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2 February 2015

Chapter Twenty-four: The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound
Three important points

Point One, concerning Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The bodhisattva Wonderful Sound represents the living beings of the Ten Worlds. The word “wonderful” means inconceivable. The word “sound” refers to the sounds uttered by all living beings, the voice of the Wonderful Law. These are the wonderful sounds that are constantly present in the three existences. It is pity and compassion that make it possible for Wonderful Sound to recognize and meet the various needs of the living beings [by assuming various forms]. This is what is expressed by the word “bodhisattva.”
Or again, we may say that the words “wonderful sound” refer to the unfathomable and wonderful sound made at the present time, in the Latter Day of the Law, when Nichiren and his followers now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Therefore it is the wonderful sound that tells us that earthly desires are enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.

Point Two, concerning the knob of flesh on top of Shakyamuni Buddha’s head and the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: These two auspicious features derive from the fact that the bearer is filial and obedient towards his teachers and elders. But to uphold the Lotus Sutra is the highest of all expressions of filial and supportive conduct.
Again, we may say that the white tuft of hair represents the sexual fluid of the father, while the knob of flesh represents the sexual fluid of the mother. These two fluids, one red and one p.177white, appear in the Lotus Sutra in the form of these two auspicious features, the knob of flesh and the tuft of hair.
Or again, we may say that the knob of flesh represents the wisdom of the truth that functions in accordance with changing circumstances, while the white tuft of hair represents the principle of eternal and unchanging truth.
Now Nichiren and his followers, in their chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are equipping themselves with these two auspicious features. The red color that accompanies the time of our birth represents the knob of flesh, and the white bones that remain after our death represent the feature of the white tuft of hair. The red color at the time of birth stands for the wisdom of the truth that functions in accordance with changing circumstances, while the white bones that remain after death stand for the principle of eternal and unchanging truth. But this should be treated as secret. This should be treated as secret.

Point Three, concerning the eighty-four thousand alms bowls made of the seven treasures that were presented by the bodhisattva Wonderful Sound

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This passage describes the alms bowls presented by the bodhisattva Wonderful Sound to the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound King. Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are in effect presenting eighty-four thousand alms bowls to the Buddhas of the three existences.
The number eighty-four thousand stands for the eighty-four thousand dust-like cares or delusions that beset us. But when we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, these cares manifest themselves as eighty-four thousand gates to the Law [that is, teachings].
The total number of characters in the Lotus Sutra, when it is combined with the introductory sutra, the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, and the concluding sutra, the Universal Worthy Sutra, comes to eighty-four thousand.
Again we may say that the number eight stands for the eight p.178sufferings, while the number four stands for the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, and death. The seven treasures represent the seven openings in the head.
An alms bowl is a vessel for holding wisdom. You should understand that with this alms bowl one accepts and upholds the water of wisdom that is the Wonderful Law.

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CHAPTER 24

The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound

At that time Shakyamuni Buddha emitted a beam of bright light from the knob of flesh [on top of his head], one of the features of a great man, and also emitted a beam of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows, illuminating the buddha worlds in the eastern direction equal in number to the sands of one hundred eighty thousand million nayutas of Ganges Rivers. Beyond these numerous worlds was a world called Adorned with Pure Light. In this realm there was a buddha named Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom 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. An immeasurably and boundlessly great multitude of bodhisattvas surrounded him and paid reverence, and for these he preached the Law. The beam of bright light from the white tuft of Shakyamuni Buddha illuminated the whole land.
At that time in the land Adorned with Pure Light there was a bodhisattva named Wonderful Sound who long ago had planted numerous roots of virtue, offering alms to and waiting upon immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of buddhas. He had succeeded in acquiring all kinds of profound wisdom, gaining the samadhi of the wonderful banner mark, the Lotus samadhi, the pure virtue samadhi, the samadhi of the p.332constellation king’s sport, the conditionless samadhi, the seal of wisdom samadhi, the samadhi that allows one to understand the words of all living beings, the samadhi that gathers together all benefits, the pure samadhi, the samadhi of the sport of transcendental powers, the wisdom torch samadhi, the adorned king samadhi, the pure light glow samadhi, the pure storehouse samadhi, the unshared samadhi, and the samadhi of the sun’s revolving. He had gained all these great samadhis equal in number to the sands of a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million Ganges Rivers.
When the light emitted by Shakyamuni Buddha illuminated his body, he immediately spoke to the buddha Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom, saying: “World-Honored One, I must journey to the saha world to do obeisance, wait on, and offer alms to Shakyamuni Buddha, and to see Bodhisattva Manjushri, prince of the Dharma, Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Brave Donor, Bodhisattva Constellation King Flower, Bodhisattva Superior Practices Intent, Bodhisattva Adorned King, and Bodhisattva Medicine Superior.”
At that time the buddha Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom said to Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound: “You must not look with contempt on that land or come to think of it as mean and inferior. Good man, that saha world is uneven, high in places, low in others, and full of dirt, stones, mountains, foulness, and impurity. The Buddha is puny in stature and the numerous bodhisattvas are likewise small in form, whereas your body is forty-two thousand yojanas in height and mine is six million eight hundred thousand yojanas. Your body is foremost in shapeliness, with hundreds, thousands, ten thousands of blessings and a radiance that is particularly wonderful. Therefore when you journey there, you must not look with contempt on that land or come to think of the Buddha and bodhisattvas or the land itself as mean and inferior!”
Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound said to the buddha: “World-Honored One, my journey now to the saha world is in all respects due to the power of the thus come one, a sport carried p.333out by the thus come one’s transcendental powers, an adornment to the thus come one’s blessings and wisdom.”
Thereupon the bodhisattva Wonderful Sound, without rising from his seat or swaying his body, entered into a samadhi, and through the power of the samadhi, in a place not far removed from the Dharma seat on Mount Gridhrakuta, created a jeweled mass of eighty-four thousand lotus blossoms. Their stems were made of Jambunada gold, their leaves were of silver, their stamens of diamond, and their calyxes of kimshuka jewels.
At that time the Dharma prince Manjushri, spying the lotus flowers, spoke to the Buddha, saying: “World-Honored One, what causes have brought about the appearance of this auspicious sign? Here are many ten thousands of lotus blossoms, their stems made of Jambunada gold, their leaves of silver, their stamens of diamond, and their calyxes of kimshuka jewels!”
At that time Shakyamuni Buddha said to Manjushri: “This bodhisattva mahasattva Wonderful Sound wishes to leave the land of the buddha Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom and, surrounded by eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas, to come to this saha world to offer alms, wait on, and pay obeisance to me. He also wishes to offer alms to and hear the Lotus Sutra.”
Manjushri said to the Buddha: “World-Honored One, what good roots has this bodhisattva planted, what benefits has he cultivated, that he can exercise such great transcendental powers as this? What samadhi does he carry out? I beg you to explain for us the name of this samadhi, for we too would like to apply ourselves diligently to its practice. If we carry out this samadhi, then we will be able to observe the aspect and size of this bodhisattva and his bearing and conduct. We beg the world-honored one to employ his transcendental powers to bring this bodhisattva here and enable us to see him!”
At that time Shakyamuni Buddha said to Manjushri, “Many Treasures Thus Come One, who entered extinction so long ago, will manifest his form for you.” Then the buddha Many Treasures said to that bodhisattva [Wonderful Sound], “Come, good man. The Dharma prince Manjushri wishes to see your body.”
p.334With that, Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound vanished from his own land and, accompanied by eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas, appeared here [in the saha world]. The lands that he passed through on his way quaked and trembled in six different ways, and in all of them seven-jeweled lotus flowers rained down and the instruments of hundreds and thousands of heavenly musicians sounded of themselves without having been struck.
This bodhisattva’s eyes were as big and broad as the leaves of the blue lotus, and a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand moons put together could not surpass the perfection of his face. His body was pure gold in color, adorned with immeasurable hundreds and thousands of blessings. His dignity and virtue were splendid, his light shone brilliantly, he was endowed with many special marks and as stalwart in body as Narayana.
Taking his place on a dais made of seven treasures, he had risen up into the air until he was raised above the earth the height of seven tala trees. Then with the host of bodhisattvas surrounding him and paying reverence, he had journeyed to Mount Gridhrakuta in this saha world. When he arrived there he descended from the dais of seven treasures. Bearing a necklace worth hundreds and thousands, he proceeded to the place where Shakyamuni Buddha was, bowed his head to the ground, made obeisance at the Buddha’s feet, and presented the necklace, addressing the Buddha in these words: “World-Honored One, the buddha Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom wishes to inquire about the world-honored one. Are your illnesses few, are your worries few? Can you come and go easily and conveniently, can you move about in comfort? Are the four elements properly harmonized in you? Can you endure the world’s affairs? Are the living beings easy to rescue? Are they not excessive in their greed, anger, foolishness, jealousy, stinginess, and arrogance? Are they not lacking in filial conduct toward their parents? Are they not disrespectful toward shramanas and given to erroneous views and other evil? Do they not fail to control their five emotions? World-Honored One, are the living beings able to conquer and overcome the enmity of the devils? Has Many Treasures Thus Come One, who entered extinction p.335so long ago, come in his tower of seven treasures to listen to the Law? The buddha also wishes to inquire about Many Treasures Thus Come One, whether he is tranquil and at ease, with few worries, patient and long abiding. World-Honored One, I would like to see the body of the buddha Many Treasures. I beg the world-honored one to allow me to see him!”
At that time Shakyamuni Buddha said to Many Treasures Buddha, “This bodhisattva Wonderful Sound wishes to see you.”
Then Many Treasures Buddha addressed Wonderful Sound, saying, “Excellent, excellent! You have come here in order to be able to offer alms to Shakyamuni Buddha and to listen to the Lotus Sutra and see Manjushri and the others.”
At that time the bodhisattva Flower Virtue said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, this bodhisattva Wonderful Sound—what good roots has he planted, what benefits has he cultivated, that he possesses these supernatural powers?”
The Buddha replied to Bodhisattva Flower Virtue: “In ages past there was a buddha named Cloud Thunder Sound King, tathagata, arhat, samyak-sambuddha. His land was called Manifesting All Worlds and his kalpa was called Gladly Seen. For twelve thousand years the bodhisattva Wonderful Sound employed a hundred thousand types of musical instruments to provide an offering to the buddha Cloud Thunder Sound King, and he also presented to him eighty-four thousand alms bowls made of the seven treasures. In recompense for these actions he has now been born in the land of the buddha Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom and possesses these supernatural powers.
“Flower Virtue, what is your opinion? The bodhisattva Wonderful Sound who at that time made musical offerings to the buddha Cloud Thunder Sound King and presented him with jeweled vessels—was he someone unknown to you? In fact he is none other than the bodhisattva mahasattva Wonderful Sound who is here now!
“Flower Virtue, this bodhisattva Wonderful Sound has already made offerings to and waited on an immeasurable number of buddhas. Long ago he planted the roots of virtue and p.336encountered hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of buddhas equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River.
“Flower Virtue, you see only the body of Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound that is here. But this bodhisattva manifests himself in various different bodies and preaches this sutra for the sake of living beings in various different places. At times he appears as King Brahma, at times as the lord Shakra, at times as the heavenly being Freedom, at times as the heavenly being Great Freedom, at times as a great general of heaven, at times as the heavenly king Vaishravana, at times as a wheel-turning sage king, at times as one of the petty kings, at times as a rich man, at times as a householder, at times as a chief minister, at times as a Brahman, at times as a monk, a nun, a layman believer, or a laywoman believer, at times as the wife of a rich man or a householder, at times as the wife of a chief minister, at times as the wife of a Brahman, at times as a young boy or a young girl, at times as a heavenly being, a dragon, a yaksha, a gandharva, an asura, a garuda, a kimnara, a mahoraga, a human or a nonhuman being, and so preaches this sutra. The hell dwellers, hungry spirits, beasts, and numerous others who are in difficult circumstances are thus all able to be saved. And for the sake of those who are in the women’s quarters of the royal palace, he changes himself into a woman’s form and preaches this sutra.
“Flower Virtue, this bodhisattva Wonderful Sound can save and protect the various living beings of the saha world. This bodhisattva Wonderful Sound performs various transformations, manifesting himself in different forms in this saha land and preaching this sutra for the sake of living beings, and yet his transcendental powers, his transformations, and his wisdom suffer no injury or diminution thereby. This bodhisattva employs various types of wisdom to illuminate the saha world, causing each one among all the living beings to acquire the appropriate understanding, and does the same in all the worlds in the ten directions numerous as Ganges sands.
“If the form of a voice-hearer is what is needed to bring salvation, he manifests himself in the form of a voice-hearer and proceeds to preach the Law. If the form of a pratyekabuddha will p.337bring salvation, he manifests himself in the form of a pratyekabuddha and preaches the Law. If the form of a bodhisattva will bring salvation, he manifests a bodhisattva form and preaches the Law. If the form of a buddha will bring salvation, he immediately manifests a buddha form and preaches the Law. Thus he manifests himself in various different forms, depending upon what is appropriate for salvation. And if it is appropriate to enter extinction in order to bring salvation, he manifests himself as entering extinction.
“Flower Virtue, the bodhisattva mahasattva Wonderful Sound has acquired the great transcendental powers and the power of wisdom that enable him to do all this!”
At that time the bodhisattva Flower Virtue said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, this bodhisattva Wonderful Sound has planted the roots of goodness very deeply. World-Honored One, what samadhi does this bodhisattva dwell in, that he is able to carry out all these transformations and manifestations to save living beings?”
The Buddha said to Bodhisattva Flower Virtue, “Good man, this samadhi is called manifesting all kinds of bodies. The bodhisattva Wonderful Sound, dwelling in this samadhi, is able in this manner to enrich and benefit immeasurable living beings.”
When the Buddha preached this chapter on Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound, the eighty-four thousand persons who had come with Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound all acquired this samadhi enabling them to manifest all kinds of bodies, and the immeasurable bodhisattvas in this saha world also acquired this samadhi and dharani.
At that time the bodhisattva mahasattva Wonderful Sound, having finished offering alms to Shakyamuni Buddha and to the tower of Many Treasures Buddha, returned to his original land. The lands that he passed through on his way quaked and trembled in six different ways, jeweled lotus flowers rained down, and hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of different kinds of music played.
After he had arrived in his original land and was surrounded by his eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas, he proceeded to the p.338place of the buddha Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom and addressed the buddha, saying, “World-Honored One, I visited the saha world, enriched and benefited the living beings, saw Shakyamuni Buddha and the tower of Many Treasures Buddha, and offered obeisance and alms to them. I also saw Bodhisattva Manjushri, prince of the Dharma, and I saw Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Gaining Diligent Exertion Power, Bodhisattva Brave Donor, and others. And I made it possible for these eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas to gain the samadhi enabling them to manifest all kinds of bodies.”
When the Buddha preached this chapter on the comings and goings of Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound, forty-two thousand sons of gods gained the truth of the birthlessness of all phenomena, and Bodhisattva Flower Virtue gained the Lotus samadhi.

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1
On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime

Background
IF you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured since time without beginning and to attain without fail unsurpassed enlightenment in this lifetime, you must perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth innate in all life.
The Lotus Sutra is the king of sutras, true and correct in both word and principle. Its words are the ultimate reality, and this reality is the Mystic Law (myōhō). It is called the Mystic Law because it reveals the principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena. That is why this sutra is the wisdom of all Buddhas.
Life at each moment encompasses the body and mind and the self and environment of all sentient beings in the Ten Worlds as well as all insentient beings in the three thousand realms, including plants, sky, earth, and even the minutest particles of dust. Life at each moment permeates the entire realm of phenomena and is revealed in all phenomena. To be awakened to this principle is itself the mutually inclusive relationship of life at each moment and all phenomena. Nevertheless, even though you chant and believe in Myoho-renge-kyo, if you think the Law is outside yourself, you are embracing not the Mystic Law but an inferior teaching. “Inferior teaching” means those other than this [Lotus] sutra, which are all expedient and provisional. No expedient or provisional teaching leads directly to enlightenment, and without the direct path to enlightenment you cannot attain Buddhahood, even if you practice lifetime after lifetime for countless kalpas. Attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime is then impossible. Therefore, when you chant myōhō and recite renge,1 you must summon up deep faith that Myoho-renge-kyo is your life itself.
You must never think that any of the eighty thousand sacred teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha’s lifetime or any of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions and three existences are outside yourself. Your practice of the Buddhist teachings will not relieve you of the sufferings of birth and death in the least unless you perceive the true nature of your life. If you seek enlightenment outside yourself, then your performing even ten thousand practices and ten thousand good deeds will be in vain. It is like the case of a poor man who spends night and day counting his neighbor’s wealth but gains not even half a coin. That is why the T’ien-t’ai school’s commentary states, “Unless p.4one perceives the nature of one’s life, one cannot eradicate one’s grave offenses.”2 This passage implies that, unless one perceives the nature of one’s life, one’s practice will become an endless, painful austerity. Therefore, such students of Buddhism are condemned as non-Buddhist. Great Concentration and Insight states that, although they study Buddhism, their views are no different from those of non-Buddhists.
Whether you chant the Buddha’s name,3 recite the sutra, or merely offer flowers and incense, all your virtuous acts will implant benefits and roots of goodness in your life. With this conviction you should strive in faith. The Vimalakīrti Sutra states that, when one seeks the Buddhas’ emancipation in the minds of ordinary beings, one finds that ordinary beings are the entities of enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. It also states that, if the minds of living beings are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds.
It is the same with a Buddha and an ordinary being. When deluded, one is called an ordinary being, but when enlightened, one is called a Buddha. This is similar to a tarnished mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished. A mind now clouded by the illusions of the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but when polished, it is sure to become like a clear mirror, reflecting the essential nature of phenomena and the true aspect of reality. Arouse deep faith, and diligently polish your mirror day and night. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
What then does myō signify? It is simply the mysterious nature of our life from moment to moment, which the mind cannot comprehend or words express. When we look into our own mind at any moment, we perceive neither color nor form to verify that it exists. Yet we still cannot say it does not exist, for many differing thoughts continually occur. The mind cannot be considered either to exist or not to exist. Life is indeed an elusive reality that transcends both the words and concepts of existence and nonexistence. It is neither existence nor nonexistence, yet exhibits the qualities of both. It is the mystic entity of the Middle Way that is the ultimate reality. Myō is the name given to the mystic nature of life, and hō, to its manifestations. Renge, which means lotus flower, is used to symbolize the wonder of this Law. If we understand that our life at this moment is myō, then we will also understand that our life at other moments is the Mystic Law.4 This realization is the mystic kyō, or sutra. The Lotus Sutra is the king of sutras, the direct path to enlightenment, for it explains that the entity of our life, which manifests either good or evil at each moment, is in fact the entity of the Mystic Law.
If you chant Myoho-renge-kyo with deep faith in this principle, you are certain to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. That is why the sutra states, “After I have passed into extinction, [one] should accept and uphold this sutra. Such a person assuredly and without doubt will attain the Buddha way.”5 Never doubt in the slightest.
Respectfully.
Maintain your faith and attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Nichiren

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215
On the Ten Chapters of “Great Concentration and Insight”

Background
THE school known as the Flower Garland school holds that the perfect teaching of the Flower Garland Sutra and the perfect teaching of the Lotus Sutra are one in nature. But it considers that the perfect teaching of the Lotus Sutra is an offshoot of the Flower Garland perfect teaching.
The Dharma Characteristics school and the Three Treatises school take a similar view [with regard to the perfect teaching of the sutras that preceded the Lotus Sutra and that of the Lotus Sutra].
If the Tendai school follows the same sort of interpretation as these other schools, then what is the use of having a Tendai school separate from the other schools?
The Tendai school, for example, holds that the perfect teaching of the Lotus Sutra and that of the Nirvana Sutra are one in nature, but because the Lotus Sutra was preached before the Nirvana Sutra, the perfect teaching of the Nirvana Sutra is regarded as inferior to that of the Lotus Sutra. If the perfect teaching of the sutras that preceded the Lotus Sutra and the perfect teaching of the Lotus Sutra are regarded as one in nature, then, by the same token, does this mean that, because the other sutras were preached before the Lotus Sutra, the perfect teaching of the Lotus Sutra must be regarded as inferior?
In the end, erroneous interpretations such as these come about because of a mistaken understanding of passages found in the commentaries, passages such as “Concerning myō, or wonderful, the myō of this teaching and the myō of the other teachings [are not different in meaning],”1 “The truth of [the two kinds of] the perfect teaching does not differ,”2 “[The Buddha wisdom shown at the beginning and that at the latter time] are alike in representing the principle of perfect and immediate enlightenment,”3 and “The first three [of the four teachings] are designated as ‘rough.’”4
In Great Concentration and Insight, in the section dealing with the concentration and insight of perfect and immediate enlightenment, a passage from the Flower Garland Sutra5 is quoted. And in the section on the four forms of meditation in volume two, there are passages that would seem to refer to the Nembutsu practice.
But, as the saying goes, if the source is muddied, the stream will not run clear. Those persons who declare that the perfect teaching of the earlier sutras and the perfect teaching of the Lotus Sutra are one in nature may think that they are teaching others Great p.378Concentration and Insight, but all they are doing is making Nembutsu believers out of them.
From past times, there have been three opinions regarding the doctrines of Great Concentration and Insight, namely, that they derive from the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra; that they derive from the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra; and that they derive from both the theoretical teaching and the essential teaching. But I will not go into this matter here. [As Miao-lo says], “Therefore one should understand that Great Concentration and Insight sets forth the wonderful contemplation that is based on the opening up and merging of the provisional teachings with the perfect vehicle.”6 That is, the entire text of Great Concentration and Insight is founded on the opening up and merging of the provisional teachings with the Lotus Sutra.
Although Great Concentration and Insight quotes passages from various sutras preached prior to the Lotus Sutra and from the sacred texts of the non-Buddhist teachings, it is not espousing the ideas contained in these earlier sutras or non-Buddhist texts. It borrows passages from these texts but at the same time rejects the principles taught therein. [As Miao-lo says], “The setting is that of the earlier texts, but the wisdom is invariably that set forth in the perfect teaching.”7 That is, although there are quotations from various sutras such as the Questions of Manjushrī, the Great Correct and Equal Dhāranīs, or the Invocation of Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, and the four forms of meditation are discussed, the principles set forth therein are invariably those of the Lotus Sutra. [As Miao-lo says], “Various texts from here and there are quoted to make up a single composition, but the true meaning of the work in the end refers solely to the two sutras [the Lotus Sutra and the Nirvana Sutra].”8
Great Concentration and Insight consists of ten chapters entitled “Overall Meaning,” “Explaining Terminology,” “Characteristics of the Essence,” “Encompassing the Doctrines,” “Partial and Perfect,” “Preparatory Practices,” “Correct Meditation,” “Effect and Reward,” “Setting Forth Teachings,” and “Pointing Out the Goal.”
[As Great Concentration and Insight says] the first six chapters are based on the sutras. These six chapters, from “Overall Meaning” through “Preparatory Practices,” take up the first four volumes of the work. The wonderful understanding described therein sets forth the doctrine of the Lotus Sutra’s theoretical teaching.
The seventh chapter, “Correct Meditation,” establishes the correct practice based on the wonderful understanding, and deals with the ten objects and ten meditations, the practice of the essential teaching. The exposition of the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life begins with this chapter.
This doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life is not to be found in the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra, much less in any of the sutras preached prior to the Lotus. Although this doctrine derives from the ten factors, which represent the true aspect of all phenomena, as set forth in the concise replacement of the three vehicles with the one vehicle [in the “Expedient Means” chapter of the Lotus Sutra], its meaning is made clear only in the essential teaching.
In the case of the sutras preached before the Lotus, one uses the theoretical teaching to explain the meaning of the words. And in the case of the theoretical teaching, one uses the essential teaching to explain the meaning of the words. Only in the case of the essential teaching does one use the actual words themselves to explain the meaning.
There are many different kinds of p.379practices in the perfect teaching. Counting grains of sand and contemplating the great ocean are among them,9 as of course are the practice of reciting the sutras that preceded the Lotus and intoning the names of Amida Buddha and the other Buddhas.
These, however, are practices to be carried out on particular occasions or at particular times. The true perfect teaching practice is to keep the mouth constantly reciting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, whatever the occasion, and to keep the mind fixed on the meditation on the three thousand realms in a single moment of life. This is the practice and understanding of persons of wisdom. For the ordinary lay believers of Japan, however, it is sufficient if they concentrate solely on the recitation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
The name will invariably invoke all the blessings of the thing itself. It has been said that there are seventeen names for the Lotus Sutra,10 but these are names that are common to other writings as well. The particular name of the sutra, that by which all the Buddhas of the three existences of past, present, and future invoke it, is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Amida, Shakyamuni, and all the other Buddhas, when they were creating the cause for the attainment of enlightenment, invariably fixed their minds on the practice of concentration and insight, and with their mouths they invariably recited Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
The priests of the Tendai and True Word schools who practice the Nembutsu, unaware of these facts, constantly engage in the recitation of the words Namu Amida Butsu [Hail to Amida Buddha], and hence lay believers assume that the Tendai and True Word schools advocate the practice of the Nembutsu.
Moreover, the followers of Shan-tao and Hōnen believe that the followers of the Tendai and True Word teachings must be reciting the Nembutsu because they are dissatisfied with the practices of their own schools. This then leads them to proclaim that, rather than taking great pains to study the Tendai or True Word teachings or recite the Lotus Sutra, it is better to concentrate on the recitation of the Nembutsu and, after attaining rebirth in the Pure Land, to there come to a true understanding of the Lotus Sutra.
Because beliefs such as these have spread throughout this country of Japan, the leaders of the Tendai and True Word schools have been abandoned by their lay followers, and their temples in the sixty or more provinces have fallen into ruin.
The ninety-six non-Buddhist schools derived from the rules of conduct laid down by the monk Buddha Wisdom,11 and the slanders against the Lotus Sutra in Japan began when wide acceptance was given to the view that the perfect teaching of the Lotus Sutra and that of the pre-Lotus sutras are identical. What a sad day that was!
The non-Buddhists declared that this world is characterized by eternity, happiness, self, and purity, but the Buddha appeared in the world to proclaim that it is in fact characterized by suffering, non-substantiality, impermanence, and non-self. The persons of the two vehicles, voice-hearers and cause-awakened ones, then became unduly attached to the concept of non-substantiality and failed to advance to an understanding of the great vehicle, or Mahayana, teachings, and so the Buddha admonished them by declaring that the five cardinal sins too are the seeds of Buddhahood, that the countless dusts and troubles of earthly desires are also the seeds of the Thus Come One, warning them that the “good doctrine” of the two vehicles would never lead to the attainment of Buddhahood.
The concepts of eternity, happiness, p.380self, and purity as expounded by the non-Buddhists were erroneous, but there was nothing wrong with these terms themselves. However, the Buddha condemned these terms to show that their concepts were wrong. [In Mahayana] evil too can constitute the seed that leads to Buddhahood, and of course good can do so as well. However, when it came to the persons of the two vehicles, though the Buddha granted that they were capable of evil, he would not grant that they were capable of good.12
The Nembutsu that is practiced in the world today is a Nembutsu that will destroy the Lotus Sutra throughout this country. Though it may be a “good” practice, and one that is theoretically sound, one should condemn its name.
This is because the Buddhist teachings should conform to what is suitable for the particular country. In India, there were states wholly devoted to the Hinayana teachings, states wholly devoted to the Mahayana teachings, and states in which both Hinayana and Mahayana were pursued. The teachings differed according to the state. And China is the same in nature.
But Japan is a country suitable only for the Mahayana teachings, and among these, the teaching of the one vehicle [of the Lotus Sutra]. Even the teachings of the three Mahayana schools, the Flower Garland, the Dharma Characteristics, and the Three Treatises schools, are not suitable for this country, much less those of the three Hinayana schools.13
The Nembutsu and Zen schools that enjoy popularity in the country today derive from the Correct and Equal sutras, and their level of understanding in no way exceeds that of the Dharma Characteristics, Three Treatises, and Flower Garland schools.
The Nembutsu practice of reciting Namu Amida Butsu pertains only to the sutras preached prior to the Lotus. According to the Lotus Sutra, it can never lead to rebirth in the Pure Land. Only after the opening up and merging of the teachings that takes place in the Lotus Sutra can it become a cause for the attainment of Buddhahood.
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, on the other hand, is not related to the forty and more years of the Buddha’s preaching life before he expounded the Lotus Sutra. It relates only to the eight years during which he preached the Lotus.
The doctrine of Namu Amida Butsu cannot effect the opening up and merging [of the doctrine of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo]. It is the Lotus Sutra that is capable of carrying out such an opening up and merging, and the Nembutsu is that which is opened up and merged.
Practitioners of the Lotus Sutra, even if they do not once in their lifetime utter the words Namu Amida Butsu, will enjoy all the blessings bestowed by Amida Buddha and all the other Buddhas of the ten directions. Such practice is like the wonderful wish-granting jewel, which is capable of bestowing gold, silver, and all manner of wealth.
But though one may recite the Nembutsu for a whole lifetime, one will never gain the blessings of the Lotus Sutra, just as one could never buy a wish-granting jewel with mere gold and silver. Even though one were to offer all the gold and silver and other forms of wealth contained in the entire major world system, one could never exchange them for the wish-granting jewel.
Even if the teachings of Nembutsu should be opened up and merged [into the Lotus Sutra], they are the provisional teachings within the body [of the Lotus Sutra] and therefore inferior to the true teaching within the same body. And given our present age, how few must be the wise persons p.381who reach such an understanding of the opening up and merging of the teachings!
Even if such persons should exist, what of their disciples, their kinfolk, and their retainers? Ignorant persons such as these, seeing the wise person reciting the Nembutsu, will conclude that he is a full-fledged believer in the Nembutsu. They surely will not take him for a votary of the Lotus Sutra! But so long as one recites Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, even the most ignorant of persons could not fail to recognize one as a votary of the Lotus Sutra.
In our present age, more fearful than those who murder their father or mother or plot insurrection are those who, though leaders of the Tendai or True Word schools, yet go about reciting Shan-tao’s Praising Rebirth in the Pure Land or twittering away with Hōnen’s Nembutsu.
After you have concluded the reading of Great Concentration and Insight, you may pass this letter around among the persons who attended the reading. Once the reading of Great Concentration and Insight is concluded, come back here as soon as possible.
With regard to the lawsuit, if the cause of my action is reasonable enough, I think it will be difficult to reach a settlement [because the High Court at Kamakura harbors prejudice against me]. And, as people say, legal inquiries are not like matters of religious doctrine, and it was wise of us to have raised a suit. Therefore, there would seem to be even less hope for a quick settlement.
Word has come that the Lesser Aide of Judicial Affairs has turned the suit over to Hei no Saburō Saemon [to avoid a settlement].14 Under these circumstances, you should consider that the longer the case drags on, the better are the prospects. A settlement will probably be reached eventually, and if it is not, people will understand that there is a reasonable cause on my side, so you should not fret over the delay.
At the moment I have a number of Tendai and True Word persons visiting me and am very busy with them and other things, so I will end this here.

===

IKEDA QUOTES BELOW , NICHIREN LIBRARY ABOVE
Fostering youth isn’t merely a matter of talking. What counts is the depth of our concern for others, the sincerity of our interactions. Organizations that foster young people will flourish. Organizations that help young people develop will grow. Leaders need to work harder than anyone else and keep striving to develop themselves. Those who have worked hard themselves can appreciate the efforts and challenges of others and offer meaningful support. The “greatness” of truly great people lies in their appreciation of the “ordinary.” The true worth of a leader rests on one thing: How many people you have fostered to carry your vision forward. One tall tree does not make a forest. Unless other trees grow to the same height, you cannot have a large grove. A true leader is devoted to raising capable people to whom the future can be entrusted. One is not a genuine leader if one does not foster capable successors. True success cannot be achieved without fostering talented individuals and nurturing their potential.

Organizations degenerate from the top. Those who assume positions of leadership need to constantly strive to better themselves and to overcome the tendency to become arrogant. One who cannot empathize with others will never become a true leader. One of the great misfortunes of our world today is the presence of too many leaders who do not feel what is really in people’s hearts. The onset of decline begins with the loss of the will to challenge oneself. This is true for both people and organizations. One must remain active. Slacken a bit and momentum is lost. It takes a lifetime of unrelenting struggle to build something worthy, but only a moment to destroy it. When one takes full responsibility, one’s true greatness will manifest. That is when one’s true strength wells forth. Rather than judging people as competent or incompetent, it is best to look for each person’s positive qualities. We should discover and praise their inherent strengths and abilities. Whether or not capable people are fostered comes down to the resolve and effort of the people who take responsibility for their growth. Wisdom doesn’t come with position. It arises from one’s sense of responsibility. Concern for young people is what separates a true leader from a despot. Despots manipulate young people. No matter how noble their messages, they only see youth as resources to exploit to satisfy their own purposes.

The difference between a leader and a tyrant is that a leader works hard for the sake of everyone else, while a tyrant makes others work hard for him. Genuine leadership lies in care and attention to the fine details. To know the circumstances of each and every person and to exercise the utmost care; that is what it means to be a true leader. People who cease to grow can’t inspire others. Leadership begins with challenging oneself. Fighting spirit spreads like fire from one person to another. A leader’s daring spirit will kindle flames of enthusiasm and inspire an entire organization. There are always able people; the challenge lies in discovering and fostering them. The irresponsible fail to see them and the self-centered cannot raise them. A true leader fosters young people and spurs them on to greater heights. A person who cannot genuinely empathize with others can never excel as a leader. So much of what ails society today is the result of too many people in leadership positions who do not or cannot identify with the plight of their fellow men and women.

An organization that is willing to change will thrive. It all starts from a leader who is willing to change him- or herself. Every person, no matter how accomplished, has shortcomings. Conversely, no matter how bad someone’s negative tendencies, that person definitely has strong points. The key is to identify an individual’s strengths and give him or her the opportunity to succeed. One thing all great people have in common is modesty. Arrogance is a sign of a lack of true ability. Greatness as a human being is not determined by educational background or social position. A truly great person is one who can be a friend to those in suffering, pain and misery.

http://www.ikedaquotes.org/leadership/?quotes_start=21

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