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1 February 2015

SOKA GAKKAI BUDDHIST DICTIONARY WORD OF THE DAY

Bhadrika [跋提・跋提梨迦] (Skt; Jpn Batsudai or Batsudairika): One of the five ascetics to whom Shakyamuni Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining enlightenment and whom he thereby converted. See also five ascetics.

I PRAY FOR THE ABSOLUTE HAPPINESS AND TOTAL VICTORY OF ALL BHADRIKA PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE. NAMU-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO

I PRAY FOR THE ABSOLUTE HAPPINESS AND TOTAL VICTORY OF THE FIVE ASCETICS. NAMU-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO

five ascetics [五比丘] (Jpn go-biku): The first converts of Shakyamuni Buddha. Their names are Ājnāta Kaundinya, Ashvajit, Mahānāma, Bhadrika, and Vāshpa, though these differ somewhat according to the source. The Buddha’s Preaching Life Sutra lists Dashabala Kāshyapa as one of the five ascetics instead of Vāshpa. When Shakyamuni renounced secular life, his father, Shuddhodana, anxious about his son’s safety, dispatched these five men to accompany him. Together with Shakyamuni they engaged in ascetic practice. When Shakyamuni rejected asceticism, they thought that he had abandoned the search for truth altogether and left him, going to Deer Park in Vārānasī to continue their austere practice. After he attained enlightenment, Shakyamuni sought them out as the first people to whom he would preach. According to scriptural accounts, the five at first resolved to greet him with coolness, regarding him as a backslider. But when Shakyamuni approached them, they were struck by his dignified bearing and welcomed him in spite of themselves. They listened to his teachings and became his first disciples.

381 ON NAMU

DO not build Buddhist halls or pagodas, I do not carry out almsgiving. The only thing I hold precious is my life, and this I have offered to the Lotus Sutra.
The Buddhas of the three existences of past, present, and future, when they were still ordinary mortals, all offered their lives to the Lotus Sutra and thus were able to become Buddhas.
For this reason, the names of all the various Buddhas are prefixed by the word namu.1 Namu is a word of the language of India, and in this country it means “to dedicate one’s life.” Explaining the term “to dedicate one’s life,” T’ien-t’ai says it means “to single-mindedly dedicate one’s life.” By offering their lives to the Lotus Sutra, they became Buddhas. And now I, Nichiren, offering my life to the Lotus Sutra . . .
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LOTUS SUTRA CHAPTER 23 THE FORMER AFFAIRS OF THE BODHISATTVA MEDICINE KING

I PRAY FOR THE ABSOLUTE HAPPINESS AND TOTAL VICTORY OF THE BODHISATTVA MEDICINE KING

NAMU MYOHO RENGE KYO
At that time the bodhisattva Constellation King Flower spoke to the Buddha, saying: “World-Honored One, how does the bodhisattva Medicine King come and go in the saha world? World-Honored One, this bodhisattva Medicine King has carried out some hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of difficult practices, arduous practices. Very well, World-Honored One, could I ask you to explain a little? The heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, human beings, and nonhuman beings, the bodhisattvas who have come from other lands and the multitude of voice-hearers, will all be delighted to hear you.”
At that time the Buddha addressed the bodhisattva Constellation King Flower, saying: “Many kalpas in the past, immeasurable as Ganges sands, there was a buddha named Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue 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. This buddha had eighty million bodhisattvas mahasattva and a multitude of great voice-hearers equal to the sands of seventy-two Ganges Rivers. This buddha’s life span was forty-two thousand kalpas, and the life span of the bodhisattvas was the same. In his land there were no women, hell dwellers, hungry spirits, beasts, or asuras, and no kinds of tribulation. The p.322ground was as level as the palm of a hand, made of lapis lazuli and adorned with jeweled trees. Jeweled curtains covered it over, banners of jeweled flowers hung down, and jeweled urns and incense burners filled the land everywhere. There were daises made of the seven treasures, with a tree by each dais, the tree situated an arrow-shot’s length from the dais. These jeweled trees all had bodhisattvas and voice-hearers sitting under them, and each of the jeweled daises had hundreds of millions of heavenly beings playing on heavenly instruments and singing the praises of the buddha as an offering.
“At that time, for the sake of the bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings and the other numerous bodhisattvas and multitude of voice-hearers, the buddha preached the Lotus Sutra. This bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings delighted in carrying out arduous practices. In the midst of the Law preached by the buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue he applied himself diligently and traveled about here and there, single-mindedly seeking buddhahood for a period of fully twelve thousand years. After that he was able to gain the samadhi in which one can manifest all physical forms. Having gained this samadhi, his heart was filled with great joy and he thought to himself: My gaining the samadhi in which I can manifest all physical forms is due entirely to the fact that I heard the Lotus Sutra. I must now make an offering to the buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue and to the Lotus Sutra!
“Immediately he entered the samadhi and in the midst of the sky rained down mandarava flowers, great mandarava flowers, and finely ground, hard black particles of sandalwood; they filled the whole sky like clouds as they came raining down. He also rained down the incense of the sandalwood that grows by the southern seashore. Six taels of this incense is worth as much as the saha world. All these he used as an offering to the buddha.
“When he had finished making this offering, he rose from his samadhi and thought to himself: Though I have employed my supernatural powers to make this offering to the buddha, it is not as good as making an offering of my own body.
“Thereupon he swallowed various perfumes, sandalwood, p.323kunduruka, turushka, prikka, aloes, and liquidambar gum, and he also drank the fragrant oil of champaka and other kinds of flowers, doing this for a period of fully twelve hundred years. Anointing his body with fragrant oil, he appeared before the buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue, wrapped his body in heavenly jeweled robes, poured fragrant oil over his head and, calling on his transcendental powers, set fire to his body. The glow shone forth, illuminating worlds equal in number to the sands of eighty million Ganges Rivers. The buddhas in these worlds simultaneously spoke out in praise, saying: ‘Excellent, excellent, good man! This is true diligence. This is what is called a true dharma offering1 to the thus come one. Though one may use flowers, incense, necklaces, incense for burning, powdered incense, paste incense, heavenly silken banners, canopies, even the incense of the sandalwood that grows by the southern seashore, presenting offerings of all such things as these, one can never match this! Though one may make donations of one’s realm and cities, one’s wife and children, one is no match for this! Good man, this is called the foremost donation of all. Among all donations, this is the most highly prized, for one is offering one’s dharma to the thus come ones!’
“After they had spoken these words, they each one fell silent. The body of the bodhisattva burned for twelve hundred years, and when that period of time had passed, it at last burned itself out.
“After the bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings had made this dharma offering and his life had come to an end, he was reborn in the land of the buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue, in the household of the king Pure Virtue. Sitting in cross-legged position, he was suddenly born by transformation, and at once for the benefit of his father he spoke in verse form, saying:

Great king, you should now understand this.
Having walked about in a certain place,
p.324I immediately gained the samadhi
that allows me to manifest all physical forms.
I have carried out my endeavors with great diligence
and cast aside the body that I loved.

“When he had recited this verse, he said to his father: ‘The buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue is still present at this time. Previously I made an offering to this buddha and gained a dharani that allows me to understand the words of all living beings. Moreover I have heard this Lotus Sutra with its eight hundred, thousand, ten thousand, millions of nayutas, kankaras, vivaras, akshobhyas of verses.2 Great king, I must now once more make an offering to this buddha.’
“Having said this, he seated himself on a dais made of the seven treasures, rose up into the air to the height of seven tala trees and, proceeding to the place where the buddha was, bowed his head to the ground in obeisance at the buddha’s feet, put the nails of his ten fingers together, and spoke this verse in praise of the buddha:

A countenance so rare and wonderful,
its bright beams illuminating the ten directions!
At a previous time I made an offering,
and now once more I draw near.

“At that time, after the bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings had spoken this verse, he said to the buddha: ‘World-Honored One, is the World-Honored One still present in the world?’
“At that time the buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue said to the bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings: ‘Good man, the time has come for my nirvana. The time has come for extinction. You may provide me with a comfortable couch, for tonight will be my parinirvana.’
“He also commanded the bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings, saying: ‘Good man, I take the teaching of the p.325buddha and entrust it to you. In addition, the bodhisattvas and great disciples, the doctrine of supreme perfect enlightenment, and the seven-jeweled major world system, its jeweled trees, jeweled daises, and heavenly beings who wait on and attend them—all these I hand over to you. I also entrust to you the relics of my body that remain after I have passed into extinction. You must distribute them abroad and arrange for offerings to them far and wide. You should erect many thousands of towers [to house them].’
“The buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue, having given these commands to the bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings, that night, in the last watch of the night, entered nirvana.
“At that time the bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings, seeing the buddha pass into extinction, was deeply grieved and distressed. Out of his great love and longing for the buddha he at once prepared a pyre made of sandalwood from the seashore, and with this as an offering to the buddha’s body, he cremated the body. After the fire had burned out, he gathered up the relics, fashioned eighty-four thousand jeweled urns and built eighty-four thousand towers, high as the three worlds, adorned with central poles, draped with banners and canopies, and hung with a multitude of jeweled bells.
“At that time the bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings once more thought to himself: Though I have made these offerings, my mind is not yet satisfied. I must make some further offering to the relics.
“Then he spoke to the other bodhisattvas and great disciples, and to the heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, and all the members of the great assembly, saying, ‘You must give your undivided attention. I will now make an offering to the relics of the buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue.’
“Having spoken these words, immediately in the presence of the eighty-four thousand towers he burned his arms, which were adorned with a hundred blessings, for a period of seventy-two thousand years as his offering. This caused the numberless multitudes who were seeking to become voice-hearers, and an immeasurable asamkhya of persons, to conceive a desire for supreme p.326perfect enlightenment, and all of them were able to dwell in the samadhi where one can manifest all physical forms.
“At that time the bodhisattvas, heavenly and human beings, asuras, and others, seeing that the bodhisattva had destroyed his arms, were alarmed and saddened and they said: ‘This bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings is our teacher, instructing and converting us. Now he has burned his arms and his body is no longer whole!’
“At that time, in the midst of the great assembly, the bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings made this vow, saying: ‘I have cast away both my arms. I am certain to attain the golden body of a buddha. If this is true and not false, then may my two arms become as they were before!’
“When he had finished pronouncing this vow, his arms reappeared of themselves as they had been before. This came about because the merits and wisdom of this bodhisattva were manifold and profound. At that time the major world system shook and trembled in six different ways, and heaven rained down jeweled flowers, and all the heavenly and human beings gained what they had never had before.”
The Buddha said to the bodhisattva Constellation King Flower: “What do you think? Is this bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings someone unknown to you? He is in fact none other than the present bodhisattva Medicine King! He cast aside his body as an offering in this fashion immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of times.
“Constellation King Flower, if there are those who have made up their minds and wish to gain supreme perfect enlightenment, they would do well to burn a finger or one toe of their foot as an offering to the buddha towers. It is better than offering one’s realm and cities, wife and children, or the mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes in the lands of the major world system, or all their precious treasures. Even if a person were to fill the whole major world system with the seven treasures as an offering to the buddha and the great bodhisattvas, pratyekabuddhas, and arhats, the benefits gained by such a person cannot match those gained by accepting and upholding this Lotus Sutra, even just one p.327four-line verse of it! That brings the most numerous blessings of all.
“Constellation King Flower, among all the rivers, streams, and other bodies of water, for example, the ocean is foremost. And this Lotus Sutra is likewise, being the profoundest and greatest of the sutras preached by the thus come ones. Again, just as among the Dirt Mountains, Black Mountains, Small Iron Encircling Mountains, Great Iron Encircling Mountains, Ten Treasure Mountains, and all the other mountains, Mount Sumeru is foremost, so this Lotus Sutra is likewise. Among all the sutras, it holds the highest place. And just as among all the stars and their like, the moon, a god’s son, is foremost, so this Lotus Sutra is likewise. For among all the thousands, ten thousands, millions of types of sutra teachings, it shines the brightest. And just as the sun, a god’s son, can banish all darkness, so too this sutra is capable of destroying the darkness of all that is not good.
“As among the petty kings the wheel-turning sage king is foremost, so this sutra is the most honored among all the many sutras. As the lord Shakra is king among the thirty-three heavenly beings, so this sutra likewise is king among all the sutras. And as the great heavenly king Brahma is the father of all living beings, so this sutra likewise is father of all sages, worthies, those still learning, those who have completed their learning, and those who set their minds on becoming bodhisattvas. And as among all ordinary mortals, the stream-winners, once-returners, non-returners, arhats, and pratyekabuddhas are foremost, so this sutra likewise is foremost among all the sutra teachings preached by all the thus come ones, preached by all the bodhisattvas, or preached by all the voice-hearers. One who can accept and uphold this sutra is likewise foremost among all living beings. Bodhisattvas are foremost among all voice-hearers and pratyekabuddhas, and in the same way this sutra is foremost among all the sutra teachings. As the Buddha is king of the doctrines, so likewise this sutra is king of the sutras.
“Constellation King Flower, this sutra can save all living beings. This sutra can cause all living beings to free themselves from suffering and anguish. This sutra can bring great benefits to all living beings and fulfill their desires, as a clear cool pond can p.328satisfy all those who are thirsty. It is like a fire to one who is cold, a robe to one who is naked, like a band of merchants finding a leader, a child finding its mother, someone finding a ship in which to cross the water, a sick man finding a doctor, someone in darkness finding a lamp, the poor finding riches, the people finding a ruler, a traveling merchant finding his way to the sea. It is like a torch that banishes darkness. Such is this Lotus Sutra. It can cause living beings to cast off all distress, all sickness and pain. It can unloose all the bonds of birth and death.
“If one is able to hear this Lotus Sutra, if one copies it oneself or causes others to copy it, the benefits one gains thereby will be such that even the buddha wisdom could never finish calculating their extent. If one copies these sutra rolls and uses flowers, incense, necklaces, incense for burning, powdered incense, paste incense, banners, canopies, robes, various kinds of lamps such as lamps of butter oil, oil lamps, lamps with various fragrant oils, lamps of champaka oil, lamps of sumana oil, lamps of patala oil, lamps of varshika oil, or lamps of navamalika oil to make offerings to them, the benefits that one acquires will likewise be immeasurable.
“Constellation King Flower, if there is a person who hears this chapter on the Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King, he too will gain immeasurable and boundless benefits. If there is a woman who hears this chapter on the Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King and is able to accept and uphold it, that will be her last appearance in a woman’s body and she will never be born in that form again.
“If in the last five-hundred-year period after the thus come one has entered extinction there is a woman who hears this sutra and carries out its practices as the sutra directs, when her life here on earth comes to an end she will immediately go to the world of Peace and Delight where the buddha Amitayus dwells surrounded by the assembly of great bodhisattvas, and there will be born seated on a jeweled seat in the center of a lotus blossom. He3 will no longer know the torments of greed, desire, anger, p.329rage, foolishness, or ignorance, or the torments brought about by arrogance, envy, or other defilements. He will gain the bodhisattva’s transcendental powers and the truth of the birthlessness of all phenomena. Having gained this truth, his faculty of sight will be clear and pure, and with this clear pure faculty of sight he will see the buddhas, the thus come ones, equal in number to the sands of seven hundred twelve thousand million nayutas of Ganges Rivers.
“At that time buddhas will join in praising him from afar, saying: ‘Excellent, excellent, good man! In the midst of the Law of Shakyamuni Buddha you have been able to accept, uphold, read, recite, and ponder this sutra and to preach it for others. The good fortune you gain thereby is immeasurable and boundless. It cannot be burned by fire or washed away by water. Your benefits are such that a thousand buddhas speaking all together could never finish describing them. Now you have been able to destroy all devils and thieves, to annihilate the army of birth and death, and all others who bore you enmity or malice have likewise been wiped out.
“‘Good man, a hundred, a thousand buddhas will employ their transcendental powers to join in guarding and protecting you. Among the heavenly and human beings of all the worlds, there will be no one like you. With the sole exception of the thus come one, there will be none among the voice-hearers, pratyekabuddhas, or bodhisattvas whose wisdom and ability in meditation can equal yours!’
“Constellation King Flower, such will be the benefits and the power of wisdom successfully acquired by this bodhisattva.
“If there is a person who, hearing this chapter on the Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King, is able to welcome it with joy and praise its excellence, then in this present existence this person’s mouth will constantly emit the fragrance of the blue lotus flower, and the pores of his body will constantly emit the fragrance of ox-head sandalwood. His benefits will be such as have been described above.
“For this reason, Constellation King Flower, I entrust this chapter on the Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King p.330to you. After I have passed into extinction, in the last five-hundred-year period you must spread it abroad widely throughout Jambudvipa and never allow it to be cut off, nor must you allow evil devils, the devils’ people, heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, kumbhanda demons, or others to seize the advantage!
“Constellation King Flower, you must use your transcendental powers to guard and protect this sutra. Why? Because this sutra provides good medicine for the ills of the people of Jambudvipa. If a person who has an illness is able to hear this sutra, then his illness will be wiped out and he will know neither aging nor death.
“Constellation King Flower, if you see someone who accepts and upholds this sutra, you must take blue lotus blossoms, heap them with powdered incense, and scatter them over him as an offering. And when you have scattered them, you should think to yourself: Before long this person will pick grasses, spread them as a seat in the place of enlightenment, and conquer the armies of the devil. Then he will sound the conch of the Law, beat the drum of the great Law, and free all living beings from the sea of aging, sickness, and death!
“For this reason when those who seek the buddha way see someone who accepts and upholds this sutra, they should approach him with this kind of respect and reverence.”
When the Buddha preached this chapter on the Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King, eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas gained the dharani that allows them to understand the words of all living beings. Many Treasures Thus Come One in the midst of his treasure tower praised the bodhisattva Constellation King Flower, saying: “Excellent, excellent, Constellation King Flower. You succeeded in acquiring inconceivable benefits and thus were able to question Shakyamuni Buddha about this matter, profiting immeasurable numbers of living beings.”

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LOTUS SUTRA FOREWARD:

From early times the Lotus Sutra has been known as “the king of the sutras.” This is above all because it is “a scripture of great hope” that brings light to the hearts of all people.
The Lotus Sutra clearly and definitively reveals the buddha nature that is an integral part of the lives of all people. And it makes clear that the Buddha desires and acts so that all people, by opening up this buddha nature inherent within themselves, may attain the state of buddhahood for themselves. The sutra further stresses that the continued observance of such action is the true mission of the bodhisattva, and never ceases to praise the observance of this practice.
The buddha nature, which is inherent in all living beings, is a universal and fundamental source or fountain of hope. When it is fully brought to light, it allows all human beings to realize their highest level of personal development and to attain unparalleled happiness and good fortune. And the Lotus Sutra is the text that most forcefully asserts this truth.
The Lotus Sutra, which possesses the power to fulfill the hopes latent in the lives of human beings, spread from India to Central Asia, and from there to the countries of eastern Asia. In India and Central Asia various manuscripts of the sutra in Sanskrit and other languages of that area into which it was translated have been found. In the region of eastern Asia, it was translated into Chinese by Kumarajiva (344–413), and that is the version in which it has been read, recited, and best known by many people. In that form, we may say, it constituted one of the most important spiritual elements underlying the culture of China in the Six Dynasties, Sui, and Tang periods, and of Japan in the Heian period.
In particular, in China in the sixth century the Great Teacher Tiantai (538–597), on the basis of the Lotus Sutra, developed his system of interpretation known as “three thousand realms in a single moment of life,” which expounds the philosophy of hope embodied in the Lotus Sutra in a subtle and logically convincing manner. But although there had been, in the history of the transmission of the Lotus Sutra, efforts to transcend the barrier of cultural differences and bring out the universally valid nature of the sutra’s message, it would appear that the true worth of the Lotus Sutra had not, in this period before the appearance of Nichiren Daishonin (1222–1282), as yet been fully revealed.
Nichiren Daishonin in his writings states: “The heart of the Buddha’s lifetime of teachings is the Lotus Sutra, and the heart of the practice of the Lotus Sutra is found in the ‘Never Disparaging’ chapter. What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, pp. 851–52).
By this the Daishonin means that the heart of the Lotus Sutra, the highest among all of Shakyamuni’s teachings, resides in the practice carried out by Bodhisattva Never Disparaging of respecting and paying reverence to all people. The life of each and every person is endowed with the buddha nature, the seed or potential for attaining buddhahood. So long as a person pursues the correct path, this seed will invariably sprout, blossom, and bear fruit. It was on the basis of this firm conviction that Bodhisattva Never Disparaging paid obeisance to every single person that he encountered.
To encourage and bring to fulfillment this practice of paying respect to others, we may say, constitutes the Buddha’s basic aim, the true message of the Lotus Sutra, and the true propagation of the Lotus Sutra. In order to achieve the ideals and spirit of the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren Daishonin made this most important practice the very core of his being. Moreover, he revealed Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the Three Great Secret Laws1 as the manifestation of his own life embodying the buddha nature, and for the sake of all people of the future, opened up the path that would lead to inner transformation, or human revolution, and the creation of a peaceful and ideal society.
In the seventy-nine years since its founding in 1930, the Soka Gakkai, obeying the final instructions of Nichiren Daishonin, has wholeheartedly carried out this most important practice of the Lotus Sutra. As individuals among the populace have succeeded in attaining their own personal victory and realized full satisfaction in life, a rich human culture has blossomed into being, and a path has been opened for the establishment of world peace. And this path is now being spread throughout the entire globe.
For humankind as a whole, the twenty-first century represents the crucial, the now-or-never moment for the establishment of peace. Therefore I firmly believe that now is the time to work more tirelessly than ever to propagate and establish this philosophy of hope set forth in the Lotus Sutra, a scripture that delves into the very fundamentals of human life, and that this opportunity must not be missed. For that reason it is with profound joy that, at the start of this, the twenty-first century, I greet the publication of this Soka Gakkai edition of The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras as it makes its way out into the world.
I would like in conclusion to express my thanks to Dr. Burton Watson for his painstaking English translation of the three sutras.

Daisaku Ikeda
President of Soka Gakkai International

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The Record of the
Orally Transmitted Teachings

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings (Ongi kuden) says: Namu or nam is a Sanskrit word. Here it means to dedicate one’s life, that is, to the Person and to the Law. In terms of the Person, one dedicates one’s life to Shakyamuni Buddha; in terms of the Law, one dedicates one’s life to the Lotus Sutra. “Dedication” means dedication to the principle of eternal and unchanging truth of the theoretical teaching, and “life” means that one’s life dedicated to that principle bases itself on the wisdom of the truth of the essential teaching that functions in accordance with changing circumstances. In essence, one dedicates one’s life to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

A commentary [by Dengyō] says, “That which accords with changing circumstances, that which is unchanging, these are tranquil and shining in a single moment of life.”
Again, “dedication” refers to the element of physical form as it pertains to us, while “life” refers to the element of mind as it pertains to us. But the ultimate teaching tells us that form and mind are not two things. As a commentary [The Annotations on “The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra,” volume one] says, “Because [the Lotus Sutra] leads us to the ultimate truth, it is called the Buddha vehicle.”
We may also note that the nam[u] of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a Sanskrit word, while myōhō, renge, and kyō are Chinese words.1 p.4Sanskrit and Chinese join in a single moment to form Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. If we express the title in Sanskrit, it will be Saddharma-pundarīka-sūtram. This is Myoho-renge-kyo in Sanskrit. Sad (the phonetic change of sat) means myō, or wonderful. Dharma means hō, Law or phenomena. Pundarīka means renge, or lotus blossom. Sūtram means kyō, or sutra. The nine characters [that represent the Sanskrit title] are the Buddha bodies of the nine honored ones. This expresses the idea that the nine worlds are inseparable from the Buddha world.
Myō stands for the Dharma nature or enlightenment, while hō represents darkness or ignorance. Together myōhō expresses the idea that ignorance and the Dharma nature are a single entity. Renge stands for the two elements of cause and effect. Cause and effect are also a single entity.
Kyō represents the words and voices of all living beings. A commentary [On “The Profound Meaning,” volume one] says, “The voice carries out the work of the Buddha, and this is called kyō, or sutra.” Kyō may also be defined as that which is constant and unchanging in the three existences of past, present, and future. The Dharma-realm is myōhō, the Wonderful Law; the Dharma-realm is renge, the lotus blossom; the Dharma-realm is kyō, the sutra.
Renge, the lotus blossom, is the Buddha bodies of the nine honored ones seated on the eight-petaled lotus. Think all this over very carefully.
The Record says:

In the “Introduction” chapter, seven important points
In the “Expedient Means” chapter, eight important points
In the “Simile and Parable” chapter, nine important points
In the “Belief and Understanding” chapter, six important points
In “The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs” chapter, five important points
In the “Bestowal of Prophecy” chapter, four important points
p.5In “The Parable of the Phantom City” chapter, seven important points
In the “Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples” chapter, three important points
In the “Prophecies Conferred on Learners and Adepts” chapter, two important points
In “The Teacher of the Law” chapter, sixteen important points
In “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower” chapter, twenty important points
In the “Devadatta” chapter, eight important points
In the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter, thirteen important points
In the “Peaceful Practices” chapter, five important points
In the “Emerging from the Earth” chapter, one important point
In “The Life Span of the Thus Come One” chapter, twenty-seven important points
In the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter, three important points
In “The Benefits of Responding with Joy” chapter, two important points
In the “Benefits of the Teacher of the Law” chapter, four important points
In “The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging” chapter, thirty important points
In the “Supernatural Powers of the Thus Come One” chapter, eight important points
In the “Entrustment” chapter, three important points
In the “Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King” chapter, six important points
In “The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound” chapter, three important points
In “The Universal Gateway of the Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds” chapter, five important points
In the “Dhāranī” chapter, six important points
In the “Former Affairs of King Wonderful Adornment” chapter, three important points
In the “Encouragements of the Bodhisattva Universal Worthy” chapter, six important points
p.6In the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, six important points
In the Universal Worthy Sutra, five important points

This comes to a total of 231 items. In addition, there is the separate transmission. All these have been recorded in full.

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I view with the greatest pleasure the publication of this English translation of the Ongi kuden, or The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, by Dr. Burton Watson, a translator of world renown. For it will introduce to the world at large the essence of East Asian Buddhism.
Dr. Watson is widely known for his deep understanding of Chinese literature and his translations of Ssu-ma Ch’ien’s Records of the Historian and of Chinese poetry. We first met in 1973. I had for some time thought of him as the most suitable person to undertake a translation of the Lotus Sutra, and I expressed the hope that he would one day gratify us with a translation done from Kumārajīva’s Chinese version of the text. I was of course aware that there were already a number of English translations of the sutra. My hope, however, was that he would produce a translation marked by stylistic beauty, one that would do justice to the literary qualities of the text and at the same time be easily understood by readers not already familiar with Buddhism. Dr. Watson, having agreed to my proposal, fulfilled his promise twenty years later with the publication of his translation of the Lotus Sutra. It has proved a major event in the history of world Buddhism, a powerful beacon to light the future of humankind.
In 1992, the year before Dr. Watson’s translation of the Lotus Sutra appeared, I met with him again. We talked about the Ongi kuden, which embodies Nichiren’s comments on the Lotus Sutra. Dr. Watson, who by this time had completed his translation of the sutra itself, expressed a deep interest in the manner in which Nichiren interpreted it. Aware of the many problems involved, he agreed nevertheless to undertake an English translation of the Ongi kuden as well. Now, a fitting adornment to his long career as a translator, his translation of that text is being published. I am confident that it will open up to the world the profound philosophical teachings of Buddhism and act as a joyous revelation to all humankind.
Numerous persons throughout the world who seek a deeper understanding of Buddhism have heard of the Ongi kuden, but only a few have had a glimpse of its contents. Many have expressed a strong desire to learn more about the text and have long wished for an English translation.
On the occasion of the publication of this translation, I would like here to say a brief word about my own understanding of the Ongi kuden.
As I recall, it was August of 1962 when I began a series of lectures on the Ongi kuden designed for college-level students who were members of the Soka Gakkai. I wanted to train future leaders of the movement and to make the profound philosophy of Nichiren accessible in contemporary terms. It was a time of nuclear armament, an age engulfed in hatred and mistrust, and I felt there was a deep need to replace these with a humanism based on mutual trust and harmony.
Generally speaking, Buddhism is viewed as an exploration of the inner world of the individual, focusing mainly upon meditation and the observance of religious precepts or rules. And in fact it has largely ignored the question of how these inner concerns of the individual can be applied to the outer world of society as a whole. Therefore few people perceive Buddhism as a philosophy for the attainment of world peace.
Nichiren, however, as he demonstrated in his famous work On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, posited a fundamental truth or principle that a revolution beginning within the inner being of the individual can then bring about a similar revolution in the world at large.
Basing himself upon the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren did not look to some external being such as a Buddha or the gods as the source of this revolution in the individual and in society. Instead he perceived a Law or truth that permeates both the inner being of the individual and the life force of the universe as a whole, and sought to open up and disseminate an understanding of that truth. But this concept far transcended the ordinary thinking of the age in which he lived, and as a result, as the Lotus Sutra itself had predicted, he could not fail but encounter numerous grave difficulties. And indeed, the very fact that he endured such difficulties in the course of propagating the sutra was proof of the correctness of its teachings, and at the same time evidence that he was, as it were, “reading the Lotus Sutra” with his whole being, that he was a true “votary of the Lotus Sutra.”
In later years, when Nichiren retired to Mount Minobu, he delivered a series of lectures on the Lotus Sutra for the instruction of his disciples. He revealed the hidden meanings of the sutra passages that were so familiar to him, the meanings that earlier authorities on the sutra such as the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai and the Great Teacher Miao-lo had not fully brought to light. Nichiren, utilizing the work of these earlier commentators, in his own lectures on the sutra proceeded to make clear these hidden meanings.
His lectures were recorded and compiled by Nikkō, one of his closest disciples. Nichiren gave his approval to the work, whose completion is recorded as the first day of the first month of the first year of the Kōan era, which corresponds to the year 1278. It later came to be known as the Ongi kuden, or The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings.
The charge is often made that the Lotus Sutra, though abounding in highly vivid similes and parables, lacks philosophical content. If we look only at its surface meaning, we may perhaps agree with such an opinion. But Buddhism customarily applies three approaches in interpreting its writings, examining them first from the standpoint of the words of the text, then from that of the ideas or meaning implied by the words, and finally, from that of the underlying purport or purpose of the work.
Chinese authorities on the Lotus Sutra such as T’ien-t’ai and Miao-lo, by pondering the words of the sutra, had derived from them certain subtle ideas or doctrines, which they described in terms such as “the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds,” “three thousand realms in a single moment of life,” “the attainment of Buddhahood in the remote past,” “opening the near and revealing the distant,” or “the replacement of the three vehicles with the one vehicle.” But their commentaries had as yet not brought to light the underlying purpose or import of the Lotus Sutra.
Nichiren in his lectures on the sutra revealed that the purport or heart of the work is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and from that standpoint he proceeded to give his explication of the sutra as a whole. This may be termed an interpretation based on his observation of the mind, or the inner truth, implicit in the text, and it constitutes a philosophy of profound depth. Nichiren in effect infused new life into the Lotus Sutra.
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings begins with an explication of the term Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It then proceeds to cite key passages in each of the twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra, in some cases first introducing quotations from the commentaries of T’ien-t’ai or Miao-lo on these passages, in other cases proceeding directly to Nichiren’s interpretation, which, as mentioned earlier, is based upon his “observation of the mind.” The work concludes with commentary on key passages from two short sutras, the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra and the Universal Worthy Sutra, that have traditionally been regarded as prologue and epilogue, respectively, to the Lotus Sutra. In all, Orally Transmitted Teachings contains commentary on a total of 231 passages. Furthermore, there are two additional sections.
What is the basic philosophical outlook of Orally Transmitted Teachings? Various interpretations are possible, but my view is that ultimately it resides in the concept of the dignity of the human being and the dignity of life. In specific terms, it is the belief that ordinary people are capable of attaining Buddhahood, that ordinary people are in fact Buddhas.
In most religions, human beings are relegated to a level quite inferior to that of the sacred being or beings of the faith. But in a religion like Buddhism, whose basic mission is to elevate men and women to the highest plane of spiritual attainment, human beings are referred to rather as “children of the gods” or “children of the Buddha,” terminology that reflects the religion’s very reason for existing.
This fact is most clearly indicated in the following passage from Orally Transmitted Teachings. In the “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha reveals that he attained Buddhahood in the far distant past. “It has been immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas,” he explains, “since I in fact attained Buddhahood” (Lotus Sutra, p. 225).
Ordinarily, one would of course take the “I” in this utterance to refer to Shakyamuni himself. But Nichiren declares that the “I” refers to “the living beings of the Dharma-realm,” to “each and every one in the Ten Worlds.” He is saying that all beings in the Ten Worlds of existence have from the beginning been Buddhas. One might suppose that this is a statement of mere abstract principle. But Nichiren goes on to say, “Now Nichiren and his followers, those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are the original lords of teachings of the ‘Life Span’ chapter” (p. 126). That is, anyone who chants the daimoku, regardless of who the person may be, can perceive that he or she has “from the beginning been a Buddha.” In this way he demonstrates the concrete application of his earlier statement.
Thus, in a simple and straightforward pronouncement, he states the principle that ordinary people are identical with the Buddha. This view of human beings is one of the most outstanding characteristics of Orally Transmitted Teachings.
But then there is the problem of human suffering. It would not be too much to say that all human life is in a sense a battle, a trial of endurance. As Tolstoy has written, “All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion.” In life we are buffeted by a veritable storm of troubles: the death of kin, pronouncements of incurable illness, bankruptcy, job loss, dissension in the family. This is the true nature of life, and for that reason, people turn to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra in hope of finding some safety in the midst of such realities, for the “peace and security in their present existence” that the Lotus Sutra promises (Lotus Sutra, p. 99). But if such ills condemn human beings to unhappiness, then we would have to conclude that the happy human being exists only in fantasy.
Nichiren himself lived a life marked by repeated troubles and hardship. Twice condemned to exile, faced with execution, attacked by warriors and ruffians, subjected to abuse and slander, again and again his very existence was in danger. His was a life far removed from the “peace and security” described in the Lotus Sutra. And for that very reason, many people doubted that Nichiren was in fact the kind of “votary of the Lotus Sutra” who faithfully carries out the sutra’s injunctions.
In his lectures on the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren, viewing the course of his own life and pondering the harsh realities of human existence, declared, “You should understand that, when one practices the Lotus Sutra under such circumstances, difficulties will arise, and these are to be looked on as ‘peaceful’ practices” (p. 115). Such a statement would at first glance seem to contradict the Lotus Sutra itself. But rather than being a conclusion that contradicts the Lotus Sutra, it is one that brings to light the true meaning of the sutra, a meaning that lies deeper than the mere surface words of the text.
From his words we learn that happiness means not the absence of troubles but rather the refusal to be defeated by them, which is the true definition of happiness.
Nichiren goes on to state, “The Nirvana Sutra says, ‘The varied sufferings that all living beings undergo—all these are the Thus Come One’s own sufferings.’ And Nichiren declares that the varied sufferings that all living beings undergo—all these are Nichiren’s own sufferings” (p. 138). He announces that he will carry out an act of great compassion, sharing the sufferings of all beings and rescuing them from these sufferings. Thinking not of himself alone, he expresses a fervent desire to bring happiness to all human beings, showing through his own being the true way for a Buddhist believer to proceed.
I would like also to call attention to Nichiren’s comments on “The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The example of patience and perseverance that this bodhisattva presents, the power of a Law that seeks to save both believers and maligners alike, his practice of paying honor to the Buddha nature present in all beings as he “simply went about bowing to people” (Lotus Sutra, p. 267)—all this is a concrete demonstration of the belief that all people are capable of attaining Buddhahood. And Nichiren adopts this same practice as his own, developing it into a compassionate struggle to save all humankind through kōsen-rufu, or the wide propagation of the teachings.
Nichiren believed that the heart of Shakyamuni Buddha’s lifetime teachings lay in the Lotus Sutra, and that the heart of the Lotus Sutra’s practice lay in the “Never Disparaging” chapter. In one of his letters, he writes, “What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being.”1 This letter, which resounds with praise for the humanism of the Buddhist doctrine, stresses that the truth of Buddhism is to be found not in the words of the sutra alone, but in the Buddha’s aims as they are revealed in his actions as a human being.
Bodhisattva Never Disparaging bowed to persons of all kinds in order to awaken them to the reality that all possess the Buddha nature within themselves. In doing so, he gave expression to boundless courage and a faith that could not be shaken.
Nichiren in his comments on the “Never Disparaging” chapter lists fourteen different ways in which one could look at the act of obeisance performed by the bodhisattva as he “went about bowing to people.” In one of these he says, “It is like the situation when one faces a mirror and makes a bow of obeisance: the image in the mirror likewise makes a bow of obeisance to oneself” (p. 165). Here he is pointing to a highly important moral principle that appears to be lacking in modern society, namely, a spirit of mutual trust and mutual esteem, one that understands that when you show respect for others, they will show respect for you.
The principal cause for the sense of alienation that besets human beings in our present-day society is egotism. This is the conclusion reached in the discussions I held some years ago with the historian, Dr. Arnold Toynbee. And how is one to overcome this attachment to egotism? From a Buddhist point of view, it is to be accomplished by ridding human beings of their self-centeredness, of what Buddhism terms the “fundamental darkness” that enshrouds their lives. This is ignorance, a lack of awareness of the true dignity of their existence, of the fact that their own lives are embodiments of the Wonderful Law and that they themselves have from the beginning been Buddhas. And what can wipe out this ignorance is a firm faith, a faith that never doubts the Buddha nature within all men and women, never doubts the dignity of their inner beings. The engendering of such faith is now humankind’s greatest need, is it not?
An organization of people who are spreading Nichiren’s philosophy of peace and life, and who share its doctrines and ideals, exists at present in 190 different countries and regions of the world. The solidarity of men and women who are wakened to the true dignity of life will continue to expand and make it possible that war and terrorism be wiped out, and that poverty, destruction of the environment, and other global problems that now threaten humankind be solved. I firmly believe that that day will come, and my one great desire is that it may come as quickly as possible.
In closing, I would like to express my own heartfelt wish that readers will find in this book a fountain of inexhaustible wisdom and that it will enable them to live lives filled with boundless courage and hope.

Daisaku Ikeda
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Chapter Twenty-three: Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King
Six important points

Point One, regarding the passage “Even if a person were to fill the whole thousand-millionfold world [or the major world system] with the seven treasures as an offering to the Buddha and the great bodhisattvas, pratyekabuddhas and arhats, the benefits gained by such a person cannot match those gained by accepting and upholding this Lotus Sutra, even just one four-line verse of it!”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “this Lotus Sutra” refer to the entire sutra made up of twenty-eight chapters. The words “one four-line verse of it,” you should understand, refer to the five characters of the daimoku.

p.173Point Two, on the ten comparisons illustrating the supremacy of the Lotus Sutra

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The ten comparisons correspond to the Ten Worlds. Thus, the region situated beneath the mountains of the second comparison must include the realm of hell. The “rivers and streams” of the first comparison must refer to the realms of hungry spirits and of animals. The realm that lies beneath the sun and moon must include that of asuras. The mention of the deities Shakra and Brahmā must refer to the realm of heavenly beings, while that of “ordinary mortals” must refer to the realm of human beings. The mention of “voice-hearers” must refer to those persons in and aiming at the four stages of Hinayana enlightenment culminating in the stage of arhat. The reference to “pratyekabuddhas” must indicate the realm of cause-awakened ones or pratyekabuddhas. The phrase “Bodhisattvas are foremost” must indicate the realm of bodhisattvas, while the words “As the Buddha is king of the doctrines” must indicate that of Buddhas.
These ten comparisons, with their correspondence to the Ten Worlds, are cited on the one hand to show that, in terms of the classification of the various teachings, the Lotus Sutra holds the highest place. But they are also cited when one is discussing the manner in which the single vehicle of the Lotus Sutra was earlier taught in the form of three vehicles. In this sense, the ten comparisons are an expression of the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, for it is this doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life that is capable of freeing one from suffering and bringing one joy.

Point Three, regarding the passage “Such is this Lotus Sutra. It can cause living beings to cast off all distress, all sickness and pain. It can unloose all the bonds of birth and death.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The very heart of the Lotus Sutra is the teaching that earthly desires are p.174enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. Here the two expressions “cast off” and “unloose” would seem to go directly counter to this teaching.
However, we should take the words “cast off” in the sense of “becoming enlightened concerning.” If we look with the eyes of wisdom as they are opened by the “Life Span” chapter of the essential teaching, we will become enlightened to the truth that sickness, pain, and distress are, and have always been, an innate part of life. Such is the wisdom of the Buddha of limitless joy.
The phrase “unloose all the bonds of birth and death” means to unlock us from the error of supposing that we are now encountering birth and death for the first time and to help us to realize that birth and death have always been an innate part of life. Thus we are released from the bonds of supposing that we will attain enlightenment for the first time [as Shakyamuni did in this lifetime in India]. These two expressions “cast off” and “unloose” are in fact expressions of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Point Four, regarding the passage “Excellent, excellent, good man! In the midst of the Law of Shakyamuni Buddha you have been able to accept, uphold, read, recite and ponder this sutra and to preach it for others. The good fortune you gain thereby is immeasurable and boundless. It cannot be burned by fire or washed away by water.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “fire” here refers to the flames of the Avīchi hell, and the word “water” refers to the ice of the hell of the crimson lotus.
Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are persons who, as the text says, “cannot be burned by fire or washed away by water.”

Point Five, regarding the passage “Now you have been able to destroy all devils and thieves, to annihilate the army of birth and death, and all others who bore you enmity or malice have likewise been wiped out.”

p.175The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “who bore you enmity or malice” refer to slanderers of the Law such as the Nembutsu, Zen, and True Word followers. “Have been wiped out” refers to the principle that “the Lotus Sutra is the teaching of shakubuku, the refutation of the provisional doctrines” [Profound Meaning, volume nine]. This is what Nichiren and his followers are doing now when they chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Point Six, regarding the passage “This sutra provides good medicine for the ills of the people of Jambudvīpa. If a person who has an illness is able to hear this sutra, then his illness will be wiped out and he will know neither old age nor death.”

Volume ten of Words and Phrases says, “One should meditate on and give full understanding to this passage.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “a person” here include everyone from those on the highest level who have attained the fruits of Buddhahood down to those on the lowest, the offenders in hell. “Illness” refers to the three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness, fundamental earthly desires possessed even by Buddhas and bodhisattvas. “Neither old age” refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, and “nor death” refers to the bodhisattvas who emerged from the earth and their followers.
This passage is preached for the sake of living beings in the present age, after the Buddha has passed away. Accordingly the word “illness” in such a case refers to the slandering of the Law. Hence those persons who accept and uphold this sutra will without doubt find their illness wiped out at once. Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are just such persons.
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UNIVERSAL WORTHY SUTRA

his is what I heard:
At one time, when the Buddha was in the double-storied hall in the Great Forest Monastery in Vaishali, he announced to the monks, “Three months from now I will enter parinirvana.”
The venerable Ananda thereupon rose from his seat, straightened his robe, brought his hands together so the palms were touching, and walked three times around the Buddha. Bowing in obeisance to the Buddha, he knelt on one knee, with his palms pressed together, and gazed intently at the thus come one, not turning his eyes aside for an instant. The elder Mahakashyapa and the bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya also rose from their seats, pressed their palms together, and bowed in obeisance, gazing up in reverence at the face of the honored one.
Then these three great men, three mouths speaking in one voice, addressed the Buddha, saying: “World-Honored One, after the thus come one has entered extinction, how can living beings nurture the bodhisattva mind, practice the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, and employ correct thoughts in pondering the realm of the single truth? How can they be certain of attaining the mind of unsurpassed enlightenment? How, without cutting off earthly desires or separating themselves from the five desires, can they purify their senses and wipe away their offenses? How, with the pure everyday eyes they received from their fathers and mothers at birth, and without cutting off the p.370five desires, will they be able to see what lies beyond obstacles?”
The Buddha said to Ananda: “Listen with attention, listen with attention, and consider the matter carefully. In the past I, the thus come one, on Mount Gridhrakuta and in other places, have already widely explained in detail the way of the single truth. Now in this place, for the sake of living beings of ages to come who wish to practice the unsurpassed Law of the great vehicle, and who wish to study the practice of Universal Worthy and to carry out Universal Worthy’s practice, I will now explain the method that they should hold in mind. Whether you have already seen Universal Worthy or have not yet seen him, I will now explain for you the steps to be observed in order to reduce the number of your offenses.
“Ananda, the bodhisattva Universal Worthy was born in the land Pure and Wonderful in the east. The characteristics of that land I have already explained in detail in the Miscellaneous Flower Sutra. Now in this sutra I will explain the matter in brief.
“Ananda, if there are monks, nuns, laymen, or laywomen, heavenly beings, dragons, or others of the eight kinds of beings, or any living beings who intone the great vehicle, practice the great vehicle, set their minds on the great vehicle, wish to see the form and body of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, wish to see the tower of Many Treasures Buddha, wish to see Shakyamuni Buddha and the many buddhas that are emanations of his body, or wish to attain purification of the six sense organs—they should study this meditation.
“The benefits of this meditation remove obstacles and impediments so they can see the finest, the most wonderful forms. They need not enter a samadhi, but merely by reciting and upholding it [the great vehicle] they can practice with their entire minds, from one instant of mind to the next never departing from the great vehicle, and by the time they have done so for one day and on up to three times seven days, they will be able to see Universal Worthy.
“Those who are impeded by heavy obstacles will have to do so for seven times seven days before they can see him. Those who p.371have even heavier obstacles will take a lifetime to see him. Those with even heavier obstacles will take two lifetimes to see him. And those with even heavier will take three lifetimes to see him. Because the effects of karma differ in these various cases, it is necessary to explain the matter in different ways.
“Bodhisattva Universal Worthy is boundless in the volume of his body, boundless in voice, boundless in form and shape. Wishing to come to this land, he employs his freely exercised transcendental powers to shrink his body, making it small. Because the people of Jambudvipa are impeded by the three obstacles, he employs the power of wisdom, transforming himself and riding on a white elephant. The elephant has six tusks and seven legs that support it on the ground, and under the seven legs grow seven lotus blossoms.
“The elephant is pure white in color, the finest of all whites. Even the crystal hue of the Snow Mountains cannot compare to it. The body of the elephant is 450 yojanas in length and 400 yojanas in height. At the tips of its six tusks are six ponds, and in each of these ponds there grow fourteen lotus blossoms that are as big as the pond itself. When these blossoms open and unfold, they are like the king of heavenly trees. On each blossom there is a lovely woman whose face is a crimson-like hue and who shines more brightly than a heavenly maiden. In each hand are five harps that have appeared as though of themselves, and each harp is accompanied by five hundred other musical instruments as its attendants. Five hundred kinds of birds, ducks, wild geese, mandarin ducks, all with the colors of various treasures, spring up in the spaces between the blossoms and the leaves. There is also a blossom on the elephant’s trunk. Its stem is the color of a pure red pearl. The blossom is a golden color and is closed and not yet unfolded.
“Once you have seen these things, then if you carry out further repentance, meditate intensively with all your mind, and ponder the great vehicle, not permitting your mind to rest or to wander, then the blossom will unfold and shine with a golden hue. The dais or calyx of the lotus blossom is composed of kimshuka jewels and wonderful pure mani jewels, and diamond p.372jewels make up the stamens of the blossom. You will see a conjured buddha sitting on the dais of the lotus blossom, and a host of numerous bodhisattvas sitting on the stamens of the lotus blossom.
“From the space between the eyebrows of this conjured buddha a beam of golden light will shine forth and will enter the elephant’s trunk. Taking on the color of a red lotus blossom, it will emerge from the elephant’s trunk and enter the elephant’s eyes. Emerging from the elephant’s eyes, it will enter the elephant’s ears. Emerging from the elephant’s ears, it will illuminate the crown of the elephant’s head, where it will be transformed into a golden dais.
“On top of the elephant’s head there will be three conjured persons, one grasping a golden wheel, one holding a mani jewel, and one wielding a diamond-pounder. When the last raises the diamond-pounder and signals to the elephant, then the elephant is allowed to begin walking. His feet do not touch the ground, but he treads on empty air and moves about freely. He is elevated seven feet above the ground, but his footprints appear on the ground. In every footprint there is a thousand-spoked wheel, and in each of these wheels a large lotus blossom springs up. On each of these lotus blossoms there appears a conjured elephant, which also has seven feet and follows along after the big elephant. Each time these elephants raise and lower their feet, seven thousand other elephants appear to act as their attendants, all following along after the big elephant.
“The elephant’s trunk is the color of a red lotus blossom, and on top of it is a conjured buddha who emits a light from the area between his eyebrows. This light is golden in color. As before, it enters the elephant’s trunk, emerges from the elephant’s trunk to enter the elephant’s eyes, emerges from the elephant’s eyes to enter the elephant’s ears, and emerges from the elephant’s ears to reach to the elephant’s crown. There it gradually extends until it reaches the elephant’s back, where it is transformed and becomes a golden saddle adorned with the seven treasures. On the four sides of the saddle are pillars made of the seven treasures and with many different treasures adorning them, which serve to p.373form a jeweled dais. In the center of the dais or calyx is a single lotus blossom stamen made of the seven treasures, and that lotus blossom stamen is made up of a hundred different treasures. This calyx of the lotus blossom is a great mani jewel.
“There is a bodhisattva who sits cross-legged there, named Universal Worthy. His body is the color of white jade and it shines with fifty kinds of light. These lights are of fifty different colors, forming a light about his head. From the pores of his body a golden light streams out, and at the tips of these golden beams appear immeasurable numbers of conjured buddhas, with conjured bodhisattvas to act as attendants.
“The elephant moves forward at a slow and dignified pace, raining down great jeweled lotus blossoms, until it arrives in front of the practitioner. Then the elephant opens its mouth, and the lovely women in the pools on the elephant’s tusks play their musical instruments and sing. Their voices are subtle and wonderful as they praise the way of the single truth of the great vehicle.
“Once the practitioner has seen these things, he will be filled with joy and will make reverent obeisance. In addition he will read and recite the profound sutra, pay obeisance to all the immeasurable buddhas of the ten directions, pay obeisance to the tower of Many Treasures Buddha and to Shakyamuni Buddha, and likewise pay obeisance to Universal Worthy and the other great bodhisattvas, pronouncing this vow: ‘If I have acquired good fortune in past existences, I should be able to see Universal Worthy. I beg that the Venerable One of Universal Blessing will show me the form of his body!’
“After the practitioner has made this vow, then at six times in the day and night he should pay obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions, practice the method of repentance, read the great vehicle sutra, recite the great vehicle sutra, ponder the meaning of the great vehicle, keep in mind the concerns of the great vehicle, and reverently offer alms to those who uphold the great vehicle. He should view all people with the thought that they are buddhas, and all living beings with the thought that they are his father and mother.
p.374“Once he has embraced this thought, then Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will emit a bright light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows, which is the mark of a great man. When this light appears, the body of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will be upright, imposing, like a mountain of purple gold, stately, subtle, wonderful, complete with all the thirty-two features.
“The pores of his body will emit a great light that will illuminate the big elephant and cause it to take on a golden color. All the conjured elephants likewise will become golden, and the conjured bodhisattvas too will turn gold. The rays of golden light will illuminate the immeasurable worlds in the eastern region, so that they all become golden as well, and the same will occur in the southern, western, and northern regions, in the four intermediate directions, and in the upper and lower regions.
“At that time in each of the ten directions there will be a bodhisattva riding on a kingly white elephant with six tusks who is like Universal Worthy, not differing from him in the slightest. And the conjured elephants that fill the immeasurable and boundless worlds in the ten directions will all become visible to the upholder of the sutra through the transcendental power of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy.
“At that time the practitioner, seeing these bodhisattvas, will rejoice in body and mind and, making obeisance to them, will say: ‘You beings of great compassion and great pity, because you are kind and thoughtful of me, preach the Law for my sake!’ And when he has spoken these words, the bodhisattvas, different mouths speaking with a single sound, will each one preach the pure Law of the great vehicle sutra, and will fashion verses and hymns in praise of the practitioner. This is called the first realm in the meditation on Bodhisattva Universal Worthy.
“At that time, once the practitioner has seen these things, if he keeps his mind fixed on the great vehicle, day and night never letting go, then when he is asleep he will dream he sees Universal Worthy preaching the Law for him just as if he were awake, bringing ease to his mind and speaking these words: ‘In what you have been reciting and upholding, you have forgotten this phrase, you have forgotten this verse!’
p.375“At that time the practitioner, hearing Universal Worthy preach the profound Law, will come to understand its meaning and purport, will retain it firmly in his memory without forgetting, and in this manner his mind day by day will become more acute.
“Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will teach him to consider and keep in mind the buddhas of the ten directions. By following Universal Worthy’s instructions, with correct mind and correct thought, gradually he will be able to employ his mind’s eye to see the buddhas of the eastern direction, their bodies a golden hue, upright, imposing, subtle, and wonderful.
“Having seen one buddha, he will then see another buddha, and so on step by step until he has seen all the buddhas everywhere in the eastern direction. Because the ponderings of his mind are acute, he will be able to see all the buddhas of the ten directions.
“When he has seen these buddhas, his mind will be filled with joy and he will say to himself: ‘Thanks to the great vehicle, I have been able to see this great man [Universal Worthy]. And thanks to the power of this great man, I have been able to see these buddhas. But though I have seen these buddhas, I have not done so with complete clarity. When I close my eyes, I see them, but when I open my eyes, they vanish!’
“Having spoken these words, he should fling his body and limbs to the ground and make obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions everywhere. Having made obeisance to the buddhas, he should kneel on one knee, press his palms together, and speak these words: ‘You buddhas, world-honored ones, with the ten powers, fearlessness, the eighteen unshared properties, great compassion, great pity, and the three types of tranquillity. You are constantly in the world, your forms are the finest of all forms. What guilt do I possess, that I am not able to see you?’
“When he has spoken these words, he should carry out further repentance. Once he has purified himself through repentance, then Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will appear before him again, and whether he is walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, will never leave his side. Even when he is dreaming, the bodhisattva p.376will constantly preach the Law for him, and when the practitioner wakes from his dream, he will experience the joy and delight of the Law.
“If he does this day and night for three times seven days, he will thereafter be able to acquire the dharani of repetitions. And because he has acquired the dharani of repetitions, he will be able to remember and uphold the wonderful Law preached by the buddhas and bodhisattvas without forgetting anything. In addition, in his dreams he will constantly see the seven buddhas of the past. Of these, Shakyamuni Buddha alone will preach the Law for him, while the other world-honored ones will one by one praise the great vehicle sutra.
“At that time the practitioner, having gained a renewed sense of joy, will make obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions. When he has made obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions, Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will remain in his presence and will teach and explain to him all the deeds and causes from his past existences, enabling him to confess all the sins that blacken his past. He will then confront the various world-honored ones and with his own mouth will confess them.
“Once he has confessed them, he will immediately gain the samadhi in which the buddhas are present before him. Having gained this samadhi, in the eastern region he will see Akshobhya Buddha and his land, Wonderful Joy, all perfectly clear and visible. In this way in the ten directions he will be able to see each of the various buddhas and their supremely wonderful lands, all perfectly clear and visible.
“After he has seen the buddhas of the ten directions, he will dream that on top of the elephant’s head there is a diamond man holding a diamond-pounder who uses it everywhere to point to the six sense organs. When he has finished pointing to the six sense organs, then Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will expound for the practitioner the method of repentance and the purification of the six sense organs.
“He should carry out repentance in this manner for one day and on up to three times seven days. Because he has the power of the samadhi in which the buddhas are present before him, p.377and because Bodhisattva Universal Worthy’s preaching of the Law adorns him, his ears will bit by bit come to hear sounds without impediment, his eyes will bit by bit see events without impediment, his nose will bit by bit smell scents without impediment, and his preaching far and wide will be in accordance with the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law. Having attained the purification of the six sense organs, he will rejoice in body and mind and will be free of all evil imaginings. His mind will be wholly imbued with the Law and will respond in accord with the Law.
“Once more he will gain hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of dharanis of repetition and far and wide will see immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of buddhas. Each of these world-honored ones will stretch out his right hand, pat the practitioner’s head, and speak these words: ‘Excellent, excellent! You practice the great vehicle, you have set your mind on great adornment, you keep the great vehicle in your thoughts. In the past, when we set our own minds on the attainment of enlightenment, we were all like this. You must be diligent and attentive and never falter.
“‘Because in previous existences we practiced the great vehicle, we have now acquired pure bodies of right and universal knowledge. You must now pursue your efforts without slackening. This great vehicle sutra is the treasure storehouse of the buddhas, the eye of the buddhas of the ten directions and the three existences, the seed from which spring the thus come ones of the three existences.
“‘One who upholds this sutra upholds the body of a buddha and practices the deeds of a buddha. You should know that such a person is an envoy sent by the buddhas. The buddhas, world-honored ones, clothe him with their robes. He is a true son of the Law of the buddhas, the thus come ones. You should practice the great vehicle and never cut off the seed of the Law. Now you must meditate attentively on the buddhas of the eastern region.’
“When these words have been spoken, the practitioner will at once see all the immeasurable worlds of the eastern region. The p.378ground in them will be flat as the palm of a hand, without knolls or peaks or thorny groves. The ground will be of lapis lazuli, with gold marking the boundaries. The worlds in all the other of the ten directions will be the same as this.
“After seeing these things, he will see jeweled trees. The jeweled trees will be tall and wonderful, five thousand yojanas high. From the trees will emerge a constant flow of gold and silver, and they will be adorned with the seven treasures. Underneath the trees, jeweled lion seats will appear of themselves. These lion seats will be twenty yojanas high, and from the surface of the seats will radiate the bright light of a hundred treasures. There will be these trees and their jeweled seats, and each of these jeweled seats will be bathed in the bright light of a hundred treasures. There will be these trees and their jeweled seats, and in each of these jeweled seats five hundred white elephants will appear of themselves, and on the back of all of these elephants will be a bodhisattva Universal Worthy.
“At that time the practitioner will do obeisance to these Universal Worthies and say to them: ‘What guilt do I possess, that I can see only the jeweled ground, the jeweled seats, and the jeweled trees, but cannot see the buddhas?’
“When he has spoken these words, on each one of the seats a world-honored one will appear, upright, imposing, subtle, and wonderful, seated on the jeweled seat. Having seen these buddhas, his mind will be filled with great joy and he will devote himself once more to reciting and studying the great vehicle sutra.
“Through the power of the great vehicle, a voice will sound in midair, speaking these words of praise: ‘Excellent, excellent, good man. You practice the great vehicle, and the causes and conditions deriving from its benefits have enabled you to see these buddhas. But although you have now been able to see these buddhas, the world-honored ones, you cannot see Shakyamuni Buddha, the buddhas that are emanations of his body, or the tower of Many Treasures Buddha.’
“When the practitioner has heard this voice from midair, he will once more diligently recite and study the great vehicle sutra. p.379And because he recites and studies the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, immediately in a dream he will see Shakyamuni Buddha and the members of the great assembly on Mount Gridhrakuta, the Buddha preaching the Lotus Sutra and expounding the principle of the single truth.
“Having received instruction, he will carry out repentance and, eager and thirsting for a further sight, will press his palms together, kneel on one knee, face Mount Gridhrakuta, and speak these words: ‘Thus Come One, hero of the world, you are constantly in this world. Because you pity and take thought for me, for my sake make yourself manifest.’
“Having spoken these words, he will see Mount Gridhrakuta adorned with seven treasures, the great assembly of countless monks and voice-hearers, the rows of jeweled trees, the jeweled ground level and smooth, the wonderfully jeweled lion seats spread there, and Shakyamuni Buddha emitting a light from the space between his eyebrows. This light will illuminate the worlds everywhere in the ten directions and will pass through the immeasurable worlds in the ten directions. In the places where the light reaches, the emanations of Shakyamuni Buddha in the ten directions will in one instant gather together like clouds and will preach the wonderful Law far and wide as it is set forth in the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law.
“Each of these emanation buddhas will have a body the hue of purple gold. Their bodies will be boundless in volume, and they will be seated on lion seats. Hundreds, millions, an immeasurable number of great bodhisattvas will attend them as followers, and each of these bodhisattvas will carry out practices identical to those of Universal Worthy. In all the ten directions, the immeasurable buddhas and their bodhisattva followers will be like this.
“When these great assemblies have gathered together like clouds, the practitioner will see Shakyamuni Buddha emit a golden light from all the pores of his body, and in each ray of light there will be hundreds and millions of conjured buddhas. The emanation buddhas will emit a light from the tuft of white hair between their eyebrows, the mark of a great man, and these p.380beams of light will flow up to and enter the crown of Shakyamuni Buddha’s head. When the practitioner sees this sign, the emanation buddhas will emit rays of golden light from all their pores, and in each ray of light there will be conjured buddhas as numerous as the finest particles of sand in the Ganges.
“At that time Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will once more emit a light from the space between his eyebrows, the mark of a great man, which will enter the mind of the practitioner. As soon as it has entered his mind, the practitioner will of his own accord recall how in the past under countless hundreds and thousands of buddhas he accepted and upheld, read and recited the great vehicle sutra. Of his own accord he will see himself as he was in past existences, all perfectly clear and visible. It will be exactly as though he possessed the power of knowing past lives. He will attain a sudden burst of great enlightenment and will gain the dharani of repetitions and hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of dharani teachings.
“Rising from his samadhi, he will see before him all the emanation buddhas seated on lion seats underneath the many jeweled trees. And he will see the lapis lazuli ground spring up from a space in the lower region like a mass of lotus blossoms, and within each blossom there will be bodhisattvas, as numerous as dust particles, sitting cross-legged. He will also see the bodhisattvas who are emanations of Universal Worthy in the midst of this throng, praising and preaching the great vehicle.
“At that time the bodhisattvas, different mouths speaking in a single voice, will teach the practitioner how to purify his six sense organs. Some will say, ‘You must keep the Buddha in mind!’ Some will say, ‘You must keep the Law in mind!’ Some will say, ‘You must keep the Order in mind!’ Some will say, ‘You must keep the precepts in mind!’ Some will say, ‘You must keep almsgiving in mind!’ Some will say, ‘You must keep heaven in mind!’ ‘These six rules constitute the mind that aspires to enlightenment; they are the rules that produce the bodhisattva. Now in the presence of the buddhas you must confess your former offenses and sincerely carry out repentance.
“‘Over an immeasurable number of existences, because of the p.381organ of your eye you have been greedily attached to forms. Because of this attachment to forms, you have been greedy for and coveted mere dust. And because you coveted dust, you have taken on female form, being born in existence after existence with this deluded attachment to forms. Forms have destroyed your eyes, making you the slave of sexual desire. Hence forms cause you to keep passing through the threefold world. Driven on by these evil forces, you have been blinded and made incapable of sight.
“‘Now you recite the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, and this sutra preaches that the buddhas of the ten directions have forms and bodies that never pass into extinction. Now can you see the truth of that statement or not? Your eye organ is faulty and has caused you great injury. You must follow our instructions and take refuge in the buddhas and Shakyamuni Buddha, describing the offenses that your eye organ has led you to commit. Say, “The buddhas and bodhisattvas with their eyes of wisdom possess the water of the Law. I beg them to wash me and cause me to be pure!”
“‘When you have spoken these words, make obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions everywhere. Then turn toward Shakyamuni Buddha and the great vehicle sutra and say: “I now repent the grave offenses of my eye organ, which has impeded and sullied me, made me blind and unable to see. I beg the Buddha in his great compassion to pity and protect me. Bodhisattva Universal Worthy rides in the ship of the great Law and ferries all the immeasurable bodhisattvas of the ten directions across the water. I beg him to pity me and forgive me as I acknowledge my errors, the badness of my eye organ, the obstructions caused by evil deeds.”’
“He should repeat this three times and then fling his body and limbs to the ground, keeping the great vehicle correctly in his thoughts, never letting his mind forget it. This is called the method for repenting the offenses of the eye organ.
“A person who recites the names of the buddhas, burns incense, scatters flowers, sets his thoughts on the great vehicle, hangs up silken banners and canopies, describes the faults of his p.382eyes, and repents his offenses—such a person will in his present existence see Shakyamuni Buddha and the immeasurable number of other buddhas who are emanations of his body, and for asamkhya kalpas he will not fall into the evil paths. Thanks to the power of the great vehicle and to the vow taken to the great vehicle, he will constantly be numbered among the companions of the dharani bodhisattvas. While he keeps this in mind, this will be correct mindfulness, but if he keeps anything else in mind, that will be erroneous mindfulness. This is called the mark of the first stage of the eye organ.
“Having purified the eye organ, the practitioner should once more read and recite the great vehicle sutra, and six times in the day and night should kneel on one knee, repent, and speak these words: ‘Why is it now that I see only Shakyamuni Buddha and the buddhas that are emanations of his body, but do not see the tower of Many Treasures Buddha with the relics from his whole body? The tower of Many Treasures Buddha is constantly present and never passes into extinction. But my eyes are defiled and evil and therefore I cannot see it.’ Having spoken these words, he should carry out further repentance.
“After seven days have passed, the tower of Many Treasures Buddha will spring up out of the ground. Shakyamuni Buddha will immediately open the door of the tower with his right hand and the practitioner will see Many Treasures Buddha. He will be immersed in the samadhi on his physical forms manifested everywhere, and from each of his pores will flow forth rays of light as numerous as the finest particles of sand in the Ganges. And in each of these rays there will be hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of conjured buddhas.
“When this sign becomes manifest, the practitioner, filled with joy, should recite verses of praise and circle around the tower. When he has finished circling the tower a full seven times, Many Treasures Thus Come One will praise him in a loud voice, saying, ‘Son of the Law, now you are in truth able to practice the great vehicle. Following the instructions of Universal Worthy, you have carried out the repentance of the eye organ. For this reason I have come to the place where you are and will bear p.383witness for you.’ Having spoken these words, he will then say in praise, ‘Excellent, excellent, Shakyamuni Buddha! You are able to preach the great Law, to rain down the rain of the great Law, and to bring to fulfillment living beings, defiled and evil as they are.’
“At that time the practitioner, having seen the tower of Many Treasures Buddha, should go once more to the place of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, press his palms together, make reverent obeisance, and say, ‘Great teacher, teach me how to repent my faults.’
“Then Universal Worthy will speak once more: ‘Over a period of many kalpas, because of the organ of your ear you have chased about after external sounds. When you heard some wonderful sound, your mind was roused to delusion and attachment, and when you heard an evil sound, your mind gave way to eight hundred varieties of earthly desires that plagued you. These bad ears of yours have brought you bad consequences as their reward. Constantly you heard bad sounds and these gave rise to entanglements. And because you heard in a topsy-turvy manner, you fell into the evil paths of existence, or were born in remote regions or places of erroneous views where you were unable to hear the Law.
“‘Today you recite and uphold the great vehicle with its ocean storehouse of benefits. As a result of this action, you have seen the buddhas of the ten directions, and the tower of Many Treasures Buddha has appeared to be your witness. Now you should describe your faults and repent your offenses.’
“At that time the practitioner, having heard these words, should once more press his palms together, fling his body and limbs to the ground, and say this: ‘World-Honored One of right and universal knowledge, manifest yourself and be my witness. The broad and impartial sutra is the lord of compassion and pity. I beg that you will look upon me and listen to my recital. Over many kalpas in the past and down to the time of my present form, I have through this ear organ listened to sounds with delusion and attachment, like glue sticking to a plant. When I heard evil, I responded with the poison of earthly desire. In place p.384after place I gave way to delusion and attachment, never ceasing for a moment. Wearied by these sounds, I have exhausted consciousness and spirit and fallen into the three evil paths. Now for the first time I wake to and understand this, and turning to the world-honored ones, I confess and repent.’
“Having carried out repentance, he will see Many Treasures Buddha emit a great beam of light. The light, golden in color, will illuminate the eastern region and all the other worlds of the ten directions, and their immeasurable numbers of buddhas the color of pure gold. In midair in the eastern region, a voice will speak, saying, ‘Here is a buddha, world-honored one, named Good Virtue. He too has countless buddhas that are emanations of his body and that sit cross-legged on lion seats under jeweled trees.’
“These world-honored ones will all be immersed in the samadhi on their physical forms manifested everywhere, and all will speak words of praise, saying, ‘Excellent, excellent, good man. You now read and recite the great vehicle sutra. What you recite is the realm of the buddhas.’
“When they have spoken these words, Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will resume his explanation of the method of repentance, saying: ‘During the immeasurable kalpas of your former existences, you were greedy for scents. Because of this, your discrimination and consciousness were dominated by greed and attachment and you fell into the realm of birth and death. Now you must meditate upon the cause of the great vehicle. The cause of the great vehicle is the true aspect of all phenomena.’
“When the practitioner has heard these words, he should fling his body and limbs to the ground and carry out further repentance. Having done so, he should say: ‘Hail Shakyamuni Buddha. Hail Many Treasures Buddha tower. Hail emanation buddhas of Shakyamuni Buddha in the ten directions.’
“When he has said this, he should pay obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions everywhere, saying, ‘Hail Good Virtue Buddha of the eastern region and his emanation buddhas.’ As though he saw them with his own eyes, he should pay obeisance in his mind to each one, making offerings of incense and p.385flowers. When he has finished these offerings, he should kneel on one knee, press his palms together, and recite various verses in praise of the buddhas. When he has concluded his praises, he should recite the ten evil acts and repent his offenses.
“Having repented, he should speak these words: ‘In the immeasurable kalpas of my former existences I was greedy for scents, flavors, sensations of touch, and committed many evils. As a result of this, for immeasurable existences I have constantly taken on some undesirable forms in the realms of hell, hungry spirits, or beasts, or have been born in remote regions or places of erroneous views. These evil acts I confess today in this manner, throwing myself upon the mercy of the buddhas, the kings of the correct Law, describing my offenses and repenting.’
“After repenting, he should never be neglectful in body or mind but should continue to read and recite the great vehicle sutra. Because of the power of the great vehicle, there will be a voice in midair that will address him in these words: ‘Son of the Law, you should now face the buddhas of the ten directions, praise and expound the Law of the great vehicle, and in the presence of the buddhas describe your faults. The buddhas, thus come ones, are like compassionate fathers to you. You should describe the evil and undesirable deeds that you have done through the organ of your tongue, saying: “This tongue organ, roused by thoughts of evil deeds, has spoken baseless words, extravagant words, evil utterances, duplicity, slander, falsehood, words in praise of erroneous views, pronouncements that are without profit. It has committed many kinds of evil deeds such as these that cause contention, injury, and chaos, saying that the Law is not the Law. All these many offenses I now repent.”
“‘After you have spoken these words in the presence of the heroes of the world, you should fling your body and limbs to the ground and pay obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions everywhere. Pressing your palms together and kneeling on both knees, you should speak these words: “The faults of this tongue are immeasurable and boundless. The thorns of many evil deeds have sprung up from this tongue organ. The cutting off of the wheel of the correct Law has been occasioned by this tongue. In p.386this way my evil tongue has cut off the seed of benefit. In meaningless debate it has tried many approaches and forced arguments, praising erroneous views like someone piling sticks on a fire. It is like a raging fire that injures living beings, like someone who has drunk poison and, though free of boils or tumors, nevertheless dies. As recompense for such offenses, evils, erroneous and undesirable ways, I am certain to fall into the evil paths for a hundred kalpas, a thousand kalpas. Because of my false words I will fall into the great hell. So now I throw myself upon the mercy of the buddhas of the southern region and confess my faults and offenses.”’
“When the practitioner holds this thought in mind, there will be a voice in midair, saying, ‘There is a buddha in the southern region named Sandalwood Virtue. This buddha too has an immeasurable number of emanations. All these buddhas preach the great vehicle and wipe away offenses and evils. Since you have many offenses, you should now face the immeasurable buddhas of the ten directions, world-honored ones of great pity, confess your black evils, and carry out repentance with a sincere mind.’ When the voice has finished speaking, the practitioner should fling his body and limbs to the ground and once more make obeisance to the buddhas.
“At that time the buddhas will emit a bright light that will illuminate the body of the practitioner and cause his body and mind to be naturally infused with joy. He will be moved to great compassion and pity and will be mindful of all beings everywhere. At that time the buddhas will preach to the practitioner in broad terms the Law of great pity and compassion, of joy and impartiality, and will teach him words of loving-kindness and the practice of the six types of harmony and reverence.
“At that time the practitioner, having listened to these teachings and injunctions, will experience great joy in his mind and will renew his recitation and practice, never slackening or giving up. Then in midair there will once more be a subtle and wonderful voice speaking these words: ‘Now you must repent in body and mind! The body kills, steals, is lascivious, and the mind dwells on many matters that are not good. They commit the ten p.387evil acts and the five sins that condemn one to the hell of incessant suffering. Like so many monkeys or like sticky birdlime, they become greedily attached in this place and that, and this penetrates to all the six sense organs. The actions of these six sense organs or roots, their branches, limbs, flowers, and leaves, fill all the threefold world, the twenty-five realms of existence, and all the places where life exists. And they have power to increase and prolong the suffering arising from the twelve-linked chain connecting ignorance to aging and death, so that one cannot escape passing through all the eight errors and eight difficulties. Now you must carry out repentance for evil and undesirable deeds such as these.’
“At that time the practitioner, having heard these words, should question the voice in the air, saying, ‘Where should I carry out this method of repentance?’
“Then the voice in the air will immediately speak these words: ‘Shakyamuni Buddha is called Vairochana Present in All Places. The place where this buddha dwells is called Eternally Tranquil Light. It is a place constituted by the paramita of eternity, a place peacefully established by the paramita of true self, a place in which possession of aspects is wiped out by the paramita of purity, a place where through the paramita of happiness there is no dwelling in the aspects of body or mind, a place where the aspects of all phenomena are seen neither as existing nor not existing. It is tranquil emancipation, it is the paramita of obtaining wisdom. The reason is that these forms represent the Law of eternal abiding. Thus you should meditate upon the buddhas of the ten directions.’
“Then the buddhas of the ten directions will each one stretch out his right hand, pat the head of the practitioner, and speak these words: ‘Excellent, excellent, good man. Now because you read and recite the great vehicle sutra, the buddhas of the ten directions expound the method of repentance. The practice of the bodhisattva is neither to cut off the forces that bind or drive him, nor to abide in the sea of such driving forces. Observing the mind, he sees there is no real mind, arising as it does from topsy-turvy thoughts. A mind with aspects such as this arises p.388from deluded thoughts, like the wind in the sky that has no resting place.
“‘But the true aspect of phenomena is that they are neither born nor pass away. Where then is there any guilt, or where is there any good fortune? My mind of itself is empty—guilt and good fortune are therefore masterless. All phenomena are like this, without any abiding, without any decline. This is how one should carry out repentance, observing how the mind is not a mind. Phenomena too do not abide among phenomena. All phenomena are in a state of emancipation, of the truth of extinction, of quietude. A state such as this is called great repentance. It is called greatly adorned repentance. It is called the repentance that is characterized by no guilt. It is called the destruction of mind consciousness. If you practice this repentance, you will be pure in body and mind, not abiding among phenomena, but resembling flowing water. In each instant of thought you will be able to see Bodhisattva Universal Worthy and the buddhas of the ten directions.’
“At that time the world-honored ones will employ the light of great compassion to preach for the practitioner the Law without aspect, and the practitioner will listen to the preaching of the highest principle of emptiness. Having heard it, the practitioner will not be alarmed or startled in mind, but when the time comes, may enter the true status of bodhisattva.”
The Buddha then said to Ananda, “This is the practice that is called repentance. This repentance is the method of repentance carried out by the buddhas and great bodhisattvas of the ten directions.”
The Buddha said to Ananda, “After the Buddha has passed into extinction, if the disciples of the Buddha wish to repent their evil and undesirable acts, they should simply recite and read the great vehicle sutra. This broad and impartial sutra is the eye of the buddhas. It is through this that the buddhas are able to acquire the five types of vision. A buddha’s three types of bodies are born from this broad and impartial sutra. It is the great seal of the Law that assures entry into the sea of nirvana. It p.389is from this sea that a buddha’s three types of pure bodies are born. These three types of bodies are fields of good fortune for human and heavenly beings and are highest among those worthy of alms. If a person recites and reads the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, one should know that such a person is endowed with a buddha’s benefits. All his evils wiped out forever, he is born from the buddha wisdom.”
At that time the world-honored one spoke in verse form, saying:

If there are evils in the eye organ,
if karma impedes the eye and the eye is impure,
simply recite the great vehicle,
keep in thoughts the highest principle.
This is called repentance of the eye,
which wipes out all undesirable acts.
If the ear organ hears confused sounds
this will injure and confuse the principle of harmony.
From this arises madness of the mind
and one will behave like a foolish monkey.
One should constantly recite the great vehicle,
meditate on how phenomena are empty and without aspect,
wipe out all evils forever,
and with heavenly ears listen to the ten directions.
If the nose organ is attached to fragrant scents,
their stain will give rise to sensations.
When the nose is maddened and deranged in this manner,
the stain of it will produce various kinds of dust.
But if one recites the great vehicle sutra
and meditates on the truth of phenomena,
one will be released from all evil karma forever
and in future existences will produce it no more.
The tongue organ gives rise to the undesirable acts
of the five types of evil speaking.
If one wishes to control and tame it,
p.390one must diligently practice pity and compassion.
Ponder the principle of the true tranquillity of phenomena,
do away with discriminatory conceptions.
The mind organ is like a monkey,
never still for an instant.
If one wishes to master and subdue it,
one must diligently recite the great vehicle.
Keep in mind the Buddha’s great enlightenment body,
all the power and fearlessness he has won.
The body, this master of motions,
is blown about like dust in the wind.
The six thieves sport and play within it,
free from all hindrance or restraint.
If one wishes to wipe out these evils
and be free forever from the burden of their dust,
to dwell constantly in the citadel of nirvana,
peaceful in mind, calm and placid,
then recite the great vehicle sutra,
keep in mind the mother of bodhisattvas.
Immeasurable numbers of excellent expedient means
arise from pondering the true aspect.
Phenomena such as these six
are called the six sense organs.
All the entire sea of karmic impediments
is born from deluded thoughts.
If one wishes to carry out repentance,
sit upright and ponder the true aspect.
Then the host of sins, like frost or dew,
can be wiped out by the sun of wisdom.
Therefore with the utmost power of one’s mind
one must carry out this repentance of the six sense organs.

When the Buddha had finished speaking these verses, he said to Ananda: “Now you must take this repentance of the six sense organs and the method for meditation on Bodhisattva p.391Universal Worthy and, observing the proper distinctions, preach them far and wide to all the heavenly and human beings of the ten directions everywhere. After the Buddha has entered extinction, if the Buddha’s disciples wish to accept, uphold, read, recite, explain, and preach the broad and impartial sutra, they should select a quiet place such as a graveyard, a spot beneath the trees, or a place in the forest, and there read and recite the broad and impartial sutra and ponder the principle of the great vehicle. And when the power of their meditation is strong, they will be able to see me, as well as the tower of Many Treasures Buddha, the immeasurable emanation buddhas of the ten directions, Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, Bodhisattva Manjushri, Bodhisattva Medicine King, and Bodhisattva Medicine Superior. Because they are reverent and respectful of the Law, these beings will bear various wonderful flowers and, standing in the midst of the air, will praise and pay respects to the practitioners and upholders of the Law. Simply because they recite the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, these buddhas and bodhisattvas day and night will offer alms to the upholders of the Law.”
The Buddha said to Ananda: “It is because I and the bodhisattvas in the Wise Kalpa, along with the buddhas of the ten directions, pondered the true principle of the great vehicle that we have been able to wipe out the sins accumulated through the births and deaths of a hundred, ten thousand, million asamkhya kalpas. Because we relied on this superb and wonderful method of repentance, now in the ten directions each of us has been able to become a buddha. If there are those who wish to attain supreme perfect enlightenment quickly, if they wish in their present forms to see the buddhas of the ten directions and Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, they should bathe and purify themselves, don pure clean robes, burn many kinds of choice incense, and in some deserted and quiet place should recite and read the great vehicle sutra and ponder the principle of the great vehicle.”
The Buddha said to Ananda: “If there are living beings who wish to meditate on Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, they should p.392carry out this meditation. One who practices this meditation may be said to do correct meditation. But one who practices other meditations will be said to do erroneous meditations.
“After the Buddha has passed into extinction, if the Buddha’s disciples follow the Buddha’s words and practice this repentance, then one should know that such people are carrying out the practices of Universal Worthy. Those who carry out the practices of Universal Worthy will not see any evil signs or receive the recompense of evil karma. If such living beings at six times in the day and night make obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions, recite the great vehicle sutra, and ponder the profound Law of emptiness that is the highest principle, then in the time it takes to snap one’s fingers they will wipe out the sins accumulated through the births and deaths of a hundred, ten thousand, a million asamkhya kalpas.
“A person who carries out this practice is a true buddha son, born from all the buddhas. The buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions will act as his tutors. He may be called a fulfiller of the bodhisattva precepts. He will have no need of the confession ceremony, but will achieve success on his own and will be worthy to receive alms from all human and heavenly beings.
“At that time if the practitioner wishes to fulfill the bodhisattva precepts, he should press his palms together and in some deserted and quiet place should pay obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions, carry out repentance for his various offenses, and of his own accord confess his faults. After that in a quiet place he should address the buddhas of the ten directions in these words: ‘The buddhas, world-honored ones, constantly abide in the world. But because of the impediments of my karma, though I put faith in the broad and impartial sutra, I cannot fully see the buddhas. Now I take refuge in the buddhas.
“‘Shakyamuni Buddha, world-honored one of right and universal knowledge, I beg that you will act as my tutor. I beg that Manjushri, endowed with great compassion, will through his wisdom grant me the pure Law of the p.393bodhisattvas. That Bodhisattva Maitreya, excellent sun of great compassion, will take pity on me and for that reason permit me to receive the Law of the bodhisattvas. That the buddhas of the ten directions will manifest themselves in order to bear witness for me, that the great bodhisattvas will each one speak his name, and that these excellent great men will shelter and protect living beings and help me and the others.
“‘Today I receive and uphold the broad and impartial sutra, and though when I lose my life if I should fall into hell and undergo immeasurable sufferings, to the end I will never slander the correct Law of the buddhas. For this reason, and because of the power of benefits, now may Shakyamuni Buddha act as my tutor and Manjushri be my acharya. I beg that Maitreya of the world to come will grant me the Law, that the buddhas of the ten directions will bear witness for me, that the bodhisattvas of great virtue will be my companions. Now, relying upon the profound and wonderful principle of the great vehicle sutra, I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the Law, I take refuge in the Order.’
“He should say this three times. When he has finished taking refuge in the three treasures, he should next swear to receive the six types of rules.1 Having received the six types of rules, he should then diligently practice brahma practices that are free of impediments, set his mind upon the broad salvation of others, and receive the eight types of rules.2 When he has finished making these vows, then in a deserted and quiet place he should burn various kinds of choice incense, scatter flowers, and offer alms to all the buddhas, the bodhisattvas, and the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, and speak these words: ‘From today I set my mind upon enlightenment. May these benefits save all beings everywhere.’
“When he has finished speaking these words, he should once more bow his head to the ground, make obeisance to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas, and ponder the principle of the broad and impartial sutra. If he does this for one day and so on for p.394three times seven days, then whether he is a householder or one who has left the household he will not need a tutor, nor will he require teachers or the declarations of the confession ceremony. Through the power acquired by accepting, upholding, reading, and reciting the great vehicle sutra, through the help and encouragement proffered by Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, and because this is the eye of the correct Law of the buddhas of the ten directions, relying on this Law, on his own he will succeed in attaining the fivefold body of the Law, which is made up of the precepts, meditation, wisdom, emancipation, and the insight of emancipation. The buddhas, thus come ones, are born from this Law, and in the great vehicle sutra they receive prophecies of their attainment of buddhahood.
“Therefore, suppose a person of wisdom should be a voice-hearer and fail to observe the three refuges, or the five precepts, the eight precepts, the precepts of a monk, the precepts of a nun, the precepts of a male novice, the precepts of a female novice, the precepts of a shikshamana, or the various rules of proper conduct, or suppose out of ignorance, lack of goodness, or evilness of mind he should violate many of the precepts or rules of conduct. If such a person wishes to wipe these out and cause himself to be free of faults, to become a proper monk once more and observe all the rules as they pertain to the shramana, then he should diligently practice and read the broad and impartial sutra, ponder its highest principle, the profound teaching of emptiness, and cause the wisdom of emptiness to be reflected in his mind. One should understand that a person who does this will in the space of each succeeding instant of thought wipe away, forever and without residue, all offenses and blemish. This is called carrying out to the fullest the rules and precepts of the shramana, and fulfilling all the rules of conduct. Such a person is worthy to receive alms from all human and heavenly beings.
“Suppose a layman should violate the rules of conduct, doing things that are not good. Doing things that are not good means discoursing on the errors and shortcomings of the Law of the buddhas, discussing the evils or offenses committed by the four kinds of believers, or stealing or committing acts of lewdness p.395without any feeling of shame. If such a person wishes to repent and wipe out his offenses, he should diligently read and recite the broad and impartial sutra and ponder its highest principle.
“Suppose a ruler, a high minister, a Brahman, a householder, a rich man, an official, or some other person of this sort in his insatiable greed for gain should commit the five cardinal sins, slander the broad and impartial sutra, or carry out the ten evil acts. As recompense for such acts of great evil, he is certain to fall into the evil paths and be beaten by violent rainstorms. Inevitably he will fall into the Avichi hell. If such a person wishes to wipe out the impediments of such acts, he should summon up feelings of shame and remorse and determine to remedy his offenses.”
The Buddha said, “What is it that is called the Kshatriya and householder’s method of repentance? In the Kshatriya and householder’s method of repentance, you should simply maintain an upright mind, never slander the three treasures, never impede those who wish to leave household life, and never cause harm or difficulty to those who are carrying out brahma practices. Concentrate your thoughts upon the practice of the six rules of thought.3 In addition, you should offer sustenance and alms to those who uphold the great vehicle, and invariably do honor and obeisance to them. You should think upon and keep in mind the profound teaching of the sutra, the highest principle of emptiness. One who keeps these rules in mind may be said to be carrying out the first act of repentance for Kshatriyas and householders.
“The second act of repentance is to be filial and caring toward one’s father and mother, and respectful and reverent toward one’s teachers. This is called the second act in the method of repentance.
“The third act of repentance is to use the correct Law to order the country and not to lead the people astray with erroneous views. This is called the third act of repentance.
“The fourth act of repentance is to issue orders within one’s p.396realm, to all places where one’s authority extends, that on the six days of purification, no acts of killing shall be carried out. One who observes this method may be said to be practicing the fourth act of repentance.
“The fifth act of repentance is that one should simply have profound faith in the workings of cause and effect, have faith in the way of the single truth, and understand that the Buddha never passes into extinction. This is called the fifth act of repentance.”
The Buddha said to Ananda, “In future ages, if there are people who practice and carry out the method of repentance as it has been described, one should understand that these people clothe themselves in the garments of remorse. The buddhas will guard and assist them, and before long they will succeed in attaining supreme perfect enlightenment.”
When the Buddha spoke these words, ten thousand sons of gods attained the pure eye of the Law. Bodhisattva Maitreya, the other great bodhisattvas, and Ananda, hearing the preaching of the Buddha, joyfully honored and practiced it.

========
Essene Revelation

page 101, 102, 103 missing

And, behold, the cover lifted,

And my hands touched the golden pages,

And my eyes beheld the mystery of the seven seals.

And I beheld, and I heard the voice

Of many angels

Round about the throne,

And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand,

And thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“All glory, and wisdom, and strength,

And power forever and ever,

To him who shall reveal the Mystery of Mysteries.

And I saw the swirling clouds of golden ligh t

Stretching like a fiery bridge between my hands,

And the hands of the thirteen elders,

And the feet of him who sat on the throne,

Whose face was hidden.

And I opened the first seal.

And I saw, and beheld the Angel of Air.

And between her lips flowed the breath of life,

And she knelt over the earth

And gave to man the winds of Wisdom.

And man breathed in.

(…………)

And the Brothers were streaming unto it.

And the city had no need of the sun,

Neither of the moon, to shine in it:

For the glory of God did lighten it.

And I saw the pure river of the Water of Life,

Clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God.

And in the midst of the river stood the Tree of Life,

Which bore fourteen manner of fruits,

And yielded her fruit to those who wou Id eat of it,

And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

And there shall be no night there;

And they need no candte, neither light of the sun,

For the Lord God giveth them light:

And they shall reign for ever and ever.

I have reached the inner vision

And through thy spirit in me

I have heard thy wondrous secret.

Through thy mystic insight

Thou hast caused a spring of knowledge

To well up within me,

A fountain of power, pouring forth living waters;

A flood of love and of all-embracing wisdom

Like the splendor of Eternal Light.
The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel
Copyright © 1999-2006. All rights reserved.
The Essene Numerology Chart | Ministerial Training Course

=======
What is a Nazarene?
He shall be called a Nazarene. ~Matt 2:23

Nazarene is the title by which Jesus and his followers were referred to. The word ‘Christian’ was never used by Jesus or used to describe those who followed him.

In the New Testament book of Acts, Paul is tried in Caesarea, and Tertullus is reported as saying:

“We have, in fact, found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5, New Revised Standard Version).

It is clear that “Christian” was not the earliest term for the followers of Jesus, since Acts 11:26 reports its first use in Antioch – at a time and in a place at least 10 and possibly 20 or more years after the death of Jesus.

Many authors have argued that “Nazarene” was not just one term that was used, but the dominant term, and that it was also used to describe Jesus himself. The chief argument for this claim rests on an interpretation of the way Jesus is referred to by the writers of the gospels. The original Greek forms of all four gospels call him, in places, “Iesou Nazarene” (e.g. Matthew 26:71; Mark 1:24, 10:47, 14:67; Luke 4:34; John 17:5; Acts 2:22).

Translations of the Bible, from the fifth century Vulgate on, have generally rendered this into a form equivalent to “Jesus of Nazareth.” However, it is not the only possible translation. Linguistically, “Jesus the Nazarene” would be at least as correct, and some critics have argued that it is more plausible given that city of Nazareth seems to have not existed at the time of Jesus; it is unmentioned in any contemporary history and it is not possible to prove its early existence other than by reference to the gospels.

The Vulgate does use a form equivalent to “Nazarene” in one verse (Matthew 2:23), where its reading is Nazaroeus (Nazoraios), but here the original Greek has the word Nazarene on its own, without Iesou.

However we translate these verses from the gospels, the evidence from Acts 24 does support the claim that “Nazarene” was an early term for the followers of Jesus. But it does not appear to have been the term most used by those followers: the earliest Christian writings we have, the letters of Paul (which predate the gospels by ten to forty years), use the phrase “followers of the way” or, by far the most common, “the church.”

Derivations of “Nazarene”

Regardless of these issues of translation, it seems clear that the term “Nazarenes” had at least some currency as a description of some followers of Jesus. What, therefore, does the word mean? The word Nazarene might come from at least four different sources:

1) The place-name Nazareth, via the Greek form Iesou Nazarene; this is the traditional interpretation within mainstream Christianity. In support of this interpretation is that Iesou Nazarene is applied to Jesus in the Gospels only by those who are outside the circle of his intimate friends, as would be natural if a place-name was meant. However in Acts it is employed by Peter and Paul, and attributed by Paul to the risen Christ (Acts, 22:8). Matthew 2:23 reads that “coming he dwelt in a city said by the prophets: That he shall be called a Nazarene,” though no convincing identification of the prophecy concerned has been brought forward, the phrasing again strongly suggests that Matthew meant Nazarene to refer to a place name.

2) The word netzer meaning “branch” or “off-shoot.” This could in turn refer to the claim that Jesus was a “descendant of David,” or to the view that Jesus (or rather the teachings he or his followers advocated) were an offshoot from Judaism.

3) The word nosri which means “one who keeps (guard over)” or “one who observes”.

4) The word nazir which refers to a man who is consecrated and bound by a vow to God, symbolized by avoiding cutting his hair, eating meat or drinking alcohol. Such a man is usually referred to as a Nazirite in English translations, and there are a number of references to Nazirites in the Old Testament.

None of these interpretations is unproblematic. It is therefore, quite possible that “Nazarene” was simply a deliberate play on words combining Nazirite with Essene.

Nazarenes: Jewish Christians

After the word “Christian” had become established as the standard term for the followers of Jesus, there appear to have been one or more groups calling themselves “Nazarenes”, perhaps because they wished to lay claim to a more authentic and/or a more Jewish way of following Jesus.

Descriptions of groups with this title are given by the fourth century church father Epiphanius (flourished 370 CE), and Jerome. On the basis of their accounts, the Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1911 stated definitely that the name Nazarenes specifically identified an obscure Jewish-Christian sect, existing at the time of Epiphanius.

Epiphanius gives the more detailed, though thoroughly disapproving, description, calling the Nazarenes neither more nor less than Jews pure and simple. He mentions them in his Panarion (xxix. 7) as existing in Syria, Decapolis (Pella) and Basanitis (Cocabe).

According to Epiphanius they dated their settlement in Pella from the time of the flight of the Jewish Christians from Jerusalem, immediately before the siege in 70 CE. He describes them as those “…who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the old Law.” Epiphanius adds, however, that they recognized the new covenant as well as the old, and believed in the resurrection, and in the one God and His Son Jesus Christ.

He cannot say whether their christological views were identical with those of Cerinthus and his followers, or whether they differed at all from his own.

Jerome (Epistle 79, to Augustine), on the other hand, says that though the Nazarenes believed in Christ the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary, who suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rose again, desiring to be both Jews and Christians, they are neither the one nor the other.

They used the Aramaic Gospel of the Hebrews, also known as the Gospel of the Holy Twelve, but while adhering as far as possible to the Mosaic economy as regarded circumcision, Sabbaths, vegetarian foods and the like, they did refuse to recognize the apostolicity of Paul. (Jerome’s Commentary on Isaiah, ix. I).

Jerome’s description, taken along with the name (cf. Acts 24:5) and geographical position of the sect, strongly suggest that the Nazarenes of the 4th century interacted with the Ebionites in spite of Epiphanius’ distinction.

Earlier church fathers such as Justin Martyr, Origen and Eusebius mention other groups who, to varying extent, accepted Jesus as Messiah while continuing to observe the Jewish Law. It is often suggested that these are the same as the groups identified by Jerome and Epiphanius as Nazarenes. One such group were the Ebionites, referred to in second century writings. There Epiphanius draws a comparative distinction between the Nazarenes and the Ebionites.

The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel
Copyright © 1999-2006. All rights reserved.
The Essene Numerology Chart | Ministerial Training Course

====

23. Those who do not allow their appetites to carry them away will soar in their spirit as swiftly as the bird that lacks no feathers. –
Sayings of Light and Love by St. John of the Cross

Prologue

O my God and my delight, for your love I have also desired to give my soul to composing these sayings of light and love concerning you. Since, although I can express them in words, I do not have the works and virtues they imply (which is what pleases you, O my Lord, more than the words and wisdom they contain), may others, perhaps stirred by them, go forward in your service and love — in which I am wanting. I will thereby find consolation, that these sayings be an occasion for your finding in others the things that I lack. Lord, you love discretion, you love light, you love love; these three you love above the other operations of the soul. Hence these will be sayings of discretion for the wayfarer, of light for the way, and of love in the wayfaring. May there be nothing of worldly rhetoric in them or the long-winded and dry eloquence of weak and artificial human wisdom, which never pleases you. Let us speak to the heart words bathed in sweetness and love that do indeed please you, removing obstacles and stumbling blocks from the paths of many souls who unknowingly trip and unconsciously walk in the path of error — poor souls who think they are right in what concerns the following of your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in becoming like him, imitating his life, actions, and virtues, and the form of his nakedness and purity of spirit. Father of mercies, come to our aid, for without you, Lord, we can do nothing. – Sayings of Light and Love by St. John of the Cross
====
23 IF ONE HAS ERRED, GRIEVE IN ONES SPIRIT, REJOICING FOR ALL THAT WAS GOOD.

30 HITHER AND YON THEY RUN IN ENDLESS SORROWS, FOR THEY ARE FOLLOWED BY A GRIM COMPANION, EVEN DISUNION WITHIN THEMSELVE

16 WHATEVER WILL NOT LATER BRING ONE REPENTANCE, THAT ONE SHOULD CARRY THROUGH.

9 NEITHER FORGET THAT DEATH IS APPOINTED TO ALL, THAT POSSESSIONS HERE GLADLY GATHERED, HERE MUST BE LEFT.

2 THEN REVERENCE THY OATH, AND THEN THE ILLUSTRIOUS CHAMPIONS, THEN VENERATE THE DIVINITIES UNDER THE EARTH, DUE RITES PERFORMING.

===Pythagoras & the Nazareans

Pythagorean Connection to Mt. Carmel

We know from ancient documents that both Essenes and Pythagoreans shared many things in common. Both were vegetarian, both wore white, and both were deeply immersed in Qabbalistic studies. Pythagoras was nicknamed “the long haired one” which further links him with the northern Nazarean Essenes who were all Nazarites (long hairs). History has preserved for us a link between Pythagoras and the Mt. Carmel Essenes:

“In Phoenicia he (Pythagoras) conversed with the prophets who were the descendants of Moses the physiologist, and with many others, as well as the local heirophants . . . . After gaining all he could from the Phoenician Mysteries, he found that they had originated from the sacred rites of Egypt, forming as it were an Egyptian colony. . . . On the Phoenician coast under Mt. Carmel, where, in the Temple on the peak, Pythagoras for the most part had dwelt in solitude . . . Mount Carmel, which they knew to be more sacred than other mountains, and quite inaccessible to the vulgar…”(Life of Pythagoras by Iamblichus)

Golden Verses of Pythagora

=====NS127723

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