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    Originally posted by PassTheDoobie View Post
    Introduction

    There is very little hard evidence about the life of Siddhartha Gautama, later dubbed Shakyamuni – ‘sage of the Shakya tribe’ – or simply Buddha, ‘the awakened one’. No sure records exist even about the dates of his birth and death. Instead, there are countless legends and traditions about him, all of which are subject to interpretations that have themselves changed over the course of time. What follows here, then, is a view of Shakyamuni based on the little knowledge we do have of him, from the viewpoint of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin.

    Shakyamuni’s Birth

    According to tradition, Shakyamuni was born in the Lumbini Gardens in Kapilavastu, near Nepal’s current border with India. He was the son of King Shuddhodana and Queen Maya. Their family name was Gautama and Shakyamuni was given the name Siddhartha. The Gautama family belonged to the Shakya family or tribe (although some contemporary scholars of Buddhism believe that Siddhartha Gautama was the son of the president of Shakya, a small republic dependent on the ruler of Kosala).[1] Shakyamuni’s mother is believed to have died seven days after his birth and her younger sister, Mahaprajapati, supposedly raised him.

    The actual dates of Shakyamuni’s life are unknown. Most historians agree that he probably lived between the fourth and fifth centuries BCE. Ancient inscriptions carved at the orders of one of his most famous followers, King Ashoka, give credence to this, as Ashoka is believed to have ascended his throne around 268 BCE. Contention over Shakyamuni’s dates remains, however, with scholars divided over whether Ashoka lived one hundred or two hundred years after Shakyamuni’s death.

    In thirteenth century Japan, the time of Nichiren Daishonin’s life, the established belief concerning the Buddha’s dates was based on two ancient Chinese texts. Zhou Shu Yi Ji (Record of Wonders in the Book of Zhou) [2] and Chun Qiu (Spring and Autumn Annals) [3] put his death at 949 BCE and 609 BCE respectively.

    Embarkation on Ascetic Life

    As noted above, Shakyamuni was born either a prince or part of the ruling class and seems to have been raised in privileged circumstances, lacking nothing. He is believed to have been a clever, handsome boy, and to have excelled at martial arts.

    According to the sutras, though, Shakyamuni had a deeply moving spiritual experience in his later youth. One day he left the palace through its east gate and saw an old man. On the next day he made his departure through the south gate and saw a sick person. On yet another day he made his way through the palace’s west gate and saw a funeral procession bearing a corpse. These encounters led him ponder the ephemeral nature of life. Some time later he departed the palace through its north gate and met an ascetic. He then decided to lead an ascetic life himself and search for a solution to what he perceived to be the four major sufferings inherent in human life - birth, old age, sickness and death.

    The story of the ‘four meetings’ is probably not literally true, but an embellishment added in later times. Nevertheless, viewed from the body of Buddhist teachings, Shakyamuni’s motivation for renouncing secular life must have been deeply connected to his desire to find a way to transcend life’s fundamental sufferings.

    Shuddhodana may have sensed that his son and heir, Shakyamuni, was thinking of entering religious life. He is believed to have arranged Shakyamuni’s marriage to the beautiful Yashodhara, hoping to turn his son’s mind to the practical responsibilities of his social station. The two eventually had a son, named Rahula,[4] and it probably seemed to most around him that, having married and produced an heir, Shakyamuni would settle down to his social duties.

    Apparently, though, the young man’s spiritual torment continued and , at the age of nineteen (some sources say twenty-nine) he renounced his title and his privileged life. Alone, he set out from his home on a journey to seek an answer to the sufferings of life.

    Enlightenment

    Around this time, free thinkers were emerging who repudiated the Brahman teachings, the traditional religion in India. To distinguish them from Brahmans they were called shramana, meaning ‘one who tirelessly seeks the way’.

    The Buddhist scriptures refer to Six non-Buddhist Teachers[5] who were most prominent among this group. They undermined the Brahmans’ exclusive authority over religious matters, an authority that had until then been sacrosanct . One of these reformist teachers rejected all concepts of morality, maintaining that good and evil were merely devices of human creation. Another taught an extreme form of fatalism. A third espoused a philosophy of complete materialism, asserting that human beings simply return to nothing when they die. These reformists were extremely radical in their outright rejection of Brahman teachings and there was a strong nihilistic element in what they espoused. There were ninety-five schools based on the teachings of the Six non-Buddhist Teachers and they argued doctrinal issues among themselves.

    Shakyamuni had little affinity with these teachers, but visited them to learn what he could. He first went to a Brahman hermit-sage said to be a master of yogic meditation, as it was believed that through this practice people could liberate their pure, undefiled spirits from material attachments. After a time, however, Shakyamuni realised that the teaching did not provide a fundamental solution to the questions of human life and death.

    He sought out another teacher, who had attained ‘the realm where there is neither thought nor no thought’. Shakyamuni also quickly mastered his meditative practice, only to reject it – it seems he sensed that ‘enlightenment’ of these masters, for whom meditation had become an end unto itself, was utterly ineffectual for solving the sufferings of life and death.

    Shakyamuni left his second teacher to devote himself to the practice of austerities, until at the age of thirty (some sources say thirty-five)[6], legend has it that he sat under a pipal tree near the town of Gaya and entered a deep meditation. He overcame his illusions and temptations and at last became enlightened to the dharma[7], thus liberating himself from fundamental suffering.

    In an imaginative reconstruction, Daisaku Ikeda vividly describes this event in his book, The New Human Revolution:

    Shakyamuni devoted himself to austerities for several years, pushing himself to the very limits of his endurance. His body became cruelly emaciated. His ribs and the veins on his chest protruded painfully. His skin was smeared with dirt and covered with festering sores and wounds he had sustained in the course of his ascetic practice. His beard and hair were long and unkempt. Only his eyes, bloodshot as they were, shone with unusual lucidity and clarity.

    Yet despite all these efforts, he had failed to attain enlightenment. He pondered this dilemma: ‘Seeking only sensual pleasure is naturally a base and meaningless way to live, but losing myself in the pursuit of severe austerities and self-mortification has not enabled me to achieve real enlightenment, either. Because it inflicts only pain and suffering, it is a lowly and valueless form of practice.’ Recognising that extreme asceticism would not enable him to attain the enlightenment he sought, he decided to abandon this path.

    So unstintingly had Shakyamuni dedicated himself to his practice of austerities, however, that all his fellow ascetics felt certain he was on the brink of enlightenment, and his sudden departure surprised them greatly.

    'Gautama has grown soft,' they thought. The respect and esteem they had felt for Shakyamuni turned into disappointment and contempt.

    Shakyamuni left the woods where he had been practising austerities, and went to the banks of the Nairanjana River. The sunlight glistened on the leaves of the trees and shimmered like diamonds on the water's surface.

    He made his way unsteadily down to the river to bathe his body. He was dazed from extreme exhaustion, but the water revived him. He washed away the grime of his accumulated austerities so that he might start anew.

    His body was so weak it required an enormous effort for him to climb out of the river. As he sat on the riverbank and straightened his hair, a young girl named Sujata, from the nearby village appeared at his side and offered him some rice gruel. After his long fast, Shakyamuni gladly accepted the food. Fresh life began to infuse his entire body. After resting for a while and recovering some of his strength, he set off in search of a new path that would lead him to enlightenment. He crossed the Nairanjana River and eventually came upon a large pipal tree. He sat down beneath its branches, crossed his legs and assumed the lotus position.

    ‘I shall remain in this position until I have attained true enlightenment, even if my body withers in the heat as I try,’ he vowed, and then gently closed his eyes.

    From time to time, the wind rustled through the leaves of the pipal tree, but Shakyamuni, lost in deep inner contemplation, did not stir.

    He continued his meditation under the pipal tree. According to Buddhist writings, at this time demons began to tempt him. The devious means they resorted to differ with the Buddhist writing, but it is interesting to note that some involved quite a soft and subtle approach.

    In one, for example, a demon tried to sway Shakyamuni by whispering to him gently, 'Look how gaunt you are, how pale your face is. You're surely on the verge of death. If you keep sitting here like this, it will be a miracle if you survive.' After pointing out the peril he was in and strongly urging him to live, the demon tried to persuade Shakyamuni that if he followed the teachings of Brahmanism, he could accumulate great benefit without having to undergo such hardship Shakyamuni's efforts to attain enlightenment, the demon declared, were meaningless.

    This episode of being tempted by demons symbolises an intense personal struggle taking place within Shakyamuni. Doubt assailed him, shattering his inner peace and throwing his mind into turmoil. With his body extremely weak and his physical reserves all but depleted, the spectre of death also came to haunt him. Shakyamuni's mental torment was all the greater because of the knowledge that he had gained nothing from the intense austerities he had undertaken. Might not this effort, too, he thought, ultimately prove meaningless? He was plagued by attachments to worldly desire, racked by hunger for food and a craving for sleep, tormented by fear and by doubt.

    Demons are the workings of earthly desires and illusions; they attempt to unsettle the mind of those who seek the way to true enlightenment. Sometimes demons arise in the form of our attachments to worldly desires, or appear as hunger or sleepiness. At other times, they torture the mind in the form of anxiety, fear and doubt.

    Whenever they are led astray by such demons, people invariably justify their failing in some way. They convince themselves that their justification is perfectly reasonable and natural.

    For example, since in Shakyamuni's day no one had yet attained enlightenment, it may have seemed quite reasonable for him to doubt whether his meditation under the pipal tree might not prove futile after all.

    More often than not, devilish functions cause people to clutch at some logic that vindicates their weaknesses and emotional needs. Nichiren Daishonin warns of this when he writes, 'The devil will watch over him like a parent.’[8]

    However, Shakyamuni saw these devilish functions for what they were and summoned a powerful life force, sweeping away all the disruptive thoughts that plagued him. In his heart, he cried out, 'Demons! You may defeat a coward, but the brave will triumph. I will fight. Rather than living in defeat, I would rather die fighting!'

    With this, his mind was restored to a state of tranquillity.

    The quiet blanket of night enfolded him, as countless stars above glittered with a pure, crystalline brilliance.

    After triumphing over the onslaught of devilish forces, Shakyamuni's mind was left fresh and invigorated, his spirit as clear as a cloudless blue sky.

    Having secured an impervious inner state, Shakyamuni now focused on his past. No sooner had he looked back over his present life, than images of his immediately preceding life began to appear. As he continued this inner quest, memories of countless former existences came back to him vividly one after another. And further beyond that still, he recalled countless formations and destructions of the universe.

    Shakyamuni realised that his present existence as he sat meditating under the pipal tree was a part of an endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth, which had continued since time without beginning. He thus awakened to the eternal nature of life that spans past, present and future.

    At that moment, all fears and doubts that had resided in the depths of his life like a heavy sediment since birth evaporated. He had arrived at last at the deep, unshakeable roots of his own existence. He felt the darkness of illusion that shrouded him fall away as the brilliant light of wisdom illuminated his life. He had unlocked within himself a state of being akin to commanding a clear, unhindered view in all directions from the top of a lofty mountain peak.

    With this sharply focused inner vision, Shakyamuni turned his attention to the karma of all living beings. Images of all kinds of people undergoing endless cycles of birth and death passed through his mind. Some were born into misery while others, into fortunate circumstances. With single-minded concentration, Shakyamuni traced the cause of this discrepancy.

    "Those burdened by the karma to be unhappy,' he observed silently, 'have in some past lifetime, through their actions, words or thoughts, committed evil deeds and slandered the practitioners of the true Law. Their attachment to erroneous views formed the basis for mistaken actions. Consequently, they carried the karma to be unhappy with them after death and into the next life. In contrast, those who were good and virtuous in their actions, words and thoughts, who did not slander practitioners of the true Law and conducted themselves correctly based on correct views, enjoyed happiness in later existences.

    'The present life is determined by karma accumulated from past existences, while future existences are determined by our actions in this life.'

    Shakyamuni now clearly understood this. He plainly discerned the uncompromising law of cause and effect operating in people's lives throughout the unending cycle of life and death.

    As night deepened around him, Shakyamuni continued his profound spiritual quest with a sense that he and the infinite universe were one.

    Dawn was drawing near. At the very moment the morning star began to shine in the eastern sky, something happened.

    Like a limitless, penetrating beam of light, Shakyamuni's wisdom suddenly broke through to illuminate the eternal, immutable truth of life. He felt something like an electric shock coursing through him. He trembled with emotion, his face radiant and tears filling his eyes.

    'This is it!'

    In that instant, Shakyamuni attained a profound awakening. He had finally become a Buddha - one enlightened to the supreme truth. It was as if a door within his life had been thrown open to the entire universe, and he was released from all illusion. He felt he could now move and act freely based upon the Law of life. It was a state he had never experienced before in this lifetime.

    Now Shakyamuni understood. 'The entire universe is subject to the same constant rhythm of creation and change. This applies equally to human beings. Those now in infancy are destined to grow old and eventually die and then be reborn again. Nothing, either in the world of nature or human society, knows even a moment of stillness or rest. All phenomena in the universe emerge and pass into extinction through the influence of some external cause. Nothing exists in isolation; all things are linked together over space and time, originating in response to shared causal relationships. Each phenomenon simultaneously functions as both cause and effect, exerting an influence on the whole. Moreover, a Law of life permeates the entire process.’

    Shakyamuni had grasped the wondrous truth of existence. He was convinced that he could develop himself limitlessly through this Law he had awakened to. All criticism, obstacles and hardships would be nothing more than dust before the wind.

    Shakyamuni thought: 'Unaware of this absolute truth, people live under the illusion that they exist independently of one another. This ultimately makes them prisoners of their desires, estranging them from the Law of life, the eternal and unchanging truth of existence. They wander about in darkness and sink into unhappiness and suffering.

    'But such darkness stems from delusions in one's own life. Not only is such spiritual darkness the source of all evils but also the essential cause of people's suffering over the realities of birth, ageing, sickness and death. By confronting this evil in our own lives - this delusion and ignorance - we can open the way to true humanity and indestructible happiness.'

    As the sun rose over the horizon, its bright light began to dispel the morning mist. It was truly a radiant dawn of happiness and peace for all humankind.

    Bathed in the joy of his awakening to the Law, Shakyamuni watched the light of a new morning spread across the land.

    For a time, Shakyamuni simply savoured the joy of awakening to the Law, but soon he began to grow deeply troubled. He faced a painful new dilemma: Should he preach this Law to others or should he remain silent? Sitting in the shade of the pipal tree, he agonised for many days over this question.

    No one had ever before heard, let alone expounded, this magnificent, unsurpassed Law. A vast gap lay between the brilliant realm within his own being and the real world outside. People lived in torment, fearing sickness, ageing and death; consumed by desire, they fought constantly among one another.

    All this was due to their ignorance of the law of life. Yet even if he taught them the Law for their own sake, it was possible that no one would understand it.

    Shakyamuni felt completely alone. His was the 'loneliness of the truly enlightened', known only to those who have gained an understanding of a profound principle or truth that no one else is aware of.

    He pondered: 'If no one can comprehend this Law, any attempt to teach it to others would not only be futile but could cause people to curse and berate me. Lack of understanding might even prompt some to persecute me.

    'My original purpose in renouncing the secular world was, first and foremost, to find a solution to my personal suffering over the human condition - suffering stemming from ageing, illness and death. No one knows I've attained enlightenment; if I just remain silent, no one will criticise me. Yes, that is what I'll do. I won't tell anyone. I'll just keep it a secret locked within my heart and live my own life, filled with the joy of knowing the Law

    Shakyamuni couldn't stem this upsurge of doubt and hesitation at the thought of forging ahead and disseminating the Law. He agonised over what to do.

    In this way, devilish functions continued to plague Shakyamuni even after he had become a Buddha. They vied to attack him through even the smallest breach in his heart.

    According to a Buddhist text, the devil Mara[9] appeared before Shakyamuni and tried to convince him to enjoy the state of life he had attained exclusively for himself, then the god Brahma appeared before the still undecided Shakyamuni and entreated him to preach the dharma to all people. This episode symbolises the conflict that he underwent and then the determination that welled up in Shakyamuni’s life to go forward and fulfil his life’s purpose.

    A Buddha is not a superhuman being, one who has attained this state continues to experience problems, suffering and pain and is still subject to illness and to temptation by devilish forces. For that reason, a Buddha is a person of courage, tenacity and continuous action who struggles ceaselessly against devilish functions.

    No matter how lofty a state we may achieve, without continuous efforts to advance and improve, our faith can be destroyed in a moment.


    Transmission of the Dharma

    Shakyamuni’s next problem, now that he was determined to teach others his enlightenment, was to find others to whom to start teaching it. He had learned that the five ascetics with whom he had practised austerities in the woods of Sena had moved to the Deer Park[10], near Varanasi (Benares), an important cultural and religious centre at that time. So Shakyamuni started walking. It was almost 250 kilometres (156 miles) from Bodhgaya to Varanasi, but Shakyamuni kept walking until he reached the Deer Park, long a sacred gathering place for philosophers and ascetics.

    He sought out his five former companions in ascetic practice, to tell them that he had attained a profound awakening, and had specifically come all the way to the Deer Park to share the great truth of his enlightenment with them. The five refused to believe him at first. How could someone like Gautama, who had abandoned his practice of austerities, possibly have attained enlightenment? However, it seems that faced with the warmth of Shakyamuni’s life condition, the five ascetics finally decided to abandon their austere practices and seek the teachings of the Buddha.

    The magnitude of the Law (or dharma) that he had realised left Shakyamuni with the problem of how to teach it in a way that others could grasp. In the end, he seems to have devised a logical set of principles that he incorporated into a simple, practical program. Then, with great patience, he began to preach the Law in clear and concrete terms that accorded with the capacity of his listeners. His teachings at this time were, for the most part, ‘in accord with others’ minds’;[11] that is, adapted to the level of understanding of his audience.

    Shakyamuni expounded the Law day after day. He taught that the two extremes of hedonism and asceticism were to be rejected. Instead, one should live in accord with the Middle Way,[12] and he elucidated both the practice for gaining this path and its underlying philosophy. Moreover, in contrast to the religious philosophers in India at that time, who transmitted their teachings only to their disciples, Shakyamuni taught the dharma to everyone he encountered and trained his disciples to do the same. In other words, from the outset Buddhism has been a religion that is addressed and accessible to all human beings.

    Shakyamuni did not stay in Varanasi but continually toured northern India, followed by many disciples, the most outstanding being the already mentioned ‘ten major disciples’. These preaching tours, which he continued until the last day of his life, converted a great many people, but they have also led in later times to great confusion within Shakyamuni’s teachings; so much so that they are sometimes referred of as the ‘eighty-thousand sutras’.

    This is because Shakyamuni had two basic ways of teaching others. One was to teach and encourage the person he was addressing at the moment – maybe a simple peasant - in terms that that person could grasp. The disciples who were present then exerted themselves to commit to memory what had been preached, to whom and under what circumstances. His dedicated disciples he taught more systematically, gradually raising them through higher levels of understanding until he perceived they were ready to hear his ultimate teaching. These contrasting methods have, therefore, produced a number of inconsistencies in the teachings that have come down to the present age.

    For the last eight years of his life, however, Shakyamuni taught a single doctrine in the way called ‘in accordance with the Buddha’s own mind’.[13] This was the Lotus Sutra, which is discussed in some depth in the following chapter. At the same time, he urged his followers to discard his previous teachings as provisional, incomplete and merely a preparation for this revelation of his supreme enlightenment.

    Persecutions

    The strenuous propagation activities of Shakyamuni and his disciples began to bear fruit. Even some kings and powerful merchants chose to convert to the Buddha’s teaching. Slowly some people became jealous of Shakyamuni and began to oppose his activities; at times his life was even in danger. The major hardships that he suffered are called ‘the nine great ordeals’ or the ‘nine great persecutions’. They are briefly described, as follows:

    1) A beautiful woman named Sundari, instigated by a group of Brahmans, spread rumours that she was having an affair with Shakyamuni.

    2) Brahmans mocked Shakyamuni when a maidservant gave him an offering of stinking rice gruel in a Brahman city.

    3) King Ajita invited Shakyamuni and five hundred disciples to his kingdom but neglected to make them any offerings. For ninety days they had nothing but horse fodder to eat.

    4) King Virudhaka of Kosala massacred a great many members of the Shakya clan.

    5) When Shakyamuni entered a Brahman city the king forbade the people to make offerings or listen to him. Shakyamuni was therefore unable to receive alms.

    6) A Brahman woman named Chinchamanavilka tied a bowl to her belly under her robe and claimed that she was pregnant by Shakyamuni.

    7) Devadatta[14] dropped a boulder on Shakyamuni from the top of Eagle Peak in an attempt to kill him. It missed, however, and only injured Shakyamuni’s toe.

    8) Once, around the time of the winter solstice, an icy wind arose and blew for eight days. Shakyamuni protected himself from freezing to death by wearing three robes.

    9) Devadatta convinced King Ajatashatru to make some wild elephants drunk and then let them loose among Shakyamuni and his disciples. This attempt on Shakyamuni’s life also failed.

    These persecutions were all attempts to hinder the spread of the Buddhism. Some were attempts to discredit Shakyamuni and the Buddhist movement by misleading the uninformed general populace with false rumours. Others were direct threats to Shakyamuni’s life, and the massacre of his family clan certainly caused him to suffer deeply.

    The Death of the Buddha

    Shakyamuni is said to have died at the age of eighty. Tradition has it that he accepted a meal from a blacksmith called Chunda, after which he became seriously ill. He insisted on continuing his preaching tour, however, until he reached a grove of sal trees in Kushinagara, not far from his birthplace at Kapilavastu. Realising that he was close to death, he asked for a couch to be made for him and lay down to await the end. Even so, he continued to preach. After fifty years of teaching, shortly before his death, he declared, ‘I taught various doctrines without discrimination between those who were my disciples and those who were not; as a teacher I have nothing to hide from my disciples’. Daisaku Ikeda explains these words in The New Human Revolution:

    Underlying this statement is the following story: For the first time since becoming ill Shakyamuni rose from his sickbed and went outside the hut where he had taken shelter. Ananda could not conceal his joy. ‘I was beside myself with worry while you were sick, World Honoured One. What a relief it is to see you well again! I knew you would not leave us without preaching your final great teaching.’

    Shakyamuni said quietly, ‘Ananda, what do you expect of me? I have already expounded all of my teachings to everyone without making any distinctions among you. A real Buddha holds nothing to himself, he conceals no esoteric or secret teachings. Have I not shared everything with you?’

    It was customary for the Brahman teachers of the day to refrain from revealing secret doctrines. Tightly guarding such teachings, they would share them only with their favourite disciples when they felt that their own death was near. Shakyamuni wanted to break Ananda’s attachment to this way of thinking, by declaring that what he had been preaching to everyone was indeed the true Law, that nothing had been held back.

    The confusion that later arose in the Buddhist order was caused by claims from certain disciples, wanting to bolster their own authority, that they had received some special teaching, secret transmission or esoteric doctrine from Shakyamuni. This episode attests to the fact that, from its inception, there was no such transmission of secret teachings in Buddhism. In fact, Shakyamuni transmitted his total awakening to his disciples and exhorted them to rely on the correct Law and on his teaching.

    Shakyamuni’s attitude can also be seen in his last words, which are reported to have been, ‘Decay is inherent in all composite things. Work out your own salvation with diligence.’ The later deification of ‘the Buddha’ bolstered the authority of an emerging class of priests and monks, but it was clearly not in accordance with the spirit of Shakyamuni’s teaching or activities. As Nichiren Daishonin notes, ‘The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behaviour as a human being.’[15]

    [1] Der Spiegel - Nr. 16 13.04.1998 (Spiegel Verlag, Hamburg) Interview with Hans Wolfgang Schumann
    [2] Zhou Shu Yi Ji (Record of Wonders in the Book of Zhou): Although usually attributed to the end of the Six Dynasties period (222-589 C.E.), the original has been lost and details are unknown. According to other works that quote it, the book seems to have placed Shakyamuni’s birth in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of King Chao (1029 B.C.E.) of the Zhou dynasty.
    [3] Chun Qiu (Spring and Autumn Annals): the first Chinese chronological history. It is a record of events related to the state of Lu during the period 722-481 B.C.E. and is one of the five classics of Confucianism.
    [4] Later became one of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples, and reputed to be ‘foremost in inconspicuous practice’
    [5] Six non-Buddhist teachers: Makkhali Gosala, Purana Kassapa, Ajita, Kesakambala, Pakudha Kaccayana, Sanjaya Velatthiputta and Nigantha Nataputta. The most famous of these is Nigantha Nataputta, the founder of Jainism.
    [6] Opinions differ as to how much time passed between Shakyamuni’s renouncement of secular life and his enlightenment. Those who hold that he was nineteen when he left his family home believe that he was thirty when he attained the Buddha way. Others, who believe that he left home at the age of twenty-nine, assert that he was thirty-five at the time of his enlightenment.
    [7] Dharma - a fundamental Buddhist term. The word derives from dhri (to preserve, maintain, keep, uphold, etc.) and has a great variety of meanings; including law, truth, doctrine, the Buddha’s teaching, steadfast decree, customary observance, prescribed conduct, duty, virtue, morality, good deeds, religion, justice, nature, quality, character, characteristic, essential quality, elements of existence, ultimate constituents of things, phenomena, and so forth. Also the Law or ultimate truth.
    [8] Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 770.
    [9] Mara: ‘Robber of Life’. A devil or personification of evil.
    [10] The Deer Park (Skt. Mrigadava): The name of a park in Varanasi in India, the site of present day Sarnath: the name is said to derive from the fact that it was once populated by deer. The Deer Park was also called the Rishi-patana or the ‘place where hermits gather’. Here Shakyamuni delivered his first sermon. Excavations by archaeologists in more recent times have discovered many ancient relics, including one of King Ashoka’s stone pillars.
    [11] In accordance with others’ minds (Jap. zuitai ): The Buddha preached the Law in accordance with the capacity and preference of the people, thereby gradually leading them to the true Law. In contrast, teaching and revealing the heart of the Buddha’s enlightenment directly, without making any adjustment for the peoples’ capacity is called expounding the Law ‘in accordance with the Buddha’s own mind’ (Jap. zuiji )
    [12] The way which transcends the extremes of two one-sided and opposing views. Interpretations of the term Middle Way vary considerably from one text or school to another. Among them are: (1) In Shakyamuni’s teaching, the rejection of the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. The Pali text Majjhima-nik‰ya terms this path the Middle Way. It is exemplified by the eightfold path.
    (2) According to Nagarajuna’s Chu Ron, the true nature of all things which neither is born nor dies, and which cannot be defined by either of the two extremes, existence or no-existence. This true nature of things is is non-substantiality or kž and is called the Middle Way.
    (3) In terms of T’ien-t’ai’s doctrine of the three truths, the truth of the Middle Way (Jap. chž or chžtai), whicich means that the true nature of all things is neither non-substantiality (kž) nor temporary existence (ke), but manifests the characteristics of both.
    (4) In Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the ultimate truth of things that is at the same time the entity of the body and mind of common mortals.
    [13] See footnote 11.
    [14] Devadatta: was a cousin of Shakyamuni’, thought to be about thirty years younger. He was an active and devout disciple in the first years after his conversion to Buddhism, but gradually became jealous of the Buddha and tried to gain the leadership of the Buddhist Order through various strategies. His most drastic action was the direct attempt on Shakyamuni’s life described above. In the Devadatta Chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni prophesies enlightenment for Devadatta, setting forth the doctrine that even the most evil of people can attain Buddhahood.
    [15] The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 852

    (from: http://www.guidestud.org/chapter_1.htm )
    Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!
    Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

    Comment


      Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

      Comment


        So many wonderful passages posted....sometimes I simply can't get my head wrapped around the meanings, and results in
        many questions surfacing in my mind that I get confused (at times).

        So I guess that means I need to study harder....strive to learn more....and understand more.

        I have such deep respect for Tom, and Easy, Babba and SoCal....just to name a few of you....who appear to me as having an
        advanced level of understanding, so I appreciate very much being able to come to this thread and gain a bit more
        knowledge, inspiration and understanding as a result of your words, and those words shared here through translated writings.

        Today is a great day......and it all starts (and ends) for me with chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

        A very dear friend was faced with some troubling times recently, and I have been chanting every day for a positive
        resolve to a very difficult and delicate situation....never give up chanting! Today....I hear from my friend that everything is working
        out.

        Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!
        DG
        Last edited by Dutchgrown; 03-04-2010, 19:30. Reason: added text....afterthought

        Comment


          "The true purpose of education is to develop human beings. It is the process of using knowledge as the sustenance to foster people who can demonstrate infinite creativity and self-reliance. Gaining knowledge is indispensable for guiding a changing society, but knowledge itself is not the same as creativity. Education must enable us to manifest our inner potential, and learning is just a catalyst for drawing that out.

          "What is the force, then, that dynamically converts knowledge into creativity? ... it is your awareness and sense of responsibility as a member of society. Creativity flowers in the process of utilizing the rich store of knowledge you've acquired through examining real-life situations of the people to contribute to their betterment and advancement.'"


          SGI Newsletter No. 7947, The New Human Revolution--Vol. 23: Chap. 2, Light of Learning 3, translated March 3rd, 2010
          Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

          Comment


            "Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbour doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood."

            (The Opening of the Eyes - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.1, page 283) Selection source: "Kyo no Hosshin", Seikyo Shimbun, March 4th, 2010
            Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

            Comment


              Nam myoho renge kyo

              Life brings about many changes. Please chant that I might find the power to chant.


              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

              Comment


                Consider it done Brother! Done! Now go find the power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                Much love and deepest respect,

                Thomas
                Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                Comment


                  I'm so sorry to bore you all with more BULLSHIT!!!

                  See Mark is at it again! Ha! I made a specific point about a comment he had posted and then deleted, and then in its absence he tries to change the context so as to distort the point I was making. What a sack-of-shit trick, Dr. Rogow! I notice he didn’t repost his original comment. His snobbish sense of entitlement always shows through!

                  For anyone interested in the truth, I was commenting on Mark’s chastisement of accepting donations and being paid, at the same time he was saying that the reason this was objectionable was that Nichiren and Shakyamuni made their efforts for free. His subsequent self righteous and pious comments about the Daishonin’s miserable living conditions, and a comparison to Daisaku Ikeda today, are a distortion and ridiculous. (Like I said…Glen Beck—I mean JUST LIKE Glen Beck!!!).

                  Should the modern day fulfillment of the Daishonin’s prophesy be led by someone confined to the Daishonin’s living conditions of the 12th century? What would be gained by that? Where does it say that privation is a virtue and one to be emulated? Struggle is struggle and takes on many forms, all of which challenge the human spirit.

                  Take into consideration that Daisaku Ikeda, whether he’s writing for a captive audience or not, has written and sold many books as an accepted author. I can go to any of my local secular bookstores right now and find at least two or three titles. Can that be said about ANYONE in Rogow’s sect? (anywhere, at anytime?) Does Rogow claim to be privy to Ikeda’s Royalty Agreement with the Soka Gakkai? Is Ikeda paid excessively, in comparison with other means of remuneration in the secular world, for someone doing what he does with a constituency of approaching fifteen million people??? Is Mark just jealous that HE doesn’t make a mid-six figure income?

                  Rogow just hates the SGI. That’s all this is about. He lives in the world of animality. If he doesn’t believe I am as fortunate as I say I am, then once again he is the one full of shit, not me. That’s not my problem. I have been sharing my life here since 2004, so I hardly started making things up when he came along. But as usual, his arrogance and sloth forces him to open his big mouth before actually checking anything out. Me? I’ve done lots of homework.

                  (For instance, are you really sure Shame-on-you is still flying? I don’t think he is. You better check on that.)

                  The Soka Gakkai is the richest lay organization in the world. That is something I have said here on several occasions. The reason it is, as a group of my friends agreed—discussing Mark and getting a good laugh out of his seeming vacuous capacity to grasp the obvious—we get benefits! And when you end up in life secure, and in a wonderful environment, surrounded by loved ones and everyone is happy (without having gone to medical school), many people have the independent inclination to give back, and some of them give back generously. And if the gift is from the heart and without calculation for further reward, in my experience, further reward is inevitable.

                  To Mark: Just because you never had faith adequate to secure benefit doesn’t mean everyone experienced what you have. Your doubts about the power of our faith is remarkable, but predictable. You constantly distort the Daishonin’s comments about the opposing views of the other Buddhist sects of his day and twist them to imply that they then also apply to believers of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that do not share your narrow and mistaken interpretations of his teachings. You refute with an air of authority that I don’t see anyone but yourself granting you!

                  Rogow says he doesn’t know what happened to Lamont (their “Professor of Buddhism)!!! Is he an idiot? Lamont obviously couldn’t stand him! (And he knew Rogow’s arrogance will be the downfall of all who embrace him!)

                  But why? Is Lamont just another person mistaken in their views, while Rogow continues (only in his own mind) to be flawless and perfect? What kind of an arrogant narcissist would write something like this?

                  “Nichigyo, Nichiu, Nichiei, Nichikan, Nichiko, Yukai, Matsuoka, Greg Martin versus the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren, and Rogowdoc?? It would be close.......NOT. I would open up a can of woopass on them [if I could keep my eyes open].”

                  Sound like Delusions of Grandeur anyone? He’s really full of himself isn’t he? And then he calls my words slander when all I did was cut and paste his exact words to me! LOL! I really got a kick out of that one! Short term memory loss? I swear if it weren’t so sad, I’d still be laughing!

                  Perhaps some day when he has more than a handful of people actually practicing, rather than experimenting, he’ll understand what is involved in having a legitimate world-wide organization that is recognized internationally. Rogow doesn’t even have ONE community center, while the folks he chastises have thousands all over the world. Does anyone in their right mind think all that happens based on warm thoughts and good intentions alone? Is the good Dr. that naive? Even if he is, are you?

                  On our Gohonzons there is the inscription,” "Those who make offerings will gain good fortune surpassing the ten honorable titles of the Buddha." The second of those ten is “Worthy of offerings.” As the Daishonin instructed, I believe in the proof of actual fact. How can a sect so inconsequentially small as to be unquestionably guilty of the dereliction of the spirit of kosen-rufu—no matter how Rogow wants to try and spin it in his internet postings—declare that the only entity to have spread the Daishonin’s teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo throughout the world—exactly as the Daishonin prophesized it to be—is inferior in faith, understanding, and benefit of practice?

                  Serious delusion! Or maybe they have forgotten their founders true intentions: “Nichi-ju is the one who directly worships the Daishonin and takes refuge in his teachings. My disciples should remember this well.”

                  I am not Nichiju’s disciple, but that is what I do everyday!


                  I was going to stop here, but…


                  I love this. Sometimes the arrogance just bubbles over with this guy, who thinks he must obviously be SO MUCH smarter than me! I have to share this with you all! His retort came in two parts. I’ve just found in the second one the following:

                  Pass The Doobie:

                  Mark’s sect refers to the Daishonin as Nichiren shonin (lower case “s”).

                  Me:

                  Nikko referred to Nichiren as Nichiren Shonin. If you saw Nichiren "shonin", it was a typo.

                  You are consistant PTD, a consistant liar.


                  Now I know that Dr. Rogow thinks he is some kind of special Holy Person, but as far as I’m concerned he is just a lay person who makes up a lot of stuff as he goes along. That’s why he deletes so much, because he finds out after the fact that he was mistaken about the orthodoxy of what apparently was so obvious to him, he intuitively knew it to be true.

                  I don’t go by what Mark says, because not only is he just a lay person, I have good reason to question if he is an actual member of the Kempon Hokke of Japan at all. But I do trust someone who is. Where did I get the idea that the Kempon Hokke refer to “Nichiren shonin?”

                  You be the judge! Tell me if you really think these comments from Rev. Shame-on-you are the results of typos or reflect his sense of relevance of the Daishonin:


                  “Nichiren shonin has mentioned the necessity of Kaigen at his works…” “I am a disciple of Nichiren shonin as a priest.” “There is also Japanese style Gohonzon which is distributed from Myomanji. But it is written by a calligrapher, not Nichiren shonin.” “…sentences from the Lotus sutra and Nichiren shonin's works to publish the book.” “Nichiren shonin also says in Kanjin Honzon-sho, Buddha Shakyamuni, Buddha Taho...” “Nichiren shonin also says in Kanjin Honzon-sho, the Buddha Shakyamuni in our…” “Where does Nichiren-shonin say Mandara Gohonzon is…” “Where does Nichiren-shonin say the eternal Buddha…” “So, Nichiren shonin says in Kanjin Honzon-sho…” “Nichiren shonin also says in Kanjin Honzon-sho, the Buddha…”


                  I can’t find a single place ANYWHERE that Rev. Shame-on-you uses an upper case “S”. Could the person calling me a consistent liar, in fact be the one that is a consistent liar? Those of you reading this be the judge!

                  He also asks repeatedly and quite incredulously if I consider myself a Buddha! Hahahahahahaha! I am laughing my ass of at you, All Knowing One! Please stop before you make more of a fool of yourself than you already have!

                  Rather than ask me, ask those people that know me. This is not an answer coming from me, but my wife says to tell you that if you ask her the answer is yes, and she’s sorry it seems your wife would not be able to answer the same way.

                  Thank you for all of the attention! I hope you stop lying some day soon! (Or at least become more adept at keeping your facts straight. LOL!)

                  Bowing in humble obeisance to your obscured Buddha Nature,

                  Thomas
                  Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                  Comment


                    still thinking of my friends...

                    all the best to you, Babba!
                    Sleepy Test Chemmy Jones

                    Sleepy Tests Jolly Bud from Mountain High Seeds


                    Killer Chem Freebie grow

                    Sleepy Tests OJD...>>>
                    Gangsta Haze


                    Comment


                      Nam myoho renge kyo

                      Got in a nice Chanting and Gongyo session this morning . First real good session in too long to be totally truthful. Started in yesterday with little sessions just looking to have those grow longer as we go. I owe such a debt of gratitude to this thread and to you all. Thank you so much for the support shown here. Its so much harder when you dont have a local group to back you up all the time... its too easy to slip off track. I want to thank Mrs.B for giving me the kick in the ass I needed to get chanting again.... thank you so much I bow in obeisance to you!! Of course big thanks to my brother T for always watching out Lets hope we can continue to chant even if its little short sessions and chant that we might spend more time in front of Gohonzon!! Much love to each and everyone of you!!

                      Nam myoho renge kyo

                      You guys ever get spiritually constipated ? well thats been me for a bit ... Im about to take a big dump and get back on track Much love to you all !!

                      Nam myoho renge kyo


                      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

                      Comment


                        Thanks for having the courage to tell it how it is Bud. I've also been spiritually constipated since I moved to the city and attend maybe 10% or less of the amount of meetings (chanting with others) I was attending at my most fortunate peak in the last 3 years.

                        Sometimes its the obstacles that we encounter which become our friends and help us sit in front of the Gohonzon. I'm so glad you came into the thread to breath some life into it because I'm not pleased with this communication between PTD and the guy on the other site. This thread is about chanting growers and we usually suss out the fundamental darkness and go forward.

                        Chanting Growers are Bodhisattvas of the Earth like you and me bud. I've been chanting for you your wife and parents and kids and grandkids. Same goes for all those I constantly mention month after month for all these years. Your my boy bud! GITERDONE!

                        Let's run together to the summit of Eagle Peak in this life as we do in every other life!

                        Kind regards,
                        M

                        Comment


                          Much left composed but not posted and so I guess that is the way it will be. I'm always listening for what the Universe has to say. So regardless of how much I want to shout out what I want to say, I'll stop here, quit boring all of you, and suck up the frustration of doing so. Thanks for the negative ratings and PM's guys, but due to security considerations, I had no other venue to respond! Sorry!

                          We had a wonderful discussion meeting yesterday! My wife is out of the country at a trade show so I have been loaded down with kids and activities all weekend. I only got in an hour and a half of Daimoku yesterday and I feel it today! Those NR's were sort of a kick in the pants!

                          I am so happy to have you all in my life. Let's continue! Overcoming Fundamental Darkness is the basis of achieving enlightenment in this lifetime. Thanks for helping me keep the Devil of the Sixth Heaven from getting the better of me!

                          A big, warm "Hello!" to Sleepy and a great big "attaboy!" to my dear friend Bud!

                          Deepest and most sincere respect!

                          T
                          Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                          Comment


                            I have reread the entire recent account in regards to the attacks from the other site and PasstheDoobie's words are in direct accordance with my understanding the Buddha Will's. Nichren Daishonin is the Buddha of Beginingless time and Tom is living in haramony with The Daishonin's and has made this living document the proof.

                            If ever any other person has read this other than its maker it has been me. I feel that we should public admonish any manipulation of our desire for Kosen-rufu and more Shakubuku! I'm always doing Shakubuku and with Thomas I learn more than with any other Buddhist teacher in my entire practice. I've been hit with heavy impact encouragement and that does not include hundreds of hours reading and reading and reading!

                            What I'm saying is I'm here to support Tom because has established a fountain of knowledge that rivals any other Nichiren Buddhism repository. With this document alone we have taken part in world wide kosen-rufu and continue to document big and small updates alike. I get pissed-off when the thread isn't vibing in a positive vien, but I must understand that every struggle my friends, fellow Buddhists and teachers overcome could be emulated on this thread.

                            I want other people not to antagonize the Chanting Growers Thread for possession qualities such as being a simple and pure logically driven mechanism for Kosen-rufu, based on the Nikko Shonin,(many others), President Makiguchi, President Toda, President Ikeda, Tony Matsuoka, Ted Osaki, PTD, BABBABUD,then to me. I got a fromer friend that is Nichiren Shu and he is really not a happy person in my humble opinion. I have another friend that has a Gohonzon an keeps it in his closet and won't chant! I try my best to help him take it out, but he will not budge. Some people serve to strengthen our practice through their actions is what I'm seeing.

                            I'm glad these new items we are chanting towards are running in spirit with our practice and general expectation in regards to how we should be carrying out our practice (*see every other post in support of my battle for the continued exsistence of the this thread.*)I've read this entire thread and multiple parts have been read and reread multiple times. It's documented how many times the Gohonzon saves my ass, I've helped alot of people, I've been selfish, I've progressed, I'm going forward, I'm a winner, and I love a few really special people who know who they are.

                            We gotta chant for everyone we could think of and try and help them in real life. I'm doing much more than I can write about but I got kosen-rufu gongyo in the morning ( monthly meeting). I thrive when I support the members for these meetings. So, thanks for all the support and I'll be keeping you all close to my heart especially Babba and T because right now we're gonna be accomplishing and achieving some great new things, the same should also go for my Myohobrother and especially my MYOHOSisters who are the real deal!

                            Peace and love,
                            Myohodisco

                            P.S- I really think this guy on the other site that is bashing has no clue whats even written on this thread. This thread has revolutionized my life in so many positive ways which are documented here and the same is also true for the others. I'm sure his thread lacks the level of sincerity we experience here for public display if there is attacking and misinterpretations galore. To each his own and now I'm done with that punk.

                            Comment


                              Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

                              Comment


                                Thanks so much for the support from this thread as always. Ive found some power and got myself in front of Gohonzon chanting ... thanks so much to this thread for the support it constantly lends to all of us that visit here.
                                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

                                Comment

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