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BLUE CRYSTAL EAGLE – KIN 155 – 19 DECEMBER 2014 FRIDAY – NS 1.27.6.7

20 December 2014

 

 

I Dedicate in order to Create
I Universalize Mind
I seal the output of vision
With the Crystal tone of Cooperation
I am guided by the power of Accomplishment

 

ON THIS SEVENTH DAY OF THE SIXTH MONTH, WE HAVE THE

 

AT THE “.ORG” INTER-NET LOCATION TITLED ‘NICHIRENLIBRARY’ WE WILL FIND A THE SOKA GAKKAI NICHIREN BUDDHISM LIBRARY

IN THIS LIBRARY, WE MAKE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC IN SEARCHABLE FORM THE FOLLOWING ENGLISH-LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS OF WORKS ESSENTIAL TO THE STUDY OF NICHIREN BUDDHISM: THE WRITINGS OF NICHIREN DAISHONIN, VOLUMES I AND II (REFERRED TO IN CITQATION AS WND-1 AND WND-2), THE LOTUS SUTRA AND ITS OPENING AND CLOSING SUTRAS (LSOC), THE RECORD OF THE ORALLY TRANSMITTED TEACHINGS (OTT), AND, AS A REFERENCE TO ASSIST WITH STUDY OF THESE WORKS, THE SOKA GAKKAI DICTIONARY OF BUDDHISM. MORE INFORMATION AT WWW.NICHIRENLIBRARY.ORG AND THE BUDDHIST WISDOM INFRA IS ALL VERBATIM FROM SAID LOCATION, AND I AM A MEMBER OF THIS ORGANIZATION BECAUSE BY OFFERING THIS INFORMATION FOR FREE, THEY ARE FULFILLING THE WORK OF THE BUDDHA AND ARE WORTHY OF BEING SUPPORTED AND PROTECTED AND PROMOTED, DJ MYSTIC LAW WORD PRESS POST BY ALEX WEST:

THE WRITINGS OF NICHIREN DAISHONIN I – GOSHO NUMBER SEVEN:

GOSHO NUMBER SIX WAS MISSED AND SO WILL BE REVIEWED UNDER THE SIXTH DAY OF THE RESONANT MOON ID EST RESONANT MOON DAY = 7.6

THE WRITINGS OF NICHIREN DAISHONIN ARE A COMPILATION OF NICHIREN’S LETTERS TO HIS FOLLOWERS AND TREATISES >

7 – THE TEACHING, CAPACITY, TIME, AND COUNTRY

WRITTEN BY NICHIREN, THE SHRAMANA OF JAPAN

WITH REGARD TO THE FIRST ITEM, THE TEACHING CONSISTS OF ALL THE SUTRAS, RULES OF MONASTIC DISCIPLINE, AND TREATISES EXPOUNDED BY THE THUS COME ONE SHAKYAMUNI, COMPRISING 5,048 VOLUMES CONTAINED IN 480 SCROLL CASES. THE TEACHINGS OF BUDDHISM, AFTER CIRCULATING THROUGHOUT INDIA FOR A THOUSAND YEARS, WERE INTRODUCED TO CHINA 1,015 YEARS AFTER THE BUDDHA’S PASSING. DURING THE 664-YEAR PERIOD BEGINNING WITH THAT YEAR, THE TEND OF THE YUNG-P’ING ETA (C.E. 67), CYCLICAL SIGN KANOE-UMA, IN THE REIGN OF EMPEROR HSUAN-TSUNG OF THE T’ANG, ALL OF THE BUDDHIST TEACHINGS WERE INTRODUCED TO CHINA.

THE CONTENTS OF THESE SUTRAS, RULES OF MONASTIC DISCIPLINE, AND TREATISES CAN BE DIVIDED INTO THE CATEGORIES OF HINAYANA AND MAHAYANA TEACHINGS, PROVISIONAL AND TRUE SUTRAS, AND EXOTERIC AND ESOTERIC SUTRAS, AND ONE SHOULD CAREFULLY DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THEM. SUCH DESIGNATIONS DID NOT ORIGINATE WITH THE LATER SCHOLARS AND TEACHERS OF BUDDHISM; THEY DERIVE FROM THE PREACHING OF THE BUDDHA HIMSELF. THEREFORE, THEY SHOULD BE EMPLOYED WITHOUT EXCEPTION BY ALL LIVING BEINGS IN THE WORLDS OF THE TEN DIRECTIONS. ANYONE WHO FAILS TO DO SO SHOULD BE REGARDED AS NON-BUDDHIST.

THE CUSTOM OF REFERRING TO THE TEACHINGS OF THE AGAMA SUTRAS AS HINAYANA DERIVES FROM THE VARIOUS MAHAYANA SUTRAS OF THE CORRECT AND EQUAL, WISDOM, AND LOTUS AND NIRVANA PERIODS. IN THE LOTUS SUTRA THE BUDDHA SAYS THAT, IF HE HAD PREACHED ONLY THE HINAYANA TEACHINGS AND WITHHELD THE LOTUS SUTRA, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN GUILTY OF STINGINESS AND GREED. MOREOVER, THE NIRVANA SUTRA STATES THAT THOSE WHO ACCEPT ONLY THE HINAYANA SUTRAS AND DECLAR THAT THE BUDDHA IS CHARACTERIZED BY IMPERMANENCE WILL HAVE THEIR TONGUES FESTER IN THEIR MOUTHS.

SECOND IS THE MATTER OF CAPACITY. ONE WHO ATTEMPTS TO PROPAGATE THE TEACHINGS OF BUDDHISM MUST UNDERSTAND THE CAPACITY AND BASIC NATURE OF THE PERSONS ONE IS ADDRESSING. THE VENERABLE SHARIPUTRA ATTEMPTED TO INSTRUCT A BLACKSMITH BY TEACHING HIM TO MEDITATE ON THE VILENESS OF THE BODY, AND TO INSTRUCT A WASHERMAN BY TEACHING HIM TO CONDUCT BREATH-COUNTING MEDITATION. EVEN THOUGH THESE DISCIPLES SPENT OVER NINETY DAYS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE MEDITATIONS, THEY DID NOT GAIN THE SLIGHTEST UNDERSTANDING OF THE BUDDHA’S TEACHINGS. ON THE CONTRARY, THEY TOOK ON ERRONEOUS VIEWS AND ENDED BY BECOMING ICCHANTIKAS, OR PERSONS OF INCORRIGIBLE DISBELIEF.

THE BUDDHA, ON THE OTHER HAND, INSTRUCTED THE BLACKSMITH IN BREATH-COUNTING  MEDITATION, AND THE WASHERMAN IN THE MEDITATION ON THE VILENESS OF THE BODY, AND AS A RESULT BOTH OBTAINED UNDERSTANDING IN NO TIME AT ALL. IF EVEN SHARIPUTRA, THE FOREMOST IN WISDOM AMONG THE DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, FAILED TO UNDERSTAND PEOPLE’S CAPACITY, THEN HOW MUCH MORE DIFFICULT MUST IT BE FOR ORDINARY TEACHERS TODAY, IN THE LATTER DAY OF THE LAW, TO HAVE SUCH AN UNDERSTANDING! ORDINARY TEACHERS WHO LACK AN UNDERSTANDING OF PEOPLE’S CAPACITY SHOULD TEACH ONLY THE LOTUS SUTRA TO THOSE WHO ARE UNDER THEIR INSTRUCTION.

QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT THE PASSAGE IN THE LOTUS SUTRA THAT SAYS, “DO NOT PREACH THIS SUTRA TO PERSONS WHO ARE WITHOUT WISDOM”?

ANSWER: WHEN I SPEAK OF UNDERSTANDING CAPACITY, I AM REFERRING TO PREACHING BY A PERSON OF WISDOM. AGAIN, ONE SHOULD PREACH ONLY THE LOTUS SUTRA EVEN TO THOSE WHO SLANDER THE LAW, SO THAT THEY MAY ESTABLISH A SO-CALLED “POISON-DRUM RELATIONSHIP” WITH IT. IN THIS RESPECT, ONE SHOULD PROCEED AS BODHISATTVA NEVER DISPARAGING DID.

HOWEVER, IF ONE IS SPEAKING TO PERSONS WHO ONE KNOWS HAVE THE CAPACITY TO BECOME WISE, THEN ONE SHOULD FIRST INSTRUCT THEM IN THE HINAYANA TEACHINGS, THEN INSTRUCT THEM IN THE PROVISIONAL MAHAYANA TEACHINGS, AND FINALLY INSTRUCT THEM IN THE TRUE MAHAYANA. BUT IF SPEAKING TO THOSE ONE KNOWS TO BE IGNORANT PERSONS OF LESSER CAPACITY, THEN ONE SHOULD FIRST INSTRUCT THEM IN THE TRUE MAHAYANA TEACHING. IN THAT WAY, WHETHER THEY CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IN THE TEACHING OR TO SLANDER IT, THEY WILL STILL RECEIVE THE SEEDS OF BUDDHAHOOD.

THIRD IS THE CONSIDERATION OF TIME. ANYONE WHO HOPES TO SPREAD THE BUDDHIST TEACHINGS MUST MAKE CERTAIN TO UNDERSTAND THE TIME. FOR EXAMPLE, IF A FARMER WERE TO PLANT HIS FIELDS IN AUTUMN AND WINTER, THEN, EVEN THOUGH THE SEED AND THE LAND AND THE FARMER’S EFFORTS WERE THE SAME AS EVER, THIS PLANTING WOULD NOT RESULT IN THE SLIGHTEST GAIN BUT RATHER WOULD END IN LOSS. IF THE FARMER PLANTED ONE SMALL PLOT IN THAT WAY, HE WOULD SUFFER A MINOR LOSS, AND IF HE PLANTED ACRES AND ACRES, HE WOULD SUFFER A MAJOR LOSS. BUT IF HE PLOWS AND PLANTS IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER, THEN, WHETHER THE FIELDS ARE OF SUPERIOR, MEDIUM, OR INFERIOR QUALITY, EACH WILL BRING FORTH ITS CORRESPONDING SHARE OF CROPS.

THE PREACHING OF THE BUDDHIST TEACHINGS IS SIMILAR TO THIS. IF ONE PROPAGATES THE TEACHING WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING THE TIME, ONE WILL REAP NO BENEFIT BUT, ON THE CONTRARY, WILL FALL INTO THE EVIL PATHS. WHEN SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA MADE HIS APPEARANCE IN THIS WORLD, HE WAS DETERMINED TO PREACH THE LOTUS SUTRA. BUT THOUGH THE CAPACITIES OF HIS LISTENERS MAY HAVE BEEN RIGHT, THE PROPER TIME HAD NOT YET COME.

THEREFORE, HE SPENT A PERIOD OF MORE THAN FORTY YEARS WITHOUT PREACHING THE LOTUS SUTRA, EXPLAINING, AS HE SAYS IN THE LOTUS SUTRA ITSELF, THAT “THE TIME TO PREACH SO HAD NOT YET COME.”

THE DAY AFTER THE BUDDHA’S PASSING BEGINS THE THOUSAND-YEAR PERIOD KNOWN AS THE FORMER DAY OF THE LAW, WHEN THOSE WHO UPHOLD THE PRECEPTS ARE MANY WHILE THOSE WHO BREAK THEM ARE FEW. THE DAY AFTER THE END OF THE FORMER DAY OF THE LAW MARKS THE BEGINNING OF THE THOUSAND-YEAR PERIOD KNOWN AS THE MIDDLE DAY OF THE LAW, WHEN THOSE WHO BREAK THE PRECEPTS ARE MANY WHILE THOSE WITHOUT PRECEPTS ARE FEW. AND THE DAY AFTER THE ENDING OF THE MIDDLE DAY OF THE LAW BEGINS THE TEN-THOUSAND-YEAR PERIOD KNOWN AS THE LATTER DAY OF THE LAW, WHEN THOSE WHO BREAK THE PRECEPTS ARE FEW WHILE THOSE WITHOUT PRECEPTS ARE MANY.

DURING THE FORMER DAY OF THE LAW, ONE SHOULD CAST ASIDE THOSE WHO BREAK THE PRECEPTS, OR WHO HAVE NO PRECEPTS AT ALL, GIVING ALMS ONLY TO THOSE WHO UPHOLD THE PRECEPTS. DURING THE MIDDLE DAY OF THE LAW, ONE SHOULD CAST ASIDE THOSE WITHOUT PRECEPTS AND GIVE ALMS ONLY TO THOSE WHO BREAK THEM. AND DURING THE LATTER DAY OF THE LAW, ONE SHOULD GIVE ALMS TO THOSE WITHOUT PRECEPTS, TREATING THEM IN THE SAME WAY AS IF THEY WERE THE BUDDHA.

HOWEVER, WHETHER IN THE FORMER, THE MIDDLE, OR THE LATTER DAY OF THE LAW, ONE SHOULD NEVER IN ANY OF THESE THREE PERIODS GIVE ALMS TO0 THOSE WHO SLANDER THE LOTUS SUTRA, WHETHER THEY KEEP THE PRECEPTS, BREAK THE PRECEPTS, OR DO NOT RECEIVE THEM AT ALL. IF ALMS ARE GIVEN TO THOSE WHO SLANDER THE LOTUS SUTRA, THEN THE LAND WILL INVARIABLY BE VISITED BY THE THREE CALAMITIES, AND SEVEN DISASTERS, AND THE PERSONS WHO GIVE SUCH ALMS WILL SURELY FALL INTO THE GREAT CITADEL OF THE HELL OF INCESSANT SUFFERING.

WHEN THE VOTARY OF THE LOTUS SUTRA DENOUNCES THE PROVISIONAL SUTRAS, IT IS LIKE A RULER, A PARENT, OR A TEACHER DISCIPLINING A RETAINER, A SON, OR A DISCIPLE. BUT WHEN PRACTITIONERS OF THE PROVISIONAL SUTRAS DENOUNCE THE LOTUS SUTRA, IT IS LIKE RETAINERS, SONS, OR DISCIPLES ATTEMPTING TO PUNISH THEIR RULER, PARENT, OR TEACHER.

AT PRESENT, IT HAS BEEN 210 OR MORE YEARS SINCE WE ENTERED THE LATTER DAY OF THE LAW. ONE SHOULD CONSIDER VERY CAREFULLY WHETHER NOW IS A TIME BEST SUITED FOR THE PROVISIONAL SUTRAS OR NEMBUTSU TEACHINGS, OR WHETHER IT IS THE TIME WHEN THE LOTUS SUTRA SHOULD BE SPREAD.

FOURTH IS THE CONSIDERATION OF THE COUNTRY. ONE MUST NEVER FAIL TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE KIND OF COUNTRY IN WHICH OJNE IS SPREADING THE BUDDHIST TEACHINGS. THERE ARE COLD COUNTRIES, HOT COUNTRIES, POOR COUNTRIES, RICH COUNTRIES, CENTRAL COUNTRIES, COUNTRIES WHOLLY GIVEN OVER TO THIEVING, COUNTRIES WHOLLY GIVEN OVER TO THE KILLING OF LIVING THINGS, AND COUNTRIES KNOWN FOR THEIR UTTER LACK OF FILIAL PIETY. IN ADDITION, THERE ARE COUNTRIES WHOLLY DEVOTED TO THE HINAYANA TEACHINGS, COUNTRIES WHOLLY DEVOTED TO THE MAHAYANA TEACHINGS, AND COUNTRIES IN WHICH BOTH HINAYANA AND MAHAYANA TEACHINGS, AND COUNTRIES IN WHICH BOTH HINAYANA AND MAHAYANA TEACHINGS ARE PURSUED. IN THE CASE OF JAPAN, THEREFORE, WE MUST CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHETHER IT IS A COUNTRY SUITED EXCLUSIVELY TO HINAYANA, A COUNTRY SUITED EXCLUSIVELY TO MAHAYANA, OR A COUNTRY SUITED FOR THE PRACTICE OF BOTH HINAYANA AND MAHAYANA.

FIFTH IS THE SEQUENCE OF PROPAGATION. IN A COUNTRY WHERE THE BUDDHIST TEACHINGS HAVE NEVER BEEN INTRODUCED , THERE OF COURSE WILL BE NONE WHO ARE FAMILIAR WITH BUDDHISM. BUT IN A COUNTRY WHERE BUDDHISM HAS ALREADY BEEN INTRODUCED, THERE OF COURSE WILL BE NONE WHO ARE FAMILIAR WITH BUDDHISM. BUT IN A COUNTRY WHERE BUDDHISM HAS ALREADY BEEN INTRODUCED, THERE WILL BE THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN THE BUDDHIST TEACHINGS. THEREFORE, ONE MUST FIRST LEARN WHAT KIND OF BUDDHIST DOCTRINES HAVE ALREADY SPREAD IN A PARTICULAR COUNTRY BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO PROPAGATE BUDDHISM THERE.

IF THE HINAYANA AND PROVISIONAL MAHAYANA TEACHINGS HAVE ALREADY SPREAD, THEN ONE SHOULD BY ALL MEANS PROPAGATE THE TRUE MAHAYANA TEACHING. BUT IF THE TRUE MAHAYANA TEACHING HAS ALREADY SPREAD, THEN ONE MUST NOT PROPAGATE THE HINAYANA OR PROVISIONAL MAHAYANA TEACHINGS. ONE THORWS ASIDE SHARDS AND RUBBLE IN ORDER TO PICK UP GOLD AND GEMS, BUT ONE MUST NOT THROW ASIDE GOLD AND GEMS IN ORDER TO PICK UP SHARDS AND RUBBLE.

IF ONE TAKES THE FIVE PRINCIPLES OUTLINED ABOVE INTO ACCOUNT WHEN PROPAGATING THE BUDDHIST TEACHINGS, THEN ONE CAN SURELY BECOME A TEACHER TO THE ENTIRE NATION OF JAPAN. TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE LOTUS SUTRA IS THE KING OF THE SUTRAS, THE FOREMOST AMONG THEM ALL, IS TO HAVE A CORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF THE TEACHING.

YET FA-YUN OF KUANA-CHE-SSU TEMPLE AND HUI-KUAN OF TAO-CH’ANG-SSU TEMPLE CLAIMED THAT THE NIRVANA SUTRA IS SUPERIOR TO THE LOTUS SUTRA. CH’ENG-KUAN OF MOUNT CH’ING-LIANG AND KOBO OF MOUNT KOYA CLAIMED THAT THE FLOWER GARLAND AND MAHAVAIROCHANA SUTRAS ARE SUPERIOR TO THE LOTUS SUTRA. CHI-TSANG OF CHIA-HSIANG-SSU TEMPLE AND THE PRIEST K’UEI-CHI OF TZ’U-EN-SSU TEMPLE CLAIMED THAT THE TWO SUTRAS KNOWN AS THE WISDOM AND THE PROFOUND SECRETS ARE SUPERIOR TO THE LOTUS SUTRA. ONE MAN ALONE, THE GREAT TEACHER CHIH-CHE OF MOUNT T’IEN-T’AI, NOT ONLY ASSERTED THAT THE LOTUS SUTRA IS SUPERIOR TO ALL THE OTHER SUTRAS, BUT URGED THAT ANYONE CLAIMING THERE IS A SUTRA SUPERIOR TO THE LOTUS SHOULD BE ADMONISHED; HE SAID THAT, IF SUCH PERSONS PERSIST IN THEIR FALSE CLAIM, THEIR TONGUES WILL SURELY FESTER IN THEIR MOUTHS DURING THEIR PRESENT EXISTENCE, AND AFTER DEATH THEY WILL FALL INTO THE AVICHI HELL. ONE WHO IS ABLE TO DISTINGUISH RIGHT FROM WRONG AMONG ALL THESE DIFFERENT OPINIONS MAY BE SAID TO AHVE A CORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF THE TEACHING.

OF ALL THE THOUSAND OR TEN THOUSAND SCHOLARS OF THE PRESENT AGE, SURELY EACH AND EVERY ONE IS CONFUSED AS TO THIS POINT. IF SO, THEN THERE MUST BE VERY FEW WHO HAVE A CORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF THE TEACHING. IF THERE ARE NONE WITH A CORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF THE TEACHING, THERE WILL BE NONE WHO READ THE LOTUS SUTRA. IF THERE ARE NONE WHO READ THE LOTUS SUTRA, THERE WILL BE NONE WHO CAN ACT AS A TEACH TO THE NATION. IF THERE IS NO ONE TO ACT AS A TEACHER TO THE NATION, THEN EVERYONE WITHIN THE NATION WILL BE CONFUSED AS TO THE DISTINCTIONS WITHIN THE BODY OF SUTRAS, SUCH AS THOSE BETWEEN THE HINAYANA AND THE MAHAYANA, THE PROVISIONAL AND THE TRUE, AND EXOTERIC AND THE ESOTERIC SUTRAS. NOT A SINGLE PERSON WILL BE ABLE TO ESCAPE THE SUFFERINGS OF BIRTH AND DEATH, AND IN THE END THEY WILL ALL BECOME SLANDERERS OF THE LAW. THOSE WHO, BECAUSE OF SLANDERING THE LAW, FALL INTO THE AVICHI HELL, WILL BE MORE NUMEROUS THAN THE DUST PARTICLES OF THE LAND, WHILE THOSE WHO, BY EMBRACING THE LAW, ARE FREED FROM THE SUFFERINGS OF BIRTH AND DEATH, WILL NUMBER LESS THAN THE SPECKS OF DIRT THAT CAN BE PLACED ON A FINGERNAIL. WHAT A FEARFUL THING IT IS!

DURING THE FOUR HUNDRED OR MORE YEARS SINCE THE TIME EMPEROR KAMMU, ALL THE PEOPLE IN JAPAN HAVE HAD THE CAPACITY TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT SOLELY THROUGH THE LOTUS SUTRA. THEY ARE LIKE THOSE PERSONS WITH CAPACITIES SUITED TO THE PURE AND PERFECT TEACHING WHO FOR A PERIOD OF EIGHT YEARS LISTENED TO THE PREACHING OF THE LOTUS SUTRA ON EAGLE PEAK. (CONFIRMATION OF THIS MAY BE FOUYND IN THE RECORDS OF THE GREAT TEACHER T’IEN-T’AI, PRINCE SHOTOKU, THE REVEREND GANJIN, THE GREAT KOMPON [DENGYO], THE REVERED GANJIN, THE GREAT TEACHER KOMPON [DENGYO], THE REVEREND ANNEN, AND ESHIN.) TO UNDERSTAND THIS IS TO HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE PEOPLE’S CAPACITY.

YET THE BUDDHIST SCHOLARS OF OUR TIME SAY THAT THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN ALL HAVE CAPACITIES FIT ONLY FOR THE RECITATION OF AMIDA BUDDHA’S NAME, THEN NEMBUTSU. THEY ARE LIKE SHARIPUTRA IN THE EPISODE I MENTIONED EARLIER WHO, BECAUSE HE WAS MISLED AS TO THE CAPACITY OF THE PERSONS UNDER HIS INSTRUCTION, IN THE END TURNED THEM INTO ICCHANTIKAS.

IN JAPAN AT PRESENT, SOME 2,210 YEARS AFTER THE PASSING OF THE THUS COME ONE SHAKYAMUNI, IN THE LAST OF THE FIVE FIVE-HUNDRED-YEAR PERIODS AFTER HIS PASSING, THE HOUR HAS COME FOR THE WIDESPREAD PROPAGATION OF MYOHO-RENGE-KYO. TO UNDERSTAND THIS IS TO HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE TIME.

YET THERE ARE BUDDHIST SCHOLARS IN JAPAN TODAY WHO CAST ASIDE THE LOTUS SUTRA AND INSTEAD DEVOTE THEMSELVES EXCLUSIVELY TO PRACTICING THE INVOCATION OF AMIDA BUDDHA’S NAME. THERE ARE OTHERS WHO TEACH THE HINAYANA PRECEPTS AND SPEAK CONTEMPTUOUSLY OF THE PRIESTS [WHO WERE ORDAINED WITH THE MAHAYANA PRECEPTS] ON MOUNT HIEI, AS WELL AS THOSE WHO PRESENT WHAT THEY DESCRIBE AS A SEPARATE TRANSMISSION OUTSIDE THE SUTRAS, DISPARAGING THE CORRECT DOCTRINE OF THE LOTUS SUTRA. SUCH PERSONS MAY SURELY BE SAID TO MISUNDERSTAND THE TIME. THEY ARE LIKE THE MONK SUPERIOR INTENT WHO SLANDERED BODHISATTVA ROOT OF JOY, OR THE SCHOLAR GUNAPRABHA WHO BEHAVED WITH CONTEMPT TOWARD BODHISATTVA MAITREYA, THUS INVITING THE TERRIBLE SUFFERINGS OF THE AICHI HELL.

JAPAN IS A COUNTRY RELATED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE LOTUS SUTRA, JUST AS THE COUNTRY OF SHRAVASTI IN INDIA WAS RELATED SOLEY TO THE MAHAYANA TEACHINGS. IN INDIA THERE WERE COUNTRIES THAT WERE WHOLLY DEVOTED TO HINAYANA, THOSE THAT WERE WHOLLY DEVOTED TO MAHAYANA, AND THOSE THAT WERE DEVOTED TO BOTH HINAYANA AND MAHAYANA TEACHINGS. JAPAN IS A COUNTRY THAT IS EXCLUSIVELY SUITED TO MAHAYANA, AND AMONG THOSE TEACHINGS IT SHOULD BE DEDICATED SOLEY TO THE LOTUS SUTRA. (THE ABOVE STATEMENT IS ATTESTED TO IN THE TREATISE ON THE STAGES OF YOGA PRACTICE, THE WRITINGS OF SENG-CHAO, AND THE RECORDS OF PRINCE SHOTOKU, THE GREAT TEACHER DENGYO, AND ANNEN). TO UNDERSTAND THIS IS TO UNDERSTAND THE COUNTRY.

YET THERE ARE BUDDHIST SCHOLARS IN OUR PRESENT AGE WHO ADDRESS THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN AND INSTRUCT THEM ONLY IN THE PRECEPTS OF THE HINAYANA, OR WHO ATTEMPT TO MAKE THEM ALL INTO FOLLOWERS OF THE NEMBUTSU. THIS IS LIKE “PLACING IMPURE FOOD IN A JEWELED VESSEL.” (THIS SIMILE OF THE JEWELED VESSEL IS TAKEN FROM AN ESSAY ON THE PROTECTION OF THE NATION BY THE GREAT TEACHER DENGYO.)

IN JAPAN DURING THE 240 OR MORE YEARS FROM THE TIME WHEN BUDDHISM WAS FIRST INTRODUCED FROM THE KOREAN KINGDOM OF PAEKCHE IN THE REIGN OF EMPEROR KIMMEI TO THE REIGN OF EMPEROR KAMMU, ONLY THE HINAYANA AND PROVISIONAL MAHAYANA TEACHINGS WERE PROPAGATED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. THOUGH THE LOTUS SUTRA EXISTED IN JAPAN, ITS SIGNIFICANCE HAD NOT YET BEEN MADE CLEAR. THIS WAS SIMILAR TO THE SITUATION YEARS BEFORE IN CHINA, WHERE THE LOTUS SUTRA HAD EXISTED FOR MORE THAN 300 YEARS BEFORE ITS SIGNIFICANCE WAS CLARIFIED.

IN THE TIME OF EMPEROR KAMMU, THE GREAT TEACHER DENGYO REFUTED THE HINAYANA AND PROVISIONAL MAHAYANA TEACHINGS, AND MADE CLEAR THE TRUE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LOTUS SUTRA. FROM THAT TIME ON, OPPOSING OPINIONS CEASED TO PREVAIL, AND EVERYONE SINGLE-MINDEDLY PUT FAITH IN THE LOTUS SUTRA. EVEN THOSE SCHOLARS OF THE EARLIER SIX SCHOOLS [OF NARA] WHO STUDIED HINAYANA AND MAHAYANA TEACHINGS SUCH AS THE FLOWER GARLAND, WISDOM, PROFOUND SECRETS, AND AGAMA SUTRAS REGARDED THE LOTUS SUTRA AS THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY. NEEDLESS TO SAY, THIS WAS EVEN MORE SO WITH SCHOLARS OF THE TENDAI AND TRUE WORD SCHOOLS, AND OF COURSE WITH LAY BELIEVERS WHO HAD NO SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE SUBJECT. IN ITS RELATION TO THE LOTUS SUTRA, THE COUNTRY WAS LIKE TH K’UN-LUN MOUNTAINS WHERE THERE IS NOT A SINGLE WORTHLESS STONE, OR THE MOUNTAIN ISLAND OF P’ENG-LAI WHERE NO POISONS ARE KNOWN.

HOWEVER, DURING THE FIFTY OR MORE YEARS SINCE THE KENNIN ERA (1201-1204), THE PRIESTS DAI-NICHI AND BUDDHA HAVE SPREAD THE TEACHINGS OF THE ZEN SCHOOL, CASTING ASIDE ALL THE VARIOUS SUTRAS AND POSTULATING A DOCTRINE THAT IS TRANSMITTED OUTSIDE THE SCRIPTURES. AND HONEN AND RYUKAN HAVE ESTABLISHED THE PURE LAND SCHOOL, CONTRADICTING THE TEACHINGS OF THE TRUE MAHAYANA AND SETTING UP THE PROVISIONAL DOCTRINES. THESE MEN ARE IN EFFECT CASTING ASIDE GEMS AND INSTEAD GATHERING STONES, ABANDONING THE SOLID EARTH AND TRYING TO CLIMB UP INTO THE AIR. THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE ORDER IN WHICH THE VARIOUS DOCTRINES SHOULD BE PROPAGATED. THE BUDDHA WARNED OF SUCH PERSONS WHEN HE SAID THAT IT WAS BETTER TO ENCOUNTER A MAD ELEPHANT THAN AN EVIL FRIEND.

IN THE “ENCOURAGING DEVOTION” CHAPTER OF THE LOTUS SUTRA, IT IS RECORDED THAT, IN THE LAST-FIVE-HUNDRED-YEAR PERIOD, OR TWO THOUSAND OR SO YEARS AFTER THE BUDDHA’S PASSING, THERE WILL BE THREE TYPES OF ENEMIES OF THE LOTUS SUTRA. OUR PRESENT AGE CORRESPONDS TO THE LAST FIVE-HUNDRED-YEAR PERIOD. AND AS I, NICHIREN, PONDER THE TRUTH OF THE BUDDHA’S WORDS, I REALIZE THAT THESE THREE TYPES OF ENEMIES ARE INDEED REAL. IF I ALLOW THEM TO REMAIN HIDDEN, THEN I WILL NOT BE THE VOTARY OF THE LOTUS SUTRA. YET IF I CAUSE THEM TO APPEAR, THEN I AM ALMOST CERTAIN TO LOSE MY LIFE.

THE FOURTH VOLUME OF THE LOTUS SUTRA STATES, “SINCE HATRED AND JEALOUSY TOWARD THIS SUTRA ABOUND EVEN WHEN THE THUS COME ONE IS IN THE WORLD, HOW MUCH MORE WILL THIS BE SO AFTER HIS PASSING?” THE FIFTH VOLUME SAYS, “IT WILL FACE MUCH HOSTILITY IN THE WORLD AND BE DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE.” THE SAME VOLUME ALSO READS, “WE CARE NOTHING FOR OUR BODIES OR LIVES BUT ARE ANXIOUS ONLY FOR THE UNSURPASSED WAY.” AND THE SIXTH VOLUME READS, “NOT HESITATING EVEN IF IT COSTS THEM THEIR LIVES.”

THE NINTH VOLUME OF THE NIRVANA SUTRA STATES: “FOR EXAMPLES, IT IS LIKE A ROYAL ENVOY SKILLED IN DISCUSSION AND CLEVER WITH EXPEDIENT MEANS WHO, WHEN SENT ON A MISSION TO ANOTHER LAND, WOULD RATHER, EVEN THOUGH IT COSTS HIM HIS LIFE, IN THE END CONCEAL NONE OF THE WORDS OF HIS RULER. WISE PERSONS TOO DO THIS. IN THE MIDST OF ORDINARY PEOPLE AND WITHOUT BEGRUDGING THEIR LIVES, THOSE WHO ARE WISE SHOULD WITHOUT FAIL PROCLAIM THE THUS COME ONE’S PRIZE TEACHING FROM THE CORRECT AND EQUAL SUTRAS OF THE GREAT VEHICLE.”THE GREAT TEACHER CHANG-AN, COMMENTING ON THIS PASSAGE, SAYS: “[A ROYAL ENVOY .  .  . WOULD RATHER], EVEN THOUGH IT COSTS HIM HIS LIFE, IN THE END CONCEAL NONE OF THE WORDS OF HIS RULER’ MEANS THAT ONE’S BODY IS INSIGNIFICANT WHILE THE LAW SUPREME. ONE SHOULD GIVE ONE’S LIFE IN ORDER TO PROPAGATE THE LAW.”

WHEN I EXAMINE THESE PASSAGES, I KNOW THAT, IF I DO NOT CALL FORTH THESE THREE ENEMIES OF THE LOTUS SUTRA, THEN I WILL NOT BE THE VOTARY OF THE LOTUS SUTRA. ONLY BY MAKING THEM APPEAR CAN I BE THE VOTARY. AND YET IF I DO SO, I AM ALMOST CERTAIN TO LOSE MY LIFE. I WILL BE LIKE THE VENERABLE ARYASIMHA OR BODHISATTVA ARYADEVA.

NICHIREN

THE TENTH DAY OF THE SECOND MONTH

 

LOTUS SUTRA: 7

THE PARABLE OF THE PHANTOM CITY {RE: LSOC AT NICHIREN LIBRARY LOCATION SUPRA}

 

The buddha made this announcement to the monks: “Once in the past, an immeasurable, boundless, inconceivable asamkhya number of kalpas ago, there was at that time a buddha named Great Universal Wisdom Excellence Thus Come One, worthy of offerings, of right and universal knowledge, perfect clarity and conduct, well gone, understanding the world, unexcelled worthy, trainer of people, teacher of heavenly and human beings, buddha, world-honored one. His land was named Well Constituted and his kalpa was named Great Form.

“Now monks, since that buddha passed into extinction, a very great, a very long time has passed. Suppose, for example, that someone took all the earth particles in the major world system and ground them up to make ink powder, and as he passed through the thousand lands of the east, he dropped one grain of the ink powder no bigger in size than a speck of dust. Again, when he passed through another thousand lands, he dropped another grain of ink. Suppose he went on in this way until he had finished dropping all the grains of ink made from the earth particles. Now what is your opinion? Do you think that, with regard to those lands, the masters of calculation or the disciples of the masters of calculation would be able to determine the number of lands that had been visited in the process, or would they not?”

“That would be impossible, World-Honored One.”

p.155“Now monks, suppose that one should take the earth of all the lands this man had passed through, whether he dropped a grain of ink there or not, and should pound it up into dust. And suppose that one particle of dust should represent one kalpa. The kalpas that have elapsed since that buddha entered extinction would still exceed the number of dust particles by immeasurable, boundless, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of asamkhya kalpas. But because I employ the thus come one’s power to know and see, when I look at that far-off time it seems like today.”

At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

When I think of it, in the past,

immeasurable, boundless kalpas ago,

there was a buddha, most honored of two-legged beings,

named Great Universal Wisdom Excellence.

If a person should use his strength to smash

the ground of the major world system,

should completely crush its earth particles

and reduce them all to powdered ink,

and if when he passed through a thousand lands

he should drop one speck of ink,

and if he continued in this manner

until he had exhausted all the specks of ink,

and if one then took the soil of the lands he had passed through,

both those he dropped a speck in and those he did not,

and once more ground their earth into dust,

and then took one grain of dust to represent one kalpa—

the number of tiny grains of dust would be less

than the number of kalpas in the past when that buddha lived.

Since that buddha passed into extinction,

an immeasurable number of kalpas such as this have passed.

The thus come one, through his unhindered wisdom,

p.156knows the time when that buddha passed into extinction

and his voice-hearers and bodhisattvas

as though he were witnessing that extinction right now.

You monks should understand

that the buddha wisdom is pure, subtle, wonderful,

without outflows, without hindrance,

reaching to and penetrating immeasurable kalpas.

The Buddha announced to the monks: “The buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence had a life span of five hundred and forty ten thousand million nayutas of kalpas. This buddha at first sat in the place of enlightenment and, having smashed the armies of the devil, was on the point of attaining supreme perfect enlightenment, but the Law of the buddhas did not appear before him. This state continued for one small kalpa, and so on for ten small kalpas, the buddha sitting with legs crossed, body and mind unmoving, but the Law of the buddhas still did not appear before him.

“At that time the beings of the heaven of the thirty-three gods had earlier spread a lion seat measuring one yojana in height underneath a bodhi tree for the buddha, intending that the buddha should sit on this when he attained supreme perfect enlightenment. As soon as the buddha took his seat there, the Brahma kings caused a multitude of heavenly flowers to rain down, covering the ground for a hundred yojanas around. From time to time a fragrant wind would come up and blow the withered flowers away, whereupon new ones would rain down. This continued without interruption for the space of ten small kalpas as an offering to the buddha. Up until the time he entered extinction, such flowers constantly rained down. The four heavenly kings as their offering to the buddha constantly beat on heavenly drums, while the other heavenly beings played heavenly musical instruments, all for ten small kalpas. Until the buddha entered extinction, such was the state of affairs.

“Now, monks, the buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence passed ten small kalpas before the Law of the buddhas finally appeared before him and he attained supreme perfect p.157enlightenment. Before this buddha left the householder’s life, he had sixteen sons, the first of whom was named Wisdom Accumulated. These sons each had various kinds of rare objects and toys of one kind or another, but when they heard that their father had attained supreme perfect enlightenment, they all threw aside their rare objects and went to where the buddha was. Their mothers, weeping, followed after them.

“Their grandfather, who was a wheel-turning sage king, along with a hundred chief ministers, as well as a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million of his subjects, all together surrounded the sons and followed them to the place of enlightenment, all wishing to draw close to the thus come one Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, to offer alms, pay honor, venerate, and praise him. When they arrived, they bowed before his feet, touching their heads to the ground. When they had finished circling the buddha, they pressed their palms together with a single mind, gazed up in reverence at the world-honored one, and recited these verses of praise, saying:

The world-honored one, of great authority and virtue,

in order to save living beings

spent immeasurable millions of years

and at last succeeded in becoming a buddha.

All your vows have now been fulfilled—

it is well—no fortune could be greater!

The world-honored one is very rarely met with;

having taken his seat, ten small kalpas pass.

His body and his hands and feet

rest in stillness, never moving,

his mind constantly calm and placid,

never in turmoil or disorder.

In the end he attains eternal tranquillity and extinction,

resting in the Law of no outflows.

Now as we observe the world-honored one

in tranquillity, having completed the buddha way,

we gain excellent benefits

and praise and congratulate him with great joy.

p.158Living beings undergo constant suffering and anguish,

benighted, without teacher or guide,

not realizing there is a way to end suffering,

not knowing how to seek emancipation.

Through the long night increasingly they follow evil paths,

reducing the multitude of heavenly beings;

from darkness they enter into darkness,

to the end never hearing a buddha’s name.

But now the buddha has attained the unexcelled,

the tranquillity of the Law of no outflows.

We and the heavenly and human beings

hereby obtain the greatest benefit.

For this reason all of us bow our heads,

dedicate our lives to the one of unexcelled honor.

“At that time the sixteen princes, having praised the buddha in these verses, urged the world-honored one to turn the wheel of the Law, speaking all together in these words: ‘World-Honored One, expound the Law. By doing so, you will bring tranquillity to and will comfort and benefit heavenly and human beings in large measure.’ They repeated this request in verse form, saying:

World hero without peer,

you who adorn yourself with a hundred blessings,

you have attained unsurpassed wisdom—

we beg you to preach for the sake of the world.

Save and free us

and other kinds of living beings.

Draw distinctions, enlighten us,

and allow us to attain this wisdom.

If we can gain buddhahood,

then all living beings can do likewise.

World-Honored One, you know the thoughts

that living beings hold deep in their minds.

You know the paths they tread

p.159and you know the strength of their wisdom,

their pleasures, the blessings they have cultivated,

the actions they have carried out in past existences.

World-Honored One, all this you know already—

now you must turn the unsurpassed wheel!

The Buddha announced to the monks: “When the buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence attained supreme perfect enlightenment, five hundred ten thousand million buddha worlds in each of the ten directions trembled and shook in six different ways. The dark and secluded places within those lands, where the light of the sun and moon is never able to penetrate, were all brightly illuminated and the living beings were all able to see one another, and they all exclaimed, saying, ‘How is it that living beings have suddenly come into existence in this place?’

“Also the palaces of the various heavenly beings in those lands and the Brahma palaces trembled and shook in six different ways and a great light shone everywhere, completely filling the worlds and surpassing the light of the heavens. At that time in five hundred ten thousand million lands in the eastern direction the Brahma palaces shone with a brilliant light that was twice its ordinary brightness, and the Brahma kings each thought to himself, Now the brilliance of the palace is greater than ever in the past. What can be the cause of this phenomenon?

“At that time the Brahma kings visited one another to discuss this matter. Among them was a great Brahma king named Save All who, on behalf of the multitude of Brahma kings, spoke these verses, saying:

Our palaces have a brilliance

never known in the past.

What is the cause of this?

Each of us seeks an answer.

Is it because of the birth of some heavenly being of great virtue,

p.160or because a buddha has appeared in the world

that this great brilliant light

shines everywhere in the ten directions?

“At that time the Brahma kings of five hundred ten thousand million lands, accompanied by their palaces, each king taking his outer robe and filling it with heavenly flowers, journeyed together to the western region to observe the signs there. They saw the thus come one Great Universal Wisdom Excellence in the place of enlightenment, seated on a lion seat underneath a bodhi tree, with the heavenly beings, dragon kings, gandharvas, kimnaras, and mahoragas, and the human and nonhuman beings surrounding him and paying reverence. And they saw the sixteen princes entreating the buddha to turn the wheel of the Law.

“At once the Brahma kings bowed before the buddha, touching their heads to the ground, circled around him a hundred thousand times, and then took the heavenly flowers and scattered them over the buddha. The flowers they scattered piled up like Mount Sumeru. They also offered them as alms to the buddha’s bodhi tree. This bodhi tree was ten yojanas in height. When they had finished offering the flowers, each one took his palace and presented it to the buddha, speaking these words: ‘We hope you will bestow comfort and benefit on us. We beg you to accept and occupy these palaces that we present.’

“At that time the Brahma kings, in the presence of the buddha, with a single mind and joined voices recited these verses of praise:

World-Honored One, very rarely met with,

one whom it is difficult to encounter,

endowed with immeasurable blessings,

capable of saving everyone,

great teacher of heavenly and human beings,

you bestow pity and comfort on the world.

Living beings in the ten directions

all receive benefit everywhere.

In the five hundred ten thousand million lands

p.161from which we come,

we have put aside the joy of deep meditation

in order to offer alms to the buddha.

Because of our good fortune in previous existences

our palaces are very richly adorned.

Now we present them to the world-honored one,

begging that he be kind enough to accept them.

“At that time, when the Brahma kings had finished praising the buddha in verse, they each spoke these words: ‘We beg the world-honored one to turn the wheel of the Law, save living beings, and open up the way to nirvana!’

“Then the Brahma kings with a single mind and joined voices spoke in verse form, saying:

World hero, most honored of two-legged beings,

we beg you to expound the Law.

Through the power of your great mercy and compassion,

save living beings in their suffering and anguish!

“At that time the thus come one Great Universal Wisdom Excellence silently agreed to do so. Now, monks, in five hundred ten thousand million lands in the southeast, the Brahma kings each observed that his palace was shining with a brilliant light such as had never been known in the past. Dancing for joy, entering a frame of mind seldom experienced, they went about visiting one another and discussing these things together.

“At that time there was among the assembly a great Brahma king named Great Compassion who, on behalf of the multitude of Brahma kings, spoke in verse form, saying:

What cause is in operation

that such a sign should be manifest?

Our palaces display a brilliance

never known before.

Is it because of the birth of some heavenly being of great virtue,

p.162or because a buddha has appeared in the world?

We have never seen such a sign

and with a single mind we seek the reason.

Though we must travel a thousand, ten thousand, a million lands,

together we will search out the cause of this light.

Likely it is because a buddha has appeared in the world

to save living beings in their suffering.

“At that time the five hundred ten thousand million Brahma kings, accompanied by their palaces, each king taking his outer robe and filling it with heavenly flowers, journeyed together to the northwestern region to observe the signs there. They saw the thus come one Great Universal Wisdom Excellence in the place of enlightenment, seated on a lion seat beneath a bodhi tree, with the heavenly beings, dragon kings, gandharvas, kimnaras, and mahoragas, and the human and nonhuman beings surrounding him and paying reverence. And they saw the sixteen princes entreating the buddha to turn the wheel of the Law.

“At once the Brahma kings touched their heads to the ground and bowed before the buddha, circled around him a hundred thousand times, and then took the heavenly flowers and scattered them over the buddha. The flowers they scattered piled up like Mount Sumeru. They also offered them as alms to the buddha’s bodhi tree. When they had finished offering the flowers, each one took his palace and presented it to the buddha, speaking these words: ‘We hope you will bestow comfort and benefit on us. We beg you to accept and occupy these palaces that we present.’

“At that time the Brahma kings, in the presence of the buddha, with a single mind and joined voices recited these verses of praise:

Sage lord, heavenly being among heavenly beings,

voiced like the kalavinka bird,

you who pity and comfort living beings,

we now pay you honor and reverence.

p.163The world-honored one is very rarely met with,

appearing only once in many long ages.

One hundred and eighty kalpas

have passed in vain without a buddha,

when the three evil paths were everywhere

and the multitude of heavenly beings was reduced in number.

Now the buddha has appeared in the world

to be an eye for living beings.

The world will hurry to him

and he will save and guard one and all.

He will be a father to living beings,

comforting and benefiting them.

We, through the good fortune of past existences,

now are able to encounter the world-honored one.

“At that time, after the Brahma kings had recited these verses in praise of the buddha, they each spoke these words: ‘We beg the world-honored one to pity and comfort one and all, to turn the wheel of the Law, and save living beings.’

“Then the Brahma kings with a single mind and joined voices spoke in verse form, saying:

Great sage, turn the wheel of the Law,

reveal the characteristics of all phenomena,

save living beings in their suffering and anguish,

allow them to attain great joy.

When living beings hear this Law

they will gain the way or be reborn in heaven;

those in the evil paths will be reduced in number

and those patient in goodness will increase.

“At that time the thus come one Great Universal Wisdom Excellence silently agreed to do so. Now, monks, in five hundred ten thousand million lands in the southern region the Brahma kings each observed that his palace was shining with a brilliant light such as had never been known in the past. p.164Dancing with joy, entering a frame of mind seldom experienced, they went about visiting one another and discussing these things together, saying, ‘What is the reason our palaces put forth this brilliant light?’

“Among their group there was a great Brahma king named Wonderful Law who, on behalf of the multitude of Brahma kings, spoke in verse form, saying:

Our palaces

shine with exceeding brilliance.

This cannot be without reason—

it is well we should inquire.

In the past hundred thousand kalpas

such a sign has never been seen.

It is because some heavenly being of great virtue has been born,

or because a buddha has appeared in the world.

“At that time the five hundred ten thousand million Brahma kings, accompanied by their palaces, each king taking his outer robe and filling it with heavenly flowers, journeyed together to the northern region to observe the signs there. They saw the thus come one Great Universal Wisdom Excellence in the place of enlightenment, seated on a lion seat beneath a bodhi tree, with the heavenly beings, dragon kings, gandharvas, kimnaras, and mahoragas, and the human and nonhuman beings surrounding him and paying reverence. And they saw the sixteen princes entreating the buddha to turn the wheel of the Law.

“At that time the Brahma kings bowed before the buddha, touching their heads to the ground, circled around him a hundred thousand times, and then took the heavenly flowers and scattered them over the buddha. The flowers they scattered piled up like Mount Sumeru. They also offered them as alms to the buddha’s bodhi tree. When they had finished offering the flowers, each one took his palace and presented it to the buddha, speaking these words: ‘We hope you will bestow comfort and p.165benefit on us. We beg you to accept and occupy these palaces that we present.’

“At that time the Brahma kings, in the presence of the buddha, with a single mind and joined voices recited these verses of praise:

World-Honored One, most difficult to encounter,

destroyer of all earthly desires,

one hundred and thirty kalpas have passed

and now at last we can see you.

Living beings in their hunger and thirst

are made full with the rain of the Dharma.

One such as was never seen in the past,

one of immeasurable wisdom,

like the udumbara flower

today at last appears directly before us.

Our palaces because they receive your light

are wonderfully adorned.

World-Honored One, of great mercy and compassion,

we beg you to accept them.

“At that time, after the Brahma kings had recited these verses in praise of the buddha, they each spoke these words: ‘We beg the world-honored one to turn the wheel of the Law and cause the heavenly beings, devils, Brahma kings, shramanas, and Brahmans throughout the world all to gain peace and tranquillity and to attain salvation.’

“At that time the Brahma kings with a single mind and joined voices recited verses in praise, saying:

We beg the most honored of heavenly and human beings

to turn the wheel of the unsurpassed Law.

Strike the great Dharma drum,

blow the great Dharma conch,

rain down the great Dharma rain all around

to save immeasurable living beings!

p.166We direct all our faith and entreaties to you—

let your profound and far-reaching voice sound out!

“At that time the thus come one Great Universal Wisdom Excellence silently agreed to do so. In the southwestern region, and so on to the lower region, a similar succession of events occurred.

“At that time in the upper region, the Brahma kings of five hundred ten thousand million lands all observed that the palaces where they were residing shone with a brilliant light such as had never been known in the past. Dancing with joy, entering a frame of mind seldom experienced, they went about visiting one another and discussing these things together, saying, ‘What is the reason our palaces put forth this bright light?’

“Among their group there was a great Brahma king named Shikhin who, on behalf of the multitude of Brahma kings, spoke in verse form, saying:

Now what is the reason

that our palaces

glow and shine with such authority and virtue,

adorned as never before?

A wonderful sign of this kind

has never been seen or heard of in the past.

It is because some heavenly being of great virtue has been born,

or because a buddha has appeared in the world.

“At that time the five hundred ten thousand million Brahma kings, accompanied by their palaces, each king taking his outer robe and filling it with heavenly flowers, journeyed together to the lower region to observe the signs there. They saw the thus come one Great Universal Wisdom Excellence in the place of enlightenment, seated on a lion seat beneath a bodhi tree, with the heavenly beings, dragon kings, gandharvas, kimnaras, and mahoragas, and the human and nonhuman beings surrounding p.167him and paying reverence. And they saw the sixteen princes entreating the buddha to turn the wheel of the Law.

“At that time the Brahma kings bowed before the buddha, touching their heads to the ground, circled around him a hundred thousand times, and then took the heavenly flowers and scattered them over the buddha. The flowers they scattered piled up like Mount Sumeru. They also offered them as alms to the buddha’s bodhi tree. When they had finished offering the flowers, each one took his palace and presented it to the buddha, speaking these words: ‘We hope you will bestow comfort and benefit on us. We beg you to accept and occupy these palaces that we present.’

“At that time the Brahma kings, in the presence of the buddha, with a single mind and joined voices recited these verses of praise:

How fine, that we may see the buddhas,

sage and venerable ones who save the world,

capable of rescuing and releasing living beings

from the hell of the threefold world!

Venerable among heavenly and human beings, of universal wisdom,

you pity and have mercy on the mass of burgeoning creatures,

you are capable of opening the gates of sweet dew

and broadly saving one and all.

Formerly, immeasurable kalpas

passed in vain when no buddha was present.

The time had not yet come for the world-honored one to appear,

and all in the ten directions were in constant darkness.

Those in the three evil paths increased in number

and the realm of the asuras flourished;

the multitude of heavenly beings was reduced,

and many when they died fell into the evil paths.

Since no one could hear the teaching from a buddha,

p.168constantly people followed ways that were not good,

and their physical strength and wisdom

all diminished and declined.

Because of the sinful deeds they had done,

they lost all delight or the thought of delight.

They rested in erroneous doctrines

and had no knowledge of good customs or rules.

Unable to be converted by a buddha,

constantly they fell into the evil paths.

But now you, the buddha, who will be the eye of the world,

after this long time have at last come forth.

In order to bring pity and comfort to living beings

you have appeared in the world.

You have transcended the world to gain correct enlightenment;

we are filled with delight and admiration.

We and all others in the assembly

rejoice, delighting in what we have never known before.

Our palaces because they receive your light

are wonderfully adorned.

Now we present them to the world-honored one,

hoping he will have pity and accept them.

We beg that the merit gained through these gifts

may be spread far and wide to everyone,

so that we and other living beings

all together may attain the buddha way.

“At that time, after the five hundred ten thousand million Brahma kings had recited these verses in praise of the buddha, they each spoke to the buddha, saying: ‘We beg the world-honored one to turn the wheel of the Law, bringing peace and tranquillity to many, bringing salvation to many.’ Then the Brahma kings spoke in verse form, saying:

World-Honored One, turn the wheel of the Law,

strike the Dharma drum of sweet dew,

p.169save living beings in their suffering and anguish,

open up and show us the way to nirvana!

We beg you to accept our entreaties

and with a great, subtle, and wonderful sound

to bring pity and comfort by expounding

the Law you have practiced for immeasurable kalpas.

“At that time the thus come one Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, receiving entreaties from the Brahma kings of the ten directions and from the sixteen princes, immediately gave three turnings to the twelve-spoked wheel of the Law. Neither shramana, Brahman, heavenly being, devil, Brahma king, nor any other being in the world was capable of such turning. He said, ‘Here is suffering, here is the origin of suffering, here is the annihilation of suffering, here is the path to the annihilation of suffering.’

“Then he broadly expounded the doctrine of the twelve-linked chain of causation: ignorance causes action, action causes consciousness, consciousness causes name and form, name and form cause the six sense organs, the six sense organs cause contact, contact causes sensation, sensation causes desire, desire causes attachment, attachment causes existence, existence causes birth, birth causes aging and death, worry and grief, suffering and anguish. If ignorance is wiped out, then action will be wiped out. If action is wiped out, then consciousness will be wiped out. If consciousness is wiped out, then name and form will be wiped out. If name and form are wiped out, then the six sense organs will be wiped out. If the six sense organs are wiped out, then contact will be wiped out. If contact is wiped out, then sensation will be wiped out. If sensation is wiped out, then desire will be wiped out. If desire is wiped out, then attachment will be wiped out. If attachment is wiped out, then existence will be wiped out. If existence is wiped out, then birth will be wiped out. If birth is wiped out, then aging and death, worry and grief, suffering and anguish will be wiped out.

“When the buddha in the midst of the great assembly of heavenly and human beings expounded this doctrine, six hundred p.170ten thousand million nayutas of persons, because they ceased to accept any of the things of the phenomenal world and because their minds were able to attain liberation from outflows, all achieved profound and wonderful meditation practice, acquired the three insights and the six transcendental powers, and were endowed with the eight emancipations. And when he expounded the doctrine for the second, third, and fourth times, living beings equal to a thousand ten thousand millions of Ganges sands of nayutas, because they likewise ceased to accept any of the things of the phenomenal world, were able to liberate their minds from outflows. From that time on, the multitude of voice-hearers became immeasurable, boundless, incapable of being counted.

“At that time the sixteen princes all left their families while still young boys and became shramaneras. Their faculties were penetrating and sharp, their wisdom was bright and comprehending. Already in the past they had offered alms to a hundred thousand ten thousand million buddhas, had carried out brahma practices in a flawless manner, and had striven to attain supreme perfect enlightenment. All together they addressed the buddha, saying: ‘World-Honored One, these innumerable thousands, ten thousands, millions of voice-hearers of great virtue have all already achieved success. World-Honored One, now it is fitting that you should preach the Law of supreme perfect enlightenment for our sake so that, once we have heard it, we all may join in practicing and studying it. World-Honored One, we are determined to attain the insight of the thus come one. Deep in our minds we have this thought, as the buddha himself must know.’

“At that time the eighty thousand million persons in the assembly led by the wheel-turning sage king, observing that the sixteen princes had left their families to enter religious life, desired to do likewise. The sage king gave permission for them to do so.

“At that time the buddha, responding to pleas from the shramaneras, passed a period of twenty thousand kalpas and then at last, in the midst of the four kinds of believers, preached this p.171great vehicle sutra entitled the Lotus of the Wonderful Law, a teaching to instruct the bodhisattvas, one that is guarded and kept in mind by the buddhas. After he had preached the sutra, the sixteen shramaneras, for the sake of supreme perfect enlightenment, all together accepted and embraced it, recited and intoned it, penetrated and understood it.

“When the buddha preached this sutra, the sixteen bodhisattva shramaneras all took faith in it and accepted it, and among the multitude of voice-hearers there were also those who believed in it and understood it. But the other thousand ten thousand million types of living beings all gave way to doubt and perplexity.

“The buddha preached this sutra for a period of eight thousand kalpas, never once stopping to rest. After he had preached this sutra, he entered a quiet room and dwelled in meditation for a period of eighty-four thousand kalpas.

“At this time the sixteen bodhisattva shramaneras, knowing that the buddha had entered a room and was in tranquil meditation, each ascended a Dharma seat and likewise for a period of eighty-four thousand kalpas for the sake of the four kinds of believers broadly preached and analyzed the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law. In this way each of them one by one saved living beings equal in number to six hundred ten thousand million nayutas of Ganges sands, instructing them, bringing them benefit and joy, and causing them to set their minds upon supreme perfect enlightenment.

“The buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, after passing eighty-four thousand kalpas, arose from his samadhi and approached the Dharma seat. Seating himself calmly, he addressed the whole of the great assembly, saying: ‘These sixteen bodhisattva shramaneras are of a kind very rarely to be found, their faculties penetrating and sharp, their wisdom bright and comprehending. Already in the past they have offered alms to immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of buddhas. In the company of those buddhas they have constantly carried out brahma practices, received and embraced the buddha wisdom, and expounded it to living beings, causing them to enter therein. p.172Now all of you should from time to time associate closely with them and offer them alms. Why? Because if any of you, voice-hearers or pratyekabuddhas or bodhisattvas, are able to take faith in the sutra teachings preached by these sixteen bodhisattvas, and will accept and embrace them and never disparage them, then such persons will all be able to attain supreme perfect enlightenment, the wisdom of the thus come one.’”

The Buddha, addressing the monks, said: “These sixteen bodhisattvas have constantly desired to expound this Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law. The living beings converted by each one of these bodhisattvas are equal in number to six hundred ten thousand million nayutas of Ganges sands. Existence after existence these living beings are reborn in company with that bodhisattva, hear the Law from him, and all have faith in and understand it. For this reason they have been able to encounter forty thousand million buddhas, world-honored ones, and have never ceased to do so down to the present.

“You monks, I will now tell you this. These disciples of the buddha, these sixteen shramaneras, have now all attained supreme perfect enlightenment. In the lands in the ten directions they are at present preaching the Law, with immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of bodhisattvas and voice-hearers for their retinues. Two of these shramaneras have become buddhas in the eastern region. One is named Akshobhya and lives in the Land of Joy. The other is named Sumeru Peak. Two are buddhas in the southeastern region, one named Lion Voice, the other named Lion Appearance. Two are buddhas in the southern region, one named Void-Dwelling, the other named Ever Extinguished. Two are buddhas in the southwestern region, one named Emperor Appearance, the other named Brahma Appearance. Two are buddhas in the western region, one named Amitayus, the other named Saving All from Worldly Suffering. Two are buddhas in the northwestern region, one named Tamala Leaf Sandalwood Fragrance Transcendental Power, the other named Sumeru Appearance. Two are buddhas in the northern region, one named Cloud Freedom, the other named Cloud Freedom King. Of the buddhas of the northeastern p.173region, one is named Destroying All Worldly Fears. The sixteenth is I, Shakyamuni Buddha, who in this saha land have attained supreme perfect enlightenment.

“Monks, when I and these others were shramaneras, each one of us taught and converted living beings equal in number to immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of Ganges sands. They heard the Law from us so that they could attain supreme perfect enlightenment. Some of these living beings are now dwelling in the ranks of voice-hearers. But we have constantly instructed them in supreme perfect enlightenment, and these persons should be able, through this Law, to enter into the buddha way, albeit gradually. Why do I say this? Because the wisdom of a thus come one is difficult to believe and difficult to understand. Those living beings equal in number to immeasurable Ganges sands who were converted at that time are you who are now monks, and those who, after I have entered extinction, in ages to come will be voice-hearer disciples.

“After I have entered extinction, there will be other disciples who will not hear this sutra and will not understand or be aware of the practices carried out by the bodhisattvas, but who, through the blessings they have been able to attain, will conceive an idea of extinction and enter into what they believe to be nirvana. At that time I will be a buddha in another land and will be known by a different name. Those disciples, though they have conceived an idea of extinction and entered into what they take to be nirvana, will in that other land seek the buddha wisdom and will be able to hear this sutra. For it is only through the buddha vehicle that one can attain extinction. There is no other vehicle, if one excepts the various doctrines that the thus come ones preach as an expedient means.

“Monks, if the thus come one knows that the time has come to enter nirvana, and knows that the members of the assembly are pure and clean, firm in faith and understanding, thorough in their comprehension of the doctrine of emptiness and deeply entered into meditation practice, then he will call together the assembly of bodhisattvas and voice-hearers and will preach this sutra for them. In the world there are not two vehicles whereby p.174one may attain extinction. There is only the one buddha vehicle for attaining extinction and one alone.

“Monks, you must understand this. The thus come one in his use of expedient means penetrates deeply into the nature of living beings. He knows how their minds delight in petty doctrines and how deeply they are attached to the five desires. And because they are like this, when he expounds nirvana, he does so in such a way that these persons, hearing it, can readily believe and accept it.

“Let us suppose there is a stretch of bad road five hundred yojanas long, steep and difficult, wild and deserted, with no inhabitants around, a truly fearful place. And suppose there are a number of people who want to pass over this road so they can reach a place where there are rare treasures. They have a leader, of bright wisdom and keen understanding, who is thoroughly acquainted with this steep road, knows the layout of its passes and defiles, and is prepared to guide the group of people and go with them over this difficult terrain.

“The group he is leading, after going part way on the road, become disheartened and say to the leader, ‘We are utterly exhausted and fearful as well. We cannot go any farther. Since there is still such a long distance ahead, we would like now to turn around and go back.’

“The leader, a man of many expedients, thinks to himself, What a pity that they should abandon the many rare treasures they are seeking and want to turn around and go back! Having had this thought, he resorts to the power of expedient means and, when they have gone three hundred yojanas along the steep road, conjures up a city. He says to the group, ‘Don’t be afraid! You must not turn back, for now here is a great city where you can stop, rest, and do just as you please. If you enter this city you will be completely at ease and tranquil. Then later, if you feel you can go on to the place where the treasure is, you can leave the city.’

“At that time the members of the group, being utterly exhausted, are overjoyed in mind, exclaiming over such an unprecedented event, ‘Now we can escape from this dreadful road and p.175find ease and tranquillity!’ The people in the group thereupon press forward and enter the city where, feeling that they have been saved from their difficulties, they have a sense of complete ease and tranquillity.

“At that time the leader, knowing that the people have become rested and are no longer fearful or weary, wipes out the phantom city and says to the group, ‘You must go now. The place where the treasure is is close by. That great city of a while ago was a mere phantom that I conjured up so that you could rest.’

“Monks, the thus come one is in a similar position. He is now acting as a great leader for you. He knows that the bad road of birth and death and earthly desires is steep, difficult, long, and far-stretching, but that it must be traveled, it must be passed over. If living beings hear only of the one buddha vehicle, then they will not want to see the Buddha, will not want to draw near him, but will immediately think to themselves, The buddha road is long and far-stretching and one must labor diligently and undergo difficulties over a long period before one can ever attain success!

“The Buddha knows that the minds of living beings are timid, weak, and lowly, and so, using the power of expedient means, he preaches two nirvanas in order to provide a resting place along the road. If living beings choose to remain in these two stages, then the thus come one will say to them, ‘You have not yet understood what is to be done. This stage where you have chosen to remain is close to the buddha wisdom. But you should observe and ponder further. This nirvana that you have attained is not the true one. It is simply that the thus come one, using the power of expedient means, has taken the one buddha vehicle and, making distinctions, has preached it as three.’

“The Buddha is like that leader who, in order to provide a place to rest, conjured up a great city and then, when he knew that the travelers were already rested, said to them, ‘The place where the treasure is is nearby. This city is not real. It is merely something I conjured up.’”

At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

p.176The buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence

sat in the place of enlightenment for ten kalpas,

but the Law of the buddhas did not appear before him

and he could not attain the buddha way.

The assembly of heavenly gods, dragon kings,

asuras, and others

constantly rained down heavenly flowers

as alms offered to that buddha.

The heavenly beings beat on heavenly drums

and made many kinds of music.

A fragrant wind blew away the withered flowers,

whereupon fresh and beautiful ones rained down.

When ten small kalpas had passed,

then at last he was able to attain the buddha way.

The heavenly beings and people of the world

in their hearts all felt like dancing.

That buddha’s sixteen sons

all, in company with their followers,

a thousand ten thousand million of them gathered around,

all came to the place of the buddha,

bowing at the buddha’s feet, touching heads to the ground,

and entreating him to turn the wheel of the Law, saying,

“Saintly lion, let the Dharma rain

fall in full upon us and all others!”

The world-honored one is very difficult to encounter;

only once in a long time does he appear.

In order to bring enlightenment to the many beings

he shakes and moves the regions all around.

In the worlds in the eastern direction

in five hundred ten thousand million lands

the palaces of the Brahma kings glowed with a light

they had never known in the past.

When the Brahma kings saw this sign

they came in search of the buddha’s place,

scattering flowers as a form of offering,

at the same time presenting their palaces,

p.177entreating the buddha to turn the wheel of the Law

and praising him in verses.

The buddha knew that the time had not yet come,

and though they entreated, he sat in silence.

In the other three directions and the four directions in between

and in the upper and lower regions, the same occurred,

the Brahma kings scattering flowers, presenting their palaces,

entreating the buddha to turn the wheel of the Law, saying,

“The world-honored one is very difficult to encounter.

We beg you in your great mercy and compassion

to open wide the gates of sweet dew

and turn the wheel of the unsurpassed Law.”

The world-honored one, immeasurable in wisdom,

accepted the entreaties of the assembly

and for their sake proclaimed various doctrines,

the four noble truths, the twelve-linked chain of causation,

describing how, from ignorance to aging and death,

all are produced through the cause of birth, saying,

“With regard to these many faults and vexations,

you should understand this about them.”

When he expounded this doctrine,

six hundred ten thousand million trillion beings

were able to reach the end of their sufferings,

all attaining the status of arhat.

The second time he preached the doctrine

a multitude like a thousand ten thousand Ganges sands

ceased to accept the things of the phenomenal world

and they too were able to become arhats.

Thereafter those who attained the way

were immeasurable in number—

one might calculate for ten thousand million kalpas

and never be able to reckon their extent.

At that time the sixteen princes

left their families and became shramaneras.

p.178All together they entreated that buddha

to expound the Law of the great vehicle, saying,

“We and our attendants

are all certain to attain the buddha way.

We desire the wisdom eye of foremost purity

such as the world-honored one possesses.”

The buddha understood their boyish minds

and the actions they had carried out in past existences,

and employing immeasurable causes and conditions

and various similes and parables,

he preached the six paramitas

and matters concerning transcendental powers,

distinguishing the true Law,

the way practiced by bodhisattvas,

preaching this Lotus Sutra

in verses as numerous as Ganges sands.

When the buddha had finished preaching the sutra

he entered into meditation in a quiet room,

with a single mind sitting in a single place

for eighty-four thousand kalpas.

The shramaneras knew

the buddha would not yet emerge from meditation

and so for the assembly of immeasurable millions

they preached the unsurpassed wisdom of the buddha,

each one sitting in a Dharma seat,

preaching this great vehicle sutra.

And after the buddha had entered peaceful tranquillity,

they continued to proclaim, helping to convert others to the Law.

The living beings saved

by each one of those shramaneras

were equal in number

to six hundred ten thousand million Ganges sands.

After that buddha had passed into extinction,

those persons who had heard the Law

dwelled here and there in various buddha lands,

constantly reborn in company with their teachers.

p.179And these sixteen shramaneras,

having fully carried out the buddha way,

at present are dwelling in the ten directions,

where each has attained correct enlightenment.

The persons who heard the Law at that time

are each in a place where there is one of these buddhas,

and those who remain at the stage of voice-hearer

are gradually being instructed in the buddha way.

I myself was numbered among the sixteen

and in the past preached for you.

For this reason I employ expedient means

to lead you in the pursuit of buddha wisdom;

because of these earlier causes and conditions

I now preach the Lotus Sutra.

I will cause you to enter the buddha way—

be attentive and harbor no fear!

Suppose there was a stretch of steep bad road,

in a remote wasteland with many harmful beasts,

a place moreover without water or grass,

one dreaded by people.

A group of countless thousands and ten thousands

wanted to pass over this steep road,

but the road was very long and far-stretching,

extending five hundred yojanas.

At this time there was a leader,

well informed, possessing wisdom,

of clear understanding and determined mind,

capable of saving endangered persons from manifold difficulties.

The members of the group were all weary and disheartened

and said to their leader,

“We are now exhausted with fatigue

and wish at this point to turn around and go back.”

The leader thought to himself,

These people are truly pitiful!

Why do they wish to turn back

and miss the many rare treasures ahead?

p.180At that time he thought of an expedient means,

deciding to exercise his transcendental powers.

He conjured up a great walled city

and adorned its mansions,

surrounding them with gardens and groves,

channels of flowing water, ponds and lakes,

with double gates and tall towers and pavilions,

all filled with men and women.

As soon as he had created this illusion,

he comforted the group, saying, “Have no fear—

you can enter this city

and each amuse himself as he pleases.”

When the people had entered the city,

they were all overjoyed in heart.

All had a feeling of ease and tranquillity,

telling themselves that they had been saved.

When the leader knew they were rested,

he called them together and announced,

“Now you must push forward—

this is nothing more than a phantom city.

I saw that you were weary and exhausted

and wanted to turn back in mid-journey.

Therefore I used the power of expedient means

to conjure up this city for the moment.

Now you must press forward diligently

so that together you may reach the place where the treasure is.”

I too do likewise,

acting as leader to all beings.

I see the seekers of the way

growing disheartened in mid-journey,

unable to pass over the steep road

of birth and death and earthly desires,

and therefore I use the power of expedient means

and preach nirvana to provide them with rest,

saying, “Your sufferings are extinguished,

you have carried out all there is to be done.”

p.181When I know they have reached nirvana

and all have attained the stage of arhat,

then I call the great assembly together

and preach the true Law for them.

The buddhas through the power of expedient means

make distinctions and preach three vehicles,

but there is only the single buddha vehicle—

the two nirvanas are preached to provide a resting place.

Now I expound the truth for you—

what you have attained is not extinction.

For the sake of the comprehensive wisdom of the buddha

you must expend great effort and diligence.

When you have gained such buddha attributes

as comprehensive wisdom and the ten powers,

and are endowed with the thirty-two features,

then this will be true extinction.

The buddhas in their capacity as leaders

preach nirvana to provide a rest.

But when they know you have become rested,

they lead you onward to the buddha wisdom.

 

…Point Seven, the words “Heavenly drums sounded of themselves.”

The commentary [Words and Phrases, volume three] says, “‘Heavenly drums sounded of themselves’ is symbolic of one who takes it upon oneself to preach without being asked.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This passage praises the way in which the auspicious omens appearing in this land and other lands are all the same. “One who takes it upon oneself to preach without being asked” refers to the fact that p.19Shakyamuni Thus Come One has taken it upon himself to preach the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law without being asked.

Now Nichiren and his followers also take it on themselves to preach without being asked. When they declare that the Nembutsu leads to the hell of incessant suffering, that Zen is the teaching of the heavenly devil, that True Word will ruin the nation, and that Precepts is traitorous, they are taking it upon themselves to preach without being asked. Because they do so, the three types of powerful enemies have appeared on the scene.

The “heavenly drums” are Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. “Of themselves” means they are unhindered by any obstacles. “Sounded” refers to the sound of the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

In another sense, we may say that, when all living beings freely send forth their words and voices, this is a case of taking it upon themselves to preach without being asked. “Taking it upon themselves to preach,” we may say, refers even to the voices and cries of the wrongdoers being punished by the wardens of hell, to the famished cries of the hungry spirits, or to the voices of all living beings as moment by moment they are beset by the three poisons, greed, anger, and foolishness. All these voices in essence are Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

The “heavenly drums” are the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, the essential teaching, and the theoretical teaching. “Heavenly” refers to the highest principle, which is comparable to heaven. “Take it upon oneself to preach” refers to the preaching of the Law by the Buddha of limitless joy.

On “The Words and Phrases,” volume three, says, “When Words and Phrases states that this is ‘symbolic of one who takes it upon oneself to preach without being asked,’ it refers to the opening of the ‘Expedient Means’ chapter, where the Buddha arises from his samādhi and addresses Shāriputra, delivering praise now in extended language, now in abbreviated form. He also uses the auspicious omens of this land and other lands, as well as things describable in words and indescribable. Sometimes he speaks of the reality, sometimes of the wisdom [to understand it]. These [reality and wisdom] are the root and foundation of the entire p.20sutra, the crux of the five periods of preaching. Therefore this matter must not be approached lightly.”

What in the passage of commentary here is called “the root and foundation of the entire sutra, the crux of the five periods of preaching,” this is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

 

 

 

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