“There are two kinds of
wisdom, correct and perverse.
No matter how wise
a person may appear, if his
assertions are warped you
should not listen to him.”
Friday, May 24, 2013
Nichiju our founder took faith in the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin after reading The Opening of the Eyes. Even though there are very few who read it, if there is one who reads it and awakens a great faith as Nichiju, it will not be for naught.
Opening of the Eyes: Nichiren, a Practitioner of the Lotus Sutra Chapter V with commentary
Now I, Nichiren believe it has already been more than 200 years since the arrival of the Latter Age of the Decadent Dharma. I was born in a remote country place. Moreover, I am a poor monk without social status. While having traversed the Six realms in my past lives, I must have sometimes been born a great king in the human or celestial realm, making everyone obey me just as a strong wind sways the twigs of small trees. Still, I could not obtain Buddhahood then. At other times, I must have gone up step by step the way of a great bodhisattva according to Hinayana and Mahayana sutras. Having practiced the way of a bodhisaatvas for as long as one, two, and innumerable kalpa, I was about to reach the state of non-retrogression. Howrver, a powerful evil karma prevented me from obtaining Buddhahood.
According to the "Parable of a Magic City" chapter of the Lotus Sutra there were three categories of people who had an opportunity to listen to the sutra and sow the seed of Buddhahood during the time of Daitsuchiso Buddha in the past. They all were to obtain Buddhahood eventually with the third and last group being guaranteed of being future Buddhas upon listening to Sakyamuni Buddhapreach the Lotus Sutra. I wonder whether or not I was excluded from this third category of people. Or, am I one of those who. while having listened to the Lotus Sutra and sowed the seed of Buddhahood 500 dust-particle kalpa (gohyaku-jintengo) in the past, have kept falling back till today without eventually getting it? While practicing the Lotus Sutra in this present life, overcoming bad worldly karmas, royal persecutions, and accusations by heretics and Hinayana schools; I was able to realize that people have been fooled by such devilish men as Tao-sh'o, Shan-tao, and Honen, who appeared to have mastered provisional and true Mahayana sutras.
Talking highly of the lotus Sutra and slighting the intelligence of the people, they fooled the people by saying that the doctrine of the Lotus was too exquisite to understand., that there never had been anyone who obtained Buddhahood through the sutra, or that not even one out of 1,000 persons had obtained Buddhahood through it. During an innumerable number of past lives, the people have been fooled this way immeasurable times into believing provisional sutras. From provisional sutras the fell into Hinayana sutras, to Confucianism, and Brahmanism, and finally to evil realms.
I, Nichiren, am the only one who knows this in Japan. If I speak out even one word of this, royal persecutions will never fail to befall my parents, brothers, and teachers. If I do not speak out, however, it would seem that I did not have compassion.. wondering whether or not I should speak out in the light of the Lotus, Nirvana, and other sutras, I came to realize that if I did not speak out, I would fall without fail into the hell of incessant agony in future lives even if nothing happened to me in this life. If I spoke out, I realized, the Three Hindrances and Four Devils would overtake me.
Vacillating between the two, that I should speak out and that I should not, if I were to back down in the face of royal persecutions, , I hit upon the "six difficulties" and "nine easier actions" mentioned in the eleventh chapter, "Appearance of a Stupa," in the Lotus Sutra. It says that even a man as powerless as I can throw Mt. Sumeru, even a man with as little superhuman power as I can carry a stack of hay on his back and survivethe disastrous conflagration at the end of the world, and even a man as ignorant as i can memorize various sutras as numerous as the sands of the Ganges River, Even more so, it is not easy to uphold even a word or a phrase of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Age of the Decadent Dharma. This must be it! I have made a vow that this time I will have an unbending aspiration to Buddhahood and never fall back!
It has already been more than twenty years since I began speaking for this sutra, and my troubles have been increasing dayby day, month by month, and year by year. Small troubles are incalculable while severe ones are four in number. Not talking about two of them, I have already been the target of royal persecution, and my life now is in jeopardy. Moreover, my senior disciples and lay supporters, including those laymen who had just come to hear me speak, were punished severely as though they had been rebels.
It is said in the Lotus Sutra fascicle four: "This sutra was the target of much hatred and jealosy even during the lifetime of the Budha, not to speak of after His death." It says in the second fascicle: "Seeing a person who reads, recites, copoies, or keeps this sutra, some will despise and hate him, look at him with jealosy, and harbour enmity against him." And in the fifth fascicle: "Many people in the world will hate it and very few believ in it." "Ignorant people will speak ill of him and abuse him." "In order to speak ill of him and to slander him, they will say to kings, ministers, and Brahmans, and influential householders that he has heretic views." "He will sometimes be driven out of his monastery." It is also said in the seventh fascle: "They will strike him with sticks, pieces of wood and tile or stones." The Nirvana Sutra states:
Thereupon numerous Brahmans gatheres together and
went to see King Ajatasatru of the Magadha kingdom
saying, "Now, there is a most wicked man, a wanderer,
who is Gautama. For the purpose of making a profit, all
wicked men in the world are gathering around him and
becoming his followers, doing nothinggood. Withhis occult
power Gautama converted such men as Kasyapa, Sariputra,
Explaining the hatred and jealosy against the Lotus Sutra during the Buddha's lfetime referred to in the fourth fascicle, Tien-t'ai said: "Even during the lifetime of the Buddhait was difficult to spread the Lotus Sutra. How much more so after His death? It is because peopledo not listen to the true dharma, that it is difficult to teach and guide them." Commenting on this, Miao-le said: "Hatred mens slavery to delusions and evil passions and jealosy unwilling to listen to the Lotus."
Just as the Buddha was confronted with hatred and jealosy when he tried to preach the Lotus Sutra, so it is with those who tried after His death. Numerous scholars in China, including three Southern masters and seven Northern masters, considered T'ien-t'ai the hated enemy. A Japanese Hosso monk, Tokuitsu, had this to say: "what's the matter with you, Master T'ien-t'ai? Whose disciple are you? With your less than three-inch-long tongue, you have slandered the Hosso doctrine preached by the Buddha with His long and wide tongue." Chih-tu of Tung-ch'un was questioned: "Much hatred and jealosy existed even during the Buddha's lifetime. Why is it that those who expound this Lotus Sutra after His death encounter so many difficulties?" He answered:
"As a popular saying goes, a good medicine tastes bitter.
This sutra tears down the barriers among the Five Realms
(of human beings, gods, sravaka, pratyekabuddha and
bodhisattvas) and establishes the one ultimate teaching.
Therefore it rejects the common men and scolds the holy
men, refuses the Mahayana and breaks down the Hinayana,
calls celestial demons poisonous insects, reguards Brahmans
vicious evils, disparingly calls men of the Two Vehicles who
stuck to the Hinayana the poor and lowly, and discourages
bodhisattvas by calling them novices. This is the reason why
celestial demons hate to listen to it; it grates upon Brahman
ears; Hinayana sages of the Two Vehicles are alarmed; and
bodhisattvas are discouraged. All of these fellows make
trouble for those who spread the Lotus Sutra. How can we
say that "much hatred and jealosy" is merely an empty
In Japan, superintendants of Buddhist priests in nara defamed Grand Master Dengyo in their petition to the Imperial Court, "There was a Brahmin wizard in the land of Hsia to the west of china, while there is a bald headed Buddhist monk with a honey tonguein the Land to the East. They are in a secret league to fool the world."
Grand Master Dengyo refuted this in his Kaikenron, "We hear of Hui-kung in the past in Ch'i China; now we see six superintendants of nara in Japan. How true is itof the Lotus Sutra prediction: How much more hatred and jealosy after the death of the Buddha!" He also stated in the Hokke shuku:
As for the time, it is toward the end of the Middle Age of
the Imitative Dharma and in the beginning of the Latter
Age of the Decadent Dharma; looking at the land, it is to
the east of T'ang China and west of Katsu, and looking at
the people, they live in the evil world filled with defilements
and engage in constant warfare. It is said in the Lotus Sutra,
"There is much hatred and jealosy even during the Buddha's
lifetime, not to speak of after His death." How true this is!
Now if a child is given moxa treatment by his mother, he inevitably resents his mother. Given precious medicine, a seriously sick person may grumble at its bitter taste. So it was with the Lotus Sutra even during the lifetime of the Buddha. How much more so after the death of the Buddha and in a remote corner of the land! Just like mountainsplaced on tops of mountains and waves on tops of waves, difficulties on top of difficulties and abuses on top of abuses will occur.
The situation is no different today. I was going to list many dozens of the thousands of slanders and abuses leveled at the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren Shonin, the Kempon Hokke and myself, over the last ten years on the various newsgroups, discussion forums, and in person but suffice it to say, every word of the Lotus Sutra is true.
The question remains, how could Nichiren Daishonin specifically (and we generally) be absolutely certain that our difficulties arise from our genuine faith and practice rather than from our slander of the True Dharma? How can we be sure that Nichiren Shonin's and the Kempon Hokke's criticisms of the unorthodox sects (the SGI and Nichiren Shoshu) are valid? How can we be sure the difficulties of the SGI and the Nichiren Shoshu derive from slander of the True Law rather than a correct faith and practice?
This becomes abundantly clear in the following sections of the Opening of the Eyes as Nichiren Shonin goes on to explain the true nature of life, the prime point of Buddhism, and the purport of the master disciple relationship.
The Opening of the Eyes: Nichiren, a Practitioner of the Lotus Sutra Chapter V continued
It was T'ien-t'ai alone who correctly read the Lotus Sutra and all the Buddhist scriptures during the Middle Age of the Imitative Dharma. Various masters in Northern and Southern China hated him. However, as sagacious rulers of the Chen and Sui dynasties in China clarified who was right through polemic debates in front of their own eyes, his enemies eventually disappeared. Toward the end of the Middle Age of the Imitative Dharma, Dengyo alone in Japan correctly read the Lotus Sutra and all the Buddhist scriptures. Although seven great emples of Nara rose against him, nothing happened to him becauseEmperors Kammu and Saga themselves clarified who was right.
But now, it has been over 200 years since the beginning of the Latter Age of the Decadent Dharma. I have not been allowed to meet opponents in polemic; instead I have been banished with my life in jeopardy. It proves that the warning in the Lotus Sutra of much more hatred and jealosy after the death of the Buddha is not an empty threat. It also proves that we are in the beginning of the endless warfare and in a decadent world of corruption where unreasonableness takes precedent over reason.
Therefore, although my comprehension of the Lotus Sutra is not worth even one ten millionth of that of T'ien-t'ai and Dengyo, I dare say that my endurance on its behalf and compassion for the people are beyond these masters. I am sure I deserve to receive heavenly protection, but there is not even a shred of it. Instead I have been condemned to heavier and heavier penalties. Looming back in this light, I wonder whether or not I am a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra and whether or not various gods and deities have left this land. However, if only I, Nichiren had not been born in this country, the twenty-line verseof the thirteenth chapter, "The Encouragement of Keeping this Sutra," in the fifth fascicle of the Lotus Sutrawould be empty words and the Buddha would almost be a great liar. Those uncountable numbers of bodhisattvas, who made the vow to uphold the Lotus Sutra, would be accused of committing the same sin of lying as Devadetta did.
The verse says, "Ignorant people will speak ill of us, and threaten us with swords or sticks." Looking at the world today, is their any Buddhist priest other than I, Nichiren, who is spoken ill of, abused, and threatened with swords or sticks on account of the Lotus Sutra? If I, Nichiren were not here, this verse would be a false prediction.
It also says: "Monks in this evil world will be cunning and ready to flatter others. they will preach the dharma to laymen for worldly gain and be respected by the people just as the arhat who has the Six Superhuman Powers is.." If there were no Anitabha Buddhists or priests of Zen or Ritsu Schools of Buddhism in this world, this prediction would also make the Buddha a great liar.
It says, "In order to slander us in the midst of a great crowd of people they will speak ill of us to kings, ministers, Brahamans, and men of influence."
These would be empty words unless Buddhist priests in this world slandered me and had me exiled.
It is further stated, "We will be banished many times." If I, Nichiren had not been exiled repeatedly on account of the Lotus Sutra, what would we do with these two words of "many timess?" Even T'ien-t'ai and Dengyo did not read these two words from experience, not to speak of other people. I, Nichiren alone read them from experience. For I perfectly fit the Buddha's description of the persons reading the Lotus Sutra "in the dreadful and evil world" at the beginning of the Latter Age.
For example, the Buddha predicted in the Fuhozo Sutra (Heistory of the Buddha's Successors) that one hundred years after His death there would be a great king named Asoka. It is predicted in the Maha Sutra that 600 years after the death of the Buddha, there would be a man named Nagrjuna in South India, while the Daihi-kyo (Sutra of the Great Compassion) says: "Sixty years after the Buddha's death there will be a man called Madhyantika, who will build a base in the Palace of the Dragon King to spread Buddhism." These predictions of the Buddha all came true. Otherwise, who would have faith in Buddhism.
Nevertheless, in both the Sho-hoke-kyo (Chinese translation of the Lotus Sutra by Dharmaraksha) and myo-hoe-kyo (Kumarajiva's Chinese translation of the Lotus Sutra) the Buddha has precisely defined the time for the spread of this sutra to be when the "world is dreadful and evil." "the future Latter Age," "theLatter Age when the dharmais about to be extinguished," "or the fifth five-hundred-year period after the death of the Buddha." Had there not been three kinds of strong enemies against the practitioner of the Lotus today, who would believe in the Buddha? Had there not been Nichiren, who would be the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra to prove the Buddha's prediction?
Even three Southern masters and seven Northern masters in China as well as seven great temples of Nara in Japan were among the enemies of the Lotus Sutra during the Middle Age of the Imitative Dharma. How could schools of Zen, Ritsu, and Amidists today escape from being enemies of the sutra? As the words of the sutra correspond with me, the deeper I fall into disgrace with the shogunate, the greater my pleasure is. This is like a Hinayana bodhisattva, who has not completely exterminated all delusions and evil passions, wishing to reborn in this world. That is to say, as he sees his parents suffering greatly in hell, he would intentially accumulate bad karmas in order to go to hell himself, where he would be glad to share their sufferings. I, Nichiren, am in a similar situation,. Though my sufferings today are difficult to bear, I am happy for in the future I will be free from the evil realms.
Nichiren, as Bodhisattva Emminent Conduct declares that, though his comprehension of the Lotus Sutra is one ten millionth that of Tientai's and Dengyo's, his compassion for the people is much deeper than that of those great Masters. His compassion was his strength and that which enabled him to retain his faith while overcoming every persecution predicted for the True Votary in the Lotus Sutra.
Through Nichiren Daishonin, the Lotus Sutra was revealed to be as accurate as a finely machined GPS device. Were it not for Nichiren Daishonin the Lotus Sutra would be a great falsehood. Nichiren Daishonin is the Supreme Votary of the Lotus Sutra, Bodhisattva Emminent Conduct (Superior Practices) and Bodhisattva Visisticaritra who is mentioned in the vedic texts. To have a connection to this Great Mahabodhisattva is awe inspiring. It is the greatest honor in this life to be his disciple. Why would someone choose another mentor? To choose someone like Daisaku Ikeda and then to promote that this relationship is the only condition for attaining Buddhahood is both a cause for regret and a serious slander of the Law. Those who call themselves disciples of Nichiren but distort his precious teachings are no better than parasites in the body of the lion. The SGI will destroy Buddhism in no time. I will continue to oppose them with every ounce of my being.
The Amidists and Zen men can no more harm the lion than a barking dog or braying donkeys. The Tibetians Buddhists are no more than bewildered bodhisatvas, not unlike deer caught in the headlights, and the Hinayanists are baby baboons clinging to their dead mother killed by a lion.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The Opening of the Eyes: The Eternal Life of the Buddha Chapter IV with Commentary
In the second place, let us discuss the concept of Kuon-jitsujo (eternal life of the Buddha) revealed in the essential section (hommon) of the Lotus Sutra.
Lord Sakyamuni Buddha, grandson of King Simhahanu and the first son of King Suddhodana, was born during the first small kalpa within the kalpa of Continuance, when the human lifespan was gradually decreasing to 100 years. As a child He was called prince Siddharta, namely Bodhisattva Goal Achieved. Sakyamuni Buddha, who had left home at the age of nineteen and obtained enlightenment at the age of thirty, immediately began preaching the Flower Garland Sutra at the spot where He was enlightened. appearing as the Birushana (Vairocana) Buddha in the Lotus Repository World, He preached the great dharma based on the extremely fine theology of "ten mysteries," "six characteristics," and "interdependency of all phenomena." Various Buddhas in the universe appeared, and all the bodhisattvas gathered to listen to Him. In view of the place, the intelligence of the audience, and number of Buddhas gathered there, as well as the fact it was the first sermon of the Sakyamuni buddha, there did not seem to be any reason why any great dharma should have been concealed in the Flower Garland Sutra. Therefore, it is stated in it that the Buddha showed his unrestricted power in expounding the sutra of perfection.
The 60-fasicled Flower Garland Sutra --- each word or dot in it without exception --- should be flawless and perfect. For instance, a single crystal ball, which could produce as much treasure as you wished, is as good as a countless number of them. One ball would pour out as much treasure as ten thousand balls. So one word in the Flower Garland Sutra should have been as valuable as 10,000 words. An assertion in the sutra that "there is no distinction among the mind, the Buddha, and the unenlightened" is said to be the theological foundation of not only the Kegon but also the Hosso, Sanron, Shingon, and Tendai Schools. What should be concealed in such a great sutra as this? Nevertheless, it is asserted in this sutra that men of the Two Vehicles as well as those who do not listen to Buddhism(issendai)will never attain Buddhahood. This seems like a flaw in the crystal ball. in addition, it is repeated three times that Sakyamuni buddha achieved enlightenment for the first time under the bodhi tree, concealing His enlightenment in the eternal past as expounded in the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra. This seems to be like a cracked crystal ball, the moon hidden by clouds, or the sun eclipsed. This is indeed inexplicable.
Compared to the Flower Garland Sutra, such sutras as the Agon, Hodo, Hannya, and Great Sun buddha are not worth mentioning, although they too embody the honorable teachings of the Buddha. No reason seems to be given why what is not revealed in the former should be revealed in the latter. Consequently, the Agon Sutra says, "When He achieved enlightenment for the first time...." The Dai-jikkyo talks about "the first sixteen years after the Buddha achieved enlightenment." It is said in the Yuima Sutra that He at first sat under the bodhi tree, striving to expell demons. the Great sun Buddha Sutra says, "I once sat under the bodhi tree to obtain enlightenment," while the Hannya ninno-kyo talks of twenty-nine years since His enlightenment.
These provisional sutras are not worthy of discussion. What surprises me is that even the Muryo-gi-kyo, the preliminary to the Lotus Sutra, agrees with the Flower Garland Sutra when it says, "Having sat in meditation under the bodhi tree for six years, I finally obtained perfect enlightenment." This is strange because the sutra looks down on such a profound Flower Garland concept as the "mind as the ultimate reality" and Hodo and Hannya concepts of "ocean imprint meditation" and indistinguishableness of phenomena" as being "not yet revealing the truth," or "a roundabout way to the Buddhahood."
Since the Muryo-gi-kyo is merely the introduction to the Lotus Sutra, perhaps the main points have not been made yet. In the Lotus Sutra proper, however, the Buddha revealed the single path to the enlightenment, having synthesized three kinds of teaching for bodhisattvas, pratyekabuddhas(engaku), and sravakas(shomon). He declared in the theological (shakumon) section of the Lotus Sutra: "Only Buddhas wholly perceive the reality of all phenomena;" "truth will be revealed after preaching provisional teachings some fifty years;" and "He will discard provisional teachings and will concetrate only on the supreme way." Taho Buddha then declared that those words of the Buddha in the eight chapters in the theological section (shakumon) of the Lotus Sutra were all true. What then should have been left unrevealed? Nevertheless, the eternal life of the buddhawas not revealed; instead it is said, "At first He sat at the place of enlightenment, gazed on the tree, and walked about it meditating." This is the greatest wonder of all. Thus it is stated in the fifteenth "Appearance of Bodhisattvas from Underground'' chapter of the Lotus Sutra that bodhisattva Maitreyawondered why the buddha claimed to have taught the great bodhisattvas, who had never been seen before in the last forty years, and caused them to aspire for enlightenment. so he asked:
When You, the Buddha, were the crown prince, you left
the palace of the Sakya clan, sat in meditation under the
bodhi tree not far from the city of Gaya, and obtained the
perfect enlightenment. It has only been some forty years
since then. How could You, World Honored One, have
achieved so much in a short period of time?
It was at this point that lord Sakyamuni decided to preach the "Life Span of the Buddha" chapter in order to dispel such doubts. Referring to what has been said in the pre-Lotus sutras and in the theological section of the Lotus Sutra, He said, "Gods, men and asura demons in all the worlds think that I Sakyamuni Buddha, left the palace of the Sakya, sat under the bodhi tree not far from the city of Gaya, and attained perfect enlightenment." Then He answered squarely to the question by declaring, "To tell the truth, however, it has been innumerable and incalculable kalpa since I attained Buddhahood."
The Opening of the Eyes: The Eternal Life of the Buddha Chapter IV continued
Such sutras as Flower Garland, Hannya, and Great Sun Buddha conceal not only the possibility of the Men of the Two Vehicles attaining Buddhahood but also Sakyamuni attaining perfect enlightenment in the eternal past.
These sutras have two faults. In the first place, as they make a clear distinction between bodhisattvas and men of the Two Vehicles asserting that only the former can obtain Buddhahood, they fail to outgrow the provisional teachings and to reveal the doctrine of "3,000 in one thought" preached in the theological section of the Lotus Sutra. In the second place, by stating that Sakyamuni Buddha attained Buddhahood for the first time in this life, they have not yet outgrown the theological section of the the Lotus Sutra. failing to reveal the Eternal Buddha expounded in the essential section of the Lotus Sutra. These two great doctrines, nijo sabutsu and kuon jitsuju, are the backbone of the teaching of the Buddha throughout His life and the essence of all the Buddhist scriptures.
The second chapter, "Expedients," in the theological section of the Lotus Sutra makes up for one of the two faults of the pre-Lotus sutras by revealing the concept of "3,000 in one thought" and nijo sabutsu. Yet, since the chapter has not yet revealed the original and eternal Buddha, it does not show the real concept of the "3,000 in one thought." Nor does it establish the true meaning of nijo sabutsu. They are like the reflections of the moon in the water, or rootless grass floating on waves.
Coming to the essential section of the Lotus Sutra, it was revealed that the Buddha had attained enlightenment in the eternal past, making it untenable to assert that He attained Buddhahood for the first time in this world. Thus the Eternal Buddha doctrine destroyed the Buddhahood resulting from the Four Teachings (all Buddhist scriptures other than the essential section of the Lotus Sutra). As the Buddhahood resulting from the Four Teachings became untenable, those Four Teachings proved to be invalid. Thus the Ten Realm doctrine preached in the pre-Lotus and the theological section of the Lotus Sutra was destroyed and the causal relationship among the eternal Ten Realms was established in the essential section of the Lotus sutra. This is the true doctrine of cause and result. In this relationship the Nine Realms are all included in the realm of the Eternal Buddha, and the realm of the Buddha is in each of the eternal Nine Realms. This is truly the "mutually-possessed characteristics of the Ten Realms," "100 realms each holding ten factors of existence" and "3,000 in one thought."
Looking back in this light, Vairocana Buddha on the lotus platform and various Buddhas around Him who came from all over the universe as described in the Flower Garland Sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha of the Hinayana Agon Sutras, as well as provisional Buddhas of all the pre-Lotus sutras (such as Hodo, Hannya, Konkomyo, Amitabha, and Great Sun Buddha) are all mere manifestations of this Eternal Buddha. They are like shadows of the moon in the sky reflecting in large or small containers of water. Sectarian students confused with doctrines of their own schools or not knowing the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, mistake the moon in the water for the real one; they try to go into the water to grasp this illusion or tie it up with a rope. In T'ien-t'ai's words they "look at only the moon in the pond, without knowing the moon in the sky."
I, Nichiren, believe that even with the doctrine of nijo sabutsu of the pre-Lotus sutras which deny the possibility of attaining Buddhahood by men of the Two Vehicles, seem to have the upperhand. Concerning the doctrine of kuon jitsujo expounded in the essential section of the Lotus, the pre-Lotus sutras, which maintain that Sakyamuni's attainment of Buddhahood occured in this world, are incomparably stronger. For not only are they stronger, the first fourteen chapters of the Lotus Sutra, too solely side with them and do not mention the eternal life of the Buddha. With the exception of the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters ("Appearance of Bodhisattvas from underground" and the Life Span of the Buddha"), the latter fourteen chapters of the Lotus Sutra all describe Shakyamuni's attainment of Buddhahood for the first time in this world.
In the forty fascicled Dai-hatsunehan-gyo, Sakyamuni's last teaching under the sala trees, as well as in various Mahayana sutras preached before and after the Lotus Sutra, not a single word is said of the Eternal buddha. Although the absolute nature of the Buddhahood has been explained to be "without beginning and without end," the eternity of Buddhas in Buddha lands or in this world has not been revealed. How can anyone side with only the two chapters in the Lotus Sutra and discard the wide range of Mahayana sutras: pre-Lotus, most of the Lotus, and Nrvana?
Here is the major works translation of the last paragraph:
"The forty volumes of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, preached by the Buddha in the grove of sal trees just before his passing, as well as the other Mahayana sutras except the Lotus Sutra, have not one single word [to say about the fact that the Buddha attained enlightenment in the remote past]. They speak of the Dharma body of the Buddha as being without beginning and without end, but they do not reveal the true nature of the other two bodies, the reward body and the manifested body. How, then, can we expect people to cast aside the vast body of writings represented by the earlier Mahayana sutras, the Nirvana Sutra, and the major portion of the theoretical and essential teachings of the Lotus Sutra, and put all their faith simply in the two chapters “Emerging from the Earth” and “Life Span”?
The eternity of the Three Bodied Tathagata is one of the most important principles of the Lotus Sutra. It seperates the Lotus sects from all other Buddhist sects and the Kempon Hokke from all other Nichiren sects.
Many priests of the Nichiren Shu fail to understand the import of this fundamental teaching. Those in the more perverse Nichiren sects such as the HBS, the Nichiren Shoshu, and the SGI say very little about the principle of the Three Bodied Tathagata Shakyamuni. The SGI and NST even mislabel the Original Eternal Buddha as Nichiren [rather than Sakyamuni]. It is no wonder that these various sects fail to understand the correct, absolute and sublime teaching that is most difficult to believe and to understand. There behavior belies their belief in this principle. The way their leaders and priests treat their members, as Buddhas in name only, belies their belief.
Not only the Dharma Body [the absolute entity of Buddhahood] is eternal according to Nichiren Daishonin but the Manifest [the absolute appearance of Buddahood] and Reward [absolute nature of Buddhahood] Bodies. When we obtain Buddhahood, not only do we become the Reward Body of the Master of Teachings Lord Shakya of the Original Doctrine but we become His Manifest and Dharma Bodies. Let us keep these teachings to ourselves except during formal debate and when the very survival of the teachings is at stake.
The Original Eternal Buddha Sakyamuni who manifested Himself as Sakyamuni Buddha is our original teacher who has been leading and guiding us since time immemorial. We as Bodhisattvas of the Earth are his original disciples. Our very manifestation is testament to the truth of the Lotus Sutra. So grand are our lives that it is beyond comprehension. So grand is the life of our eternal master that there is no way we can repay the debt of gratitude we owe to Him. Nichiren writes:
"Shakyamuni Buddha our father and mother, who is endowed with the three virtues of soverign, teacher and parent, is the very one who encourages us, the people driven out by all the other Buddhas, saying, 'I alone can save them'. The debt of gratitude we owe him is deeper than the ocean, weightier than the earth, vaster than the sky. Though we were to pluck out our two eyes and place them before him as an offering until there were more eyes there than stars in the sky, though we were to strip off our skins and spread them out by the hundreds of ten thousands until they blanketed the ceiling of heaven, though we were to give him our tears as offerings of water and present him with flowers for the space of a hundred billion kalpas, though we were to offer him our flesh and blood for innumerable kalpas, until our flesh piled up like mountains and our blood overflowed like vast seas, we could never repay a fraction of the debt we owe to this Buddha!" -- The Learned Shan Wu-wei MWs
“However, later seeking and entering the deep cave, you see a single
hermitage. The voices of the reading and reciting of the Hokekyo echo
against blue heaven and the words of discussing the doctrine of the One
Vehicle are heard in the midst of the mountains. Informing [them, of
your presence and requesting] admittance, you enter the chamber, place
your mother’s bones before the Master of Teachings Lord Shakya, cast
your five limbs to the ground, press your palms together, and opening
your two eyes, look up to the Holy Face: Joy overflows your body and
the pain of your heart suddenly ceases.”-- On Forgetting Ones Copy Of
The Lotus Sutra, NOPPA Translation
Nichiren Daishonin's purpose for writing the Opening of the Eyes was to repay his gratitude to this Buddha. Yet, the other Nichiren sects fail to appreciate its import and fail to acknowledge the truth of the Triple Bodied Tathagata and the triple bodied nature of our own existence. This is why they are shallow compared to the teachings of the Kempon Hokke which perfectly mirror the sublime teachings of the Lotus Flower Sutra and Nichiren Dashonin.
Ever thinking, "How can we cause the masses of beings to obtain Buddhahood.", we become the Master of Teachings Lord Shakya.
It has been said to me, only Bodhisattvas of the Earth can chant the Daimoku, so all those who chant the Daimoku are Bodhisattvas of the Earth. The fact is that T'ien-t'ai chanted the Daimoku and he was not a Bodhisattva of the Earth, and that those with twisted minds who chant the Daimoku, though they will eventually attain Buddhahood, are also not Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
Our relationship to the Eternal Buddha Sakyamuni, the Object of Worship in terms of the Person, is what determines all of these things. Throwing out the Sakyamuni of Manifestation is no way to repay the debt of gratitude we owe Him [or to ourselves]. Those Nichiren Buddhists or provisional Buddhists who revere only the Dharma Body of Buddha are no different than psychotics who love the memory, nature or spirit but disdain the flesh and blood person. Those provisional Buddhists who only revere or worship the Manifestation would be better off worshiping a corpse.
I will have much more to say on these points as we go further along.
The Opening of the Eyes: The Eternal Life of the Buddha Chapter IV with Commentary continued:
Now, the Hosso School of Buddhism originated with Asanga. a great commentator appearing in India 900 years after the death of the Buddha. At night he went up to the inner palace of Bodhisattva Maitreya in heaven and asked him questions concerning all the holy teachings of the Buddha. During the day, he spread the Hosso doctrine in the country of Aodhya, His disciples included such great masters as Vasubandhu, Dharmapala, Nanda, and Silabhadra. Even king Harsavardhana bowed before him and all the people in India pulled down their banners and followed him. Master Hsuan-chuang of china spent seventeen years in India visiting some 130 lands and studying Buddhism. rejecting all other schools, he chose the Hosso School to transmit to China and passed it on to the sage king, Emperor T'ai-tsung of T'ang. He had such disciples as Shen-fang, Chia-shang, P'u-kuang, and K'uei-chi. and he resided at the great T'zu-en Temple, spreading the teaching in more than 360 lands in China.
In Japan, during the reign of Emperor Kotoku, the 37th ruler, Doji, Dosho and other monks transmitted this school from China and practiced it at the Yamashina Temple. Thus this sect must have been the prime school of Buddhism in the three countries of India, China, and Japan. The gist of this Hosso is as follows:
According to all the Buddhist scriptures, beginning with
the Flower Garland Sutra and ending with the Lotus and
Nirvana Sutras, those issendai (who do not listen to the
teachings of the Buddha) and men of the Two Vehicles
will never become Buddhas. The Buddha never is two-
faced. Once he decides that Buddhahood is unattainable,
He willnever change His mind even if the sun and moon
should fall and the great earth should tumble. Therefore,
even in the Lotus Sutra and Nirvana Sutra it is not definitely
stated that the two categories of people who had been
rejectedin the pre-Lotus sutras, those issendai and men
of the TwoVehicles, will attain Buddhahood.
Close your eyes and think hard. If it is stated in the Lotus
Sutra and Nirvana Sutra that those two categories of men
will obtain Buddhahood, why is it that such great comment-
ators as Asanga and Vasubandu, and such scholars as
Hsuan-chuangand T'zu-en di not find this? Why is it that
they did not write about it, believe and transmit it, or ask
Bodhisattva Maitreya about it? Although you appear to rely
on the words of the Lotus Sutra, actually you believe in the
slanted view of Tien-t'ai, Miao-le, and Dengyo and read
Buddhist scriptures through their prejudices. This may be
the reason why you consider the Lotus Sutra and those
sutras preached before it incompatible to each other like
fire and water.
The Kegon and Shingon Schools, which are incomparably superior to the Hosso and Sanron Schools, maintain:
Concepts of nijo sabutsu and kuon-jitsujo are not limited
to the Lotus Sutra. they are clearly mentioned in the Flower
Garland Sutra and the Great Sun Buddha Sutra. Tu-shun,
Chih-yen, Fa-tz'ang, Chen-kuan of the Kegon School and
Subhakarasimha (Shan-wu-wei), Vajrabodhi, Amoghavajra
(Pu-k'ung) of the Shingon School are incomparably higher
in rank than T'ien-t'ai and Dengyo. Furthermore, Subhakar-
asimha and others are in the direct line of the Great Sun
Buddha. How could these people, temporary manifestations
of Buddhas and bodhisattvas make mistakes? Accordingly,
it is said in the Flower Garland Sutra, "It has been immeas-
urable kalpa since Sakyamuni Buddha attained Buddhahood."
The Great Sun Buddha Sutra states, "I am the origin of
everything." How could you say that the doctrine of the
Eternal Buddha is limited to the sixteenth chapter of the
Lotus Sutra? It is speaking like a frog in a well who has
never seen an ocean, or a mountain woodcutter who has
never visited the capital. Isn't it that you have seen only
one chapter of the Lotus without knowing such sutras as
the Flower Garland and the Great Sun Buddh? Moreover,
do all those in India, China, Silla, and Paeche except T'ien
-t'ai, Miao-le, and Dengyo say that nijo-sabutsu and kuon
jitsujo concepts are revealed only in the Lotus Sutra?
Thus, there are differences of opinion among Buddhist schools concerning nijo sabutsu and kuon jitsujo. Although the Lotus Sutra expounded in the last eight years is different from thoses other sutras expounded in the previous 40 years, and although it is the rule that when there is a discrepancy between older and newer legal judgements, the newer one takes precedent over the old, the pre-Lotus sutras seem more influential than the Lotus is. Things might have been as they should be while Sakyamuni Buddha was alive, but after His death many commentators and teachers have been leaning toward the pre-Lotus sutras.
Thus it is difficult to have faith in the Lotus Sutra. Moreover, we gradually approach the Latter Age of Decadent Dharma; sages and wise men gradually disappear while the puzzled grow in number. These people easily fall into error even in dealing with trivial matters of the world, not to speak of understanding the exquisite dharma, transcending worldly matters. Men of the Vaitsiputriya and Vaipula Scools were wise people; yet they were unable to distinguish between Mahayana and Hinayana sutras. Wu-kou and Mo-t'a were clever but unable to differentiate the true teachings from the provisional one. It was within the first 1,000 years after the death of Sakyamuni Buddha, not far from His time, and within the land of India that errors like this had already occured. How much more so in countries such as China and Japan, which are far away from the land of the Buddha, where different languages are spoken, where people are slow to understand the teaching of the Buddha, where life span is shorter, and where greediness, anger, and stupidity are twice as much!It has been many years since the Buddha has passed away; Buddhist sutras are misunderstood. Does anyone understand them correctly? The Buddha predicts in the Nirvana Sutra: "Those who uphold the true dharma in the Latter ageof the Decadent Dharma are as little as a bit of soil on a fingernail while slanderers of Buddhism are as numerous as the soil of the entire universe."
It is said in the Hometsujin-kyo: "Slanderers of Buddhism are as numerous as sands of the Ganges river, while those who uphold the true dharma are just a pebble or two.." It would be difficult to find even one person upholding the true dharma in a period of 500 or 1,000 years. Those who fall into evil realms because of their worldly crimes are as little as a bit of soil on a fingernail, while those who fall there because of crimes against Buddhism are as numerous as the soil of the entire worlds in the universe. More Monks than laymen, more nuns than women fall in the evil realms.
In the next installment Nichiren, as the Supreme Votary of the Lotus Sutra goes into further detail about the Eternal Buddha Sakyamuni and further rebuts his critics from the various schools.
We of the Kempon Hokke are not disheartened because our numbers are few. We uphold the true teachings of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren and we are sure to obtain Buddhahood in the future. It is the Priests and monks of the heretical provisional and some other Nichiren sects who should worry. It is the lay leaders of the SGI acting as business suited priests and monks who should worry.