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THUS, I HAVE HEARD ALEX WEST PREACH ON Thu Dec 18, 2014

20 December 2014

RHYTHMIC 6
Thu Dec 18, 2014
WHITE
SPECTRAL
WIZARD
Guided by Timelessness
KIN
154
Waning Crescent
17.2%

LIMI

WND I: 6
The Four Debts of Gratitude

CONCERNING my present exile,1 there are two important matters that I must mention. One is that I feel immense joy. The reason is that this world is called the sahā world, sahā meaning endurance. This is why the Buddha is also called “One Who Can Endure.” In the sahā world,2 there are one billion Mount Sumerus, one billion suns and moons, and one billion groups of four continents. Among all these worlds, it was in the world at the center—with its Mount Sumeru, sun and moon, and four continents—that the Buddha made his advent. Japan is a tiny island country situated in a remote corner of that world, to the northeast of the country in which the Buddha appeared.
Since all the lands in the ten directions, with the exception of this sahā world, are pure lands, their people, being gentlehearted, neither abuse nor hate the worthies and sages. In contrast, this world is inhabited by people who were rejected from the pure lands in the ten directions. They have committed the ten evil acts or the five cardinal sins, slandered the worthies and sages, and have been unfilial to their fathers and mothers or disrespectful to the monks. For these offenses they fell into the three evil paths, and only after dwelling there for countless kalpas were they reborn in this world. Yet the residue of the evil karma formed in their previous existences has not yet been eradicated, and they still tend to perpetrate the ten evil acts or the five cardinal sins, to revile the worthies and sages, and to be undutiful to their fathers and mothers or irreverent toward the monks.
For these reasons, when the Thus Come One Shakyamuni made his advent in this world, some people offered him food into which they had mixed poison. Others tried to harm him by means of swords and staves, mad elephants, lions, fierce bulls, or savage dogs. Still others charged him with violating women, condemned him as a man of lowly status, or accused him of killing. Again, some, when they encountered him, covered their eyes to avoid seeing him, and others closed their doors and shuttered their windows. Still others reported to the kings and ministers that he held erroneous views and was given to slandering exalted personages. These incidents are described in the Great Collection Sutra, the Nirvana Sutra, and other scriptures. The Buddha was innocent of all such evil deeds. Yet this world is peculiar or deficient in that those with bad karma are born into it and inhabit it in great numbers. Moreover, the devil king of the sixth heaven, scheming to prevent the people of this world from leaving it p.42for the pure lands, seizes every opportunity to carry out his perverse acts.
It appears that his scheming is ultimately intended to prevent the Buddha from expounding the Lotus Sutra. The reason is that the nature of this devil king is to rejoice at those who create the karma of the three evil paths and to grieve at those who form the karma of the three good paths.3 Yet he does not lament so greatly over those who form the karma of the three good paths, but he sorrows indeed at those who aspire to the three vehicles. Again, he may not sorrow so much over those who seek to attain the three vehicles, but he grieves bitterly at those who form the karma to become Buddhas and avails himself of every opportunity to obstruct them. He knows that those who hear even a single sentence or phrase of the Lotus Sutra will attain Buddhahood without fail and, exceedingly distressed by this, contrives various plots and restrains and persecutes believers in an attempt to make them abandon their faith.
Although the age in which the Buddha lived was certainly a defiled one, the five impurities had only just begun to manifest themselves; in addition, the devil stood in awe of the Buddha’s powers. Yet, even in a time when the people’s greed, anger, foolishness, and false views were still not rampant, a group of Brahmans of the Bamboo Staff school killed the Venerable Maudgalyāyana, who was known as the foremost in transcendental powers; and King Ajātashatru, by releasing a mad elephant, threatened the life of the only one in all the threefold world who is worthy of honor.4 Devadatta killed the nun Utpalavarnā, who had attained the state of arhat; and the Venerable Kokālika spread evil rumors about Shāriputra, who was renowned as the foremost in wisdom. How much worse things became in the world as the five impurities steadily increased! And now, in the latter age, hatred and jealousy toward those who believe even slightly in the Lotus Sutra will be all the more terrible. Thus 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?”5 When I read this passage for the first time, I did not think that the situation would be as bad as it predicts. Now I am struck by the unfailing accuracy of the Buddha’s words, especially in light of my present circumstances.
I, Nichiren, do not observe the precepts with my body. Nor is my heart free from the three poisons. But since I believe in this [Lotus] sutra myself and also enable others to form a relationship with it, I had thought that perhaps society would treat me rather gently. Probably because the world has entered into the latter age, even monks who have wives and children have followers, as do priests who eat fish and fowl. I have neither wife nor children, nor do I eat fish or fowl. I have been blamed merely for trying to propagate the Lotus Sutra. Though I have neither wife nor child, I am known throughout the country as a monk who transgresses the code of conduct, and though I have never killed even a single ant or mole cricket, my bad reputation has spread throughout the realm. This may well resemble the situation of Shakyamuni Buddha, who was slandered by a multitude of non-Buddhists during his lifetime.
It seems that, solely because my faith in the Lotus Sutra accords slightly more with its teachings than does the faith of others, evil demons must have possessed their bodies and be causing them to feel hatred toward me. I am nothing but a lowly and ignorant monk without precepts. Yet, when I think that such a person should be mentioned in the Lotus Sutra, which was expounded more than two thousand years ago, and p.43that the Buddha prophesied that that person would encounter persecution, I cannot possibly express my joy.
It is already twenty-four or twenty-five years since I began studying Buddhism. Yet I have believed wholeheartedly in the Lotus Sutra only for the past six or seven years. Moreover, although I had faith in the sutra, because I was negligent and because of my studies and the interruptions of mundane affairs, each day I would recite only a single scroll, a chapter, or the title. Now, however, for a period of more than 240 days—from the twelfth day of the fifth month of last year to the sixteenth day of the first month of this year—I think I have practiced the Lotus Sutra twenty-four hours each day and night. I say so because, having been exiled on the Lotus Sutra’s account, I now read and practice it continuously, whether I am walking, standing, sitting, or lying down. For anyone born human, what greater joy could there be?
It is the way of ordinary people that, even though they spur themselves on to arouse the aspiration for enlightenment and wish for happiness in the next life, they exert themselves no more than one or two out of all the hours of the day, and this only after reminding themselves to do so. As for myself, I read the Lotus Sutra without having to remember to, and practice it even when I do not read its words aloud.
During the course of countless kalpas, while transmigrating through the six paths and the four forms of birth, I may at times have risen in revolt, committed theft, or broken into others’ homes at night and, on account of these offenses, been convicted by the ruler and condemned to exile or death. This time, however, it is because I am so firmly resolved to propagate the Lotus Sutra that people with evil karma have brought false charges against me; hence my exile. Surely this will work in my favor in future lifetimes. In this latter age, there cannot be anyone else who upholds the Lotus Sutra twenty-four hours of the day and night without making a deliberate effort to do so.
There is one other thing for which I am most grateful. While transmigrating in the six paths for the duration of countless kalpas, I may have encountered a number of sovereigns and become their favorite minister or regent. If so, I must have been granted fiefs and accorded treasures and stipends. Never once, however, did I encounter a sovereign in whose country the Lotus Sutra had spread, so that I could hear its name, practice it and, on that very account, be slandered by other people and have the ruler send me into exile. The Lotus Sutra states, “As for this Lotus Sutra, throughout immeasurable numbers of lands one cannot even hear its name, much less be able to see it, accept and embrace, read and recite it.”6 Thus those people who slandered me and the ruler [who had me banished] are the very persons to whom I owe the most profound debt of gratitude.
One who studies the teachings of Buddhism must not fail to repay the four debts of gratitude. According to the Contemplation on the Mind-Ground Sutra, the first of the four debts is that owed to all living beings. Were it not for them, one would find it impossible to make the vow to save innumerable living beings. Moreover, but for the evil people who persecute bodhisattvas, how could those bodhisattvas increase their merit?
The second of the four debts is that owed to one’s father and mother. To be born into the six paths, one must have parents. If one is born into the family of a murderer, a thief, a violator of the rules of proper conduct, or a slanderer of the Law, then even though one may not commit these offenses oneself, one in effect forms the same karma as those p.44who do. As for my parents in this lifetime, however, they not only gave me birth but made me a believer in the Lotus Sutra. Thus I owe my present father and mother a debt far greater than I would had I been born into the family of Brahmā, Shakra, one of the four heavenly kings, or a wheel-turning king, and so inherited the threefold world or the four continents, and been revered by the four kinds of believers in the worlds of human and heavenly beings.
The third is the debt owed to one’s sovereign. It is thanks to one’s sovereign that one can warm one’s body in the three kinds of heavenly light7 and sustain one’s life with the five kinds of grain8 that grow on earth. Moreover, in this lifetime, I have taken faith in the Lotus Sutra and encountered a ruler who will enable me to free myself in my present existence from the sufferings of birth and death. Thus, how can I dwell on the insignificant harm that he has done me and overlook my debt to him?
The fourth is the debt owed to the three treasures. When the Thus Come One Shakyamuni was engaged in bodhisattva practices for countless kalpas, he gathered all of the good fortune and virtue he had gained thereby, divided it into sixty-four parts, and took on their merit. Of these sixty-four, he reserved only one part for himself. The remaining sixty-three parts he left behind in this world, making a vow as follows: “There will be an age when the five impurities will become rampant, erroneous teachings will flourish, and slanderers will fill the land. At that time, because the innumerable benevolent guardian deities will be unable to taste the flavor of the Law, their majesty and strength will diminish. The sun and moon will lose their brightness, the heavenly dragons will not send down rain, and the earthly deities will decrease the fertility of the soil. The roots and stalks, branches and leaves, flowers and fruit will all lose their medicinal properties as well as the seven flavors.9 Even those who became kings because they had observed the ten good precepts in previous lifetimes will grow in greed, anger, and foolishness. The people will cease to be dutiful to their parents, and the six kinds of relatives10 will fall into disaccord. At such a time, my disciples will consist of unlearned people without precepts. For this reason, even though they shave their heads, they will be forsaken by the tutelary deities and left without any means of subsistence. It is in order to sustain these monks and nuns [that I now leave these sixty-three parts behind].”
Moreover, as for the benefits that the Buddha had attained as a result of his practices, he divided them into three parts, of which he himself made use of only two. For this reason, although he was to have lived in this world until the age of 120, he passed away after eighty years, bequeathing the remaining forty years of his life span to us.11
Even if we should gather all the water of the four great oceans to wet inkstones, burn all the trees and plants to make ink sticks, collect the hairs of all beasts for writing brushes, employ all the surfaces of the worlds in the ten directions for paper, and, with these, set down expressions of gratitude, how could we possibly repay our debt to the Buddha?
Concerning the debt owed to the Law, the Law is the teacher of all Buddhas. It is because of the Law that the Buddhas are worthy of respect. Therefore, those who wish to repay their debt to the Buddha must first repay the debt they owe to the Law.
As for the debt owed to the Buddhist Order, both the treasure of the Buddha and the treasure of the Law are invariably perpetuated by the Order. To illustrate, without firewood, there can be no fire, and if there is no earth, p.45trees and plants cannot grow. Likewise, even though Buddhism existed, without the members of the Order who studied it and passed it on, it would never have been transmitted throughout the two thousand years of the Former and Middle Days into the Latter Day of the Law. Accordingly, the Great Collection Sutra states: “Suppose that, in the last of the five five-hundred-year periods, there should be someone who harasses unlearned monks without precepts by accusing them of some offense. You should know that this person is extinguishing the great torch of Buddhism.” Therefore, the debt we owe to the Order is difficult to recompense.
Thus it is imperative that one repay one’s debt of gratitude to the three treasures. In ancient times, there were sages such as the boy Snow Mountains, Bodhisattva Ever Wailing, Bodhisattva Medicine King, and King Universal Brightness, all of whom [offered their lives in order to make such repayment]. The first offered his body as food to a demon. The second sold his own blood and marrow. The third burned his arms, and the fourth was ready to part with his head. Ordinary people in this latter age, however, though receiving the benefits of the three treasures, completely neglect to repay them. How, then, can they attain the Buddha way? The Contemplation on the Mind-Ground, the Brahmā Net, and other sutras state that those who study Buddhism and receive the precepts of perfect and immediate enlightenment must repay the four debts of gratitude without fail. I am but an ignorant ordinary person made of flesh and blood; I have not rid myself of even a fraction of the three categories of illusion. Yet, on account of the Lotus Sutra, I have been reviled, slandered, attacked with swords and staves, and sent into exile. In light of these persecutions, I believe I may be likened to the great sages who burned their arms, crushed their marrow, or did not begrudge being beheaded. This is what I mean by immense joy.
The second of the two important matters is that I feel intense grief. The fourth volume of the Lotus Sutra states: “If there should be an evil person who, his mind destitute of goodness, should for the space of a kalpa appear in the presence of the Buddha and constantly curse and revile the Buddha, that person’s offense would still be rather light. But if there were a person who spoke only one evil word to curse or defame the lay persons or monks or nuns who read and recite the Lotus Sutra, then his offense would be very grave.”12 When I read this and similar passages, my belief is aroused, sweat breaks out from my body, and tears fall from my eyes like rain. I grieve that, by being born in this country, I have caused so many of its people to create the worst karma possible in a lifetime. Those who beat and struck Bodhisattva Never Disparaging came to repent of it while they were alive; yet, even so, their offenses were so difficult to expiate that they fell into the Avīchi hell and remained there for a thousand kalpas. But those who have done me harm have not yet repented of it even in the slightest.
Describing the karmic retribution that such people must receive, the Great Collection Sutra states: “[The Buddha asked], ‘If there should be a person who draws blood from the bodies of a thousand, ten thousand, or a million Buddhas, in your thinking, how is it? Will he have committed a grave offense or not?’ The great king Brahmā replied: ‘If a person causes the body of even a single Buddha to bleed, he will have committed an offense so serious that he will fall into the hell of incessant suffering. His offense will be unfathomably grave, and he will have to remain in the great Avīchi hell for so many kalpas that their number p.46cannot be calculated even by means of counting sticks. Graver still is the offense a person would commit by causing the bodies of ten thousand or a million Buddhas to bleed. No one could possibly explain in full either that person’s offense or its karmic retribution—no one, that is, except the Thus Come One himself.’ The Buddha said, ‘Great King Brahmā, suppose there should be a person who, for my sake, takes the tonsure and wears a surplice. Even though he has not at any time received the precepts and therefore observes none, if someone harasses him, abuses him, or strikes him with a staff, then that persecutor’s offense will be even graver than that [of injuring ten thousand or a million Buddhas].’”

Nichiren

The sixteenth day of the first month in the second year of Kōchō (1262), cyclical sign mizunoe-inu
To Kudō Sakon-no-jō
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Background
Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter while he was in exile in Itō on the Izu Peninsula. It was addressed to Kudō Sakon-no-jō Yoshitaka, known also as Kudō Yoshitaka, the lord of Amatsu in Awa Province.
Kudō Yoshitaka is said to have converted to Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings around 1256, about the same time Shijō Kingo and Ikegami Munenaka did, a few years after the Daishonin first proclaimed his teachings. While the Daishonin was in exile on Izu, Yoshitaka sent offerings to him and continued to maintain pure faith. He was killed defending the Daishonin at the time of the Komatsubara Persecution in the eleventh month of 1264. The Four Debts of Gratitude is the only letter still extant that the Daishonin addressed to him.
In this letter, in light of the reason for his banishment, Nichiren Daishonin expresses his conviction that he is a true practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. He mentions the “two important matters” that concern his Izu Exile. He states, “One is that I feel immense joy,” and explains the reasons for his joy. The greater part of the letter consists of this explanation. Following this, he states, “The second of the two important matters is that I feel intense grief.” Citing passages from the Lotus and Great Collection sutras that reveal the gravity of the offense of slandering the Law and its devotees, the Daishonin explains that he grieves at the thought of the great karmic retribution his tormentors must undergo. This is the concluding part of the letter.
In the body of the letter, the Daishonin gives two reasons for his “immense joy.” One is that he has been able to prove himself to be the votary of the Lotus Sutra by fulfilling the Buddha’s prediction made in the sutra that its votary in the Latter Day of the Law will meet with persecution. The other reason is that, by suffering banishment for the sutra’s sake, he can repay the four debts of gratitude. He declares that the ruler who condemned him to exile is the very person to whom he is the most grateful; thanks to the ruler, he has been able to fulfill the words of the Lotus Sutra and so prove himself to be its true votary.
Then, the Daishonin stresses the importance of repaying the four debts of gratitude set forth in the Contemplation on the Mind-Ground Sutra. p.47The four debts of gratitude are the debts owed to all living beings, to one’s father and mother, to one’s sovereign, and to the three treasures—the Buddha, the Law, and the Buddhist Order. Among these four debts of gratitude, the Daishonin places special emphasis on the debt owed to the three treasures, without which one could not attain Buddhahood.

—–

LOTUS SUTRA: 6

BESTOWAL OF PROHECY

At that time the world-honored one, having finished reciting these verses, made an announcement to the great assembly, speaking in these words: “This disciple of mine, Mahakashyapa, in future existences will be able to enter the presence of three hundred ten thousand million buddhas, world-honored ones, to offer alms, pay reverence, honor and praise them, widely proclaiming the innumerable great doctrines of the buddhas. And in his final incarnation he will be able to become a buddha named Light Bright 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 will be called Light Virtue and his kalpa will be called Great Adornment. The life span of this buddha will be twelve small kalpas. His Correct Law will endure in the world for twenty small kalpas, and his Counterfeit Law for twenty small kalpas.
“His realm will be majestically adorned, free of defilement or evil, shards or rubble, thorns or briers, or the unclean refuse of latrines. The land will be level and smooth, without high places or sags, pits or knolls. The ground will be of lapis lazuli, with rows of jeweled trees and ropes of gold to mark the boundaries of the roads. Jeweled flowers will be scattered around, and everywhere will be pure and clean. The bodhisattvas of that realm will p.145number countless thousands of millions, and the multitude of voice-hearers will likewise be innumerable. There will be no workings of the devil, and although the devil and the devil’s people will be there, they will all protect the Buddhist Law.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

I announce this to the monks:
when I employ the buddha eye
to observe Kashyapa here,
I see that in a future existence,
after innumerable kalpas have passed,
he will be able to attain buddhahood.
In future existences
he will offer alms and enter the presence
of three hundred ten thousand million
buddhas, world-honored ones.
For the sake of the buddha wisdom
he will carry out brahma practices meticulously
and will offer alms to the unexcelled ones,
the most honored of two-legged beings.
After he has done so, and has practiced
all the unsurpassed types of wisdom,
in his final incarnation
he will be able to become a buddha.
His land will be pure and clean,
the ground of lapis lazuli.
Many jeweled trees
will line the roadsides,
with golden ropes to mark the roads,
and those who see it will rejoice.
It will constantly emit a pleasing fragrance,
with heaps of rare flowers scattered around
and many kinds of strange and wonderful things
for its adornment.
The land will be level and smooth,
without hills or depressions.
p.146The multitude of bodhisattvas
will be beyond calculation,
their minds subdued and gentle,
having attained great transcendental powers,
and they will uphold and embrace
the great vehicle scripture of the buddhas.
The multitude of voice-hearers
will be free of outflows, in their last incarnations,
sons of the Dharma king,
and their number too will be beyond calculation—
even when one looks with the heavenly eye
one cannot determine their number.
This buddha will have a life span
of twelve small kalpas.
His Correct Law will endure in the world
for twenty small kalpas,
and his Counterfeit Law
for twenty small kalpas.
Light Bright World-Honored One
will be of this description.

At that time Great Maudgalyayana, Subhuti, and Mahakatyayana, all of them trembling with agitation, pressed their palms together with a single mind and gazed up at the world-honored one, their eyes never leaving him for an instant. Joining their voices in a single sound, they spoke in verse form, saying:

Great hero and stalwart, World-Honored One,
Dharma king of the Shakyas,
because you have pity on us,
favor us with the buddha voice!
If, because you understand our innermost minds,
you bestow a prophecy of buddhahood upon us,
it would be like sweet dew bathing us,
washing away fever and imparting coolness.
Suppose that someone coming from a land of famine
should suddenly encounter a great king’s feast.
p.147His heart still filled with doubt and fear,
he would not dare to eat the food at once,
but if he were instructed by the king to do so,
then he would venture to eat.
We now are like such a person,
for whenever we recall the errors of the lesser vehicle,
we do not know what we should do
to gain the unsurpassed wisdom of a buddha.
Though we hear the Buddha’s voice
telling us that we will attain buddhahood,
in our hearts we still harbor anxiety and fear,
like that person who did not dare to eat.
But now if the Buddha’s prophecy is bestowed upon us,
then joy and peace of mind will quickly be ours.
Great hero and stalwart, World-Honored One,
your constant desire is to set the world at ease.
We beg you to bestow such a prophecy on us,
as you would instruct a starving person to eat.

At that time the world-honored one, understanding the thoughts in the minds of his major disciples, made this announcement to the monks: “Subhuti here in future existences will enter the presence of three hundred ten thousand million nayutas of buddhas, offering alms, paying reverence, honoring and praising them. He will constantly carry out brahma practices and fulfill the bodhisattva way, and in his final incarnation he will be able to attain buddhahood. His title will be Rare Form 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 kalpa will be named Possessed of Jewels and his realm will be named Jewel Born. The land will be level and smooth, the ground made of crystal, it will be adorned with jeweled trees and be free of hills and pits, rubble and thorns, and the filth from latrines. Jeweled flowers will cover the ground and everywhere will be pure and clean. The people of his realm will all dwell on jeweled terraces, p.148in rare and wonderful towers and pavilions. His voice-hearer disciples will be countless, boundless, beyond the scope of calculation or simile. The multitude of bodhisattvas will number countless thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas. The life span of this buddha will be twelve small kalpas, his Correct Law will endure in the world for twenty small kalpas, and his Counterfeit Law for twenty small kalpas. This buddha will constantly dwell in midair, preaching the Law for the assembly and saving numberless multitudes of bodhisattvas and voice-hearers.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

You multitude of monks,
I now announce this to you.
All of you with a single mind
should hear what I say.
My major disciple
Subhuti
is destined to become a buddha
with the title Rare Form.
He will offer alms to countless
tens of thousands and millions of buddhas.
By following the practices of the buddhas
he will gradually fulfill the great way,
and in his final incarnation
will acquire the thirty-two features.
He will be imposing, exceptional, wonderful,
like a jeweled mountain.
His buddha land
will be foremost in adornment and purity;
no living being who sees it
will fail to love and delight in it.
There in the midst, that buddha
will save unreckonable multitudes.
In that buddha’s Law
will be many bodhisattvas,
all of them with keen capacities,
p.149turning the wheel of non-regression.
That land will constantly
be adorned with bodhisattvas.
The multitude of voice-hearers
will be beyond calculation,
all gaining the three insights
and exercising the six transcendental powers.
They will dwell in the eight emancipations
and possess great authority and virtue.
The Law preached by that buddha
will manifest immeasurable
transcendental powers and transformations
of a wondrous nature.
Heavenly and human beings
in numbers like Ganges sands
will all press their palms together,
listen to, and receive the buddha’s words.
That buddha will have a life span
of twelve small kalpas,
his Correct Law will endure in the world
for twenty small kalpas
and his Counterfeit Law
for twenty small kalpas.

At that time the world-honored one once more spoke to the multitude of monks: “Now I say this to you. Great Katyayana here in future existences will present various articles as offerings and will serve eight thousand million buddhas, paying honor and reverence to them. After these buddhas have passed into extinction, he will raise a memorial tower for each one measuring a thousand yojanas in height and exactly five hundred yojanas in both width and depth. It will be made of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, pearl, and carnelian, with these seven precious substances joined together. Numerous flowers, necklaces, paste incense, powdered incense, incense for burning, silken canopies, streamers, and banners will be presented as offerings to the memorial towers. And after this has been done, he will p.150once more make offerings to twenty thousands of millions of buddhas, and will repeat the entire process.
“When he has finished offering alms to all the buddhas, he will fulfill the way of the bodhisattva and will become a buddha with the title Jambunada Gold Light 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 will be level and smooth, the ground made of crystal, adorned with jeweled trees, with ropes of gold to mark the boundaries of the roads. Wonderful flowers will cover the ground, everywhere will be pure and clean, and all who see it will rejoice. The four evil paths, the realms of hell, hungry spirits, beasts, and asuras, will not exist there. There will be many heavenly and human beings, and multitudes of voice-hearers and bodhisattvas in innumerable tens of thousands of millions will adorn the land. That buddha’s life span will be twelve small kalpas, his Correct Law will endure in the world for twenty small kalpas, and his Counterfeit Law for twenty small kalpas.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

You multitude of monks,
listen all of you with a single mind,
for in what I speak
there is nothing that departs from the truth.
Katyayana here
will give various kinds
of fine and wonderful articles
as offerings to the buddhas.
And after the buddhas have entered extinction
he will raise seven-jeweled towers
and present flowers and incense
as offerings to their relics.
And in his final incarnation
he will gain buddha wisdom
p.151and achieve impartial and correct enlightenment.
His land will be pure and clean
and he will save innumerable
ten thousands of millions of living beings,
and will receive offerings
from all the ten directions.
This buddha’s brilliance
no one will be able to equal.
His buddha title will be
Jambu Gold Light.
Bodhisattvas and voice-hearers,
cutting off all forms of existence,
countless and immeasurable in number,
will adorn his land.

At that time the world-honored one spoke again to the great assembly: “Now I say this to you. Great Maudgalyayana here will present various kinds of articles as offerings to eight thousand buddhas, paying honor and reverence to them. After these buddhas have passed into extinction, for each of them he will raise a memorial tower measuring a thousand yojanas in height and exactly five hundred yojanas in width and depth. It will be made of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, pearl, and carnelian, with these seven precious substances joined together. Numerous flowers, necklaces, paste incense, powdered incense, incense for burning, silken canopies, streamers, and banners will be presented as offerings. After this has been done, he will also make offerings to two hundred ten thousand million buddhas, repeating the process.
“Then he will be able to become a buddha with the title Tamala Leaf Sandalwood Fragrance 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 kalpa will be named Joy Replete and his realm Mind Delight. The land will be level and smooth, the ground made of crystal, jeweled trees will adorn it, p.152pearl flowers will be scattered around, everywhere will be pure and clean, and all who see it will rejoice. There will be many heavenly and human beings, and the bodhisattvas and voice-hearers will be immeasurable in number. That buddha’s life span will be twenty-four small kalpas, his Correct Law will endure in the world for forty small kalpas, and his Counterfeit Law for forty small kalpas.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

This disciple of mine,
Great Maudgalyayana,
when he has cast off his present body,
will be able to see eight thousand,
two hundred ten thousand million
buddhas, world-honored ones,
and for the sake of the buddha way
will offer alms, honor and reverence them.
Where these buddhas are
he will constantly carry out brahma practices
and for immeasurable kalpas
will uphold and embrace the Law of the buddhas.
When these buddhas have passed into extinction
he will raise seven-jeweled towers,
with golden implements to mark the spot for all time
and flowers, incense, and music
presented as offerings
to the memorial towers of the buddhas.
Step by step he will fulfill
all the duties of the bodhisattva way
and in the land called Mind Delight
will be able to become a buddha
named Tamala Leaf
Sandalwood Fragrance.
This buddha’s life span
will be twenty-four kalpas.
Constantly for the sake of heavenly and human beings
p.153he will expound the buddha way.
Voice-hearers innumerable
as Ganges sands,
with the three insights and six transcendental powers,
will display great authority and virtue.
Countless bodhisattvas
will be of firm will, diligent in effort,
and with regard to the buddha wisdom
none will ever retrogress.
After this buddha has passed into extinction,
his Correct Law will endure
for forty small kalpas,
and his Counterfeit Law will do likewise.
My various disciples,
fully endowed with dignity and virtue,
number five hundred,
and every one will receive such a prophecy.
In a future existence
all will be able to attain buddhahood.
Concerning the relationship between you and me
in past existences
I will now preach.
You must listen carefully.
Point Six, the words “why from the white tuft between the eyebrows / of our leader and teacher”

The commentary [Words and Phrases, volume three] says, “Therefore, since he preaches the Law, enters into samādhi, and is able p.18to lead others, he has already been designated a ‘leader and teacher.’”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Here the words “leader and teacher” refer to Shakyamuni Buddha. “Preaching the Law” refers to the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, and “entering into samādhi” refers to the samādhi of the origin of immeasurable meanings.
Generally speaking, there are two types of leaders and teachers, bad leaders and teachers and good leaders and teachers. Examples of bad leaders and teachers are Hōnen, Kōbō, Jikaku, and Chishō. Examples of good leaders and teachers are T’ien-t’ai and Dengyō.
Now that we have entered the Latter Day of the Law, Nichiren and his followers act as good leaders and teachers. The Law they preach is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and the samādhi they enter is the firmly fixed state of mind of one who accepts and upholds the Lotus Sutra.
You should pay special attention to the word “able” in the statement “he . . . is able to lead others” and consider its meaning. The passage in the “Emerging from the Earth” chapter that reads “foremost leaders and guiding teachers” refers to the same type of persons. It means in effect those persons who preach the Law to all the people of the country of Japan in order to lead them.

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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