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17 February 2015

Foreword

THE publication in a single volume of the translations of 172 writings of Nichiren Daishonin, including his five major works, is indeed wonderful news, not only for members of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), but for all English-speaking people interested in Buddhism. This volume is the translation of works in the Nichiren Daishonin gosho zenshū (The Complete Works of Nichiren Daishonin). Now a good half of the contents of that volume has been translated and published in English.
Looking back, I recall that the Gosho zenshū was published in April 1952, about one year after my mentor, Jōsei Toda, became the second president of the Soka Gakkai. Since then, the members of the Soka Gakkai in Japan have been fond of reading the Gosho zenshū as they have persevered in spreading the Buddhist teachings widely, exactly as the Daishonin willed, for the peace and prosperity of humankind.
Particularly since my visit to the United States in 1960, my first trip outside Japan, the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin have transcended national boundaries and spread to numerous countries around the world. Now the number of countries I have visited has also grown to fifty-four.
Today the expansion of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism to 128 countries and territories worldwide attests to the realization of these golden words of the Daishonin: “The moon appears in the west and sheds its light eastward, but the sun rises in the east and casts its rays to the west. The same is true of Buddhism. It spread from west to east in the Former and Middle Days of the Law, but will travel from east to west in the Latter Day” (p. 401).
A world religion invariably has its sacred scriptures, or original texts. In Buddhism, for instance, there are sutras that record the teachings of Shakyamuni; in Christianity, there is the Bible; in Islam, the Koran.
The scriptures of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism are called the “Gosho.” (“Go” is an honorific prefix and “sho” means writings; thus, literally, honorable writings.) These writings have a distinguishing feature that sets them apart from the sacred texts of other religions. It is the fact that the founder, Nichiren Daishonin, wrote those works himself. Though the originals of many of those works have been lost, many important writings, including more than half of those known as the ten major works, have been handed down to the present in their original form. Naturally, with the worldwide spread of this Buddhism a demand has grown for the translation of those works, and efforts are now being made in many countries in that direction.
The Daishonin’s successor, Nikkō Shōnin (1246–1333), envisioned early on that, for the sake of worldwide propagation, the writings of his teacher were certain to be translated in the future. He declared: “Just as when the Buddhism of India spread eastward, the Sanskrit texts were translated and introduced in China and Japan, so when the time comes to widely declare the sacred teachings of this country, the Japanese texts are sure to be translated and spread in China and India. There is no reason to argue over translations that will benefit far-off lands. I alone worry about changes being made according to personal views” (Gosho zenshū).
Buddhism calls our present age the Latter Day of the Law. It is a period described in the sutras as an evil age defiled by the five impurities, in which people’s lives are muddied, and their confusion of thought is extreme. I am convinced that the Gosho is the one book that can dispel the darkness of this period and illuminate the third millennium. I believe it is the Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin that is indeed the scripture for the Latter Day of the Law, the scripture for all eternity.
The Gosho is a work of faith, of philosophy, of daily living, of eternal peace, and of boundless hope. It is set with myriad jewels of guidance. SGI members have read a single passage of the Gosho with their entire life, and not only changed their lives for the better but also achieved their human revolution.
What is the purpose of our studying the Gosho? The answer is expressed clearly in the following passage: “Believe in the Gohonzon, the supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvīpa. Be sure to strengthen your faith, and receive the protection of Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions. Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study. Without practice and study, there can be no Buddhism. You must not only persevere yourself; you must also teach others. Both practice and study arise from faith. Teach others to the best of your ability, even if it is only a single sentence or phrase” (p. 386).
The main elements of the practice of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism are summed up in this passage. What is important is, first, faith; second, practice; and third, study. Strong faith leads us directly to Buddhahood. And it is practice and study that deepen and strengthen that faith. For us, study must never be a mere accumulation of knowledge. It must be strictly a practical study to deepen one’s own faith and elevate one’s own state of life.
Moreover, the path of practice and study leads to the Gohonzon and to society. Because of practice and study, we face the Gohonzon, recite the sutra, and chant daimoku. With the wisdom and life force gained thereby, we carry out our practice and study in the midst of society. Herein lies what we call the bodhisattva way. That is the action of leading other people toward lasting happiness while striving to establish enduring peace for humanity. That practice begins with the inner reformation of the individual, and through that practice, the substance of our lives is deepened and enriched. The ultimate of those changes is the attainment of Buddhahood in this lifetime, or in modern terms, human revolution or self-actualization.
When the Daishonin talks about the Lotus Sutra, it is no longer a mere sacred scripture of the past. How overjoyed those who heard his teachings must have been on learning that the Lotus Sutra is alive in the realities of life, and that it teaches one’s own precious dignity. Our attitude when we read the Gosho should be the same.
The Gosho was written in thirteenth-century Japan. No matter what idea one expresses, one can never avoid what the sociologist Karl Mannheim described as the “existential determination of knowledge.” That is, it is perfectly natural that ideas be bound by various conditions of the society and age that are quite unrelated to the ideas themselves.
Thus, the Daishonin’s writings also reflect the cultural and social conditions of his time. Nevertheless, universal principles both timeless and unchanging are beautifully expressed therein. Our responsibility, I believe, is to read and extract those principles, and bring them to life in the present.
To give just one example, the Daishonin writes, “Even if it seems that, because I was born in the ruler’s domain, I follow him in my actions, I will never follow him in my heart” (p. 579). In modern terms, we might say that this well-known passage from The Selection of the Time expresses the ideals of freedom of spirit, freedom of religion, and freedom of thought.
Because of the pioneering nature of the Daishonin’s ideas, he was rejected by the feudalistic society of his time. At the Daishonin’s asserting that a debate on the teachings—in other words, discussion—is the only fair means of determining the superiority of a religion, the eminent priests of various schools, who were in collusion with government authorities, responded with violence unacceptable in a religious person.
In that sense, the Gosho is also the record of the Daishonin’s confrontation with the leaders of the political and religious worlds of his day. And the motivating power for that unyielding struggle was none other than his strength of spirit. The Daishonin writes: “Everyone in Japan, from the sovereign on down to the common people, without exception has tried to do me harm, but I have survived until this day. You should realize that this is because, although I am alone, I have firm faith” (p. 614).
The Daishonin clearly describes his circumstances during this period in this passage of Letter from Sado: “It is the nature of beasts to threaten the weak and fear the strong. Our contemporary scholars of the various schools are just like them. They despise a wise man without power, but fear evil rulers. They are no more than fawning retainers. Only by defeating a powerful enemy can one prove one’s real strength. When an evil ruler in consort with priests of erroneous teachings tries to destroy the correct teaching and do away with a man of wisdom, those with the heart of a lion king are sure to attain Buddhahood. Like Nichiren, for example. I say this not out of arrogance, but because I am deeply committed to the correct teaching. An arrogant person will always be overcome with fear when meeting a strong enemy” (p. 302).
In the midst of that battle with authority and power, in which he never begrudged even his life, the meticulousness of the Daishonin’s concern for his followers is absolutely astonishing. In response to the offerings he received from them, he wrote letters to each one, noting the items they had sent, and encouraging them in their faith. And to those believers grieving for the husband or child they had lost, he extended the utmost sincerity, giving them the courage and hope to live.
Religion exists to resonate vibrantly within each person. Even if one discusses the happiness of all human beings, if it is spoken of apart from the happiness of a single human being, that is mere theory.
The Daishonin writes: “The heart of the Buddha’s lifetime of teachings is the Lotus Sutra, and the heart of the practice of the Lotus Sutra is found in the ‘Never Disparaging’ chapter. What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being” (p. 852).
It is when the fruits of studying the Gosho show in our own behavior that we can say we have truly read it.
Thus I am praying that, with great seeking spirit and deep faith, SGI friends throughout the world will tackle the serious study of the Gosho.
In conclusion, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the staff of the Gosho Translation Committee, who were in charge of the translation and editing of this volume. I also offer my deep gratitude to Dr. Burton Watson, the translator of The Lotus Sutra, who made so many invaluable contributions in translation.

Daisaku Ikeda
President
Soka Gakkai International

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1 On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime

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.

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O.T.T of ROLL 4 =

Chapter Eight: Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples
Three important points

Point One, concerning the parable of the jewel in the robe in the “Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples” chapter

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This chapter tells the story of the priceless jewel that was sewn into the lining of a man’s robe. In a word, it means that Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, have accepted and taken faith in the wisdom jewel of the Wonderful Law of the one vehicle. The mind of faith is comparable to the jewel that is sewn into the robe.

Point Two, on the passage “World-Honored One, it was like the case of a man who went to the house of a close friend and, having become drunk on wine, lay down to sleep.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The wine stands for ignorance, and ignorance leads to slander of the Law. To lie down means to be born into a family that slanders the Law. Long ago, major world system dust particle kalpas ago, certain persons drank the wine of evil influence; as a result, in a drunken state they kept transmigrating through the five or six lower realms of existence, and now they have been born into families that slanders the Law. To be drunk means to be lacking in faith; to sober up means to have faith. Now, when Nichiren and his p.79followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are in effect sobering up from the wine of ignorance.
Again, we may say that, when it comes to wine, there are various gradations. The provisional teachings represent a certain kind of wine, in relation to which the teachings of the Lotus Sutra represent a state of sobering up. And as to the relationship between the theoretical teaching and the essential teaching, the theoretical teaching represents a kind of wine, because it depicts the Buddha as having attained enlightenment for the first time during his lifetime in India. The essential teaching represents a sobering up from this wine, because it reveals that the Buddha originally attained enlightenment in the remote past.
Again, both the theoretical teaching and the essential teaching may be said to represent a kind of wine, while Nam-myoho-renge-kyo represents the sobering up from this wine.
The wine and the sobering up from it are mutually inseparable. The wine is ignorance, and the sobering up from it is the realization of the Dharma nature. Hō, or “dharmas” (phenomena), stands for wine, and myō, or “wonderful,” stands for the sobering up. When we chant myōhō, or the Wonderful Law, we are expressing the idea that ignorance and a realization of the Dharma nature are in fact a single entity. Thus volume one of Great Concentration and Insight says, “The ignorance and dust of earthly desires are none other than enlightenment.”

Point Three, on the words “in body and mind we are [all] filled with joy” in the passage “Now we have heard from the Buddha / these prophecies and descriptions of adornment, / and how each in turn will bestow a prophecy on his successor, / and in body and mind we are [all] filled with joy.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “Body” here refers to the principle that the sufferings of birth and death are none other than nirvana, while “mind” refers to the principle that earthly desires are none other than enlightenment. “All” refers to the fact that all the Ten Worlds participate simultaneously. “Joy” p.80refers to the joy experienced by the entire Dharma-realm simultaneously.
Within this joy is contained the joy of all the Buddhas of the three existences of past, present, and future. Now because Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Shakyamuni Buddha experiences joy, as he indicates in the words [in chapter eleven, Treasure Tower], “I will surely rejoice.” This joy is shared by the good and evil realms alike. It is shared by the Ten Worlds simultaneously. You should give careful thought to this.

Chapter Nine: Prophecies Conferred on Learners and Adepts
Two important points

Point One, on the terms “learners” and “adepts” in the “Prophecies Conferred on Learners and Adepts” chapter

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “Learners” means those who do not possess wisdom. “Adepts” means those who possess wisdom. Now, when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are bestowing on both learners and adepts a prophecy that, as Shakyamuni Buddha said, “all persons [will be] / equal to me, without any distinction between us” (chapter two, Expedient Means), are they not?
Some belong to the “adept” category in terms of body but to the “learner” category in terms of mind, while others belong to the “adept” category in terms of mind but to the “learner” category in terms of body.
These “learners and adepts” are all the living beings in the country of Japan. On all of them, wise and foolish alike, we bestow the prophecy of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, “preaching to them forcefully, though it angers them” [as volume ten of Words and Phrases says].

p.81Point Two, on the passage “At that time the Buddha said to Ānanda: ‘In a future existence you will become a Buddha with the name Mountain Sea Wisdom Unrestricted Power King Thus Come One.1’”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “Mountain” stands for the principle that earthly desires are enlightenment. “Sea” stands for the principle that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. “Wisdom” is what is expressed in the words we speak. “Unrestricted” means without hindrance or obstruction. “Power King” [or “Penetrating King”] refers to the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, to the hundred worlds and thousand factors, to the three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
Again, we may say that “Mountain” represents the meaning of the theoretical teaching, and “Sea” represents the meaning of the essential teaching. “Wisdom” represents the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, the Wonderful Law. Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are the Buddha Mountain Sea Wisdom Unrestricted Power King. He is none other than we [Nichiren and his followers]. Outside of us, the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, there is no other Ānanda. The name Ānanda means “joy,” the joy of awakening to the realization of the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

Chapter Ten: The Teacher of the Law
Sixteen important points

Point One, concerning “the teacher of the Law”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “Law” (hō) here stands for shohō, the various phenomena of existence. The word “teacher” (shi) indicates that all these various p.82phenomena act directly as our teacher. That is, the varied and numberless phenomena of the three thousand realms can act directly as our teacher and we can become their disciples.
Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are the greatest among the teachers of the Law. For when one reaches a realization of the true aspect of all phenomena (shohō), then one will find that everything, from the burning of the fierce fires of hell to the effect of attaining Buddhahood, exists in one’s life, and that one is a teacher of the Law concerning the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
Again we may say that the word “Law” in the title “The Teacher of the Law” represents the daimoku, and the word “teacher” represents Nichiren and his followers.

Point Two, on the persons who “have fulfilled their great vow, . . . because they pity living beings, they are born in this evil world so they may broadly expound this sutra.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The “great vow” refers to the propagation of the Lotus Sutra. “Because they pity living beings” refers to all the living beings in the country of Japan. The persons who “are born in this evil world” are Nichiren and his followers. “Broadly” means to expound the sutra throughout the southern continent of Jambudvīpa. “This sutra” refers to the daimoku. Now the above passage refers to Nichiren and his followers, who chant the daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Point Three, on the passage “If one of these good men or good women in the time after I have passed into extinction is able to secretly expound the Lotus Sutra to one person, even one phrase of it, then you should know that he or she is the envoy of the Thus Come One. He has been dispatched by the Thus Come One and carries out the Thus Come One’s work.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The p.83practitioner of the Lotus Sutra acts as the “envoy of the Thus Come One.” The “Thus Come One” is Shakyamuni, and “the Thus Come One’s work” is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
“Thus Come One” also refers to the living beings of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms. Now Nichiren and his followers, who now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are the true envoys.

Point Four, on the passage “Medicine King, you should know that after the Thus Come One has entered extinction, if there are those who can copy, uphold, read, and recite this sutra, offer alms to it and expound it for others, then the Thus Come One will cover them with his robe. . . . You should know that such persons lodge in the same place as the Thus Come One, and the Thus Come One pats them on the head with his hand.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The votaries of the Lotus Sutra, men and women alike, are all Thus Come Ones. [For they exemplify the principles that] earthly desires are enlightenment, and the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.
Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are persons who “lodge in the same place as the Thus Come One.” Therefore, Fu Ta-shih says in his commentary, “Morning after morning we rise up with the Buddha, evening after evening we lie down with the Buddha. Moment by moment we attain the way, moment by moment we reveal our true identity.”

Point Five, on the passage “This storehouse of the Lotus Sutra is hidden deep and far away where no person can reach it.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “this storehouse of the Lotus Sutra” refer to the daimoku. The words “hidden deep” refer to the essential teaching. The words “far away” refer to the theoretical teaching. “No person can reach it” applies to those who slander the Law. Now Nichiren and his p.84followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are not included among the people who “can never reach it.”

Point Six, on the passage “These persons conjured up by magic will listen to the Law, believe and accept it, and abide by it without violation.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “listen” or “hear” indicates the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth. The word “Law” refers to the daimoku. “Believe and accept” means to accept and uphold the Law. To “abide by it without violation” means to abide by and follow the two doctrines, the essential teaching and the theoretical teaching. The passage refers to Nichiren and his followers, the people who now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Point Seven, on the robe, the seat, and the room in the passage “Medicine King, if there are good men and good women who, after the Thus Come One has entered extinction, wish to expound this Lotus Sutra for the four kinds of believers, how should they expound it? These good men and good women should enter the Thus Come One’s room, put on the Thus Come One’s robe, sit in the Thus Come One’s seat, and then for the sake of the four kinds of believers broadly expound this sutra.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The robe, the seat, and the room represent the three bodies of the Buddha, the Dharma body, the reward body, and the manifested body; the three truths, the truth of non-substantiality, the truth of temporary existence, and the truth of the Middle Way; and the three categories of action, actions of the body, mouth, and mind. Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are fulfilling these three rules of preaching represented by the robe, the seat, and the room in each moment of their lives.
The robe is the robe that is “gentle and forbearing” (chapter p.85ten), as well as that which is referred to in the passage that says, “We . . . will put on the armor of perseverance” (chapter thirteen, Encouraging Devotion).
As for the seat, if one devotes oneself to the practice without begrudging one’s life, then it becomes the seat of “the emptiness of all phenomena” (chapter ten).
The room is so called because one dwells in “pity and compassion” (ibid.) when one expounds the teachings. It means to have the kind of concern that a mother has for her child. And are we not fulfilling these three rules of preaching in each moment of our lives?

Point Eight, on the passage “If you wish to put aside all sloth and remissness, / you must listen to this sutra.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “all sloth and remissness” refer to the teachings of the sutras that were expounded as expedient means during the more than forty years [following the Buddha’s enlightenment]. These are all sutras of “sloth and remissness.” “This sutra” indicates the daimoku. Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant the daimoku, or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are diligent in their efforts. This is why the sutra says, “You must listen to this sutra.” In particular, it says, “You must listen to this sutra from Nichiren.”

Point Nine, on the words “If they do not hear the Lotus Sutra, / they will be far removed from the Buddha’s wisdom.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “do not hear” refer to those who slander the Law. They are far removed from the wisdom that brings attainment of Buddhahood. But now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, have gained enlightenment into the Buddha’s wisdom, and therefore they are very near to the attainment of Buddhahood.

p.86Point Ten, on the passage “If when a person expounds this sutra / there is someone who speaks ill and reviles him / or attacks him with swords and staves, tiles and stones, / he should think of the Buddha and for that reason be patient.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “This sutra” refers to the daimoku. Speaking ill is an action of the mouth. Attacking someone with swords and staves is an act of the body. These two types of actions of the mouth and body come from the action of the mind. But now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, think of the Buddha and the charge he has laid on them, and for that reason, they respond with patience.

Point Eleven, on the passage “If after I have entered extinction / there are those who can expound this sutra, / I will send the four kinds of believers, magically conjured, / monks and nuns / and men and women of pure faith, / to offer alms to the teachers of the Law.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “Men and women” refers to ordinary men and women. “Teachers of the Law” refers to Nichiren and his followers. “Of pure faith” means those who have faith in the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are such persons. This passage in the sutra indicates that the heavenly gods and benevolent deities will appear in the form of men and women to offer alms to the votaries of the Lotus Sutra.

Point Twelve, on the passage “If someone thinks to do evil to the preachers / with swords and staves or with tiles and stones, / I will dispatch persons magically conjured / who will act to guard and protect them.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “persons magically conjured” refer to beings such as the guardian and protector, the Great Bodhisattva Hachiman, who appeared at p.87Tatsunokuchi. This passage in the sutra indicates that such deities will guard and protect Nichiren and his followers, who now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Point Thirteen, on the passage “If one stays close to the teachers of the Law / he will speedily gain the bodhisattva way.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “Staying close to” is another term for believing and accepting. “Teachers of the Law” refers to Nichiren and his followers. “Bodhisattva” is a preliminary step toward the attainment of the effect of Buddhahood. The passage refers to Nichiren and his followers, who now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Point Fourteen, on the passage “By following and learning from these teachers / he will see Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “These teachers” refers to Nichiren and his followers. “Learning” means to learn about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. “Following” means believing and accepting it.

Point Fifteen, on the words “teacher” and “learning”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that Nichiren and his followers chant is embodied in the three thousand realms in a single moment of life, the life of the person who is learning [and practicing] it. Both the “teacher” and those who are “learning” from him are the teacher and disciples of the three thousand worlds of the Dharma-realm.

Point Sixteen, on the words “He will see Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: To “see p.88Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands” means to see the treasure tower. “Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands” refers to the Buddha Many Treasures of the treasure tower. The “Many” of the name Many Treasures refers to the Dharma-realm, the realm of many phenomena. “Treasures” refers to enlightenment into the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. To see the Dharma-realm as the Buddha Many Treasures is to see “Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands.” Therefore the present chapter, “The Teacher of the Law,” is followed by the chapter, “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower.”
The treasure tower is the vehicle in which the teacher of the Law, who possesses understanding, practice, and enlightenment, rides. Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are exemplifying wonderful understanding, wonderful practice, and wonderful enlightenment; that is, they exemplify unfathomable understanding, unfathomable practice, and unfathomable attainment. This means they have gained enlightenment into the truth of the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
The word “Ganges” in the phrase “Ganges sands” denotes a river that washes away evil and brings forth good. “Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands” means that every single word of the sutra represents a Buddha body golden in color.
You should think carefully about the word “see.” It refers to the insight or vision of a Buddha. The word “following” in the preceding line of the sutra means following this Buddha wisdom and vision.
The word “see” in the phrase “he will see Buddhas” and the seeing of the treasure tower refer to the two concepts of the insentient environment and the living self. The “see” of “see Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands” represents the living self. The “see” of the seeing of the treasure tower represents the insentient environment.
—–

Chapter Eleven: The Emergence of the Treasure Tower
Twenty important points

Point One, concerning “the treasure tower”

Words and Phrases, volume eight, says, “The former Buddha, Many Treasures, is already there in the tower. The present Buddha, Shakyamuni, seats himself beside him. Future Buddhas will also do likewise.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “treasure” stands for the five components of life, form, perception, conception, volition, and consciousness. The word “tower” stands for the harmony and combination of the five components. The five components functioning in harmony is designated a treasure tower. The harmony of the five components emerges or is seen in the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. This is the meaning of the word ken, to emerge or to be seen.
Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, exemplify the emergence of the treasure tower.

Point Two, on the seven treasures in the passage “At that time in the Buddha’s presence there was a tower adorned with the seven treasures.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The seven treasures are hearing, as in hearing the Law; belief; keeping of the precepts; meditation; diligence; abandoning of attachment to earthly desires; and a sense of shame (or reflecting on oneself). Or again, we may say that they are the seven openings in the head, the eyes, the ears, the nostrils, and the mouth.
Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are practitioners who are “adorned with the seven treasures.”

p.90Point Three, on the passage “All four sides emitted a fragrance of tamālapatra and sandalwood that pervaded the whole world.”

Words and Phrases, volume eight, says, “The words ‘All four sides emitted a fragrance’ mean that the wind of the way represented by the four noble truths wafts a fragrance of the four virtues or pāramitās, namely, happiness, true self, purity, and eternity.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “four sides” stand for birth, aging, sickness, and death. We use the aspects of birth, aging, sickness, and death to adorn the towers that are our bodies. And when, while in these four states of birth, aging, sickness, and death, we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we cause them to waft forth the fragrance of the four virtues.
Nam stands for the pāramitā of happiness, myōhō for the pāramitā of true self, renge for the pāramitā of purity, and kyō for the pāramitā of eternity.

Point Four, on the passage “At that time a loud voice issued from the treasure tower, speaking words of praise:”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: These are the words that we living beings utter each morning and evening. As to the fact that this is called a “loud” or a big voice, the provisional teachings are a small voice, while, in comparison, the Lotus Sutra is a big voice. In turn, the twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra are a small voice, while the daimoku is a big voice.
Generally speaking, the big or loud of the “loud voice” stands for the Dharma-realm. When one views the words of all the living beings in the Dharma-realm as the voice of the Wonderful Law, this is what is called a big voice. Now the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo by Nichiren and his followers is such a big voice.
Again, we may say that the word “loud” represents the truth of non-substantiality, the “voice” represents the truth of temporary p.91existence, and that from which the voice “issues” represents the truth of the Middle Way.

Point Five, on the passage “At that time the four kinds of believers saw the great treasure tower suspended in the air.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “saw the great treasure tower” refer to our individual bodies. “Suspended in the air” refers to the fact that we living beings in the end will pass away and return [to our origin].
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and maintain their faith in it, they are “suspended in the air.” They are “suspended in” or participating in the Ceremony in the Air.

Point Six, on the passage “Long ago, an immeasurable thousand, ten thousand, million asamkhyas of worlds to the east, in a land called Treasure Purity, there was a Buddha named Many Treasures.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The Treasure Purity World is the wombs of our mothers. “There was a Buddha” refers to the Buddha of the true aspect of all phenomena. Here he is called Many Treasures Buddha.
The womb is the realm of earthly desires. The Buddha of the true aspect of reality resides in the midst of the mud and mire of earthly desires. This refers to us living beings.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they may be termed the Buddha of the Lotus that is the entity of the Law.

Point Seven, on the passage “If, after I have become a Buddha and entered extinction, in the lands in the ten directions there is any place where the Lotus Sutra is preached, then my funerary tower, in order that I may listen to the sutra, will come forth and appear in that spot to testify to the sutra and praise its excellence.”

p.92The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “ten directions” refer to the Ten Worlds. The Lotus Sutra explains the twelve-linked chain of causation that determines the unceasing changes that we living beings undergo. Therefore the words “Lotus Sutra” refer to the sound of our words.
The words “its excellence” tell us that excellence and non-excellence, good and bad, are not two different things, and that correct and incorrect are a single entity.
Now the place where Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo may be said to be where the Buddha Many Treasures comes forth and makes his appearance.

Point Eight, regarding the way in which the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows to illuminate the eastern region, and how it also illuminated “the southern, western, and northern regions as well, and in the four intermediate quarters and up and down.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The four quarters, north, south, east, and west; the four intermediate quarters, northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest; and up and down constitute the ten directions, which are equivalent to the Ten Worlds. The living beings of the Ten Worlds all share the light of the three poisons, greed, anger, and foolishness. This is here referred to as the light from the tuft of white hair between the Buddha’s eyebrows. It is the wisdom embodied in the single mind of the Middle Way.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are shining this light upon all the Ten Worlds simultaneously. This is because it is the bright light of the true aspect of all phenomena.

Point Nine, on the words “Each Buddha presented his attendant with a handful of jeweled flowers” in the passage “At this time the Buddhas, each seated on a lion seat under one p.93of the jeweled trees, all dispatched their attendants to go and greet Shakyamuni Buddha. Each Buddha presented his attendant with a handful of jeweled flowers.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “jeweled flowers” represent a greeting of palms pressed together, and symbolize the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. The word “each” indicates that all the Ten Worlds are included. You should understand that the element “-ful” in the word “handful” means the full or perfect principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are presenting jeweled flowers to the Buddha.
The jeweled flowers are wish-granting jewels, and wish-granting jewels stand for the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. This is what is meant by the passage “The heavenly beings, dragons, spirits, and the others, / . . . as well as the wheel-turning sage kings / come from ten thousands of millions of lands, / all press their palms and with reverent minds / wish to hear the teaching of perfect endowment” (chapter two, Expedient Means).

Point Ten, on the words “like the sound of a lock and crossbar being removed from a great city gate” in the passage “Shakyamuni Buddha with the fingers of his right hand then opened the door of the tower of seven treasures. A loud sound issued from it, like the sound of a lock and crossbar being removed from a great city gate.”

The Supplement to T’ien-t’ai’s Three Major Works, volume four, says: “This opening of the treasure tower and appearance of the Buddha Many Treasures is symbolizing something. If we ask what it is, we may say that the opening of the tower is the opening up or setting aside of the provisional teachings, and the appearance of the Buddha is the appearance or revelation of the true teaching. Again, it symbolizes the fact that the earlier, theoretical teaching has been affirmed, and that now the teaching that comes after, p.94the essential teaching, is about to be presented. In the phrase ‘like the sound of a lock and crossbar being removed,’ the word ‘removed’ means to clear away. The passage symbolizes the fact that the obstacles to enlightenment have been cleared away and the workings of enlightenment have been set in motion. The bodhisattva of the Dharma body is dispelling perplexities and revealing the principle, widening his understanding of the way and reducing his still remaining illusions.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The lock and crossbar represent slanders of the Law or ignorance. The opening of the great city gate represents the fact that we can attain Buddhahood. The great city gate is the two elements of body and mind that we possess. The great city is the element of the body and the gate is the mouth.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are clearing away the obstacles of illusions posed by ignorance to reveal the Shakyamuni Buddha and Many Treasures Buddha who reside in our own minds.
The lock and crossbar represent ignorance. The opening stands for the Dharma nature. The crossbar is the single word myō, or “wonderful.” T’ien-t’ai says [in his Profound Meaning,] “The secret inner storehouse is opened. This may be termed myō, or ‘wonderful.’” You should understand, therefore, that this one word myō is the crossbar. This passage of the sutra is showing us how the lock and crossbar of slander of the Law and lack of faith are removed to open up or reveal the Buddha in our own minds. As was said in an earlier passage, “The Buddhas . . . wish to open the door of Buddha wisdom to all living beings” (chapter two, Expedient Means). You should think about this.

Point Eleven, on the passage “Immediately Shakyamuni Buddha used his transcendental powers to lift all the members of the great assembly up into the air.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “The great assembly” is the throng of listeners. “All the members of the great p.95assembly up into the air” represents the state of our existence after death. Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are realizing that the sufferings of birth and death are none other than nirvana, a state that is described in the phrase “all up into the air.” We are thus subsumed under the heading of those for whom the sufferings of birth and death are none other than nirvana.
The earth represents the element of the body, while the air represents the element of the mind. But we should understand that body and mind are not two different entities. Hence the air represents the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light.
Again, we may say that [in terms of Myoho-renge-kyo] the air represents renge, earth represents kyō, and heaven represents myōhō. The air is what exists in the middle [between heaven and earth]. Among all the living beings there will be bodhisattvas who sit in the lotus seat. This is what is expressed in the words Myoho-renge-kyo. Hence [the “Devadatta” chapter of] the Lotus Sutra says, “[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 hell or the realm of hungry spirits or of animals, 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 a Buddha, they will be born by transformation from lotus flowers.”

Point Twelve, on the words “as though a great wind / were tossing the branches of small trees” in the passage “I have employed transcendental powers, / moving immeasurable multitudes, / causing lands to be clean and pure, / leading each of these Buddhas / to the foot of a jeweled tree, / adorned as lotus blossoms / adorn a clear cool pond. / Beneath these jeweled trees / are lion seats, / and the Buddhas seat themselves on them, / adorning them with their p.96brilliance / like a huge torch burning / in the darkness of the night. / A wonderful incense exudes from their bodies, / pervading the lands in the ten directions. / Living beings are wrapped in the aroma, / unable to restrain their joy, / as though a great wind / were tossing the branches of small trees.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this verse section, the three similes, “adorned as lotus blossoms / adorn a clear cool pond,” “as though a great wind / were tossing the branches of small trees,” and “like a huge torch burning / in the darkness of the night,” represent the three bodies of a Buddha.1
Among these three similes, that which speaks of “a great wind” stands for the five characters of the daimoku. The words “tossing the branches of small trees” refer to the refutation [of the lesser teachings].
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are like the blowing of a great wind.

Point Thirteen, on the passage “For the sake of the Buddha way / in immeasurable numbers of lands / from the beginning until now / I have widely preached many sutras, / and among them / this sutra is foremost. / If one can uphold this [sutra], / [then] he will be upholding the Buddha’s body.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: To uphold the Lotus Sutra is to uphold belief in the fact that our bodies are the Buddha’s body. The one word soku, or “then” [which also means “identical”], indicates that living beings and the Buddha are not two different things. The first “uphold” in the phrase “If one can uphold this [sutra]” stands for ordinary mortals. The entity to be upheld is the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. We speak of this as “upholding the Buddha’s body” because each and every word [of the Lotus Sutra] is the golden-colored body of the Buddha.
p.97To uphold the body of the Buddha means to uphold the belief that outside of our own bodies there is no Buddha. That is, the ordinary mortal at ri-soku, or the stage of being a Buddha in theory, is not different from the Buddha at kukyō-soku, or the stage of ultimate enlightenment. The word soku (identical) indicates the fact that the first soku, that of ri-soku, and the last soku, that of kukyō-soku, are no different from one another.

Point Fourteen, on the words “This sutra is hard to uphold” in the passage “This sutra is hard to uphold; / if one can uphold it even for a short while / I will surely rejoice / and so will the other Buddhas. / A person who can do this / wins the admiration of the Buddhas. / This is what is meant by valor, / this is what is meant by diligence. / This is what is called observing the precepts / and practicing dhūta. / This way one will quickly attain / the unsurpassed Buddha way. / And if in future existences / one can read and uphold this sutra, / he will be a true son of the Buddha, / dwelling in a land spotless and good.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: One who upholds this Lotus Sutra should uphold it with the understanding that one will encounter difficulties. And the attainment of Buddhahood referred to in the words “This way one will quickly attain / the unsurpassed Buddha way”—this is now what Nichiren and his followers attain when they chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Point Fifteen, on the words “I will surely rejoice / and so will the other Buddhas.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “I” refers to the mind king, the core of the mind. The words “the other Buddhas” refer to the various functions of the mind. When one upholds the Lotus Sutra, both the mind and its various functions rejoice simultaneously.
Again we may say that the word “I” refers to ordinary mortals, and the words “the other Buddhas” refer to the Buddhas of the p.98three existences. Now Nichiren and his followers rejoice as they chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and this is what the passage is referring to.

Point Sixteen, on the words “And if in future existences / one can read and uphold this sutra”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This refers to the practices of reading/reciting and accepting/upholding, which make up two of the five practices. Now Nichiren and his followers, in chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are carrying out the practice of reading. And in upholding “this sutra” they are carrying out the practice of upholding. The words “this sutra” refer to the five characters of the daimoku.

Point Seventeen, on the words “he will be a true son of the Buddha”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The votaries of the Lotus Sutra are the true sons of Shakyamuni, the Dharma King. And for that reason they are able to succeed him and become kings themselves. You should carefully consider these words, “he will be a true son of the Buddha,” in conjunction with the passage that says, “But now this threefold world / is all my domain, / and the living beings in it / are all my children” (chapter three, Simile and Parable).
Now Nichiren and his followers, those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are children of Shakyamuni, the Dharma King.

Point Eighteen, on the words “If after the Buddha has passed into extinction / one can understand the meaning of this sutra, / he will be the eyes of the world / for heavenly and human beings.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “The world” refers to the country of Japan. “The eyes” refers to the Buddha wisdom. The Lotus Sutra acts as the eyes of the world for p.99heavenly and human beings. “Eyes” here refers to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It is the eyes of the world for heavenly and human beings.
Again we may say that the eyes referred to here are the eyes of the various Buddhas. It is the Zen, Nembutsu, and True Word followers and their like who gouge out these eyes of the Buddhas, causing the eyes to be closed. But Nichiren and his followers, who now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—are we not the eyes of the world for heavenly and human beings?

Point Nineteen, on the words “If in that fearful age / one can preach this sutra for even a moment, / he will deserve to receive alms / from all heavenly and human beings.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: You should think about this one word “can.” The word “preach” means to preach Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Now Nichiren and his followers are the votaries who “can preach this sutra for even a moment.”

Point Twenty, on the words “This sutra is hard to uphold.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: All three types of learning are encompassed in this passage of the sutra. [In his Questions and Answers on Regulations for Students of the Tendai Lotus School, Dengyō states], “The spacelike immovable precepts, the spacelike immovable meditation, and the spacelike immovable wisdom—these three all together are transmitted under the name the Wonderful Law.”
Precepts pertain to the element of the body. Meditation pertains to the element of the mind. Wisdom pertains to the actions of the two elements of the body and the mind. The words “all together” in the statement above refer to the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, which is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. “Transmitted” indicates that it is transmitted to the ten thousand years of the Latter Day of the Law.
Now Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, putting into practice the doctrine that the provisional teachings p.100do not lead to the attainment of the way but that the Lotus Sutra represents the real truth, and this corresponds to the precepts. The precepts are intended to prevent errors and put an end to evil.
The votary who upholds [the principle of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] is certainly “a person [who] assuredly and without doubt / will attain the Buddha way” (chapter twenty-one, Supernatural Powers), and this certainly corresponds to meditation.
The wisdom of the Buddhas of the three existences of past, present, and future is embraced and upheld in each single recitation of the daimoku, and this corresponds to wisdom.
These three types of learning correspond to skin, flesh, and bones, to the three bodies of a Buddha, to the three truths, to the three rules of preaching, and to the three kinds of wisdom.

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CHAPTER 8

Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples

At that time Purna, the son of Maitrayani, hearing from the Buddha this teaching as it was expounded through wisdom and expedient means and in accordance with what was appropriate, and also hearing the prophecy that the major disciples would attain supreme perfect enlightenment, hearing matters relating to the ties formed with the Buddha in previous existences, and hearing how the buddhas possess great freedom and transcendental powers, obtained what he had never had before, and his mind was purified and felt like dancing. Immediately he rose from his seat, advanced to a position in front of the Buddha and bowed at the Buddha’s feet, touching his head to the ground. Then he withdrew to one side, gazed up in reverence at the face of the honored one, his eyes never leaving it for an instant, and thought to himself: The world-honored one is very extraordinary, very special, his actions rarely to be encountered! Adapting himself to the various natures of the people of this world and employing expedient means and insight, he preaches the Law for them, drawing living beings away from their greed and attachment to this or that. The Buddha’s blessings are such that we cannot set them forth in words. Only the Buddha, the world-honored one, is capable of knowing the wish that we have had deep in our hearts from the start.
At that time the Buddha said to the monks: “Do you see this Purna, son of Maitrayani? I have always commended him as p.183being foremost among those who preach the Law. And I have always praised his various blessings, his diligence in protecting, upholding, aiding, and proclaiming my Law, his ability in teaching, benefiting, and delighting the four kinds of believers, the thoroughness with which he expounds the correct teaching of the Buddha, the great degree to which he enriches those who carry out its brahma practices. If one excepts the thus come one, there is no other who can so thoroughly exemplify the eloquence of its theories.
“You should not suppose that Purna is capable of protecting, upholding, aiding, and proclaiming my Law only. In the presence of ninety million buddhas of the past too he protected, upheld, aided, and proclaimed the correct teachings of the buddhas. Among all those who at those times preached the Law, he was likewise foremost.
“In addition, concerning the doctrine of emptiness preached by the buddhas he had a clear and thorough understanding, he gained the four unlimited kinds of knowledge, and was at all times capable of preaching the doctrine in a lucid and pure manner, free of doubts and perplexities. He was fully endowed with the transcendental powers of a bodhisattva. Throughout his allotted life spans he constantly carried out brahma practices, so that the other people living in the eras of those particular buddhas all thought, Here is a true voice-hearer!
“And Purna by employing this expedient means brought benefit to immeasurable hundreds and thousands of living beings, and converted immeasurable asamkhyas of persons, causing them to turn toward supreme perfect enlightenment. In order to purify the buddha lands he constantly devoted himself to the buddhas’ work, teaching and converting living beings.
“Monks, Purna was foremost among those who preached the Law in the time of the seven buddhas. He is also foremost among those who preach the Law in my presence now. And he will likewise be foremost among those who preach the Law in the time of the future buddhas who appear in the Wise Kalpa, in all cases protecting, upholding, aiding, and proclaiming the Law of the buddhas. In the future too he will protect, uphold, aid, and p.184proclaim the Law of immeasurable, boundless buddhas, teaching, converting, and enriching immeasurable living beings and causing them to turn toward supreme perfect enlightenment. In order to purify the buddha lands he will constantly apply himself with diligence, teaching and converting living beings.
“Little by little he will become fully endowed with the way of the bodhisattva, and when immeasurable asamkhya kalpas have passed, here in the land where he is dwelling he will attain supreme perfect enlightenment. He will be called Law Bright Thus Come One, worthy of offerings, of right and universal knowledge, perfect clarity and conduct, well gone, understanding the world, unexcelled worthy, trainer of people, teacher of heavenly and human beings, buddha, world-honored one.
“This buddha will have major world systems equal in number to Ganges sands as his buddha land. The ground will be made of the seven treasures and level as the palm of a hand, without hills or ridges, ravines or gullies. The land will be filled with terraces and towers made of the seven treasures, and the heavenly palaces will be situated close by in the sky, so that human and heavenly beings can communicate and be within sight of each other. There will be no evil paths of existence there, nor will there be any women. All living beings will be born through transformation and will be without lewd desires. They will gain great transcendental powers, their bodies will emit a bright glow, and they will be able to fly at will. They will be firm in intent and thought, diligent and wise, and all alike will be adorned with a golden color and the thirty-two features. All the living beings in that land will regularly take two kinds of food, one being the food of Dharma joy, the other the food of meditation delight. There will be immeasurable asamkhyas, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of bodhisattvas there, who will gain great transcendental powers and the four unlimited kinds of knowledge, and will be skilled and capable in teaching and converting the different varieties of living beings. The number of voice-hearers will be beyond the power of calculation or reckoning to determine. All will be fully endowed with the six transcendental powers, the three insights, and the eight emancipations.
p.185“This buddha land will thus possess measureless blessings of this kind that will adorn and complete it. The kalpa will be named Treasure Bright and the land named Good and Pure. The buddha’s life span will be immeasurable asamkhya kalpas, his Law will endure for a very long time, and after the buddha has passed into extinction, towers adorned with the seven treasures will be erected to him throughout the entire land.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

You monks, listen carefully!
The way followed by the sons of the Buddha,
because they are well learned in expedient means,
is wonderful beyond conception.
They know how most beings delight in a lesser doctrine
and are fearful of great wisdom.
Therefore the bodhisattvas
pose as voice-hearers or cause-awakened ones,
employing countless expedient means
to convert the different kinds of living beings.
They proclaim themselves to be voice-hearers
and say they are far removed from the buddha way,
and so bring emancipation to immeasurable multitudes,
allowing them all to achieve success.
Limited in aspiration, lazy and indolent though the multitudes are,
bit by bit they are led to the attainment of buddhahood.
Inwardly, in secret, the sons act as bodhisattvas,
but outwardly they show themselves as voice-hearers.
They seem to be lessening desires out of hatred for birth and death,
but in truth they are purifying the buddha lands.
Before the multitude they seem possessed of the three poisons
or manifest the signs of distorted views.
My disciples in this manner
use expedient means to save living beings.
p.186If I were to describe all the different ways,
the many manifestations they display in converting others,
the living beings who heard me
would be doubtful and perplexed in mind.
Now this Purna in the past
diligently practiced the way
under a thousand million buddhas,
proclaiming and guarding the Law of those buddhas.
In order to seek out unsurpassed wisdom
he went to where the buddhas were,
became a leader among their disciples,
one of wide knowledge and wisdom.
He showed no fear in what he expounded
and was able to delight the assembly.
Never was he weary or disheartened
in assisting the work of the buddhas.
Already he had passed over into great transcendental powers
and possessed the four unlimited kinds of knowledge.
He knew whether the capacities of the multitude were keen or dull
and constantly preached the pure Law.
He expounded such principles as these,
teaching a multitude of thousands of millions,
causing them to reside in the great vehicle Law
and himself purifying the buddha lands.
And in the future too he will offer alms
to immeasurable, countless buddhas,
protecting, aiding, and proclaiming their correct Law
and himself purifying the buddha lands,
constantly employing various expedient means,
preaching the Law without fear,
saving multitudes beyond calculation,
causing them to realize comprehensive wisdom.
He will offer alms to the thus come ones,
guarding and upholding the treasure storehouse of the Law.
p.187And later he will become a buddha
known by the name Law Bright.
His land will be called Good and Pure
and will be composed of the seven treasures.
The kalpa will be named Treasure Bright.
The multitude of bodhisattvas will be very numerous,
numbering immeasurable millions,
all having passed over into great transcendental powers,
endowed with dignity, virtue, strength,
filling the entire land.
Voice-hearers too will be numberless,
with the three insights and eight emancipations,
having attained the four unlimited kinds of knowledge—
such as these will be the monks of the Order.
The living beings of that land
will all be divorced from lewd desires.
They will be born in a pure manner by the process of transformation,
with all the features adorning their bodies.
With Dharma joy and meditation delight to feed upon,
they will have no thought of other food.
There will be no women there
and none of the evil paths of existence.
The monk Purna
has won all these blessings to the fullest
and will acquire a pure land such as this,
with its great multitude of worthies and sages.
Of the countless matters pertaining to it
I have now spoken only in brief.

At that time the twelve hundred arhats, being free in mind, thought to themselves, We rejoice at gaining what we have never had before. If the world-honored one should give each of us a prophecy of enlightenment such as he has given to his other major disciples, would that not be cause for delight?
The Buddha, knowing that this thought was in their minds, said to Mahakashyapa: “On these twelve hundred arhats who are p.188now before me I will one by one bestow a prophecy that they will attain supreme perfect enlightenment. Among this assembly is a major disciple of mine, the monk Kaundinya. He will offer alms to sixty-two thousand million buddhas, and after that will become a buddha. He will be designated Universal Brightness 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. Five hundred arhats, including Uruvilva Kashyapa, Gaya Kashyapa, Nadi Kashyapa, Kalodayin, Udayin, Aniruddha, Revata, Kapphina, Bakkula, Chunda, Svagata, and others, will all attain supreme perfect enlightenment. All will have the same designation, being called Universal Brightness.”
The world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

The monk Kaundinya
will see immeasurable buddhas
and after asamkhya kalpas have passed
will at last achieve impartial and correct enlightenment.
Constantly he will emit a great bright light,
will be endowed with transcendental powers,
and his name will be known in all ten directions,
respected by one and all.
Constantly he will preach the unsurpassed way;
therefore he will be named Universal Brightness.
His realm will be pure and clean,
his bodhisattvas brave and spirited.
All will ascend the wonderful towers,
travel to the lands in the ten directions,
in order to offer unsurpassed articles
as gifts to the various buddhas.
After they have offered these alms
their minds will be filled with great joy
and they will speedily return to their native lands—
such will be their supernatural powers.
p.189The life span of this buddha will be sixty thousand kalpas,
his Correct Law will endure twice that time,
his Counterfeit Law twice that time again,
and when his Law is extinguished, heavenly and human beings will grieve.
The five hundred monks
will one by one become buddhas,
all with the same name, Universal Brightness.
Each will bestow a prophecy on his successor, saying,
“After I have entered extinction,
you, so-and-so, will become a buddha.
The world in which you carry out conversions
will be like mine today.”
The adornment and purity of their lands,
their various transcendental powers,
their bodhisattvas and voice-hearers,
their Correct Laws and Counterfeit Laws,
the number of kalpas in their life spans—
all will be as I have described above.
Kashyapa, now you know the future
of these five hundred who are free in mind.
The remainder of the multitude of voice-hearers
will also be like this.
As for those not in this gathering,
you must expound and preach to them.

At that time the five hundred arhats in the presence of the Buddha, having received a prophecy of enlightenment, danced for joy. Immediately they rose from their seats, advanced to a position in front of the Buddha and bowed at the Buddha’s feet, touching their heads to the ground. They bewailed their error, reproving themselves and saying, “World-Honored One, we always used to think to ourselves, We have already attained the ultimate extinction. But now we know that we were like persons of no wisdom. Why? Because, although we were capable of attaining the wisdom of a thus come one, we were willing to content ourselves with petty wisdom.
p.190“World-Honored One, it was like the case of a man who went to the house of a close friend and, having become drunk on wine, lay down to sleep. At that time the friend had to go out on official business. He took a priceless jewel, sewed it in the lining of the man’s robe, and left it with him when he went out. The man was asleep drunk and knew nothing about it. When he got up, he set out on a journey to other countries. In order to provide himself with food and clothing he had to search with all his energy and diligence, encountering very great hardship and making do with what little he could come by.
“Later, the close friend happened to meet him by chance. The friend said, ‘How absurd, old fellow! Why should you have to do all this for the sake of food and clothing? In the past I wanted to make certain you would be able to live in ease and satisfy the five desires, and so on such-and-such a day and month and year I took a priceless jewel and sewed it in the lining of your robe. It must still be there now. But you did not know about it, and fretted and wore yourself out trying to provide a living for yourself. What nonsense! Now you must take the jewel and exchange it for goods. Then you can have whatever you wish at all times and never experience poverty or want.’
“The Buddha is like this friend. When he was still a bodhisattva, he taught and converted us, inspiring in us the determination to seek comprehensive wisdom. But in time we forgot all that, became unaware, unknowing. Having attained the way of the arhat, we supposed we had gained extinction. Finding it difficult to provide for our livelihoods, as it were, we made do with what little we could come by. However, we have not yet lost the desire for comprehensive wisdom. And now the world-honored one awakens us and makes us aware, speaking these words: ‘Monks, what you have acquired is not the ultimate extinction. For a long time I caused you to cultivate the good roots of buddhahood, and as an expedient means I showed you the outward signs of nirvana, but you supposed that you had in truth attained nirvana.’
“World-Honored One, now we understand. In fact we are bodhisattvas and have received a prophecy that we will attain p.191supreme perfect enlightenment. For this reason we are filled with great joy, having gained what we never had before.”
At that time Ajnata Kaundinya and the others, wishing to state their meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

We have heard the sound of this prophecy
assuring us of unsurpassed ease and tranquillity;
we rejoice in gaining what we never had before
and make obeisance to the Buddha of measureless wisdom.
Now in the presence of the world-honored one
we bewail our faults and errors.
Of the Buddha’s immeasurable treasure
we have gained only a small portion of nirvana,
and like ignorant and foolish persons
have taken that to be sufficient.
We are like a poor and impoverished man
who went to the house of a close friend.
The house was a very prosperous one
and he was served many trays of delicacies.
The friend took a priceless jewel,
sewed it in the lining of the poor man’s robe,
gave it without a word and then went away,
and the man, being asleep, knew nothing of it.
After the man had gotten up,
he journeyed here and there to other countries,
seeking food and clothing to keep himself alive,
finding it very difficult to provide for his livelihood.
He made do with what little he could get
and never hoped for anything finer,
unaware that in the lining of his robe
he had a priceless jewel.
Later the close friend who had given him the jewel
happened to meet the poor man
and after sharply rebuking him,
showed him the jewel sewed in the robe.
When the poor man saw the jewel
his heart was filled with great joy,
p.192for he was rich, possessed of wealth and goods
sufficient to satisfy the five desires.
We are like that man.
Through the long night the world-honored one
constantly in his pity teaches and converts us,
causing us to plant the seeds of an unsurpassed aspiration.
But because we are without wisdom,
we are unaware of this, unknowing.
Having gained a small portion of nirvana,
we are satisfied and seek nothing more.
But now the Buddha awakens us,
saying, ‘This is not really extinction.
When you have gained the unsurpassed wisdom of a buddha,
then that will be true extinction!’
Now we have heard from the Buddha
these prophecies and descriptions of adornment,
and how each in turn will bestow a prophecy on his successor,
and in body and mind we are filled with joy.

CHAPTER 9

Prophecies Conferred on Learners and Adepts
At that time Ananda and Rahula thought to themselves, Whenever we reflect, we consider how delightful it would be if we should receive a prophecy of enlightenment! Immediately they rose from their seats, advanced to a position in front of the Buddha and bowed at the Buddha’s feet, touching their heads to the ground. Together they spoke to the Buddha, saying: “World-Honored One, we too should have a share of this! We have put all our trust in the thus come one alone, and we are well known to the heavenly and human beings and asuras of all the world. Ananda constantly attends the Buddha and guards and upholds the Dharma storehouse, and Rahula is the Buddha’s son. If the Buddha should bestow on us a prophecy that we will attain supreme perfect enlightenment, then our wishes will be fulfilled and the longings of the multitude will likewise be satisfied.”
At that time two thousand of the voice-hearer disciples, both learners and adepts who had nothing more to learn, all rose from their seats, bared their right shoulders, advanced to a position in front of the Buddha, pressed their palms together with a single mind and, gazing up in reverence at the world-honored one, repeated the wish expressed by Ananda and Rahula and then stood to one side.
At that time the Buddha said to Ananda: “In a future existence you will become a buddha with the name Mountain Sea p.194Wisdom Unrestricted Power 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. You will offer alms to sixty-two million buddhas and will guard and uphold their Dharma storehouses, and after that you will attain supreme perfect enlightenment. You will teach and convert bodhisattvas as numerous as twenty thousand ten thousand million Ganges sands and will cause them to attain supreme perfect enlightenment. Your land will be named Ever Standing Victory Banner, its soil will be clean and pure and made of lapis lazuli. Your kalpa will be named Wonderful Sound Filling Everywhere. The life span of that buddha will be immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of asamkhyas of kalpas—though men should calculate and reckon for thousands, ten thousands, millions of immeasurable asamkhyas of kalpas, they could never ascertain the full number. The Correct Law will endure in the world for twice the life span of the buddha, and the Counterfeit Law will endure in the world for twice the time of the Correct Law. Ananda, this Mountain Sea Wisdom Unrestricted Power King Buddha will be praised alike by thus come ones of the ten directions who are equal in number to immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of Ganges sands, and they will extol his blessings.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

I now say to the monks that
Ananda, upholder of the Law,
will give alms to the buddhas
and after will achieve correct enlightenment.
His name will be Mountain Sea Wisdom
Unrestricted Power King Buddha.
His land will be clean and pure,
named Ever Standing Victory Banner.
He will teach and convert bodhisattvas
in numbers like Ganges sands.
p.195This buddha will possess great dignity and virtue,
his renown will fill the ten directions.
His life span will be immeasurable
because he takes pity on living beings.
His Correct Law will endure for twice his life span,
his Counterfeit Law, twice that again.
As numerous as Ganges sands
will be the countless living beings
who in the midst of this buddha’s Law
will plant causes and conditions leading to the buddha way.

At that time in the assembly eight thousand bodhisattvas who had newly conceived the determination to attain enlightenment all thought to themselves, We have never heard of even a great bodhisattva receiving a prophecy such as this. For what reason should these voice-hearers receive such a prediction?
At that time the world-honored one, knowing the thought that was in the minds of these bodhisattvas, said to them: “Good men, when Ananda and I were at the place of Void King Buddha, we both at the same time conceived the determination to attain supreme perfect enlightenment. Ananda constantly delighted in wide knowledge [of the Law], I constantly put forth diligent effort. Therefore I have already succeeded in attaining supreme perfect enlightenment, while Ananda guards and upholds my Law. And he will likewise guard the Dharma storehouses of the buddhas of future existences and will teach, convert, and bring success to the multitude of bodhisattvas. Such was his original vow, and therefore he has received this prophecy.”
When Ananda in the presence of the Buddha heard this prophecy delivered to him and heard of the land and adornments he was to receive, all that he had vowed to achieve was realized and his mind was filled with great joy, for he had gained what he had never had before. Immediately he recalled to mind the Dharma storehouses of immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of buddhas of the past, and he could fully p.196comprehend them without hindrance, as though he had just now heard them. He also recalled his original vow.
At that time Ananda spoke in verse form, saying:

The world-honored one, very rarely met with,
has caused me to recall the past,
the Law of immeasurable buddhas,
as though I had heard it today.
Now I have no more doubts
but dwell securely in the buddha way.
As an expedient means I act as attendant,
guarding and upholding the Law of the buddhas.

At that time the Buddha said to Rahula: “In a future existence you will become a buddha with the name Stepping on Seven Treasure Flowers 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. You will offer alms to buddhas, the thus come ones, as numerous as the dust particles of ten worlds. In all cases you will be the eldest son of those buddhas, just as you are my son now. The adornments of the land of Stepping on Seven Treasure Flowers Buddha, the number of kalpas in his life span, the disciples he converts, his Correct Law and Counterfeit Law will not differ from those of the thus come one Mountain Sea Wisdom Unrestricted Power King. You will be the eldest son of that buddha, and after that you will attain supreme perfect enlightenment.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

When I was crown prince
Rahula was my eldest son.
Now that I have gained the buddha way
he receives the Dharma and is my Dharma son.
In existences to come
p.197he will see immeasurable millions of buddhas.
As eldest son to all of them,
with a single mind he will seek the buddha way.
The inconspicuous practice of Rahula
I alone am capable of knowing.
He manifests himself as my eldest son,
showing himself to living beings.
With immeasurable millions, thousands, ten thousands
of blessings beyond count,
he dwells securely in the Buddha’s Law
and thereby seeks the unsurpassed way.

At that time the world-honored one observed the two thousand learners and adepts, mild and gentle in will, serenely clean and pure, gazing at the Buddha with a single mind. The Buddha said to Ananda, “Do you see these two thousand learners and adepts?”
“Yes, I see them.”
“Ananda, these persons will offer alms to buddhas, the thus come ones, equal in number to the dust particles of fifty worlds, paying honor and reverence to them, guarding and upholding their Dharma storehouses. In their final existences they will all at the same time succeed in becoming buddhas in lands in the ten directions. All will have the identical designation, being called Jewel Sign 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. Their life spans will be one kalpa, and the adornment of their lands, their voice-hearers and bodhisattvas, their Correct Laws and Counterfeit Laws will in all cases be the same.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

These two thousand voice-hearers
who now stand in my presence—
on all of them I bestow a prophecy
p.198that in a future existence they will become buddhas.
The buddhas to whom they offer alms
will be numerous as the dust particles described above.
They will guard and uphold their Dharma storehouses
and after that will gain correct enlightenment.
Each will have a land in one of the ten directions
and all will share the same name and designation.
All at the same time will sit in the place of enlightenment
and thereby will gain proof of unsurpassed wisdom.
All will be named Jewel Sign
and their lands and disciples,
their Correct Laws and Counterfeit Laws
will all be identical and without difference.
All will employ transcendental powers
to save living beings in the ten directions.
Their renown will spread everywhere around
and in due time they will enter nirvana.

At that time, when the two thousand learners and adepts heard the Buddha bestow this prophecy, they danced for joy and spoke in verse form, saying:

World-Honored One, bright lamp of wisdom,
we hear your voice bestowing this prophecy
and our hearts are filled with joy
as though we were bathed in sweet dew!
—-

CHAPTER 10

The Teacher of the Law

At that time the world-honored one addressed Bodhisattva Medicine King, and through him the others of the eighty thousand great men, saying: “Medicine King, do you see in this great assembly the immeasurable number of heavenly beings, dragon kings, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, and mahoragas, the human and nonhuman beings, and the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, those who seek to become voice-hearers, who seek to become pratyekabuddhas, or who seek the buddha way? If these various kinds of beings in the presence of the Buddha listen to one verse or one phrase of the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law and for a moment think of it with joy I will bestow on all of them a prophecy that they will attain supreme perfect enlightenment.”
The Buddha said to Medicine King: “In addition, if after the thus come one has passed into extinction there should be someone who listens to the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, even one verse or one phrase, and for a moment thinks of it with joy, I will likewise bestow on him a prophecy that he will attain supreme perfect enlightenment.
Again if there are people who embrace, read, recite, expound, and copy the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, even only one verse, and look upon this sutra with the same reverence as they would the Buddha, presenting various offerings of flowers, incense, necklaces, powdered incense, paste incense, incense for p.200burning, silken canopies, streamers and banners, clothing and music, and pressing their palms together in reverence, then, Medicine King, you should understand that these people have already offered alms to a hundred thousand million buddhas and in the place of the buddhas have fulfilled their great vow, and because they take pity on living beings they have been born in this human world.
“Medicine King, if someone should ask what living beings will be able to attain buddhahood in future existences, then you should show him that all these people are certain to attain buddhahood in future existences. Why? Because if good men and good women embrace, read, recite, expound, and copy the Lotus Sutra, even one phrase of it, offer various kinds of alms to the sutra, flowers, incense, necklaces, powdered incense, paste incense, incense for burning, silken canopies, streamers and banners, clothing and music, and press their palms together in reverence, then these people will be looked up to and honored by all the world. Alms will be offered to them such as would be offered to the thus come one. You should understand that these people are great bodhisattvas who have succeeded in attaining supreme perfect enlightenment. Pitying living beings, they have vowed to be born among them where they may broadly expound and make distinctions regarding the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law. How much more so is this true, then, of those who can embrace the entire sutra and offer various types of alms to it!
“Medicine King, you should understand that these people voluntarily relinquish the reward due them for their pure deeds and, in the time after I have passed into extinction, because they pity living beings, they are born in this evil world so they may broadly expound this sutra. If one of these good men or good women in the time after I have passed into extinction is able to secretly expound the Lotus Sutra to one person, even one phrase of it, then you should know that he or she is the envoy of the thus come one. He has been dispatched by the thus come one and carries out the thus come one’s work. And how much more p.201so those who in the midst of the great assembly broadly expound the sutra for others!
“Medicine King, if there should be an evil person who, his mind destitute of goodness, should for the space of a kalpa appear in the presence of the Buddha and constantly curse and revile the Buddha, that person’s offense would still be rather light. But if there were a person who spoke only one evil word to curse or defame the lay persons or monks or nuns who read and recite the Lotus Sutra, then his offense would be very grave.
“Medicine King, these people who read and recite the Lotus Sutra—you should understand that these people adorn themselves with the adornments of the Buddha; they are borne upon the shoulders of the thus come one. Wherever they may go, one should greet them with bows, with palms pressed single-mindedly together, with reverence and alms, with respect and praise, flowers, incense, necklaces, powdered incense, paste incense, incense for burning, silken canopies, streamers and banners, clothing, delicacies, and the making of music. The finest alms that can be offered to a person should be offered to them. Great treasures should be scattered over them, the treasure hoards of heaven should be given them as gifts. Why do I say this? Because these people delight in expounding the Law. And if you listen to them for even a moment, you will be able to immediately achieve supreme perfect enlightenment.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

If you wish to abide in the buddha way
and successfully gain the wisdom that comes of itself,
you should be constantly diligent in offering alms
to those who embrace the Lotus Sutra.
If you have a wish to quickly obtain
wisdom regarding all species of things,
you should embrace this sutra
and at the same time give alms to those who do so.
If someone is capable of embracing
p.202the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law,
know that such a person is an envoy of the Buddha
who thinks with pity of living beings.
Those who are capable of embracing
the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law
relinquish their claim to the pure land
and out of pity for living beings are born here.
Know that people such as these
freely choose where they will be born,
and so are able in this evil world
to broadly expound the unsurpassed Law.
You should offer the incense of heavenly flowers,
robes decked with heavenly treasures,
the wonderful treasure hoards of heaven
as alms to those who preach the Law.
In the evil world following my extinction
if there are those who can embrace this sutra,
you should press your palms together in reverence
and offer alms to them as you would to the world-honored one.
The choicest delicacies, all that is sweet and tasty,
along with various types of clothing
you should offer as alms to these Buddha sons
in hopes you may hear a moment of their preaching.
If there are those in a later age
who can accept and embrace this sutra,
they are my envoys sent out among the people
to perform the thus come one’s work.
If for the space of a kalpa
one should constantly harbor a mind destitute of good
and with angry looks should revile the Buddha,
one will be committing an offense of immeasurable gravity.
But if toward those who read, recite, and embrace
this Lotus Sutra
one should even for a moment direct evil words,
one’s offense will be far greater.
p.203If there is someone who seeks the buddha way
and for the space of a kalpa
presses palms together in my presence
and recites numberless verses of praise,
because of these praises of the Buddha
he will gain immeasurable blessings.
And if he lauds and extols those who uphold this sutra,
his good fortune will be even greater.
For the space of eighty million kalpas,
with the most wonderful shapes and sounds,
with that which is pleasing to smell, taste, and touch,
offer alms to the upholders of this sutra!
When you have offered alms in this manner
and have heard the teachings for even a moment,
then you will experience joy and good fortune,
saying, “I have gained great benefit!”
Medicine King, now I say to you,
I have preached various sutras,
and among those sutras
the Lotus is the foremost!

At that time the Buddha spoke once more to the bodhisattva mahasattva Medicine King, saying: “The sutras I have preached number immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions. Among the sutras I have preached, now preach, and will preach, this Lotus Sutra is the most difficult to believe and the most difficult to understand. Medicine King, this sutra is the storehouse of the secret crux of the buddhas. It must not be distributed or recklessly transmitted to others. It has been guarded by the buddhas, the world-honored ones, and from times past until now has never been openly expounded. And since hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the thus come one is in the world, how much more will this be so after his passing?
“Medicine King, you should know that after the thus come one has entered extinction, if there are those who can copy, uphold, read, and recite this sutra, offer alms to it and expound it for others, then the thus come one will cover them with his p.204robe, and they will also be protected and kept in mind by the buddhas who are now present in other directions. These people will possess the power of great faith, the power of aspiration, the power of good roots. You should know that these people will lodge in the same place as the thus come one, and the thus come one will pat them on the head with his hand.
“Medicine King, in any place whatsoever where this sutra is preached, where it is read, where it is recited, where it is copied, or where a roll of it exists, in all such places there should be erected towers made of the seven kinds of gems, and they should be made very high and broad and well adorned. There is no need to enshrine the relics of the Buddha there. Why? Because in these towers the entire body of the thus come one will already be present. All kinds of flowers, incense, necklaces, silken canopies, streamers and banners, music and hymns should be offered as alms to these towers and they should be accorded reverence, honor, and praise. If when people see these towers they bow in obeisance and offer alms, then you should know that these people have all drawn near to supreme perfect enlightenment.
“Medicine King, though there may be many people, those still living in the household and those who have left it, who practice the way of the bodhisattva, if they are not willing to see, hear, read, recite, copy, embrace, and offer alms to this Lotus Sutra, then you should know that these people are not yet practicing the bodhisattva way in a fitting manner. But if there are those who will listen to this sutra, then they are capable of practicing the bodhisattva way in a fitting manner. If among the living beings who seek the buddha way there are those who see or hear this Lotus Sutra, and who, having heard it, believe, understand, and embrace it, then you should know that these people can draw near to supreme perfect enlightenment.
“Medicine King, suppose there is a man who is parched with thirst and in need of water. On an upland plateau he begins digging a hole in search of water, but he sees that the soil is dry and knows that water is still far away. He does not cease his efforts, however, and bit by bit he sees the soil becoming damper, until gradually he has worked his way into mud. Now he is p.205determined in his mind to go on, for he knows that he is bound to be nearing water.
“The way of the bodhisattva is the same as this. As long as a person has not yet heard, not yet understood, and not yet been able to practice this Lotus Sutra, then you should know that that person is still far away from supreme perfect enlightenment. But if the person is able to hear, understand, ponder, and practice the sutra, then you should know that he can draw near to supreme perfect enlightenment. Why? Because all bodhisattvas who attain supreme perfect enlightenment in all cases do so through this sutra. This sutra opens the gate of expedient means and shows the form of true reality. This storehouse of the Lotus Sutra is hidden deep and far away where no person can reach it. But now the Buddha, teaching, converting, and leading to success the bodhisattvas, opens it up for them.
“Medicine King, if there are bodhisattvas who, on hearing this Lotus Sutra, respond with surprise, doubt, and fear, then you should know that they are bodhisattvas who have only newly embarked on their course. And if there are voice-hearers who, on hearing this sutra, respond with surprise, doubt, and fear, then you should know that they are people of overbearing arrogance.
“Medicine King, if there are good men and good women who, after the thus come one has entered extinction, wish to expound this Lotus Sutra for the four kinds of believers, how should they expound it? These good men and good women should enter the thus come one’s room, put on the thus come one’s robe, sit in the thus come one’s seat, and then for the sake of the four kinds of believers broadly expound this sutra.
“The ‘thus come one’s room’ is the state of mind that shows great pity and compassion toward all living beings. The ‘thus come one’s robe’ is the mind that is gentle and forbearing. The ‘thus come one’s seat’ is the emptiness of all phenomena. One should seat oneself comfortably therein and after that, with a mind never lazy or remiss, should for the sake of the bodhisattvas and the four kinds of believers broadly expound this Lotus Sutra.
“Medicine King, I will send people conjured up by magic to p.206other lands to gather together assemblies to listen to the Law. And I will also send monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen conjured up by magic to listen to the preaching of the Law. These people conjured up by magic will listen to the Law, believe and accept it, and abide by it without violation. If the preachers of the Law are in an empty and silent place, I will at that time send large numbers of heavenly beings, dragons, spirits, gandharvas, asuras, and others to listen to their preaching of the Law. Though I should be in another land, from time to time I will make it possible for the preachers of the Law to see my body. If they should forget a phrase of this sutra, I will appear and prompt them so that they are able to recite the text correctly and in full.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

If you wish to put aside all sloth and remissness,
you must listen to this sutra.
It is hard to get a chance to hear this sutra,
and believing and accepting it too is hard.
If a person is thirsty and wants water
he may dig a hole in the high plateau,
but as long as he sees that the soil is dry
he knows that water is still far away.
But bit by bit he sees the soil grow damp and muddy
and then he knows for certain he is nearing water.
Medicine King, you should understand
that people are like this—
if they do not hear the Lotus Sutra,
they will be far removed from buddha wisdom.
But if they hear this profound sutra
which defines the teaching of the voice-hearer,
if they hear this king of the sutras
and afterward carefully ponder it,
then you should know that these people
are close to the wisdom of the buddha.
If a person expounds this sutra,
p.207he should enter the thus come one’s room,
put on the thus come one’s robe,
sit in the thus come one’s seat,
confront the assembly without fear
and broadly expound it for them, making distinctions.
Great pity and compassion are the room,
gentleness and patience are the robe,
the emptiness of all phenomena is the seat,
and from that position he should expound the Law for them.
If when a person expounds this sutra
there is someone who speaks ill of and reviles him
or attacks him with swords and staves, tiles and stones,
he should think of the Buddha and for that reason be patient.
In a thousand, ten thousand, a million lands
I will manifest my pure and durable body
and for immeasurable millions of kalpas
will expound the Law for living beings.
If after I have entered extinction
there are those who can expound this sutra,
I will send the four kinds of believers, magically conjured,
monks and nuns,
and men and women of pure faith,
to offer alms to the teachers of the Law;
they will lead and guide living beings,
assemble them and cause them to listen to the Law.
If someone thinks to do evil to the preachers
with swords and staves or with tiles and stones,
I will dispatch people magically conjured
who will act to guard and protect them.
If those who expound the Law
are alone in empty and silent places,
and in that stillness where no human voice sounds
they read and recite this sutra,
at that time I will manifest
my pure and radiant body for them.
p.208If they forget a passage or a phrase
I will prompt them so they will be thorough and effective.
If people endowed with these virtues
should expound to the four kinds of believers
and read and recite the sutra in empty places,
I will enable all of them to see my body.
And if the people are in empty and silent places
I will send heavenly beings, dragon kings,
yakshas, spirits, and others
to be assemblies and listen to the Law.
These people will delight in expounding the Law,
making distinctions and encountering no hindrance.
Because the buddhas guard and keep them in mind,
they will be able to bring joy to the great assemblies.
If you stay close to the teachers of the Law,
you will speedily gain the bodhisattva way.
By following and learning from these teachers
you will see buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands.

—-

CHAPTER 11

The Emergence of the Treasure Tower

At that time in the Buddha’s presence there was a tower adorned with the seven treasures, five hundred yojanas in height and two hundred and fifty yojanas in width and depth, that rose up out of the earth and stood suspended in the air. Various kinds of precious objects adorned it. It had five thousand railings, a thousand, ten thousand rooms, and numberless streamers and banners decorated it. Festoons of jewels hung down and ten thousand million jeweled bells were suspended from it. All four sides emitted a fragrance of tamala leaves and sandalwood that pervaded the whole world. Its banners and canopies were made of the seven treasures, namely, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, pearl, and carnelian, and it was so high it reached to the heavenly palaces of the four heavenly kings. The beings of the heaven of the thirty-three gods rained down heavenly mandarava flowers as an offering to the treasure tower, and the other heavenly beings, the dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, and mahoragas, the human and nonhuman beings, an assembly of thousands, ten thousands, millions, offered all kinds of flowers, incense, necklaces, streamers, canopies, and music as alms to the treasure tower, paying it reverence, honor, and praise.
At that time a loud voice issued from the treasure tower, speaking words of praise: “Excellent, excellent! Shakyamuni, world-honored one, that you can take the great wisdom of p.210equality, a teaching to instruct the bodhisattvas, guarded and kept in mind by the buddhas, the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, and preach it for the sake of the great assembly! It is as you say, as you say. Shakyamuni, world-honored one, all that you have expounded is the truth!”
At that time the four kinds of believers saw the great treasure tower suspended in the air, and they heard the voice that issued from the tower. All experienced the joy of the Law, marveling at this thing they had never known before. They rose from their seats, pressed their palms together in reverence, and then retired to one side.
At that time there was a bodhisattva mahasattva named Great Joy of Preaching, who understood the doubts that were in the minds of the heavenly and human beings, asuras, and other beings of all the world. He said to the Buddha: “World-Honored One, for what reason has this treasure tower risen up out of the earth? And why does this voice issue from its midst?”
At that time the Buddha said to Bodhisattva Great Joy of Preaching: “In the treasure tower is the complete body of a thus come one. Long ago, an immeasurable thousand, ten thousand, million asamkhyas of worlds to the east, in a land called Treasure Purity, there was a buddha named Many Treasures. When this buddha was originally carrying out the bodhisattva way, he made a great vow, saying, ‘If, after I have become a buddha and entered extinction, in the lands in the ten directions there is any place where the Lotus Sutra is preached, then my funerary tower, in order that I may listen to the sutra, will come forth and appear in that spot to testify to the sutra and praise its excellence.’
“When that buddha had finished carrying out the buddha way and was on the point of passing into extinction, in the midst of a great assembly of heavenly and human beings he said to the monks, ‘After I have passed into extinction, if there are those who wish to offer alms to my complete body, then they should erect a great tower.’ That buddha, through his transcendental powers and the power of his vow, insures that, throughout the worlds in the ten directions, no matter in what place, if there are p.211those who preach the Lotus Sutra, this treasure tower will in all cases come forth and appear in their presence, and his complete body will be in the tower, speaking words of praise and saying, ‘Excellent, excellent!’
“Great Joy of Preaching, now this tower of the thus come one Many Treasures, because it heard the preaching of the Lotus Sutra, has come forth out of the ground and speaks words of praise, saying, ‘Excellent, excellent!’”
At this time Bodhisattva Great Joy of Preaching, knowing the supernatural powers of the thus come one, spoke to the Buddha, saying, “World-Honored One, we wish to see the body of this buddha.”
The Buddha said to the bodhisattva mahasattva Great Joy of Preaching, “This Many Treasures Buddha has taken a profound vow, saying, ‘When my treasure tower, in order to listen to the Lotus Sutra, comes forth into the presence of one of the buddhas, if there should be those who wish me to show my body to the four kinds of believers, then let the various buddhas who are emanations of that buddha and who are preaching the Law in the worlds in the ten directions all return and gather around that buddha in a single spot. Only when that has been done will my body become visible.’ Great Joy of Preaching, I will now gather together the various buddhas that are emanations of my body and that are preaching the Law in the worlds in the ten directions.”
Great Joy of Preaching said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, I and the others also wish to see these buddhas that are emanations of the world-honored one, and to make obeisance to them and offer alms.”
At that time the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair [between his eyebrows], immediately making visible the buddhas in the eastern region in lands as numerous as five hundred ten thousand million nayutas of Ganges sands. The earth in all these lands was made of crystal, and the lands were adorned with jeweled trees and jeweled robes. Countless thousands, ten thousands, millions of bodhisattvas filled them, and everywhere were hung jeweled curtains, with jeweled nets p.212covering them over. The buddhas in these lands preached the various doctrines of the Law with great and wonderful voices, and one could see immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of bodhisattvas filling all these lands and preaching the Law for the assemblies. In the southern, western, and northern regions as well, and in the four intermediate quarters and up and down, wherever the beam from the tuft of white hair, a characteristic feature of the Buddha, shone, the same was true.
At that time the buddhas of the ten directions each spoke to his multitude of bodhisattvas, saying, “Good men, now I must go to the saha world, to the place where Shakyamuni Buddha is, and also offer alms to the treasure tower of Many Treasures Thus Come One.”
The saha world thereupon immediately changed into a place of cleanness and purity. The ground was made of lapis lazuli, jeweled trees adorned it, and ropes of gold marked off the eight highways. There were no villages, towns, or cities, great seas or rivers, mountains, streams, or forests; great jeweled incense was burning there and mandarava flowers covered the ground all over. Jeweled nets and curtains were spread above, hung with jeweled bells, and the members of this assembly alone were gathered there, all other heavenly and human beings having been moved to another region.
At that time the buddhas, each with a great bodhisattva to act as his attendant, arrived in the saha world and proceeded to a position beneath one of the jeweled trees. Each of these jeweled trees was five hundred yojanas high and adorned with branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit in due proportion. Under all the jeweled trees were lion seats five yojanas in height, and these too were decorated with large jewels. At that time each of the buddhas took one of these seats, seating himself in cross-legged position. In this way the seats were filled throughout the major world system, but still there was no end even to the emanations of Shakyamuni Buddha arriving from merely one direction.
At that time Shakyamuni Buddha, wishing to provide space for all the buddhas that were emanations of his body, in addition transformed two hundred ten thousand million nayutas of p.213lands in each of the eight directions, making them all clean and pure and without hells, hungry spirits, beasts, or asuras. He also moved all their heavenly and human beings to another region. The ground in these lands that he had transformed was also made of lapis lazuli. Jeweled trees adorned them, each tree five hundred yojanas high and adorned with branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit in due proportion. There were jeweled lion seats under all the trees, five yojanas in height and ornamented with various kinds of treasures. These lands too were without great seas or rivers, or any kingly ranges of mountains such as the Muchilinda Mountains, Mahamuchilinda Mountains, Iron Encircling Mountains, Great Iron Encircling Mountains, or Mount Sumeru. The whole area comprised a single buddha land, a jeweled region level and smooth. Curtains crisscrossed with festoons of jewels were spread everywhere, banners and canopies hung down, great jeweled incense burned, and heavenly jeweled flowers covered the ground all around.
Shakyamuni Buddha, in order to provide seats for all the buddhas that were arriving, once more transformed two hundred ten thousand million nayutas of lands in each of the eight directions, making them all clean and pure and without hells, hungry spirits, beasts, or asuras. He also moved all the heavenly and human beings to another region. The ground in these lands that he had transformed was likewise made of lapis lazuli. Jeweled trees adorned the lands, each tree five hundred yojanas in height and adorned with branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit in due proportion. There were jeweled lion seats under all the trees, five yojanas in height and ornamented with great jewels. These lands too were without great seas or rivers, or any kingly ranges such as the Muchilinda Mountains, Mahamuchilinda Mountains, Iron Encircling Mountains, Great Iron Encircling Mountains, or Mount Sumeru, the whole area comprising a single buddha land, a jeweled region level and smooth. Curtains crisscrossed with festoons of jewels were spread everywhere, banners and canopies hung down, great jeweled incense burned, and heavenly jeweled flowers covered the ground all around.
At that time the emanations of Shakyamuni Buddha from the p.214eastern region, buddhas in lands equal in number to hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of Ganges sands, each preaching the Law, had assembled there. And bit by bit the buddhas from the ten directions all came and assembled in this way and were seated in the eight directions. At this time each of the directions was filled with buddhas, thus come ones, in four hundred ten thousand million nayutas of lands.
At this time the buddhas, each seated on a lion seat under one of the jeweled trees, all dispatched their attendants to go and greet Shakyamuni Buddha. Each buddha presented his attendant with a handful of jeweled flowers and said, “Good man, you must go to Mount Gridhrakuta to the place where Shakyamuni Buddha is and speak to him as I instruct you. Say, ‘Are your illnesses few, are your worries few? In spirit and vigor are you well and happy? And are the bodhisattvas and voice-hearers all well and at peace?’ Then take these jeweled flowers and scatter them over the Buddha as an offering, and say, ‘The buddha So-and-so would like to participate in the opening of this treasure tower.’”
All the buddhas dispatched their attendants to speak in this manner. At that time Shakyamuni Buddha saw the buddhas that were his emanations all assembled, each sitting on a lion seat, and heard all these buddhas say that they wished to participate in the opening of the treasure tower. Immediately he rose from his seat and stationed himself in midair. All the four kinds of believers likewise stood up, pressed their palms together, and gazed at the Buddha with a single mind.
Shakyamuni Buddha with the fingers of his right hand then opened the door of the tower of seven treasures. A loud sound issued from it, like the sound of a lock and crossbar being removed from a great city gate, and at once all the members of the assembly caught sight of Many Treasures Thus Come One seated on a lion seat inside the treasure tower, his body whole and unimpaired, sitting as though engaged in meditation. And they heard him say, “Excellent, excellent, Shakyamuni Buddha! You have preached this Lotus Sutra in a spirited manner. I have come here in order that I may hear this sutra.”
p.215At that time the four kinds of believers, observing this buddha who had passed into extinction immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of kalpas in the past speaking in this way, marvelled at what they had never known before and took the masses of heavenly jeweled flowers and scattered them over Many Treasures Buddha and Shakyamuni Buddha.
At that time Many Treasures Buddha offered half of his seat in the treasure tower to Shakyamuni Buddha, saying, “Shakyamuni Buddha, sit here!” Shakyamuni Buddha at once entered the tower and took half of the seat, seating himself in cross-legged position.
At that time the members of the great assembly, seeing the two thus come ones seated cross-legged on the lion seat in the tower of seven treasures, all thought to themselves, These buddhas are seated high up and far away! If only the thus come ones would employ their transcendental powers to enable all of us to join them there in the air!
Immediately Shakyamuni Buddha used his transcendental powers to lift all the members of the great assembly up into the air. And in a loud voice he addressed all the four kinds of believers, saying, “Who is capable of broadly preaching the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law in this saha world? Now is the time to do so, for before long the thus come one will enter nirvana. The Buddha wishes to entrust this Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law to someone so that it may be preserved.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

This holy lord, this world-honored one,
though he passed into extinction long ago,
still seats himself in the treasure tower,
coming here for the sake of the Law.
You people, why then do you not also
strive for the sake of the Law?
This buddha passed into extinction
an endless number of kalpas ago,
but in many places he comes to listen to the Law
p.216because such opportunities are hard to encounter.
This buddha originally made a vow, saying,
“After I have passed into extinction,
wherever I may go, in whatever place,
my constant aim will be to hear the Law!”
In addition, these emanations of my body,
buddhas in immeasurable numbers
like Ganges sands,
have come, desiring to hear the Law,
and so they may see Many Treasures Thus Come One
who has passed into extinction.
Each has abandoned his wonderful land,
as well as his host of disciples,
the heavenly and human beings, dragons,
and all the offerings they give him,
and has come to this place on purpose
to make certain the Law will long endure.
In order to seat these buddhas
I have employed transcendental powers,
moving immeasurable multitudes,
causing lands to be clean and pure,
leading each of these buddhas
to the foot of a jeweled tree,
adorned as lotus blossoms
adorn a clear cool pond.
Beneath these jeweled trees
are lion seats,
and the buddhas seat themselves on them,
adorning them with their brilliance
like a huge torch burning
in the darkness of the night.
A wonderful incense exudes from their bodies,
pervading the lands in the ten directions.
Living beings are wrapped in the aroma,
unable to restrain their joy,
as though a great wind
were tossing the branches of small trees.
p.217Through this expedient means
they make certain that the Law will long endure.
So I say to the great assembly:
After I have passed into extinction,
who can guard and uphold,
read and recite this sutra?
Now in the presence of the Buddha
let him come forward and speak his vow!
This Many Treasures Buddha,
though he passed into extinction long ago,
because of his great vow
roars the lion’s roar.
Many Treasures Thus Come One, I myself,
and these emanation buddhas who have gathered here,
surely know this is our aim.
You sons of the Buddha,
who can guard the Law?
Let him make a great vow
to ensure that it will long endure!
One who is capable of guarding
the Law of this sutra
will thereby have offered alms
to me and to Many Treasures.
This Many Treasures Buddha
dwelling in his treasure tower
journeys constantly throughout the ten directions
for the sake of this sutra.
One who guards this sutra will also have offered alms
to the emanation buddhas who have come here
adorning and making brilliant
all the various worlds.
If one preaches this sutra,
one will be able to see me
and Many Treasures Thus Come One
and these emanation buddhas.
All you good men,
each of you must consider carefully!
p.218This is a difficult matter—
it is proper you should make a great vow.
The other sutras
number as many as Ganges sands,
but though you expound those sutras,
that is not worth regarding as difficult.
If you were to seize Mount Sumeru
and fling it far off
to the measureless buddha lands,
that too would not be difficult.
If you used the toe of your foot
to move the major world system,
booting it far away to other lands,
that too would not be difficult.
If you stood in the Summit of Being heaven
and for the sake of the assembly
preached countless other sutras,
that too would not be difficult.
But if after the Buddha has entered extinction,
in the time of evil,
you can preach this sutra,
that will be difficult indeed!
If there were a person
who took the empty sky in his hand
and walked all around with it,
that would not be difficult.
But if after I have passed into extinction
one can write out and embrace this sutra
and cause others to write it out,
that will be difficult indeed!
If one took the great earth,
placed it on one’s toenail,
and ascended with it to the Brahma heaven,
that would not be difficult.
But if after the Buddha has passed into extinction,
in the time of evil,
one can even for a little while read this sutra,
p.219that will be difficult indeed!
If, when the fires come at the end of the kalpa,
one can load dry grass on one’s back
and enter the fire without being burned,
that would not be difficult.
But after I have passed into extinction
if one can embrace this sutra
and expound it to even one person,
that will be difficult indeed!
If one were to embrace this storehouse
of eighty-four thousand doctrines,
the twelve divisions of the sutras,
and expound it to others,
causing listeners
to acquire the six transcendental powers—
though one could do that,
that would not be difficult.
But after I have entered extinction
if one can listen to and accept this sutra
and ask about its meaning,
that will be difficult indeed!
If one expounds the Law,
allowing thousands, ten thousands, millions,
immeasurable numbers of living beings
equal to Ganges sands
to become arhats
endowed with the six transcendental powers,
though one might confer such benefits,
that would not be difficult.
But after I have entered extinction
if one can honor and embrace
a sutra such as this one,
that will be difficult indeed!
For the sake of the buddha way
in immeasurable numbers of lands
from the beginning until now
I have widely preached many sutras,
p.220and among them
this sutra is foremost.
If one can uphold this,
one will be upholding the Buddha’s body.
All you good men,
after I have entered extinction
who can accept and uphold,
read and recite this sutra?
Now in the presence of the Buddha
let him come forward and speak his vow!
This sutra is hard to uphold;
if one can uphold it even for a short while
I will surely rejoice
and so will the other buddhas.
A person who can do this
wins the admiration of the buddhas.
This is what is meant by valor,
this is what is meant by diligence.
This is what is called observing the precepts
and practicing dhuta.
This way one will quickly attain
the unsurpassed buddha way.
And if in future existences
one can read and uphold this sutra,
one will be a true son of the Buddha,
dwelling in a land spotless and good.
If after the Buddha has passed into extinction
one can understand the meaning of this sutra,
one will be the eyes of the world
for heavenly and human beings.
If in that fearful age
one can preach this sutra for even a moment,
one will deserve to receive alms
from all heavenly and human beings.
———————————–
Appendix A
The Writings in This Volume and Their Japanese Titles

Note: The numbers following the Japanese titles refer to the page numbers in the Nichiren Daishonin Gosho zenshū.

1. On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime: Isshō jōbutsu shō (一生成仏抄), 383.
2. On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land: Risshō ankoku ron (立正安国論), 17.
The Postscript to “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”: Risshō ankoku ron okugaki (立正安国論奥書), 33.
3. A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering: Shiiji Shirō dono gosho (椎地四郎殿御書), 1448.
4. The Izu Exile: Funamori Yasaburō moto gosho (船守弥三郎許御書), 1445.
5. The Universal Salty Taste: Dōitsu kammi gosho (同一鹹味御書), 1447.
6. The Four Debts of Gratitude: Shion shō (四恩抄), 935.
7. The Teaching, Capacity, Time, and Country: Kyō ki ji koku shō (教機時国抄), 438.
8. Questions and Answers about Embracing the Lotus Sutra: Ji Myō-hokke mondō shō (持妙法華問答抄), 461.
9. The Recitation of the “Expedient Means” and “Life Span” Chapters: Gessui gosho (月水御書), 1199.
10. Encouragement to a Sick Person: Nanjō Hyōe Shichirō dono gosho (南条兵衛七郎殿御書), 1493.
11. Opening the Eyes of Wooden and Painted Images: Mokue nizō kaigen no koto (木絵二像開眼之事), 468.
12. The Essence of the “Medicine King” Chapter: Yakuō-bon tokui shō (薬王品得意抄), 1499.
13. Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man: Shōgu mondō shō (聖愚問答抄), 474.
14. The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra: Hokekyō daimoku shō (法華経題目抄), 940.
15. Reply to Hoshina Gorō Tarō: Hoshina Gorō Tarō dono gohenji (星名五郎太郎殿御返事), 1206.
16. The Rationale for Writing “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”: Ankoku ron gokan yurai (安国論御勘由来), 33.
17. The Tripitaka Master Shan-wu-wei: Zemmui Sanzō shō (善無畏三蔵抄), 881.
18. The Essence of the “Life Span” Chapter: Juryō-bon tokui shō (寿量品得意抄), 1210.
19. Easy Delivery of a Fortune Child: Shijō Kingo nyōbō gosho (四条金吾女房御書), 1109.
20. The Birth of Tsukimaro: Tsukimaro gozen gosho (月満御前御書), 1110.
21. The Origin of the Service for Deceased Ancestors: Shijō Kingo dono gosho (四条金吾殿御書), 1111.
22. Letter from Echi: Toki dono gohenji (土木殿御返事), 950.
23. The Persecution at Tatsunokuchi: Shijō Kingo dono goshōsoku (四条金吾殿御消息), 1113.
24. Lessening One’s Karmic Retribution: Tenjū kyōju hōmon (転重軽受法門), 1000.
25. Banishment to Sado: Sado gokanki shō (佐渡御勘気抄), 891.
26. Letter to Priest Nichirō in Prison: Tsuchirō gosho (土籠御書), 1213.
27. Letter from Teradomari: Teradomari gosho (寺泊御書), 951.
28. Aspiration for the Buddha Land: Toki Nyūdō dono gohenji (富木入道殿御返事), 955.
29. The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life: Shōji ichidaiji kechimyaku shō (生死一大事血脈抄), 1336.
30. The Opening of the Eyes: Kaimoku shō (開目抄), 186.
31. On the Treasure Tower: Abutsu-bō gosho (阿仏房御書), 1304.
32. Letter from Sado: Sado gosho (佐渡御書), 956.
33. Reply to Sairen-bō: Sairen-bō gohenji (最蓮房御返事), 1340.
34. The Gods Same Birth and Same Name: Dōshō Dōmyō gosho (同生同名御書), 1114.
35. Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1116.
36. Letter to the Sage Nichimyō: Nichimyō Shōnin gosho (日妙聖人御書), 1213.
37. The Pure and Far-Reaching Voice: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1118.
38. On Prayer: Kitō shō (祈祷抄), 1344.
39. The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind Established in the Fifth Five-Hundred-Year Period after the Thus Come One’s Passing: Nyorai metsugo gogohyakusai ni hajimu kanjin no honzon shō (如来滅後五五百歳始観心本尊抄・同送状), 238.
40. The True Aspect of All Phenomena: Shohō jissō shō (諸法実相抄), 1358.
41. Letter to Gijō-bō: Gijō-bō gosho (義浄房御書), 892.
42. On Practicing the Buddha’s Teachings: Nyosetsu shugyō shō (如説修行抄), 501.
43. On the Buddha’s Prophecy: Kembutsu mirai ki (顕仏未来記), 505.
44. Reply to Hakiri Saburō: Hakiri Saburō dono gohenji (波木井三郎殿御返事), 1369.
45. Reply to Kyō’ō: Kyō’ō dono gohenji (経王殿御返事), 1124.
46. On Offering Prayers to the Mandala of the Mystic Law: Myōhō mandara kuyō no koto (妙法曼陀羅供養事), 1305.
47. The Entity of the Mystic Law: Tōtai gi shō (当体義抄・同送状), 510.
48. On Rebuking Slander of the Law and Eradicating Sins: Kashaku hōbō metsuzai shō (呵責謗法滅罪抄), 1125.
49. The Votary of the Lotus Sutra Will Meet Persecution: Hokke gyōja hōnan ji (法華行者逢難事), 965.
50. The Swords of Good and Evil: Yagenta dono gohenji (弥源太殿御返事), 1226.
51. Letter to Endo Saemon-no-jō: Endō Saemon-no-jō gosho (遠藤左衛門尉御書), 1336.
52. Hell Is the Land of Tranquil Light: Ueno dono goke-ama gohenji (上野殿後家尼御返事), 1504.
53. On Recommending This Teaching to Your Lord and Avoiding the Offense of Complicity in Slander: Shukun ninyū shihōmon men yodōzai ji (主君耳入此法門免与同罪事), 1132.
54. The Unity of Husband and Wife: Shijō Kingo dono nyōbō gohenji (四条金吾殿女房御返事), 1134.
55. Reply to Niiama: Niiama gozen gohenji (新尼御前御返事), 904.
56. The Difficulty of Sustaining Faith: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1136.
57. The Teaching, Practice, and Proof: Kyō gyō shō gosho (教行証御書), 1276.
58. Reply to the Lay Priest Soya: Soya Nyūdō dono gohenji (曾谷入道殿御返事), 1025.
59. The Royal Palace: Ōshajō no koto (王舎城事), 1137.
60. Reply to the Lay Priest of Kō: Kō Nyūdō dono gohenji (国府入道殿御返事), 1323.
61. Letter to the Brothers: Kyōdai shō (兄弟抄), 1079.
62. Letter to Hōren: Hōren shō (法蓮抄), 1040.
63. Letter to the Lay Priest Ichinosawa: Ichinosawa Nyūdō gosho (一谷入道御書), 1326.
64. The Offering of an Unlined Robe: Sajiki nyōbō gohenji (さじき女房御返事), 1231.
65. Winter Always Turns to Spring: Myōichi-ama gozen goshōsoku (妙一尼御前御消息), 1252.
66. The Selection of the Time: Senji shō (撰時抄), 256.
67. Letter to the Lay Nun of Kō: Kō-no-ama gozen gosho (国府尼御前御書), 1324.
68. Three Tripitaka Masters Pray for Rain: San sanzō kiu no koto (三三蔵祈雨事), 1468.
69. Reply to the Lay Priest Takahashi: Takahashi Nyūdō dono gohenji (高橋入道殿御返事), 1458.
70. The Supremacy of the Law: Oto gozen goshōsoku (乙御前御消息), 1218.
71. Many in Body, One in Mind: Itai dōshin ji (異体同心事), 1463.
72. The Problem to Be Pondered Night and Day: Toki dono gosho (富木殿御書), 969.
73. On Upholding Faith in the Gohonzon: Myōshin-ama gozen gohenji (妙心尼御前御返事), 1477.
74. The Embankments of Faith: Abutsu-bō-ama gozen gohenji (阿仏房尼御前御返事), 1307.
75. The Mongol Envoys: Mōko tsukai gosho (蒙古使御書), 1472.
76. On Curing Karmic Disease: Ōta Nyūdō dono gohenji (太田入道殿御返事), 1009.
77. The Three Obstacles and Four Devils: Hyōe Sakan dono gohenji (兵衛志殿御返事), 1090.
78. A Sage Perceives the Three Existences of Life: Shōnin chi sanze ji (聖人知三世事), 974.
79. On Omens: Zuisō gosho (瑞相御書), 1140.
80. Letter to the Priests of Seichō-ji: Seichō-ji daishū chū (清澄寺大衆中), 893.
81. Good Fortune in This Life: Nanjō dono gohenji (南条殿御返事), 1529.
82. The Bow and Arrow: Toki-ama gozen gohenji (富木尼御前御返事), 975.
83. Letter to Kōnichi-bō: Kōnichi-bō gosho (光日房御書), 926.
84. The Blessings of the Lotus Sutra: Myōmitsu Shōnin goshōsoku (妙密上人御消息), 1237.
85. The Story of Ōhashi no Tarō: Nanjō dono gohenji (南条殿御返事), 1531.
86. Happiness in This World: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1143.
87. On Consecrating an Image of Shakyamuni Buddha Made by Shijō Kingo: Shijō Kingo Shakabutsu kuyō ji (四条金吾釈迦仏供養事), 1144.
88. On Repaying Debts of Gratitude: Hō’on shō (報恩抄・同送文), 293.
89. The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood: Soya dono gohenji (曾谷殿御返事), 1055.
90. Letter to the Lay Priest Dōmyō: Dōmyō Zemmon gosho (道妙禅門御書), 1242.
91. Propagation by the Wise: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1148.
92. The Fourteen Slanders: Matsuno dono gohenji (松野殿御返事), 1381.
93. The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra: Shuju onfurumai gosho (種種御振舞御書), 909.
94. On the Four Stages of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice: Shishin gohon shō (四信五品抄), 338.
95. The Eight Winds: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1150.
96. The Workings of Brahmā and Shakra: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1537.
97. The Letter of Petition from Yorimoto: Yorimoto chinjō (頼基陳状), 1153.
98. On Offerings for Deceased Ancestors: Urabon gosho (盂蘭盆御書), 1427.
99. A Warning against Begrudging One’s Fief: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1163.
100. Reply to Yasaburō: Yasaburō dono gohenji (弥三郎殿御返事), 1449.
101. The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon: Nichinyo gozen gohenji (日女御前御返事), 1243.
102. The Hero of the World: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1165.
103. The Wonderful Means of Surmounting Obstacles: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1170.
104. Reply to Matsuno: Matsuno dono gohenji (松野殿御返事), 1388.
105. A Father Takes Faith: Hyōe Sakan dono gosho (兵衛志殿御書), 1095.
106. The Three Kinds of Treasure: Sushun Tennō gosho (崇峻天皇御書), 1170.
107. The Third Doctrine: Jōnin shō (常忍抄), 980.
108. “This Is What I Heard”: Soya Nyūdō dono gohenji (曾谷入道殿御返事), 1057.
109. Letter to Shōmitsu-bō: Shōmitsu-bō gosho (聖密房御書), 896.
110. How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra: Hokke shoshin jōbutsu shō (法華初心成仏抄), 544.
111. No Safety in the Threefold World: Matsuno dono gohenji (松野殿御返事), 1388.
112. Letter to Misawa: Misawa shō (三沢抄), 1487.
113. The Two Kinds of Faith: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1544.
114. Reply to the Followers: Shonin gohenji (諸人御返事), 1284.
115. The Teaching for the Latter Day: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1545.
116. Reply to a Believer: Dannotsu bō gohenji (檀越某御返事), 1294.
117. Unseen Virtue and Visible Reward: Intoku yōhō gosho (陰徳陽報御書), 1178.
118. Flowering and Bearing Grain: Keka jōju gosho (華果成就御書), 900.
119. An Outline of the “Entrustment” and Other Chapters: Nichinyo gozen gohenji (日女御前御返事), 1245.
120. The Two Kinds of Illness: Nakatsukasa Saemon-no-jō dono gohenji (中務左衛門尉殿御返事), 1178.
121. The One Essential Phrase: Myōhō-ama gozen gohenji (妙法尼御前御返事), 1402.
122. Reply to Tokimitsu: Tokimitsu gohenji (時光御返事), 1549.
123. The Sutra of True Requital: Sennichi-ama gozen gohenji (千日尼御前御返事), 1309.
124. The Good Medicine for All Ills: Myōshin-ama gozen gohenji (妙心尼御前御返事), 1479.
125. The Farther the Source, the Longer the Stream: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1180.
126. The Receipt of New Fiefs: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1183.
127. The Drum at the Gate of Thunder: Sennichi-ama gozen gohenji (千日尼御前御返事), 1315.
128. General Stone Tiger: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1185.
129. On Prolonging One’s Life Span: Kaen jōgō sho (可延定業書), 985.
130. The One-eyed Turtle and the Floating Log: Matsuno dono goke-ama gozen gohenji (松野殿後家尼御前御返事), 1390.
131. Persecution by Sword and Staff: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1555.
132. The Teaching That Accords with the Buddha’s Mind: Niike dono goshōsoku (新池殿御消息), 1435.
133. The Unmatched Blessings of the Law: Hōkyō hōjū ji (宝軽法重事), 1474.
134. On Establishing the Four Bodhisattvas as the Object of Devotion: Shibosatsu zōryū shō (四菩薩造立抄), 987.
135. Reply to the Wife of Matsuno: Matsuno dono nyōbō gohenji (松野殿女房御返事), 1394.
136. King Rinda: Soya dono gohenji (曾谷殿御返事), 1059.
137. Letter to Jakunichi-bō: Jakunichi-bō gosho (寂日房御書), 902.
138. On Persecutions Befalling the Sage: Shōnin gonan ji (聖人御難事), 1189.
139. The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1192.
140. The Dragon Gate: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1560.
141. Letter to the Lay Priest Nakaoki: Nakaoki Nyūdō shōsoku (中興入道消息), 1331.
142. “This Person Advances through the World”: Uemon no Tayū dono gohenji (右衛門太夫殿御返事), 1102.
143. The Third Day of the New Year: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1562.
144. Letter to Akimoto: Akimoto gosho (秋元御書), 1071.
145. Letter to Niike: Niike gosho (新池御書), 1439.
146. On Filial and Unfilial Conduct: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1563.
147. The Meaning of Faith: Myōichi-ama gozen gohenji (妙一尼御前御返事), 1255.
148. A Comparison of the Lotus and Other Sutras: Shokyō to Hokekyō to nan’i no koto (諸経と法華経と難易の事), 991.
149. The Treasure of a Filial Child: Sennichi-ama gohenji (千日尼御返事), 1318.
150. The Sons Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye: Jōzō Jōgen goshōsoku (浄蔵浄眼御消息), 1396.
151. The Doctrine of Attaining Buddhahood in One’s Present Form: Myōichi-nyo gohenji (妙一女御返事), 1255.
152. White Horses and White Swans: Utsubusa nyōbō gohenji (内房女房御返事), 1420.
153. The Place of the Cluster of Blessings: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1193.
154. Reply to the Mother of Ueno: Ueno dono haha gozen gohenji (上野殿母御前御返事), 1568.
155. Reply to the Lay Nun Nichigon: Nichigon-ama gozen gohenji (日厳尼御前御返事), 1262.
156. Great Bodhisattva Hachiman: Shijō Kingo moto onfumi (四条金吾許御文), 1195.
157. The Wealthy Man Sudatta: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1574.
158. Reply to Ōnichi-nyo: Ōnichi-nyo dono gohenji (王日女殿御返事), 1263.
159. The Gift of Clear Sake: Ueno-ama gozen gohenji (上野尼御前御返事), 1575.
160. Reply to Jibu-bō: Jibu-bō gohenji (治部房御返事), 1425.
161. The Person and the Law: Nanjō dono gohenji (南条殿御返事), 1578.
162. Wu-lung and I-lung: Ueno-ama gozen gohenji (上野尼御前御返事), 1580.
163. Roots of Good Fortune: Kubo-no-ama gozen gohenji (窪尼御前御返事), 1485.
164. Reply to the Lay Nun Myōhō: Myōhō-bikuni gozen gohenji (妙法比丘尼御前御返事), 1419.
165. The Proof of the Lotus Sutra: Hokke shōmyō shō (法華証明抄), 1586.
166. The Treatment of Illness: Jibyō daishō gonjitsu imoku (治病大小権実違目), 995.
167. The Properties of Rice: Takahashi dono gohenji (高橋殿御返事), 1467.
168. Great Evil and Great Good: Daiaku daizen gosho (大悪大善御書), 1300.
169. The Kalpa of Decrease: Genkō gosho (減劫御書), 1465.
170. The Gift of Rice: Hakumai ippyō gosho (白米一俵御書), 1596.
171. The Bodies and Minds of Ordinary Beings: Shujō shinshin gosho (衆生身心御書), 1590.
172. New Year’s Gosho: Mushimochi gosho (十字御書), 1491.

WND-II :

Appendix A
The Writings in This Volume and Their Japanese Titles

Note: The numbers following the Japanese titles refer to the page numbers in the Nichiren Daishonin gosho zenshū.

173. Letter to Renjō: Renjō shō (蓮盛抄), 150.
174. Questions and Answers on the Various Schools: Shoshū mondō shō (諸宗問答抄), 375.
175. Nembutsu and the Hell of Incessant Suffering: Nembutsu muken jigoku shō (念仏無間地獄抄), 97.
176. Sovereign, Teacher, and Parent: Shu shi shin gosho (主師親御書), 385.
177. The Meaning of the Sacred Teachings of the Buddha’s Lifetime: Ichidai shōkyō taii (一代聖教大意), 390.
178. On the Principle of Three Thousand Realms in a Single Moment of Life: Ichinen sanzen riji (一念三千理事), 406.
179. On the Ten Factors: Jūnyoze ji (十如是事), 410.
180. The Doctrine of Three Thousand Realms in a Single Moment of Life: Ichinen sanzen hōmon (一念三千法門), 412.
181. On the Protection of the Nation: Shugo kokka ron (守護国家論), 36.
182. On the Ten Worlds: Jippōkai ji (十法界事), 417.
183. Persons of the Two Vehicles and Bodhisattvas Cannot Attain Buddhahood in the Pre-Lotus Sutra Teachings: Nizen nijō bosatsu fusabutsu ji (爾前二乗菩薩不作仏事), 424.
184. On Dealing with Disaster: Sainan taiji shō (災難対治抄), 78.
185. Explaining the Causation of the Ten Worlds: Jippōkai myōinga shō (十法界明因果抄), 427.
186. On Reciting the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra: Shōhokke daimoku shō (唱法華題目抄), 1.
187. Diagram of the Five Periods of the Buddha’s Lifetime Teachings: Ichidai goji zu (一代五時図), 612.
188. What It Means to Slander the Law: Kenhōbō shō (顕謗法抄), 443.
189. On the Relative Superiority of the Lotus Sutra and the True Word Teachings: Hokke shingon shōretsu ji (法華真言勝劣事), 120.
190. Why Present-Day Nembutsu Practitioners Are Destined for the Hell of Incessant Suffering: Tōsei nembutsusha muken jigoku ji (当世念仏者無間地獄事), 104.
191. The Two Meanings Implied in the Nembutsu Leading to the Hell of Incessant Suffering: Rokurō Tsunenaga goshōsoku (六郎恒長御消息), 1368.
192. The Portable Shrine Incidents: Mikoshi furi gosho (御輿振御書), 1264.
193. On the Attainment of Buddhahood by Women: Nyonin jōbutsu shō (女人成仏抄), 470.
194. Letter to the Lay Priest Yadoya: Yadoya Nyūdō e no gojō (宿屋入道への御状), 169.
195. Letter to Hōjō Tokimune: Hōjō Tokimune e no gojō (北条時宗への御状), 169.
196. Letter to Yadoya Saemon Mitsunori: Yadoya Saemon Mitsunori e no gojō (宿屋左衛門光則への御状), 170.
197. Letter to Hei no Saemon-no-jō Yoritsuna: Hei no Saemon-no-jō Yoritsuna e no gojō (平左衛門尉頼綱への御状), 171.
198. Letter to Hōjō Yagenta: Hōjō Yagenta e no gojō (北条弥源太への御状), 172.
199. Letter to Dōryū of Kenchō-ji: Kenchō-ji Dōryū e no gojō (建長寺道隆への御状), 173.
200. Letter to Ryōkan of Gokuraku-ji: Gokuraku-ji Ryōkan e no gojō (極楽寺良観への御状), 174.
201. Letter to the Superintendent of Daibutsu-den: Daibutsu-den bettō e no gojō (大仏殿別当への御状), 174.
202. Letter to Jufuku-ji: Jufuku-ji e no gojō (寿福寺への御状), 175.
203. Letter to Jōkōmyō-ji: Jōkōmyō-ji e no gojō (浄光明寺への御状), 175.
204. Letter to Tahō-ji: Tahō-ji e no gojō (多宝寺への御状), 176.
205. Letter to Chōraku-ji: Chōraku-ji e no gojō (長楽寺への御状), 176.
206. Letter to My Disciples and Lay Supporters: Deshi danna chū e no gojō (弟子檀那中への御状), 177.
207. The Annual Lecture on the Doctrines of the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai: Kingo dono gohenji (金吾殿御返事), 999.
208. On the Proper Way to Preach the Doctrine: Hōmon mōsarubeki yō no koto (法門申さるべき様の事), 1265.
209. Reply to the Lay Nun: Ueno dono haha-ama gozen gohenji (上野殿母尼御前御返事), 1515.
210. Concerning the Statue of Shakyamuni Buddha Made by Toki: Mama Shakabutsu gokuyō chikujō (真間釈迦仏御供養逐状), 950.
211. An Offering of Soybeans: Daizu gosho (大豆御書), 1210.
212. On the True Word Teaching Ranking Seventh: Shingon shichijū shōretsu ji (真言七重勝劣事), 128.
213. On the Relative Superiority of the True Word and Tendai Schools: Shingon tendai shōretsu ji (真言天台勝劣事), 134.
214. On the Five Seasonal Festivals: Akimoto dono gohenji (秋元殿御返事), 1070.
215. On the Ten Chapters of “Great Concentration and Insight”: Jisshō shō (十章抄), 1273.
216. Reply to Gyōbin: Gyōbin gohenji (行敏御返事), 179.
217. Response to the Petition from Gyōbin: Gyōbin sojō goetsū (行敏訴状御会通), 180.
218. The Day before Yesterday: Issakujitsu gosho (一昨日御書), 183.
219. Letter to Five Followers in Prison: Gonin tsuchirō gosho (五人土籠御書), 1212.
220. Dialogues for Quick Victory: Hayagachi mondō (早勝問答), 161.
221. Dialogue on the Lotus and Pure Land Teachings: Hokke jōdo mondō shō (法華浄土問答抄), 117.
222. Errors of the Eight Schools: Hasshū imoku shō (八宗違目抄), 154.
223. The Oral Tradition regarding the Enlightenment of Plants: Sōmoku jōbutsu kuketsu (草木成仏口決), 1338.
224. Why No Protection from the Heavenly Gods?: Toki dono gohenji (富木殿御返事), 962.
225. Errors of the True Word and Other Schools: Shingon shoshū imoku (真言諸宗違目), 139.
226. Letter to Ben: Ben dono goshōsoku (辧殿御消息), 1223.
227. Examining the True Word School: Shingon kemmon (真言見聞), 142.
228. Regarding the Birth of Kyō’ō: Kyō’ō gozen gosho (経王御前御書), 1123.
229. Letter Sent with the Prayer Sutra: Kitōkyō okurijō (祈禱経送状), 1356.
230. The Joy of Fulfilling the Sutra Teachings: Toki dono gohenji (土木殿御返事), 963.
231. The Great Battle: Ben-dono-ama gozen gosho (辧殿尼御前御書), 1224.
232. Damage by Locusts: Toki dono gohenji (土木殿御返事), 964.
233. The Differences between Hinayana and Mahayana: Shōjō daijō fumbetsu shō (小乗大乗分別抄), 520.
234. The Way to Minobu: Toki dono gosho (富木殿御書), 964.
235. Choosing the Heart of the Lotus Sutra: Hokke shuyō shō (法華取要抄), 331.
236. Reply to Ueno: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1507.
237. A Disease Passed on to One’s Children: Yagenta Nyūdō dono gohenji (弥源太入道殿御返事), 1228.
238. On the Offering of a Mud Pie: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1508.
239. Distinguishing the Lotus Sutra from the True Word Sutras: Soya Nyūdō dono gosho (曾谷入道殿御書), 1024.
240. Making Clear the Meaning of Establishing the Correct Teaching: Ken risshōi shō (顕立正意抄), 536.
241. Establishing the Correct Method of Contemplation: Risshōkan shō (立正観抄), 527.
242. On the Relative Superiority of the Tendai and True Word Schools: Ōta dono moto gosho (大田殿許御書), 1002.
243. New Year’s Greeting: Haru no iwai gosho (春の祝御書), 1510.
244. A Mother’s Gift of a Robe: Toki dono gohenji (富木殿御返事), 968.
245. Reply to the Lay Priest Misawa: Misawa-gobō gohenji (三沢御房御返事), 1486.
246. Cover Letter for the Work Entitled “Establishing the Correct Method of Contemplation”: Risshōkan shō okurijō (立正観抄送状), 534.
247. On the Five Guides for Propagation: Soya Nyūdō dono moto gosho (曾谷入道殿許御書), 1026.
248. The Source of Aniruddha’s Good Fortune: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1511.
249. Letter to Jōren-bō: Jōren-bō gosho (浄蓮房御書), 1431.
250. On Polished Wheat: Nanjō dono gohenji (南条殿御返事), 1541.
251. Discrepancies between the Provisional and the True Teachings: Daigaku Saburō dono gosho (大学三郎殿御書), 1203.
252. On Attaining Buddhahood in One’s Present Form: Ōta dono nyōbō gohenji (太田殿女房御返事), 1005.
253. Reply to Ueno: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1512.
254. Letter of Instruction on Debating the Doctrine: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1139.
255. Reply to the Wife of Takahashi: Takahashi dono gohenji (高橋殿御返事), 1457.
256. Jetavana Monastery: Ueno dono gosho (上野殿御書), 1513.
257. Kamatari Suggests the Fashioning of a Buddha Image: Hyōe no Sakan dono gohenji (兵衛志殿御返事), 1089.
258. Regarding an Unlined Robe: Hitoe shō (単衣抄), 1514.
259. Cloth for a Robe and an Unlined Robe: Onkoromo narabi ni hitoe gosho (御衣並単衣御書), 971.
260. Understanding the Meaning of “The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind”: Kanjin no honzon tokui shō (観心本尊得意抄), 972.
261. Reply to a Communication from Gōnin: Gōnin jō gohenji (強仁状御返事), 184.
262. Rulers of the Land of the Gods: Shinkokuō gosho (神国王御書), 1516.
263. On Shan-wu-wei: Zemmui shō (善無畏抄), 1232.
264. The Four Virtues and the Four Debts of Gratitude: Ueno dono goshōsoku (上野殿御消息), 1526.
265. Oral Exposition concerning the Transmission of the Essence of the Lotus Sutra to Bodhisattva Superior Practices: Jōgyō bosatsu ketchō fuzoku kuden (上行菩薩結要付属口伝), 538.
266. The Span of One Kalpa: Matsuno dono goshōsoku (松野殿御消息), 1378.
267. Reply to Nanjō: Nanjō dono gohenji (南条殿御返事), 1530.
268. On Forgetting the Copy of the Sutra: Bōjikyō ji (忘持経事), 976.
269. Letter to Ben: Ben dono goshōsoku (辧殿御消息), 1225.
270. Reply to Kurō Tarō: Kurō Tarō dono gohenji (九郎太郎殿御返事), 1535.
271. Prayer for the Lay Nun’s Recovery: Toki dono gohenji (富木殿御返事), 978.
272. How the Gods Protect the Place of Practice: Dōjō shin shugo no koto (道場神守護事) , 979.
273. Offerings for the Object of Devotion: Honzon kuyō gosho (本尊供養御書), 1536.
274. Climbing Up Dragon Gate: Ōi Shōji Nyūdō gosho (大井荘司入道御書), 1377.
275. Snow and Lacquer: Nishiyama dono gohenji (西山殿御返事), 1474.
276. The Brahman Treasure Sea: Matsuno dono goshōsoku (松野殿御消息), 1387.
277. Bodhisattva Learned Youth: Hyōe no Sakan dono nyōbō gosho (兵衛志殿女房御書), 1094.
278. Reply to Rokurō Jirō: Rokurō Jirō dono gohenji (六郎次郎殿御返事), 1464.
279. The Woman Who Gave a Piece of Gold: Jōmyō Shōnin gohenji (乗明聖人御返事), 1012.
280. Reply to Abutsu-bō: Abutsu-bō gohenji (阿仏房御返事), 1317.
281. Letter to Shimoyama: Shimoyama goshōsoku (下山御消息), 343.
282. The Offering of Copper Vessels: Hyōe no Sakan dono nyōbō gohenji (兵衛志殿女房御返事), 1097.
283. On the Eight Cold Hells: Ōta dono nyōbō gohenji (大田殿女房御返事), 1013.
284. The Large Carriage Drawn by a White Ox: Daibyaku gosha sho (大白牛車書), 1543.
285. Repairing the Hermitage: Anshitsu shūfuku sho (庵室修復書), 1542.
286. Jissō-ji Temple: Jissō-ji gosho (実相寺御書), 1452.
287. Nine Thoughts to One Word: Shijō Kingo gosho (四条金吾御書), 1175.
288. Reply to the Lady of Sajiki: Sajiki nyōbō gohenji (棧敷女房御返事), 1232.
289. Diagram of the Five Periods of the Buddha’s Lifetime Teachings: Ichidai goji zu (一代五時図), 618.
290. What It Means to Hear the Buddha Vehicle for the First Time: Shimon butsujō gi (始聞仏乗義), 982.
291. On the Importance of the “Expedient Means” and “Life Span” Chapters: Ōta Saemon-no-jō gohenji (太田左衛門尉御返事), 1014.
292. Reply to Matsuno: Matsuno dono gohenji (松野殿御返事), 1390.
293. Reply to the Wife of Nanjō: Nanjō dono nyōbō gohenji (南条殿女房御返事), 1547.
294. Reply to Hyōe no Sakan: Hyōe no Sakan dono gohenji (兵衛志殿御返事), 1097.
295. Reply to the Lay Nun of Kubo: Kubo-no-ama gozen gohenji (窪尼御前御返事), 1479.
296. Acknowledging Various Offerings: Shuju no mono goshōsoku (種種物御消息), 1547.
297. The Importance of the Moment of Death: Myōhō-ama gozen gohenji (妙法尼御前御返事), 1404.
298. Dōryū of Kenchō-ji Temple: Yagenta Nyūdō dono goshōsoku (弥源太入道殿御消息), 1229.
299. Condolences on a Deceased Husband: Myōhō-bikuni gohenji (妙法比丘尼御返事), 1406.
300. One Horseload of Salt: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1551.
301. Reply to the Wife of Ōta: Ōta dono nyōbō gohenji (大田殿女房御返事), 1018.
302. Questions and Answers on the Object of Devotion: Honzon mondō shō (本尊問答抄), 365.
303. On the Three Calamities: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1552.
304. Daimoku as the Seed of Buddhahood: Kurō Tarō dono gohenji (九郎太郎殿御返事), 1553.
305. A Harsh Winter Deep in the Mountains: Hyōe no Sakan dono gohenji (兵衛志殿御返事), 1098.
306. Offerings in the Snow: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1554.
307. Concerning the Statue of Shakyamuni Buddha Fashioned by Nichigen-nyo: Nichigen-nyo zōryū Shakabutsu kuyō ji (日眼女造立釈迦仏供養事), 1187.
308. Filial Sons: Kōshi gosho (孝子御書), 1100.
309. On the Meritorious Act of Filial Devotion: Kubo-no-ama gozen gohenji (窪尼御前御返事), 1481.
310. On Treasure: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1559.
311. Reply to Hōki and the Others: Hōki dono tō gohenji (伯耆殿等御返事), 1456.
312. The Ryūsen-ji Petition: Ryūsen-ji mōshijō (滝泉寺申状), 849.
313. Reply to the Sages: Shōnin tō gohenji (聖人等御返事), 1455.
314. Letter to Two Persons: Ryōnin onchū gosho (両人御中御書), 1101.
315. The Unanimous Declaration by the Buddhas of the Three Existences regarding the Classification of the Teachings and Which Are to Be Abandoned and Which Upheld: Sanze shobutsu sōkammon kyōsō hairyū (三世諸仏総勘文教相廃立), 558.
316. The Tree of Mutual Love: Myōshin-ama gozen gohenji (妙心尼御前御返事), 1482.
317. Letter to the Lay Nun, Wife of Toki: Toki dono nyōbō-ama gozen gosho (富木殿女房尼御前御書), 990.
318. Reply to the Lay Nun of Kubo: Kubo-no-ama gozen gohenji (窪尼御前御返事), 1483.
319. Propagating the Law at the Appropriate Time: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1561.
320. On the Great Teacher Jikaku: Jikaku Daishi ji (慈覚大師事), 1019.
321. False Official Documents: Kubo-no-ama gozen gohenji (窪尼御前御返事), 1478.
322. Reply to the Lay Nun Myōshin: Myōshin-ama gozen gohenji (妙心尼御前御返事), 1483.
323. On Aniruddha: Kubo-no-ama gozen gohenji (窪尼御前御返事), 1485.
324. Protecting the Atsuhara Believers: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1564.
325. The Treasure of a Child: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1566.
326. The Buddha Resides in a Pure Heart: Matsuno dono nyōbō gohenji (松野殿女房御返事), 1395.
327. Letter of Condolence: Ueno dono gosho (上野殿御書), 1567.
328. On the Sad News of Gorō’s Death: Nanjō dono gohenji (南条殿御返事), 1566.
329. The Attainment of Buddhahood in Principle and in Its Actual Aspect: Myōichi-nyo gohenji (妙一女御返事), 1260.
330. Reply to the Wife of Gyōbu Saemon-no-jō: Gyōbu Saemon-no-jō nyōbō gohenji (刑部左衛門尉女房御返事), 1397.
331. On the Eighteen Perfections: Jūhachi emman shō (十八円満抄), 1362.
332. Brothers One in Mind: Hyōe no Sakan dono gohenji (兵衛志殿御返事), 1108.
333. Regarding Great Bodhisattva Hachiman: Chimyō-bō gohenji (智妙房御返事), 1286.
334. The Hundredth-Day Observance: Nanjō dono gohenji (南条殿御返事), 1573.
335. On Reprimanding Hachiman: Kangyō Hachiman shō (諫暁八幡抄), 576.
336. Listing the Successors of the Buddha’s Teaching: Tayū no Sakan dono gohenji (大夫志殿御返事), 1103.
337. Priestly Robes: Hōe sho (法衣書), 1296.
338. One Drop of the Great Ocean: Ueno dono gosho (上野殿御書), 1567.
339. On the Difficulty of Believing in the Lotus Sutra: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1577.
340. The Reconstruction of Hachiman Shrine: Hachimangū zōei no koto (八幡宮造営事), 1105.
341. Regarding the Little Mongol State: Shōmōko gosho (小蒙古御書), 1284.
342. The Refutation of the Three Great Teachers: Soya Jirō Nyūdō dono gohenji (曾谷二郎入道殿御返事), 1065.
343. Reply to the Honorable Kōnichi: Kōnichi Shōnin gohenji (光日上人御返事), 932.
344. Teachings Depend on the Time and the Country: Ueno dono gohenji (上野殿御返事), 1579.
345. The Battle of Kōan: Toki Nyūdō dono gohenji (富城入道殿御返事), 993.
346. Leveling the Land: Jibiki gosho (地引御書), 1375.
347. Reply to the Lay Nun, Mother of Ueno: Ueno dono haha gozen gohenji (上野殿母御前御返事), 1583.
348. Reply to Tayū no Sakan: Tayū no Sakan dono gohenji (大夫志殿御返事), 1105.
349. On the Large Carriages Drawn by White Oxen: Daibyaku gosha goshōsoku (大白牛車御消息), 1584.
350. Reply to Nishiyama: Nishiyama dono gohenji (西山殿御返事), 1476.
351. The Eighth Day: Shijō Kingo dono gohenji (四条金吾殿御返事), 1198.
352. The Beginning of Spring: Haru no hajime goshōsoku (春初御消息), 1585.
353. On the Receiving of the Three Great Secret Laws: Sandai hihō honshō ji (三大秘法禀承事), 1021.
354. On Three Seating Mats: Mushiro sammai gosho (莚三枚御書), 1587.
355. The Minobu Transfer Document: Minobu sōjō sho (身延相承書), 1600.
356. Arrival at Ikegami: Hakiri dono gohō (波木井殿御報), 1376.
357. The Ikegami Transfer Document: Ikegami sōjō sho (池上相承書), 1600.
358. The Relative Merit of Reciting the Daimoku and Amida’s Name: Daimoku Mida myōgō shōretsu ji (題目弥陀名号勝劣事), 111.
359. On a Disciple’s Attitude in Court: Monchū tokui shō (問注得意抄), 178.
360. Finding a Copy of “The Commentary on the Ten Stages Sutra”: Jūjū bibasha ron jinshutsu gosho (十住毘婆娑論尋出御書), 1288.
361. Regarding the Attainment of Buddhahood by Persons of the Two Vehicles: Nijō sabutsu ji (二乗作仏事), 589.
362. On the Nation’s Slander of the Law: Nambu Rokurō dono gosho (南部六郎殿御書), 1374.
363. Great Reward: Daikahō gosho (大果報御書), 1298.
364. Letter to the Mother of Oto: Oto gozen haha gosho (乙御前母御書), 1222.
365. Reply to the Temple Superintendent: Bettō-gobō gohenji (別当御房御返事), 901.
366. Recovering from Illness: Jobyō gosho (除病御書), 1298.
367. Rooster Diagram of the Five Periods of the Buddha’s Lifetime Teachings: Ichidai goji keizu (一代五時鶏図), 623.
368. Refuting Ryōkan and the Others: Ha Ryōkan tō gosho (破良観等御書), 1289.
369. The Hell of Incessant Suffering in One’s Present Existence: Gense muken gosho (現世無間御書), 1302.
370. Letter to the Lay Nun Zenichi: Zenichi-ama gosho (是日尼御書), 1335.
371. One Horseload of Taros: Imo ichida gosho (芋一駄御書), 1588.
372. On the Three Virtues of Food: Shokumotsu santoku gosho (食物三徳御書), 1598.
373. In the Continent of Jambudvīpa: Embudai chū gosho (閻浮提中御書), 1589.
374. When the Roots Are Exposed, the Branches Wither: Konro shiko gosho (根露枝枯御書), 1299.
375. On Clothing and Food: Ishoku gosho (衣食御書), 1302.
376. Letter to Niida: Niida dono gosho (新田殿御書), 1452.
377. Reply to the Lay Nun Kōnichi: Kōnichi-ama gohenji (光日尼御返事), 934.
378. Reply to Ōama: Ōama gozen gohenji (大尼御前御返事), 908.
379. On Sun of Wisdom and the Sun Goddess: Enichi Tenshō gosho (慧日天照御書), 1297.
380. The Domain of Shakyamuni: Shaka goshoryō gosho (釈迦御所領御書), 1297.
381. On Namu: Namu gosho (南無御書), 1299.
382. On the Benefits of the Daimoku: Daimoku kudoku gosho (題目功徳御書), 1300.
383. A Visit as Rare as the Udumbara Flower: Rairin donge gosho (来臨曇華御書), 1300.
384. Eternity, Happiness, True Self, and Purity: Jōraku gajō gosho (常楽我浄御書), 1301.
385. The Thus Come One Shakyamuni: Shaka nyorai gosho (釈迦如来御書), 1303.
386. On Losing Faith and Falling into Evil: Hashin da’aku gosho (破信堕悪御書), 1303.
387. “Their Views Were Widely Accepted as Authoritative”: Ichijō shōfuku gosho (一定証伏御書), 1598.
388. Not a One Will Fail to Attain Buddhahood: Nanjō dono gohenji (南条殿御返事), 1573.
389. Letter to Toki: Toki dono goshōsoku (富木殿御消息), 949.
390. Praying for the Prolonging of the Lay Nun’s Life: Toki dono gohenji (富城殿御返事), 987.
391. A Copy of “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”: Ankoku ron betsujō (安国論別状), 35.
392. Reply to the Sage Iwamoto Nitchū: Iwamoto Nitchū Shōnin gohenji (石本日仲聖人御返事), 1454.
393. Letter to Musashi: Musashi dono goshōsoku (武蔵殿御消息), 1288.
394. Reply to the Wife of Hyōe no Sakan: Hyōe no Sakan dono nyōbō gohenji (兵衛志殿女房御返事), 1108.
395. On the Long Rains: Rin’u gosho (霖雨御書), 1285.
396. Reply to Kakushō-bō: Kakushō-bō gohenji (覚性房御返事), 1286.
397. Hulled Wheat: Tsuki mugi gosho (舂麦御書), 1401.
398. Reply to Sadashige: Sadashige dono gohenji (さだしげ殿御返事), 1285.
399. On Adhering to the Correct Teachings: Kifuku shōhō gosho (帰伏正法御書), 1301.
400. On Meeting with the Late Lay Priest of Saimyō-ji: Ko Saimyō-ji Nyūdō kenzan gosho (故最明寺入道見参御書).
401. An Offering of Rice: Toki dono gohenji (富木殿御返事), 949.
402. Reply to Hyōe no Sakan: Hyōe no Sakan dono gohenji (兵衛志殿御返事), 1104.
403. On the One Great Matter: Ichidaiji gosho (一大事御書), 1599.
404. On the First Harvest of the Year: Hatsuho gosho (初穂御書), 1599.
405. Reply to the Lay Nun Matsuno: Matsuno-ama gozen goshōsoku (松野尼御前御消息), 1396.
406. Reply to Nishiyama: Nishiyama dono gohenji (西山殿御返事), 1477.

Foreword

I view with the greatest pleasure the publication of this English translation of the Ongi kuden, or The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, by Dr. Burton Watson, a translator of world renown. For it will introduce to the world at large the essence of East Asian Buddhism.

Dr. Watson is widely known for his deep understanding of Chinese literature and his translations of Ssu-ma Ch’ien’s Records of the Historian and of Chinese poetry. We first met in 1973. I had for some time thought of him as the most suitable person to undertake a translation of the Lotus Sutra, and I expressed the hope that he would one day gratify us with a translation done from Kumārajīva’s Chinese version of the text. I was of course aware that there were already a number of English translations of the sutra. My hope, however, was that he would produce a translation marked by stylistic beauty, one that would do justice to the literary qualities of the text and at the same time be easily understood by readers not already familiar with Buddhism. Dr. Watson, having agreed to my proposal, fulfilled his promise twenty years later with the publication of his translation of the Lotus Sutra. It has proved a major event in the history of world Buddhism, a powerful beacon to light the future of humankind.

In 1992, the year before Dr. Watson’s translation of the Lotus Sutra appeared, I met with him again. We talked about the Ongi kuden, which embodies Nichiren’s comments on the Lotus Sutra. Dr. Watson, who by this time had completed his translation of the sutra itself, expressed a deep interest in the manner in which Nichiren interpreted it. Aware of the many problems involved, he agreed nevertheless to undertake an English translation of the Ongi kuden as well. Now, a fitting adornment to his long career as a translator, his translation of that text is being published. I am confident that it will open up to the world the profound philosophical teachings of Buddhism and act as a joyous revelation to all humankind.

Numerous persons throughout the world who seek a deeper understanding of Buddhism have heard of the Ongi kuden, but only a few have had a glimpse of its contents. Many have expressed a strong desire to learn more about the text and have long wished for an English translation.

On the occasion of the publication of this translation, I would like here to say a brief word about my own understanding of the Ongi kuden.

As I recall, it was August of 1962 when I began a series of lectures on the Ongi kuden designed for college-level students who were members of the Soka Gakkai. I wanted to train future leaders of the movement and to make the profound philosophy of Nichiren accessible in contemporary terms. It was a time of nuclear armament, an age engulfed in hatred and mistrust, and I felt there was a deep need to replace these with a humanism based on mutual trust and harmony.

Generally speaking, Buddhism is viewed as an exploration of the inner world of the individual, focusing mainly upon meditation and the observance of religious precepts or rules. And in fact it has largely ignored the question of how these inner concerns of the individual can be applied to the outer world of society as a whole. Therefore few people perceive Buddhism as a philosophy for the attainment of world peace.

Nichiren, however, as he demonstrated in his famous work On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, posited a fundamental truth or principle that a revolution beginning within the inner being of the individual can then bring about a similar revolution in the world at large.

Basing himself upon the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren did not look to some external being such as a Buddha or the gods as the source of this revolution in the individual and in society. Instead he perceived a Law or truth that permeates both the inner being of the individual and the life force of the universe as a whole, and sought to open up and disseminate an understanding of that truth. But this concept far transcended the ordinary thinking of the age in which he lived, and as a result, as the Lotus Sutra itself had predicted, he could not fail but encounter numerous grave difficulties. And indeed, the very fact that he endured such difficulties in the course of propagating the sutra was proof of the correctness of its teachings, and at the same time evidence that he was, as it were, “reading the Lotus Sutra” with his whole being, that he was a true “votary of the Lotus Sutra.”

In later years, when Nichiren retired to Mount Minobu, he delivered a series of lectures on the Lotus Sutra for the instruction of his disciples. He revealed the hidden meanings of the sutra passages that were so familiar to him, the meanings that earlier authorities on the sutra such as the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai and the Great Teacher Miao-lo had not fully brought to light. Nichiren, utilizing the work of these earlier commentators, in his own lectures on the sutra proceeded to make clear these hidden meanings.

His lectures were recorded and compiled by Nikkō, one of his closest disciples. Nichiren gave his approval to the work, whose completion is recorded as the first day of the first month of the first year of the Kōan era, which corresponds to the year 1278. It later came to be known as the Ongi kuden, or The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings.

The charge is often made that the Lotus Sutra, though abounding in highly vivid similes and parables, lacks philosophical content. If we look only at its surface meaning, we may perhaps agree with such an opinion. But Buddhism customarily applies three approaches in interpreting its writings, examining them first from the standpoint of the words of the text, then from that of the ideas or meaning implied by the words, and finally, from that of the underlying purport or purpose of the work.

Chinese authorities on the Lotus Sutra such as T’ien-t’ai and Miao-lo, by pondering the words of the sutra, had derived from them certain subtle ideas or doctrines, which they described in terms such as “the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds,” “three thousand realms in a single moment of life,” “the attainment of Buddhahood in the remote past,” “opening the near and revealing the distant,” or “the replacement of the three vehicles with the one vehicle.” But their commentaries had as yet not brought to light the underlying purpose or import of the Lotus Sutra.

Nichiren in his lectures on the sutra revealed that the purport or heart of the work is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and from that standpoint he proceeded to give his explication of the sutra as a whole. This may be termed an interpretation based on his observation of the mind, or the inner truth, implicit in the text, and it constitutes a philosophy of profound depth. Nichiren in effect infused new life into the Lotus Sutra.

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings begins with an explication of the term Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It then proceeds to cite key passages in each of the twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra, in some cases first introducing quotations from the commentaries of T’ien-t’ai or Miao-lo on these passages, in other cases proceeding directly to Nichiren’s interpretation, which, as mentioned earlier, is based upon his “observation of the mind.” The work concludes with commentary on key passages from two short sutras, the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra and the Universal Worthy Sutra, that have traditionally been regarded as prologue and epilogue, respectively, to the Lotus Sutra. In all, Orally Transmitted Teachings contains commentary on a total of 231 passages. Furthermore, there are two additional sections.

What is the basic philosophical outlook of Orally Transmitted Teachings? Various interpretations are possible, but my view is that ultimately it resides in the concept of the dignity of the human being and the dignity of life. In specific terms, it is the belief that ordinary people are capable of attaining Buddhahood, that ordinary people are in fact Buddhas.

In most religions, human beings are relegated to a level quite inferior to that of the sacred being or beings of the faith. But in a religion like Buddhism, whose basic mission is to elevate men and women to the highest plane of spiritual attainment, human beings are referred to rather as “children of the gods” or “children of the Buddha,” terminology that reflects the religion’s very reason for existing.

This fact is most clearly indicated in the following passage fromOrally Transmitted Teachings. In the “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha reveals that he attained Buddhahood in the far distant past. “It has been immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas,” he explains, “since I in fact attained Buddhahood” (Lotus Sutra, p. 225).

Ordinarily, one would of course take the “I” in this utterance to refer to Shakyamuni himself. But Nichiren declares that the “I” refers to “the living beings of the Dharma-realm,” to “each and every one in the Ten Worlds.” He is saying that all beings in the Ten Worlds of existence have from the beginning been Buddhas. One might suppose that this is a statement of mere abstract principle. But Nichiren goes on to say, “Now Nichiren and his followers, those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are the original lords of teachings of the ‘Life Span’ chapter” (p. 126). That is, anyone who chants the daimoku, regardless of who the person may be, can perceive that he or she has “from the beginning been a Buddha.” In this way he demonstrates the concrete application of his earlier statement.

Thus, in a simple and straightforward pronouncement, he states the principle that ordinary people are identical with the Buddha. This view of human beings is one of the most outstanding characteristics of Orally Transmitted Teachings.

But then there is the problem of human suffering. It would not be too much to say that all human life is in a sense a battle, a trial of endurance. As Tolstoy has written, “All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion.” In life we are buffeted by a veritable storm of troubles: the death of kin, pronouncements of incurable illness, bankruptcy, job loss, dissension in the family. This is the true nature of life, and for that reason, people turn to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra in hope of finding some safety in the midst of such realities, for the “peace and security in their present existence” that the Lotus Sutra promises (Lotus Sutra, p. 99). But if such ills condemn human beings to unhappiness, then we would have to conclude that the happy human being exists only in fantasy.

Nichiren himself lived a life marked by repeated troubles and hardship. Twice condemned to exile, faced with execution, attacked by warriors and ruffians, subjected to abuse and slander, again and again his very existence was in danger. His was a life far removed from the “peace and security” described in the Lotus Sutra. And for that very reason, many people doubted that Nichiren was in fact the kind of “votary of the Lotus Sutra” who faithfully carries out the sutra’s injunctions.

In his lectures on the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren, viewing the course of his own life and pondering the harsh realities of human existence, declared, “You should understand that, when one practices the Lotus Sutra under such circumstances, difficulties will arise, and these are to be looked on as ‘peaceful’ practices” (p. 115). Such a statement would at first glance seem to contradict the Lotus Sutra itself. But rather than being a conclusion that contradicts the Lotus Sutra, it is one that brings to light the true meaning of the sutra, a meaning that lies deeper than the mere surface words of the text.

From his words we learn that happiness means not the absence of troubles but rather the refusal to be defeated by them, which is the true definition of happiness.

Nichiren goes on to state, “The Nirvana Sutra says, ‘The varied sufferings that all living beings undergo—all these are the Thus Come One’s own sufferings.’ And Nichiren declares that the varied sufferings that all living beings undergo—all these are Nichiren’s own sufferings” (p. 138). He announces that he will carry out an act of great compassion, sharing the sufferings of all beings and rescuing them from these sufferings. Thinking not of himself alone, he expresses a fervent desire to bring happiness to all human beings, showing through his own being the true way for a Buddhist believer to proceed.

I would like also to call attention to Nichiren’s comments on “The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The example of patience and perseverance that this bodhisattva presents, the power of a Law that seeks to save both believers and maligners alike, his practice of paying honor to the Buddha nature present in all beings as he “simply went about bowing to people” (Lotus Sutra, p. 267)—all this is a concrete demonstration of the belief that all people are capable of attaining Buddhahood. And Nichiren adopts this same practice as his own, developing it into a compassionate struggle to save all humankind through kōsen-rufu, or the wide propagation of the teachings.

Nichiren believed that the heart of Shakyamuni Buddha’s lifetime teachings lay in the Lotus Sutra, and that the heart of the Lotus Sutra’s practice lay in the “Never Disparaging” chapter. In one of his letters, he writes, “What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being.”1 This letter, which resounds with praise for the humanism of the Buddhist doctrine, stresses that the truth of Buddhism is to be found not in the words of the sutra alone, but in the Buddha’s aims as they are revealed in his actions as a human being.

Bodhisattva Never Disparaging bowed to persons of all kinds in order to awaken them to the reality that all possess the Buddha nature within themselves. In doing so, he gave expression to boundless courage and a faith that could not be shaken.

Nichiren in his comments on the “Never Disparaging” chapter lists fourteen different ways in which one could look at the act of obeisance performed by the bodhisattva as he “went about bowing to people.” In one of these he says, “It is like the situation when one faces a mirror and makes a bow of obeisance: the image in the mirror likewise makes a bow of obeisance to oneself” (p. 165). Here he is pointing to a highly important moral principle that appears to be lacking in modern society, namely, a spirit of mutual trust and mutual esteem, one that understands that when you show respect for others, they will show respect for you.

The principal cause for the sense of alienation that besets human beings in our present-day society is egotism. This is the conclusion reached in the discussions I held some years ago with the historian, Dr. Arnold Toynbee. And how is one to overcome this attachment to egotism? From a Buddhist point of view, it is to be accomplished by ridding human beings of their self-centeredness, of what Buddhism terms the “fundamental darkness” that enshrouds their lives. This is ignorance, a lack of awareness of the true dignity of their existence, of the fact that their own lives are embodiments of the Wonderful Law and that they themselves have from the beginning been Buddhas. And what can wipe out this ignorance is a firm faith, a faith that never doubts the Buddha nature within all men and women, never doubts the dignity of their inner beings. The engendering of such faith is now humankind’s greatest need, is it not?

An organization of people who are spreading Nichiren’s philosophy of peace and life, and who share its doctrines and ideals, exists at present in 190 different countries and regions of the world. The solidarity of men and women who are wakened to the true dignity of life will continue to expand and make it possible that war and terrorism be wiped out, and that poverty, destruction of the environment, and other global problems that now threaten humankind be solved. I firmly believe that that day will come, and my one great desire is that it may come as quickly as possible.

In closing, I would like to express my own heartfelt wish that readers will find in this book a fountain of inexhaustible wisdom and that it will enable them to live lives filled with boundless courage and hope.

Daisaku Ikeda

Foreword

From early times the Lotus Sutra has been known as “the king of the sutras.” This is above all because it is “a scripture of great hope” that brings light to the hearts of all people.

The Lotus Sutra clearly and definitively reveals the buddha nature that is an integral part of the lives of all people. And it makes clear that the Buddha desires and acts so that all people, by opening up this buddha nature inherent within themselves, may attain the state of buddhahood for themselves. The sutra further stresses that the continued observance of such action is the true mission of the bodhisattva, and never ceases to praise the observance of this practice.

The buddha nature, which is inherent in all living beings, is a universal and fundamental source or fountain of hope. When it is fully brought to light, it allows all human beings to realize their highest level of personal development and to attain unparalleled happiness and good fortune. And the Lotus Sutra is the text that most forcefully asserts this truth.

The Lotus Sutra, which possesses the power to fulfill the hopes latent in the lives of human beings, spread from India to Central Asia, and from there to the countries of eastern Asia. In India and Central Asia various manuscripts of the sutra in Sanskrit and other languages of that area into which it was translated have been found. In the region of eastern Asia, it was translated into Chinese by Kumarajiva (344–413), and that is the version in which it has been read, recited, and best known by many people. In that form, we may say, it constituted one of the most important spiritual elements underlying the culture of China in the Six Dynasties, Sui, and Tang periods, and of Japan in the Heian period.

In particular, in China in the sixth century the Great Teacher Tiantai (538–597), on the basis of the Lotus Sutra, developed his system of interpretation known as “three thousand realms in a single moment of life,” which expounds the philosophy of hope embodied in the Lotus Sutra in a subtle and logically convincing manner. But although there had been, in the history of the transmission of the Lotus Sutra, efforts to transcend the barrier of cultural differences and bring out the universally valid nature of the sutra’s message, it would appear that the true worth of the Lotus Sutra had not, in this period before the appearance of Nichiren Daishonin (1222–1282), as yet been fully revealed.

Nichiren Daishonin in his writings states: “The heart of the Buddha’s lifetime of teachings is the Lotus Sutra, and the heart of the practice of the Lotus Sutra is found in the ‘Never Disparaging’ chapter. What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, pp. 851–52).

By this the Daishonin means that the heart of the Lotus Sutra, the highest among all of Shakyamuni’s teachings, resides in the practice carried out by Bodhisattva Never Disparaging of respecting and paying reverence to all people. The life of each and every person is endowed with the buddha nature, the seed or potential for attaining buddhahood. So long as a person pursues the correct path, this seed will invariably sprout, blossom, and bear fruit. It was on the basis of this firm conviction that Bodhisattva Never Disparaging paid obeisance to every single person that he encountered.

To encourage and bring to fulfillment this practice of paying respect to others, we may say, constitutes the Buddha’s basic aim, the true message of the Lotus Sutra, and the true propagation of the Lotus Sutra. In order to achieve the ideals and spirit of the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren Daishonin made this most important practice the very core of his being. Moreover, he revealed Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the Three Great Secret Laws1 as the manifestation of his own life embodying the buddha nature, and for the sake of all people of the future, opened up the path that would lead to inner transformation, or human revolution, and the creation of a peaceful and ideal society.

In the seventy-nine years since its founding in 1930, the Soka Gakkai, obeying the final instructions of Nichiren Daishonin, has wholeheartedly carried out this most important practice of the Lotus Sutra. As individuals among the populace have succeeded in attaining their own personal victory and realized full satisfaction in life, a rich human culture has blossomed into being, and a path has been opened for the establishment of world peace. And this path is now being spread throughout the entire globe.

For humankind as a whole, the twenty-first century represents the crucial, the now-or-never moment for the establishment of peace. Therefore I firmly believe that now is the time to work more tirelessly than ever to propagate and establish this philosophy of hope set forth in the Lotus Sutra, a scripture that delves into the very fundamentals of human life, and that this opportunity must not be missed. For that reason it is with profound joy that, at the start of this, the twenty-first century, I greet the publication of this Soka Gakkai edition of The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras as it makes its way out into the world.

I would like in conclusion to express my thanks to Dr. Burton Watson for his painstaking English translation of the three sutras.

Daisaku Ikeda
President of Soka Gakkai International

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