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    The Mystic Law is the law of
    changing poison into medicine.*
    Don't be defeated! Never ever give up!
    Let's take everything as a great opportunity to grow
    and determine that no matter what happens
    we will be victorious at the end of the day!


    Daisaku Ikeda

    * Changing poison into medicine - http://www.sgi.org/buddhism/buddhist...-medicine.html
    Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

    Comment


      The World of Anger

      "The key to the transformation of the world of Anger lies in self-mastery-channeling the energy that has formerly been directed toward winning over others into winning over oneself. This begins simply with the humility to respect and admire what is praiseworthy in others."

      The willingness to learn from others and the readiness to self-reflect are qualities that define us as human beings, the means by which we develop ourselves and become happier. What happens when we lose or neglect these abilities? The frightful consequences of this are what Buddhism describes as the world of Anger. The word "anger" is likely to make us think of someone losing their temper or becoming enraged or furious. This is a natural and sometimes necessary reaction to situations we encounter. Such anger can often function positively, when it is directed against injustice or irresponsibility, for example.

      There is a difference between this and the ego-obsessed world of Anger described in Buddhist theory. Anger here is one of ten "worlds" or conditions of life, which, according to the Buddhist concept of the Ten Worlds, are inherent in all people. We experience these at different times in different ways depending on our responses to our circumstances and the strength or weakness of our inner-motivated efforts to improve ourselves. They are: Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Humanity, Rapture, Learning, Realization, Bodhisattva and Buddhahood.

      The chief characteristic of the world of Anger is envy, the kind where one cannot tolerate the thought of anyone being in any way better than oneself. It is a burning need to be superior to others, a belief that one is fundamentally better than other people.

      As a Buddhist text describes it: "Since those in the world of Anger desire in every instance to be superior to everyone else and cannot bear to be inferior to anyone, they belittle and despise others and exalt themselves, like a hawk flying high and looking down on the world. At the same time, outwardly they seek to display the virtues of benevolence, justice, propriety, wisdom and fidelity."

      Nichiren, the 13th-century founder of the Buddhism practiced by members of the SGI, characterizes Anger as "perversity." This is because of the great disjuncture between the inner and outer worlds of someone in the state of Anger. One's intense competitiveness is masked by a show of virtue and by obsequious behavior designed to elicit the acknowledgment from others that is so essential to one's sense of superiority. The aggressiveness of people in this state belies their insecurity. Arrogance, contempt for others, a highly critical streak and a powerful, conflictual or competitive urge are all aspects of the world of Anger as it manifests in our lives.

      When people in positions of power and authority become caught up in the snares of Anger, or when this world begins to predominate in society, the consequences can be catastrophic. As SGI President Ikeda describes, to one in this state, "everything appears as a means or a tool to the fulfillment of egotistical desires and impulses. In inverse proportion to the scale of this inflated arrogance, the existence of others-people, cultures, nature-appears infinitely small and insignificant. It becomes a matter of no concern to harm or even kill others trivialized in this way. It is this state of mind that would countenance the use of nuclear weapons. . . People in such a state of life are blinded, not only to the horrific suffering their actions wreak, but to human life itself."

      The SGI movement aims to bring about a transformation in society through the transformation of the heart of the individual, based on an understanding of the dynamics of the human heart and the profound interconnection of the individual, society and the cosmos itself.

      While every person strives to be happy, the misguided efforts of people in the world of Anger only drive them deeper into misery and a sense of isolation. Paradoxically, however, the sense of self-awareness and self-importance characteristic of the world of Anger is also a gateway to empathy with others. The acute sense of one's ego can be a basis for the realization of how important and precious each person's life is to them, and of the shared difficulties of existing happily in the world.

      The key to the transformation of the world of Anger lies in self-mastery-channeling the energy that has formerly been directed toward winning over others into winning over oneself.

      This begins simply with the humility to respect and admire what is praiseworthy in others.

      [Courtesy October 2010 SGI Quarterly]
      Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

      Comment


        "In the Daishonin’s Buddhism, we can all equally and directly connect to the Gohonzon."

        SGI Newsletter No. 8727, The New Human Revolution, Vol. 26: Chap. 1, Atsuta 61, translated 25th Feb. 2013

        "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the greatest of all joys.'"

        (Ongi kuden - Gosho Zenshu, page 788, The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, page 212) Selection source: "Kyo no Hosshin", Seikyo Shimbun, October 26th, 2012
        Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

        Comment


          "Arouse deep faith, and diligently polish your mirror day and night. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo."

          (On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.1, page 4) Selection Source: Kyo no Hosshin, Seikyo Shinbun, October 5th, 2012
          Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

          Comment


            "Never become the kind of person who tyrannises and bullies the weak and fawns on and plays up to the powerful. You need to challenge the arrogant and domineering. You need to protect those who can’t protect themselves, treating them with care and consideration. Don’t succumb to the world of Animality!

            “In order to protect your fellow Soka Gakkai members, you need to stand up to the powerful. You can’t protect the people unless you fight against those who look down on and try to exploit them."


            SGI Newsletter No. 8641, Young Phoenixes, Soar into the Future! (7) President Ikeda’s Lecture on “Letter from Sado”—Part 1 [of 2], from the May 2011 issue of the Daibyakurenge,, translated 4th Oct. 2012
            Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

            Comment


              Unity is the very heart of Buddhism.
              How well we get along with each other
              shows how strong our faith is.
              With perfect and solid unity,
              let's advance together!


              Daisaku Ikeda
              Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

              Comment


                "'Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study' (WND-1, 386), writes Nichiren Daishonin. The important thing is that you continue to study [the Daishonin’s teachings] and put what you have learned into practise. Even if you can’t remember everything you’ve studied, some of it will remain with you, engraved in the depths of your life. At a crucial moment, it will enable you to bring forth the power of faith to overcome the challenge before you.

                "Those who have a solid body of teachings as their guide are strong. The source for all victory is found in the Gosho, the collected writings of Nichiren Daishonin.... It will form a foundation for happiness for the rest of your life and give you the strength to always emerge victorious."


                SGI Newsletter No. 8534, Humanistic Teachings for Victory, (4) The Gosho Is the Eternal Foundation of the SGI, from the 21st March, 2012, issue of the Soka Shimpo, the Soka Gakkai youth division’s fortnightly newspaper, translated 8th June 2012.
                Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                Comment


                  "You must persevere through this trial and see for yourselves the blessings of the Lotus Sutra."

                  (Letter to the Brothers - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.1, page 498) Selection source: SGI President Ikeda's message, Seikyo Shimbun, June 10th, 2012
                  Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                  Comment


                    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo~

                    "Great events never have minor omens. When great evil occurs, great good follows."
                    I was thinking that we have seen enough great evil, and I am looking forward to the great good.

                    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

                    "You must persevere through this trial and see for yourselves the blessings of the Lotus Sutra."
                    We see the blessings of the Lotus Sutra unfolding daily

                    ~Nam Myoho Renge Kyo~

                    Comment


                      Thomas is one of the many blessings we have received...

                      Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by Payaso View Post

                        Thomas is one of the many blessings we have received...

                        Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!
                        Chris! Thanks so much for saying such a thing, but I am quite certain that every single one of us is a blessing. We are all Entities of the Mystic Law! So is it is very true that we have many blessings, and being one of them makes my experience the joy of joys, and this thread has been the lense for the observation of my mind.

                        It is my thanks to all of you, and so many that are no longer checking in!

                        Bowing humble obeisance,

                        T
                        Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by PassTheDoobie View Post
                          "Never become the kind of person who tyrannises and bullies the weak and fawns on and plays up to the powerful. You need to challenge the arrogant and domineering. You need to protect those who can’t protect themselves, treating them with care and consideration. Don’t succumb to the world of Animality!

                          “In order to protect your fellow Soka Gakkai members, you need to stand up to the powerful. You can’t protect the people unless you fight against those who look down on and try to exploit them."

                          SGI Newsletter No. 8641, Young Phoenixes, Soar into the Future! (7) President Ikeda’s Lecture on “Letter from Sado”—Part 1 [of 2], from the May 2011 issue of the Daibyakurenge,, translated 4th Oct. 2012
                          This was the key for me yesterday as I broke through a ridiculous obstacle that I thought my karma eradicated. I needed to speak to a senior in faith that I trust and refreshed myself on a critical piece. When people persecute us they are our best friends, I now thank Gohonzon for bringing those people into our life that take on our karma and help us sustain our practice throughout the rest of this life and the next.

                          We have the ten worlds and the recent reading has been a huge benefit too during the "obstacle mode" moments, but they are just facts of life and as Tom says we are all just "We are all Entities of the Mystic Law!" That's the truth and I need to emerge from my issues.I'm so happy now that I'm battling these issues head on. My seventh Gohonzon birthday is coming up in a couple weeks and so are my midterms -cowafuckingbunga!! Its gonna be a wild ride and I'm excited to keep going forward.

                          Tom, I totally agree with Chris and extend it to the Babbas as well. We are all truly grateful and full of appreciation for your countless hours transcribing, posting, sharing, and responding to other messages behind the scenes as you raise an amazing family! Looking forward to seeing you all asap!

                          Thanks for the sincere support and encouragement, from the bottom of my heart I bow in obesiance to each of you noble participants and most honourable friends.
                          Click This Link and let's chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread....e-kyo&page=355

                          https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread....3819&page=1593 --best thread off all the threads throughout this universe.

                          Comment


                            The Entity of the Mystic Law / WND pg. 4

                            The Entity of the Mystic Law / WND pg. 417

                            QUESTION: What is the entity of Myoho-renge-kyo?

                            Answer: All beings and their environments in any of the Ten Worlds are themselves entities of Myoho-renge-kyo.

                            Question: If so, then is it possible to say that all living beings, such as ourselves, are entities of the Mystic Law in its entirety?

                            Answer: Of course. The sutra says, "This reality [the true aspect of all phenomena] consists of the appearance, nature . . . and their consistency from (1) beginning to end." The Great Teacher Miao-lo comments on this as follows: "The true aspect invariably manifests in all phenomena, and all phenomena invariably manifest in the ten factors. The ten factors invariably manifest in the Ten Worlds, and the Ten Worlds invariably (2) manifest in life and its environment." T'ien-t'ai commented, "All phenomena consisting of the ten factors, Ten Worlds, and three thousand realms (3) are entities of the Lotus Sutra." The Great Teacher Nan-yüeh says, "Question: What does Myoho-renge-kyo represent? Answer: Myo indicates that all living beings are myo, or mystic. Ho indicates that all living beings (4) are ho, or the Law." T'ien-t'ai also says, "The Law of all living beings is (5) mystic."

                            Question: If the entity of all living beings is the Mystic Law in its entirety, then are all the actions and their results that are associated with the nine worlds, from the world of hell up to that of bodhisattvas, in effect entities of the Mystic Law?

                            Answer: The mystic principle that is the essential nature of phenomena possesses two aspects, the defiled aspect and the pure aspect. If the defiled aspect is operative, this is called delusion. If the pure aspect is operative, this is called enlightenment. Enlightenment constitutes the realm of Buddhahood. Delusion constitutes the realms of ordinary mortals.

                            These two aspects, the deluded and the enlightened, are indeed two different phenomena, and yet both are workings of the one principle, that is, the essential nature of phenomena, or the true aspect of reality. It is like a piece of crystal. If the crystal is placed in the sun's rays, it will attract them and produce fire. But if it is placed in the moon's rays, it will produce water. The crystal is a single entity, but the effects it produces differ according to the circumstances.

                            The mystic principle of the true aspect of reality is like this. The mystic principle of the true aspect of reality is one, but if it encounters evil influences, it will manifest delusion, while if it encounters good influences, it will manifest enlightenment. Enlightenment means enlightenment to the essential nature of phenomena, and delusion, ignorance of it.

                            It is like the case of a person who in a dream sees himself performing various good and evil actions. After he wakes up and considers the matter, he realizes that it was all a dream produced by his own mind. This mind of his corresponds to the single principle of the essential nature of phenomena, the true aspect of reality, while the good and evil that appeared in the dream correspond to enlightenment and delusion. When one becomes aware of this, it is clear that one should discard the ignorance associated with evil and delusion, and take as one's basis the awakening that is characterized by goodness and enlightenment.

                            The Complete and Final Teaching on Perfect Enlightenment Sutra declares, "The beginningless illusions and ignorance that beset all living beings are all produced by the perfectly enlightened mind of the Thus Come Ones."

                            The Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai in his Great Concentration and Insight states, "Ignorance or illusions are in themselves enlightenment to the essential nature of phenomena. But due to the influence of delusions, enlightenment changes into ignorance." The Great Teacher Miao-lo comments on this as follows: "Enlightenment has no separate entity but completely depends upon ignorance; and ignorance has no separate entity but completely depends (6) upon enlightenment."

                            Ignorance is a state of delusion that must be cut off, whereas enlightenment is the state that one must manifest. How then can we say that they are a single entity? To resolve doubts on this point, one should have a clear grasp of the passages that have been quoted here. The example of the dream given in the ninety-fifth volume of The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom and the T'ien-t'ai school's (7) example of the piece of crystal cited above are very interesting illustrations.

                            Further proof of the truth that ignorance and enlightenment are one in essence is found in the passage in the Lotus Sutra that reads, "These phenomena are part of an abiding Law, [and] the characteristics of the world (8) are constantly abiding." Great Perfection of Wisdom says, "Enlightenment and ignorance are not different things, not separate things. To understand this is what is called the Middle Way."

                            There are many passages of proof asserting that the mystic principle of the true aspect of reality possesses two aspects, the defiled and the pure. But none can surpass the one in the Flower Garland Sutra that says, "The mind, the Buddha, and all living beings -these three things are without distinction," or the passage in the Lotus Sutra that describes the true aspect of all phenomena.

                            The Great Teacher Nan-yüeh says, "The entity of the mind is endowed with two aspects, the defiled and the pure. However, it does not have two different forms but is single in nature and without distinction." (9) And the (10) example of the mirror that he gives truly presents a thorough explanation of the subject. For a more detailed understanding, one may also refer to his interpretations in The Mahayana Method of Concentration and Insight.

                            Another good explanation is given in the sixth volume of Miao-lo's Annotations on "The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra," in the passage that reads: "While the three thousand realms remain latent [in ordinary beings], they are all designated by the term 'ignorance.' But when the three thousand realms all manifest themselves as the result [of Buddhahood], then they are all designated by the term 'eternal happiness.' However, because the three thousand realms themselves remain un-changed, ignorance is essentially one with enlightenment. Since the three thousand realms all remain constant, they possess both entity and function." This commentary makes the matter perfectly clear.

                            Question: If all living beings are entities of Myoho-renge-kyo, then are ordinary people like ourselves who are ignorant and deluded, unenlightened and dull-witted, also entities of the Mystic Law?

                            Answer: Though there are a great many people in the world today, they all fall into two categories - those who believe in the provisional teachings and those who believe in the true teaching. Those who believe in the provisional and expedient teachings, such as the Nembutsu, cannot be called entities of Myoho-renge-kyo. But those who believe in the Lotus Sutra, which is the true teaching, are entities of Myoho-renge-kyo, mystic entities of the true aspect of reality. The Nirvana Sutra says, "Among all living beings, those who believe in the Mahayana are called the Mahayana people."

                            The Great Teacher Nan-yüeh in his Four Peaceful Practices writes, "The Great Diligence Sutra says, 'Ordinary beings and the Thus Come One share a single Dharma body. Being pure and mystic beyond comparison, it is called Myoho-renge-kyo.'" He also says: "Those who practice the Lotus Sutra are pursuing through this single act of devotion the mind that is endowed with all manner of fortunate results. These are present simultaneously and are not acquired gradually over a long period of time. This is like the blossom of the lotus that, when it opens, al-ready possesses a large number of seeds. Hence such persons are called the people of the one vehicle." He also says: "The people of the two vehicles, particularly the voice-hearers, and the bodhisattvas of inferior capacity choose to follow the way of expedient means, practicing methods that assure gradual progress over a long period of time. But the bodhisattvas of superior capacity honestly discard expedient means and do not carry out the practice of gradual progress. If they are able to complete the meditation based on the Lotus Sutra, then they will thereby possess all manner of fortunate results. Persons such as these are called the people of the one vehicle."

                            The phrase "practice of gradual progress" that appears in this commentary by Nan-yüeh has been interpreted by the scholars of our time to refer to the specific teaching. In fact, however, it refers to the way of expedient means, as opposed to the way of the Lotus Sutra, which is endowed simultaneously with causes and results. Hence the term "practice of gradual progress" includes the perfect teaching preached before the (11) Lotus Sutra, the various Mahayana sutras preached before the Lotus Sutra, and the Mahayana and Hinayana sutras that belong to the sudden and gradual teachings.

                            As proof, we may cite the following passage in the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra: "Then I preached the twelve divisions of the correct and equal sutras, (12) the teaching of great wisdom, and the Flower Garland teaching of the ocean-imprint meditation, describing the many kalpas of practice for bodhisattvas."

                            But the bodhisattvas of superior capacity honestly discard expedient means and do not carry out the practice of gradual progress. They practice the Lotus Sutra, and when they attain its truth, they simultaneously acquire all manner of fortunate results. Persons such as these are called the people of the one vehicle.

                            When we consider the meaning of these various passages, we understand that none of the ordinary people and sages of the three vehicles, the five (13) vehicles, the seven expedient means, the nine worlds, or the four flavors and three teachings can be called Mahayana followers who are entities of Myoho-renge-kyo. Though there are Buddhas in these teachings, they are Buddhas of the provisional teachings and cannot be called Buddhas in the true sense. This is because the Buddhas of the provisional teachings (14) in their three bodies have not yet freed themselves from impermanence. How then could beings in realms other than Buddhahood be [called entities of Myoho-renge-kyo]? That is why it is said that a person of humble station born in the Latter Day of the Law is more worthy of respect than the kings and high ministers who lived during the two thousand years of the Former and Middle Days.

                            Nan-yüeh says in his commentary, "All living beings have within themselves the storehouse of the Dharma body, and therefore they are in no way (15) different from the Buddha." That is why the Lotus Sutra says, "The pure and ordinary eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind that one received at birth from one's father and mother are (16) also like this."

                            Nan-yüeh also writes, "Question: In what sutra does the Buddha explain the eyes and the other sense organs and designate them by the name Thus Come One? Answer: The Great Diligence Sutra says, 'Ordinary beings and the Thus Come One share a single Dharma body. Being pure and mystic beyond comparison, it is called Myoho-renge-kyo (17).'" This comes from a sutra other than the Lotus, but since the Lotus later clarified the same point, it is all right to quote it here.

                            If we take up the word "share" that is used in this passage of the Great Diligence Sutra and apply it in our argument, we may say that those who share in and believe in the Lotus Sutra are entities of that mystic sutra. But those who do not share in it, such as the Nembutsu believers, are not entities of the mystic sutra because they have al-ready turned their backs on their Buddha nature, that is, the Thus Come One of the Dharma body.

                            In essence, the entity of Myoho-renge-kyo is the physical body that the disciples and followers of Nichiren who believe in the Lotus Sutra received from their fathers and mothers at birth. Such persons, who honestly discard expedient means, put faith in the Lotus Sutra alone, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, will transform the three paths of earthly desires, karma, and suffering into the three virtues of the Dharma body, wisdom, and emancipation. The threefold contemplation and the three truths will immediately become (18) manifest in their minds, and the place where they live will become the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light. The Buddha who is the entity of Myoho-renge-kyo, of the "Life Span" chapter of the essential teaching, who is both inhabiting subject and inhabited realm, life and environment, body and mind, entity and function, the Buddha eternally endowed with the three bodies -he is to be found in the disciples and lay believers of Nichiren. Such persons embody the true entity of Myoho-renge-kyo; this is all due to the meritorious workings that the spontaneous transcendental powers inherent in it display. Could anyone venture to doubt it? Indeed it cannot be doubted!

                            Notes

                            1. Lotus Sutra, chap. 2.
                            2. The Diamond Scalpel.
                            3. Source unknown.
                            4. On the Peaceful Practices of the Lotus Sutra.
                            5. The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra.
                            6. The Annotations on "The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra."
                            7. This example appears in T'ien-t'ai's Great Concentration and Insight. Hence the expression "T'ien-t'ai school" is used to mean the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai, the founder of the Chinese T'ien-t'ai school.
                            8. Lotus Sutra, chap. 2.
                            9. The Mahayana Method of Concentration and Insight.
                            10. The example of the mirror is expounded in Mahayana Method of Concentration and Insight. Through the example of the inseparable relationship between an object and its image reflected in the mirror, Nan-yüeh reveals that a living being and a Buddha are "two but not two" in essence; in other words, common mortals of the nine worlds are inherently endowed with Buddhahood.
                            11. A reference to the teaching that expounds the concept of attaining Buddha-hood in one's present form. But this teaches it in name only with no actual examples of its having occurred, or postulates various distinctions and exceptions.
                            12. The "twelve divisions of the correct and equal sutras" refers to all the Mahayana teachings. The "twelve divisions" is a classification of the sutras according to style and content.
                            13. The five vehicles refer to the three vehicles of voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, and bodhisattvas plus the human and heavenly realms.
                            14. In sutras other than the Lotus Sutra, the three bodies were held to exist separately, such as Mahavairochana in the Dharma-body aspect and Amida in the reward-body aspect. However, on the basis of the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, T'ien-t'ai main-tained that the three bodies are not separate entities but three integral aspects of one Buddha.
                            15. On the Peaceful Practices.
                            16. A summary of a passage in the "Benefits of the Teacher of the Law" chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
                            17. On the Peaceful Practices.
                            18. The "threefold contemplation" and the "three truths" here mean subjective wisdom and objective reality, respectively, and the expression that these "will immediately become manifest in their minds" represents the fusion of wisdom and reality. See Glossary for threefold contemplation and three truths.


                            threefold contemplation in a single mind
                            [一心三観] (Jpn.: isshin-san-gan)
                            1. Also, threefold contemplation. A method of meditation formulated by T'ien-t'ai (538-597) in Great Concentration and Insight, intended to enable one to perceive the unification of the three truths of non-substantiality, temporary existence, and the Middle Way. While the concept of the unification of the three truths constitutes the doctrinal core of T'ien-t'ai teachings, threefold contemplation in a single mind constitutes the core of T'ien-t'ai practice. T'ien-t'ai doctrine regards each phenomenon as a perfect unity of the three truths and sets forth the threefold contemplation in a single mind as the practice by which one attains insight into this perfect unity. This contemplation involves perceiving the three truths as simultaneously and perfectly integrated and interfused in each phenomenon. By doing so, one is said to rid oneself of the three categories of illusion and acquire at once the three kinds of wisdom-the wisdom of the two vehicles, the wisdom of bodhisattvas, and the Buddha wisdom. T'ien-t'ai also describes a single mind as comprising the three thousand realms. In this sense, threefold contemplation in a single mind is equal to observing a single moment of life and seeing the three thousand realms within it. At the same time, one perceives that all phenomena consist of the three thousand realms.

                            three truths
                            [三諦] (Jpn.: san-tai)


                            1. Also, threefold truth, triple truth, or three perceptions of the truth. The truth of non-substantiality, the truth of temporary existence, and the truth of the Middle Way. The three integral aspects of the truth, or ultimate reality, formulated by T'ien-t'ai (538-597) in The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra and Great Concentration and Insight. The truth of non-substantiality means that phenomena have no existence of their own; their true nature is non-substantial, indefinable in terms of existence or nonexistence. The truth of temporary existence means that, although non-substantial, all things possess a temporary reality that is in constant flux. The truth of the Middle Way means that the true nature of phenomena is that they are neither non-substantial nor temporary, though they display attributes of both. The Middle Way is the essence of things that continues either in a manifest or a latent state. According to T'ien-t'ai's explanation, the Tripitaka teaching and the connecting teaching do not reveal the truth of the Middle Way and therefore lack the three truths. The specific teaching reveals the three truths but shows them as being separate from and independent of one another; that is, it does not teach that these three are inseparable aspects of all phenomena. This view is called the separation of the three truths. The perfect teaching views the three as an integral whole, each possessing all three within itself. This is called the unification of the three truths.

                            From source: The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism
                            Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                            Comment


                              The Entity of the Mystic Law (cont) / WND pg. 420

                              Question: The Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai has explained that the term Myoho-renge is used in two different senses, one meaning the entity of Myoho-renge and the other being figurative in meaning. What are these two kinds of renge, or lotus?

                              Answer: The figurative renge, or lotus, is explained in detail in the three metaphors of the lotus blossom enfolding the seed, the lotus blossom opening to reveal the seed inside, and the lotus blossom falling and the seed ripening, so one should refer to them. The lotus that is the entity of Myoho-renge is explained in the seventh volume of The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra as follows: "Renge, or lotus, is not a symbol; it is the actual name of the entity. For example, at the beginning of the kalpa of continuance, the various things in the world had no names. The sage observed the principles that govern them and on that basis made up names for them." He also writes: "Now the name renge is not intended as a symbol for anything. It is the teaching expounded in the Lotus Sutra. The teaching expounded in the Lotus Sutra is pure and undefiled and explains the subtleties of cause and effect. Therefore, it is called renge, or lotus. This name designates the true entity that the meditation based on the Lotus Sutra reveals, and is not a metaphor or figurative term."

                              The Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai also writes: "Question: Does the term renge in fact mean the renge, or lotus, that is the essence of the meditation based on the Lotus Sutra? Or does it in fact mean the ordinary lotus that is a species of plant?

                              "Answer: It in fact refers to the lotus that is the essence of the Lotus Sutra. But because the essence of the Lotus Sutra is difficult to understand, the metaphor of the lotus plant is introduced. People of sharp faculties will hear the name and immediately grasp the principle. They have no need to rely upon a metaphor but can understand the Lotus Sutra directly. But people of intermediate or inferior perception will not understand immediately. Only through the medium of a metaphor will they be able to understand. Thus the easily understood metaphor of an actual lotus plant is used to make clear the difficult-to-understand lotus that is the essence of the Lotus Sutra.

                              "Thus, in the Lotus Sutra the Buddha employed three cycles of preaching in accordance with the respective understanding of those of superior, intermediate, or inferior capacity. For people of superior capacity, the renge, or lotus, that is the name of the Law was taught. But, for people of intermediate or inferior capacity, the lotus was used as a metaphor or symbol. As long as one understands that the word is being used both as a name for the Law itself and as a metaphor, depending upon which of the three groups of people is being addressed, then there should be no reason to argue over it."

                              This passage of commentary means that the supreme principle [that is the Mystic Law] was originally without a name. When the sage was observing the principle and assigning names to all things, he perceived that there is this wonderful single Law [myoho] that simultaneously possesses both cause and effect [renge], and he named it Myoho-renge. This single Law that is Myoho-renge encompasses within it all the phenomena comprising the Ten Worlds and the three thousand realms, and is lacking in none of them. Anyone who practices this Law will obtain both the cause and the effect of Buddhahood simultaneously.

                              The sage practiced with this Law as his teacher and attained enlightenment, and therefore he simultaneously obtained both the mystic cause and the mystic effect of Buddhahood, becoming the Thus Come One of perfect enlightenment and fully realized virtues.

                              Thus the Great Teacher Dengyo writes: "A single mind, the entity of Myoho-renge, simultaneously brings to maturity both the blossom of cause and the calyx of effect. The three cycles of preaching that the Buddha employed each contain both the lotus that is the entity and the lotus that is a metaphor. The Lotus Sutra as a whole consists of both entity and metaphor. In particular we may note the seven parables, the three equalities, and the ten peerless nesses, which each contain the lotus of the entity. And the teaching that fully sets forth this principle is called Myoho-renge-kyo [the Lotus Sutra of (19) the Wonderful Law]."

                              The Great Teacher Miao-lo says: "When interpreting the seven parables, one should understand the renge, or lotus, in each of them in terms of the doctrine of the provisional and true teachings. Why? Because these lotuses are no more than metaphors for the fact that the provisional teachings were set forth for the sake of the true teaching, and that the provisional teachings are opened in order to reveal the true teaching. All the seven parables are to (20) be understood in this way." In the beginning of the kalpa of continuance, a plant existed. The sage observed its principle and gave it the name renge, or lotus. The lotus plant resembles the principle of Myoho-renge in that it simultaneously contains both cause [blossom] and effect [seed]. Hence the plant came to bear the same name as the principle. The lotus that grows in water is the lotus that is a plant, such as the pink variety or the white variety. When we speak of the figurative lotus, or the lotus that is a metaphor, it is this lotus plant we mean. This lotus plant is used to help clarify the difficult concept of Myoho-renge. That is what the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai means when he says that, through the use of this metaphor, the difficult-to-understand Mystic Law is rendered more comprehensible.

                              Question: Since the beginning of the kalpa of continuance, has anyone become enlightened to the lotus that is the entity of the Mystic Law?

                              Answer: Shakyamuni Buddha (21) became enlightened to this lotus that is the entity of the Mystic Law numberless major world system dust particle kalpas in the past, and in age after age and lifetime after lifetime, declared that he had attained the way and revealed the fundamental principle he had realized with his enlightened wisdom.

                              In our present world as well, he appeared in the kingdom of Magadha in central India, intending to reveal this lotus of the Mystic Law. But the people lacked the proper capacity, and the time was not right. Therefore, he drew distinctions regarding this lotus of the single Law and expounded it as three kinds of flowers, delivering to the people the provisional teachings of the three vehicles. For over forty years he guided and led them with these temporary teachings according to their capacities. During this period, because the capacities of the people he addressed were so varied, he bestowed upon them the various flowers and plants of the provisional teachings, but he never spoke of Myoho-renge. That is why, in the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, the Buddha said: "In the past I sat upright in the place of meditation [for six years] under the bodhi tree [and was able to gain supreme perfect enlightenment . . . But] in these more than forty years, I have not yet revealed the truth."

                              But when he preached the Lotus Sutra, he cast aside the various plants and flowers of the Hinayana doctrines and the provisional teachings, which correspond to the expedient means of the four flavors and three teachings, and explained the unique doctrine of Myoho-renge. When he opened the three figurative lotuses to reveal the single lotus of Myoho-renge, the people of the provisional teachings with their four flavors and three teachings were able to gain the lotus of the first of the ten stages of security. Not until he revealed the lotus of "opening the near and revealing the distant" were they able to obtain the lotus of the highest result, advancing to the second stage of security, the third stage of security, the tenth stage, the stage of near-perfect enlightenment, and finally, the highest stage of perfect enlightenment.

                              Notes:

                              19. Source unknown.
                              20. On "The Profound Meaning."
                              21. Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment numberless major world system dust particle kalpas in the past and realized that his life is the entity of the Mystic Law.
                              Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                              Comment


                                The Entity of the Mystic Law (cont) / WND pg 423

                                Question: Exactly which passages in which chapters of the Lotus Sutra expound the lotus that is the entity of the Mystic Law, and which ones expound the lotus that is a metaphor?

                                Answer: If we speak in terms of the three groups of voice-hearers, then we would say that the whole of the "Expedient Means" chapter expounds the lotus that is the entity, while the "Simile and Parable" and "Parable of the Phantom City" chapters expound the lotus that is a metaphor. However, it cannot be said that explanations of the lotus as a metaphor are entirely lacking in the "Expedient Means" chapter, nor can it be said that the other chapters are without explanation of the lotus as the entity.

                                Question: If so, then what passage contains a full elucidation of the entity?

                                Answer: The passage in the "Expedient Means" chapter that deals with the true aspect of all phenomena.

                                Question: How do we know that this passage deals with the lotus that is the entity?

                                Answer: Because T'ien-t'ai and Miao-lo quote this passage when they explain the essence of the Lotus Sutra. And the Great Teacher Dengyo in his commentary also writes, "Question: What is the essence of the Lotus Sutra? Answer: Its essence is the true aspect of (22) all phenomena." This passage of commentary clarifies the matter. (Scholars of the time kept this commentary secret and did not reveal the name of the entity, but the passage is clearly referring to Myoho-renge).

                                Furthermore, actual evidence of the entity is to be found in the examples of (23) the three kinds of Buddhas described in the "Treasure Tower" chapter, the bodhisattvas who appeared from the earth, and the dragon king's daughter who attained Buddhahood in her present form. The Bodhisattvas of the Earth offer actual evidence because, as a passage of the Lotus Sutra says, "[They are unsoiled by worldly things] (24) like the lotus flower in the water." Thus we learn of the true entity of these bodhisattvas. And the dragon king's daughter offers actual evidence because she made her appearance at the gathering at Eagle Peak, "seated on a thousand-petaled lotus blossom big as (25) a carriage wheel."

                                Moreover, the thirty-four manifestations of Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound and the thirty-three manifestations of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World's Sounds constitute further evidence. For, as the commentary says, "If he had not gained the mysterious power of perfect freedom of action through the meditation based on the Lotus Sutra, then how could he manifest these thirty-three (26) different forms?"

                                In addition, there is the sutra passage that states, ". . . the characteristics of the world are constantly abiding." All these passages are documentary proofs cited by the scholars of our time. Personally, however, I prefer to cite the passage in the "Expedient Means" chapter on the true aspect of all phenomena and the passage in the "Supernatural Powers" chapter that refers to "all the doctrines possessed by the (27) Thus Come One." This last passage is also cited by the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai in his commentary explaining the five major principles of the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, I feel that this passage in particular can be cited as certain proof of the entity of the Mystic Law.

                                Question: The documentary proofs and actual proofs that you have cited above are particularly compelling. But why do you place such emphasis upon this one passage from the "Supernatural Powers" chapter?

                                Answer: This passage is profoundly significant, and that is why it is particularly pertinent.

                                Question: What is that profound significance?

                                Answer: In this passage, Shakyamuni Buddha explains that he is entrusting the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, which is the essence of the Lotus Sutra, to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, his original disciples. The Thus Come One Shakyamuni, who attained enlightenment countless kalpas in the past, says elsewhere, "What I long ago hoped for has now been fulfilled. I have converted all living beings and caused them all to enter the Buddha (28) way." Thus, he has already fulfilled his earlier vow. Then, intending to charge his disciples with the task of accomplishing widespread propagation in the last five-hundred-year period after his passing, he called forth the Bodhisattvas of the Earth and entrusted them with the heart of the sutra, the lotus of the entity of the essential teaching. This passage represents the ultimate purpose for which Shakyamuni Buddha appeared in the world, the secret Law that he attained in the place of meditation. It is this passage that gives proof of the lotus of the entity that, for those of us who live in the Latter Day of the Law, assures the attainment of Buddhahood in both the present and future.

                                Accordingly, at the present time in the Latter Day of the Law, other than the envoy of the Thus Come One, there can be no one who understands and produces this passage as proof of the lotus of the entity. Truly it is a passage of secret meaning. Truly it is a matter of great concern. Truly it is to be honored and admired. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

                                (This is what is meant by the statement (29) in the Lotus Sutra that the bodhisattvas of the perfect teaching preached before the sutra have assembled in a multitude of eighty thousand, wishing to hear the teaching of perfect endowment).

                                Question: Concerning the doctrines of our school, when persons of other schools come and want to know what passages give proof of the lotus of the entity, what passages from the Lotus Sutra should be cited?

                                Answer: You should point to the title Myoho-renge-kyo that appears at the very beginning of each of the twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra.

                                Question: But how do we know that the title Myoho-renge-kyo appearing in each chapter is the lotus of the entity of the Mystic Law? I ask this because, when the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai explained the title of the Lotus Sutra, he interpreted the lotus as a metaphor, so that we would have to say that this is the lotus that is a metaphor, would we not?

                                Answer: The renge, or lotus, in the title of the sutra is explained as both entity and metaphor. In the interpretation you have just referred to, T'ien-t'ai is explaining the lotus as a metaphor. This is what he does in the first volume of Profound Meaning where he discusses the six metaphors of the theoretical and essential teachings. But in the seventh volume of the same work, he interprets the lotus as the entity of the Mystic Law. Thus T'ien-t'ai's doctrine is flawless in that it reveals both interpretations, explaining the lotus in the title of the sutra as both entity and metaphor.

                                Question: How do we know that these two interpretations can be used and that the title can be taken as both entity and metaphor? When the Great Teacher Nan-yüeh explained the five characters Myoho-renge-kyo, he said, "Myo indicates that all living beings are myo, or mystic. Ho indicates that all living beings are ho, or the Law. Renge, or lotus, is a metaphor that is employed here." It would seem, then, would it not, that both Nan-yüeh and T'ien-t'ai interpreted the lotus as a metaphor?

                                Answer: Nan-yüeh's interpretation is like that of T'ien-t'ai. While it is not entirely clear from the sutras that there can be two interpretations, that is, taking the lotus as both entity and metaphor, Nan-yüeh and T'ien-t'ai discerned these two meanings through the treatises of Vasubandhu and Nagarjuna.

                                That is to say, in The Treatise on the Lotus Sutra we read: "The words Myoho-renge have two meanings. First, they signify the lotus that appears on the surface of the water. . . . The way in which the lotus emerges from the muddy water is used as a metaphor to explain that, when the Thus Come One joins the multitude of listeners, seats himself on a lotus in the same manner as the various bodhisattvas, and expounds on the unsurpassed wisdom of the Thus Come One and on the enlightened state of purity, the various voice-hearers, hearing this, are able to obtain the secret storehouse of the Thus Come One. Second, the words Myoho-renge signify the lotus opening up. [This is a metaphor explaining that] ordinary beings, though exposed to the Mahayana teachings, are timid and fearful in mind and incapable of taking faith in them. Therefore, the Thus Come One 'opens' or reveals his Dharma body in its purity and wonder, awakening in them the mind of faith."

                                In this passage, the word "various" in the phrase "the various bodhisattvas" refers to the fact that the bodhisattvas of both the Mahayana and Hinayana teachings, upon arriving on the scene when the Lotus Sutra is preached, are able, for the first time, to understand the lotus of the Buddha. This is clear from the above passage in Treatise on the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, (30) we know that the statement that the bodhisattvas had already gained entrance [to enlightenment] through the various sutras was no more than an expedient.

                                T'ien-t'ai explains this passage of Treatise on the Lotus Sutra as follows: "If we are to explain the meaning of the treatise, we would say that, when the Thus Come One causes ordinary beings to see the Dharma body in its purity and wonder, he is showing them the lotus that opens through a mystic cause. And when the Thus Come One enters the multitude of listeners and seats himself on a lotus, he is indicating that the land produced as a mystic reward is itself the lotus." (31)

                                Again, when T'ien-t'ai wishes to give a detailed explanation of the dual interpretation of the lotus as both entity and metaphor, he quotes the passage in the Great Collection Sutra that reads, "I now bow in reverence before the lotus of the Buddha," and the passage in Treatise on the Lotus Sutra that has just been quoted, to support his argument. As he explains: "According to the Great Collection Sutra, the lotus is both the cause and the effect of religious practice. When the bodhisattvas seat themselves on the lotus, this is the lotus of the cause. But the lotus of the Buddha that one bows before in reverence is the lotus of the effect. Or, according to Treatise on the Lotus Sutra, the land surrounding one is the lotus. That is, the bodhisattvas, by practicing the Law of the lotus, are as a result able to obtain the land of the lotus. Thus we should understand that the objective realm and the subjective being who depends upon it, the cause [that is the bodhisattva] and the effect [that is the Buddha], are all the Law of the renge, or lotus. Therefore, what need is there to employ metaphors? But because dull-witted people cannot understand the lotus of the essential nature of phenomena, an ordinary lotus is introduced as a metaphor to assist them. What harm is there in (32) that?"

                                And elsewhere he says, "If we do not use a lotus, then what are we to employ as a metaphor for all the various teachings that have been described above? It is because the Law and the metaphor are expounded side by side that we refer to them by the phrase (33) Myoho-renge."

                                Next, we come to Great Perfection of Wisdom by Bodhisattva Nagarjuna, which states, "The lotus represents both the Law itself and a metaphor for it." The Great Teacher Dengyo, explaining the above passages from the treatises of Vasubandhu and Nagarjuna, writes as follows: "The passage in Treatise on the Lotus Sutra says that the lotus of what is called Myoho-renge-kyo has two meanings. It does not say that an ordinary lotus has two meanings. On the whole, what is admirable here is the fact that the Law and the metaphor that is used for it resemble each other. If they did not resemble each other, then how could the metaphor help people understand the meaning? That is why Great Perfection of Wisdom says that the lotus is both the Law itself and a metaphor for it. A single mind, the entity of Myoho-renge, simultaneously brings to maturity both the blossom of cause and the calyx of effect. This concept is difficult to understand, but through the use of a metaphor, it can be made easy to understand. The teaching that fully sets forth this principle is called Myoho-renge-kyo." (34)

                                These passages from the treatises and their explanations quoted here will make the matter clear, and one should therefore examine them carefully. Nothing is hidden or held back, and hence the dual explanations of the lotus as both entity and metaphor are fully expounded.

                                In the final analysis, the meaning of the Lotus Sutra is that the metaphor is none other than the entity of the Law and that the entity of the Law is none other than the metaphor. That is why the Great Teacher Dengyo in his commentary says: "The Lotus Sutra contains a great many metaphors and parables. However, when it comes to the major parables, we find that there are seven of them. These seven parables are none other than the entity of the Law, and the entity of the Law is none other than these metaphors and parables. Therefore, there is no entity of the Law outside of the metaphors and parables, and there are no metaphors and parables outside of the entity of the Law. In other words, the entity of the Law refers to the entity of the truth of the essential nature of phenomena, while the metaphors and parables rep-resent the entity of the Mystic Law as manifested in actual phenomena. The manifestations are none other than the entity of the truth, and the entity of the truth is none other than the manifestations. Therefore, it can be said that the Law and its metaphors constitute a single entity. This is why the passages from the treatises and the annotations by the Tendai school all explain the lotus as both the Law itself and a metaphor (35) for it."

                                This passage is perfectly clear in meaning, and therefore I need say nothing further.

                                Notes:

                                22. A summary of a section from An Essay on the Protection of the Nation.
                                23. The three kinds of Buddhas refer to Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions who are emanations of Shakyamuni Buddha.
                                24. Lotus Sutra, chap. 15.
                                25. Ibid., chap. 12. In this chapter, it states, "Manjushri was seated on a thousand-petaled lotus blossom," and in the latter part of this chapter it says that the dragon king's daughter perfected the bodhisattva practice and appeared in a world to the south called Spotless World, where she seated herself on a jeweled lotus flower, acquired the thirty-two features and eighty characteristics of a Buddha, and thence proceeded to preach the Lotus Sutra to all living beings.
                                26. The Annotations on "Great Concentration and Insight."
                                27. Shakyamuni declares to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, "All the doctrines possessed by the Thus Come One, all the freely exercised supernatural powers of the Thus Come One, the storehouse of all the secret essentials of the Thus Come One, all the most profound matters of the Thus Come One - all these are proclaimed, revealed, and clearly expounded in this sutra." After this statement, he transfers the essence of the Lotus Sutra to Bodhisattva Superior Practices and the other Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
                                28. Lotus Sutra, chap. 2.
                                29. This refers to the "Expedient Means" chapter of the Lotus Sutra. "The teaching of perfect endowment" indicates the heart of the sutra, the lotus of the entity of the essential teaching.
                                30. This is found in On "The Profound Meaning."
                                31. Profound Meaning.
                                32. Ibid.
                                33. Ibid.
                                34. Essay on the Protection of the Nation.
                                35. Source unknown.
                                Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

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