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NS.1.27.8.25 – NICHIRENLIBRARY.ORG

3 March 2015

CHAPTER 25

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

At that time the bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent immediately rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, pressed his palms together and, facing the Buddha, spoke these words: “World-Honored One, this bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds—why is he called Perceiver of the World’s Sounds?”
The Buddha said to Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent: “Good man, suppose there are immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of living beings who are undergoing various trials and suffering. If they hear of this bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds and single-mindedly call his name, then at once he will perceive the sound of their voices and they will all gain deliverance from their trials.
“If someone, holding fast to the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, should enter a great fire, the fire could not burn him. This would come about because of this bodhisattva’s authority and supernatural power. If one were washed away by a great flood and called upon his name, one would immediately find oneself in a shallow place.
“Suppose there were a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million living beings who, seeking for gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, coral, amber, pearls, and other treasures, set out on the great sea. And suppose a fierce wind should blow their ship off course and it drifted to the land of rakshasa demons. If among those people there is even just one who calls the name p.340of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, then all those people will be delivered from their troubles with the rakshasas. This is why he is called Perceiver of the World’s Sounds.
“If a person who faces imminent threat of attack should call the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, then the swords and staves wielded by his attackers would instantly shatter into so many pieces and he would be delivered.
“Though enough yakshas and rakshasas to fill all the major world system should try to come and torment a person, if they hear him calling the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, then these evil demons will not even be able to look at him with their evil eyes, much less do him harm.
“Suppose there is a person who, whether guilty or not guilty, has had his body imprisoned in fetters and chains, cangue and lock. If he calls the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, then all his bonds will be severed and broken and at once he will gain deliverance.
“Suppose, in a place filled with all the evil-hearted bandits of the major world system, there is a merchant leader who is guiding a band of merchants carrying valuable treasures over a steep and dangerous road, and that one man among them shouts out these words: ‘Good men, do not be afraid! You must single-mindedly call on the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds. This bodhisattva can grant fearlessness to living beings. If you call his name, you will be delivered from these evil-hearted bandits!’ When the band of merchants hear this, they all together raise their voices, saying, ‘Hail to the bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds!’ And because they call his name, they are at once able to gain deliverance. Inexhaustible Intent, the authority and supernatural power of the bodhisattva mahasattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds are as mighty as this!
“If there should be living beings beset by numerous lusts
and cravings, let them think with constant reverence of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds and then they can shed their desires. If they have great wrath and ire, let them think with constant reverence of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s p.341Sounds and then they can shed their ire. If they have great ignorance and foolishness, let them think with constant reverence of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds and they can rid themselves of foolishness.
“Inexhaustible Intent, the bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds possesses great authority and supernatural powers, as I have described, and can confer many benefits. For this reason, living beings should constantly keep the thought of him in mind.
“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, having planted the roots of virtue in the past, is loved and respected by many persons.
“Inexhaustible Intent, the bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds has power to do all this. If there are living beings who pay respect and obeisance to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, their good fortune will not be fleeting or vain. Therefore living beings should all accept and uphold the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds.
“Inexhaustible Intent, suppose there is a person who accepts and upholds the names of as many bodhisattvas as there are sands in sixty-two million Ganges Rivers, and for as long as his present body lasts, he offers them alms in the form of food and drink, clothing, bedding, and medicines. What is your opinion? Would this good man or good woman gain many benefits, or would he not?”
Inexhaustible Intent replied, “They would be very many, World-Honored One.”
The Buddha said: “Suppose also that there is a person who accepts and upholds the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds and even just once offers him obeisance and alms. The good fortune gained by these two persons would be exactly equal and without difference. For a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million kalpas it would never be exhausted or p.342run out. Inexhaustible Intent, if one accepts and upholds the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, one will gain the benefit of merit and virtue that is as immeasurable and boundless as this!”
Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds—how does he come and go in this saha world? How does he preach the Law for the sake of living beings? How does the power of expedient means apply in his case?”
The Buddha said to Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent: “Good man, if there are living beings in the land who need someone in the body of a buddha in order to be saved, Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds immediately manifests himself in a buddha body and preaches the Law for them. If they need someone in a pratyekabuddha’s body in order to be saved, immediately he manifests a pratyekabuddha’s body and preaches the Law to them. If they need a voice-hearer to be saved, immediately he becomes a voice-hearer and preaches the Law for them. If they need King Brahma to be saved, immediately he becomes King Brahma and preaches the Law for them. If they need the lord Shakra to be saved, immediately he becomes the lord Shakra and preaches the Law for them. If they need the heavenly being Freedom to be saved, immediately he becomes the heavenly being Freedom and preaches the Law for them. If they need the heavenly being Great Freedom to be saved, immediately he becomes the heavenly being Great Freedom and preaches the Law for them. If they need a great general of heaven to be saved, immediately he becomes a great general of heaven and preaches the Law for them. If they need Vaishravana to be saved, immediately he becomes Vaishravana and preaches the Law for them. If they need a petty king to be saved, immediately he becomes a petty king and preaches the Law for them. If they need a rich man to be saved, immediately he becomes a rich man and preaches the Law for them. If they need a householder to be saved, immediately he becomes a householder and preaches the Law for them. If they need a chief minister to be saved, immediately he becomes a chief minister and preaches the Law for them. If they need a p.343Brahman to be saved, immediately he becomes a Brahman and preaches the Law for them. If they need a monk, a nun, a layman believer, or a laywoman believer to be saved, immediately he becomes a monk, a nun, a layman believer, or a laywoman believer and preaches the Law for them. If they need the wife of a rich man, of a householder, a chief minister, or a Brahman to be saved, immediately he becomes the wife and preaches the Law for them. If they need a young boy or a young girl to be saved, immediately he becomes a young boy or a young girl and preaches the Law for them. If they need a heavenly being, a dragon, a yaksha, a gandharva, an asura, a garuda, a kimnara, a mahoraga, a human or nonhuman being to be saved, immediately he becomes all of these and preaches the Law for them. If they need a vajra-bearing god to be saved, immediately he becomes a vajra-bearing god and preaches the Law for them.
“Inexhaustible Intent, this bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds has succeeded in acquiring benefits such as these and, taking on a variety of different forms, goes about among the lands saving living beings. For this reason you and the others should single-mindedly offer alms to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds. This bodhisattva mahasattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds can bestow fearlessness on those who are in fearful, pressing, or difficult circumstances. That is why in this saha world everyone calls him Bestower of Fearlessness.”
Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, now I must offer alms to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds.”
Then he took from his neck a necklace adorned with numerous precious gems, worth a hundred or a thousand taels of gold, and presented it to the bodhisattva, saying, “Sir, please accept this necklace of precious gems as a Dharma gift.”
At that time Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds was unwilling to accept the gift.
Inexhaustible Intent spoke once more to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, saying, “Sir, out of compassion for us, please accept this necklace.”
Then the Buddha said to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s p.344Sounds, “Out of compassion for this bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent and for the four kinds of believers, the heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, the human and nonhuman beings, you should accept this necklace.”
Thereupon Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, having compassion for the four kinds of believers and the heavenly beings and dragons, the human and nonhuman beings, accepted the necklace and, dividing it into two parts, presented one part to Shakyamuni Buddha and presented the other to the tower of the buddha Many Treasures.
[The Buddha said], “Inexhaustible Intent, these are the kinds of freely exercised supernatural powers that Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds displays in his comings and goings in the saha world.”
At that time Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent posed this question in verse form:

The world-honored one is replete with wonderful features.
I now ask you once again
for what reason that buddha’s son
is named Perceiver of the World’s Sounds?
The honored one endowed with wonderful features
replied to Inexhaustible Intent in verse:
Listen to the actions of Perceiver of Sounds,
how aptly he responds in various quarters.
His vast oath is deep as the ocean;
kalpas pass but it remains unfathomable.
He has attended many thousands and millions of buddhas,
setting forth his great pure vow.
I will describe him in outline for you—
listen to his name, observe his body,
bear him in mind, not passing the time vainly,
for he can wipe out all kinds of sufferings.
Suppose someone should conceive a wish to harm you,
should push you into a great pit of fire.
Think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
p.345and the pit of fire will change into a pond!
If you should be cast adrift on the vast ocean,
menaced by dragons, fish, and various demons,
think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
and the billows and waves cannot drown you!
Suppose you are on the peak of Mount Sumeru
and someone pushes you off.
Think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
and you will hang in midair like the sun!
Suppose you are pursued by evil men
who wish to throw you down from a diamond mountain.
Think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
and they cannot harm a hair of you!
Suppose you are surrounded by evil-hearted bandits,
each brandishing a knife to wound you.
Think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
and at once all will be swayed by compassion!
Suppose you encounter trouble with the king’s law,
face punishment, about to forfeit your life.
Think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
and the executioner’s sword will be broken to bits!
Suppose you are imprisoned in cangue and lock,
hands and feet bound by fetters and chains.
Think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
and they will fall off, leaving you free!
Suppose with curses and various poisonous herbs
someone should try to injure you.
Think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
and the injury will rebound upon the originator.
Suppose you encounter evil rakshasas,
poison dragons, and various demons.
Think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
and then none of them will dare to harm you.
If evil beasts should encircle you,
their sharp fangs and claws inspiring terror,
think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
and they will scamper away in boundless retreat.
p.346If lizards, snakes, vipers, scorpions
threaten you with poison breath that sears like flame,
think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
and, hearing your voice, they will flee of themselves.
If clouds should bring thunder, and lightning strike,
if hail pelts or drenching rain comes down,
think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
and at that moment they will vanish away.
If living beings encounter weariness or peril,
immeasurable suffering pressing them down,
the power of Perceiver of Sounds’ wonderful wisdom
can save them from the sufferings of the world.
He is endowed with transcendental powers
and widely practices wisdom and expedient means.
Throughout the lands in the ten directions
there is no region where he does not manifest himself.
In many different kinds of evil circumstances,
in the realms of hell, hungry spirits, or beasts,
the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, and death—
all these he bit by bit wipes out.
He of the true gaze, the pure gaze,
the gaze of great and encompassing wisdom,
the gaze of pity, the gaze of compassion—
constantly we implore him, constantly look up in reverence.
His pure light, free of blemish,
is a sun of wisdom dispelling all darknesses.
He can quell the wind and fire of misfortune
and everywhere bring light to the world.
The precepts from his compassionate body shake us like thunder,
the wonder of his pitying mind is like a great cloud.
He sends down the sweet dew, the Dharma rain,
to quench the flames of earthly desires.
When lawsuits bring you before the officials,
when terrified in the midst of an army,
think on the power of that Perceiver of Sounds
p.347and hatred in all its forms will be dispelled.
Wonderful sounds, Perceiver of the World’s Sounds,
brahma sounds, the sea tide sound—
they surpass the other sounds of the world;
therefore you should constantly think on them
from thought to thought never entertaining doubt!
Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, pure sage—
to those in suffering, in danger of death,
he can offer aid and support.
Endowed with all benefits,
he views living beings with compassionate eyes.
The sea of his accumulated blessings is immeasurable;
therefore you should bow your head to him!

At that time the bodhisattva Earth Holder immediately rose from his seat, advanced, and said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, if there are living beings who hear this chapter on Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, on the freedom of his actions, his transcendental powers that manifest a universal gateway, it should be known that the benefits these persons will gain are not few!”
When the Buddha preached this chapter on the Universal Gateway, a multitude of eighty-four thousand persons in the assembly all conceived a determination to attain the unparalleled state of supreme perfect enlightenment.

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/25

1
On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime

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

Nichiren

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/1

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

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

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-2/Content/215

Foreword

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

Daisaku Ikeda
President
Soka Gakkai International

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Foreword/1

Chapter 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.

——– http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/ott/PART-2/25

===

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/toc/Z

zazen[坐禅] (Jpn)

zazen [坐禅] (Jpn): Seated meditation. The term zazen specifically indicates the form of seated meditation practiced in the Zen school of Buddhism. The practice of zazen is emphasized especially in the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan. Seated meditation was widely practiced in ancient India. Shakyamuni Buddha sat in meditation when he attained enlightenment under the bodhi tree, and incorporated the practice into his teachings. Seated meditation was introduced with Buddhism to China, where various Buddhist schools employed it. T’ien-t’ai (538–597) taught it as core to the integrated system of disciplines he prescribed for observing the true nature of one’s mind. – http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/Z/1

Zengi[善議] (729–812)
Zenkō-ji[善光寺]
Zen school[禅宗] (Jpn Zen-shū)
Zōga[増賀] (917–1003)
Zōjō-ten[増長天] (Jpn)
Zōmyō[増命] (843–927)

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/Z/1

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