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OTT – POINT FOUR – HEPTAD – 4 – TUESDAY – ANGEL OF JOY

31 March 2015

Namu or nam is a Sanskrit word. Here it means to dedicate one’s life, that is, to the Person and to the Law. In terms of the Person, one dedicates one’s life to Shakyamuni Buddha; in terms of the Law, one dedicates one’s life to the Lotus Sutra. “Dedication” means dedication to the principle of eternal and unchanging truth of the theoretical teaching, and “life” means that one’s life dedicated to that principle bases itself on the wisdom of the truth of the essential teaching that functions in accordance with changing circumstances. In essence, one dedicates one’s life to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

In the “Introduction” chapter, seven important points 4- 1.4

Point Four, the words “[a Law . . .] that is guarded and kept in mind by the Buddhas”

Words and Phrases, volume three, says, “‘[A Law . . .] that is guarded and kept in mind by the Buddhas’ refers to that which the Buddha gained enlightenment to in the origin of immeasurable meanings. Because he had done so, the Thus Come One ‘guarded it and kept it in mind.’ Thus later on in the sutra it says, ‘The Buddha himself dwells in this Great Vehicle’ (chapter two, Expedient Means). Although he wished to reveal and teach it to others, the capacities of living beings were too dull. Therefore for a long time he remained silent about this vital matter and did not hasten to expound it to others. That is why the sutra says it was ‘guarded and kept in mind.’”
On “The Words and Phrases,” volume three, says, “In the past he did not expound it. Therefore the sutra uses the word ‘guarded.’ With regard to the Law, and with regard to the people’s capacities, it was all ‘guarded and kept in mind.’ . . . Because the time had not come yet and the people’s capacities had not developed sufficiently, he kept it hidden and did not expound it. Hence it says he ‘guarded it and kept it in mind.’ . . . Because he did not expound it, it says he ‘guarded,’ and because he did not reveal it, it says he ‘kept it in mind.’ When Words and Phrases says ‘for a long time he remained silent,’ it means from early times [in the Buddha’s preaching life] down to the present moment [described in the sutra]. You should think over carefully and realize the true meaning of the words ‘this vital matter.’”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: With regard to this substance that the Buddha guarded and kept in p.14mind, it is the two types of teachings, the theoretical and the essential, or the five characters Myoho-renge-kyo that make up the title of the sutra.
As for the act of guarding and keeping in mind, there are seven ways in which to consider it. First, it can be considered from the standpoint of the time. Second, it can be considered from the standpoint of the people’s capacities. Third, it can be considered from the standpoint of the person to be addressed. Fourth, it can be considered from the standpoint of the essential and the theoretical teachings. Fifth, it can be considered from the standpoint of body and mind. Sixth, it can be considered from the standpoint of the substance of the doctrine. Seventh, it can be considered from the standpoint of the mind of faith. And now Nichiren and his followers are spreading abroad this substance that was “guarded and kept in mind.”
First, with regard to the time, for more than forty years the Buddha waited. Because the proper time had not yet come, he guarded and kept in mind the Lotus Sutra. Second, with regard to the people’s capacities, the sutra says, “Because they rejected the Law and failed to believe in it, / they would fall into the three evil paths” (chapter two). Therefore for the space of more than forty years the Buddha did not expound it. Third, with regard to the person to be addressed, the Buddha intended to expound it to Shāriputra, and so he waited. Fourth, with regard to the essential and the theoretical teachings, the word “guard” refers to the essential teaching and the words “keep in mind” to the theoretical teaching. Fifth, with regard to body and mind, “guard” refers to the body and “keep in mind” to the mind. Sixth, with regard to the substance of the doctrine, the substance of the doctrine is that which has existed inherently and abides eternally, the mind of pity and compassion inherent in all living beings. Seventh, with regard to the mind of faith, it means to use the mind of faith to guard and keep in mind [the Lotus Sutra].
In effect, when Nichiren and his followers recite Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are opening up the substance of this guarding and keeping in mind. Guarding represents the Buddha insight; p.15keeping in mind represents the Buddha knowledge. These two words, knowledge and insight, correspond to the two teachings, the essential and the theoretical. The Buddha knowledge is called myō, the Buddha insight is called hō. To carry out and practice the substance of this knowledge and insight is called renge. It is the substance of cause and effect. Cause and effect put into words is kyō.
Moreover, the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra will be guarded and kept in mind by the Buddhas of the past, present, and future. The “Universal Worthy” chapter says, “First, they must be guarded and kept in mind by the Buddhas.” Guarding and keeping in mind means guarding and keeping in mind Myoho-renge-kyo. When the Buddhas guard and keep in mind the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra, they are guarding and keeping in mind Myoho-renge-kyo. The practitioners’ capacities and the Law are a single entity, and the Buddhas guard and keep them in mind as a single entity. This is what On “The Words and Phrases” means when it says in volume three, “With regard to the Law, and with regard to the people’s capacities, it was all ‘guarded and kept in mind.’”
In addition, Words and Phrases, volume three, says, “The words ‘guarded and kept in mind by the Buddhas’ validate the earlier sign of the quaking of the earth.” The quaking of the earth is symbolic of the fact that the Buddha has broken through the barriers of delusion in all six stages.5 A person who accepts and upholds Myoho-renge-kyo will without doubt break through the barriers of delusion in all six stages.
The “Supernatural Powers” chapter says, “[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.” This is what the sutra means when it says earlier, “The Buddha himself dwells in this Great Vehicle.”
Again, in another sense we may say that in this matter of the p.16Buddha guarding and keeping in mind all living beings, the guarding is that of the statement [in chapter three, Simile and Parable], “I am the only person / who can rescue and protect others,” and that the keeping in mind is that of the statement [in chapter sixteen, Life Span], “At all times I have this thought in mind.”6 And when we come to the “Universal Worthy” chapter, this idea is stated as “First, they must be guarded and kept in mind by the Buddhas.”
Nichiren since the thirty-second year of his life has guarded and kept in mind Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

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