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NS.1.27.8.5 – HAVE A WONDERFUL REST EVERYONE. MAY ALL BEINGS BE FREE OF ADVERSITY AND MAY THERE BE VICTORY! MAY I APPREHEND MY DREAMS. MAY THEY BE GOOD DREAMS. MAY I BE ABLE TO MASTER THE PRACTICE OF DREAM YOGA! ANCIENT WISDOM WHOOP WHOOP ~ H R A U M ~

12 February 2015

ONGI KKU DEN
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings Part One
Nichiren’s teachings covering the “Introduction” chapter
through the “Emerging from the Earth” chapter

(***CC)

ROLL FIVE CHAPTERS ONLY STATED INFRA * * * * * * *

Chapter Twelve: Devadatta
Eight important points

Point One, concerning Devadatta

Volume eight of Words and Phrases says, “His original state is pure and cool, but in manifested form he showed himself as Fever of Heavenly Beings.1”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Devadatta in his original state is the bodhisattva Manjushrī. Therefore his original state is described as “pure and cool.” In his manifested form he is called Devadatta, hence it is said that he showed himself as Fever of Heavenly Beings.
“Pure and cool” is indicative of water and stands for the principle that the sufferings of birth and death are none other than nirvana. Fever of Heavenly Beings is indicative of fire and stands for the principle that earthly desires are none other than p.101enlightenment. Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are showing that earthly desires are enlightenment and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.
Devadatta is another name for Myoho-renge-kyo. In a past existence he was the seer Asita. The seer Asita is another name for myōhō, the Wonderful Law. The syllable “a” in Asita means “not” or “without.” The Law without self2 is myōhō, the Wonderful Law. Thus volume eight of Words and Phrases says, “One takes the Law that is without self and cleanses living beings with it.”
The seer Asita is another name for the three thousand worlds of the Dharma-realm. Therefore it is described as being “without self.” You should think about this principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

Point Two, on the passage “At that time there was a seer who came to the king and said, ‘I have a Great Vehicle text called the Sutra of the Lotus of the Wonderful Law. If you will never disobey me, I will expound it for you.’”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: With regard to this expounding of the Lotus Sutra, one should understand the meaning [of the passage “If you will never disobey me, I will expound it for you”3] to be: “You never disobey me, and so you are qualified to expound it.” The character for “if” can also be read as the pronoun “you.”
Commenting on this [in volume eight of Words and Phrases], T’ien-t’ai says, “The king will receive the teaching and honor and practice it.” Now Nichiren’s followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo; they do not disobey him, and so they are qualified to expound the Law. The seer Asita here represents Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

p.102Point Three, on the passage “At once he [the king] accompanied the seer, providing him with whatever he needed, picking fruit, drawing water, gathering firewood, setting out meals, . . . He served the seer in this manner for a thousand years, all for the sake of the Law, working diligently, acting as a provider and seeing to it that the seer lacked for nothing.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “Picking fruit” applies to the earthly desire or defilement of foolishness. “Drawing water” applies to the earthly defilement of greed. “Gathering firewood” applies to the earthly defilement of anger. “Setting out meals” applies to the earthly defilement of arrogance.
In this passage, the eight kinds of services performed by the king for the seer Asita are listed. The king did not carry out any other actions outside of these in order to receive the transmission of Myoho-renge-kyo.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are carrying out such acts of service for a period of “a thousand years.” Such services represent the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. This is what is needed to overcome greed, anger, foolishness, and arrogance.

Point Four, on the words “Because the Wonderful Law was in his thoughts / he never flagged in body or mind.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: These two words “body” and “mind” refer to the transmission of the teaching that our bodies and our minds are the Wonderful Law. Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and thus attain Buddhahood in their present forms. “Never flagging in body or mind” refers to their embodiment of the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

Point Five, on the passage “Manjushrī said, ‘When I was in the ocean I constantly expounded the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law alone.’”

p.103The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “I” refers to Manjushrī. The “ocean” is the ocean of the sufferings of birth and death. The word “alone” or “only” corresponds to that in the passage “There is only the Law of the one vehicle” (chapter two, Expedient Means). The word “constantly” or “always” corresponds to that in the passage “I am always here, preaching the Law” (chapter sixteen, Life Span). Myoho-renge-kyo is the words and sounds of the Dharma-realm. The passage refers to Nichiren and his followers, who now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
The ocean of the sufferings of birth and death is none other than the great ocean of the true aspect of reality. “I” represents the wisdom of the Dharma-realm, which is personified in Manjushrī.

Point Six, on the passage “There is the daughter of the dragon king Sāgara, who has just turned eight. Her wisdom has keen roots and she is good at understanding the root activities and deeds of living beings. She has mastered the dhāranīs [that is, has gained the power to memorize the Buddha’s teachings], has been able to accept and embrace all the storehouse of profound secrets preached by the Buddhas, has entered deep into meditation, thoroughly grasped the doctrines, and in the space of an instant conceived the desire for bodhi and reached the level of no regression. Her eloquence knows no hindrance, and she thinks of living beings with compassion as though they were her own children. She is fully endowed with blessings, and when it comes to conceiving in mind and expounding by mouth, she is subtle, wonderful, comprehensive, and great. Kind, compassionate, benevolent, yielding, she is gentle and refined in will, capable of attaining bodhi.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Age eight is symbolic of the eight volumes of the Lotus Sutra. Devadatta stands for the world of hell, and the dragon king’s daughter stands for the world of Buddhahood. Thus together they represent the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, that is, the hundred worlds p.104and thousand factors, or the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
Or again we may say that age eight represents the eight volumes of the Lotus Sutra and the eight sufferings that we undergo because of our earthly desires. We should understand, therefore, that the attainment of Buddhahood embodied in the Lotus Sutra is symbolized by the age eight of the dragon girl. The eight sufferings are none other than the eight volumes of the Lotus Sutra, and the eight sufferings and eight volumes are personified in the dragon girl who is eight years old.
One interpretation reads the words “age eight” as the opening of a jewel. The age or jewel is the single mind of the dragon girl. The eight stands for the opening of her mind to the three thousand realms. The three thousand realms are the eight volumes of the Lotus Sutra. Thus the words “age eight” are representative of the “opening of the door of Buddha wisdom.”
The passage from the words “Her wisdom has keen roots” on down to the words “she is . . . capable of attaining bodhi” describes how she has accepted and taken faith in the Lotus Sutra. The words “when it comes to conceiving in mind and expounding by mouth” relate to the work of the mouth or verbal actions. The words “she is gentle and refined in will” refer to the work of the will or mental actions. The words “she . . . has been able to accept and embrace all the storehouse of profound secrets . . . has entered deep into meditation” refer to the work of the body or physical actions. Since these three categories of action are none other than the three virtues of the Dharma body, wisdom, and emancipation, they represent the Dharma nature, or the three truths.
Again we may say that the words “conceiving in mind” stand for a single moment of life, and the words “expounding by mouth” stand for the three thousand realms. The words “has been able to accept and embrace all” describe how the dragon girl has accepted and embraced the Lotus Sutra. The word “age” or jewel is a wish-granting jewel, namely, the Wonderful Law. The word p.105“eight” or opening reveals that the body and mind of the dragon girl are the Wonderful Law.

Point Seven, on the passage “Before his words had come to an end, the dragon king’s daughter suddenly appeared before the Buddha, bowed her head in obeisance, and then retired to one side, reciting these verses of praise”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This passage makes it perfectly clear that ignorance is none other than the Dharma nature, or enlightenment. For that reason, before Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated had even finished voicing his criticism, the dragon girl replied to him through her verses of praise in fourteen lines.
The viewpoint expressed in the bodhisattva’s criticism is that of the specific teaching expounded specifically for bodhisattvas, which is a view characterized by ignorance. The reply of the dragon girl represents the viewpoint of the perfect teaching, which is the viewpoint of the Dharma nature. Wisdom Accumulated represents fundamental darkness or ignorance, and the dragon girl represents a woman who has realized the Dharma nature. Hence we see that ignorance is inseparable from the Dharma nature, and the Dharma nature is inseparable from ignorance.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they represent the moment referred to in the sutra as “Before his words had come to an end,” that is, the moment when the previous affair, the criticism of the bodhisattva, is just coming to an end, and the subsequent affair, the reply of the dragon girl, is just beginning. The moment, then, is one in which ignorance and the Dharma nature exist simultaneously. Such is the moment when Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is chanted.
The reason Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated is said to represent fundamental darkness lies in the words “I cannot believe” in his statement “I cannot believe that this girl in the space of an instant could actually achieve correct enlightenment” (chapter p.106twelve). Not to believe is to harbor doubt and perplexity, and doubt and perplexity are symptomatic of fundamental darkness or ignorance. The reason the dragon girl is said to represent the Dharma nature, or enlightenment, is the passage in which she says, “I unfold the doctrines of the Great Vehicle / to rescue living beings from suffering” (ibid.).
As for the dragon girl, her father is a dragon and she is his eight-year-old daughter. The two words “dragon girl” imply that both father and daughter attain Buddhahood at the same time. That is why the passage says, “[then] the dragon king’s daughter [suddenly appeared before the Buddha, . . .].” Since it has said that she is the dragon king’s daughter, we know that the dragon king is her father, and she is his eight-year-old daughter. Thus the daughter is shown attaining Buddhahood in this chapter, while the attainment of Buddhahood by her father, the dragon king, has already been implied in the “Introduction” chapter, as seen in the passage that says that, at the assembly at which the Lotus Sutra was preached, “there were eight dragon kings.” However, we may say that both father and daughter attained Buddhahood simultaneously, since the “Introduction” chapter serves as an introduction to all the chapters in the Lotus Sutra.
“And having heard his teachings, I have attained bodhi” (chapter twelve)—these are the words of the dragon girl when she rebukes Wisdom Accumulated. And therefore she goes on to say that only the Buddha can testify to this fact: “And having heard his teachings, I have attained bodhi— / the Buddha alone can bear witness to this.” When she speaks of “rescuing living beings from suffering,” however, she is speaking of rescuing women in particular. The verses of praise in fourteen lines express the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. The words “He profoundly understands the signs of guilt and good fortune / and illuminates the ten directions everywhere” (ibid.) refer to the Ten Worlds.
This passage on how the eight-year-old dragon girl attained Buddhahood is particularly noteworthy because it refers to the ancestors of the rulers who uphold the Lotus Sutra. The first p.107human sovereign of Japan was Emperor Jimmu. Emperor Jimmu was the son of Ugayafuki-aezu-no-mikoto, the fifth of the five generations of earthly deities. The mother of Ugayafuki-aezu-no-mikoto was Princess Toyotama, the daughter of the dragon king Sāgara and an elder sister of the eight-year-old dragon girl. Therefore we know that the ancestors of the rulers of Japan were votaries of the Lotus Sutra, a fact of profound significance, a fact of profound significance!
Therefore this one chapter titled “Devadatta” is a vital sword to be worn at the waist everywhere throughout the world. It is a secret Law to cut down the foes of ignorance and earthly desires and to sever the bonds of birth and death, longing and attachment. Emperor Kao-tsu, founder of the Han dynasty, had his three-foot sword, but it cannot compare to this one-word sword of wisdom. Myō, or wonderful, the one-word sword of wisdom, can sever the bonds of birth and death and earthly desires.
Devadatta represents fiery flames, the dragon girl represents a giant reptile, and Manjushrī represents the sword of wisdom. An orally transmitted teaching says that all these three elements are represented in the form of the wisdom king Immovable [the fire in the flames surrounding him, the reptile in the dragon that winds itself around his sword, and the sword of wisdom in the sword he holds].
Devadatta also represents the principle that our earthly desires are none other than enlightenment. The dragon girl represents the principle that the sufferings of birth and death are none other than nirvana. The name Manjushrī can be translated as Wonderful Virtue. This Wonderful Virtue contains within it both earthly desires and the sufferings of birth and death. In this chapter it serves as the element that acts to convert others to the truth.

Point Eight, on the passage “At that time the dragon girl had a precious jewel worth as much as the thousand-millionfold world [or the major world system] which she presented to the Buddha. The Buddha immediately accepted it. The dragon girl said to Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated and to the p.108venerable one, Shāriputra, ‘I presented the precious jewel and the World-Honored One accepted it—was that not quickly done?’
“They replied, ‘Very quickly!’
“The girl said, ‘Employ your supernatural powers and watch me attain Buddhahood. It will be even quicker than that!’”

Volume eight of Words and Phrases says, “First, the presentation of the jewel symbolizes the attainment of perfect understanding.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In the phrase “a precious jewel,” the word “a” or “one” indicates Myoho-renge-kyo [abbreviated as myōhō, or the Wonderful Law]. “Precious” indicates the workings of the Wonderful Law, and the jewel indicates the entity of the Wonderful Law. Because it is myō, or “wonderful,” it embodies the element of the mind. And because it is hō, or the “Law,” it embodies the element of form or the body. The body phenomena are the “jewel” and the mind potentials are the “precious” element in it. The words “Wonderful Law” indicate that body and mind are not two different entities.
Expressing the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, the dragon girl presents the precious jewel to the Buddha. When Words and Phrases says that this “symbolizes the attainment of perfect understanding,” it is referring to the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. At the time when the precious jewel was still in the hands of the dragon girl, it represented the attainments that were inherent in her nature. But when the Buddha accepted the precious jewel, it became representative of the attainments acquired through religious practice. Herein is embodied the principle that “acquired through practice” and “inherent in nature” are not two different things.
The words “very quickly” represent the doctrine of sudden fulfillment, sudden and swift attainment, or sudden enlightenment. The same idea is expressed in the passage [in chapter eleven of p.109the Lotus Sutra] that reads, “This way one will quickly attain / the unsurpassed Buddha way.”
In the term jinriki, or “supernatural powers,” the word jin, or “supernatural,” represents the element of the mind, and the word riki, or “powers,” represents the element of the body.
When the dragon girl says, “Watch me attain Buddhahood,” Shāriputra thinks she is referring only to her own attainment of Buddhahood, but this is an error. She is rebuking him by saying, “Watch how one attains Buddhahood.” The word kan, or “watch,” refers to the kan of the six stages of practice [of T’ien-t’ai’s Great Concentration and Insight]. Here one should understand it as pertaining to the kan, or perception, that is represented in the second of the six stages, the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth. Therefore, as soon as one hears Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, one has [as volume eight of Words and Phrases says in speaking of the dragon girl] “without doubt sat for a moment in the place of practice and thus attained Buddhahood.”
When the sutra says that the members of the assembly saw the dragon girl “change into a man,” it means that the dragon girl’s original state, that of a dragon girl, was already in the state of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This idea is brought out very clearly in this passage of the sutra.

Chapter Thirteen: Encouraging Devotion
Thirteen important points

Point One, concerning “encouraging devotion”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “encouraging” refers to the converting of others. The word “devotion” refers to one’s own practice. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo embraces both the converting of others and one’s own religious practice.
p.110Now Nichiren and his followers are encouraging others to adopt Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and to make it their own practice.

Point Two, on the words “never begrudging our bodies or lives” in the passage “But although it will be difficult to teach and convert them, we will summon up the power of great patience and will read and recite this sutra, embrace, preach, and copy it, offering it many kinds of alms and never begrudging our bodies or lives.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “bodies” refers to the element of form or the body; the word “lives” refers to the element of the mind. One should never be begrudging of one’s body or life either in principle or in fact.
When a votary of the Lotus Sutra is deprived of his lands and fields, this is a case of not begrudging body or life in principle. When he is actually deprived of his life, this is a case of not begrudging body or life in fact.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are being unbegrudging of their bodies and lives both in principle and in fact.

Point Three, on the passage “Because in this sahā world the people are given to corruption and evil, beset by overbearing arrogance, shallow in blessings, irascible, muddled, fawning, and devious, and their hearts are not sincere.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Regarding the phrase “their hearts are not sincere,” to take the Lotus Sutra, which says, “Among those sutras / the Lotus is the foremost” (chapter ten, The Teacher of the Law), and put it in third place; to regard the sutra as the lowest when it says, “Among all the sutras, it holds the highest place” (chapter twenty-three, Medicine King); to say that the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life embodied in the Lotus Sutra is found in the Flower Garland and Mahāvairochana sutras; to take the doctrine of attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form and read it into the p.111Mahāvairochana Sutra—these are all examples of the heart not being sincere.
Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, do so with hearts that are sincere.

Point Four, on the passage “At that time the bodhisattvas, respectfully complying with the Buddha’s will and at the same time wishing to fulfill their own original vows, proceeded in the presence of the Buddha to roar the lion’s roar and to make a vow.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: To comply with the Lotus Sutra is what is meant by “respectfully complying with the Buddha’s will.” By the Buddha’s will is meant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, it means that they are “respectfully complying with the Buddha’s will.”

Point Five, on the words “to roar the lion’s roar” (sa shishi ku)

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The lion’s roar (shishi ku) is the preaching of the Buddha. The preaching of the Law means the preaching of the Lotus Sutra, or the preaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in particular.
The first shi of the word shishi, or “lion” [which means “teacher”], is the Wonderful Law that is passed on by the teacher. The second shi [which means “child”] is the Wonderful Law as it is received by the disciples. The “roar” is the sound of the teacher and the disciples chanting in unison.
The verb sa, “to make” or “to roar,” should here be understood to mean to initiate or to put forth. It refers to the initiating of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law.

Point Six, on the passage “World-Honored One, after the Thus Come One has entered extinction we will travel here p.112and there, back and forth through the worlds in the ten directions so as to enable living beings to copy this sutra, to receive, embrace, read, and recite it, understand and preach its principles, practice it in accordance with the Law, and properly keep it in their thoughts.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Those who “practice it in accordance with the Law” are the Great Teachers T’ien-t’ai, Miao-lo, Dengyō, and their like. Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they “practice it in accordance with the Law.”

Point Seven, on the words “There will be many ignorant people / who will curse and speak ill of us.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This refers to those great oafs who do not understand even one word of the teachings. It is perfectly clear that they “curse and speak ill of us.”
The word “many” here refers to such oafs in the country of Japan.

Point Eight, on the passage “In that evil age there will be monks / with perverse wisdom and hearts that are fawning and crooked / who will suppose they have attained what they have not attained, / being proud and boastful in heart.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The “evil age” referred to in this passage on monks of an evil age is the Latter Day of the Law. The monks are persons like Kōbō and others who slander the Law. They cast aside the correct wisdom embodied in the Lotus Sutra and instead base themselves on the “perverse wisdom” of the provisional teachings.
Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, represent correct wisdom in its highest form.

Point Nine, on the passage “Or there will be forest-dwelling monks / wearing clothing of patched rags and living in retirement, / who will claim they are practicing the true p.113way, / despising and looking down on all humankind. / Greedy for profit and support, / they will preach the Law to white-robed laymen / and will be respected and revered by the world / as though they were arhats who possess the six transcendental powers. / These men with evil in their hearts, / constantly thinking of worldly affairs, / will borrow the name of forest-dwelling monks / and take delight in proclaiming our faults, / saying things like this: / ‘These monks are greedy / for profit and support / and therefore they preach non-Buddhist doctrines / and fabricate their own scriptures / to delude the people of the world.’”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This refers to the third of the three powerful enemies who persecute the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, men like Ryōkan. Such persons are regarded “as though they were arhats who possess the six transcendental powers.”

Point Ten, on the words “[These monks] fabricate their own scriptures / to delude the people of the world.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This passage of the sutra shows how such arrogant monks slander the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, accusing them of fabricating the sutra and reading it to others.

Point Eleven, on the passage “Though they treat us with contempt, saying, / ‘You are all no doubt Buddhas!’ / all such words of arrogance and contempt / we will endure and accept.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This passage of the sutra illustrates how such monks will treat the votaries of the Lotus Sutra with contempt, calling them “living Buddhas.” Through their contemptuous attitude they commit slander. Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are spoken of in this manner.

p.114Point Twelve, on the passage “Evil demons will take possession of others / and through them curse, revile and heap shame on us.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The “evil demons” are persons such as Hōnen and Kōbō. “Take possession of others” means that they will exercise their influence over the ruler, the high ministers, and the people of the country. It is referring to the hatred that such persons bear toward Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo now.
A demon is one who snatches away the life of others or who snatches away blessings. The Lotus Sutra is the life source of the Buddhas of the three existences of past, present, and future. This sutra is a sacred writing that contains within it the blessings of all the bodhisattvas.

Point Thirteen, on the passage “We care nothing for our bodies or lives / but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The “unsurpassed way” is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Now Nichiren and his followers are even more anxious with regard to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo than they are with regard to their own lives. That is why at the conclusion of this chapter we find the words “The Buddha must know what is in our hearts.” That is, Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, must know and understand what is in the hearts of the votaries of the Lotus Sutra.
The “Buddha” referred to in the conclusion of the chapter is Shakyamuni, and “our hearts” refers to the hearts of Nichiren and his followers, who now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Chapter Fourteen: Peaceful Practices
Five important points

Point One, concerning the “Peaceful Practices” chapter

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Concerning the “peaceful” practices of the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law and the practices carried out by Nichiren and his followers now in the Latter Day of the Law, 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.

Point Two, on the passage “Next, the bodhisattva or mahāsattva should view all phenomena as empty, that being their true entity. They do not turn upside down, do not move, do not regress, do not revolve. They are like empty space, without innate nature, beyond the reach of all words. They are not born, do not emerge, do not arise. They are without name, without form, without true being. They are without volume, without limits, without hindrance, without barriers.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This passage lists the eighteen aspects of emptiness. The substance represented by the eighteen aspects of emptiness is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Every one of these eighteen aspects is a description of the Wonderful Law.

Point Three, on the passage “If he is asked difficult questions, he should not reply in terms of the Law of the Lesser Vehicle. He should explain things solely in terms of the Great Vehicle so that people will be able to acquire wisdom embracing all species.”

p.116The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: When one is refuting [slanderers of the Law], one should not use the provisional teachings in an attempt to enlighten them. The “wisdom embracing all species” is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. “All” refers to the ten thousand things, and the “wisdom embracing all species” refers to the wisdom underlying all the different species of the ten thousand things, which is Myoho-renge-kyo.
Or again we may say that the wisdom embracing all species is the single mind within all of us. The single mind is the one great entity embracing all the ten thousand phenomena. You should think about this.

Point Four, on the passage “After I have passed into extinction / if there are monks / who are able to expound / this Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, / their minds will be free of jealousy and anger, / of all worry and hindrance. / No one will trouble them, / curse or revile them. / They will know no fear, / no attacks by sword or staff, / nor will they ever be banished.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This passage of the sutra states that the bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching will not suffer any attacks “by sword or staff.”
In the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter, speaking of the votaries of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law, it says, “There will be many ignorant people / who will curse and speak ill of us / and will attack us with swords and staves.” It also says, “Again and again we will be banished.” But in the present chapter it says that these troubles will not occur. This is because the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter is speaking of those who carry out the practice of the shakubuku method in the Latter Day of the Law, while the present chapter is speaking of those who carry out the practice of the shōju method in the Middle Day of the Law.

Point Five, on the passage “If they are in a settlement or town or in a quiet and deserted place or a forest and people p.117come and want to ask them difficult questions, the heavenly beings day and night will for the sake of the Law constantly guard and protect them and will cause all the listeners to rejoice.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: As for the votaries of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law, the heavenly beings will surely guard and protect them. The Law referred to in the words “will for the sake of the Law constantly guard and protect them” is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Chapter Fifteen: Emerging from the Earth
One important point

Point One, on the passage “Among these bodhisattvas were four leaders. The first was called Superior Practices, the second was called Boundless Practices, the third was called Pure Practices, and the fourth was called Firmly Established Practices. These four bodhisattvas were the foremost leaders and guiding teachers among all the group.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This chapter, “Emerging from the Earth,” is devoted entirely to matters pertaining to the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching, those who were taught and converted by the Buddha in his true identity.1 The action carried out by the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This is referred to in the character shō [“advocating” in the compound shōdō, or “advocating and guiding”]. The character dō signifies that they will lead and guide all the living beings of the country of Japan to the Pure Land of the Holy Mountain [Eagle Peak]. As for these guiding teachers of p.118the Latter Day of the Law, the term “teachers” can only be applied to the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching.
In explaining the identity of the four great bodhisattvas described here, volume nine of Supplement to “The Words and Phrases,” following the explanation given in volume nine of Words and Phrases, says, “The four leaders described in the sutra passage here represent the four virtues. Superior Practices represents the virtue of true self. Boundless Practices represents the virtue of eternity. Pure Practices represents the virtue of purity. And Firmly Established Practices represents the virtue of happiness.
“There are times when a single person possesses all four of these principles. To transcend the two types of death [birth and death in the six paths and birth and death in the higher realms] is known as Superior Practices. To go beyond the two opposing views that life is cut off after one existence or that it is eternally the same is called Boundless Practices. Because one overcomes the five categories of illusions and entanglements,2 that state is designated Pure Practices. And because one is as perfect in virtue as [the Buddha who attained enlightenment under] the bodhi tree, that state is named Firmly Established Practices.”
Nichiren and his followers, who now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are all followers of these bodhisattvas who emerged from the earth.
Again, one may say that fire is that which burns things [and hence it corresponds to Superior Practices3]. Water is that which purifies things [and hence it corresponds to Pure Practices]. Wind is that which blows away dust and grime [and hence corresponds to Boundless Practices]. The great earth is that which nourishes plants and trees [and corresponds to Firmly Established Practices]. These are the respective merits of the four bodhisattvas. Though p.119the practices of the four bodhisattvas differ from one to another, all are in effect the practice of Myoho-renge-kyo.
These four bodhisattvas dwell in the lower region. Therefore the commentary [Words and Phrases, volume nine] says that they dwell “in the depths of the Dharma nature, the ultimate region of the profound source.” The lower region is where they live and abide, and the lower region represents the principle of truth. Supplement to “The Words and Phrases” says, “The lower region is described by Master Tao-sheng as the place where one abides in the principle (ri).” What emerge and become manifest from this dwelling in the principle are referred to as actual events (ji).
Again, the Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says that, of all the thousand plants and ten thousand trees in the world, there are none that are not in essence bodhisattvas who emerge from the earth. Thus we may say that the bodhisattvas who emerge from the earth are the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching. The word “essential” or “original” represents the merits handed down from the past of numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago, the merits that are without beginning and without end.
These bodhisattvas are possessors of the essential or original Law. The original Law is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, is something that is without exception possessed by the bodhisattvas who emerge from the earth, but it is not possessed by the bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching, those who were taught and converted by the Buddha in his transient status. From the substance of this original Law is derived the function that is propagated as the practice of concentration and insight, and is called the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. In effect, all the explanations given by great and ordinary teachers are directed toward the propagation of this function of the Wonderful Law.
The accepting and upholding of this original Law is expressed in the single word “belief” or “faith.” The single word “belief” is the sharp sword with which one confronts and overcomes p.120fundamental darkness or ignorance. The commentary [Words and Phrases] says, “Belief means to be without doubt.” You should think about this.
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Part One, ends here.
The first day of the first month of the first year of the Kōan era (1278), cyclical sign tsuchinoe-tora

Recorded by Nikkō
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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p.5Background
This letter was written to Toki Jōnin in the seventh year of Kenchō (1255), two years after Nichiren Daishonin established his teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. At the time of this letter, the Daishonin was thirty-four years old and was living in Kamakura, the seat of the military government. Toki was a staunch follower of the Daishonin who lived in Wakamiya in Shimōsa Province. He received some thirty letters, including Letter from Sado and one of the major treatises, The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind. A retainer of Lord Chiba, the constable of Shimōsa, Toki had become a follower of the Daishonin around 1254.
Of all his writings from the mid-1250s, On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime focuses most clearly on the tenets of the Daishonin’s Buddhism; many of the other works of this period are aimed chiefly at refuting the erroneous doctrines of other schools and discussing theoretical questions. This short essay not only reflects the theories T’ien-t’ai formulated based on the Lotus Sutra, but also reveals the concrete practice for attaining Buddhahood—namely, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—that is missing in T’ien-t’ai’s theoretical framework.
Myoho-renge-kyo is the title of the Lotus Sutra, but to the Daishonin it is much more; it is the essence of the sutra, the revelation of the supreme Law itself. Apparent in this work are both the depth of his thought and his conviction that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the only teaching that can lead people to Buddhahood in this lifetime.
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.

==

CHAPTER 12

Devadatta

At that time the Buddha addressed the bodhisattvas, the heavenly and human beings, and the four kinds of believers, saying: “Immeasurable kalpas in the past, I sought the Lotus Sutra without ever flagging. During those many kalpas, I constantly appeared as the ruler of a kingdom who made a vow to seek unsurpassed enlightenment. His mind never wavered or turned aside, and in his desire to fulfill the six paramitas he diligently distributed alms, never stinting in heart, whether the gift was elephants or horses, the seven rare articles, countries, cities, wives, children, maidservants, menservants, or his own head, eyes, marrow and brain, his own flesh and limbs. He did not begrudge even his own being and life. At that period the human life span was immeasurably long. But for the sake of the Law this king abandoned his kingdom and throne, delegated the government to the crown prince, sounded drums and sent out proclamations, seeking the Law in four directions and saying, ‘Who can expound the great vehicle for me? To the end of my life I will be his provider and servant!’
“At that time there was a seer who came to the king and said, ‘I have the great vehicle text called the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law. If you will never disobey me, I will expound it for you.’
“When the king heard these words of the seer, he danced for joy. At once he accompanied the seer, providing him with p.222whatever he needed, picking fruit, drawing water, gathering firewood, setting out meals, even offering his own body as a couch and seat, never stinting in body or mind. He served the seer in this manner for a thousand years, all for the sake of the Law, working diligently, acting as a provider and seeing to it that the seer lacked for nothing.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

I recall those departed kalpas of the past
when in order to seek the great Law,
though I was the ruler of a worldly kingdom,
I was not greedy to satisfy the five desires
but instead struck the bell, crying in four quarters,
“Who possesses the great Law?
If he will explain and preach it for me
I will be his slave and servant!”
At that time there was a seer named Asita
who came and announced to this great king,
“I have a subtle and wonderful Law,
rarely known in this world.
If you will undertake religious practice
I will expound it for you.”
When the king heard the seer’s words
his heart was filled with great joy.
Immediately he accompanied the seer,
providing him with whatever he needed,
gathering firewood, fruit, and wild rice,
presenting them at appropriate times with respect and reverence.
Because the wonderful Law was in his thoughts
he never flagged in body or mind.
For the sake of living beings everywhere
he diligently sought the great Law,
taking no heed for himself
or for the gratification of the five desires.
Therefore the ruler of a great kingdom
p.223through diligent seeking was able to acquire this Law
and eventually to attain buddhahood,
as I will now explain to you.

The Buddha said to the monks: “The king at that time was I myself, and the seer was the man who is now Devadatta. All because Devadatta was a good friend to me, I was able to become fully endowed with the six paramitas, with pity, compassion, joy, and impartiality, with the thirty-two features, the eighty characteristics, the purple-tinged golden color, the ten powers, the four kinds of fearlessness, the four methods of winning people, the eighteen unshared properties, and the transcendental powers and the power of the way. The fact that I have attained impartial and correct enlightenment and can save living beings on a broad scale is all due to Devadatta, who was a good friend.”
Then the Buddha said to the four kinds of believers: “Devadatta, after immeasurable kalpas have passed, will attain buddhahood. He will be called Heavenly King Thus Come One, worthy of offerings, of right and universal knowledge, perfect clarity and conduct, well gone, understanding the world, unexcelled worthy, trainer of people, teacher of heavenly and human beings, buddha, world-honored one. His world will be called Heavenly Way, and at that time Heavenly King Buddha will abide in the world for twenty medium kalpas, broadly preaching the wonderful Law for the sake of living beings. Living beings numerous as Ganges sands will attain the fruit of arhatship. Immeasurable numbers of living beings will conceive the desire to become cause-awakened ones, living beings numerous as Ganges sands will conceive a desire for the unsurpassed way, will gain the truth of birthlessness, and will never regress. After Heavenly King Buddha enters parinirvana, his Correct Law will endure in the world for twenty medium kalpas. The relics from his whole body will be housed in a tower built of the seven treasures, sixty yojanas in height and forty yojanas in width and depth. All the heavenly and human beings will take assorted flowers, powdered incense, incense for burning, paste incense, clothing, necklaces, p.224streamers and banners, jeweled canopies, music and songs of praise and offer them with obeisance to the wonderful seven-jeweled tower. Immeasurable numbers of living beings will attain the fruits of arhatship, numberless living beings will become enlightened as pratyekabuddhas, and unimaginable numbers of living beings will conceive a desire for enlightenment and will reach the level of no regression.”
The Buddha said to the monks: “In future ages if there are good men or good women who, on hearing the Devadatta chapter of the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, believe and revere it with pure hearts and harbor no doubts or perplexities, they will never fall into the realm of hell, of hungry spirits, or of beasts, but will be born in the presence of the buddhas of the ten directions, and in the place where they are born they will constantly hear this sutra. If they are born among human or heavenly beings, they will enjoy exceedingly wonderful delights, and if they are born in the presence of the buddhas, they will be born by transformation from lotus flowers.”
At that time there was a bodhisattva who was among the followers of Many Treasures World-Honored One from the lower region and whose name was Wisdom Accumulated. He said to Many Treasures Buddha, “Shall we return to our homeland?”
Shakyamuni Buddha said to Wisdom Accumulated, “Good man, wait a little while. There is a bodhisattva named Manjushri here whom you should see. Debate and discuss the wonderful Law with him, and then you may return to your homeland.”
At that time Manjushri was seated on a thousand-petaled lotus blossom big as a carriage wheel, and the bodhisattvas who had come with him were also seated on jeweled lotus blossoms. Manjushri had emerged in a natural manner from the palace of the dragon king Sagara in the great ocean and was suspended in the air. Proceeding to Holy Eagle Peak, he descended from the lotus blossom and, having entered the presence of the buddhas, bowed his head and paid obeisance before the feet of the two world-honored ones. When he had concluded these gestures of respect, he went to where Wisdom Accumulated was and exchanged greetings with him, and then retired and sat at one side.
p.225Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated questioned Manjushri, saying, “When you went to the palace of the dragon king, how many living beings did you convert?”
Manjushri replied, “The number is immeasurable, incapable of calculation. The mouth cannot express it, the mind cannot fathom it. Wait a moment and there will be proof.”
Before he had finished speaking, countless bodhisattvas seated on jeweled lotus blossoms emerged from the ocean and proceeded to Holy Eagle Peak, where they remained suspended in the air. These bodhisattvas had all been converted and saved by Manjushri. They had carried out all the bodhisattva practices and all discussed and expounded the six paramitas with one another. Those who had originally been voice-hearers expounded the practices of the voice-hearer when they were in the air, but now all were practicing the great vehicle principle of emptiness.
Manjushri said to Wisdom Accumulated, “The work of teaching and converting carried out in the ocean was as you can see.”
At that time Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated recited these verses of praise:

Of great wisdom and virtue, brave and stalwart,
you have converted and saved immeasurable beings.
Now those in this great assembly,
as well as I myself, have all seen them.
You expound the principle of the true aspect,
open up the Law of the single vehicle,
broadly guiding the many beings,
causing them quickly to attain enlightenment.

Manjushri said, “When I was in the ocean I constantly expounded the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law alone.”
Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated questioned Manjushri, saying, “This sutra is very profound, subtle, and wonderful, a treasure among sutras, a rarity in the world. Are there perhaps any living beings who, by earnestly and diligently practicing this sutra, have been able to attain buddhahood quickly?”
p.226Manjushri replied, “There is the daughter of the dragon king Sagara, who has just turned eight. Her wisdom has keen roots and she is good at understanding the activities and deeds of the sense organs of living beings. She has mastered the dharanis, has been able to accept and embrace all the storehouse of profound secrets preached by the buddhas, has entered deep into meditation, thoroughly grasped the doctrines, and in the space of an instant conceived the desire for enlightenment and reached the level of no regression. Her eloquence knows no hindrance, and she thinks of living beings with compassion as though they were her own children. She is fully endowed with blessings, and when it comes to conceiving in mind and expounding by mouth, she is subtle, wonderful, comprehensive, and great. Kind, compassionate, benevolent, yielding, she is gentle and refined in will, and has ably attained enlightenment.”
Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated said, “When I observe Shakyamuni Thus Come One, I see that for immeasurable kalpas he carried out harsh and difficult practices, accumulating merit, piling up virtue, seeking the way of the bodhisattva without ever resting. I observe that throughout the major world system, there is not a single spot tiny as a mustard seed where this bodhisattva failed to sacrifice body and life for the sake of living beings. Only after he had done that was he able to complete the way of enlightenment. I cannot believe that this girl in the space of an instant could actually achieve correct enlightenment.”
Before his words had come to an end, the dragon king’s daughter suddenly appeared before the Buddha, bowed her head in obeisance, and then retired to one side, reciting these verses of praise:

He profoundly understands the signs of guilt and good fortune
and illuminates the ten directions everywhere.
His subtle, wonderful, pure Dharma body
is endowed with the thirty-two features;
the eighty characteristics
adorn his Dharma body.
p.227Heavenly and human beings gaze up in awe,
dragons too all pay honor and respect;
among all living beings,
none who do not hold him in reverence.
And having heard his teachings, I have attained enlightenment—
the Buddha alone can bear witness to this.
I unfold the doctrines of the great vehicle
to rescue living beings from suffering.

At that time Shariputra said to the dragon girl, “You suppose that in this short time you have been able to attain the unsurpassed way. But this is difficult to believe. Why? Because a woman’s body is soiled and defiled, not a vessel for the Law. How could you attain the unsurpassed enlightenment? The road to buddhahood is long and far-stretching. Only after one has spent immeasurable kalpas pursuing austerities, accumulating deeds, practicing all kinds of paramitas, can one finally achieve success. Moreover, a woman is subject to the five obstacles. First, she cannot become a Brahma heavenly king. Second, she cannot become a king Shakra. Third, she cannot become a devil king. Fourth, she cannot become a wheel-turning sage king. Fifth, she cannot become a buddha. How then could a woman like you be able to attain buddhahood so quickly?”
At that time the dragon girl had a precious jewel worth as much as the major world system, which she presented to the Buddha. The Buddha immediately accepted it. The dragon girl said to Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated and to the venerable one, Shariputra, “I presented the precious jewel and the world-honored one accepted it—was that not quickly done?”
They replied, “Very quickly!”
The girl said, “Employ your supernatural powers and watch me attain buddhahood. It will be even quicker than that!”
At that time the members of the assembly all saw the dragon girl in the space of an instant change into a man and carry out all the practices of a bodhisattva, immediately proceeding to the Spotless World of the south, taking a seat on a jeweled lotus, p.228and attaining impartial and correct enlightenment. With the thirty-two features and the eighty characteristics, he expounded the wonderful Law for all living beings everywhere in the ten directions.
At that time in the saha world the bodhisattvas and voice-hearers, the gods, dragons, and others of the eight kinds of guardians, the human and nonhuman beings, all from a distance saw the dragon girl become a buddha and preach the Law to all the human and heavenly beings in the assembly at that time. Their hearts were filled with great joy and all from a distance paid reverent obeisance. Immeasurable living beings, hearing the Law, understood it and were able to reach the level of no regression. Immeasurable living beings received prophecies that they would gain the way. The Spotless World quaked and trembled in six different ways. Three thousand living beings of the saha world remained on the level of no regression. Three thousand living beings conceived a desire for enlightenment and received prophecies of enlightenment. Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated, Shariputra, and all the other members of the assembly silently believed and accepted these things.
CHAPTER 13

Encouraging Devotion

At that time the bodhisattva mahasattva Medicine King, along with the bodhisattva mahasattva Great Joy of Preaching and twenty thousand bodhisattva followers who were accompanying them, all in the presence of the Buddha took this vow, saying: “We beg the world-honored one to have no further worry. After the Buddha has entered extinction we will honor, embrace, read, recite, and preach this sutra. Living beings in the evil age to come will have fewer and fewer good roots. Many will be overbearingly arrogant and greedy for offerings and other forms of gain, increasing the roots that are not good and moving farther away than ever from emancipation. But although it will be difficult to teach and convert them, we will summon up the power of great patience and will read and recite this sutra, embrace, preach, and copy it, offering it many kinds of alms and never begrudging our bodies or lives.”
At that time the five hundred arhats in the assembly who had received a prophecy of enlightenment said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, we too will make a vow. In lands other than this one we will broadly preach this sutra.”
Also there were eight thousand persons, some still learning, others with nothing more to learn, who had received a prophecy of enlightenment. They rose from their seats, pressed their palms together and, turning toward the Buddha, made this vow: “World-Honored One, we too in other lands will broadly preach p.230this sutra. Why? Because in this saha world the people are given to corruption and evil, beset by overbearing arrogance, shallow in blessings, irascible, muddled, fawning, and devious, and their hearts are not sincere.”
At that time the Buddha’s maternal aunt, the nun Mahaprajapati, and the six thousand nuns who accompanied her, some still learning, others with nothing more to learn, rose from their seats, pressed their palms together with a single mind, and gazed up at the face of the honored one, their eyes never leaving him for an instant.
At that time the world-honored one said to Gautami,1 “Why do you look at the thus come one in that perplexed manner? In your heart are you perhaps worrying that I have failed to mention your name among those who have received a prophecy of the attainment of supreme perfect enlightenment? But Gautami, I earlier made a general statement saying that all the voice-hearers have received such a prophecy. Now if you would like to know the prophecy for you, I will say that in ages to come, amid the Law of sixty-eight thousands of millions of buddhas, you will be a great teacher of the Law, and the six thousand nuns, some still learning, some already sufficiently learned, will accompany you as teachers of the Law. In this manner you will bit by bit fulfill the way of the bodhisattva until you are able to become a buddha with the name Gladly Seen by All Living Beings 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. Gautami, this Gladly Seen by All Living Beings Buddha will confer a prophecy upon the six thousand bodhisattvas, to be passed from one to another, that they will attain supreme perfect enlightenment.”
At that time the mother of Rahula, the nun Yashodhara, thought to herself, The world-honored one in his bestowal of prophecies has failed to mention my name alone!
The Buddha said to Yashodhara, “In future ages, amid the p.231Law of hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of buddhas, you will practice the deeds of a bodhisattva, will be a great teacher of the Law, and will gradually fulfill the buddha way. Then in a good land you will become a buddha named Endowed with a Thousand Ten Thousand Glowing Marks 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. The life span of this buddha will be immeasurable asamkhya kalpas.”
At that time the nun Mahaprajapati, the nun Yashodhara, and their followers were all filled with great joy, having gained what they had never had before. Immediately in the presence of the Buddha they spoke in verse form, saying:

The world-honored one, leader and teacher,
brings tranquillity to heavenly and human beings.
We have heard these prophecies
and our minds are peaceful and satisfied.

The nuns, having recited these verses, said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, we too will be able to go to lands in other directions and broadly propagate this sutra.”
At that time the world-honored one looked at the eight hundred thousand million nayutas of bodhisattvas mahasattva. These bodhisattvas had all reached the level of non-regression, turned the unregressing wheel of the Law, and had gained dharanis. They rose from their seats, advanced before the Buddha and, pressing their palms together with a single mind, thought to themselves, If the world-honored one should order us to embrace and preach this sutra, we would do as the Buddha instructed and broadly propagate this Law. And then they thought to themselves, But the Buddha now is silent and gives us no such order. What shall we do?
At that time the bodhisattvas, respectfully complying with the Buddha’s will and at the same time wishing to fulfill their own original vows, proceeded in the presence of the Buddha to roar p.232the lion’s roar and to make a vow, saying: “World-Honored One, after the thus come one has entered extinction we will travel here and there, back and forth through the worlds in the ten directions so as to enable living beings to copy this sutra, to receive, embrace, read, and recite it, understand and preach its principles, practice it in accordance with the Law, and properly keep it in their thoughts. All this will be done through the Buddha’s power and authority. We beg that the world-honored one, though in another region, will look on from afar and guard and protect us.”
At that time the bodhisattvas joined their voices together and spoke in verse form, saying:

We beg you not to worry.
After the Buddha has passed into extinction,
in an age of fear and evil
we will preach far and wide.
There will be many ignorant people
who will curse and speak ill of us
and will attack us with swords and staves,
but we will endure all these things.
In that evil age there will be monks
with perverse wisdom and hearts that are fawning and crooked
who will suppose they have attained what they have not attained,
being proud and boastful in heart.
Or there will be forest-dwelling monks
wearing clothing of patched rags and living in retirement,
who will claim they are practicing the true way,
despising and looking down on all humankind.
Greedy for profit and support,
they will preach the Law to white-robed laymen
and will be respected and revered by the world
as though they were arhats who possess the six transcendental powers.
These men with evil in their hearts,
p.233constantly thinking of worldly affairs,
will borrow the name of forest-dwelling monks
and take delight in proclaiming our faults,
saying things like this:
“These monks are greedy
for profit and support
and therefore they preach non-Buddhist doctrines
and fabricate their own scriptures
to delude the people of the world.
Because they hope to gain fame and renown thereby
they make distinctions when preaching this sutra.”
Because in the midst of great assemblies
they constantly try to defame us,
they will address the rulers, high ministers,
Brahmans, and householders,
as well as the other monks,
slandering and speaking evil of us,
saying, “These are men of perverted views
who preach non-Buddhist doctrines!”
But because we revere the Buddha
we will bear all these evils.
Though they treat us with contempt, saying,
“You are all no doubt buddhas!”
all such words of arrogance and contempt
we will endure and accept.
In a muddied kalpa, in an evil age,
there will be many things to fear.
Evil demons will take possession of others
and through them curse, revile, and heap shame on us.
But we, reverently trusting in the Buddha,
will put on the armor of perseverance.
In order to preach this sutra
we will bear these difficult things.
We care nothing for our bodies or lives
but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.
In ages to come we will protect and uphold
what the Buddha has entrusted to us.
p.234This the world-honored one must know.
The evil monks of that muddied age,
failing to understand the Buddha’s expedient means,
how he preaches the Law in accordance with what is appropriate,
will confront us with foul language and angry frowns;
again and again we will be banished
to a place far removed from towers and temples.
All these various evils,
because we keep in mind the Buddha’s orders,
we will endure.
If in the settlements and towns
there are those who seek the Law,
we will go to wherever they are
and preach the Law entrusted to us by the Buddha.
We will be envoys of the world-honored one,
facing the assemblies without fear.
We will preach the Law with skill,
for we desire the Buddha to rest in tranquillity.
In the presence of the world-honored one
and of the buddhas who have gathered from the ten directions
we proclaim this vow.
The Buddha must know what is in our hearts.

CHAPTER 14

Peaceful Practices

At that time Manjushri, Dharma prince, bodhisattva mahasattva, said to the Buddha: “World-Honored One, these bodhisattvas undertake something that is very difficult. Because they revere and obey the Buddha, they have taken a great vow that in the evil age hereafter they will guard, uphold, read, recite, and preach this Lotus Sutra. World-Honored One, in the evil age hereafter, how should the bodhisattvas mahasattva go about preaching this sutra?”
The Buddha said to Manjushri: “If the bodhisattvas mahasattva in the evil age hereafter wish to preach this sutra, they should abide by four rules. First, they should abide by the practices and associations proper for bodhisattvas so that they can expound this sutra for the sake of living beings. Manjushri, what do I mean by the practices of a bodhisattva mahasattva? If a bodhisattva mahasattva takes his stand on perseverance, is gentle and compliant, never violent, and never alarmed in mind; and if with regard to phenomena he takes no action but observes the true aspect of phenomena without acting or making any distinction, then this I call the practices of a bodhisattva mahasattva.
“As for the associations proper for them, bodhisattvas mahasattva should not associate closely with rulers, princes, high ministers, or heads of offices. They should not associate closely with non-Buddhists, Brahmans, or Jains, or with those who compose works of secular literature or books extolling the non-Buddhists, p.236nor should they be closely associated with Lokayatas or Anti-Lokayatas.1 They should not be closely associated with hazardous amusements, boxing, or wrestling, or with actors or others engaged in various kinds of illusionary entertainments, or with chandalas, persons engaged in raising pigs, sheep, chickens, or dogs, or those who engage in hunting or fishing or other evil activities. If such persons at times come to them, then they may preach the Law for them, but they should expect nothing from it. Again they should not associate with monks, nuns, laymen, or laywomen who seek to become voice-hearers, nor should they question or visit them. They should not stay with them in the same room, or in the place of exercise, or in the lecture hall. If at times they come to them, they may preach the Law in accordance with what is appropriate, but should expect nothing from it.
“Manjushri, the bodhisattva mahasattva should not, when preaching the Law to women, do so in a manner that could arouse thoughts of desire in them, nor should he delight in seeing them. If he enters the house of another person, he should not engage in talk with the young girls, unmarried women, or widows. Nor should he go near the five types of unmanly men2 or have any close dealings with them. He should not enter another person’s house alone. If for some reason it is imperative to enter alone, he should concentrate his whole mind on thoughts of the Buddha. If he should preach the Law for a woman, he should not bare his teeth in laughter or let his chest become exposed. He should not have any intimate dealings with her even for the sake of the Law, much less for any other purpose.
“He should not delight in nurturing underage disciples, shramaneras, or children, and should not delight in sharing the same teacher with them. He should constantly take pleasure in sitting in meditation, and being in quiet surroundings learn to still his mind. Manjushri, these are what I call the things he should first of all associate himself with.
p.237“Next, the bodhisattva mahasattva should view all phenomena as empty, that being their true aspect. They do not turn upside down, do not move, do not regress, do not revolve. They are like empty space, without innate nature, beyond the reach of all words. They are not born, do not emerge, do not arise. They are without name, without form, without true being. They are without volume, without limits, without hindrance, without barriers. It is only through causes and conditions that they exist, but because of upside-downness, errors are born. Therefore I say that he should constantly delight in viewing the aspect of phenomena as this. This is what I call the second thing that the bodhisattva mahasattva should associate himself with.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

If there are bodhisattvas
who in the evil age hereafter
wish with fearless hearts
to preach this sutra,
these are the places they should enter
and the people they should closely associate with.
At all times shun rulers
and the princes of kingdoms,
high ministers, heads of offices,
those engaged in hazardous amusements
as well as chandalas,
non-Buddhists, and Brahmans.
They should not associate with
people of overbearing arrogance
or those who stubbornly adhere to the lesser vehicle
and are learned in its three storehouses.
Monks who violate the precepts,
arhats who are so in name only,
nuns who are fond
of jesting and laughter,
or women lay believers
who are profoundly attached to the five desires
p.238or who seek immediate entry into extinction—
all these they should not associate with.
If there are people
who come with good hearts
to the place of the bodhisattva
in order to hear the buddha way,
then the bodhisattva
with a fearless heart
but without harboring expectations
should preach the Law for them.
But widows and unmarried women
and the different kinds of unmanly men—
all these he should not associate with
or treat with intimacy.
Also he must not associate with
slaughterers or flesh-carvers,
those who hunt animals or catch fish,
or kill or do harm for profit.
Those who peddle meat for a living
or display women and sell their favors—
all people such as this
he should never associate with.
Those engaged in hazardous sports, wrestling,
or other kinds of amusements,
women of lascivious nature—
never associate with any of these.
Never go alone into an enclosed place
to preach the Law to a woman.
When he preaches the Law,
let there be no jesting or laughter.
When he enters a village to beg for food,
he should take another monk with him;
if there is no other monk around,
with a single mind he should concentrate on the Buddha.
These are what I call
proper practices and associations.
p.239By being careful about these two,
they can preach in a peaceful manner.
They should not speak in terms of
superior, medial, or inferior doctrines,
of doctrines of the conditioned or the unconditioned,
of the real or the not real.
Again they should not make distinctions
by saying, “This is a man,” “This is a woman.”
Do not try to apprehend phenomena,
to understand or to see them.
These are what I call
the practices of the bodhisattvas.
All phenomena
are empty, without being,
without any constant abiding,
without arising or extinction.
This I call the position
wise people associate themselves with.
From upside-downness come distinctions,
that phenomena exist, do not exist,
are real, are not real,
are born, are not born.
Place themselves in quiet surroundings,
learn to still their minds,
remain tranquil, unmoving,
like Mount Sumeru.
Look upon all phenomena
as having no existence,
like empty space,
as without firmness or hardness,
not born, not emerging,
not moving, not regressing,
constantly abiding in a single aspect—
this I call the place to draw near to.
If after I have entered extinction
there are monks
p.240who take up these practices
and these associations,
then when they preach this sutra
they will be free of quailing and timidity.
If a bodhisattva will at times
enter a quiet room
and with the correct mental attitude
will view phenomena according to the principle,
and then, rising from his meditation,
will for the sake of the ruler,
the princes, ministers, and people,
the Brahmans and others,
unfold, propagate, expound,
and preach this sutra,
then his mind will be tranquil,
free of quailing and timidity.
Manjushri,
these I call the first set of rules
for the bodhisattvas to abide by
to enable them in later ages
to preach the Lotus Sutra.

“Furthermore, Manjushri, after the thus come one has passed into extinction, in the Latter Day of the Law, if a person wishes to preach this sutra, he should abide by these peaceful practices. When he opens his mouth to expound or when he reads the sutra, he should not delight in speaking of the faults of other people or scriptures. He should not display contempt for other teachers of the Law or speak of the good or bad, the strong or weak points of others. With regard to the voice-hearers he should not refer to them by name and describe their faults, or name them and praise their good points. Also he should not allow his mind to become filled with resentment or hatred. Because he is good at cultivating this kind of peaceful mind, his listeners will not oppose his ideas. If he is asked difficult questions, he should not reply in terms of the teachings of the lesser vehicle. He should explain things solely in terms of the great p.241vehicle so that people will be able to acquire wisdom embracing all species.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

The bodhisattva should at all times delight
in preaching the Law in a tranquil manner.
On pure clean ground
he should spread his sitting mat,
anoint his body with oil,
wash away dust and impurities,
put on a new clean robe
and make himself both inwardly and outwardly pure.
Seating himself comfortably in the Dharma seat,
he should preach the Law in accordance with questions.
If there are monks
or nuns,
men lay believers,
women lay believers,
rulers and princes,
officials, gentlemen, and common people,
with a mild expression he should preach for them
the subtle and wonderful doctrines.
If there are difficult questions
he should answer them in accordance with the doctrines,
employing causes and conditions, similes and parables,
to expound and make distinctions,
and through these expedient means
cause all listeners to aspire to enlightenment,
to increase their benefits little by little
and enter the buddha way.
He should put aside all idea of laziness,
all thought of negligence or ease,
remove himself from cares and worries
and with a compassionate mind preach the Law.
Day and night constantly he should expound
the teachings of the unsurpassed way,
p.242employing causes and conditions,
immeasurable similes and parables
to instruct living beings
and cause them all to be joyful.
Clothing and bedding,
food, drink, medicine—
with regard to such things
he should have no expectations
but with a single mind concentrate
upon the reasons for preaching the Law,
desiring to complete the buddha way
and to cause those in the assembly to do likewise.
That will bring great gain to them,
an offering of peace.
After I have passed into extinction
if there are monks
who are able to expound
this Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law,
their minds will be free of jealousy and anger,
of all worry and hindrance.
No one will trouble them,
curse or revile them.
They will know no fear,
no attacks by sword or staff,
nor will they ever be banished,
because they abide in patience.
Wise persons will be good
at cultivating their minds like this
and be able to abide in peace
as I have described above.
The blessings of such people
are beyond calculation, simile, or parable;
thousands, ten thousands, millions of kalpas
would not suffice to describe them.

“Also, Manjushri, if a bodhisattva mahasattva in the latter age hereafter, when the Law is about to perish, should accept and p.243embrace, read and recite this sutra, he must not harbor a mind marked by jealousy, fawning, or deceit. And he must not be contemptuous of or revile those who study the buddha way or seek out their shortcomings.
“If there are monks, nuns, laymen, or laywomen who seek to become voice-hearers, seek to become pratyekabuddhas, or seek the bodhisattva way, one must not trouble them by causing them to have doubts or regrets, by saying to them, ‘You are far removed from the way and in the end will never be able to attain wisdom embracing all species. Why? Because you are self-indulgent and willful people who are negligent of the way!’
“Also one should never engage in frivolous debate over the various doctrines or dispute or wrangle over them. With regard to all living beings one should think of them with great compassion. With regard to the thus come ones, think of them as kindly fathers; with regard to the bodhisattvas, think of them as great teachers. Toward the great bodhisattvas of the ten directions at all times maintain a serious mind, paying them due reverence and obeisance. To all living beings preach the Law in an equitable manner. Because a person is heedful of the Law, that does not mean one should vary the amount of preaching. Even to those who show a profound love for the Law one should not on that account preach at greater length.
“Manjushri, if among these bodhisattvas mahasattva there are those who in the latter age hereafter, when the Law is about to perish, succeed in carrying out this third set of peaceful practices, then when they preach this Law they will be free of anxiety and confusion, and will find good fellow students to read and recite this sutra with. They will attract large assemblies of persons who come to listen and assent. After they have listened, they will embrace; after they have embraced, they will recite; after they have recited, they will preach; and after they have preached, they will copy, or will cause others to copy, and will present offerings to the sutra rolls, treating them with reverence, respect, and praise.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

p.244If they wish to preach this sutra,
they must set aside jealousy, hatred, arrogance,
minds that are fawning, deceitful, false,
and constantly practice honest and upright conduct.
They should not look with contempt on others
or hold frivolous debates on the Law.
They should not cause others to have doubts or regrets
by saying, “You will never become a buddha!”
When a son of the Buddha preaches the Law
he is at all times gentle and full of forbearance,
having pity and compassion on all,
never giving way to a negligent or slothful mind.
The great bodhisattvas of the ten directions
out of pity for the multitude carry out the way.
He should strive to respect and revere them,
saying, “These are my great teachers!”
Regarding the buddhas, the world-honored ones,
learn to think of them as unsurpassed fathers.
Wipe out the mind of pride and arrogance
and preach the Law without hindrance.
Such is the third set of rules;
wise people should guard and obey them.
If with a single mind they observe these peaceful practices,
they will be respected by immeasurable multitudes.

“Manjushri, if among these bodhisattvas mahasattva there are those who in the latter age hereafter, when the Law is about to perish, accept and embrace the Lotus Sutra, toward believers who are still in the household or those who have left the household they should cultivate a mind of great compassion, and toward those who are not bodhisattvas they should also cultivate a mind of great compassion, and should think to themselves: These people have lost much. Though the thus come one as an expedient means preached the Law in accordance with what is appropriate, they do not listen, do not know, do not realize, do not inquire, do not believe, do not understand. But although these people do not inquire about, do not believe, and do not understand this p.245sutra, when I have attained supreme perfect enlightenment, wherever I may happen to be, I will employ my transcendental powers and the power of wisdom to draw them to me and cause them to abide in this Law.
“Manjushri, after the thus come one has entered extinction, if among these bodhisattvas mahasattva there are those who succeed in carrying out this fourth set of rules, then when they preach the Law they will commit no error. Monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, rulers, princes, great ministers, common people, Brahmans, and householders will constantly offer them alms and will revere, respect, and praise them. The heavenly beings in the sky, in order to listen to the Law, will constantly follow and attend them. If they are in a settlement or town or in a quiet and deserted place or a forest and people come and want to ask them difficult questions, the heavenly beings day and night will for the sake of the Law constantly guard and protect them and will cause all the listeners to rejoice. Why? Because this sutra is protected by the supernatural powers of all the buddhas of the past, future, and present.
“Manjushri, as for this Lotus Sutra, throughout immeasurable numbers of lands one cannot even hear its name, much less be able to see it, accept and embrace, read and recite it. Manjushri, suppose, for example, that there is a powerful wheel-turning sage king who wants to use his might to subdue other countries, but the petty rulers will not heed his commands. At that time the wheel-turning king calls up his various troops and sets out to attack. If the king sees any of his fighting forces who have won distinction in battle, he is greatly delighted and immediately rewards the persons in accordance with their merits, handing out fields, houses, settlements, and towns, or robes and personal adornments, or perhaps giving out various precious objects such as gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, coral, or amber, or elephants, horses, carriages, men and women servants, and people. Only the bright jewel that is in his topknot he does not give away. Why? Because this one jewel exists only on the top of the king’s head, and if he were to give it away, his followers would be certain to express great consternation and alarm.
p.246“Manjushri, the thus come one is like this. He uses the power of meditation and wisdom to win Dharma lands and become king of the threefold world. But the devil kings are unwilling to obey and submit. The worthy and sage military leaders of the thus come one engage them in battle, and when any of the Buddha’s soldiers achieve distinction, the Buddha is delighted in heart and in the midst of the four kinds of believers he preaches various sutras, causing their hearts to be joyful. He bestows upon them meditations, emancipations, faculties that are free of outflows, powers, and other treasures of the Law. He also bestows upon them the city of nirvana, telling them that they have attained extinction, guiding their minds and causing them all to rejoice. But he does not preach the Lotus Sutra to them.
“Manjushri, when the wheel-turning king sees someone among his soldiers who has gained truly great distinction, he is so delighted in heart that he takes that unbelievably fine jewel that has been in his topknot for so long and has never been recklessly given away, and now gives it to the man. And the thus come one does the same. In the threefold world he acts as the great Dharma king. He uses the Law to teach and convert all living beings, and watches his worthy and sage armies as they battle with the devils of the five components, the devils of earthly desires, and the death devil. And when they have won great distinction and merit, wiping out the three poisons, emerging from the threefold world, and destroying the nets of the devils, at that time the thus come one is filled with great joy. This Lotus Sutra is capable of causing living beings to attain comprehensive wisdom. It will face much hostility in the world and be difficult to believe. It has not been preached before, but now I preach it.
“Manjushri, this Lotus Sutra is foremost among all that is preached by the thus come ones. Among all that is preached it is the most profound. And it is given at the very last, the way that powerful ruler did when he took the bright jewel he had guarded for so long and finally gave it away.
“Manjushri, this Lotus Sutra is the secret storehouse of the buddhas, the thus come ones. Among the sutras, it holds the p.247highest place. Through the long night I have guarded and protected it and have never recklessly propagated it. But today for the first time I expound it for your sake.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

Constantly practice perseverance,
have pity on all beings,
and do your best to expound and preach
the sutra praised by the Buddha.
In the latter age hereafter
those who embrace this sutra should,
with regard to people in the household, people who have left it,
or people who are not bodhisattvas,
cultivate pity and compassion,
saying, “If they do not listen to
and do not believe this sutra
they will lost much.
If I gain the buddha way
I will employ expedient means
and preach this Law for them,
causing them to abide in it.”
Suppose there is a powerful
wheel-turning king.
His soldiers have won merit in battle
and he rewards them with various articles,
elephants, horses, carriages,
adornments for their persons,
fields and houses,
settlements and towns,
or gives them clothing,
various kinds of precious objects,
men and women servants, wealth and goods,
delightedly bestowing all these.
But if there is someone brave and stalwart
p.248who can carry out difficult deeds,
the king will remove the bright jewel from his topknot
and present it to the man.
The thus come one is like this.
He acts as king of the doctrines,
possessing the great power of perseverance
and the precious storehouse of wisdom,
and with his great pity and compassion
he converts the age in accordance with the Law.
He sees all people
as they undergo suffering and anxiety,
seeking to gain emancipation,
battling with the devils,
and for the sake of these living beings
he preaches various doctrines,
employing great expedient means
and preaching these sutras.
And when he knows that living beings
have gained power through them,
then at the very last for their sake
he preaches this Lotus Sutra,
like the king who unbinds his topknot
and gives away his bright jewel.
This sutra is to be honored
as highest among all sutras.
Constantly I guard and protect it,
and do not recklessly reveal it.
But now the time is right
for me to preach it to you.
After I have entered extinction
if someone seeks the buddha way
and hopes to be able in tranquillity
to expound this sutra,
then he should associate himself closely
with the four rules described.
Anyone who reads this sutra
will at all times be free of worry and anxiety;
p.249likewise he will be without illness or pain,
his expression fresh and bright.
He will not be born in poverty or want,
in humble circumstances or ugly form.
Living beings will delight to see him
and look up to him as a worthy or a sage.
The young sons of heavenly beings
will wait on him and serve him.
Swords and staves will not touch him
and poison will have no power to harm him.
If people speak ill of and revile him,
their mouths will be closed and stopped up.
He will stroll about without fear
like the lion king.
The brilliance of his wisdom
will be like the shining of the sun;
even in his dreams
he will see only wonderful things.
He will see the thus come ones
seated in their lion seats
surrounded by multitudes of monks
and preaching the Law.
And he will see dragons,
asuras, and others,
numerous as Ganges sands,
reverently pressing their palms together.
He will see himself there
preaching the Law for them.
Again he will see buddhas,
their bodies marked by a golden hue,
emitting immeasurable rays
that light up all things,
employing brahma sounds
to expound the doctrines.
For the four kinds of believers
the Buddha will preach the unsurpassed Law,
and he will see himself among them
p.250pressing his palms together and praising the Buddha.
He will hear the Law and delight
and will offer alms.
He will obtain dharanis
and proof of the wisdom without regression.
And when the Buddha knows that his mind
has entered deep into the buddha way,
then he will give him a prophecy
that he will attain the highest, the correct enlightenment.
“You, good man,
in an age to come
will attain immeasurable wisdom,
the great way of the buddha.
Your land will be adorned and pure,
incomparably broad and great,
with the four kinds of believers
who press their palms together and listen to the Law.”
Again he will see himself
in the midst of mountains and forests
practicing the good Law,
understanding the true aspect of all phenomena,
deeply entering meditation,
and seeing the buddhas of the ten directions.
Of buddhas, their bodies a golden hue,
adorned with the marks of a hundred kinds of good fortune,
of listening to the Law and preaching it to people—
such will be the good dreams he constantly dreams.
Again he will dream he is king of a country
but casts aside palaces and attendants
and the superb and wonderful objects of the five desires,
repairs to the place of enlightenment
and under the bodhi tree
seats himself on a lion seat,
seeking the way, and after seven days
gains the wisdom of the buddhas.
Having succeeded in the unsurpassed way,
p.251he rises and turns the wheel of the Law,
preaching the Law for the four kinds of believers,
for thousands, ten thousands, millions of kalpas
preaching the wonderful Law free of outflows,
saving immeasurable living beings.
And afterward he will enter nirvana
like smoke coming to an end when a lamp goes out.
If in that evil age hereafter
someone preaches this foremost Law,
that person will gain great benefits,
blessings such as have been described above.

CHAPTER 15

Emerging from the Earth

At that time the bodhisattvas mahasattva who had gathered from lands in other directions, greater in number than the sands of eight Ganges Rivers, stood up in the midst of the great assembly, pressed their palms together, bowed in obeisance, and said to the Buddha: “World-Honored One, if you will permit us in the age after the Buddha has entered extinction to diligently and earnestly protect, embrace, read, recite, copy, and offer alms to this sutra in the saha world, we will preach it widely throughout this land!”
At that time the Buddha said to the bodhisattvas mahasattva: “Leave off, good men! There is no need for you to protect and embrace this sutra. Why? Because in this saha world of mine there are bodhisattvas mahasattva who are as numerous as the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers, and each of these bodhisattvas has a retinue equal to the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers. After I have entered extinction these people will be able to protect, embrace, read, recite, and widely preach this sutra.”
When the Buddha spoke these words, the earth of all the billion lands of the saha world trembled and split open, and out of it emerged at the same instant immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of bodhisattvas mahasattva. The bodies of these bodhisattvas were all golden in hue, with the thirty-two features and an immeasurable brightness. Previously they had all been dwelling in the world of empty space underneath the saha p.253world. But when these bodhisattvas heard the voice of Shakyamuni Buddha speaking, they came up from below.
Each one of these bodhisattvas was the leader of his own great assembly, and each brought with him a retinue equal in number to the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers. To say nothing of those who brought retinues equal to the sands of fifty thousand, forty thousand, thirty thousand, twenty thousand, or ten thousand Ganges Rivers. Or a retinue equal to as little as the sands of one Ganges River, half a Ganges River, one fourth of a Ganges River, or as little as one part in a thousand, ten thousand, a million nayutas of a Ganges River. Or those whose retinue was only one thousand ten thousand million nayutas. Or only a million ten thousand. Or only a thousand ten thousand, a hundred ten thousand, or just ten thousand. Or only one thousand, one hundred, or ten. Or who brought with them only five, four, three, two, or one disciple. Or those who came alone, preferring to carry out solitary practices. Such were they, then, immeasurable, boundless, beyond anything that can be known through calculation, simile, or parable.
After these bodhisattvas had emerged from the earth, they each one proceeded to the wonderful tower of seven treasures suspended in the sky where Many Treasures Thus Come One and Shakyamuni Buddha were. On reaching it, they turned to the two world-honored ones, bowed their heads, and made obeisance at their feet. They also all performed obeisance to the buddhas seated on lion seats underneath the jeweled trees. Then they circled around to the right three times, pressed their palms together in a gesture of respect, utilizing the bodhisattvas’ various methods of praising to deliver praises, and then took up a position to one side, gazing up in joy at the two world-honored ones. While these bodhisattvas mahasattva who had emerged from the earth were employing the bodhisattvas’ various methods of praising to praise the buddhas, an interval of fifty small kalpas passed by.
At that time Shakyamuni Buddha sat silent, and the four kinds of believers likewise all remained silent for fifty small kalpas, but because of the supernatural powers of the Buddha, it p.254was made to seem to the members of the great assembly like only half a day.
At that time the four kinds of believers, also because of the supernatural powers of the Buddha, saw these bodhisattvas filling the sky over immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, and millions of lands. Among these bodhisattvas were four leaders. The first was called Superior Practices, the second was called Boundless Practices, the third was called Pure Practices, and the fourth was called Firmly Established Practices. These four bodhisattvas were the foremost leaders and guiding teachers among all the group. In the presence of the great assembly, each one of these pressed his palms together, gazed at Shakyamuni Buddha, and inquired: “World-Honored One, are your illnesses few, are your worries few, are your practices proceeding comfortably? Do those whom you propose to save readily receive instruction? Does the effort not cause the world-honored one to become weary and spent?”
At that time the four great bodhisattvas spoke in verse form, saying:

Is the World-Honored One comfortable,
with few illnesses, few worries?
In teaching and converting living beings,
can you do so without fatigue and weariness?
And do living beings
receive instruction readily or not?
Does it not cause the World-Honored One
to become weary and spent?

At that time in the midst of the great assembly of bodhisattvas the world-honored one spoke these words: “Just so, just so, good men! The thus come one is well and happy, with few ills and few worries. The living beings are readily converted and saved and I am not weary or spent. Why? Because for age after age in the past the living beings have constantly received my instruction. And also they have offered alms and paid reverence to the buddhas of the past and have planted various good roots. p.255So when these living beings see me for the first time and listen to my preaching, they all immediately believe and accept it, entering into the wisdom of a thus come one, with the exception of those who earlier practiced and studied the lesser vehicle. And now I will make it possible for these persons to listen to this sutra and enter the wisdom of a buddha.”
At that time the [four] great bodhisattvas spoke in verse form, saying:

Excellent, excellent,
great hero, World-Honored One!
The living beings
are readily converted and saved.
They know how to inquire about
the most profound wisdom of the buddhas,
and having heard, they believe and understand it.
We are accordingly overjoyed.

At that time the world-honored one praised the great bodhisattvas who led the group, saying: “Excellent, excellent, good men! You know how to rejoice in your hearts for the thus come one.”
At that time the bodhisattva Maitreya and the multitude of bodhisattvas equal in number to the sands of eight thousand Ganges Rivers all thought to themselves: Never in the past have we seen or heard of such a great multitude of bodhisattvas mahasattva as these who have emerged from the earth and now stand before the world-honored one pressing their palms together, offering alms, and inquiring about the thus come one!
At that time the bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya, knowing the thought that was in the minds of the bodhisattvas as numerous as the sands of eight thousand Ganges Rivers, and wishing also to resolve his own doubts, pressed his palms together, turned to the Buddha, and made this inquiry in verse form:

Immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions,
a great host of bodhisattvas
p.256such as was never seen in the past—
I beg the most honored of two-legged beings to explain
where they have come from,
what causes and conditions bring them together!
Huge in body, with great transcendental powers,
unfathomable in wisdom,
firm in their intent and thought,
with the power of great perseverance,
the kind living beings delight to see—
where have they come from?
Each one of these bodhisattvas
brings with him a retinue
immeasurable in number
like the sands of the Ganges River.
Some of these great bodhisattvas
bring numbers equal to the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers.
And this great multitude
with a single mind seek the buddha way.
These great teachers
equal in number to the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers
together come to offer alms to the Buddha
and to guard and uphold this sutra.
More numerous are those with followers
like the sands of fifty thousand Ganges Rivers,
those with followers like the sands of forty thousand, thirty thousand,
twenty thousand, ten thousand,
one thousand, one hundred,
or the sands of a single Ganges River,
half a Ganges River, one third, one fourth,
or only one part in a million ten thousand;
those with one thousand, ten thousand nayutas,
ten thousand, a million disciples,
or half a million—
they are more numerous still.
p.257Those with a hundred ten thousand or ten thousand followers,
a thousand or a hundred,
fifty or ten,
three, two, or one,
or those who come alone without followers,
delighting in solitude,
all coming to where the Buddha is—
they are even more numerous than those described above.
If one should try to use an abacus
to calculate the number of this great multitude,
though he spent as many kalpas as Ganges sands
he could never know the full sum.
This host of bodhisattvas
with their great dignity, virtue, and diligence—
who preached the Law for them,
who taught and converted them and brought them to this?
Under whom did they first set their minds on enlightenment,
what buddha’s Law do they praise and proclaim?
What sutra do they embrace and carry out,
what buddha way do they practice?
These bodhisattvas
possess transcendental powers and the power of great wisdom.
The earth in four directions trembles and splits
and they all emerge from out of it.
World-Honored One, from times past
I have seen nothing like this!
I beg you to tell me where they come from,
the name of the land.
I have constantly journeyed from land to land
but never have I seen such a thing!
In this whole multitude
there is not one person that I know.
p.258Suddenly they have come up from the earth—
I beg you to explain the cause.
The members of this great assembly now,
the immeasurable hundreds, thousands, millions
of bodhisattvas,
all want to know these things.
Regarding the causes that govern the beginning and end
of this multitude of bodhisattvas,
possessor of immeasurable virtue, World-Honored One,
we beg you to dispel the doubts of the assembly!

At that time the buddhas who were emanations of Shakyamuni Buddha and had arrived from immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of lands in other directions were seated cross-legged on lion seats under jeweled trees in eight directions. The attendants of these buddhas all saw the great multitude of bodhisattvas who had emerged from the earth in the four directions of the major world system and were suspended in the air, and each one said to his respective buddha: “World-Honored One, this great multitude of immeasurable, boundless asamkhyas of bodhisattvas—where did they come from?”
At that time the buddhas spoke to their attendants, saying: “Good men, wait a moment. There is a bodhisattva mahasattva named Maitreya who has received a prophecy from Shakyamuni Buddha that he will be the next hereafter to become a buddha. He has already inquired about this matter and the Buddha is now about to answer him. You should take this opportunity to listen to what he says.”
At that time Shakyamuni Buddha said to the bodhisattva Maitreya: “Excellent, excellent, Ajita, that you should question the Buddha about this great affair. All of you with a single mind should don the armor of diligence and determine to be firm in intent. The thus come one wishes now to summon forth and declare the wisdom of the buddhas, the freely exercised transcendental power of the buddhas, the power of the buddhas that has the lion’s ferocity, the fierce and greatly forceful power of the buddhas.”
p.259At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

Be diligent and of a single mind,
for I wish to explain this affair.
Have no doubts or regrets—
the buddha wisdom is hard to fathom.
Now you must put forth the power of faith,
abiding in patience and goodness.
A Law that in the past was never heard
you will now all be able to hear.
Now I will bring you ease and consolation—
do not harbor doubts or fears.
The Buddha has nothing but truthful words,
his wisdom cannot be measured.
This foremost Law that he has gained
is very profound, incapable of analysis.
He will now expound it—
you must listen with a single mind.

At that time the world-honored one, having spoken these verses, said to the bodhisattva Maitreya: “With regard to this great multitude I now say this to you. Ajita, these bodhisattvas mahasattva who in immeasurable and countless asamkhyas have emerged from the earth and whom you have never seen before in the past—after I attained supreme perfect enlightenment in this saha world, I converted and guided these bodhisattvas, trained their minds, and caused them to develop a longing for the way. These bodhisattvas have all been dwelling in the world of empty space underneath the saha world. They read, recite, understand the various scriptures, ponder them, make distinctions, and keep them correctly in mind.
“Ajita, these good men take no delight in being in the crowd and indulging in much talk. Their delight is constantly to be in a quiet place, exerting themselves diligently and never resting. Nor do they linger among human or heavenly beings, but constantly delight in profound wisdom, being free from all p.260hindrances. And they constantly delight in the Law of the buddhas, diligently and with a single mind pursuing unsurpassed wisdom.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

Ajita, you should understand this.
These great bodhisattvas
for countless kalpas
have practiced the buddha wisdom.
All have been converted by me;
I caused them to set their minds on the great way.
These are my sons,
they dwell in this world,
constantly carrying out dhuta practices,
preferring a quiet place,
rejecting the fret and confusion of the crowd,
taking no delight in much talk.
In this manner these sons
study and practice my teaching of the way.
And in order that day and night with constant diligence
they may seek the buddha way,
in this saha world
they have been dwelling in the empty space in its lower part.
Firm in the power of will and concentration,
with constant diligence seeking wisdom,
they expound various wonderful doctrines
and their minds are without fear.
When I was in the vicinity of the city of Gaya,
seated beneath the bodhi tree,
I attained the highest, the correct enlightenment,
and turned the wheel of the unsurpassed Law.
Thereafter I taught and converted them,
caused them for the first time to set their minds on the way.
Now all of them dwell in the stage of non-regression,
p.261and all in time will be able to become buddhas.
What I speak now are true words—
with a single mind you must believe them!
Ever since the long distant past
I have been teaching and converting this multitude.

At that time the bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya, as well as the countless other bodhisattvas, found doubts and perplexities rising in their minds. They were puzzled at this thing that had never happened before and thought to themselves: How could the world-honored one in such a short space of time have taught and converted an immeasurable, boundless asamkhya number of great bodhisattvas of this sort and enabled them to dwell in supreme perfect enlightenment?
Thereupon Maitreya said to the Buddha: “World-Honored One, when the thus come one was crown prince, you left the palace of the Shakyas and sat in the place of enlightenment not far from the city of Gaya, and there attained supreme perfect enlightenment. Barely forty years or more have passed since then. World-Honored One, how in that short time could you have accomplished so much work as a buddha? Was it through the authoritative powers of a buddha, or through the blessings of a buddha, that you were able to teach and convert such an immeasurable number of great bodhisattvas and enable them to achieve supreme perfect enlightenment? World-Honored One, a multitude of great bodhisattvas such as this—a person might spend a thousand, ten thousand, a million kalpas counting them and never be able to reach the end or discover the limit! Since the far distant past, in the dwelling places of immeasurable, boundless numbers of buddhas, they must have planted good roots, carried out the bodhisattva way, and engaged constantly in brahma practices. World-Honored One, it is hard for the world to believe such a thing!
“Suppose, for example, that a young man of twenty-five, with ruddy complexion and hair still black, should point to someone who was a hundred years old and say, ‘This is my son!’ or that the hundred-year-old man should point to the youth and say, p.262‘This is my father, who sired and raised me!’ This would be hard to believe, and so too is what the Buddha says.
“It has in fact not been long since you attained the way. But this great multitude of bodhisattvas have already for immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of kalpas applied themselves diligently and earnestly for the sake of the buddha way. They have learned to enter into, emerge from, and dwell in immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of samadhis, have acquired great transcendental powers, have over a long period carried out brahma practices, and have been able step by step to practice various good doctrines, becoming skilled in questions and answers, a treasure among persons, something seldom known in all the worlds. And today, World-Honored One, you tell us that, in the time since you attained the buddha way, you have caused these people for the first time to aspire to enlightenment, have taught, converted, and led them, and directed them toward supreme perfect enlightenment!
“World-Honored One, it is not long since you attained buddhahood, and yet you have been able to carry out this great meritorious undertaking! We ourselves have faith in the Buddha, believing that he preaches in accordance with what is appropriate, that the words spoken by the Buddha are never false, and that the Buddha’s knowledge is in all cases penetrating and comprehensive. Nevertheless, in the period after the Buddha has entered extinction, if bodhisattvas who have just begun to aspire to enlightenment should hear these words, they will perhaps not believe or accept them but will be led to commit the crime of rejecting the Law. Therefore, World-Honored One, we beg you to explain so we may put aside our doubts, and so that, in future ages when good men hear of this matter, they will not entertain doubts!”
At that time the bodhisattva Maitreya, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

In the past the Buddha departed from the Shakya clan,
left his household, and near Gaya
sat under the bodhi tree.
p.263Little time has passed since then,
yet these sons of the Buddha
are immeasurable in number!
Already for a long time they have practiced the buddha way,
dwelling in transcendental powers and the power of wisdom,
skillfully learning the bodhisattva way,
unsoiled by worldly things
like the lotus flower in the water.
Emerging from the earth,
all display reverent and respectful minds,
standing in the presence of the world-honored one.
This is difficult to fathom—
how can one believe it?
The Buddha attained the way very recently,
yet those he has helped to gain success are so many!
We beg you to dispel the doubts of the assembly,
to make distinctions and explain the truth of the matter.
It is as though a young man
just turned twenty-five
were to point to a hundred-year-old man
with gray hair and wrinkled face
and say, ‘I sired him!’
and the old man were to say, ‘This is my father!’
The father youthful, the son old—
no one in the world could believe this!
World-Honored One, your case is similar.
Only very recently you attained the way.
These bodhisattvas
are firm in will, in no way timid or immature.
For immeasurable kalpas
they have been practicing the bodhisattva way.
They are clever at difficult questions and answers,
their minds know no fear.
They have firmly cultivated persevering minds,
upright in dignity and virtue.
p.264They are praised by the buddhas of the ten directions
as able and adept at preaching distinctions.
They have no wish to remain among the crowd
but constantly favor a state of meditation,
and in order to seek the buddha way
they have been dwelling in the space under the earth.
This we have heard from the Buddha
and have no doubts in the matter.
But for the sake of future ages we beg the Buddha
to explain and bring about understanding.
If with regard to this sutra
one should harbor doubt and fail to believe,
one will fall at once into the evil paths.
So we beg you now to explain.
These immeasurable bodhisattvas—
how in such a short time
did you teach them, cause them to have aspiring minds,
and to dwell in the stage of no regression?

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TERM OF THE DAY:

Eagle Peak [霊鷲山・耆闍崛山・霊山] (Skt Gridhrakūta; Pali Gijjhakūta; Jpn Ryōju-sen, Gishakussen, or Ryō-zen): Also known as Vulture Peak, Holy Eagle Peak, or Sacred Eagle Peak, and simply Holy Mountain, Sacred Mountain, or Holy Peak. A small mountain located northeast of Rājagriha, the capital of Magadha in ancient India. Eagle Peak is known as a place frequented by Shakyamuni, where he is said to have expounded the Lotus Sutra and other teachings. According to The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom by Nāgārjuna, Eagle Peak derived its name from its eagle-shaped summit and the many eagles or vultures inhabiting it. “Eagle Peak” also symbolizes the Buddha land or the state of Buddhahood, as in the expression “the pure land of Eagle Peak.” See also Gridhrakūta.

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