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MYOHO – RENGE KYO Chapter Nineteen: Benefits of the Teacher of the Law Four important points

28 January 2015

Chapter Nineteen: Benefits of the Teacher of the Law Four important points

Point One, regarding the Benefits of the Teacher of the Law

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “teacher of the Law” mean the teacher of the Law who carries out the five practices. The word “benefits” (kudoku) means the reward that is represented by the purification of the six sense organs. In general we may say that now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are carrying out the purification of the six sense organs. Hence they are acting as teachers of the Law of Myoho-renge-kyo and possess great virtue (toku).
The element ku in the word kudoku means good fortune or happiness. It also refers to the merit achieved by wiping out evil, while the element toku or doku refers to the virtue one acquires by bringing about good. Thus the word kudoku means to attain Buddhahood in one’s present form. It also means the purification of the six sense organs. You should understand that to practice the Lotus Sutra as the sutra itself directs is to carry out purification of the six sense organs.

Point Two, regarding the purification of the six sense organs

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: [With regard to the eight hundred eye benefits obtained by those who uphold the Lotus Sutra], the term “eye benefits” means the ability to see that those who do not believe in the Lotus Sutra will fall into the hell of incessant suffering, and that those who do believe in it will attain Buddhahood. By upholding the Lotus Sutra, one can obtain the eight hundred eye benefits. The word “eye” refers to the Lotus Sutra. [As the Universal Worthy Sutra says], “The Great Vehicle sutras are . . . the eyes of the Buddhas.”
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are obtaining these eye benefits. And the same applies to the benefits associated with the ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.

Point Three, on the simile of the pure bright mirror in the passage “If one upholds the Lotus Sutra / his body will be very pure, / like pure lapis lazuli— / living beings will all delight to see it. / And it will be like a pure bright mirror / in which forms and shapes are all reflected.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this famous passage in the Lotus Sutra the simile of the mirror is employed. The sutra passage is saying that persons whose six sense organs are pure will be like lapis lazuli or like bright mirrors in which one sees the major world system (or the thousand-millionfold world).
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they see and understand the ten thousand phenomena as though these were reflected in a bright mirror. This bright mirror is the Lotus Sutra. And in particular it is the “Treasure Tower” chapter. Or again we may say that it is the bright mirror of our single minds [of faith].
The passage as a whole employs these two similes of lapis lazuli and a bright mirror. It begins by saying that one’s body will be very pure. But since the body and the mind in the end are not two different things, this virtue of purity must apply to both of them.
[In the phrase “pure bright mirror”], “pure” means a purity that stands in contrast to impurity, and “bright” means a brightness that stands in contrast to lack of brightness, that is, darkness, or ignorance. The word “mirror” represents the single mind. [From another viewpoint], “pure” represents the truth of temporary existence, “bright” represents the truth of non-substantiality, and “mirror” represents the Middle Way. In the phrase “in which forms and shapes are all reflected,” the word “all” refers to the Ten Worlds.
Ultimately, then, the pure bright mirror represents the truth that the two elements of body and mind are the entity of Myoho-renge-kyo. The pure bright mirror is the mind of faith. And [for the bodhisattva in his pure body] to view the major world system is to see in it the three realms of existence.

Point Four, on the words “While these persons uphold this sutra / they will dwell safely on rare ground.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “these persons” refer to the votaries of the Lotus Sutra who are among the various people in the country of Japan. The words “rare ground” refer to the principle and actual fact of manifesting the original state [of enlightenment] as revealed in the “Life Span” chapter. They also recall the pronouncement made in the chapter “Distinctions in Benefits,” “The Buddha preaches a rarely encountered Law.” In particular, they refer to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Now the “rare ground” occupied by Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, is the object of devotion, the bright mirror to be broadly disseminated in the Latter Day of the Law.
Generally speaking, the benefits gained from purification of the six sense organs that are described in this chapter correspond to the ten stages of faith and the stage of resemblance to enlightenment, the fourth of the six stages of practice. The bodhisattva Constant Exertion who is the member of the assembly addressed in this chapter represents the third of the ten stages of faith, that of assiduousness or exertion. One should understand, however, that, in the Latter Day of the Law, it is the votaries of the Lotus Sutra who act as the bodhisattva Constant Exertion. Of such persons who uphold the Lotus Sutra the sutra itself says, “This is what is meant by diligence” (chapter eleven, Treasure Tower).

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