Thursday, July 4, 2013

The "True" Buddha

I am sure many of you, like me, have come across the term, "True Buddha." In my flirtation with Nichiren Shoshu and SGI, I used to hear this term all the time, especially in reference to Nichiren Shonin. So what (or who), exactly, is the "True Buddha?" I did a lot of research on this and found a great explanation...

Nobody. It’s a misleading term made up by the Taisekiji branch of Nichiren Buddhism (Nichiren Shoshu and, by association, Soka Gakkai International). The term is not used by Nichiren anywhere in the Gosho. It is not used by any other branch of Nichiren Buddhism. There is no such thing as a “true Buddha;” either one is a Buddha or one isn’t. There is no “false Buddha.” The Taisekiji branch believes that Nichiren is the “True Buddha,” saying that because he inscribed the Go
honzon, he must be superior to Shakyamuni, and therefore the only “true” Buddha. They then discard Shakyamuni, which has the action of discarding the Eternal Buddha, and thus invalidating their entire set of beliefs. In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha prophesied that this would happen during the period of the decline of the Law, the Age of Mappo that we are living in now. Those that heed the prophecy and follow only the Eternal Buddha can be called true “votaries of the Lotus Sutra,” otherwise it is called “slander.”

A simple reading of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren’s writings shows that the Buddha revealed his own Eternal nature, and that Nichiren (having studied the Lotus Sutra extensively, and can thus be considered an expert on it) revered Shakyamuni as both the “Eternal” and the “Original” Buddha.

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