The Gosho Twenty Nine States The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life and Death

I have just carefully read your letter. To reply, the ultimate Law of life and death as transmitted from the Buddha to all living beings is Myoho-Renge-Kyo. The five characters of Myoho-Renge-Kyo were transferred from Shakyamuni and Many Treasures, the two Buddhas inside the treasure tower, to Bodhisattva Superior Practices, carrying on a heritage unbroken since, the infinite past. Myo represents death, and ho, life. Living beings that pass through the two phases of life and death are the entities of the Ten Worlds, or the entities of Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

T’ien-t’ai says that one should understand that living beings and their environments, and the causes and effects at work within them, are all the Law of renge. Here “living beings and their environments” means the phenomena of life and death. Thus, it is clear that, where life and death exist, cause and effect, or the Law of the Lotus, is at work.

The Great Teacher Dengyo states, “The two phases of life and death are the wonderful workings of one mind. The two ways of existence and non-existence are the true functions of an inherently enlightened mind.” No phenomena– either heaven or earth, yin or yang, the sun or the moon, the five planets, or any of the worlds from Hell to Buddhahood–are free from the two phases of life and death. Life and death are simply the two functions of Myoho-Renge-Kyo. In his Great Concentration and Insight, T’ien-t’ai says, “Arising is the arising of the essential nature of the Law, and extinction is the extinction of that nature.” Shakyamuni and Many Treasures, the two Buddhas, are also the two phases of life and death.

Shakyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment countless kalpas ago, the Lotus Sutra that leads all people to Buddhahood, and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from one another. To chant Myoho-Renge-Kyo with this realization is to inherit the ultimate Law of Life and Death.

 

 

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妙法蓮華經 南無妙法蓮華經 Emerging from the Earth One important point §15 妙法蓮華經

Point One, on the passage “Among these bodhisattvas were four leaders. The first was called Superior Practices, the second was called Boundless Practices, the third was called Pure Practices, and the fourth was called Firmly Established Practices. These four bodhisattvas were the foremost leaders and guiding teachers among all the group.”

This chapter, “Emerging from the Earth,” is devoted entirely to matters pertaining to the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching, those who were taught and converted by the Buddha in his true identity. The action carried out by the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching is 南無妙法蓮華經 . This is referred to in the character shō. The character dō signifies that they will lead and guide all the living beings of the country of Japan to the Pure Land of the Holy Mountain. As for these guiding teachers of the Latter Day of the Law, the term “teachers” can only be applied to the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching.

In explaining the identity of the four great bodhisattvas described here, volume nine of Supplement to “The Words and Phrases,” following the explanation given in volume nine of Words and Phrases, says, “The four leaders described in the sutra passage here represent the four virtues. Superior Practices represents the virtue of true self. Boundless Practices represents the virtue of eternity. Pure Practices represents the virtue of purity. And Firmly Established Practices represents the virtue of happiness.

“There are times when a single person possesses all four of these principles. To transcend the two types of death is known as Superior Practices. To go beyond the two opposing views that life is cut off after one existence or that it is eternally the same is called Boundless Practices. Because one overcomes the five categories of illusions and entanglements, that state is designated Pure Practices. And because one is as perfect in virtue as the bodhi tree, that state is named Firmly Established Practices.”

Nichiren and his followers, who now chant 南無妙法蓮華經 , are all followers of these bodhisattvas who emerged from the earth.

Again, one may say that fire is that which burns things. Water is that which purifies things. Wind is that which blows away dust and grime. The great earth is that which nourishes plants and trees. These are the respective merits of the four bodhisattvas. Though the practices of the four bodhisattvas differ from one to another, all are in effect the practice of 妙法蓮華經.

These four bodhisattvas dwell in the lower region. Therefore the commentary says that they dwell “in the depths of the Dharma nature, the ultimate region of the profound source.” The lower region is where they live and abide, and the lower region represents the principle of truth. Supplement to “The Words and Phrases” says, “The lower region is described by Master Tao-sheng as the place where one abides in the principle.” What emerge and become manifest from this dwelling in the principle are referred to as actual events.

Of all the thousand plants and ten thousand trees in the world, there are none that are not in essence bodhisattvas who emerge from the earth. Thus we may say that the bodhisattvas who emerge from the earth are the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching. The word “essential” or “original” represents the merits handed down from the past of numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago, the merits that are without beginning and without end.

These bodhisattvas are possessors of the essential or original Law. The original Law is 南無妙法蓮華經 . This 妙法蓮華經 , 南無妙法蓮華經 , is something that is without exception possessed by the bodhisattvas who emerge from the earth, but it is not possessed by the bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching, those who were taught and converted by the Buddha in his transient status. From the substance of this original Law is derived the function that is propagated as the practice of concentration and insight, and is called the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. In effect, all the explanations given by great and ordinary teachers are directed toward the propagation of this function of 妙法.

The accepting and upholding of this original Law is expressed in the single word “belief” or “faith.” The single word “belief” is the sharp sword with which one confronts and overcomes fundamental darkness or ignorance. The commentary says, “Belief means to be without doubt.” You should think about this.

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Part One, ends here.

The first day of the first month of the first year of the Kōan era, cyclical sign tsuchinoe-tora

Recorded by Nikkō

 

 

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南無妙法蓮華経

南無

– http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/N/12

妙法蓮華経 — http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/M/147

 

 

 

 

 

妙法蓮華經 Five points on Peaceful Practices 南無妙法蓮華經 妙法蓮華經

 

Point One, concerning the “Peaceful Practices” chapter

Concerning the “peaceful” practices of 妙法蓮華經 and the practices carried out by Nichiren and his followers now in the Latter Day of the Law, you should understand that, when one practices the Lotus Sutra under such circumstances, difficulties will arise, and these are to be looked on as “peaceful” practices.

Point Two, on the passage “Next, the bodhisattva or mahāsattva should view all phenomena as empty, that being their true entity. They do not turn upside down, do not move, do not regress, do not revolve. They are like empty space, without innate nature, beyond the reach of all words. They are not born, do not emerge, do not arise. They are without name, without form, without true being. They are without volume, without limits, without hindrance, without barriers.”

This passage lists the eighteen aspects of emptiness. The substance represented by the eighteen aspects of emptiness is 南無妙法蓮華經. Every one of these eighteen aspects is a description of 妙法.

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Point Three, on the passage “If he is asked difficult questions, he should not reply in terms of the Law of the Lesser Vehicle. He should explain things solely in terms of the Great Vehicle so that people will be able to acquire wisdom embracing all species.”

When one is refuting, one should not use the provisional teachings in an attempt to enlighten them. The “wisdom embracing all species” is 南無妙法蓮華經. “All” refers to the ten thousand things, and the “wisdom embracing all species” refers to the wisdom underlying all the different species of the ten thousand things, which is 妙法蓮華經.

Or again we may say that the wisdom embracing all species is the single mind within all of us. The single mind is the one great entity embracing all the ten thousand phenomena. You should think about this.

Point Four, on the passage “After I have passed into extinction / if there are monks / who are able to expound /妙法蓮華經 / their minds will be free of jealousy and anger, / of all worry and hindrance. / No one will trouble them, / curse or revile them. / They will know no fear, / no attacks by sword or staff, / nor will they ever be banished.”

This passage of the sutra states that the bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching will not suffer any attacks “by sword or staff.”

In the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter, speaking of the votaries of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law, it says, “There will be many ignorant people / who will curse and speak ill of us / and will attack us with swords and staves.” It also says, “Again and again we will be banished.” But in the present chapter it says that these troubles will not occur. This is because the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter is speaking of those who carry out the practice of the shakubuku method in the Latter Day of the Law, while the present chapter is speaking of those who carry out the practice of the shōju method in the Middle Day of the Law.

Point Five, on the passage “If they are in a settlement or town or in a quiet and deserted place or a forest and people come and want to ask them difficult questions, the heavenly beings day and night will for the sake of the Law constantly guard and protect them and will cause all the listeners to rejoice.”

As for the votaries of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law, the heavenly beings will surely guard and protect them. The Law referred to in the words “will for the sake of the Law constantly guard and protect them” is

南無妙法蓮華經

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南無妙法蓮華経

南無

– http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/N/12

妙法蓮華経 — http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/M/147

妙法蓮華經 Thirteen important points on Encouraging Devotion 南無妙法蓮華經

Point One, concerning “encouraging devotion”

The word “encouraging” refers to the converting of others. The word “devotion” refers to one’s own practice. 南無妙法蓮華經 embraces both the converting of others and one’s own religious practice.

Now Nichiren and his followers are encouraging others to adopt 南無妙法蓮華經 and to make it their own practice.

Point Two, on the words “never begrudging our bodies or lives” in the passage “But although it will be difficult to teach and convert them, we will summon up the power of great patience and will read and recite this sutra, embrace, preach, and copy it, offering it many kinds of alms and never begrudging our bodies or lives.”

The word “bodies” refers to the element of form or the body; the word “lives” refers to the element of the mind. One should never be begrudging of one’s body or life either in principle or in fact.

When a votary of the Lotus Sutra is deprived of his lands and fields, this is a case of not begrudging body or life in principle. When he is actually deprived of his life, this is a case of not begrudging body or life in fact.

Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華經, they are being unbegrudging of their bodies and lives both in principle and in fact.

Point Three, on the passage “Because in this sahā world the people are given to corruption and evil, beset by overbearing arrogance, shallow in blessings, irascible, muddled, fawning, and devious, and their hearts are not sincere.”

Regarding the phrase “their hearts are not sincere,” to take the Lotus Sutra, which says, “Among those sutras / the Lotus is the foremost”, and put it in third place; to regard the sutra as the lowest when it says, “Among all the sutras, it holds the highest place”; to say that the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life embodied in the Lotus Sutra is found in the Flower Garland and Mahāvairochana sutras; to take the doctrine of attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form and read it into the Mahāvairochana Sutra—these are all examples of the heart not being sincere.

Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華經, do so with hearts that are sincere.

Point Four, on the passage “At that time the bodhisattvas, respectfully complying with the Buddha’s will and at the same time wishing to fulfill their own original vows, proceeded in the presence of the Buddha to roar the lion’s roar and to make a vow.”

To comply with the Lotus Sutra is what is meant by “respectfully complying with the Buddha’s will.” By the Buddha’s will is meant 南無妙法蓮華經.

Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華經, it means that they are “respectfully complying with the Buddha’s will.”

Point Five, on the words “to roar the lion’s roar” 

The lion’s roar is the preaching of the Buddha. The preaching of the Law means the preaching of the Lotus Sutra, or the preaching of 南無妙法蓮華經 in particular.

The first shi of the word shishi, or “lion”, is the Wonderful Law that is passed on by the teacher. The second shi is the Wonderful Law as it is received by the disciples. The “roar” is the sound of the teacher and the disciples chanting in unison.

The verb sa, “to make” or “to roar,” should here be understood to mean to initiate or to put forth. It refers to the initiating of 南無妙法蓮華經 in the Latter Day of the Law.

Point Six, on the passage “World-Honored One, after the Thus Come One has entered extinction we will travel here and there, back and forth through the worlds in the ten directions so as to enable living beings to copy this sutra, to receive, embrace, read, and recite it, understand and preach its principles, practice it in accordance with the Law, and properly keep it in their thoughts.”

Those who “practice it in accordance with the Law” are the Great Teachers T’ien-t’ai, Miao-lo, Dengyō, and their like. Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華經, they “practice it in accordance with the Law.”

Point Seven, on the words “There will be many ignorant people / who will curse and speak ill of us.”

This refers to those great oafs who do not understand even one word of the teachings. It is perfectly clear that they “curse and speak ill of us.”

The word “many” here refers to such oafs in the country of Japan.

Point Eight, on the passage “In that evil age there will be monks / with perverse wisdom and hearts that are fawning and crooked / who will suppose they have attained what they have not attained, / being proud and boastful in heart.”

The “evil age” referred to in this passage on monks of an evil age is the Latter Day of the Law. The monks are persons like Kōbō and others who slander the Law. They cast aside the correct wisdom embodied in the Lotus Sutra and instead base themselves on the “perverse wisdom” of the provisional teachings.

Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華經, represent correct wisdom in its highest form.

Point Nine, on the passage “Or there will be forest-dwelling monks / wearing clothing of patched rags and living in retirement, / who will claim they are practicing the true way, / despising and looking down on all humankind. / Greedy for profit and support, / they will preach the Law to white-robed laymen / and will be respected and revered by the world / as though they were arhats who possess the six transcendental powers. / These men with evil in their hearts, / constantly thinking of worldly affairs, / will borrow the name of forest-dwelling monks / and take delight in proclaiming our faults, / saying things like this: / ‘These monks are greedy / for profit and support / and therefore they preach non-Buddhist doctrines / and fabricate their own scriptures / to delude the people of the world.’”

This refers to the third of the three powerful enemies who persecute the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, men like Ryōkan. Such persons are regarded “as though they were arhats who possess the six transcendental powers.”

Point Ten, on the words “fabricate their own scriptures / to delude the people of the world.”

This passage of the sutra shows how such arrogant monks slander the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, accusing them of fabricating the sutra and reading it to others.

Point Eleven, on the passage “Though they treat us with contempt, saying, / ‘You are all no doubt Buddhas!’ / all such words of arrogance and contempt / we will endure and accept.”

This passage of the sutra illustrates how such monks will treat the votaries of the Lotus Sutra with contempt, calling them “living Buddhas.” Through their contemptuous attitude they commit slander. Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華經, are spoken of in this manner.

Point Twelve, on the passage “Evil demons will take possession of others / and through them curse, revile and heap shame on us.”

The “evil demons” are persons such as Hōnen and Kōbō. “Take possession of others” means that they will exercise their influence over the ruler, the high ministers, and the people of the country. It is referring to the hatred that such persons bear toward Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華經 now.

A demon is one who snatches away the life of others or who snatches away blessings. The Lotus Sutra is the life source of the Buddhas of the three existences of past, present, and future. This sutra is a sacred writing that contains within it the blessings of all the bodhisattvas.

Point Thirteen, on the passage “We care nothing for our bodies or lives / but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.”

The “unsurpassed way” is 南無妙法蓮華經. 南無妙法蓮華經. Now Nichiren and his followers are even more anxious with regard to 南無妙法蓮華經 than they are with regard to their own lives. That is why at the conclusion of this chapter we find the words “The Buddha must know what is in our hearts.” That is, Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, must know and understand what is in the hearts of the votaries of the Lotus Sutra.

The “Buddha” referred to in the conclusion of the chapter is Shakyamuni, and “our hearts” refers to the hearts of Nichiren and his followers, who now chant 南無妙法蓮華經.

 

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南無妙法蓮華経

南無

– http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/N/12

妙法蓮華経 — http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/M/147

妙法蓮華経 Eight important points on Devadatta Chapter Twelve 南無妙法蓮華経

Point One, concerning Devadatta

Volume eight of Words and Phrases says, “His original state is pure and cool, but in manifested form he showed himself as Fever of Heavenly Beings.

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Devadatta in his original state is the bodhisattva Manjushrī. Therefore his original state is described as “pure and cool.” In his manifested form he is called Devadatta, hence it is said that he showed himself as Fever of Heavenly Beings.

“Pure and cool” is indicative of water and stands for the principle that the sufferings of birth and death are none other than nirvana. Fever of Heavenly Beings is indicative of fire and stands for the principle that earthly desires are none other than enlightenment. Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, they are showing that earthly desires are enlightenment and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.

Devadatta is another name for 妙法蓮華経. In a past existence he was the seer Asita. The seer Asita is another name for 妙法, Wonderful Law. The syllable “ah” in Asita means “not” or “without.” The Law without self is 妙法, Wonderful Law. Thus volume eight of Words and Phrases says, “One takes the Law that is without self and cleanses living beings with it.”

The seer Asita is another name for the three thousand worlds of the Dharma-realm. Therefore it is described as being “without self.” You should think about this principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

Point Two, on the passage “At that time there was a seer who came to the king and said, ‘I have a Great Vehicle text called the Sutra of the Lotus of the Wonderful Law. If you will never disobey me, I will expound it for you.’”

With regard to this expounding of the Lotus Sutra, one should understand the meaning to be: “You never disobey me, and so you are qualified to expound it.” The character for “if” can also be read as the pronoun “you.”

Commenting on this, T’ien-t’ai says, “The king will receive the teaching and honor and practice it.” Now Nichiren’s followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経; they do not disobey him, and so they are qualified to expound the Law. The seer Asita here represents 南無妙法蓮華経.

Point Three, on the passage “At once he accompanied the seer, providing him with whatever he needed, picking fruit, drawing water, gathering firewood, setting out meals, . . . He served the seer in this manner for a thousand years, all for the sake of the Law, working diligently, acting as a provider and seeing to it that the seer lacked for nothing.”

“Picking fruit” applies to the earthly desire or defilement of foolishness. “Drawing water” applies to the earthly defilement of greed. “Gathering firewood” applies to the earthly defilement of anger. “Setting out meals” applies to the earthly defilement of arrogance.

In this passage, the eight kinds of services performed by the king for the seer Asita are listed. The king did not carry out any other actions outside of these in order to receive the transmission of 妙法蓮華経.

Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, they are carrying out such acts of service for a period of “a thousand years.” Such services represent the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. This is what is needed to overcome greed, anger, foolishness, and arrogance.

Point Four, on the words “Because the Wonderful Law was in his thoughts / he never flagged in body or mind.”

These two words “body” and “mind” refer to the transmission of the teaching that our bodies and our minds are the Wonderful Law. Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, and thus attain Buddhahood in their present forms. “Never flagging in body or mind” refers to their embodiment of the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

Point Five, on the passage “Manjushrī said, ‘When I was in the ocean I constantly expounded the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law alone.’”

“I” refers to Manjushrī. The “ocean” is the ocean of the sufferings of birth and death. The word “alone” or “only” corresponds to that in the passage “There is only the Law of the one vehicle”. The word “constantly” or “always” corresponds to that in the passage “I am always here, preaching the Law”. 妙法蓮華経 is the words and sounds of the Dharma-realm. The passage refers to Nichiren and his followers, who now chant 南無妙法蓮華経.

The ocean of the sufferings of birth and death is none other than the great ocean of the true aspect of reality. “I” represents the wisdom of the Dharma-realm, which is personified in Manjushrī.

Point Six, on the passage “There is the daughter of the dragon king Sāgara, who has just turned eight. Her wisdom has keen roots and she is good at understanding the root activities and deeds of living beings. She has mastered the dhāranīs, has been able to accept and embrace all the storehouse of profound secrets preached by the Buddhas, has entered deep into meditation, thoroughly grasped the doctrines, and in the space of an instant conceived the desire for bodhi and reached the level of no regression. Her eloquence knows no hindrance, and she thinks of living beings with compassion as though they were her own children. She is fully endowed with blessings, and when it comes to conceiving in mind and expounding by mouth, she is subtle, wonderful, comprehensive, and great. Kind, compassionate, benevolent, yielding, she is gentle and refined in will, capable of attaining bodhi.”

Age eight is symbolic of the eight volumes of the Lotus Sutra. Devadatta stands for the world of hell, and the dragon king’s daughter stands for the world of Buddhahood. Thus together they represent the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, that is, the hundred worlds and thousand factors, or the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

Or again we may say that age eight represents the eight volumes of the Lotus Sutra and the eight sufferings that we undergo because of our earthly desires. We should understand, therefore, that the attainment of Buddhahood embodied in the Lotus Sutra is symbolized by the age eight of the dragon girl. The eight sufferings are none other than the eight volumes of the Lotus Sutra, and the eight sufferings and eight volumes are personified in the dragon girl who is eight years old.

One interpretation reads the words “age eight” as the opening of a jewel. The age or jewel is the single mind of the dragon girl. The eight stands for the opening of her mind to the three thousand realms. The three thousand realms are the eight volumes of the Lotus Sutra. Thus the words “age eight” are representative of the “opening of the door of Buddha wisdom.”

The passage from the words “Her wisdom has keen roots” on down to the words “she is . . . capable of attaining bodhi” describes how she has accepted and taken faith in the Lotus Sutra. The words “when it comes to conceiving in mind and expounding by mouth” relate to the work of the mouth or verbal actions. The words “she is gentle and refined in will” refer to the work of the will or mental actions. The words “she . . . has been able to accept and embrace all the storehouse of profound secrets . . . has entered deep into meditation” refer to the work of the body or physical actions. Since these three categories of action are none other than the three virtues of the Dharma body, wisdom, and emancipation, they represent the Dharma nature, or the three truths.

Again we may say that the words “conceiving in mind” stand for a single moment of life, and the words “expounding by mouth” stand for the three thousand realms. The words “has been able to accept and embrace all” describe how the dragon girl has accepted and embraced the Lotus Sutra. The word “age” or jewel is a wish-granting jewel, namely, the Wonderful Law. The word “eight” or opening reveals that the body and mind of the dragon girl are the Wonderful Law.

Point Seven, on the passage “Before his words had come to an end, the dragon king’s daughter suddenly appeared before the Buddha, bowed her head in obeisance, and then retired to one side, reciting these verses of praise”

This passage makes it perfectly clear that ignorance is none other than the Dharma nature, or enlightenment. For that reason, before Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated had even finished voicing his criticism, the dragon girl replied to him through her verses of praise in fourteen lines.

The viewpoint expressed in the bodhisattva’s criticism is that of the specific teaching expounded specifically for bodhisattvas, which is a view characterized by ignorance. The reply of the dragon girl represents the viewpoint of the perfect teaching, which is the viewpoint of the Dharma nature. Wisdom Accumulated represents fundamental darkness or ignorance, and the dragon girl represents a woman who has realized the Dharma nature. Hence we see that ignorance is inseparable from the Dharma nature, and the Dharma nature is inseparable from ignorance.

Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, they represent the moment referred to in the sutra as “Before his words had come to an end,” that is, the moment when the previous affair, the criticism of the bodhisattva, is just coming to an end, and the subsequent affair, the reply of the dragon girl, is just beginning. The moment, then, is one in which ignorance and the Dharma nature exist simultaneously. Such is the moment when 南無妙法蓮華経 is chanted.

The reason Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated is said to represent fundamental darkness lies in the words “I cannot believe” in his statement “I cannot believe that this girl in the space of an instant could actually achieve correct enlightenment”. Not to believe is to harbor doubt and perplexity, and doubt and perplexity are symptomatic of fundamental darkness or ignorance. The reason the dragon girl is said to represent the Dharma nature, or enlightenment, is the passage in which she says, “I unfold the doctrines of the Great Vehicle / to rescue living beings from suffering”.

As for the dragon girl, her father is a dragon and she is his eight-year-old daughter. The two words “dragon girl” imply that both father and daughter attain Buddhahood at the same time. That is why the passage says, “the dragon king’s daughter.” Since it has said that she is the dragon king’s daughter, we know that the dragon king is her father, and she is his eight-year-old daughter. Thus the daughter is shown attaining Buddhahood in this chapter, while the attainment of Buddhahood by her father, the dragon king, has already been implied in the “Introduction” chapter, as seen in the passage that says that, at the assembly at which the Lotus Sutra was preached, “there were eight dragon kings.” However, we may say that both father and daughter attained Buddhahood simultaneously, since the “Introduction” chapter serves as an introduction to all the chapters in the Lotus Sutra.

“And having heard his teachings, I have attained bodhi” —these are the words of the dragon girl when she rebukes Wisdom Accumulated. And therefore she goes on to say that only the Buddha can testify to this fact: “And having heard his teachings, I have attained bodhi— / the Buddha alone can bear witness to this.” When she speaks of “rescuing living beings from suffering,” however, she is speaking of rescuing women in particular. The verses of praise in fourteen lines express the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. The words “He profoundly understands the signs of guilt and good fortune / and illuminates the ten directions everywhere” refer to the Ten Worlds.

This passage on how the eight-year-old dragon girl attained Buddhahood is particularly noteworthy because it refers to the ancestors of the rulers who uphold the Lotus Sutra. The first human sovereign of Japan was Emperor Jimmu. Emperor Jimmu was the son of Ugayafuki-aezu-no-mikoto, the fifth of the five generations of earthly deities. The mother of Ugayafuki-aezu-no-mikoto was Princess Toyotama, the daughter of the dragon king Sāgara and an elder sister of the eight-year-old dragon girl. Therefore we know that the ancestors of the rulers of Japan were votaries of the Lotus Sutra, a fact of profound significance, a fact of profound significance!

Therefore this one chapter titled “Devadatta” is a vital sword to be worn at the waist everywhere throughout the world. It is a secret Law to cut down the foes of ignorance and earthly desires and to sever the bonds of birth and death, longing and attachment. Emperor Kao-tsu, founder of the Han dynasty, had his three-foot sword, but it cannot compare to this one-word sword of wisdom. 妙, wonderful, the one-word sword of wisdom, can sever the bonds of birth and death and earthly desires.

Devadatta represents fiery flames, the dragon girl represents a giant reptile, and Manjushrī represents the sword of wisdom. An orally transmitted teaching says that all these three elements are represented in the form of the wisdom king Immovable.

Devadatta also represents the principle that our earthly desires are none other than enlightenment. The dragon girl represents the principle that the sufferings of birth and death are none other than nirvana. The name Manjushrī can be translated as Wonderful Virtue. This Wonderful Virtue contains within it both earthly desires and the sufferings of birth and death. In this chapter it serves as the element that acts to convert others to the truth.

Point Eight, on the passage “At that time the dragon girl had a precious jewel worth as much as the thousand-million-fold world which she presented to the Buddha. The Buddha immediately accepted it. The dragon girl said to Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated and to the venerable one, Shāriputra, ‘I presented the precious jewel and the World-Honored One accepted it—was that not quickly done?’

“They replied, ‘Very quickly!’

“The girl said, ‘Employ your supernatural powers and watch me attain Buddhahood. It will be even quicker than that!’”

Volume eight of Words and Phrases says, “First, the presentation of the jewel symbolizes the attainment of perfect understanding.”

In the phrase “a precious jewel,” the word “ah” or “one” indicates 妙法蓮華経. “Precious” indicates the workings of the Wonderful Law, and the jewel indicates the entity of the Wonderful Law. Because 妙法蓮華経 is 妙, “wonderful,” 妙法蓮華経 embodies the element of the mind. And because 妙法蓮華経 is 法, or the “Law,” it embodies the element of form or the body. The body phenomena are the “jewel” and the mind potentials are the “precious” element in it. The words “Wonderful Law” indicate that body and mind are not two different entities.

Expressing the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, the dragon girl presents the precious jewel to the Buddha. When Words and Phrases says that this “symbolizes the attainment of perfect understanding,” it is referring to the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. At the time when the precious jewel was still in the hands of the dragon girl, it represented the attainments that were inherent in her nature. But when the Buddha accepted the precious jewel, it became representative of the attainments acquired through religious practice. Herein is embodied the principle that “acquired through practice” and “inherent in nature” are not two different things.

The words “very quickly” represent the doctrine of sudden fulfillment, sudden and swift attainment, or sudden enlightenment. The same idea is expressed in the passage that reads, “This way one will quickly attain / the unsurpassed Buddha way.”

In the term jinriki, or “supernatural powers,” the word jin, or “supernatural,” represents the element of the mind, and the word riki, or “powers,” represents the element of the body.

When the dragon girl says, “Watch me attain Buddhahood,” Shāriputra thinks she is referring only to her own attainment of Buddhahood, but this is an error. She is rebuking him by saying, “Watch how one attains Buddhahood.” The word kan, or “watch,” refers to the kan of the six stages of practice. Here one should understand it as pertaining to the kan, or perception, that is represented in the second of the six stages, the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth. Therefore, as soon as one hears 南無妙法蓮華経, one has “without doubt sat for a moment in the place of practice and thus attained Buddhahood.”

When the sutra says that the members of the assembly saw the dragon girl “change into a man,” it means that the dragon girl’s original state, that of a dragon girl, was already in the state of 南無妙法蓮華経. This idea is brought out very clearly in this passage of the sutra.

 

 

https://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/ott/PART-1/12

南無妙法蓮華経

南無

– http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/N/12

妙法蓮華経 — http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/M/147

南無妙法蓮華経 Twenty points on Chapter Eleven …APPARITION OF THE JEWELED STUPA

Point One, concerning “the treasure tower”

 

Words and Phrases, volume eight, says, “The former Buddha, Many Treasures, is already there in the tower. The present Buddha, Shakyamuni, seats himself beside him. Future Buddhas will also do likewise.”

 

 

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “treasure” stands for the five components of life, form, perception, conception, volition, and consciousness. The word “tower” stands for the harmony and combination of the five components. The five components functioning in harmony is designated a treasure tower. The harmony of the five components emerges or is seen in the five characters of 妙法蓮華経. This is the meaning of the word ken, to emerge or to be seen.

Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華経, exemplify the emergence of the treasure tower.

 

Point Two, on the seven treasures in the passage “At that time in the Buddha’s presence there was a tower adorned with the seven treasures.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The seven treasures are hearing, as in hearing the Law; belief; keeping of the precepts; meditation; diligence; abandoning of attachment to earthly desires; and a sense of shame. Or again, we may say that they are the seven openings in the head, the eyes, the ears, the nostrils, and the mouth.

Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華経, are practitioners who are “adorned with the seven treasures.”

 

Point Three, on the passage “All four sides emitted a fragrance of tamālapatra and sandalwood that pervaded the whole world.”

 

Words and Phrases, volume eight, says, “The words ‘All four sides emitted a fragrance’ mean that the wind of the way represented by the four noble truths wafts a fragrance of the four virtues or pāramitās, namely, happiness, true self, purity, and eternity.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “four sides” stand for birth, aging, sickness, and death. We use the aspects of birth, aging, sickness, and death to adorn the towers that are our bodies. And when, while in these four states of birth, aging, sickness, and death, we chant 南無妙法蓮華経, we cause them to waft forth the fragrance of the four virtues.

南無 stands for the pāramitā of happiness, 妙法 for the pāramitā of true self, 蓮華 for the pāramitā of purity, and 経 for the pāramitā of eternity.

 

Point Four, on the passage “At that time a loud voice issued from the treasure tower, speaking words of praise:”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: These are the words that we living beings utter each morning and evening. As to the fact that this is called a “loud” or a big voice, the provisional teachings are a small voice, while, in comparison, the Lotus Sutra is a big voice. In turn, the twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra are a small voice, while 妙法蓮華経 is a big voice.

Generally speaking, the big or loud of the “loud voice” stands for the Dharma-realm. When one views the words of all the living beings in the Dharma-realm as the voice of the Wonderful Law, this is what is called a big voice. Now the chanting of 南無妙法蓮華経 by Nichiren and his followers is such a big voice.

Again, we may say that the word “loud” represents the truth of non-substantiality, the “voice” represents the truth of temporary existence, and that from which the voice “issues” represents the truth of the Middle Way.

 

Point Five, on the passage “At that time the four kinds of believers saw the great treasure tower suspended in the air.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “saw the great treasure tower” refer to our individual bodies. “Suspended in the air” refers to the fact that we living beings in the end will pass away and return.

Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経 and maintain their faith in it, they are “suspended in the air.” They are “suspended in” or participating in the Ceremony in the Air.

 

Point Six, on the passage “Long ago, an immeasurable thousand, ten thousand, million asamkhyas of worlds to the east, in a land called Treasure Purity, there was a Buddha named Many Treasures.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The Treasure Purity World is the wombs of our mothers. “There was a Buddha” refers to the Buddha of the true aspect of all phenomena. Here he is called Many Treasures Buddha.

The womb is the realm of earthly desires. The Buddha of the true aspect of reality resides in the midst of the mud and mire of earthly desires. This refers to us living beings.

Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, they may be termed the Buddha of the Lotus that is the entity of the Law.

 

Point Seven, on the passage “If, after I have become a Buddha and entered extinction, in the lands in the ten directions there is any place where the Lotus Sutra is preached, then my funerary tower, in order that I may listen to the sutra, will come forth and appear in that spot to testify to the sutra and praise its excellence.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “ten directions” refer to the Ten Worlds. The Lotus Sutra explains the twelve-linked chain of causation that determines the unceasing changes that we living beings undergo. Therefore the words “Lotus Sutra” refer to the sound of our words.

The words “its excellence” tell us that excellence and non-excellence, good and bad, are not two different things, and that correct and incorrect are a single entity.

Now the place where Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経 may be said to be where the Buddha Many Treasures comes forth and makes his appearance.

 

Point Eight, regarding the way in which the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows to illuminate the eastern region, and how it also illuminated “the southern, western, and northern regions as well, and in the four intermediate quarters and up and down.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The four quarters, north, south, east, and west; the four intermediate quarters, northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest; and up and down constitute the ten directions, which are equivalent to the Ten Worlds. The living beings of the Ten Worlds all share the light of the three poisons, greed, anger, and foolishness. This is here referred to as the light from the tuft of white hair between the Buddha’s eyebrows. It is the wisdom embodied in the single mind of the Middle Way.

Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, they are shining this light upon all the Ten Worlds simultaneously. This is because it is the bright light of the true aspect of all phenomena.

 

Point Nine, on the words “Each Buddha presented his attendant with a handful of jeweled flowers” in the passage “At this time the Buddhas, each seated on a lion seat under one of the jeweled trees, all dispatched their attendants to go and greet Shakyamuni Buddha. Each Buddha presented his attendant with a handful of jeweled flowers.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “jeweled flowers” represent a greeting of palms pressed together, and symbolize the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. The word “each” indicates that all the Ten Worlds are included. You should understand that the element “-ful” in the word “handful” means the full or perfect principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, they are presenting jeweled flowers to the Buddha.

The jeweled flowers are wish-granting jewels, and wish-granting jewels stand for the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. This is what is meant by the passage “The heavenly beings, dragons, spirits, and the others, / . . . as well as the wheel-turning sage kings / come from ten thousands of millions of lands, / all press their palms and with reverent minds / wish to hear the teaching of perfect endowment”.

 

Point Ten, on the words “like the sound of a lock and crossbar being removed from a great city gate” in the passage “Shakyamuni Buddha with the fingers of his right hand then opened the door of the tower of seven treasures. A loud sound issued from it, like the sound of a lock and crossbar being removed from a great city gate.”

 

The Supplement to T’ien-t’ai’s Three Major Works,volume four, says: “This opening of the treasure tower and appearance of the Buddha Many Treasures is symbolizing something. If we ask what it is, we may say that the opening of the tower is the opening up or setting aside of the provisional teachings, and the appearance of the Buddha is the appearance or revelation of the true teaching. Again, it symbolizes the fact that the earlier, theoretical teaching has been affirmed, and that now the teaching that comes after, the essential teaching, is about to be presented. In the phrase ‘like the sound of a lock and crossbar being removed,’ the word ‘removed’ means to clear away. The passage symbolizes the fact that the obstacles to enlightenment have been cleared away and the workings of enlightenment have been set in motion. The bodhisattva of the Dharma body is dispelling perplexities and revealing the principle, widening his understanding of the way and reducing his still remaining illusions.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The lock and crossbar represent slanders of the Law or ignorance. The opening of the great city gate represents the fact that we can attain Buddhahood. The great city gate is the two elements of body and mind that we possess. The great city is the element of the body and the gate is the mouth.

Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, they are clearing away the obstacles of illusions posed by ignorance to reveal the Shakyamuni Buddha and Many Treasures Buddha who reside in our own minds.

The lock and crossbar represent ignorance. The opening stands for the Dharma nature. The crossbar is the single word 妙, or “wonderful.” T’ien-t’ai says, “The secret inner storehouse is opened. This may be termed 妙, or ‘wonderful.’” You should understand, therefore, that this one word 妙 is the crossbar. This passage of the sutra is showing us how the lock and crossbar of slander of the Law and lack of faith are removed to open up or reveal the Buddha in our own minds. As was said in an earlier passage, “The Buddhas . . . wish to open the door of Buddha wisdom to all living beings”. You should think about this.

 

Point Eleven, on the passage “Immediately Shakyamuni Buddha used his transcendental powers to lift all the members of the great assembly up into the air.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “The great assembly” is the throng of listeners. “All the members of the great assembly up into the air” represents the state of our existence after death. Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, they are realizing that the sufferings of birth and death are none other than nirvana, a state that is described in the phrase “all up into the air.” We are thus subsumed under the heading of those for whom the sufferings of birth and death are none other than nirvana.

The earth represents the element of the body, while the air represents the element of the mind. But we should understand that body and mind are not two different entities. Hence the air represents the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light.

Again, we may say that the air represents 蓮華, earth represents 経, and heaven represents 妙法. The air is what exists in the middle. Among all the living beings there will be bodhisattvas who sit in the lotus seat. This is what is expressed in the words 妙法蓮華経. Hence the Lotus Sutra says, “if they are born in the presence of a Buddha, they will be born by transformation from lotus flowers.”

 

Point Twelve, on the words “as though a great wind / were tossing the branches of small trees” in the passage “I have employed transcendental powers, / moving immeasurable multitudes, / causing lands to be clean and pure, / leading each of these Buddhas / to the foot of a jeweled tree, / adorned as lotus blossoms / adorn a clear cool pond. / Beneath these jeweled trees / are lion seats, / and the Buddhas seat themselves on them, / adorning them with their brilliance / like a huge torch burning / in the darkness of the night. / A wonderful incense exudes from their bodies, / pervading the lands in the ten directions. / Living beings are wrapped in the aroma, / unable to restrain their joy, / as though a great wind / were tossing the branches of small trees.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this verse section, the three similes, “adorned as lotus blossoms / adorn a clear cool pond,” “as though a great wind / were tossing the branches of small trees,” and “like a huge torch burning / in the darkness of the night,” represent the three bodies of a Buddha.

Among these three similes, that which speaks of “a great wind” stands for the five characters of 妙法蓮華経. The words “tossing the branches of small trees” refer to the refutation.

Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, they are like the blowing of a great wind.

 

Point Thirteen, on the passage “For the sake of the Buddha way / in immeasurable numbers of lands / from the beginning until now / I have widely preached many sutras, / and among them / this sutra is foremost. / If one can uphold this, / he will be upholding the Buddha’s body.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: To uphold the Lotus Sutra is to uphold belief in the fact that our bodies are the Buddha’s body. The one word soku, or “then”, indicates that living beings and the Buddha are not two different things. The first “uphold” in the phrase “If one can uphold this” stands for ordinary mortals. The entity to be upheld is the five characters of 妙法蓮華経. We speak of this as “upholding the Buddha’s body” because each and every word is the golden-colored body of the Buddha.

To uphold the body of the Buddha means to uphold the belief that outside of our own bodies there is no Buddha. That is, the ordinary mortal at ri-soku,or the stage of being a Buddha in theory, is not different from the Buddha at kukyō-soku, or the stage of ultimate enlightenment. The word soku indicates the fact that the first soku, that of ri-soku,and the last soku, that of kukyō-soku, are no different from one another.

 

Point Fourteen, on the words “This sutra is hard to uphold” in the passage “This sutra is hard to uphold; / if one can uphold it even for a short while / I will surely rejoice / and so will the other Buddhas. / A person who can do this / wins the admiration of the Buddhas. / This is what is meant by valor, / this is what is meant by diligence. / This is what is called observing the precepts / and practicing dhūta. / This way one will quickly attain / the unsurpassed Buddha way. / And if in future existences / one can read and uphold this sutra, / he will be a true son of the Buddha, / dwelling in a land spotless and good.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: One who upholds this Lotus Sutra should uphold it with the understanding that one will encounter difficulties. And the attainment of Buddhahood referred to in the words “This way one will quickly attain / the unsurpassed Buddha way”—this is now what Nichiren and his followers attain when they chant 南無妙法蓮華経.

 

Point Fifteen, on the words “I will surely rejoice / and so will the other Buddhas.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “I” refers to the mind king, the core of the mind. The words “the other Buddhas” refer to the various functions of the mind. When one upholds the Lotus Sutra, both the mind and its various functions rejoice simultaneously.

Again we may say that the word “I” refers to ordinary mortals, and the words “the other Buddhas” refer to the Buddhas of the three existences. Now Nichiren and his followers rejoice as they chant 南無妙法蓮華経, and this is what the passage is referring to.

 

Point Sixteen, on the words “And if in future existences / one can read and uphold this sutra”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This refers to the practices of reading and accepting, which make up two of the five practices. Now Nichiren and his followers, in chanting 南無妙法蓮華経, are carrying out the practice of reading. And in upholding “this sutra” they are carrying out the practice of upholding. The words “this sutra” refer to the five characters of the 妙法蓮華経.

 

Point Seventeen, on the words “he will be a true son of the Buddha”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The votaries of the Lotus Sutra are the true sons of Shakyamuni, the Dharma King. And for that reason they are able to succeed him and become kings themselves. You should carefully consider these words, “he will be a true son of the Buddha,” in conjunction with the passage that says, “But now this threefold world / is all my domain, / and the living beings in it / are all my children”.

Now Nichiren and his followers, those who chant 南無妙法蓮華経, are children of Shakyamuni, the Dharma King.

 

Point Eighteen, on the words “If after the Buddha has passed into extinction / one can understand the meaning of this sutra, / he will be the eyes of the world / for heavenly and human beings.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “The world” refers to the country of Japan. “The eyes” refers to the Buddha wisdom. The Lotus Sutra acts as the eyes of the world for heavenly and human beings. “Eyes” here refers to 南無妙法蓮華経. It is the eyes of the world for heavenly and human beings.

Again we may say that the eyes referred to here are the eyes of the various Buddhas. It is the Zen, Nembutsu, and True Word followers and their like who gouge out these eyes of the Buddhas, causing the eyes to be closed. But Nichiren and his followers, who now chant 南無妙法蓮華経—are we not the eyes of the world for heavenly and human beings?

 

Point Nineteen, on the words “If in that fearful age / one can preach this sutra for even a moment, / he will deserve to receive alms / from all heavenly and human beings.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: You should think about this one word “can.” The word “preach” means to preach 南無妙法蓮華経. Now Nichiren and his followers are the votaries who “can preach this sutra for even a moment.”

 

Point Twenty, on the words “This sutra is hard to uphold.”

 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: All three types of learning are encompassed in this passage of the sutra. “The space-like immovable precepts, the space-like immovable meditation, and the space -like immovable wisdom—these three all together are transmitted under the name the Wonderful Law.”

Precepts pertain to the element of the body. Meditation pertains to the element of the mind. Wisdom pertains to the actions of the two elements of the body and the mind. The words “all together” in the statement above refer to the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, which is 南無妙法蓮華経. “Transmitted” indicates that it is transmitted to the ten thousand years of the Latter Day of the Law.

Now Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, putting into practice the doctrine that the provisional teachings do not lead to the attainment of the way but that the Lotus Sutra represents the real truth, and this corresponds to the precepts. The precepts are intended to prevent errors and put an end to evil.

The votary who upholds is certainly “a person assuredly and without doubt / will attain the Buddha way”, and this certainly corresponds to meditation.

The wisdom of the Buddhas of the three existences of past, present, and future is embraced and upheld in each single recitation of 妙法蓮華経, and this corresponds to wisdom.

These three types of learning correspond to skin, flesh, and bones, to the three bodies of a Buddha, to the three truths, to the three rules of preaching, and to the three kinds of wisdom.

https://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/ott/PART-1/11

 

南無妙法蓮華経

南無

– http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/N/12

妙法蓮華経 — http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/M/147

SIXTEEN POINTS ON 南無妙法蓮華経 DHARMA PREACHER CHAPTER X

Chapter Ten: The Teacher of the Law

Sixteen important points

 

Point One, concerning “the teacher of the Law”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “Law” (法) here stands for shohō, the various phenomena of existence. The word “teacher” (shi) indicates that all these various phenomena act directly as our teacher. That is, the varied and numberless phenomena of the three thousand realms can act directly as our teacher and we can become their disciples.

Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華経, are the greatest among the teachers of the Law. For when one reaches a realization of the true aspect of all phenomena (shohō), then one will find that everything, from the burning of the fierce fires of hell to the effect of attaining Buddhahood, exists in one’s life, and that one is a teacher of the Law concerning the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

Again we may say that the word “Law” in the title “The Teacher of the Law” represents 妙法蓮華経, and the word “teacher” represents Nichiren and his followers.

Point Two, on the persons who “have fulfilled their great vow, . . . because they pity living beings, they are born in this evil world so they may broadly expound this sutra.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The “great vow” refers to the propagation of the Lotus Sutra. “Because they pity living beings” refers to all the living beings in the country of Japan. The persons who “are born in this evil world” are Nichiren and his followers. “Broadly” means to expound the sutra throughout the southern continent of Jambudvīpa. “This sutra” refers to 妙法蓮華経. Now the above passage refers to Nichiren and his followers, who chant 妙法蓮華経, 南無妙法蓮華経.

Point Three, on the passage “If one of these good men or good women in the time after I have passed into extinction is able to secretly expound the Lotus Sutra to one person, even one phrase of it, then you should know that he or she is the envoy of the Thus Come One. He has been dispatched by the Thus Come One and carries out the Thus Come One’s work.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The practitioner of the Lotus Sutra acts as the “envoy of the Thus Come One.” The “Thus Come One” is Shakyamuni, and “the Thus Come One’s work” is 南無妙法蓮華経.

“Thus Come One” also refers to the living beings of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms. Now Nichiren and his followers, who now chant 南無妙法蓮華経, are the true envoys.

Point Four, on the passage “Medicine King, you should know that after the Thus Come One has entered extinction, if there are those who can copy, uphold, read, and recite this sutra, offer alms to it and expound it for others, then the Thus Come One will cover them with his robe. . . . You should know that such persons lodge in the same place as the Thus Come One, and the Thus Come One pats them on the head with his hand.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The votaries of the Lotus Sutra, men and women alike, are all Thus Come Ones. Earthly desires are enlightenment, and the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.

Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華経, are persons who “lodge in the same place as the Thus Come One.” Therefore, Fu Ta-shih says in his commentary, “Morning after morning we rise up with the Buddha, evening after evening we lie down with the Buddha. Moment by moment we attain the way, moment by moment we reveal our true identity.”

Point Five, on the passage “This storehouse of the Lotus Sutra is hidden deep and far away where no person can reach it.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “this storehouse of the Lotus Sutra” refer to 妙法蓮華経. The words “hidden deep” refer to the essential teaching. The words “far away” refer to the theoretical teaching. “No person can reach it” applies to those who slander the Law. Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華経, are not included among the people who “can never reach it.”

Point Six, on the passage “These persons conjured up by magic will listen to the Law, believe and accept it, and abide by it without violation.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “listen” or “hear” indicates the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth. The word “Law” refers to 妙法蓮華経. “Believe and accept” means to accept and uphold the Law. To “abide by it without violation” means to abide by and follow the two doctrines, the essential teaching and the theoretical teaching. The passage refers to Nichiren and his followers, the people who now chant 南無妙法蓮華経.

Point Seven, on the robe, the seat, and the room in the passage “Medicine King, if there are good men and good women who, after the Thus Come One has entered extinction, wish to expound this Lotus Sutra for the four kinds of believers, how should they expound it? These good men and good women should enter the Thus Come One’s room, put on the Thus Come One’s robe, sit in the Thus Come One’s seat, and then for the sake of the four kinds of believers broadly expound this sutra.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The robe, the seat, and the room represent the three bodies of the Buddha, the Dharma body, the reward body, and the manifested body; the three truths, the truth of non-substantiality, the truth of temporary existence, and the truth of the Middle Way; and the three categories of action, actions of the body, mouth, and mind. Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華経, are fulfilling these three rules of preaching represented by the robe, the seat, and the room in each moment of their lives.

The robe is the robe that is “gentle and forbearing” , as well as that which is referred to in the passage that says, “We . . . will put on the armor of perseverance” .

As for the seat, if one devotes oneself to the practice without begrudging one’s life, then it becomes the seat of “the emptiness of all phenomena”.

The room is so called because one dwells in “pity and compassion” when one expounds the teachings. It means to have the kind of concern that a mother has for her child. And are we not fulfilling these three rules of preaching in each moment of our lives?

Point Eight, on the passage “If you wish to put aside all sloth and remissness, / you must listen to this sutra.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “all sloth and remissness” refer to the teachings of the sutras that were expounded as expedient means during the more than forty years. These are all sutras of “sloth and remissness.” “This sutra” indicates 妙法蓮華経. Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 妙法蓮華経, or 南無妙法蓮華経, are diligent in their efforts. This is why the sutra says, “You must listen to this sutra.” In particular, it says, “You must listen to this sutra from Nichiren.”

Point Nine, on the words “If they do not hear the Lotus Sutra, / they will be far removed from the Buddha’s wisdom.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “do not hear” refer to those who slander the Law. They are far removed from the wisdom that brings attainment of Buddhahood. But now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華経, have gained enlightenment into the Buddha’s wisdom, and therefore they are very near to the attainment of Buddhahood.

Point Ten, on the passage “If when a person expounds this sutra / there is someone who speaks ill and reviles him / or attacks him with swords and staves, tiles and stones, / he should think of the Buddha and for that reason be patient.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “This sutra” refers to 妙法蓮華経. Speaking ill is an action of the mouth. Attacking someone with swords and staves is an act of the body. These two types of actions of the mouth and body come from the action of the mind. But now Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華経, think of the Buddha and the charge he has laid on them, and for that reason, they respond with patience.

Point Eleven, on the passage “If after I have entered extinction / there are those who can expound this sutra, / I will send the four kinds of believers, magically conjured, / monks and nuns / and men and women of pure faith, / to offer alms to the teachers of the Law.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “Men and women” refers to ordinary men and women. “Teachers of the Law” refers to Nichiren and his followers. “Of pure faith” means those who have faith in the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren and his followers, who chant 南無妙法蓮華経, are such persons. This passage in the sutra indicates that the heavenly gods and benevolent deities will appear in the form of men and women to offer alms to the votaries of the Lotus Sutra.

Point Twelve, on the passage “If someone thinks to do evil to the preachers / with swords and staves or with tiles and stones, / I will dispatch persons magically conjured / who will act to guard and protect them.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “persons magically conjured” refer to beings such as the guardian and protector, the Great Bodhisattva Hachiman, who appeared at Tatsunokuchi. This passage in the sutra indicates that such deities will guard and protect Nichiren and his followers, who now chant 南無妙法蓮華経.

Point Thirteen, on the passage “If one stays close to the teachers of the Law / he will speedily gain the bodhisattva way.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “Staying close to” is another term for believing and accepting. “Teachers of the Law” refers to Nichiren and his followers. “Bodhisattva” is a preliminary step toward the attainment of the effect of Buddhahood. The passage refers to Nichiren and his followers, who now chant 南無妙法蓮華経.

Point Fourteen, on the passage “By following and learning from these teachers / he will see Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “These teachers” refers to Nichiren and his followers. “Learning” means to learn about 南無妙法蓮華経. “Following” means believing and accepting it.

Point Fifteen, on the words “teacher” and “learning”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The 南無妙法蓮華経 that Nichiren and his followers chant is embodied in the three thousand realms in a single moment of life, the life of the person who is learning it. Both the “teacher” and those who are “learning” from him are the teacher and disciples of the three thousand worlds of the Dharma-realm.

Point Sixteen, on the words “He will see Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: To “see Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands” means to see the treasure tower. “Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands” refers to the Buddha Many Treasures of the treasure tower. The “Many” of the name Many Treasures refers to the Dharma-realm, the realm of many phenomena. “Treasures” refers to enlightenment into the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. To see the Dharma-realm as the Buddha Many Treasures is to see “Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands.” Therefore the present chapter, “The Teacher of the Law,” is followed by the chapter, “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower.”

The treasure tower is the vehicle in which the teacher of the Law, who possesses understanding, practice, and enlightenment, rides. Now when Nichiren and his followers chant 南無妙法蓮華経, they are exemplifying wonderful understanding, wonderful practice, and wonderful enlightenment; that is, they exemplify unfathomable understanding, unfathomable practice, and unfathomable attainment. This means they have gained enlightenment into the truth of the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

The word “Ganges” in the phrase “Ganges sands” denotes a river that washes away evil and brings forth good. “Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands” means that every single word of the sutra represents a Buddha body golden in color.

You should think carefully about the word “see.” It refers to the insight or vision of a Buddha. The word “following” in the preceding line of the sutra means following this Buddha wisdom and vision.

The word “see” in the phrase “he will see Buddhas” and the seeing of the treasure tower refer to the two concepts of the insentient environment and the living self. The “see” of “see Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands” represents the living self. The “see” of the seeing of the treasure tower represents the insentient environment.

 

 

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/ott/PART-1/10

 

南無妙法蓮華経

南無

– http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/N/12

妙法蓮華経 — http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/M/147