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Old 01-15-2015, 06:48 PM #1691
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WoW! Today is a study day again... THANK YOU Thomas!

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

So much to comprehend, but a glimmer of understanding is forming

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Old 01-16-2015, 06:58 AM #1692
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"As a young man, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda lost an infant daughter. Many years later, when encouraging someone who had lost a child and asked him whether it would be possible to forge a parent-child relationship with that child again in this lifetime, he said:

"'I lost my infant daughter Yasuyo when I was 23. I held my dead child all through the night. At the time, not yet having taken faith in the Gohonzon, I was overcome with grief and fell asleep with her in my arms.

"'And so we parted, and now I am 58. Since she was three when she died, she would now be a fine woman had she lived. Have I or have I not met my deceased daughter again in this life? This is a matter of one’s own perception arising from faith. I believe that I have met her. Whether one is united with a deceased relative in this life or the next is all a matter of one’s perception through faith.'[1]

"After Mr. Toda lost his daughter, his wife also passed away. He grieved terribly over their deaths, but he said that because he had experienced such personal loss and various other kinds of hardships he was able to encourage many others and to be a leader of the people who could understand their feelings.

"Everything that happens in life has meaning. If you press ahead undefeated, through the sadness, the pain, and the feeling you can’t go on, the time will come when you see its meaning. That’s the power of faith, and the essence of life.”


SGI Newsletter No. 9165, The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, Part 1: Happiness, Chapter 6: Facing the All-Important Questions of Life and Death—Part 2 [of 2], 6.9 Ties Based on the Mystic Law Are Eternal, from the December 2014 issue of the Daibyakurenge, translation released 28th Dec. 2014
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:00 AM #1693
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“It must be ties of karma from the distant past that have destined you to become my disciple at a time like this. Shakyamuni and Many Treasures certainly realised this truth. The sutra’s statement, 'Those persons who had heard the Law dwelled here and there in various Buddha lands, constantly reborn in company with their teachers,' cannot be false in any way.”

(The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life -The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.I, page 217) Selection source: "Kyo no Hosshin", Seikyo Shimbun, January 12th, 2015
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:46 AM #1694
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Smile Post 1670….

“The heart of the Buddha’s lifetime of teachings is the Lotus Sutra, and the heart of the practice of the Lotus Sutra is found in the ‘Never Disparaging' chapter. What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behaviour as a human being.”

(The Three Kinds of Treasure - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, page 851)
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:48 AM #1695
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“Chanting with a powerful resolve not to be beaten by adversity and a wish that everyone without exception will attain happiness and victory, our members are transforming everything into a source of hope and setting in motion a chain reaction of benefit, joy, and growth of capable individuals.

“'If you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present' (WND-1, 279), cites Nichiren Daishonin.

"Taking a step forwards today opens the way to the future. Let’s keep challenging ourselves joyfully so we have no regrets.


SGI Newsletter No. 9170, Opening a New Era of Kosen-rufu Together, (44) Let’s Sail Forth toward Dynamic Development!, from 13th Dec., 2014, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun translation released 9th Jan., 2015
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:07 AM #1696
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The Unanimous Declaration by the Buddhas of the Three Existences regarding the Classification of the Teachings and Which Are to Be Abandoned and Which Upheld (originating from post 1657)

WNDII / pg. 835

Written by Nichiren


By grasping the meaning of these two words “provisional” and “true,” we may distinguish in the sacred teachings of the Buddha’s lifetime which ones are provisional and deal with the instruction and conversion of others, and which are true and pertain to the Buddha’s enlightenment. The first three of the four teachings, the first four of the five periods of teachings, and the first nine of the Ten Worlds all alike deal with affairs of good and evil as these exist in the realm of dreams. Hence they are called provisional teachings.

With regard to these doctrinal teachings, the Buddha in the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra stated that “in these more than forty years, I have not yet revealed the truth.” These various sutras in which the truth is not yet revealed are provisional teachings pertaining to the realm of dreams.

Therefore The Annotations on “The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra” states: “Though the nature of the mind does not vary, it is inevitably engaged with phantoms, and so it gives rise to phantom capacities, phantom receptiveness, phantom responses, and phantom salvation. Both the Buddha, who is capable of responding, and the living beings, who receive instruction and undergo conversion, are provisional in aspect and not true.”

This passage is saying that these teachings are all expedient means relating to a realm of dreams and phantoms. The words “though the nature of the mind does not vary” mean that the nature of the mind when it is viewing dreams and the nature of the mind when it is wakened is one uniform mind nature and never varies. However, there are two types of events viewed by this single mind, the false events encountered in dreams and the true events of a time of waking. But though we realize this, we know that both are simply the workings of one’s own mind.

Therefore Great Concentration and Insight states: “In the four universal vows set forth in the first three of the four teachings, [distinctions between] both the doer and the ones who receive the doing are wiped out.”(2)

The four universal vows declare: “Living beings are numberless: I vow to save them. Earthly desires are countless: I vow to eradicate them. The teachings are endless: I vow to master them. Enlightenment is supreme: I vow to attain it.”

The doer is the Thus Come One, and the ones who receive the doing are living beings. The passage of commentary is explaining that in these four universal vows set forth in the first three of the four teachings, the Buddha who carries out the act of saving, and the living beings who are saved, all belong to the dream realm of right and wrong.

Thus the various sutras preached in the forty-two years prior to the Lotus Sutra are provisional teachings in which the Buddha has “not yet revealed the truth,” an expedient means. They are an expedient means designed to lead one to the Lotus Sutra and hence do not represent the truth itself.

The Buddha himself acknowledged this fact when he grouped the works preached in the first forty-two years together and then, in preparation for the preaching of the Lotus Sutra, preached the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra to serve as an introduction for the Lotus Sutra, and in it made a declaration regarding the classification of the teachings [in terms of their relative worth]. This declaration no one can controvert, nor can any doubt be cast on it.


(2) This passage is actually found in Miao-lo’s Annotations on “Great Concentration and Insight.”
I didn't hear any questions so I will continue with the expression of my personal understanding of what this teaching is conveying.

So what is this saying above? I've already given much of the background that is reiterated here, but again, understand that because many people live in a world in which they fail to recognize the powers and wisdom inherent in their lives as Buddhas--exactly as they are, being unaware of that truth or lacking the means to awaken to it--they go about living in a deluded state, as if being in a dream. What they think is real is not real. But like in a dream it seems real and so they have experiences that they think are real.

Pertaining to the teachings of Buddhism, Nichiren says to regard these as delusions of phantom perceptions. He quotes Miao-lo, the ninth patriarch of the T'ien-t'ai School in China calling them out as: "phantom capacities, phantom receptiveness, phantom responses, and phantom salvation," saying that the Buddha teaching these pre-Lotus Sutra teachings, the teachings themselves, and the salvation of those who have embraced them, are just expedients ("provisional in aspect and not true"). He follows that by quoting Great Concentration and Insight as saying the same thing: "…all belong to the dream realm of right and wrong."

They are the deluded belief that one has understandings that are correct, when in fact one does not. They are the deluded belief that one has encountered correct teachings, when in fact one has not. They are the deluded belief that one is experiencing advance or benefit from these teachings, when in fact one is not. And they are the deluded belief that one will reach the other shore of the attainment of enlightenment and salvation from this, that in fact, one will not.

He says at the end of this segment that these declarations of fact, which might seem hard to believe, having been substantiated in the above commentaries are not his own declaration of the Truth, but rather the Declaration of the Truth by the Buddha Shakyamuni himself in his Immeasurable Meanings Sutra (and the Lotus and Nirvana Sutras). They are therefore incontrovertible teaching of the Buddha Shakyamuni which no one can dispute or doubt.

Again, all of the the above is based on the Buddha Shakyamuni's own admonitions and then studied and further broken down by virtue of content and teaching period, by teachers in the lineage of the Indian Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna, and then Hui-wen, Nan-yueh, T'ien-t'ai, Chang-an, Chih-wei, Hui-wei, Hsuan-lang, Miao-lo and others of China who transmitted this Truth to Dengyo and Geshin of Japan.

Nichiren used the commentaries of these scholars of this lineage of 'Masters of the Lotus Meditation,'--based on the teachings of the Lotus Sutra--to substantiate as existing doctrine or Buddhist principals of correct understanding, for the teachings and merits of the Buddhism left behind by Shakyamuni of India. But now here is the cool part many people don't understand. A friend in an earlier post referred incorrectly to the "Nichiren School."

In fact there are over 40 different Nichiren schools. In reality, Nichiren Buddhism is an entire other mainstream of Buddhism from the Buddhism of Shakyamuni--one that is rooted in the Essence of the Lotus Sutra which could not be revealed until the Latter Day of the Law (now). For much of Shakyamuni's preaching life he was laying down Sutras that ultimately contradicted one another in different ways. But then, as we see, in the Lotus Sutra Shakyamuni Buddha reveals that they were all just expedient means to lead to the truth anyway. They were not the real Truth itself, according to his declaration in the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, which Nichiren quotes above.

In Nichiren's Teachings, he refers to the preceding teachings of Shakyamuni as the "Buddhism of the Harvest," while he considers the teachings of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, one of his Three Great Secret Laws, to be what he calls The "Buddhism of the Sowing." He acknowledges that while his teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is rooted in Shakyamuni's teaching of the Lotus Sutra, the practice and efficacy of the two are as different as night and day because of the time: The Latter day of the Law.

The prediction that his teaching and practice (In the Latter Day of the Law) of the Great Pure Law of His "Buddhism of the Sowing" (the practice of Faith in his Teachings and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo; realizing the attainment of Buddhahood in your present form and leading others to the same reward) is COMPLETELY grounded in all of the teachings of Shakyamuni and the lineage of the 'Masters of the Lotus Meditation' that followed in the two thousand year period of the Former Day of the Law (first thousand years after Shakyamuni's death) and the Middle Day of the Law (second thousand years). According to Shakyamuni, two millennia after his death the power inherent in his teachings would become so convoluted that they would no longer be effective and no longer lead to enlightenment.

But Shakyamuni taught that within that first 500 years following the end of the Middle Day of the Law, the Bodhisattvas of the Earth--Original Disciples of the Buddha in his True Identity who appear in the 15th chapter of the Lotus Sutra and are transferred the Sutra's essence on the 21st chapter--make their appearance and bring forth and propagate the True Teaching. This Great Pure Law which has been referred to and been exhorted to be upheld in the Lotus Sutra, but is never specifically identified; is to be propagated as the teaching for those whom make their advents as living beings in the Latter Day of the Law. Please see the definition and reference of that transfer from the Supernatural Powers of the Thus Come One chapter of the Lotus Sutra following this post.

This is the teaching that is to be upheld in the Latter Day of the Law, which begins at the end of the Middle Day and continues for "ten thousand years and beyond." Please understand then, that in Nichiren Buddhism, the "Buddhism of the Harvest" serves as an expedient for introduction to the "Buddhism of the Sowing" in the Latter day of the Law. In the reality of what is the Correct Teaching? It is the essence of the Lotus Sutra transferred to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth in the Latter Day of the Law as taught and introduced by Nichiren Daishonin of Japan: Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Bowing in humble obeisance,

T
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:13 AM #1697
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transfer of the essence of the Lotus Sutra [結要付嘱] (Jpn ketchō-fuzoku): Also, transmission of the essence of the Lotus Sutra. In the “Supernatural Powers” (twenty-first) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha’s entrusting of the sutra’s teaching to Bodhisattva Superior Practices and the other Bodhisattvas of the Earth. The sutra reads: “At that time the Buddha spoke to Superior Practices and the others in the great assembly of bodhisattvas, saying: ‘The supernatural powers of the Buddhas, as you have seen, are immeasurable, boundless, inconceivable. If in the process of entrusting this sutra to others I were to employ these supernatural powers for immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of asamkhya kalpas to describe the benefits of the sutra, I could never finish doing so. To put it briefly, 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. For this reason, after the Thus Come One has entered extinction, you must single-mindedly accept, uphold, read, recite, explain, preach, and transcribe it, and practice it as directed.’”

T’ien-t’ai (538–597), in The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra, described the passage “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” as four essential phrases that summarize the Lotus Sutra, calling it the “four-phrase essence” of the sutra. In The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra, based on the same sutra passage, T’ien-t’ai formulated five major principles—name, essence, quality, function, and teaching—that endow the sutra’s title, Myoho-renge-kyo: “To put it briefly, all the doctrines possessed by the Thus Come One [name], all the freely exercised supernatural powers of the Thus Come One [function], the storehouse of all the secret essentials of the Thus Come One [essence], all the most profound matters of the Thus Come One [quality] —all these are proclaimed, revealed, and clearly expounded in this sutra [teaching].” Nichiren interpreted the same sutra passage as indicating Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the Three Great Secret Laws. See also five major principles; Three Great Secret Laws.

great pure Law [大白法] (Jpn daibyakuhō): In Nichiren’s (1222–1282) teaching, the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nichiren uses this term in his writings to indicate the ultimate Law implied in the “Life Span” (sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, in contrast with the pure Law, or Shakyamuni’s teachings. To illustrate, Nichiren writes in The Selection of the Time: “There is no doubt that our present age corresponds to the fifth five-hundred-year period described in the Great Collection Sutra, when ‘the pure Law will become obscured and lost.’ But after the pure Law is obscured and lost, the great pure Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the heart and core of the Lotus Sutra, will surely spread and be widely declared throughout the land of Jambudvīpa” (WND/541).
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:27 AM #1698
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five major principles [五重玄] (Jpn gojū-gen): The five viewpoints from which T’ien-t’ai (538–597) interpreted the Lotus Sutra: name, essence, quality, function, and teaching. In The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra, T’ien-t’ai explains that Myoho-renge-kyo, the title of the Lotus Sutra, is not only the name, but also the essence of the sutra, and is endowed with a unique quality, function, and position among all teachings. “Name” signifies the meaning of the title of a sutra. The “Interpretation of the Name” section of Profound Meaning gives a detailed explanation of the title Myoho-renge-kyo and explains why it represents the essence of the Lotus Sutra. “Essence” signifies the ultimate principle of a sutra. The “Clarification of the Essence” section defines the substance of Myoho-renge-kyo to be the true aspect of all phenomena. “Quality” indicates the principal doctrines of a sutra. The section “Elucidation of Quality” defines the principal doctrine of the theoretical teaching (first half) of the Lotus Sutra to be the replacement of the provisional teachings with the true teaching, and the principal doctrine of the essential teaching (latter half) to be the revelation of the Buddha’s true identity, i.e., his original attainment of enlightenment, as well as the revelation of the true cause and true effect of his enlightenment. This section of Profound Meaning also states that the quality, or main point, of the sutra as a whole is the causality of the supreme vehicle of Buddhahood. “Function” indicates the benefit and power of a sutra. The “Discussion of Function” section says that the theoretical teaching dispels belief in the three vehicles (teachings for voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, and bodhisattvas) and arouses faith in the one vehicle of Buddhahood, and that the essential teaching denies the Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment in this life and arouses faith in his original attainment of enlightenment in the remote past. Moreover, the function of the Lotus Sutra as a whole is to lead all people to Buddhahood. “Teaching” refers to the position and influence of a sutra with respect to other sutras. The section “Evaluation of the Teaching” asserts that the Lotus Sutra encompasses all other teachings, and that its influence permeates all phenomena. This section introduces the systems of classifying the sutras advocated by the three schools of southern China and the seven schools of northern China, and refutes them with T’ien-t’ai’s own classification of “five periods and eight teachings,” a system that defines Myoho-renge-kyo as the supreme sutra. T’ien-t’ai’s five major principles are based on the passage of the “Supernatural Powers” (twenty-first) chapter of the Lotus Sutra that begins the transfer of the essence of the sutra to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. It reads: “To put it briefly, all the doctrines possessed by the Thus Come One [name], all the freely exercised supernatural powers of the Thus Come One [function], the storehouse of all the secret essentials of the Thus Come One [essence], all the most profound matters of the Thus Come One [quality] —all these are proclaimed, revealed, and clearly expounded in this sutra [teaching].”


Three Great Secret Laws [三大秘法] (Jpn sandai-hihō): The core principles of Nichiren’s teaching. They are the object of devotion of the essential teaching, the daimoku of the essential teaching, and the sanctuary of the essential teaching. Here, “essential teaching” refers to the teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and not to the essential teaching, or the latter fourteen chapters, of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren (1222–1282) established these three essential principles to enable people in the Latter Day of the Law to attain Buddhahood. They are called secret because they are implicit in the text of the “Life Span” (sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra and remained hidden or unknown until Nichiren revealed them. Nichiren regarded them as the vital teaching that Shakyamuni Buddha transferred to Bodhisattva Superior Practices in the “Supernatural Powers” (twenty-first) chapter of the sutra. He regarded his mission as one with that of Bodhisattva Superior Practices.

The Three Great Secret Laws represent Nichiren’s embodiment of the Mystic Law, to which he was enlightened, in a form that all people can practice and thereby gain access to that Law within their own lives. He associated the Three Great Secret Laws with the three types of learning set forth in Buddhism—precepts, meditation, and wisdom. Specifically, the object of devotion corresponds to meditation, the sanctuary to precepts, and the daimoku to wisdom. Concerning the three types of learning based on the Lotus Sutra, Dengyō (767–822), in his Questions and Answers on Regulations for Students of the Tendai Lotus School, states, “The spacelike immovable precept, the spacelike immovable meditation, and the spacelike immovable wisdom—these three all together are transmitted under the name ‘Wonderful Law.’” The three types of learning based on the Lotus Sutra are called “spacelike” and “immovable” because, like space, which represents the ultimate truth, they are immovable, or imperturbable. Nikkō, Nichiren’s successor, stated that in Nichiren’s teachings the object of devotion corresponds to the spacelike immovable meditation, the sanctuary to the spacelike immovable precept, and the daimoku to the spacelike immovable wisdom.

Nichiren mentions the Three Great Secret Laws in several of his writings (all dated after his near execution at Tatsunokuchi and subsequent exile to Sado Island in 1271), and in a work known as On the Three Great Secret Laws, he offers a detailed definition.

At the core of the Three Great Secret Laws is the One Great Secret Law. This is the object of devotion of the essential teaching, or Nichiren’s embodiment in the form of a mandala of the eternal Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which he fully realized and manifested in his life. He writes in The Person and the Law, “Deep in this mortal flesh I preserve the ultimate secret Law inherited from Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, at Eagle Peak” (WND/1097). Because embracing this object of devotion called the Gohonzon is the only precept in Nichiren’s teaching, the place where it is enshrined corresponds to the place where one vows to observe the Buddhist precepts—the ordination platform, or sanctuary, of the essential teaching. The term precept in Buddhism implies preventing error and putting an end to evil. The daimoku of the essential teaching indicates the invocation or chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith in the object of devotion; it includes chanting the daimoku for oneself and teaching it to others. Thus, both the sanctuary and the daimoku derive from the object of devotion.

Later Nichikan (1665–1726), the twenty-sixth chief priest of Taiseki-ji temple, classified the Three Great Secret Laws into Six Great Secret Laws. First, the object of devotion is viewed in terms of both Person and Law. The Person indicates Nichiren himself, who achieved the enlightenment and virtues of the eternal Buddha and who established the Buddhism of sowing for all people in the Latter Day of the Law. The object of devotion in terms of the Law is the Gohonzon, which embodies Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Second, the sanctuary also has two aspects, the specified sanctuary and the general sanctuary. The former is the sanctuary to be built at the time of kōsen-rufu, or wide propagation, in accordance with Nichiren’s instruction. This is the place where the object of devotion Nichiren inscribed for all humanity (commonly known as the Dai-Gohonzon) is to be enshrined when his teaching has been widely spread and established. The general sanctuary is any place where one enshrines the object of devotion and engages in practice. Third, the daimoku of the essential teaching also has two aspects: the daimoku of faith and the daimoku of practice. The former means to believe in the Gohonzon, and the latter means to chant the daimoku and spread it.

According to Nichikan’s “Interpreting the Text Based upon Its Essential Meaning,” the Six Great Secret Laws are considered a crystallization of the Buddha’s eighty-four thousand teachings, the Three Great Secret Laws a crystallization of the Six Great Secret Laws, and the One Great Secret Law a crystallization of the Three Great Secret Laws.
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:56 AM #1699
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Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

Today's lessons are worthy of much concentration...

The following was enlightening to me...
Quote:
A friend in an earlier post referred incorrectly to the "Nichiren School."

In fact there are over 40 different Nichiren schools. In reality, Nichiren Buddhism is an entire other mainstream of Buddhism from the Buddhism of Shakyamuni--one that is rooted in the Essence of the Lotus Sutra which could not be revealed until the Latter Day of the Law (now).
And now we are here ... learning the lessons anew.

Another level has been reached here in the thread, now I am absorbing your explanations more easily than the quotations - helpful as they may be, your thoughts are much appreciated.
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Old 01-18-2015, 06:04 AM #1700
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The Unanimous Declaration by the Buddhas of the Three Existences regarding the Classification of the Teachings and Which Are to Be Abandoned and Which Upheld (originating from post 1657; continued on post 1686)

WNDII / pg. 835

Written by Nichiren



Therefore The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra says, “The nine worlds represent the provisional, the world of Buddhahood represents the true.”(3)

The nine worlds that are provisional are the teachings set forth in the first forty-two years. The world of Buddhahood that is true is that which was preached in the last eight years, namely, the Lotus Sutra. Therefore the Lotus Sutra is called the Buddha vehicle.

The births and deaths occurring in the nine worlds exemplify the principles underlying a realm of dreams, and hence they are called provisional teachings. The eternally abiding nature of the world of Buddhahood exemplifies the principles of the waking state, and hence it is called the true teaching.

Therefore we may say that the teachings set forth over a period of fifty years, the sacred teachings of the Buddha’s lifetime, or all the various scriptures, are made up of the provisional teachings preached in the first forty-two years, which are designed for the instruction and conversion of others, and the true teaching set forth in the last eight years, which pertains to the Buddha’s enlightenment. Together the two make up a period of fifty years. These two terms, provisional and true, thus provide a mirror in which one may perceive the real nature of the teachings without doubt or misunderstanding.

Therefore, if one practices the Tripitaka teaching, thinking that after three asamkhyas and a hundred major kalpas, one may in the end become a Buddha, then one must generate fire from one’s body, “reducing the body to ashes and entering extinction,” and thus destroy oneself. If one practices the connecting teaching, thinking to become a Buddha after seven asamkhyas and a hundred major kalpas, then likewise, as in the previous case, one must reduce the body to ashes and enter extinction, and thus destroy oneself, leaving no trace or form behind.

And if one practices the specific teaching, thinking to become a Buddha after twenty-two great asamkhyas and a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand kalpas, this is to become a Buddha of the provisional teachings in the dream realm of birth and death. Seen in the light of the waking state of the original enlightenment of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddhahood of the specific teaching is not true Buddhahood but a goal achieved in a realm of dreams. Thus the path outlined in the specific teaching can never lead to true Buddhahood.

In the path to enlightenment set forth in the specific teaching, when one reaches the first of the ten stages of development, one for the first time to a certain degree cuts off ignorance and begins to gain understanding to a certain degree into the principle of the Middle Way. But when one does so, one realizes that the specific teaching presents the three truths as separate entities not fused together. One thereupon shifts to the perfect teaching, becoming a believer in the perfect teaching, and thus no longer remains in the category of those who embrace the specific teaching.

Those who pursue the bodhisattva path may be divided into superior, middling, and inferior in terms of capacity. But anyone who is in the first of the ten stages of development, the second stage, the third stage, and so on up to the stage of near-perfect enlightenment, is a person of the perfect teaching. Therefore, in the system outlined in the specific teaching there is in fact no real attainment of Buddhahood. Hence it is called a system in which the teaching regarding the goal exists but no example of anyone who has reached it.

Therefore An Essay on the Protection of the Nation states: “The Buddha of the reward body, which exists depending on causes and conditions, represents a provisional result obtained in a dream, while the Buddha eternally endowed with the three bodies represents the true Buddha from the time before enlightenment.” (The former represents the Buddha gained through practice of the first three of the four teachings, and the latter, the Buddha perceived through observation of the mind described in the last of the four teachings, the perfect teaching.)

And the same text states: “The three bodies as they are expounded in the provisional teachings are not free from impermanence. But the three bodies as expounded in the true teaching are endowed with both entity and function.” (The former represents the Buddha gained through practice of the first three of the four teachings, and the latter, the Buddha perceived through observation of the mind described in the last teaching, the perfect teaching.)

One should make certain that one clearly understands the meaning of these passages of commentary.

The provisional teachings represent a difficult and arduous method of practice in which one only occasionally attains Buddhahood. And that is a provisional Buddhahood in a realm of dreams; viewed from the standpoint of the waking state of original enlightenment, it is not true Buddhahood. And if such a path cannot lead one to the Buddhahood that represents the highest goal or reward, then it is a system in which the teaching exists but no example of anyone who has fulfilled it.

How can such a teaching be called true? To adopt and attempt to carry out such a teaching is to mistake the true nature of the sacred teachings of the Buddha.

The Buddha in his preaching left proof that Buddhahood cannot be gained through the first three of the four teachings, thus opening the way to full understanding for living beings of this latter age.

Living beings in the nine worlds sleep in an ignorance that accompanies them each moment of their lives, drowned in dreams of the realm of birth and death, forgetful of the waking state of original enlightenment, clinging to dreamlike rights and wrongs, moving from darkness into darkness.

For this reason the Thus Come One enters this dream realm of birth and death in which we dwell, speaks in the same dream language as living beings with their topsy-turvy thinking, beckons to these living beings in their dreams, speaks to them of distinctions between good and evil as they exist in the realm of dreams, and in this way bit by bit leads and guides them. But because the affairs of good and evil in this dream realm are so manifold in nature, so endlessly and boundlessly varied, he first of all addresses himself to the good, establishing three categories of superior, middling, and inferior good. This is the doctrine of the three vehicles [of voice-hearer, cause-awakened one, and bodhisattva]. And, after explaining this, he points out that within each of these three categories there are three subcategories [those of superior, middling, and inferior capacities], so that, beginning with the highest category, that of superior capacity within the category of superior good, there are three times three categories, or nine categories in all.


(3) This passage is actually found in Miao-lo’s Annotations on “The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra.”
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