Skip to content

NICHIRENLIBRARY.ORG

15 May 2015

All 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.222 the 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.223 hence 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.224 three 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.225 are 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.226 of 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.227 8. 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.228 10. 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.229 Wonderful 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.230 While 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.231 In 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.232 14. 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.233 beings 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.234 teaching. 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.235 while 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.236 realms] 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.237 power 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.238 bodhisattva 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.239 view, 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.240 that 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.241 false 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.242 actions 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.243 Nichiren. 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 Nikk0

Advertisements
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: