Buddhahood is life itself (Explained from extracts of the Lotus Sutra)
    • Life is neither existing nor not existing, neither caused nor conditioned, neither self nor other…
    • To destroy someone else would hence be like destroying oneself.
  • The infinite and unbounded state of Buddhahood can be described as a state in which the freedom, openness and harmony of life are maximally realized.
    • Myo has three meanings:
      • To open
      • To be endowed and perfect
      • To revive
    • These are the attributes or life and the attributes of a Buddha.
      • Hence all Buddhist scriptures are philosophies of life.
    • The purpose of Buddhism is to transform one’s inner state of life.
    • Human revolution is a contemporary expression for the attainment of Buddhahood for the individual, while an all-embracing revolution refers to kosen-rufu.
    • We tend to think of the universe and human beings as separate entities, but Mr. Toda declares that they are identical in that both are life.
    • People now search for a free yet not intemperate form of society, a society rich in spirituality.
  1. A Scripture That Calls to All People
  • Engage in dialogue with all people.
  • The teachings of Buddhism were expounded for the happiness of the people; there is no discrimination based on sex, priestly or lay status, race, academic achievement, social position, power or wealth. In fact, Buddhism was expounded precisely to enable the discriminated and oppressed, those who have experiences the bitterest sufferings, to attain supreme happiness. This is the true power of Buddhism and the true wisdom of the Lotus Sutra.
  • All living beings can attain Buddhahood.
  • A Buddha is a person awakened to the reality of his or her being and, naturally, to the reality of all human life. That is the wisdom of the Buddha and the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra.
    • The Lotus Sutra was clearly expounded for all human beings to enable them to attain true independence. It does not discriminate women, rich and poor, persons of high and low status, or young and old. It is entirely for all humanity.
  • Reflect on ones own behaviour.
  • The Lotus Sutra is to be taught in the language of the people because it is for the people.
  • In traditional religious institutions, a small group of professional clerics monopolizes authority; while the lay believers are called on to follow. That type of organization is definitely no longer appropriate to contemporary society as we approach the 21st
  • Religion is the 21st century must provide people with the wisdom to be independent, to think and decide wisely for themselves how to live their lives.
  • Nothing is greater or worthier of respect than you yourself – this is the message that the Lotus Sutra calls out to every individual.

‘FLOWERING AND BEARING GRAIN”

Achieving Kosen-rufu through the Shared Commitment of Mentor and Disciple

  • If teacher and disciple are of different minds, they will never accomplish anything. 

Joken-bo and Gijo-bo Protected the Daishonin from Peril

  • Dozen-bo, though he secretly sympathized with the Daishonin’s plight, was cowardly and feared the steward’s power, so he did not protect his disciple. In effect he abandoned him.
  • Joken-bo and Gijo-bo, on the other hand, protected the Daishonin without regard for the personal consequences.
  • In later years, the Daishonin praised the selfless actions of Joken-bo and Gijo-bo, writing [in “On Repaying Debts of Gratitude”]: “You have performed an unrivalled service for the Lotus Sutra. There can be no doubt about the reward that awaits you in your next birth.”
  • The opening lines of the writing “Flowering and Bearing Grain” show the Daishonin’s great and all embracing compassion for the late Dozen-bo.

Gratitude – The Basis of Honourable Behaviour as a Human Being

  • The foundation for gratitude and appreciation is a recognition of who helped make us the person we are tody, what causes and conditions led up to our present circumstances. Acknowledging and acting upon this gratitude is the basis of honourable behaviour as a human being.

The Disciple is the Plant; the Teacher the Earth

The Disciple’s Benefit Returns to the Teacher

  • If the earth is the teacher or mentor and the plant is the disciple or student, then the first flowering and bearing of grain corresponds to the growth of the disciple into an outstanding person and their attainment of Buddhahood. And just like the essence of the rice plant that returns to the earth, the great benefit realized by the disciple returns to the teacher and enables the teacher to also attain Buddhahood.

The Victory of the Disciple Is the Victory of the Teacher

  • Mentor and disciple have to be one in mind and one in spirit.
  • The mentor-disciple relationship is the core foundation of Nichiren Buddhism. This is because the profound, powerful, and beautiful life-to-life interaction that takes place within the mentor disciple relationship enables us to break free from our attachment to our small lesser self and realize a state of life based on our boundless greater self.

The Great Path of Mentor and Disciple

  • When mentor and disciple are united, they can achieve anything and always be victorious.

The Engaged Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin

  • We cannot truly lead others to enlightenment, if we create barriers or walls between ourselves and others, remaining aloof from those around us. That’s why bodhisattvas appear as ordinary individuals steeped in the three poisons – as deluded beings of the nine worlds – to preach the teachings of the Buddha among the people.
  • Our personal suffering enables us to understand the suffering of others and to empathize with their pains and difficulties.
  • To have a mentor and live as a disciple is the key to constant growth and development.

 

A SHIP TO CROSS THE SEA OF SUFFERING

Picture From: https://jollierrogerpiratecove.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/pirate-ship-attack.jpg

Confidently Pursue Dialogue as Proud Envoys of the Buddha!

  • The Votary of the Lotus Sutra will appear without fail. The greater the hardships befalling him, the greater the delight he feels, because of his strong faith. Doesn’t a fire burn more briskly when logs are added?
  • Anyone who teaches others even a single phrase of the Lotus Sutra is the envoy of the Thus Come One.
  • Only the ship of Myoho-Renge-Kyo enables one to cross the sea of sufferings of birth and death.
  • Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism is a teaching that awakens individuals to their mission as envoys of the Buddha and inspires them to undertake the same compassionate practice as the Buddha, thereby enabling them to help many others realize a life of happiness and victory.

The Importance of Having Keen Eyes And Sharp Ears

  • Those who propagate the Lotus Sutra are said to acquire purified senses – including excellent vision and hearing.
  • Mr Toda said, “To transform our society and our age, and to ensure the sound and unerring development of kosen-rufu, it is important in all things for youth to have keen eyes to discern the truth and sharp ears to hear the voices of truth.”

Great Hardships Are the Hallmark of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra

  • The qualifications that identify the votary of the Lotus Sutra. The main one is stated in the declaration: “The greater the hardships befalling him [the votary of the Lotus Sutra], the greater the delight he feels, because of his strong faith.”

Striving to Be Genuine Practitioners

  • “Encountering obstacles or devilish functions is what distinguishes ‘practitioners’ from mere ‘believers.’ Those concerned solely with their own benefit, who don’t confront the three obstacles and four devils, are mere believers, while those who apply themselves to bodhisattva practice for the sake of kosen-rufu – for the happiness of both themselves and others – and actively battle the three obstacles and four devils are genuine practitioners.

The Significance of Sharing “Even a Sentence or Phrase” of the Lotus Sutra

  • The voice has tremendous power. Voices brimming with courage, confidence, and compassion resonates in people’s hearts and move them on a profound level.
  • Propagating the law will bring benefit.

A Ship to Cross the Sea of the Sufferings of Birth and Death

  • No one can escape the sufferings of birth and death.

Faith Is the Heart of Our Buddhist Practice For Attaining Buddhahood

  • The life state of Buddhahood is present in all living beings.

Hoben Juryo Chapters Study Summary

Picture From: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/powerlisting/images/7/71/Buddha_Quote_3.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20130417215047

HOBEN PART 6 [7]

(1)    Pre-Lotus Sutra teachings (the “expedient means”)* are only guides/examples for leading people to enlightenment, but not Buddhahood. Shakyamuni only reveals this in the Lotus Sutra.

*Note: there are 2 “expedient means” – one for the pre-Lotus Sutra and one for the Lotus Sutra.

(2)    “Functional expedient means” (for people of various capacities) and “Truth gateway expedients” (to lead people to the truth) are expedients for the pre-Lotus Sutra. “Secret and Mystic expedients” are referring to the Lotus Sutra of the “expedient means” chapter.

(3)    An ordinary human is a Buddha; this is difficult to understand. Unless we believe we possess the Buddha nature, this fact will always remain a “secret”. Thus it is called the “secret law”.

HOBEN PART 7 [8]

(1)    “We tell people about Buddhism because we respect them as human beings.” This is how Shakyamuni conducted dialogue by using “Various causes and various similes”.

(2)    Our experiences become our expedient means and similes for others to attain enlightenment/encourage others to also take the same path to enter Buddhahood.

(3)    Fundamental cause for people’s unhappiness lies in their tendency to develop attachments of various kinds. Therefore Shakyamuni expounded these teachings:

èPre-Lotus Sutra – to renounce attachments.

èLotus Sutra – “Earthly desires are enlightenment”. It is important to use attachments to strengthen our faith.

HOBEN PART 8 [9]

(1)    Knowledge and wisdom are different. Knowledge alone cannot bring about happiness. We need to utilize knowledge with wisdom.

(2)    Quote (pg.34): “To expound a teaching appropriate to each person is extremely difficult. However, Nichiren Daishonin established a method of practice accessible to all people regardless of their capacity.” Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is for all people’s capacity.

(3)    Buddhism always places the greatest importance on wisdom. Chanting daimoku and having faith in the gohonzon is the same as carrying out the 6 paramitas over countless years.

HOBEN PART 9 [10]

(1)    “Immeasurable” for ordinary beings means to persevere by using this practice to break through obstacles. It is for self development and also helping others do the same in the process.

(2)    Unless you go among the people, you cannot understand their hearts. A great leader makes great efforts to understand people’s hearts.

HOBEN PART 10 [11]

(1)    Courage is the key; “If you have fear, then you cannot say anything that will strike a chord in another person’s heart. Nor will any wisdom well forth in your life”.

(2)    We need to think about how we can communicate this philosophy with others while we chant and do gongyo. And at the same time, we too would attain Buddhahood.

(3)    Shakyamuni repeats in the “expedient means” chapter 3 times the “law never known or attained”. The reason is because he truly wants Shariputra and the other voice-hearers to understand the vastness of this practice which is beyond their imagination.

(4)    Quote (pg.41): “Even though one may resort to harsh words, if such words help a person to whom they are addressed, then they are worthy to be regarded as truthful words and gentle words. Similarly, though one may use gentle words, if they harm the person to who they are addressed, they are in fact deceptive words, harsh words”.

HOBEN PART 11 [12]

(1)    The greater our worries, the greater the opportunity to develop our state of life. We should advance with increasing joy and high spirits. This is what it means to “delight the hearts of the assembly”, by showing actual proof in our lives.

(2)    We need to establish an inner state of life that is not swayed by external conditions.

(3)    In order to arouse a seeking spirit, Shakyamuni says that ‘he will say no more’. It is important that the disciples seek their mentors teaching, rather than merely the teacher explaining his teaching, particularly if the disciple does not understand or the teaching is beyond their capabilities*.

*Note: See page 45 for more detail.

HOBEN PART 12 [13]

(1)    (Sho-i shoho.) This is the most important section in the “expedient means” chapter (Hoben). It expresses the 10 factors:

«Appearance «Nature «Entity «Power «Influence «Internal Cause«Relation «Latent Effect «Manifest Effect «Consistency from Beginning to End.

(2)    The 10 factors are related to one another directly and cannot be separated. It is a principal clarifying the factors common to all life in any of the 10 worlds.

HOBEN PART 13 [14]

(1)    All living beings, the 10 worlds, and the environments are manifestations of Myoho-renge-kyo (the universe is the Mystic Law).

The universe is the ‘the true entity of all phenomena’ and the gohonzon.

Our lives are also the ‘true entity of all phenomena’ and the gohonzon.

(2)    Everyone possesses the 10 worlds, the 10 factors and the 3 realms and ultimately the capacity to attain Buddhahood.

(3)    By repeating this section 3 times, we praise the Buddha nature in our lives, in others and of the universe.

HOBEN PART 14 [15]

(1)    It is important we have confidence in the Mystic Law.

(2)    “From the standpoint of the ‘true entity of all phenomena’, to harm someone is to harm the universe and to harm oneself.”

 

HOBEN (EXPEDIENT MEANS) AND JURYO CHAPTERS (LIFE SPAN OF THE THUS COME ONE) OF THE LOTUS SUTRA [45]

THE BUDDHA’S GREAT VOW TO LEAD ALL PEOPLE TO HAPPINESS

Mai ji sa ze nen. I ga ryo shujo. Toku nyu mu-jo do. Soku joju busshin.

At all times I think to myself:

How can I cause living beings

To gain entry into the unsurpassed way and

Quickly acquire the body of a Buddha?

Concluding Words of The ‘Life Span’ Chapter

  • The Buddha yearns for only one thing: to help people gain unsurpassed happiness. This Shakyamuni says, is his constant thought.
  • The Buddha appears in this world because of the great vow. Both the Buddha’s appearance and extinction accord with the great vow.
  • “I want to become happy and for everyone else to become happy, too.” This is the original mind, the pure wish, functioning in the depths of life since time without beginning. Those who totally embrace this spirit are Buddhas. Because it is the Buddha’s all encompassing wish, it is the great vow.
  • Living life for the great vow of accomplishing kosen-rufu means basing one’s life on the Buddha’s eternal determination. The Daishonin says, “At all times’ means eternally over the three existences.”

On Silent Prayers

  • Silent prayers are offered in the heart. Accordingly, even though we may read their words, it is what we are actually thinking – the thoughts occurring to us – that become our prayers.
    • President Toda said: “Since we are human, it is only natural that various thought will occur to us while we are chanting daimoku. But if we chant earnestly, then gradually we will become able to focus entirely on the Gohonzon. If we chant with an earnest frame of mind, our various worries about our daily lives will be resolves. At that time, for example, the complaints of a spouse will sound as soothing as a lullaby.”
    • “But let’s be careful when offering silent prayers. The thoughts in our hearts are clearly expressed to the Gohonzon. If during the silent prayers we think, “That fellow’s a real rascal,” then even though we may be reading the silent prayer’s words, it is the thought in our heart, “He’s a real rascal”, that becomes our prayer to the Gohonzon.
  • The prayers that one offers to the Gohonzon is a reflection of their life state.
  • Prayers have to concrete, and they must be earnest and made with determination. They should not be abstract.

HOBEN (EXPEDIENT MEANS) AND JURYO CHAPTERS (LIFE SPAN OF THE THUS COME ONE) OF THE LOTUS SUTRA [44]

THE BUDDHA – A PERSON OF ACTION WITH GAZE FIXED ON HUMANKIND

Nyo I zen hoben. I ji o shi ko. Jitsu zai ni gon shi. Mu no sekkomo. Ga yaku I se bu. Ku sho kugen sha.

He is like a skilled physician who uses an expedient means to cure his deranged sons. Though in fact alive, he gives out word he is dead, yet no one can say he speaks falsely, I am the father of this world, saving those who suffer and are afflicted.

  • Nichiren Daishonin and his disciples who chant and propagate the Mystic Law are the “parents” who lead all people to happiness.

The ‘Way’ Is The Lotus Sutra

I bonbu tendo. Jitsu zai ni gon metsu. I joken ga ko. Ni sho kyoshi sin. Ho-itsu jaku go yoku. Da o aku-do chu. Ga jo chi shujo. Gyo do fu gyo do. Zui o sho ka do. I sesshuju ho.

Because of the befuddlement of ordinary people,

Though I live, I give out word I have entered extinction.

For if they see me constantly, arrogance and selfishness arise in their minds.

Abandoning restraint,

They give themselves up to the five desires

And fall into the evil paths of existence.

Always I am aware of which living beings

Practice the way, and which do not,

And in response to their needs for salvation

I preach various doctrines for them.

  • If people think that the Buddha is always present, they may come to be arrogant or grow dependent on him, and ultimately fall into the evil paths of existence owing to attachment to the five desires. In that scenario, they cannot possibly attain Buddhahood.
    • Therefore, as an expedient means, the Buddha explains that he will enter extinction. Out of his immense compassion, the Buddha always preaches the Law in such a way that enables people to grow and develop reliance.
    • Although yearning to see the Buddha and attain salvation through the Buddha’s teaching, people may become dependent on the Buddha and gradually be consumed and destroyed by their own inner weakness. As a result, they neglect their Buddhist practice and finally fall into the evil paths or existence.
  • President Toda stated, “Those who doubt the Gohonzon because of a preoccupation with the mores of society have an upside-down view of the affairs of the world. Their view of life is similarly distorted; although life is eternal, they see only that there is death.”
  • Happiness does not lie somewhere else.

HOBEN (EXPEDIENT MEANS) AND JURYO CHAPTERS (LIFE SPAN OF THE THUS COME ONE) OF THE LOTUS SUTRA [43]

 [43] GREAT BENEFIT COMES FROM PRACTICING HONESTLY AND UPRIGHTLY

Sho u shu ku-doku. Nyuwa shichi-jiki sha. Sokkai ken gashin. Zai shi ni seppo. Waku-ji I shi shu. Setsu butsu ju muryo. Ku nai ken bussha. I setsu butsu nan chi.

But those who practice meritorious ways

Who are gentle, peaceful, honest and upright,

All of them will see me

Here in person, preaching the

Law. At times for this multitude

I describe the Buddha’s life span as

immeasurable,

and those who see the Buddha only after a

long time

I explain how difficult it is to meet the

Buddha. (LS16,231)

GENTLE AND PEACEFUL MEANS HAVING AN OPEN MIND

  • The above passage teaches that by steadfastly maintaining honest and upright faith we can receive the great benefit of the Mystic Law.
    • “honest and upright” foster an attitude that allows them to seek out that which is good and great.
  • Individuals who generally accumulate benefit are those who are honest and peaceful.
    • “gentle and peaceful” the individual is open-minded. They have the spirit to see the truth exactly as it is, without being swayed by prejudice, bias and appearances.
  • “gentle, peaceful, honest and upright” refers to our attitude of faith in the Gohonzon.

What is our practice all about?

  • Our practice is all about chanting daimoku in front of the Gohonzon for oneself and others.
    • Gohonzon – a mirror that shows a refection of our highest self, therefore it is not outside us.
  • Chanting daimoku confers the ultimate benefit and is the wellspring of all benefit.
  • This sutra passage teaches that we should always chant the Mystic Law with a pure and earnest seeking mind toward the Gohonzon. When we chant with a seeking mind a life state identical to that of the eternal Buddha manifests within us.

*What does it mean to chant with a pure and earnest seeking mind?

“When we base ourselves on the great conviction that we are always together with the Gohonzon, that we are always together with the Daishonin, we are fearless. When something happens, we calmly challenge the situation, fully exercising our wisdom and all the while chanting daimoku. By doing so we cannot fail to be protected; we are certain to realize a life of victory.”

  • 3 PILLARS TO STRENGHTEN FAITH
    • Faith
    • Practice – practice for ones happiness as well as others; build curiosity to study/learn more.
    • Study – study to strengthen faith

3000 Realms in a Single Moment of Life

What is it?

  • A life moment possesses 3000 realms.
    • The three thousand realms, or the entire phenomenal world, exist in a single moment of life. The number three thousand here comes from the following calculation: 10 (Ten Worlds) 10 (Ten Worlds) 10 (ten factors) 3 (three realms of existence). Life at any moment manifests one of the Ten Worlds.
  • Each person’s life contains infinite potential; this is the core belief of Nichiren Buddhism. However, in reality we impose limits on our possibilities. To a large extent we define our lives in terms of these perceived or unconscious limitations–I am able to do this but not that. We can exist quite comfortably within our own self-imposed limits, but when we come up against a problem or challenge and we feel we lack the ability or the spiritual resources to overcome it, we suffer. We feel overwhelmed or helpless, afraid.
    • Buddhist practice enables us to draw on inexhaustible inner reserves of courage, hope and resilience to surmount challenges and expand our lives and to help others do the same.
    • Ichinen sanzen demonstrates that the entire phenomenal world exists in a single moment of life.
  • The Buddha always exists but is rarely encountered.
    • Not everyone is aware that they are a Buddha.
    • People should NOT depend on an external ‘Buddha’ but become Buddhas.
      • The Buddha wants people to become self-reliant. He wants them to develop the state of Buddhahood in their own lives. -> require a ‘Seeking Mind’ to awaken the Buddha in each individual.
    • Our lives are eternal or ‘never ending’
      • President Toda explained: “…Because our lives are truly eternal, the present moment is precious. Neglecting this existence means neglecting our lives eternally.”
      • Our actions from now on matter…
      • The ten worlds all exist in our lives and minds at each moment. We have infinite potential.

TO ADVANCE BATHED IN THE GREAT LIGHT OF THE GOHONZON

Ca chi-riki nyo ze. Eko sho muryo. Jumyo mushu ko. Ku shugo sho toku. Nyoto u chi sha. Motto shi sho gi. To dan ryo yo jin. Butsu-go jippuko.

Such is the power of my wisdom that its sagacious beams shine without measure. This life span of countless kalpas I gained as the result of lengthy practice. You who are possessed of wisdom, entertain no doubts on this point! Cast them off, end them forever, for the Buddha’s words are true, not false.

  • The Buddha’s wisdom is limitless and therefore “its sagacious [wise; good judgement] beams shine without measure”
  • Buddha should not entertain doubts.
    • The Buddha is upright. He is earnest. Disciples who follow the Buddha directly, uprightly and without any distortion or hesitation can manifest the Buddha’s boundless wisdom and life force as their own.

 

HOBEN (EXPEDIENT MEANS) AND JURYO CHAPTERS (LIFE SPAN OF THE THUS COME ONE) OF THE LOTUS SUTRA [42]

[42] A LIFE DEDICATED TO THE MYSTIC LAW – A LIFE OF TRUE HAPPINESS

  • The Lotus Sutra speaks directly to the human heart. It calls upon people to ask themselves : For what purpose was I born in this world? Are people born to suffer, to worry? No. Are they born to lament their destiny? No. Definitely not.
  • President Josei Toda said: “We are born in the world to enjoy life. We are not born to suffer.” We have come here to enjoy ourselves, to live at ease.
  • The Saha world is a world of endurance. Therefore, if our life state is low, ultimately we will be defeated.
  • When deep in our hearts we base ourselves on the Mystic Law, we can lead lives of supreme happiness in which we thoroughly savor both the sufferings and joys of this world.
  • Our life state is the key!

Faith Entails A Great Revolution In Our Frame Of Mind

Ga jodo fu ki. Ni shu ken sho jin. Ufu sho kuno. Nyo ze shitsu juman. Ze sho zai shujo. I aku-go innen. Ka asogi ko. Fu mon sanbo myo.

My pure land is not destroyed, yet the multitude see it as consumed in fire, with anxiety, fear and other sufferingsfilling it everywhere. These living beings with their various offenses, through causes arising from their evil actions, speand asamkhya kalpas wihout hearing the name of the Three Treasures.

The Unity Of The Three Mystic Principles

  • Nichiren Daishonin states: “There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds.”
    • “You must quickly transform the tenets that you hold in your heart and embrace the one true vehicle, the single good doctrine [of the Lotus Sutra]. If you do so, then the threefold world will become the Buddha land, and how could a Buddha land ever decline? The regions in the ten directions will all become treasure realms, and how could a treasure realm ever suffer harm?
    • The world changes completely depending on our frame of mind or single minded determination.

HOBEN (EXPEDIENT MEANS) AND JURYO CHAPTERS (LIFE SPAN OF THE THUS COME ONE) OF THE LOTUS SUTRA [41]

[41] AN INDESTRUCTIBLE PARADISE EXISTS WITHIN OUR LIVES

Picture From: http://www.lovethispic.com/uploaded_images/12131-Tunnel-To-Paradise.jpg

Jin-zu-riki nyo ze. O asogi ko. Jo zai ryojusen. Gyu yo sho jusho. Shujo ken ko jin. Dai ka sho sho ji. Gas hi do anon. Tennin jo juman. Onrin sho do-kaku. Shuju ho shogon. Hoju ta keka. Shujo sho yu-raku. Shoten gyaku tenku. Jo sasshu gi-gaku. U mandara ke. San butsu gyu daishu.

Such are my transcendental powers. For asamkhya kalpas constantly I have dwelled on Holly Eagle Peak and in various other places. When living beings witness the end of a kalpa and all is consumed in a great fire, this, my land, remains safe and tranquil, constantly filled with heavenly and human beings. The halls and pavilions in its gardens and groves are adorned with various kinds of gems. Jeweled trees abound in flowers and fruit where living beings enjoy themselves at ease. The gods strike heavenly drums, constantly making many kinds of music. Mandarava blossoms rain down, scattering over the Buddha and the great assembly.

The World Seen By A Buddha

  • The Gohonzon is always within us and by our side.
  • What we see differs depending on our state of life. Moreover, when our state of life changes, the world in which we live also changes. This is the ultimate principle of actual ichinen sanzen, or a life-moment possesses 3,000 realms, found in the Lotus Sutra.
  • No matter what violent storms of destiny might assail us, our fighting spirit should not falter in the least. Our mind of faith must not be destroyed at any cost.

The Wonderful Workings Of One’s Mind

  • The treasures with which we adorn our palaces are the treasures of the heart.
  • Basing ourselves on this great teaching, we are struggling in the very midst of society to change the world into a paradise of happiness. This is our movement of kosen-rufu.