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Part Two
Perceiver of the World’s Sounds
( pp.178 – 183 )
Notes
1. Nichiren often regards the words Myoho-renge-kyo as the equivalent of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. While Myoho-renge-kyo consists of five Chinese characters, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo consists of seven. In his writing The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, for instance, Nichiren mentions “the five or seven characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, the Soka Gakkai, page 141).

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p.178Chapter Twenty-five: The Universal Gateway of the Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds
Five important points

Point One, concerning the bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The name Inexhaustible Intent (Mu-jin-ni) stands for the perfect unification of the three truths. The element mu, or “not,” represents the truth of non-substantiality; the element jin, or “exhaustible,” represents the truth of temporary existence; and the element ni (or i), or “intent,” represents the truth of the Middle Way.
In the name Perceiver of the World’s Sounds (Kan-ze-on) the element kan, or “perceiver,” represents the truth of non-substantiality; the element ze, or “world,” represents the truth of temporary existence; and the element on, or “sounds,” represents the truth of the Middle Way.
In the words Myoho-renge-kyo, or the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, the element myō, or “wonderful,” represents the truth of non-substantiality; the element hō-renge, or “the lotus of the law,” represents the truth of temporary existence; and kyō, or “sutra,” represents the truth of the Middle Way.
In this chapter the wonderful principle of the Dharma nature that is embodied in the three truths is being expressed in terms of the three truths of the bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds p.179and the three truths of the bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are acting as the Inexhaustible Intent of the Latter Day of the Law. Thus we may say that the element mu in the name Mujinni, or Inexhaustible Intent, is the sign of our death, the element jin is the sign of our birth, and the element ni or i is the root or source of our life force. For this reason, all the various doctrines, such as the doctrine of the fusion of reality and wisdom, are contained in this single word i, or “intent.” This “intent” represents the Dharma nature or the Middle Way. The Dharma nature represents Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. These five characters1 are the “intent” of the Lotus Sutra.
In terms of the five stages of development of the fetus in the womb, the character i, or “intent,” corresponds to the fifth stage, that of bodily form. Hence the form of a being in the fifth stage corresponds to the five elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and space, and the five elements in turn correspond to the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo.
These five characters are also expressed in the single character i or “intent.” The intent or meaning of the Buddha is the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. It is nothing but this. The intent of the Buddha is the Lotus Sutra. This is the “good medicine” described in the “Life Span” chapter, the good medicine favored by all the Buddhas of the three existences.
All the countless phenomena of the three thousand realms are nothing more than this single character i, or “intent.” And to have faith in this intent of the Buddha is what is meant by the mind of faith. The element of mind has its various divisions or categories, but all are completely encompassed in the entirety of the Wonderful Law.

p.180Point Two, concerning the bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds represented by “wonderful”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The term “Wonderful Law” in Sanskrit is saddharma. Sad (the phonetic change of sat) may be translated as “wonderful.” This syllable sad is the seed, or the mystical syllable, that represents the bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds. Hence a commentary says that Perceiver of the World’s Sounds and the Lotus Sutra are simply different names for the same thing, like the words gen and moku, both of which mean “eye.” Now that we have entered the Latter Day of the Law, the benefits Nichiren and his followers enjoy in their chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are as far above those conferred by Perceiver of the World’s Sounds as heaven is above earth or clouds are above mud.
In general we may say that the element kan, or Perceiver, in the name Kanzeon represents enkan, or “perfect perception.” The element ze, or World, means “miraculous,” while the element on, or Sounds, refers to the capacity for attaining Buddhahood. Kan is another name for the Dharma-realm; hence, as already stated, it stands for perfect perception. And because Perceiver of the World’s Sounds is a perceiver of the true aspect of all phenomena, he can see and understand the different realms such as those of hell, hungry spirits, animals, etc. that make up this miraculous world.
On, or Sounds, refers to the sounds of the true aspect of all phenomena, and hence it means that there are no living beings that do not possess the true aspect of Buddhahood. This has been referred to, in the “Life Span” chapter, as the original state endowed with the Ten Worlds, the three bodies with which the Buddha is eternally endowed.
The bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds has already accepted the Lotus Sutra reverentially. And now the practitioners, who accept and uphold this sutra, can enjoy benefits that surpass even those of the bodhisattva.

p.181Point Three, on the passage “Wonderful sound, Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, / Brahmā’s sound, the sea tide sound— / they surpass those sounds of the world; / therefore you should constantly think on them, / from thought to thought never entertaining doubt!”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In the phrase “from thought to thought,” the first “thought” stands for the six paths or lower realms of unenlightened beings, while the second “thought” stands for the four noble realms. The meaning is that the benefits of Perceiver of the World’s Sounds are bestowed on beings in both the six paths and in the four noble realms. One is told never to entertain doubt on this point.
Again, the phrase “from thought to thought” can refer to the former thought and the latter thought. Or again, it may be cautioning us that we are never to entertain doubt in regard to our thoughts on the Wonderful Law.
Or again, it may refer to the succession of thoughts or moments of life that constantly abides throughout the three existences of past, present, and future. This is what is meant by the words that come earlier, “For this reason, living beings should constantly keep the thought [of the Wonderful Law] in mind.”
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they should abide in the mind of faith that “from thought to thought never entertains doubt.” Earthly desires are enlightenment, the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana—one should have no doubts concerning this.

Point Four, on the passage “If a woman wishes to give birth to a male child, she should offer obeisance and alms to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds and then she will bear a son blessed with merit, virtue, and wisdom. And if she wishes to bear a daughter, she will bear one with all the marks of comeliness, one who in the past planted the roots of virtue and is loved and respected by many persons.”

p.182The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The two wishes referred to here are the wish for a son and the wish for a daughter. The wish for a daughter stands for the wish for worldly reward and recompense; the wish for a son stands for the wish for spiritual rewards. Accordingly, peace and security in one’s present existence is the virtue that pertains to the wish for a daughter, while good circumstances in one’s future existences is the virtue that pertains to the wish for a son.
The wish for a daughter is represented by the dragon king’s daughter and her attainment of Buddhahood, which makes manifest the principle that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. The wish for a son is represented by Devadatta’s attainment of Buddhahood, which makes manifest the principle that earthly desires are enlightenment. And these two examples in turn make manifest the principle that one may attain Buddhahood in one’s present form.
Now when Nichiren and his followers as practitioners of the Lotus Sutra chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are fulfilling both the wish for a son and the wish for a daughter and are assuring the attainment of Buddhahood for both their fathers and mothers.

Point Five, concerning the thirty-three bodies or bodily transformations that Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds undergoes in order to benefit living beings

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The number “thirty” stands for the doctrine of three thousand realms [in a single moment of life]. The “three bodies” stand for the doctrine of the three truths.
Again we may say regarding the thirty-three bodies or bodily transformations that, if one is endowed with the three bodies in each of the Ten Worlds, this constitutes thirty bodies, and if the original three bodies are then added in, we have a total of thirty-three bodies.
Generally speaking, [concerning thirty or “three multiplied by ten”], the number three stands for the three categories of action, p.183namely, actions of the body, mouth, and mind or physical, verbal, and mental actions; while the number ten stands for the Ten Worlds. The number three [of thirty-three] may stand for the three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness. The word “bodies” represents the bodies of all living beings.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are enjoying the benefits of the thirty-three bodies or bodily transformations.
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Notes

1. Nichiren often regards the words Myoho-renge-kyo as the equivalent of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. While Myoho-renge-kyo consists of five Chinese characters, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo consists of seven. In his writing The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, for instance, Nichiren mentions “the five or seven characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, the Soka Gakkai, page 141).
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Part Two
Dhāranī
( pp.183 – 187 )
Notes
1. Here the Japanese name Kishimojin is explained. Ki means demon, shi means children, mo means mother, and jin means goddess. The order of these elements is reversed in the explanation above.

2. The “Medicine King” chapter speaks of women who accept and uphold the Lotus Sutra, saying, “If there is a woman who hears this chapter on the Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King and is able to accept and uphold it,” and “There is a woman who hears this sutra and carries out its practices as the sutra directs.” Therefore Nichiren identified the “person” in the quotation from the same chapter as a woman.

3. Here the number “forty-two” is represented by four, ten, and two, according to the Japanese way of reading.

4. Here ren (lotus) represents the effect of Buddhahood and ge (flower) represents the cause for great benefit or Buddhahood.

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p.183Chapter Twenty-six: Dhāranī
Six important points

Point One, concerning the word dhāranī [supernatural spells]

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Dhāranī here means Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This is because dhāranī represents the secret words of the Buddhas. The five characters of the daimoku are the secret words of the secrets of the Buddhas of the three existences.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are widely propagating the dhāranī, for dhāranī is that which thwarts or rejects evil and upholds good.

Point Two, concerning the words anye and manye in the dhāranī spells of Bodhisattva Medicine King

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Anye means shi, “stopping” or “cessation.” Manye means kan, “seeing” or “meditation.” From these two words derive the two elements of concentration and insight (shikan). Accordingly, these spells are the spells of Bodhisattva Medicine King. Bodhisattva Medicine King is the original state or form of the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai.
Anye represents the element of mind in us, and corresponds to “Wonderful” of the Wonderful Law. Manye represents the element p.184of body in us, and corresponds to the word “Law.” When we make these words “our bodies and minds being the Wonderful Law” our spell, we are affirming that one can attain Buddhahood in one’s present body or form.

Point Three, concerning the Goddess Mother of Demon Children

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “Demon” stands for the father, and the word “Children” stands for the ten demon daughters. The word “Mother” is Hārītī.
Taking the words in the name in reverse order,1 we may say that the word “Goddess” represents the ninth consciousness. The word “Mother” represents the eighth consciousness, the level at which ignorance appears. The word “Children” represents the seventh and sixth consciousnesses. The word “Demon” represents the first five consciousnesses, those of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. In the case of the teachings that pertain to transmigration, the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings, the Goddess Mother of Demon Children is an evil demon. But in the case of the teachings that pertain to the extinction of transmigration, the Lotus Sutra teachings, she acts as a benevolent demon. Hence we may say that the Goddess Mother of Demon Children and the ten demon daughters represent the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds and the hundred worlds and thousand factors, that is, the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
The deity known as Sambō Kōjin, or Kōjin of the Three Treasures, is a manifestation of the ten demon daughters. These three types of Kōjin are the God of Hunger and Thirst, the God of Greed and Desire, and the God of Blocks and Hindrances.
Now the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra, because they transform the three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness into the three virtues of the Dharma body, wisdom, and emancipation, are p.185not to be identified with the god Sambō Kōjin. For persons who have no faith in the Lotus Sutra, Kōjin is what his name implies, a rough god who awakens demons. But when he is in the presence of practitioners of the Lotus Sutra, he acts as a guardian deity.

Point Four, on the passage “Excellent, excellent! If you can shield and guard those who accept and uphold the mere name of the Lotus Sutra, your merit will be immeasurable.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The “name of the Lotus Sutra” means the daimoku. “Those” of the passage refers to all the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra among the living beings of the country of Japan.
We may also say that, while the word “those” may refer either to men or women, here it is intended as praise for women in particular, and thus refers to women. The ten demon daughters shield and guard women in particular. It is like the case of the dragon king’s daughter who speaks of the role of saving women when she says, “I unfold the doctrines of the Great Vehicle / to rescue living beings from suffering” (chapter twelve, Devadatta). There is a similar case [in which the “person” refers to a woman in particular] in the “Medicine King” chapter that reads, “A person who can accept and uphold this sutra.”2

Point Five, on the passage “Kuntī, you and your attendants should shield and guard the teachers of the Law such as these!”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Kuntī in her original form or state is the bodhisattva Manjushrī. The sutra passage is saying that, wherever the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra p.186may be, whether on land or sea, she will shield and guard them.
Nine evil and one good, as the expression has it—the passage makes clear that Kuntī is the one good daughter among the ten demon daughters. In terms of the ten evil acts that arise from earthly desires, Kuntī corresponds to the second of the ten, the act of stealing. This is because the daughters are counted in reverse order, so that Kuntī, the ninth daughter, corresponds to the second of the ten evil acts.

Point Six, concerning the five groups of supernatural spells pronounced in this chapter

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The five groups of supernatural spells represent our individual bodies [or Myoho-renge-kyo]. Myō is represented by the ten demon daughters, hō by the heavenly king Upholder of the Nation, ren by the heavenly king Increase and Growth, ge by the heavenly king Wide-Eyed, and kyō by the heavenly king Vaishravana. The five characters Myoho-renge-kyo thus correspond to the five groups of supernatural spells, and the five groups of supernatural spells are our individual bodies.
The spells of the ten demon daughters represent the single character myō and are made up of nineteen phrases. The sutra text says of them, “Though they [the enemies of the Law] climb upon our very heads, they will never trouble the teachers of the Law!” (chapter twenty-six).
The spells of Upholder of the Nation represent the single character hō and are made up of nine phrases. The sutra text says of them, “These dhāranīs, these supernatural spells, are pronounced by forty-two million Buddhas” (ibid.). The number four here stands for the four sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, and death; the number ten stands for the Ten Worlds; and the number two stands for the two conditions of delusion and enlightenment.3 Upholder of the Nation is a name indicative of the environment p.187in which living beings exist, and the word hō represents the Ten Worlds of living beings.
The spells of Increase and Growth represent the single character ren4 and are made up of thirteen phrases. The sutra text says of them, “These dhāranīs, these supernatural spells, are pronounced by Buddhas equal in number to the sands of the Ganges, and all of them respond with joy” (ibid.). The words “respond with joy” refer to the world or realm of Buddhahood.
The spells of Wide-Eyed represent the single character ge4 and are made up of forty-three phrases. The sutra text says of them, “They [these dhāranīs] will bring great benefit to living beings” (ibid.).
The spells of Vaishravana represent the single character kyō and are made up of six phrases. The sutra text says of them, “And I will also shield and guard those who uphold this sutra” (ibid.).
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Notes

1. Here the Japanese name Kishimojin is explained. Ki means demon, shi means children, mo means mother, and jin means goddess. The order of these elements is reversed in the explanation above.
2. The “Medicine King” chapter speaks of women who accept and uphold the Lotus Sutra, saying, “If there is a woman who hears this chapter on the Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King and is able to accept and uphold it,” and “There is a woman who hears this sutra and carries out its practices as the sutra directs.” Therefore Nichiren identified the “person” in the quotation from the same chapter as a woman.
3. Here the number “forty-two” is represented by four, ten, and two, according to the Japanese way of reading.
4. Here ren (lotus) represents the effect of Buddhahood and ge (flower) represents the cause for great benefit or Buddhahood.
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Part Two
King Wonderful Adornment
( pp.187 – 189 )
Notes
1. The text states, “What is extreme and erroneous is all as it is the Middle [Way] and correct. Hence there is no [Buddha] way to practice.” Now that the king has adopted correct views, what was extreme and erroneous is now the Middle [way] and correct.

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p.187Chapter Twenty-seven: Former Affairs of King Wonderful Adornment
Three important points

Point One, concerning King Wonderful Adornment

Words and Phrases, volume ten, says, “The words ‘Wonderful Adornment’ refer to the way in which the benefits of the Wonderful Law adorn the various sense organs.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “wonderful” indicates the benefits of the Wonderful Law. The “various sense organs” are the six sense organs, the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. The name Wonderful Adornment is thus indicating the way in which the benefits of the Wonderful Law are used to adorn the six sense organs.
Generally speaking, we may say that the word “Wonderful” p.188stands for the truth of non-substantiality, while the word “Adornment” stands for the truth of temporary existence. The word “King” stands for the Middle Way.
Now Nichiren and his followers, those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are all of them King Wonderful Adornment.

Point Two, on the passage “Encountering the Buddha is as difficult . . . as it is for a one-eyed turtle to encounter a floating log with a hole in it.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: There are two kinds of hole in a log, a small hole and a large hole. The small hole corresponds to the sutra teachings set forth by Shakyamuni Buddha during the first more than forty years of his preaching life. The large hole corresponds to the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra. Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are [like a one-eyed turtle encountering] a large hole in a log.
The one-eyed turtle stands for all living beings, and the floating log of sandalwood is the Lotus Sutra. This floating log with the large hole of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that exists in the vast sea of the sufferings of birth and death is none other than the Lotus Sutra.

Point Three, on the passage “These two sons have already offered alms to Buddhas equal in number to the sands of sixty-five hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million nayutas of Ganges, . . . thinking with compassion of living beings who embrace heretical [or erroneous] views and causing them to abide in correct views.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: King Wonderful Adornment held erroneous views, but through the benefits conferred by the teaching and persuasion of his two sons, these erroneous views were refuted and changed into correct views. This is what Great Concentration and Insight, volume one, means p.189when it says, “What was extreme and erroneous has all been reformed and corrected.”1
Now all the living beings in this country of Japan today hold erroneous views and are comparable to King Wonderful Adornment. And Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are comparable to the two sons. Finally “causing [them] / in the end to dwell in the single vehicle” as [the “Supernatural Powers” chapter says], Nichiren and his followers will see to it that those erroneous views are corrected.
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Notes

1. The text states, “What is extreme and erroneous is all as it is the Middle [Way] and correct. Hence there is no [Buddha] way to practice.” Now that the king has adopted correct views, what was extreme and erroneous is now the Middle [way] and correct.
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Part Two
Encouragements
( pp.189 – 199 )
Notes
1. The passage reads, “To put it briefly, all the doctrines possessed by the Thus Come One, all the freely exercised supernatural powers of the Thus Come One, the storehouse of all the secret essentials of the Thus Come One, all the most profound matters of the Thus Come One—all these are proclaimed, revealed, and clearly expounded in this sutra.”

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p.189Chapter Twenty-eight: Encouragements of the Bodhisattva Universal Worthy
Six important points

Point One, concerning Bodhisattva Universal Worthy

Words and Phrases, volume ten, says, “The word kambotsu, or ‘encouragement,’ is expressive of veneration for the Law.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In the compound kambotsu, the element kan, or “encouragement,” refers to the conversion of others, while the element botsu (or hotsu), or “initiate,” refers to one’s own practice.
In the name Fugen, or Universal Worthy, the element fu, “universal,” refers to the true aspect of all phenomena, the principle of eternal and unchanging truth as embodied in the theoretical teaching. The element gen, or “worthy” or “wise,” expresses the idea of wisdom, the wisdom of the truth that functions in accordance with changing circumstances, as embodied in the essential teaching. Hence we see that here, at the conclusion of the sutra, p.190there is expressed a veneration for the Law as it is implied in the two teachings, the theoretical and the essential.
Generally speaking, we may say that, now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they enjoy the care and protection of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy.

Point Two, on the passage “If when the Lotus Sutra is propagated throughout Jambudvīpa there are those who accept and uphold it, they should think to themselves: This is all due to the authority and supernatural power of Universal Worthy!”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: It is due to the authority and supernatural power of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy that this Lotus Sutra is propagated throughout Jambudvīpa. Therefore the widespread propagation of this sutra must be under the care and protection of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy.

Point Three, on the passage “If they do no more than copy the sutra, when their lives come to an end they will be reborn in the Trāyastrimsha heaven. At that time eighty-four thousand heavenly women, performing all kinds of music, will come to greet them. Such persons will put on crowns made of seven treasures and amidst the ladies-in-waiting will amuse and enjoy themselves.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The number eighty-four thousand refers to the doctrine of the eighty-four thousand dust-like cares that beset us, or the earthly desires. It is referring to the principle that earthly desires are none other than enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are none other than nirvana.
The crowns made of seven treasures represent the seven openings in the head, those of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are persons who wear such crowns.

p.191Point Four, on the passage “If there are persons who accept, uphold, read, and recite the sutra and understand its principles, when the lives of these persons come to an end, they will be received into the hands of a thousand Buddhas, who will free them from all fear and keep them from falling into the evil paths of existence.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: When persons who do not have faith in the Lotus Sutra come to the end of their lives, they fall into hell. Hence the sutra says, “If a person fails to have faith / but instead slanders this sutra, / immediately he will destroy all the seeds / for becoming a Buddha in this world. / . . . When his life comes to an end / he will enter the Avīchi hell” (chapter three, Simile and Parable). But when practitioners of the Lotus Sutra come to the end of their lives, they will attain Buddhahood. Thus the text here says, “When the lives of these persons come to an end, they will be received into the hands of a thousand Buddhas.”
The thousand Buddhas represent the doctrine of the thousand factors. The wardens of hell will come to greet those who have slandered the Law, but a thousand Buddhas will come to greet the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra. Without doubt, therefore, a thousand Buddhas will come to greet Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Point Five, on the passage “World-Honored One, I now therefore employ my transcendental powers to guard and protect this sutra. And after the Thus Come One has entered extinction, I will cause it to be widely propagated throughout Jambudvīpa and will see that it never comes to an end.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This word “throughout,” or more literally “within,” implies that the three other directions, east, west, and north, are less favored. The sutra passage is saying that the Lotus Sutra is to be propagated only within the southern continent of Jambudvīpa. One should give careful thought to the word “within.”
p.192Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they must ponder this matter deeply.

Point Six, on the passage “Universal Worthy, after the Thus Come One has entered extinction, . . . if you see someone who accepts, upholds, reads, and recites the Lotus Sutra, you should think to yourself: Before long this person will proceed to the place of practice, conquer the devil hosts, and attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi [supreme perfect enlightenment].”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “this person” refer to the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. The place where the person upholds and honors the Lotus Sutra is the “place of practice” to which the person proceeds. It is not that he leaves his present place and goes to some other place. The “place of practice” is the place where the living beings of the Ten Worlds reside. And now the place where Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, “whether . . . in mountain valleys or the wide wilderness” (chapter twenty-one, Supernatural Powers), these places are all the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light. This is what is meant by “the place of practice.” A commentary [The Annotations on “The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra,” volume ten] says, “This cause is unchanging [and never fails to bring about enlightenment], hence the text says, Proceeding directly to the place of practice’ [chapter three, Simile and Parable].” One should keep this in mind.
In this chapter Shakyamuni Buddha revealed the foremost point he wished to convey to us. The Buddha preached the Lotus Sutra over a period of eight years, and eight characters sum up the message that he has left behind for living beings in this later age, the Latter Day of the Law. It is in the passage that reads, “Therefore, Universal Worthy, if you see a person who accepts and upholds this sutra, you should rise and greet him from afar, showing him the same respect you would a Buddha” (chapter p.193twenty-eight), particularly the eight characters that make up the end of the passage, “you should rise and greet him,” etc. With this passage the words of Shakyamuni Buddha in the sutra come to an end, thus in effect ending the sutra.
The word “should” shows that these words refer to the future. The words “should rise and greet him from afar” indicate that the sutra passage is saying that one should without fail show the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra the kind of respect one would show to a Buddha. Similarly, “The Teacher of the Law” chapter says, “Again if there are persons who embrace, read, recite, expound, and copy the Lotus Sutra . . . and look upon this sutra with the same reverence as they would the Buddha . . .”
For eight years the Buddha preached the Law, beginning with what the “Expedient Means” chapter of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo calls “the wisdom of the Buddhas,” and then ending his preaching with the eight characters that read, “you should rise and greet him from afar, showing him the same respect you would a Buddha.” With just these eight characters he summed up the message of the entire sutra. Hence Words and Phrases, volume ten, says, “The section that begins with ‘You should rise and greet him from afar, showing him the same respect you would a Buddha,’ concludes the description of the benefits gained by persons of faith.” That is, the entire Lotus Sutra has its basis in this one word, faith.
Question: In the present text of the Lotus Sutra, the “Introduction” chapter begins with the word nyo, “this” or “like this,” and the “Universal Worthy” chapter, the last chapter, ends with the word ko, “departed.” This arrangement was made on purpose by the Tripitaka Master Kumārajīva, but what doctrinal principle is he attempting to express thereby?
Answer: The essence of the teachings expressed in the Lotus Sutra lies in the two principles of the true aspect of all phenomena and Shakyamuni Buddha’s original enlightenment in the distant past. These constitute its essential doctrines. The first word in the sutra, nyo, expresses the true aspect of all phenomena, while the last word, ko, expresses the event in the remote past. Hence p.194we may say that the true aspect of all phenomena represents the theory or principle (ri) underlying the teaching, while the event in the remote past represents the factual realization (ji) of the principle.
The word ri, theory or principle, means the principle of emptiness, and the word “emptiness” means nyo, or “like,” or “equal to” something. That is why the word nyo was chosen to represent theory or principle and emptiness. Thus a commentary [Profound Meaning, volume two] says, “The word nyo means ‘not different from’ and hence has the meaning of emptiness.”
The event in the distant past is the factual realization (ji) of the nyo principle. Therefore, the core of the doctrine found in the “Life Span” chapter of the essential teaching is summed up in the factual realization of the actuality or the perfect doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
The word ko, or “departed,” corresponds to that which took place “long ago.” Ko means to be separated from something, while nyo means to be joined together. Separation represents the mind that makes distinctions; joining together represents the mind that is without distinctions.
When these two principles of separation and joining together are applied to the relationship of living beings and Buddhahood, we may say that joining together stands for the world of Buddhahood, while separation stands for the various kinds of living beings. The word nyo that appears at the beginning of the “Introduction” chapter [that is, nyo ze gamon, or “This is what I heard”] expresses the idea that living beings and Buddhahood are not two different things.
The theoretical teaching deals with the idea that living beings and Buddhahood are not two different things, since it expresses the eternal and unchanging truth or Thusness (nyo) of things. Hence we can take the nyo of the sentence “This (nyo) is what I heard” to refer to the nyo of the term “eternal and unchanging truth (shinnyo).”
In terms of the three truths of non-substantiality, temporary existence, and the Middle Way, nyo, or “this,” represents p.195non-substantiality, ze, or “is,” represents the Middle Way, and gamon, or “what I heard,” represents temporary existence. The theoretical teaching deals principally with emptiness or non-substantiality.
Therefore we may say that on top of the basic principle of oneness or non-differentiation there is the opposite principle, that of ‘twoness’ or differentiation. When the sutra is illustrating this principle of twoness or differentiation, it treats the members of the assembly, all of whom alike listen to the sutra, as separate individuals, listing their names.
The ko, or “departed” or “parted,” which is placed at the end of the essential teaching, represents the wisdom of the truth that functions in accordance with changing circumstances. It expresses the idea that living beings and Buddhahood are two different things. Hence the word “departed” or “parted” is used. Indeed, the “departed” of the words “they bowed in obeisance and departed” (chapter twenty-eight) is regarded as the wisdom of the truth that functions in accordance with changing circumstances. The essential teaching thus deals with the non-differentiation that is based on differentiation. One should think of a commentary on this, which reads, “Two but not two, constantly the same yet constantly different—past and present, such is the Dharma.”
We may also take the word ko, or “departed,” to refer to the passage in the “Expedient Means” chapter that describes how five thousand arrogant members of the assembly “rose from their seats, bowed to the Buddha, and withdrew (departed).” Therefore, as has been stated earlier, the number five thousand stands for five types of earthly desires that are at all times a part of our makeup. The meaning of the passage then is that the five types of abiding earthly desires bow in obeisance to the Buddha in our own minds and make their departure.
The two words nyo and ko may also stand for the two factors of birth and death. As Dengyō says, “Ko, or ‘departed,’ is the Thus Come One who never comes [and therefore who never departs], the perfect departure that never departs.”
The word nyo, or “thus,” represents the principle that all phenomena are the mind, while the word ko, or “depart,” represents p.196the principle that the mind is all phenomena. The principle that all phenomena are the mind is the unchanging truth or Thusness (nyo) of the theoretical teaching. The principle that the mind is all phenomena is the truth or Thusness that functions in accordance with changing circumstances as expressed in the essential teaching. For this reason, when the Dharma-realm is compressed into a single mind, this is the principle of nyo, and when a single mind is opened up and pervades the Dharma-realm, this is the principle of ko. The meaning of this is the same as the oral transmission regarding the three truths and the threefold contemplation or observation of the three truths unified in a single mind.
According to another interpretation, nyo stands for “true” [of the true aspect] or reality, while ko stands for “aspect” or form. Reality is the mind itself, while form is the workings of the mind. Or again we may say that “all phenomena” in the phrase “the true aspect of all phenomena” corresponds to ko, while the “true aspect” corresponds to nyo. This is why we learn that the entire Lotus Sutra from beginning to end deals with the four characters that represent the true aspect of all phenomena. A commentary [An Essay on the Protection of the Nation, written by Dengyō] says, “Now what constitutes the essence of the sutra? The words ‘the true aspect of all phenomena’ constitute the essence.”
But now if we delve more deeply into the matter and inquire how Nichiren goes about his religious practice, we may say that for him the word nyo is the nyo (“as”) of the phrase “practice it [the Lotus Sutra] as the sutra instructs” (chapter eighteen, Responding with Joy).
Therefore when the transmission of the five characters that represent the essence of the Lotus Sutra took place, the procedure began in the “Treasure Tower” chapter, when Shakyamuni Buddha spoke in a voice that penetrated to the lower regions, calling on those who are near to preserve the sutra and those who are far away to preserve it. [“The Buddha wishes to entrust this Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law to someone so that it may be preserved” (chapter eleven, Treasure Tower).] With these two words p.197“be preserved,” he declared he would entrust the sutra to the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching and the bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching. Hence we traditionally refer to this passage as the secret or veiled introduction to the essential teaching.
After the two Buddhas, Shakyamuni and Many Treasures, were seated side by side in the treasure tower and the Buddhas that were emanations of Shakyamuni had been gathered together, Shakyamuni proceeded to expound and make clear Myoho-renge-kyo, what the Buddha called “this good medicine” (chapter sixteen, Life Span). Then in the “Supernatural Powers” chapter, Shakyamuni Buddha demonstrated ten types of supernatural powers, summarized the teaching in the four pronouncements that begin with the words “all the doctrines possessed by the Thus Come One,” etc.1 and in this way entrusted the teaching to Bodhisattva Superior Practices, the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
What was transmitted at that time was the Wonderful Law, the title of the sutra. You should keep in mind that there are distinctions between the general transmission of the sutra made outside the treasure tower as described in the “Entrustment” chapter and the specific transmission made within the tower as depicted in the “Supernatural Powers” chapter. Thus the transmission ceremony that began in the “Treasure Tower” chapter, with the teaching to be transmitted and the person to whom it is transferred revealed in the “Emerging from the Earth” and “Life Span” chapters, is brought to a conclusion in the “Supernatural Powers” and “Entrustment” chapters.
These passages in the “Supernatural Powers” chapter are stating clearly and emphatically that, with regard to the five characters Myoho-renge-kyo, in the Latter Day of the Law, when the Pure Law of Shakyamuni Buddha has passed into extinction, p.198Bodhisattva Superior Practices will appear in the world to proclaim them and, of the five types of practice advocated by Shakyamuni, to accept and uphold, to read, to recite, to explain and preach, and to copy the Lotus Sutra, will explain that only the first, to accept and uphold the sutra, is to be practiced as the way to attain Buddhahood. This is what the “Supernatural Powers” chapter means when it says, “Therefore a person of wisdom, / . . . after I have passed into extinction / should accept and uphold this sutra. / Such a person assuredly and without doubt / will attain the Buddha way.” The meaning of this passage is perfectly obvious. Hence we traditionally refer to this passage as the statement of the Buddha in which he transfers his merit to the upholders of the sutra.
For this reason, the attitude of mind of one who accepts and upholds this sutra is that of the nyo (“as”) of the phrase “practice it [the Lotus Sutra] as the sutra instructs.” If one uses this attitude of mind to reverentially accept and uphold the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, at once the illnesses of ignorance and earthly desires will all depart, and one will emerge clothed in the shining flesh of perfect enlightenment and the ultimate reward. That is why this word ko, or “departed,” has been placed at the very conclusion of the sutra. It is in effect an explanation of the words that precede it, “Accepting and upholding the words of the Buddha” (chapter twenty-eight).
Even the devil kings with their earthly desires and evil enlightenment, when the light of the true aspect of all phenomena shines on them, will gain the kind of penetrating insight that allows them to perceive that their bodies and minds at a single moment pervade the entire Dharma-realm. When that happens, they will, contrary to their usual practices, bow in obeisance to the Buddha who is in their minds. That is why the sutra says, “They bowed in obeisance and departed.” One should recall in this context the passage of commentary [volume five of The Annotations on “Great Concentration and Insight”] that reads, “All the three thousand conditions of this or that person permeate one another in this way.”
p.199But treat all this as secret. Treat this as secret. It is something to be transmitted from teacher to disciple only, not to be talked of with outsiders.
The ultimate view of the teachings handed down with regard to the word ko, or “departed,” then, is that ko represents the ko, or “departure,” of the “departure that never departs.”
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Notes

1. The passage reads, “To put it briefly, all the doctrines possessed by the Thus Come One, all the freely exercised supernatural powers of the Thus Come One, the storehouse of all the secret essentials of the Thus Come One, all the most profound matters of the Thus Come One—all these are proclaimed, revealed, and clearly expounded in this sutra.”
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The Immeasurable Meanings Sutra
( pp.199 – 203 )
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p.199The Immeasurable Meanings Sutra
Six important points

Point One, concerning the “Virtuous Practices” chapter of the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Regarding the three characters mu-ryō-gi, or “immeasurable meanings,” in the title of the sutra, if we consider them in terms of the three categories of theoretical teaching, essential teaching, and observation of the mind, then the first character, mu, represents the theoretical teaching. This is because it puts the theoretical perfection [that is, perfection in the theoretical truth] in the foreground and discusses that aspect of the meaning of the eternal and unchanging truth.
The theoretical teaching pertains to what is impermanent; it does not discuss that which is eternal and immutable. True, it states clearly that “these phenomena are part of an abiding Law, / that the characteristics of the world are constantly abiding” (Lotus Sutra, chapter two, Expedient Means). But this is to present the theoretical aspect of the eternal and immutable, not the actual aspect. It speaks of the characteristics of the theoretical eternal and immutable.
The word mu means kū, emptiness or non-substantiality. But this is not the mu of dammu that means that nothing remains after death. It is the mu that corresponds to the kū that is not separate [from temporary existence and the Middle Way]. This is the kū that p.200is spoken of in terms of the perfect teaching [or the unification of the three truths].
While the essential teaching deals with the actual aspect of the eternal and immutable, the Buddha eternally endowed with the three bodies, the theoretical teaching deals with impermanence. On the Protection of the Nation says, “The Buddha of the reward body, which exists depending on causes and conditions, represents provisional result obtained in a dream, while the Buddha eternally endowed with the three bodies represents the true Buddha from the time before enlightenment.”
Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are this true Buddha from the time before enlightenment who is eternally endowed with the three bodies.

Point Two, concerning the character ryō

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The character ryō, “to measure” or “to estimate,” pertains to the essential teaching, because ryō has the meaning of “to weigh” and “to include.” The heart of the essential teaching is the exposition of the eternally endowed three bodies of the Buddha. This concept of the eternally endowed three bodies does not refer to the Buddha alone. It explains that all the ten thousand things of the universe are themselves revealed to have Buddha bodies of limitless joy. Therefore, while the theoretical teaching makes clear the theoretical perfection of the unchanging truth, the essential teaching takes over this explanation without change and deals with the eternally endowed three bodies present in each individual thing itself, setting forth the actual perfection of three thousand realms in a single moment of life as it is revealed in the essential teaching. When one comes to realize and see that each thing—the cherry, the plum, the peach, the damson—in its own entity, without undergoing any change, possesses the eternally endowed three bodies, then this is what is meant by the word ryō, “to include” or all-inclusive.
Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant p.201Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are the original possessors of these eternally endowed three bodies.

Point Three, concerning the character gi

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The character gi, or “meanings,” pertains to the observation of the mind. The reason is that, while words deal with the surface aspects [the text] of the teachings, meaning must be derived through observation of the mind. That is, the words that are preached in the sutras are referred to the realm of the mind in order to arrive at the meaning.
This is particularly true of the “immeasurable meanings” of the sutra, since the sutra discusses the “immeasurable meanings” that are born from a single Law. That which gives birth is gi, or “meaning” [that is, the “single Law”], and that which is given birth is muryō, that which is “immeasurable.” Hence this Immeasurable Meanings Sutra concerns both that which gives birth and that which is given birth. This, however, should not be taken as a statement of how these qualities of giving birth and being given birth apply to the relationship between the Lotus Sutra and the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra.
The Immeasurable Meanings Sutra states, “That which is without marks is devoid of marks and does not take on marks. Not taking on marks, being without marks, it is called the true mark [or the true aspect].” From this principle [the true aspect], the ten thousand things are derived. Their source is the true aspect, and hence this is a matter pertaining to the observation of the mind.
In this way, the three characters of the title, mu-ryō-gi, pertain to the theoretical teaching, the essential teaching, and the observation of the mind, respectively. And this expresses the transferred idea that this title of the sutra as it has just been explained and the title of the Lotus Sutra, Myoho-renge-kyo, form a single entity that is not dual in nature, and [of the three divisions of a sutra] the former serves as preparation and the latter as revelation.

p.202Point Four, concerning the character sho [in the phrase muryōgi-sho, “the origin of immeasurable meanings,” from the Lotus Sutra (chapter one, Introduction)]

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This one character sho, “origin,” stands for the Lotus Sutra. The Tripitaka teaching and the connecting teaching are subsumed under the character mu of muryōgi; the specific teaching is subsumed under the character ryō; and the perfect teaching is subsumed under the character gi. Thus these four teachings of the sutras that preceded the Lotus Sutra are designated as that which was given birth, while this sutra, the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, which acts as preparation for the Lotus Sutra, is designated as that which gives birth.
But now for the moment we use the character sho to indicate that which gives birth, and then the “immeasurable meanings” will be designated as that which was given birth. In this way we designate the sho, “the origin [of immeasurable meanings],” as it relates to the distinction between the true and the provisional teachings.

Point Five, concerning the phrase “the origin of immeasurable meanings”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The eight volumes of the Lotus Sutra correspond to the word “origin,” while the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra corresponds to the words “immeasurable meanings.”
The “immeasurable meanings” are the three truths, the threefold contemplation, the three bodies, the three vehicles, and the three categories of action. In the Lotus Sutra it is stated that “the Buddhas, utilizing the power of expedient means, apply distinctions to the one Buddha vehicle and preach as though it were three” (chapter two, Expedient Means). Thus the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra serves as preparation for the Lotus Sutra.
Here it is shown that the three truths viewed as separate from and independent of one another will not lead to the attainment of p.203the way; only the unification of the three truths will lead to such attainment. Hence the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra demolishes the former view by stating, “But in these more than forty years, I have not yet revealed the truth” (chapter two, Preaching the Law).

Point Six, concerning the phrase “the origin of immeasurable meanings”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The origin of immeasurable meanings represents the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. Each of the Ten Worlds has its origin of meanings in immeasurable numbers. But these entities, just as they are, are none other than the one principle of the true aspect; this is explained [in the Lotus Sutra] as the true aspect of all phenomena. And this sutra serves as preparation for the Lotus Sutra, that is, preparation for the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, and hence it is called “the origin of immeasurable meanings.”
The word “origin” corresponds to a single moment of life. The words “immeasurable meanings” correspond to the three thousand realms. The words that we utter morning and evening, as well as the two elements of environment and self, likewise have their origins of meanings in immeasurable numbers. And these are called Myoho-renge-kyo. Therefore this sutra serves as preparation or the opening sutra for the Lotus Sutra.
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Part Two
The Universal Worthy Sutra
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p.203The Universal Worthy Sutra
Five important points

Point One, concerning the Universal Worthy Sutra
The full title is Sutra on How to Practice Meditation on Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, as Spoken by the Buddha.

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The Lotus Sutra represents the substance of the doctrine as seen in the p.204mutual possession of the Ten Worlds and the possession of the three thousand realms. Hence we may say that all the three thousand realms and the Ten Worlds are “universally worthy.” Not an element of the Dharma-realm is missing; therefore it is “universally worthy.”
The Ten Worlds of myōhō, the Wonderful Law, and the Ten Worlds of renge, the lotus flower, represent the two phenomena of life or the self and environment, respectively. The Universal Worthy Sutra concludes that these phenomena are none other than the Lotus Sutra. Hence it is called the concluding sutra to the Lotus. This being the case, we may conclude that the Ten Worlds are all Myoho-renge-kyo, combining Buddhahood and the nine worlds.

Point Two, regarding the passage “How, without cutting off earthly desires or separating themselves from the five desires, can they purify their senses and wipe away their sins?”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This passage states that earthly desires are enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.
For the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, greed is greed and remains just as it is; anger is anger and remains just as it is; foolishness is foolishness and remains just as it is. And yet they are carrying out Bodhisattva Universal Worthy’s practice of the Law. One should understand this clearly.

Point Three, regarding the six things to keep in mind
Keeping in mind the Buddha, keeping in mind the Law, keeping in mind the Order, keeping in mind the precepts, keeping in mind almsgiving, keeping in mind heavenly beings

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Keeping in mind the Buddha means keeping in mind the guide and teacher who said, “I am the only person / who can rescue and protect p.205others” (Lotus Sutra, chapter three, Simile and Parable).
Keeping in mind the Law means keeping in mind the five characters of the daimoku in the age after the passing of the Buddha.
Keeping in mind the Order means keeping in mind the practitioners who are ordinary mortals in the Latter Day of the Law.
Keeping in mind the precepts means keeping in mind the passage in the Lotus Sutra that says, “This is what is called observing the precepts” (chapter eleven, Treasure Tower).
Keeping in mind almsgiving means keeping in mind that one should bestow the daimoku on all living beings.
Keeping in mind heavenly beings means keeping in mind the fact that, as the Lotus Sutra says, “The heavenly beings day and night will for the sake of the Law constantly guard and protect them” (chapter fourteen, Peaceful Practices).
These six practices described above should be carried out by practitioners of the Lotus Sutra in this, the Latter Day of the Law. One should think about this.

Point Four, regarding the passage “All the entire sea of karmic impediments / is born from deluded thoughts. / If one wishes to carry out repentance, / sit upright and ponder the true aspect. / Then the host of sins, like frost or dew, / can be wiped out by the sun of wisdom.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The “host of sins” are karmic impediments that come from the six sense organs, and these are like frost or dew. Thus, although they exist, they can be wiped out by the sun of wisdom. The “sun of wisdom” is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which Nichiren is propagating now in the Latter Day of the Law.
The words “sun of wisdom” refer both to the Buddha and to the Law. Shakyamuni Buddha is referred to in the Lotus Sutra as the “sun of wisdom, great sage and venerable one” (chapter two, Expedient Means). And the Lotus Sutra explains that “just as the sun, a god’s son, can banish all darkness, so too this sutra is capable of destroying the darkness of all that is not good” (chapter p.206twenty-three, Medicine King). Referring to the guide and teacher of the Latter Day of the Law, it also states that “as the light of the sun and moon / can banish all obscurity and gloom, / so this person as he passes through the world / can wipe out the darkness of living beings” (chapter twenty-one, Supernatural Powers).

Point Five, regarding the passage “The third act of repentance is to use the correct Law to order the country and not to lead the people astray with erroneous views.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The “correct Law” in the Latter Day of the Law is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. These five characters are a secret Law that does not deceive any living being. If all those under heaven join together in believing in it, then this country will be peaceful and calm. Thus [volume eight of] Profound Meaning says, “If one relies upon this Law, then all under heaven will be at peace.” The words “this Law” refer to the Lotus Sutra. So there can be no doubt that, if one believes in the Lotus Sutra, then all under heaven will be peaceful and secure.

This concludes the 231 important points.
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Separate Transmission
All Chapters Are Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
( pp.221 – 243 )
Notes
1. “These four phrases” refers to the following four phrases in the passage from chapter twenty-one, “Supernatural Powers,” which reads, “To put it briefly, [1] all the doctrines possessed by the Thus Come One [the principle of name], [2] all the freely exercised supernatural powers of the Thus Come One [the principle of function], [3] the storehouse of all the secret essentials of the Thus Come One [the principle of essence], [4]) all the most profound matters of the Thus Come One [the principle of quality]—all these are proclaimed, revealed, and clearly expounded in this sutra.”

2. According to the doctrine of original enlightenment, enlightenment is not something that one acquires for the first time through religious practice, but something that is inherent in one’s original state of life. From this viewpoint, “acquired enlightenment” falls into the category of the theoretical teaching, and original enlightenment into that of the essential teaching. In the theoretical teaching, as in the provisional teachings, it is said that Shakyamuni first attained enlightenment in India.

3. As for the meaning of the phrase “since I in fact attained Buddhahood,” see pages 125–126, chapter sixteen, point three.

4. The number 50 reads gojū (five-ten) in Japanese. In the text this is shown as 5 x 10.

5. See page 192, chapter twenty-eight, point six.

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p.221All the Twenty-eight Chapters of the Lotus Sutra Are Nam-myoho-renge-kyo

[Speaking of the sutra as a whole]

Words and Phrases, volume ten, says, “The sutra as a whole is summed up in these four phrases.1 These four represent the essence of the sutra. The Buddha hands it on to others.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “The sutra as a whole” refers to the twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra, the essential teaching and the theoretical teaching. “These four phrases” refers to the four principles of name, function, essence, and quality. “The essence of the sutra” refers to the five characters of the daimoku. “Hand it on to others” means handing it on to Bodhisattva Superior Practices. “It” refers to Myoho-renge-kyo.
This passage of the commentary is perfectly clear. Now when Nichiren and his followers propagate Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, this is the principle of essence or heart. The twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra are the principle of function. The recitation of [any of] the twenty-eight chapters is a supplementary practice, while p.222the recitation of the daimoku is the main practice. The supplementary practice is included within the main practice.
Regarding the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The Immeasurable Meanings Sutra serves as an introduction to the Wonderful Law. Therefore all the Ten Worlds may be regarded as an introduction to Myoho-renge-kyo.

[The Lotus Sutra]

1. Introduction

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: If one gives careful consideration to the four opening characters of the chapter that represent “This is what I heard,” then one can easily understand all the immeasurable meanings of the entire sutra. What is “heard” is the wonderful truth of the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds and of the inclusion of the three thousand realms [in a single moment of life]. Because that which is heard is Myoho-renge, it means that in the Dharma-realm of the Wonderful Law the Ten Worlds are mutually possessed, and that the three thousand realms are clean and pure.
The four characters permeate the entire sutra from beginning to end. The meaning behind each and every word and phrase of the twenty-eight chapters of the sutra refers to the hearing of this doctrine as it applies to one’s own self, and this is summed up in the words “This is what I heard.”
This thing that is heard is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Therefore the sutra says that all achieve the Buddha way (chapter one). The two words “all achieve” refer to all the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms, because “all achieve” means that all beings attain [the Buddha way through] the Wonderful Law. Again, the word “Buddha” refers to the single mind of the individual, to the various minds of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms. The word “way” indicates something that allows one to pass through, and p.223hence it refers to the [Buddha] way that these various minds of the Ten Worlds pass through. When this happens, then the state characterized as “all achieve the Buddha way” is manifested. The Law underlying the words “all achieve the Buddha way” is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

2. Expedient Means

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This chapter describes the ten factors of life. The ten factors are the Ten Worlds. This Expedient Means refers to the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms manifested by all phenomena. Since all of these have already been preceded by the words Myoho-renge-kyo in the title of the chapter, it is stated that “in the Buddha lands of the ten directions / there is only the Law of the one vehicle” (chapter two).
This is the Expedient Means of the Wonderful Law (myōhō), the Expedient Means of the [truth of the] lotus (renge), and therefore it is termed “secret and wonderful,” “clean and pure.”
The five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo represent the ninth consciousness, while the Expedient Means represents the levels from the eighth to the first five consciousnesses. The ninth consciousness is the realm of enlightenment, while the levels from the eighth to the first five consciousnesses are the realm of delusion. Since the chapter is entitled Myoho-renge-kyo Hōben-bon, “The Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, Expedient Means Chapter,” this indicates that delusion and enlightenment are not two different things. This means that of all the myriad phenomena and the three thousand realms, there are none that are not part of the Expedient Means of Myoho-renge-kyo.
“Chapter” indicates teachings that are alike (dō) in doctrinal content (girui). The word gi (content) here indicates the three thousand realms, rui (categories or likeness) indicates the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, and dō indicates a single moment of life. Therefore the word “chapter” here indicates the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. This truth of p.224three thousand realms in a single moment of life represents the point upon which the three [groups of] Buddhas, Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions that are emanations of Shakyamuni, are all in agreement. Hence each chapter of the sutra has this word “chapter” in its title.
The moment one has the single mind [a single moment] of faith in Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, one becomes endowed with the three thousand realms, and thus one has heard the message of this chapter.

3. Simile and Parable

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this chapter the carts drawn by big white oxen are used to illustrate that “ignorance or illusions are in themselves the Dharma nature [or enlightenment to the essential nature of phenomena]” (Great Concentration and Insight, volume five), the principle that enlightenment and darkness are a single entity. That is, because these carts come bearing the one vehicle of the endowment of the three thousand realms, enlightenment and darkness are seen to constitute a single entity, and this principle of the endowment of the three thousand realms is made manifest.
The term “one vehicle” indicates that although this principle applies to everything in the entire Dharma-realm, it is a single Law. This “one vehicle” is the one vehicle endowed with all vehicles or doctrines. It is the one Law endowed with all phenomena. Therefore there is one white ox to each cart.
Again, although there is only one white ox to each cart, there are a countless number of white oxen, because the true nature of every living being is this cart drawn by a big white ox. Hence we may say that these big white ox carts of the Wonderful Law are vehicles for all the living beings of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms that are entities of the Wonderful Law. Because they are big white ox carts of renge, the lotus, all the living beings of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are lotuses, and hence p.225are clean and pure. The reality of the Law, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, is just such a thing as this.

4. Belief and Understanding

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This “belief and understanding” is not limited to the belief and understanding of the four great voice-hearer disciples of intermediate capacity. It is the belief and understanding of the Wonderful Law, and therefore it is the belief and understanding of all the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms. It is the belief and understanding of renge, the lotus, and therefore it is the belief and understanding of all the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms that is clean and pure.
The entity or object of this belief and understanding is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

5. The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The poisonous herbs of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are the medicinal herbs of the Wonderful Law. Because these are also the medicinal herbs of renge, or the lotus, they have always been clean and pure. And being clean and pure, they are the Buddha. This teaching preached by the Buddha is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
For this reason, in this chapter the word shu, “seed” or “species” in the passage “because only the Thus Come One understands the species, the form, the substance, the nature of these living beings,” embodies two revelations, those of shuruishu, or “seeds of similar species,” and sōtaishu, or “seeds of their opposites.” The term “seeds of their opposites” means that the three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness are none other than the three virtues of the Dharma body, wisdom, and emancipation. In the term shuruishu, or “seeds of similar species,” the first shu, or “seeds,” refers to the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms. The word rui, or “similar,” refers to the mutual possession p.226of the Ten Worlds. And the second shu refers to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This is the makeup of the term shuruishu. The various plants and trees of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are of many individual kinds, but in the end they are all simply this one seed or species of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The poison of the poisonous herbs ceases to exist. These plants and trees are clean and pure, and hence they are called medicinal herbs.

6. Bestowal of Prophecy

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words spoken by each individual entity in the Ten Worlds are a bestowal of prophecy of Myoho-renge-kyo, and therefore these bestowals of prophecy are clean and pure. And because they are clean and pure bestowals of prophecy, all the beings of the Ten Worlds are the Buddha endowed with the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms. Thus it is that the Buddha makes Nam-myoho-renge-kyo his bestowal of prophecy.

7. The Parable of the Phantom City

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Because this is the phantom city of the Wonderful Law, it represents the fact that the Ten Worlds are all at the same time impermanent. Because it is the phantom city of renge, the lotus, it represents the fact that the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms open up and fall like blossoms.
But both impermanence and the quality of being eternal and immutable characterize the complete reality of Myoho-renge-kyo. The phantom city and “the place where the treasure is” (chapter seven) represent the fact that birth and death are inherent in life itself. The entity of which birth and death are an innate part is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Thus a commentary [Great Concentration and Insight, volume five] says, “Arising is the arising of the Dharma nature, and extinction is the extinction of that nature.”

p.2278. Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this chapter it is clearly stated that five hundred disciples are given a prophecy that they will attain Buddhahood. Since these five hundred are disciples of the Wonderful Law, however, it means that all the living beings of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are included among these five hundred disciples. And since they are disciples of renge, the lotus, it likewise means that they are clean and pure.
In effect, it is stating that, among all the beings of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms, there are none who are not disciples of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This is the “prophecy of enlightenment” given by this sutra.

9. Prophecies Conferred on Learners and Adepts

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this chapter the various sages, both learners and adepts who have nothing more to learn, come forward and are given prophecies that they will attain Buddhahood. Since they are learners and adepts who have already received the Wonderful Law, they are learners and adepts embodying the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds and endowed with the three thousand realms. And because they are learners and adepts of the Wonderful Law, they understand that in these Ten Worlds that are beyond comprehension earthly desires have not yet come to an end. And since they are learners and adepts of renge, the lotus, they understand that the Ten Worlds and the three thousand realms are clean and pure and open up and fall like blossoms.
Who then are these learners and adepts? The learners are hō, or the Law, and the adepts are myō, or wonderful. This is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

p.22810. The Teacher of the Law

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This teacher of the Law is a teacher of the Wonderful Law, and therefore all the [beings of the] Ten Worlds are teachers of the Law who accept and uphold a single phrase and verse of the Wonderful Law. He is a teacher of the Law of renge, the lotus, and therefore all the [beings of the] Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are teachers of the Law who are clean and pure.
The physical forms of the living beings of the Ten Worlds are the persons who uphold the Law. And the nature of the mind of the Ten Worlds is the Law that is upheld. Consequently, both bodies and minds together act as teachers of the Law, manifesting themselves in practicing for one’s own sake and in converting others. This is because they are teachers of the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

11. The Emergence of the Treasure Tower

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This treasure tower “came forth and appeared” from a world called Treasure Purity. As for the Buddha of this Treasure Purity World, we may for the moment set aside the meaning he has in terms of the sutra teaching itself; but when viewed in terms of the meditation conducive to the achievement of the way, the Treasure Purity World represents the womb of the mother. Thus, the fathers and mothers are the carpenters, as it were, who construct the treasure tower. And the treasures tower are the five bodily sections and the five elements that make up ourselves. Therefore the wombs in which these bodies are formed are called the Treasure Purity World, and the process of emerging from this wombs is called “coming forth and appearing” (chapter eleven).
Such coming forth and appearing of living beings as a whole takes place when they emerge from the element of earth. Therefore the sutra speaks of the treasure tower as “rising up out of the earth” (ibid.). The Treasure Purity World is a world of the p.229Wonderful Law, and therefore the wombs of the living beings of the Ten Worlds are all these Treasure Purity worlds. And the Treasure Purity World is a world of renge, the lotus, and therefore the wombs of the beings of the Ten Worlds are all worlds that are clean and pure and free of defilement.
Because their earth is that of the Wonderful Law, it pervades all the Ten Worlds. And because it is the earth of renge, the lotus, it is clean and pure earth. Because our bodies come forth from the Treasure Purity worlds of the Wonderful Law, they are treasure towers that are clean and pure. And because this is the coming forth of Myoho-renge, the Wonderful Law of the Lotus, the birth canals from which the beings of the Ten Worlds are born have always been these treasure towers that are clean and pure.
These are the stupas of the Dharma-realm, and hence all beings in the Dharma-realm of the Ten Worlds are such stupas. The two Buddhas seated in the treasure tower are the Buddhas of the Wonderful Law, and hence represent the fact that all within the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are Buddhas who possess the two principles of reality and wisdom. Since the two Buddhas are seated side by side on the single seat of the Wonderful Law, this symbolizes the fact that the nature of the minds of all beings in the three thousand realms has a seat for these two venerable Buddhas. The fact that these two Buddhas of Myoho-renge occupy a single seat is representative of their wondrous nature, and of their cleanness and purity.
Because ken, “to emerge” or “to be seen,” [of the Japanese chapter title Ken-hōtō] is that of Myoho-renge, the living beings of the Ten Worlds, the various different species of the three thousand realms, all see the stupas in their own bodily forms. Although the Ten Worlds differ from one another, when one looks at one’s own body, one can see that that body is a stupa endowed with the three thousand realms. And when one looks at one’s mind, one can see that it is a Buddha endowed with the three thousand realms.
As to the “emanation bodies” [mentioned in this chapter], the term means a body that emanates from the father and mother. p.230While one is in a state of delusion, it is a body that undergoes rebirth in various different realms. But when one gains enlightenment, it is a body that enjoys the fruit of attainment. To understand how such “emanation bodies” [that enjoy the fruit of attainment] can come about, one should understand that they originate in the realm of hell [or any of the other realms that make up the Ten Worlds].
Thus we see that these treasure towers are nothing other than the five characters Myoho-renge-kyo. If we examine the nature of Myoho-renge-kyo, we see that the treasure towers are none other than all living beings, and all living beings are none other than the complete entities of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

12. Devadatta

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This chapter deals with the achievement of Buddhahood by Devadatta, a former teacher of Shakyamuni Buddha, and the achievement of Buddhahood by the dragon king’s daughter, who was taught and converted by Manjushrī. And since these are the Devadatta and dragon king’s daughter of Myoho-renge-kyo, it means that all living beings in the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are likewise Devadattas and dragon king’s daughters. Those living beings of the Dharma-realm who are contrary or hostile in nature are Devadattas, and those of the Dharma-realm who are marked by greed, anger, and foolishness are all dragon king’s daughters.
In the case of Devadatta, the offense of hostility was an acquired quality, whereas in the case of all living beings as a whole the offense of hostility is an essential or intrinsic quality. Similarly, living beings as a whole have the attainment of Buddhahood of Heavenly King Thus Come One as an intrinsic quality, while Devadatta has the attainment of Buddhahood of Heavenly King Thus Come One as an acquired quality.
Likewise, the dragon king’s daughter is the dragon king’s daughter as an acquired quality, while all living beings are the dragon king’s daughter as an essential or intrinsic quality.
p.231In effect, then, both Shakyamuni Buddha and Manjushrī, Devadatta and the dragon king’s daughter, are all efficacies of the single seed of Myoho-renge-kyo, and hence all originally have attained Buddhahood. Therefore, when one chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, all the living beings in the Ten Worlds simultaneously attain Buddhahood. This is called the Devadatta of Myoho-renge-kyo.
Because the living beings in the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are the dragon king’s daughter, there is no place that is not the “Spotless World” (chapter twelve). The dragon king’s daughter in her own body has originally attained Buddhahood and is the entity of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

13. Encouraging Devotion

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this chapter, when Shakyamuni’s aunt, Mahāprajāpatī, and Yashodharā are given a prophecy that they will attain Buddhahood, this is a prophecy that all living beings of the Ten Worlds will simultaneously attain Buddhahood. This is because Shakyamuni’s aunt is the aunt of the Wonderful Law, and Yashodharā is the Yashodharā of the Wonderful Law.
The nature of the minds of the living beings of the Ten Worlds is the essence of the sutra that is to be accepted and upheld. This is the transmission of the sutra that is expressed in this, the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter. That is, one is being encouraged to pay devotion to the sutra that upholds the nature of the mind, and to devote oneself to practicing for one’s own sake and converting others.
Shakyamuni’s aunt and Yashodharā represent the attainment of Buddhahood by women. And the reference to the twenty thousand bodhisattvas at the beginning of the chapter refers to the transmission carried out by men. This passage, then, is indicating that yin and yang, female and male, are a single entity, the entity of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

p.23214. Peaceful Practices

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Since these are peaceful practices of the Wonderful Law, the actions of those in the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are all peaceful practices. They are “the entity [inherently endowed with boundless benefits] that is freely received and used,” or the Buddha bodies of limitless joy.
The actions of the body, the mouth, the mind, and the vows are all peaceful practices. And since they are peaceful practices of renge, the lotus, the actions of those in the three thousand realms and the Ten Worlds are religious practices that are clean and pure.
Since they are “the true aspect of all phenomena” (chapter two, Expedient Means), there are none that are not peaceful practices. The meaning of the essential teaching is that the bodies and minds of the beings of the Ten Worlds have always been carrying out the true peaceful practices. The essence of these peaceful practices is this Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that was transmitted to the bodhisattva Superior Practices. With these peaceful practices, let us proceed to the Pure Land of Holly Eagle Peak with ease.

15. Emerging from the Earth

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This chapter follows the transmission section of the theoretical teaching and constitutes the preparation section of the revelation of the essential teaching. Therefore, in order first of all to reveal the identity of the Buddha of the original state who is eternally endowed with the three bodies, the Buddha summons forth the disciples of the essential teaching whom Shakyamuni taught in his original state, the bodhisattvas who exist in [the inner life of] Shakyamuni Buddha himself.
These bodhisattvas emerge from the earth of the Wonderful Law, which is hence the great earth of the Ten Worlds. They emerge and come forth from the Wonderful Law, and hence the beings of the Ten Worlds all emerge in this fashion. These living p.233beings of the Ten Worlds are bodhisattvas of the Wonderful Law, and hence all are great beings endowed with profound pity and compassion who benefit all sentient beings in great abundance.
They come forth from the great earth of renge, the lotus, and hence both the great earth of the Ten Worlds and the bodhisattvas who emerge from it have from the beginning always been clean and pure.
In effect, then, when one reaches a state of enlightenment, one can see that this “[emerging] from the earth” is a process by which the great seeds [of Buddhahood] of the living beings of the Ten Worlds are born. And “emerging” is the appearance of these living beings of the Ten Worlds as they come forth from the womb.
These bodhisattvas embody the pity and compassion that are inherently a part of all living beings of the Ten Worlds. And because the original Law of Myoho-renge-kyo is being transferred to these bodhisattvas, they emerge from the earth in this fashion. Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are just such bodhisattvas who emerge from the earth. One should not seek for such bodhisattvas anywhere else.

16. The Life Span of the Thus Come One

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “The Life Span of the Thus Come One” chapter deals with the original life of the living beings of the Ten Worlds. This chapter is called the hommon, or essential teaching, because it is the gateway (mon), or teaching, by which one enters into what is essential or original (hon). The flesh-and-blood bodies and the minds of ordinary beings are described in this chapter as essentially or inherently eternal, and therefore this is called the essential teaching.
The part of the sutra before this important point is revealed is called an acquired enlightenment2 and represents the theoretical p.234teaching. But when one comes to understand this point, this is called original enlightenment, and this represents the essential teaching.
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the place where all living beings originally dwell. Therefore the sutra says, “. . . since I in fact attained Buddhahood” (chapter sixteen).3

17. Distinctions in Benefits

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Regarding this chapter, in the preceding chapter those in the assembly were informed about the life span of the Thus Come One who is originally and eternally endowed with the three bodies, and therefore in this chapter they learn to believe in and understand this Buddha who is eternally endowed with the three bodies. That is, the chapter concerns the distinctions in the benefits that come to one through such belief and understanding.
As to the benefits, the distinction is here made clear that earthly desires associated with the three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness that are a part of each and every one of the living beings of the Ten Worlds will now, just as they are, become the benefits of the Wonderful Law. These benefits are none other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that exists in our original existences.

18. The Benefits of Responding with Joy

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This chapter describes how one responds with joy to the benefits of the Wonderful Law. In its description of the continual propagation to the fiftieth person, the numeral 5 in the number 50 (5 multiplied by 10)4 represents the five characters of the Wonderful Law, p.235while the numerical 10 represents the living beings of the Ten Worlds. The words “continual propagation” stand for the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
When one speaks in terms of the doctrinal studies of the sutra, this chapter estimates the amount of benefit received by the fiftieth person who responds with joy to the teachings. The fifty persons involved stand for all living beings. It is the fifty persons of the Wonderful Law, since we are speaking here of the continual propagation of Myoho-renge-kyo. In other words, this is the continual propagation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

19. Benefits of the Teacher of the Law

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The Thus Come One eternally endowed with the three bodies, his life span, the distinctions of benefits, the benefits of responding with joy—all these are matters that pertain to one’s own person. Hence the six sense organs that one received at the time of birth from one’s father and mother are all clean and pure and operate freely and without obstruction.
They are the six sense organs of the Wonderful Law, and therefore the six sense organs of all the beings in the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are clean and pure. They are the six sense organs that belong to renge, the lotus, and therefore they are in no way defiled. When by means of these six sense organs one sees, hears, realizes, and understands Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, then one will know that these six sense organs have always existed and have from the beginning been clean and pure.

20. The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The practice of bowing and paying obeisance to others carried out by this bodhisattva is a matter that concerns all living beings, for it is a bowing and paying obeisance carried out between one and others to the single moment of life [encompassing the three thousand p.236realms] that they all share. It is a bowing and obeisance to the fact that one’s body, the legacy of one’s father and mother that is subject to the various bonds, is Myoho-renge-kyo.
Since the Buddha nature and the Buddha body are both none other than the bodies and minds that constitute living beings, one proceeds immediately to carry out the practice of bowing and paying obeisance to them. Hence the four-character pronouncement that “you are all certain to attain Buddhahood” (chapter twenty) is something that springs from the seed of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

21. Supernatural Powers of the Thus Come One

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this chapter the Buddha displays the ten types of supernatural powers and transfers the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo to the bodhisattva Superior Practices. These supernatural powers belong to the living beings of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms.
Ordinary beings represent the entities of the supernatural powers, while the Buddhas of the three existences represent the function of the supernatural powers. The word “supernatural” refers to the element of the mind, while the word “powers” refers to the element of the body.
Again, “powers” stands for the Law, while “supernatural” stands for wonderful. And because these are the supernatural powers of the Wonderful Law, it means that they are the supernatural powers of all of the Ten Worlds. And because they are the supernatural powers of renge, the lotus, it means that the supernatural powers of the Ten Worlds are clean and pure.
We may say, then, that the supernatural powers of the Buddhas of the three existences are displayed to the full in this chapter. And the true reason why Shakyamuni Buddha manifested his supernatural powers by appearing in the world is likewise embodied in the supernatural powers of this chapter.
This is the supernatural power of Myoho-renge-kyo. The Buddhas have no supernatural power other than that described as the p.237power to lead all beings of the Ten Worlds to Buddhahood. There are none among the various teachings of the Buddhas that do not pertain to this supernatural power.

22. Entrustment

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This chapter describes how the Buddha patted the heads of the bodhisattvas and transmitted the teachings to them, insuring that this Wonderful Law would remain in the world after he had passed into extinction.
And since this represents the transmission [ceremony] of the Wonderful Law, all the living beings of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are bodhisattvas to whom this transmission is made.
Again, the fact that he patted the heads of the bodhisattvas three times indicates that he is using his hand, which is an implement of conversion symbolic of threefold contemplation in a single mind and the three bodies of the Buddha, to bestow the bright jewel upon the heads of those who are converted.
Speaking in broad terms, this bright jewel bestowed on the heads of the bodhisattvas is enlightenment and understanding. More specifically, the bright jewel bestowed on the heads of the bodhisattvas is none other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

23. Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This chapter describes how the bodhisattva Medicine King will propagate the Lotus Sutra in the period after the Buddha has entered extinction. In the phrase “burning his body” and “burning his arms” used in the chapter, in effect, the word “burn” means to glow or shine. “Glow” here has the meaning of wisdom. Wisdom is able to burn away the body of earthly desires and the arms of the sufferings of birth and death.
The Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai in his original state is the p.238bodhisattva Medicine King, and when he appears as an able expounder of the Law, he is Shakyamuni. And in his aspect as one who can do away with the grave ills of living beings, he is the bodhisattva Medicine King or the Thus Come One Medicine Master [the Buddha of Healing].
Again, in his aspect as one who benefits others, he is Medicine King, while in his aspect as one who attains enlightenment, he is Medicine Master. When these figures Medicine King and Medicine Master appeared in the world, they were the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai. As Medicine King he propagated the Lotus Sutra in the period after the Buddha’s extinction, and as Medicine Master he brought benefit to living beings for a period in the Middle Day of the Law. When the time was appropriate, they appeared in bodily form, and in accordance with their names they showed their meaning. This is what the Buddha [Shakyamuni] expounded.
Bodhisattva Medicine King propagated the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life in Great Concentration and Insight. And this doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life is none other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

24. The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This bodhisattva Wonderful Sound is a bodhisattva who propagates the Lotus Sutra. Therefore he manifests thirty-four different forms, illustrating the principle of the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds and preaching the Law so as to bring benefits to others.
Further, because he represents the wonderful sound of the Wonderful Law, all the sounds of the Ten Worlds are wonderful sounds. The Ten Worlds are all wonderful sounds of the thirty-four bodily forms manifested by this bodhisattva. And because these are the wonderful sounds of renge, the lotus, it means that the sounds of the Ten Worlds and three thousand realms are all undefiled, clean and pure.
It is customary to say that the Great Teacher Jikaku was a reincarnation of the bodhisattva Wonderful Sound. According to this p.239view, when he received the teachings in T’ang dynasty China, he learned the technique for prolonging the voice when chanting so as to produce wonderful sounds and transmitted this technique to Japan. Why, then, did he slander the Lotus Sutra by declaring that it is inferior to the Mahāvairochana and other sutras?
In fact, the sounds of the Dharma-realm are all of them none other than the sound of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

25. The Universal Gateway of the Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This chapter is one of profound secrecy. It is a chapter that deals with the averting of disaster and prolonging of one’s life span. It is called the king among pivotal sutras. For this reason, it is customary to assert with regard to this chapter that through it one may carry on the teachings of the highest stage of enlightenment.
The Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai, in addition to his three major works, also produced The Profound Meaning of the “Perceiver of the World’s Sounds Chapter”, and the Great Teacher Chang-an likewise wrote a commentary in two volumes on the same chapter. It is indeed a chapter of great secrecy.
Just as the words gen and moku are two different names for the same thing, the eye, so the words the “Perceiver of the World’s Sounds” chapter (also known as the Perceiver of the World’s Sounds Sutra) and the Lotus Sutra are two names for the same thing. That is to say, the eye of the “Perceiver of the World’s Sounds” chapter represents the essence of the Lotus Sutra. The essence is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

26. Dhāranī

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this chapter the two sages, the bodhisattvas Medicine King and Brave Donor; the two heavenly kings Vaishravana and Upholder of the Nation; and the ten demon daughters pronounce dhāranīs and say p.240that they will shield and guard those who uphold the Lotus Sutra. In effect, we may say that since these “true words,” or mantras, are dhāranīs of the Wonderful Law, then the words and utterances of the beings of the Ten Worlds are all dhāranīs. Thus the Great Teacher Dengyō stated, “These true words of the Wonderful Law are not revealed in any of the other sutras, and the constant protection afforded by Bodhisattva Universal Worthy is not described in any of the other sutras” [The Outstanding Principles of the Lotus Sutra].
The dhāranīs represent a function or activity of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. And in the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, the utterance of the dhāranī originates in the first character, myō, or wonderful.

27. Former Affairs of King Wonderful Adornment

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this chapter the two sons, through their teaching and converting, are able to persuade their father, King Wonderful Adornment, to abandon his false views, to adopt and hold on to correct views, and thus to become a Buddha named Sal Tree King.
The title Sal Tree King derives from Sanskrit and here indicates a brightly burning light. It means that all living beings are every one of them beings who are born and come forth from this brightly burning light. Therefore it is the father of all the beings of the Ten Worlds.
In terms of the meaning of the Lotus Sutra, this brightly burning light represents the wisdom of the Buddha of limitless joy. This is what the sutra refers to when it says, “A fire suddenly broke out on all sides, spreading through the rooms of the house” (chapter three, Simile and Parable). When the fire of a single mind of earthly desires breaks out, it burns the house in which delusion and enlightenment are viewed as nondual. This results in what is known as a false or mistaken view. But then the wisdom of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo illuminates the situation, revealing that this p.241false view is a false view that is none other than a correct view.
The six paths, or six lower realms of existence, are the father, while the four noble states are the sons. The four noble states represent correct views, while the six paths represent false views. Therefore this means that the living beings of the six paths are all our fathers and mothers.

28. Encouragement of the Bodhisattva Universal Worthy

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This chapter is a restatement of the Lotus Sutra. The profound principles expounded in both the essential and the theoretical teachings reach their highest point in this chapter. The Great Teacher Jikaku comments that in this chapter “the living beings of the Ten Worlds set their minds on enlightenment and carry out the practices.”
Generally speaking, the “Introduction” chapter (chapter one) and this chapter represent the two phenomena of birth and death. The “Introduction” chapter stands for the births of all of us who are living beings, while this chapter stands for the deaths of all living beings. And birth and death in a single moment of life is called Myoho-renge-kyo. Within each individual chapter, moreover, the title of the chapter represents the phase of birth, while the conclusion of the chapter represents the phase of death.
Thus the Lotus Sutra represents the continuing cycle of birth and death, birth and death. Because there is birth, the sutra begins with the words nyo ze gamon, “This is what I heard” (chapter one). The first word nyo has the meaning of birth. And because there is death, the sutra concludes with the words sarai ni ko, “they bowed in obeisance and departed” (chapter twenty-eight). The last word ko, or “departed,” has the meaning of death.5 And the word sarai, or “bowed in obeisance,” represents the actions of us living beings in the interval between birth and death. These p.242actions are actions of Myoho-renge-kyo. The word rai, or “obeisance,” means that which is not disordered. The Dharma-realm is the Wonderful Law, and hence it is not disordered.
The Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai states in [The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra, volume one], “The character tai, body or substance, can be glossed as rai, a bow or obeisance. To do obeisance is to act in accordance with the law. That is, each person treats his or her parents as parents, and each person treats his or her children as children. . . . And the substance of the Law in the practice of Buddhism is the same as this.”
In this quotation the word tai, or substance, refers to Myoho-renge-kyo. Thus the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai commented on the profound meaning of the word tai, or substance. Tai also refers to the different entities that make up the Ten Worlds [but that are in effect the entities of Myoho-renge-kyo]. This is the substance of the Lotus Sutra and he explains that “one bows in obeisance [to this substance] and departs [for the true aspect of reality].”
Of the thousand grasses and ten thousand trees that make up the Dharma-realm, the realm of hell dwellers, the realm of hungry spirits, or any of the other realms of the Ten Worlds, there is none that does not do obeisance to the true aspect of all phenomena. This is symbolized in the bodhisattva Universal Worthy. The word Universal refers to the Dharma-realm, while the word Worthy refers to the fact that all “bow in obeisance and depart.” This is none other than Myoho-renge-kyo.
Hence it is that each chapter of the sutra begins with the five characters Myoho-renge-kyo in the title, and the sutra concludes with these five characters. And the beginning, the end, and what comes in between are all the seven characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
The essential Law that is to be propagated in the Latter Day of the Law is contained in the above paragraph. Anyone who fails to understand this fact and tries to propagate Buddhism in the Latter Day while leaving out this essential Law will not only be found wanting, but will in addition be going against the true intention of p.243Nichiren. Nichiren’s disciples and lay followers will not benefit by having any special talent or understanding other than this.
The Great Teacher Miao-lo in his commentary [On “The Words and Phrases,” volume nine] says, “The children propagate the Law of the father, and this benefits the world.” The children are the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, the father is Shakyamuni Buddha, and the world is the country of Japan. To benefit here means to lead others to the attainment of Buddhahood. And the Law is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Or again, we may look at it like this: the father is Nichiren, the children are Nichiren’s disciples and lay followers, and the world is the country of Japan. To benefit means to lead others to accept and uphold [the Law] and to attain Buddhahood. And the Law is the daimoku that is transmitted by Bodhisattva Superior Practices.

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Part Two, ends here.

The first day of the first month of the first year of the Kōan era, cyclical sign tsuchinoe-tora

Recorded by Nikkō
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Notes

1. “These four phrases” refers to the following four phrases in the passage from chapter twenty-one, “Supernatural Powers,” which reads, “To put it briefly, [1] all the doctrines possessed by the Thus Come One [the principle of name], [2] all the freely exercised supernatural powers of the Thus Come One [the principle of function], [3] the storehouse of all the secret essentials of the Thus Come One [the principle of essence], [4]) all the most profound matters of the Thus Come One [the principle of quality]—all these are proclaimed, revealed, and clearly expounded in this sutra.”
2. According to the doctrine of original enlightenment, enlightenment is not something that one acquires for the first time through religious practice, but something that is inherent in one’s original state of life. From this viewpoint, “acquired enlightenment” falls into the category of the theoretical teaching, and original enlightenment into that of the essential teaching. In the theoretical teaching, as in the provisional teachings, it is said that Shakyamuni first attained enlightenment in India.
3. As for the meaning of the phrase “since I in fact attained Buddhahood,” see pages 125–126, chapter sixteen, point three.
4. The number 50 reads gojū (five-ten) in Japanese. In the text this is shown as 5 x 10.
5. See page 192, chapter twenty-eight, point six.
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