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    The Nine Consciousnesses

    The Buddhist teaching of the nine consciousnesses offers the basis for a comprehensive understanding of who we are, our true identity. It also helps explain how Buddhism sees the eternal continuity of our lives over cycles of birth and death. This perspective on the human being is the fruit of thousands of years of intense introspective investigation into the nature of consciousness. Historically, it is grounded in efforts to experience and explain the essence of Shakyamuni's enlightenment beneath the bodhi tree some 2,500 years ago.

    The nine consciousnesses can be thought of as different layers of consciousness which are constantly operating together to create our lives. The Sanskrit word vijnāna, which is translated as consciousness, includes a wide range of activities, including sensation, cognition and conscious thought. The first five of these consciousnesses are the familiar senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. The sixth consciousness is the function that integrates and processes the various sensory data to form an overall picture or thought, identifying what it is that our five senses are communicating to us. It is primarily with these six functions of life that we perform our daily activities.

    Below this level of consciousness is the seventh consciousness. Unlike those layers of consciousness that are directed toward the outer world, the seventh consciousness is directed toward our inner life and is largely independent of sensory input. The seventh consciousness is the basis for our sense of individual identity; attachment to a self distinct to and separate from others has its basis in this consciousness, as does our sense of right and wrong.

    Below the seventh consciousness, Buddhism elucidates a deeper layer, the eighth or ālaya consciousness, also known as the never-perishing or storehouse consciousness. It is here that the energy of our karma resides. Whereas the first seven consciousnesses disappear on death, the eighth consciousness persists through the cycles of active life and the latency of death. It can be thought of as the life-flow that supports the activities of the other consciousnesses. The experiences described by those who have undergone clinical death and been revived could be said to be occurrences at the borderline of the seventh and eighth consciousnesses.

    An understanding of these levels of consciousness and the interaction between them can offer valuable insights into the nature of life and the self, as well as pointing to the resolution of the fundamental problems that humanity confronts.

    According to Buddhist teachings, there are specific deep-seated delusions in the seventh consciousness regarding the nature of self. These delusions arise from the relationship between the seventh and eighth levels of consciousness and manifest as fundamental egotism.

    Buddhist teachings describe the seventh layer as emerging from the eighth consciousness: it is always focused on the eighth consciousness of the individual, which it perceives as something fixed, unique and isolated from other things. In reality, the eighth consciousness is in a state of continual flux. At this level our lives constantly interact, exerting a profound influence on each other. The perception of a fixed and isolated self that the seventh consciousness generates is thus false.

    The seventh consciousness is also the seat of the fear of death. Being unable to perceive the true nature of the eighth consciousness as an enduring flow of life energy, it imagines that upon death, the eighth consciousness will become permanently extinct. Fear of death thus has roots in the deep layers of the subconscious.

    The delusion that the eighth consciousness is one's true self is also termed fundamental ignorance, a turning away from the interconnectedness of all being. It is this sense of one's self as separate and isolated from others that gives rise to discrimination, to destructive arrogance and unbridled acquisitiveness. Humanity's ravaging of the natural environment is another obvious result.

    A Karmic River

    Buddhism posits that our thoughts, words and deeds invariably create an imprint in the deep layers of the eighth consciousness. This is what Buddhists refer to as karma. The eighth consciousness is therefore sometimes referred to as the karmic storehouse--the place where these karmic seeds are stored. These seeds or latent energy can be either positive or negative; the eighth consciousness remains neutral and equally receptive to either type of karmic imprinting. The energy becomes manifest when conditions are ripe. Positive latent causes can become manifest as both positive effects in one's life and as positive psychological functions such as trust, nonviolence, self-control, compassion and wisdom. Negative latent causes can manifest as various forms of delusion and destructive behavior and give rise to suffering for ourselves and others.

    While the image of a storehouse is helpful, a truer image may be that of a raging torrent of karmic energy. This energy is constantly moving through and shaping our lives and experience. Our resultant thoughts and actions are then fed back into this karmic flow. The quality of the karmic flow is what makes each of us distinct beings--our unique selves. The flow of energy is constantly changing, but, like a river, it maintains an identity and consistency even through successive cycles of life and death. It is this aspect of fluidity, this lack of fixity, that opens the possibility to transforming the content of the eighth consciousness. This is why karma, properly understood, is different from an unchanging or unavoidable destiny.

    The question, therefore, is how we increase the balance of positive karma. This is the basis for various forms of Buddhist practice that seek to imprint positive causes in our lives. When caught up in a cycle of negative cause and effect, however, it is difficult to avoid making further negative causes, and it is here that we turn to the most fundamental layer of consciousness, the ninth or amala consciousness.

    This can be thought of as the life of the cosmos itself; it is also referred to as the fundamentally pure consciousness. Unstained by the workings of karma, this consciousness represents our true, eternal self. The revolutionary aspect of Nichiren Buddhism is that it seeks to directly bring forth the energy of this consciousness--the enlightened nature of the Buddha--thus purifying the other, more superficial layers of consciousness. The great power of the ninth consciousness welling forth changes even entrenched patterns of negative karma in the eighth consciousness. Because the eighth consciousness transcends the boundaries of the individual, merging with the latent energy of one's family, one's ethnic group, and also with that of animals and plants, a positive change in this karmic energy becomes a "cogwheel" for change in the lives of others. As SGI President Ikeda writes, "When we activate this fundamentally pure consciousness, the energy of all life's good and evil karma is directed toward value creation; and the mind or consciousness...of humankind is infused with the life current of compassion and wisdom." Nichiren identified the practice of chanting the phrase Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as the basic means for activating the ninth consciousness in our lives.

    As the layers of consciousness are transformed, they each give rise to unique forms of wisdom. The wisdom inherent in the eighth consciousness allows us to perceive ourselves, our experience and other phenomena with perfect clarity and to profoundly appreciate the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things. As the deep-rooted delusions of the seventh consciousness are transformed, an individual is enabled to overcome the fear of death, as well as the aggression and violence that spring from this fear. A wisdom arises which enables us to perceive the fundamental equality of all living beings and to deal with them on an unchanging basis of respect. It is this type of transformation and wisdom that is sorely required in our world today.

    [ Courtesy April 2004 SGI Quarterly ]
    Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

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      Nam myoho renge kyo
      (Medical Patient In Compliance)

      Nam myoho renge kyo !! Mugi wasshin
      your bud
      babba

      Peace/ Be here now

      Babba's Farm L.L.C.


      The political views, or conspiracy theories, of icmag ownership, do not reflect my own views and are sole property of the participants

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        A person who resolutely declares "I will definitely win, no matter what!" is the one who will emerge the victor. Those who are determined never to give in and continue on until the very last moment are the ones who indeed win. Let us become the champions of challenges, persistent and unbending in our resolve!

        Daisaku Ikeda
        Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

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          Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens."

          (Happiness in This World - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.1, page 681) Selection source: "Kyo no Hosshin", Seikyo Shimbun, February 18th, 2010
          Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

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            Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

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              Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

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                Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

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                  The Proof of the Lotus Sutra / WND pg. 1108

                  How does the mirror of the Lotus Sutra portray the people who, in the evil world of the latter age, believe in the teachings of the Lotus Sutra just as they are set forth in the sutra? Shakyamuni Buddha has left us words from his golden mouth revealing that such people have already made offerings to a hundred thousand million Buddhas in their past existences.(1) But ordinary people in the latter age might well doubt the words spoken by just one Buddha. With this in mind, Many Treasures Buddha came expressly all the way from his World of Treasure Purity, many lands to the east. Facing Shakyamuni Buddha, he gave his words of testimony about the Lotus Sutra, saying, “All that you have expounded is the truth!” (2) If this is so, then there can be no room for doubt about the matter. Nevertheless, Shakyamuni Buddha may have felt that ordinary people in the latter age would still be skeptical. Hence he summoned the Buddhas of the ten directions to come and join him in the magnificent act of extending their long broad tongues, which had told nothing but the truth for countless kalpas, until they projected into the sky as high as Mount Sumeru.

                  Since this is the case, when ordinary people in the latter age believe in even one or two words of the Lotus Sutra, they are embracing the teaching to which the Buddhas of the ten directions have given credence. I wonder what karma we created in the past to have been born as such persons, and I am filled with joy. The words of Shakyamuni that I referred to above indicate that the blessings that come from having made offerings to a hundred thousand million Buddhas are so great that, even if one has believed in teachings other than the Lotus Sutra and as a result of this slander been born poor and lowly, one is still able to believe in this sutra in this lifetime. A T’ien-t’ai [school’s] commentary states, “It is like the case of a person who falls to the ground, but who then pushes himself up from the ground and rises to his feet again.” (3) One who has fallen to the ground recovers and rises up from the ground. Those who slander the Lotus Sutra will fall to the ground of the three evil paths, or of the human and heavenly realms, but in the end, through the help of the Lotus Sutra, they will attain Buddhahood.

                  Now since you, Ueno Shichiro Jiro, are an ordinary person in the latter age and were born to a warrior family, you should by rights be called an evil man, (4) and yet your heart is that of a good man. I say this for a reason. Everyone, from the ruler on down to the common people, refuses to take faith in my teachings. They inflict harm on the few who do embrace them, Nichiren, the votary of the Lotus Sutra heavily taxing or confiscating their estates and fields, or even in some cases putting them to death. So it is a difficult thing to believe in my teachings, and yet both your mother and your deceased father dared to accept them. Now you have succeeded your father as his heir, and without any prompting from others, you too have wholeheartedly embraced these teachings. Many people, both high and low, have admonished or threatened you, but you have refused to give up your faith. Since you now appear certain to attain Buddhahood, perhaps the heavenly devil and evil spirits (5) are using illness to try to intimidate you. Life in this world is limited. Never be even the least bit afraid!

                  And you demons, by making this man suffer, are you trying to swallow a sword point first, or embrace a raging fire, or become the archenemy of the Buddhas of the ten directions in the three existences? How terrible this will be for you! Should you not cure this man’s illness immediately, act rather as his protectors, and escape from the grievous sufferings that are the lot of demons? If you fail to do so, will you not have your heads broken into seven pieces in this life (6) and fall into the great hell of incessant suffering in your next life! Consider it deeply. Consider it. If you ignore my words, you will certainly regret it later.

                  The twenty-eighth day of the second month in the fifth year of Koan (1282)

                  Delivered by Hoki-bo.(7)

                  Background:

                  This letter was written at Minobu to Nanjo Shichiro Jiro, commonly known as Nanjo Tokimitsu, in the second month, 1282, when Nichiren Daishonin himself was seriously ill.

                  When he was in his teens, Tokimitsu had assumed his deceased father’s duties as steward of the Ueno district, which covered a vast area on one side of Mount Fuji. Particularly during the Atsuhara Persecution, Tokimitsu had made many sacrifices in order to defend the Daishonin’s followers who lived in his domains. For his courage, the Daishonin had honored him by naming him “Ueno the Worthy” in a letter written on the sixth day of the eleventh month, 1279, and entitled The Dragon Gate.

                  On first hearing of Tokimitsu’s grave illness, the Daishonin had apparently asked a disciple to write a letter of encouragement on his behalf since he himself was too ill to write. Deeply concerned, however, about the youthful believer, he forced himself to take up his writing brush and sent this letter through Nikko Shonin to help Tokimitsu overcome his illness.

                  The Daishonin declares that Tokimitsu is a person who, according to the Lotus Sutra, has made offerings to a hundred thousand million Buddhas in his past existences. He then strictly warns the demons causing Tokimitsu’s illness that, if they do not cure him, they will suffer in the great Avichi hell.

                  The letter is traditionally called The Proof of the Lotus Sutra because it points out that all the Buddhas gave credence to the truth of the Lotus Sutra. However, it is also known as Prayer for a Return to Life from Fatal Illness because Tokimitsu was then battling a serious illness.

                  Notes:

                  1. This is mentioned in the “Teacher of the Law” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
                  2. Lotus Sutra, chap. 11.
                  3. Miao-lo’s Annotations on “The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra.”
                  4. The Daishonin says this because the work of a warrior involves killing.
                  5. The original word for evil spirits is “gedo,” which literally means “out of the way” and usually indicates heretics and nonBuddhists. Here the word means something or someone that brings about disasters. Hence the expression “evil spirits.”
                  6. Reference is to a passage in the “Dharani” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
                  7. Hoki-bo is another name for Nikko Shonin, the Daishonin’s closest disciple and his successor.
                  Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                  Comment


                    Since you now appear certain to attain Buddhahood, perhaps the heavenly devil and evil spirits are using illness to try to intimidate you. Life in this world is limited. Never be even the least bit afraid!
                    Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                    Comment


                      "If you want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present. And if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present."

                      (The Opening of the Eyes - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.1, page 279) Selection source: "Kyo no Hosshin", Seikyo Shimbun, February 19th, 2010
                      Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

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                        "Argentine human rights activist Dr. Adolfo PĂ©rez Esquivel, said as an expression of his hopes for the youth: 'Those who have the courage to sow seeds today will harvest the fruit of those seeds tomorrow.' There's no need for us to be held back by the past or how things have been so far. The important thing is what seeds we are sowing now for the future."

                        SGI Newsletter No. 7936, Future Victory Is Determined Now, from the March 2010 issue of Daibyakurenge, translated Feb, 18th, 2010
                        Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

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                          "If one's heavy karma from the past is not expiated within this lifetime, one must undergo the sufferings of hell in the future, but if one experiences extreme hardship in this life [because of the Lotus Sutra], the sufferings of hell will vanish instantly."

                          (Lessening One's Karmic Retribution - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.1, page 199) Selection source: "Kyo no Hosshin", Seikyo Shimbun, February 20th, 2010
                          Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

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                            "Nichiren Daishonin writes: 'As life does not go beyond the moment, the Buddha expounded the blessings that come from a single moment of rejoicing [on hearing the Lotus Sutra]' (WND-1, 62). No matter what our situation, if we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, from that very moment, that very instant, the immortal sun within our own lives will begin to shine forth brightly.

                            "Not some time in the future but now--now is the time to change your mind-set, to revolutionise your life. This is the joy of human revolution. Future victory is here, in the present. Everything starts right here, right now."


                            SGI Newsletter No. 7936, Future Victory Is Determined Now, from the March 2010 issue of Daibyakurenge, translated Feb, 18th, 2010
                            Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                            Comment


                              Huge week for me, I found out my company was bought out by a national giant and I was surprised to find out I'm once again going through the same karma. However, this time I'm still aiming to buy a house, graduate from school and continue to do kosen-rufu every step of the way. So much has been going on lately, and I'm even considering bidding for a very expensive house because I think it will be the best thing I could do!

                              Tonight I will chant as much as possible and secure myself the right state of mind for the challenges that lie ahead beginning tomorrow. I will rise up and make us all proud! Shakubuku all the way!

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                                I got in about two hours and feel great. We read the Gosho T just posted "Proof of the Lotus Sutra" before we started and it was awesome! I really needed to chant and I'm glad I just reinforced this need and result by associating my gratitude for the Gohonzon with my time chanting for kosen-rufu as I fight for a house, a couple more graduations and financial security!

                                As I accomplish these goals I prove the existence of my Buddhanature to myself and others and serve as a template to help other people begin discovering and reasserting their Buddhanature. Everything (animate and inanimate) has a buddhanature and Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the way to tap into it! Okay, I got some great inspiration to bid higher on a house which I recently made a low bid on as I make a big bid tomorrow on an awesome home I saw today.

                                Upward and motha effin onward!

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