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The Chinese character for virtue, toku, also means happiness.

Chapter Nineteen: Benefits of the Teacher of the Law
Four important points

Point One, regarding the Benefits of the Teacher of the Law

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “teacher of the Law” mean the teacher of the Law who carries out the five practices. The word “benefits” (kudoku) means the p.148reward that is represented by the purification of the six sense organs. In general we may say that now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are carrying out the purification of the six sense organs. Hence they are acting as teachers of the Law of Myoho-renge-kyo and possess great virtue (toku).1
The element ku in the word kudoku means good fortune or happiness. It also refers to the merit achieved by wiping out evil, while the element toku or doku refers to the virtue one acquires by bringing about good. Thus the word kudoku means to attain Buddhahood in one’s present form. It also means the purification of the six sense organs. You should understand that to practice the Lotus Sutra as the sutra itself directs is to carry out purification of the six sense organs.

Point Two, regarding the purification of the six sense organs

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: [With regard to the eight hundred eye benefits obtained by those who uphold the Lotus Sutra], the term “eye benefits” means the ability to see that those who do not believe in the Lotus Sutra will fall into the hell of incessant suffering, and that those who do believe in it will attain Buddhahood. By upholding the Lotus Sutra, one can obtain the eight hundred eye benefits. The word “eye” refers to the Lotus Sutra. [As the Universal Worthy Sutra says], “The Great Vehicle sutras are . . . the eyes of the Buddhas.”
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are obtaining these eye benefits. And the same applies to the benefits associated with the ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.

Point Three, on the simile of the pure bright mirror in the passage “If one upholds the Lotus Sutra / his body will be very pure, / like pure lapis lazuli— / living beings will all p.149delight to see it. / And it will be like a pure bright mirror / in which forms and shapes are all reflected.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this famous passage in the Lotus Sutra the simile of the mirror is employed. The sutra passage is saying that persons whose six sense organs are pure will be like lapis lazuli or like bright mirrors in which one sees the major world system (or the thousand-millionfold world).
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they see and understand the ten thousand phenomena as though these were reflected in a bright mirror. This bright mirror is the Lotus Sutra. And in particular it is the “Treasure Tower” chapter. Or again we may say that it is the bright mirror of our single minds [of faith].
The passage as a whole employs these two similes of lapis lazuli and a bright mirror. It begins by saying that one’s body will be very pure. But since the body and the mind in the end are not two different things, this virtue of purity must apply to both of them.
[In the phrase “pure bright mirror”], “pure” means a purity that stands in contrast to impurity, and “bright” means a brightness that stands in contrast to lack of brightness, that is, darkness, or ignorance. The word “mirror” represents the single mind. [From another viewpoint], “pure” represents the truth of temporary existence, “bright” represents the truth of non-substantiality, and “mirror” represents the Middle Way. In the phrase “in which forms and shapes are all reflected,” the word “all” refers to the Ten Worlds.
Ultimately, then, the pure bright mirror represents the truth that the two elements of body and mind are the entity of Myoho-renge-kyo. The pure bright mirror is the mind of faith. And [for the bodhisattva in his pure body] to view the major world system is to see in it the three realms of existence.

Point Four, on the words “While these persons uphold this sutra / they will dwell safely on rare ground.”

p.150The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “these persons” refer to the votaries of the Lotus Sutra who are among the various people in the country of Japan. The words “rare ground” refer to the principle and actual fact of manifesting the original state [of enlightenment] as revealed in the “Life Span” chapter. They also recall the pronouncement made in the chapter “Distinctions in Benefits,” “The Buddha preaches a rarely encountered Law.” In particular, they refer to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Now the “rare ground” occupied by Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, is the object of devotion, the bright mirror to be broadly disseminated in the Latter Day of the Law.
Generally speaking, the benefits gained from purification of the six sense organs that are described in this chapter correspond to the ten stages of faith and the stage of resemblance to enlightenment, the fourth of the six stages of practice. The bodhisattva Constant Exertion who is the member of the assembly addressed in this chapter represents the third of the ten stages of faith, that of assiduousness or exertion. One should understand, however, that, in the Latter Day of the Law, it is the votaries of the Lotus Sutra who act as the bodhisattva Constant Exertion. Of such persons who uphold the Lotus Sutra the sutra itself says, “This is what is meant by diligence” (chapter eleven, Treasure Tower).
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Notes

1. The Chinese character for virtue, toku, also means happiness.

 

 

When people become pessimistic, it is as if they hide themselves behind dark clouds that
prevent joy and hope from entering their hearts. Buddhism is a teaching of supreme

optimism. It is a teaching in which there is no despair; instead there is boundless hope,
opening the possibility for boundless happiness.

A life lived without purpose or value, the kind in which one doesn’t know the reason why
one was born, is joyless and lackluster. To just live, eat and die without any real

sense of purpose surely represents a life pervaded by animality.

“So-and-so is sick. So-and-so is suffering financially. I must do my best to give them
encouragement.” To think in this way, to offer prayers and take action for others’

happiness—this is the behavior of a true Buddhist.

Throughout his life, Shakyamuni encouraged people with his clear, sonorous voice. A
Buddhist text describes how Shakyamuni warmheartedly welcomed everyone he met,

expressing his joy at meeting them. He showed affection, joy and gentleness in all his
interactions. To put others at ease and encourage them to speak up, Shakyamuni would

always break the ice by initiating conversation.

Wisdom is invisible. It can only be gauged by a person’s actual conduct and behavior.

The point where Buddhism radically departs from the thought and religion that had existed
previously is that it uncovered within the individual’s own life the “Law,” or

limitless inner power, for resolving all suffering on the most essential level.Buddhism is
a teaching of unparalleled humanism that believes in the boundless potential

within human beings.

Buddhism regards all colors, all fragrances, all inanimate and living things—birds,
beasts, humans, and flowers, every blade of grass and tree—all the varied and beautiful

phenomena in the universe without exception, as manifestations of the Buddha nature.

The Buddha’s enlightenment does not lie in “eradicating” earthly desires, but in infusing
them with compassion and wisdom. It is a matter of transforming the turbid river

of earthly desires, karma, suffering and negativity into a pure stream of compassion and
wisdom.

Attaining Buddhahood is not so much a “destination” or a special “state,” but a path, or
orbit. To firmly establish ourselves in this orbit—to “attain Buddhahood”—means to

solidify in our lives a spirit of yearning for the happiness of oneself and others, and to
continuously take constructive action with that spirit.

Each person has the potential to become a Buddha. Buddhism starts from the realization
that the supreme life-condition of Buddhahood exists in each of us. It is a teaching

that makes it possible for us to achieve the most profound inner transformation—a
transformation of our fundamental attitude or mind-set.

The most basic Buddhist teaching is that everything is change, a never-ending series of
changes. Nothing is ever still.

Buddhist practice is a process through which we achieve spiritual fitness.

Buddhism is not divorced from reality but is found within it, confronting human suffering
head-on and teaching a way to overcome it. Buddhism is about transforming this

world of suffering and hardship into a world of hope. Buddhism is in the here and now, not
in some distant place.

Attaining enlightenment is not about embarking on some inconceivably long journey to
become a resplendent godlike Buddha; it is about accomplishing a transformation in the

depths of one’s being. In other words, it is not a matter of practicing in order to scale
the highest summit of enlightenment at some point in the distant future.

The Buddha’s objective is to enable every individual to manifest his or her true identity.
In other words, Buddhism lies in respecting yourself to the utmost, revering

others to the fullest and making it possible for both you and others to blossom equally as
individuals.

http://www.ikedaquotes.org/enlightenment STATED ABOVE: ^_^

We must live with vibrant hope. Nothing is stronger than hope. The Mystic Law is itself
eternal hope. Happiness belongs to those who never despair, no matter what happens.

Daisaku Ikeda

Human Revolution

“Human revolution is the work of transforming our lives at the very core. It involves
identifying and challenging those things which inhibit the full expression of our

positive potential and humanity.”

Buddhism is characterized by an emphasis on the possibility of inner transformation–a
process of bringing forth our full human potential. There is a common perception that

the discipline and focus necessary for such a process requires a set of ideal
circumstances not available to most. Nichiren Buddhism, however, teaches that it is only
by

squarely facing the challenges that confront us amidst the harsh contradictions of society
that we can carry out the task of changing our own lives and the world for the

better.

“Human revolution” is the term used by second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda to describe
a fundamental process of inner transformation whereby we break through the

shackles of our “lesser self,” bound by self-concern and the ego, growing in altruism
toward a “greater self” capable of caring and taking action for the sake of others–

ultimately all humanity.

As SGI President Daisaku Ikeda explains: “There are all sorts of revolutions: political
revolutions, economic revolutions, industrial revolutions, scientific revolutions,

artistic revolutions…but no matter what one changes, the world will never get any better
as long as people themselves…remain selfish and lacking in compassion. In that

respect, human revolution is the most fundamental of all revolutions, and at the same
time, the most necessary revolution

WWW.SGI.ORG ABOVE: ^_^

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

WWW.NICHIRENLIBRARY.ORG – GOSHO 1 WND-1 ABOVE

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.

WWW.NICHIRENLIBRARY.ORG GOSHO 215 WND-2 ABOVE:

CHAPTER 2

Expedient Means

At that time the world-honored one calmly arose from his samadhi and addressed Shariputra,
saying: “The wisdom of the buddhas is infinitely profound and immeasurable. The

door to this wisdom is difficult to understand and difficult to enter. Not one of the
voice-hearers or pratyekabuddhas is able to comprehend it.

“What is the reason for this? The buddhas have personally attended a hundred, a thousand,
ten thousand, a million, a countless number of buddhas and have fully carried out

an immeasurable number of buddhas’ ways and doctrines. They have exerted themselves
bravely and vigorously, and their names are universally known. They have realized the

Law that is profound and never known before, and preach it in accordance with what is
appropriate, yet their intentions are difficult to understand.

“Shariputra, ever since I attained buddhahood I have through various causes and various
similes widely expounded my teachings and have used countless expedient means to

guide living beings and cause them to renounce their attachments. Why is this? Because the
thus come ones are fully possessed of both expedient means and the paramita of

wisdom.

“Shariputra, the wisdom of the thus come ones is expansive and profound. They have
immeasurable [compassion], unlimited [eloquence], power, fearlessness, concentration,

emancipation, p.57and samadhis, and have deeply entered the boundless and awakened to the
Law never before attained.

“Shariputra, the thus come ones know how to make various distinctions and to expound the
teachings skillfully. Their words are soft and gentle and can delight the hearts of

the assembly.

“Shariputra, to sum it up: the buddhas have fully realized the Law that is limitless,
boundless, never attained before.

“But stop, Shariputra, I will say no more. Why? Because what the buddhas have achieved is
the rarest and most difficult-to-understand Law. The true aspect of all phenomena

can only be understood and shared between buddhas. This reality consists of the
appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, internal cause, relation, latent effect,

manifest effect, and their consistency from beginning to end.”

(…)

CHAPTER 16

The Life Span of the
Thus Come One

At that time the Buddha spoke to the bodhisattvas and all the great assembly: “Good men,
you must believe and understand the truthful words of the thus come one.” And again

he said to the great assembly: “You must believe and understand the truthful words of the
thus come one.” And once more he said to the great assembly: “You must believe and

understand the truthful words of the thus come one.” (…)

Since I attained buddhahood

the number of kalpas that have passed

is an immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands,

millions, trillions, asamkhyas.

Constantly I have preached the Law, teaching, converting

countless millions of living beings,

causing them to enter the buddha way,

all this for immeasurable kalpas.

In order to save living beings,

p.271as an expedient means I appear to enter nirvana

but in truth I do not pass into extinction.

I am always here, preaching the Law.

I am always here,

but through my transcendental powers

I make it so that living beings in their befuddlement

do not see me even when close by.

When the multitude sees that I have passed into extinction,

far and wide they offer alms to my relics.

All harbor thoughts of yearning

and in their minds thirst to gaze at me.

When living beings have become truly faithful,

honest and upright, gentle in intent,

single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha,

not hesitating even if it costs them their lives,

then I and the assembly of monks

appear together on Holy Eagle Peak.

At that time I tell the living beings

that I am always here, never entering extinction,

but that because of the power of expedient means

at times I appear to be extinct, at other times not,

and that if there are living beings in other lands

who are reverent and sincere in their wish to believe,

then among them too

I will preach the unsurpassed Law.

But you have not heard of this,

so you suppose that I enter extinction.

When I look at living beings

I see them drowned in a sea of suffering;

therefore I do not show myself,

causing them to thirst for me.

Then when their minds are filled with yearning,

at last I appear and preach the Law for them.

Such are my transcendental powers.

For asamkhya kalpas

constantly I have dwelled on Holy Eagle Peak

and in various other places.

p.272When living beings witness the end of a kalpa

and all is consumed in a great fire,

this, my land, remains safe and tranquil,

constantly filled with heavenly and human beings.

The halls and pavilions in its gardens and groves

are adorned with various kinds of gems.

Jeweled trees abound in flowers and fruit

where living beings enjoy themselves at ease.

The gods strike heavenly drums,

constantly making many kinds of music.

Mandarava blossoms rain down,

scattering over the Buddha and the great assembly.

My pure land is not destroyed,

yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire,

with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings

filling it everywhere.

These living beings with their various offenses,

through causes arising from their evil actions,

spend asamkhya kalpas

without hearing the name of the three treasures.

But those who practice meritorious ways,

who are gentle, peaceful, honest, and upright,

all of them will see me

here in person, preaching the Law.

At times for this multitude

I describe the Buddha’s life span as immeasurable,

and to those who see the Buddha only after a long time

I explain how difficult it is to meet a buddha.

Such is the power of my wisdom

that its sagacious beams shine without measure.

This life span of countless kalpas

I gained as the result of lengthy practice.

You who are possessed of wisdom,

entertain no doubts on this point!

Cast them off, end them forever,

for the Buddha’s words are true, not false.

He is like a skilled physician

p.273who uses an expedient means to cure his deranged sons.

Though in fact alive, he gives out word he is dead,

yet no one can say he speaks falsely.

I am the father of this world,

saving those who suffer and are afflicted.

Because of the befuddlement of ordinary people,

though I live, I give out word I have entered extinction.

For if they see me constantly,

arrogance and selfishness arise in their minds.

Abandoning restraint, they give themselves up to the five desires

and fall into the evil paths of existence.

Always I am aware of which living beings

practice the way, and which do not,

and in response to their need for salvation

I preach various doctrines for them.

At all times I think to myself:

How can I cause living beings

to gain entry into the unsurpassed way

and quickly acquire the body of a buddha?

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/16

Chapter Fifteen: Emerging from the Earth

One important point

Point One, on the passage “Among these bodhisattvas were four leaders. The first was
called Superior Practices, the second was called Boundless Practices, the third was

called Pure Practices, and the fourth was called Firmly Established Practices. These four
bodhisattvas were the foremost leaders and guiding teachers among all the group.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This chapter, “Emerging from the
Earth,” is devoted entirely to matters pertaining to the bodhisattvas of the essential

teaching, those who were taught and converted by the Buddha in his true identity.1 The
action carried out by the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching is Nam-myoho-renge-

kyo. This is referred to in the character shō [“advocating” in the compound shōdō, or
“advocating and guiding”]. The character dō signifies that they will lead and guide

all the living beings of the country of Japan to the Pure Land of the Holy Mountain [Eagle
Peak]. As for these guiding teachers of p.118the Latter Day of the Law, the term

“teachers” can only be applied to the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching.

In explaining the identity of the four great bodhisattvas described here, volume nine of
Supplement to “The Words and Phrases,” following the explanation given in volume

nine of Words and Phrases, says, “The four leaders described in the sutra passage here
represent the four virtues. Superior Practices represents the virtue of true self.

Boundless Practices represents the virtue of eternity. Pure Practices represents the
virtue of purity. And Firmly Established Practices represents the virtue of happiness.

“There are times when a single person possesses all four of these principles. To transcend
the two types of death [birth and death in the six paths and birth and death in

the higher realms] is known as Superior Practices. To go beyond the two opposing views
that life is cut off after one existence or that it is eternally the same is called

Boundless Practices. Because one overcomes the five categories of illusions and
entanglements,2 that state is designated Pure Practices. And because one is as perfect in

virtue as [the Buddha who attained enlightenment under] the bodhi tree, that state is
named Firmly Established Practices.”

Nichiren and his followers, who now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are all followers of these
bodhisattvas who emerged from the earth.

Again, one may say that fire is that which burns things [and hence it corresponds to
Superior Practices3]. Water is that which purifies things [and hence it corresponds to

Pure Practices]. Wind is that which blows away dust and grime [and hence corresponds to
Boundless Practices]. The great earth is that which nourishes plants and trees [and

corresponds to Firmly Established Practices]. These are the respective merits of the four
bodhisattvas. Though p.119the practices of the four bodhisattvas differ from one

to another, all are in effect the practice of Myoho-renge-kyo.

These four bodhisattvas dwell in the lower region. Therefore the commentary [Words and
Phrases, volume nine] says that they dwell “in the depths of the Dharma nature, the

ultimate region of the profound source.” The lower region is where they live and abide,
and the lower region represents the principle of truth. Supplement to “The Words and

Phrases” says, “The lower region is described by Master Tao-sheng as the place where one
abides in the principle (ri).” What emerge and become manifest from this dwelling

in the principle are referred to as actual events (ji).

Again, the Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says that, of all the thousand
plants and ten thousand trees in the world, there are none that are not in essence

bodhisattvas who emerge from the earth. Thus we may say that the bodhisattvas who emerge
from the earth are the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching. The word “essential”

or “original” represents the merits handed down from the past of numberless major world
system dust particle kalpas ago, the merits that are without beginning and without

end.

These bodhisattvas are possessors of the essential or original Law. The original Law is
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, is something that is without

exception possessed by the bodhisattvas who emerge from the earth, but it is not possessed
by the bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching, those who were taught and

converted by the Buddha in his transient status. From the substance of this original Law
is derived the function that is propagated as the practice of concentration and

insight, and is called the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
In effect, all the explanations given by great and ordinary teachers are directed

toward the propagation of this function of the Wonderful Law.

The accepting and upholding of this original Law is expressed in the single word “belief”
or “faith.” The single word “belief” is the sharp sword with which one confronts

and overcomes p.120fundamental darkness or ignorance. The commentary [Words and Phrases]
says, “Belief means to be without doubt.” You should think about this.

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

The first day of the first month of the first year of the Kōan era (1278), cyclical sign
tsuchinoe-tora

Recorded by Nikkō

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/ott/PART-1/15

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings (Ongi kuden) says: 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.

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/ott/TEXTS/1

Gohonzon [御本尊] (Jpn): The object of devotion. The word go is an honorific prefix, and
honzon means object of fundamental respect or devotion. In Nichiren’s (1222–1282)

teaching, the object of devotion has two aspects: the object of devotion in terms of the
Law and the object of devotion in terms of the Person. These may be described as

follows: (1) The object of devotion in terms of the Law: Nichiren’s mandala that embodies
the eternal and intrinsic Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. That Law is the source of

all Buddhas and the seed of Buddhahood for all people. In other words, Nichiren identified
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as the ultimate Law permeating life and the universe, and

embodied it in the form of a mandala. In his Questions and Answers on the Object of
Devotion, Nichiren refers to the object of devotion for people in the Latter Day of the

Law as “the title (daimoku) of the Lotus Sutra.” He further describes the title as the
essence of the Lotus Sutra, or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to be found only in the depths of

the “Life Span” (sixteenth) chapter of the sutra. The Object of Devotion for Observing the
Mind reads, “Myoho-renge-kyo appears in the center of the [treasure] tower with

the Buddhas Shakyamuni and Many Treasures seated to the right and left, and, flanking
them, the four bodhisattvas, followers of Shakyamuni, led by Superior Practices.

Manjushrī, Maitreya, and the other bodhisattvas, who are followers of the four
bodhisattvas, are seated below” (366). In this passage, Nichiren clarifies the
relationship

between the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the Buddhas Shakyamuni and Many Treasures, and the
various bodhisattvas depicted on the Gohonzon. In this way he emphasizes Nam-

myoho-renge-kyo as the fundamental object of devotion. The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon
explains that all living beings of the Ten Worlds “display the dignified attributes

that they inherently possess” (832) through the benefit of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nichiren
viewed the Dai-Gohonzon, the object of devotion he inscribed for all humanity on

the twelfth day of the tenth month in 1279, as the purpose of his life. This can be
gleaned from his statement in On Persecutions Befalling the Sage, written in the tenth

month of 1279: “The Buddha fulfilled the purpose of his advent in a little over forty
years, the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai took about thirty years, and the Great Teacher

Dengyō, some twenty years. I have spoken repeatedly of the indescribable persecutions they
suffered during those years. For me it took twenty-seven years, and the great

persecutions I faced are well known to you all” (996). The object of devotion in terms of
the Law is explained in greater detail in Nichiren’s writings such as The Object

of Devotion for Observing the Mind and The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon.
 (2) The object of devotion in terms of the Person: In his Reply to Kyō’ō, Nichiren
writes, “I, Nichiren, have inscribed my life in sumi ink, so believe in the Gohonzon

with your whole heart. The Buddha’s will is the Lotus Sutra, but the soul of Nichiren is
nothing other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (412). Nichiren here expresses his

realization that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the origin and basis of his life, which he
embodied in sumi ink in the form of the mandala he calls the Gohonzon. In The Record of

the Orally Transmitted Teachings, he says, “The object of devotion is thus the entity of
the entire body of the votary of the Lotus Sutra.” “The votary” here refers to

Nichiren himself. He also says, “The Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law is an ordinary
person and an ordinary priest.” “An ordinary priest” here refers to Nichiren.

Because Nichiren revealed and spread Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is manifest as the Person
and the Law, he is regarded by his disciple and designated successor Nikkō and his

followers as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. Nichiren himself writes in The
Opening of the Eyes: “On the twelfth day of the ninth month of last year [1271],

between the hours of the rat and the ox [11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.], this person named
Nichiren was beheaded. It is his soul that has come to this island of Sado and, in the

second month of the following year, snowbound, is writing this to send to his close
disciples” (269). He states that he “was beheaded,” though actually he survived the

execution at Tatsunokuchi, implying that the ordinary person Nichiren ceased to exist. In
this context, the passage “It is his soul that has come to this island of Sado

[his place of exile] “ means that Nichiren described himself as having revealed a deeper,
true identity in the course of his attempted execution. Again Nikkō and his

followers equate that identity with the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law.
(3) The oneness of the Person and the Law: This means that the object of devotion in terms
of the Person and the object of devotion in terms of the Law are one in their

essence. The Law is inseparable from the Person, and vice versa. The object of devotion in
terms of the Law is the physical embodiment, as a mandala (the Gohonzon), of the

eternal and intrinsic Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nichiren writes in his Reply to Kyō’ō
“I, Nichiren, have inscribed my life in sumi ink, so believe in the Gohonzon with

your whole heart” (412). This passage indicates that Nichiren embodied in the Gohonzon the
state of life he enjoyed as the eternal Buddha who personified the Law, so that

people could attain the same state of enlightenment. The Record of the Orally Transmitted
Teachings reads: “The ‘body that is freely received and used [also, the Buddha of

limitless joy] ‘ is none other than the principle of three thousand realms in a single
moment of life. The Great Teacher Dengyō says: ‘A single moment of life comprising

the three thousand realms is itself the “body that is freely received and used”; this
Buddha has forsaken august appearances. The Buddha who has forsaken august appearances

is the Buddha eternally endowed with the three bodies.’ Now Nichiren and his followers who
chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are just this.” “The Buddha who has forsaken august

appearances” means a Buddha who is no different from an ordinary person in form and
appearance.
 (4) The core of the Three Great Secret Laws: The Gohonzon, or the object of devotion of
the essential teaching, is the core of the Three Great Secret Laws in Nichiren’s

doctrine and represents the purpose of his life. The Three Great Secret Laws are the
object of devotion of the essential teaching, the invocation, or daimoku, of the

essential teaching, and the sanctuary of the essential teaching. Here, “essential
teaching” refers to the teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, not to the essential teaching

(latter half) of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren expressed the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo he
realized within his own life in these three forms, which correspond to the three

types of learning in Buddhism—precepts, meditation, and wisdom. The object of devotion
corresponds to meditation, the invocation to wisdom, and the sanctuary to precepts.

Sanctuary is a translation of the Japanese word kaidan, which is also translated as
“ordination platform.” This is a platform where practitioners vow to uphold the Buddhist

precepts. In Nichiren’s teaching, to embrace the object of devotion is the only precept,
and the place where one enshrines the object of devotion and chants the daimoku is

called the sanctuary. Again to keep faith in the object of devotion and chant the daimoku
while teaching others to chant it is called the invocation. Both the sanctuary and

the invocation derive from the object of devotion. Hence the object of devotion is the
core of all three. For this reason the Gohonzon, or object of devotion, is also

referred to as the One Great Secret Law.
 (5) The inscriptions on the Gohonzon: In the center of the Gohonzon are written the
Chinese characters “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Nichiren.” This indicates the oneness of the

Person and the Law. On either side there are characters for the names of beings
representing each of the Ten Worlds. At the top of the Gohonzon, the names of Shakyamuni

Buddha and Many Treasures Buddha appear respectively to the immediate left and right (when
facing the Gohonzon) of these central characters. They represent the realm or

world of Buddhahood. The four bodhisattvas—Superior Practices, Boundless Practices, Pure
Practices, and Firmly Established Practices—who lead the other Bodhisattvas of the

Earth are positioned to the left and right of the two Buddhas. They, along with other
bodhisattvas in the second row from the top such as Universal Worthy and Manjushrī,

represent the realm of bodhisattvas. Also in the second row are persons of the two
vehicles—voice-hearers and cause-awakened ones, such as Shāriputra and Mahākāshyapa—and

flanking them are representatives of the realm of heavenly beings, such as Brahmā, Shakra,
the devil king of the sixth heaven, and the gods of the sun and moon. In the

third row appear a wheel-turning king, representing the realm of human beings; an asura
king, representing the realm of asuras; a dragon king, representing the realm of

animals; Mother of Demon Children and the ten demon daughters, representing the realm of
hungry spirits; and Devadatta, representing the realm of hell. Moreover, the four

heavenly kings are positioned in the four corners of the Gohonzon: (again, when facing the
Gohonzon) Vaishravana in the upper left, Upholder of the Nation in the upper

right, Wide-Eyed in the lower right, and Increase and Growth in the lower left. While all
other figures on the Gohonzon are represented in Chinese characters, the names of

the wisdom king Craving-Filled and the wisdom king Immovable are written below Vaishravana
and Upholder of the Nation respectively in Siddham, a medieval Sanskrit script.

Here the wisdom king Craving-Filled represents the principle that earthly desires are
enlightenment, and the wisdom king Immovable, the principle that the sufferings of

birth and death are nirvana. Other characters on the Gohonzon include the names of Great
Bodhisattva Hachiman and the Sun Goddess. All these names express the principles

that the Ten Worlds exist within the eternal Buddha’s life, and that living beings of the
Ten Worlds can attain Buddhahood. Not all of the above names appear on every

Gohonzon that is transcribed from the Dai-Gohonzon, but whichever ones do appear represent
all of the Ten Worlds.
 The names of the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai and the Great Teacher Dengyō are inscribed in
the lower part of the Gohonzon representing those who transmitted the true lineage

of Buddhism. There are two inscriptions gleaned from Miao-lo’s Annotations on “The Words
and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra,” which Nichiren used to describe the power of the

Gohonzon and the Law it embodies. One, placed in the upper right (facing the Gohonzon),
reads, “Those who vex or trouble [the practitioners of the Law] will have their

heads split into seven pieces.” The other, in the upper left, reads, “Those who give alms
[to them] will enjoy good fortune surpassing the ten honorable titles.” The ten

honorable titles are epithets applied to the Buddha expressing his virtue, wisdom, and
compassion. In the lower right is Nichiren’s declaration that “This is the great

mandala never before known in the entire land of Jambudvīpa in the more than 2,230 years
since the Buddha’s passing.”

ALOHA. NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO. HAVE A BLESSED DAY! HAPPY MONDAY!

ALOHA. NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO. HAVE A BLESSED DAY! HAPPY MONDAY!.

ALOHA. NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO. HAVE A BLESSED DAY! HAPPY MONDAY!

Chapter Eighteen: The Benefits of Responding with Joy
Two important points

Point One, regarding the Benefits of Responding with Joy to Myoho-renge-kyo

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “Respond” means to respond to and comply with actuality and principle. “Joy” means that oneself and others together experience joy. By actuality is meant responding to and complying with the actual fact of Shakyamuni manifesting [in this life] his original state [of enlightenment] numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago. By principle is meant responding to the principle of ordinary people being able to manifest their original states. In the end, then, responding means responding to and complying with the inner truth of the “Life Span” chapter. When that is done, then both oneself and others together will take joy in their possession of wisdom and compassion.
Now, when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are expressing joy in the fact that they will inevitably become Buddhas eternally endowed with the three bodies. For that reason, we may say that the word “respond” applies to the Law one responds to, while “joy” applies to the person one takes joy in. The person is the ancient Buddha of numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago, Shakyamuni. The Law is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the “Life Span” chapter. To respond to them and take joy in them is what is meant by the words “responding with joy.”
Broadly speaking, “to respond” may be regarded as another name for faith. To respond means simply to have the mind of faith. That is why it is stated in the second volume of the Lotus Sutra, “It is because they have faith in the Buddha’s words / that p.147they can comply with this sutra, / not because of any wisdom of their own” (chapter three, Simile and Parable).

Point Two, on the passage [describing the benefits of urging a person to listen to the Lotus Sutra] “breath free of foul odor, / a fragrance of utpala flowers / constantly emitted by the mouth”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “breath” refers to the daimoku. “Free of foul odor” means that the breath is not tainted by any of the provisional teachings such as those regarding Amida Buddha, expedient means that can never lead to attainment of the way. “A fragrance of utpala flowers” refers to the Lotus Sutra. But now, in the Latter Day of the Law, it means the daimoku. The passage in the “Expedient Means” chapter that reads, “[A wonderful Law such as this is . . .] like the blooming of the udumbara [flower]” refers to the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. One should reflect carefully on this.
The word “constantly” refers to that which constantly abides throughout the three existences. The word “mouth” refers to the mouth of the votary of the Lotus Sutra. “Emitted” indicates the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It may be said of Nichiren and his followers, who now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, that these words are “constantly emitted by the mouth.”

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/ott/PART-2/18

Profile of Daisaku Ikeda
Daisaku Ikeda is a Buddhist philosopher, an educator and a prolific writer and poet. As president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) lay Buddhist movement, he has devoted himself to wide-ranging efforts for peace and individual empowerment, and has founded cultural, educational and peace research institutions around the world.

Born in Tokyo in 1928, Ikeda experienced firsthand the tragic reality of war and militarism. In the chaos of postwar Japan, he came to embrace Buddhism through an encounter with the educator and pacifist Josei Toda, head of the Soka Gakkai Buddhist association, who had been imprisoned for his beliefs during World War II.

These experiences shaped Ikeda’s commitment to peace. Over the years, in search of viable responses to global problems, Ikeda has engaged in dialogue with many of the world’s leading thinkers and leaders, inspired the SGI’s support of United Nations activities and written extensively on a range of issues related to peace and the human condition.

Central to Ikeda’s thinking is the idea that a self-directed transformation within the life of each individual, rather than societal or structural reform alone, holds the key to lasting peace and human happiness. This is expressed most succinctly in a passage from his best-known work, The Human Revolution: “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.”

Ikeda’s books, offering perspectives grounded in Buddhist humanism on ways of overcoming the challenges facing individuals in their daily lives and humanity as a whole, have been translated into and published in more than 40 languages.

http://www.ikedaquotes.org/daisaku-ikeda.html

CHAPTER 18

The Benefits of Responding with Joy

At that time the bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya said to the Buddha: “World-Honored One, if there are good men or good women who, hearing this Lotus Sutra, respond with joy, what amount of blessings do they acquire?”
Then he spoke in verse, saying:

After the world-honored one has passed into extinction,
if those who hear this sutra
are able to respond with joy,
what amount of blessings will they acquire?

At that time the Buddha said to the bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya: “Ajita, after the thus come one has entered extinction, suppose there are monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, or other persons of wisdom, whether old or young, who, hearing this sutra, respond with joy and, leaving the Dharma assembly, go to some other place, perhaps a monks’ quarters, a spot that is deserted and quiet, a city, a community, a settlement, or a village, and there in accordance with what they have heard they put forth effort in preaching and expounding for the sake of their parents and relatives, their good friends and acquaintances. These people, after hearing, respond with joy and they too set about spreading the teachings. One person, having heard, responds with joy and spreads the teachings, and the teachings in p.287this way continue to be handed along from one to another until they reach a fiftieth person.
“Ajita, the benefits received by this fiftieth good man or good woman who responds with joy I will now describe to you—you must listen carefully. Imagine all the beings in the six paths of existence of four hundred ten thousand million asamkhya worlds, all the four kinds of living beings, those born from the egg, those born from the womb, those born from dampness, and those born by transformation, those with form, those without form, those with thought, those without thought, those who are not with thought, those who are not without thought, those without legs, those with two legs, four legs, or many legs. And imagine that, among all this vast number of living beings, a person should come who is seeking blessings and, responding to their various desires, dispenses objects of amusement and playthings to all these living beings. Each one of these living beings is given gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, coral, amber, and other wonderful and precious gems, as well as elephants, horses, carriages, and palaces and towers made of the seven treasures, enough to fill a whole Jambudvipa. This great dispenser of charity, having handed out gifts in this manner for a full eighty years, then thinks to himself: I have already doled out objects of amusement and playthings to these living beings, responding to their various desires. But these living beings are now all old and decrepit, their years over eighty, their hair white, their faces wrinkled, and before long they will die. Now I should employ the Law of the Buddha to instruct and guide them.
“Immediately he gathers all the living beings together and propagates the Law among them, teaching, benefiting, and delighting them. In one moment all are able to attain the way of the stream-winner, the way of the once-returner, the way of the non-returner, and the way of the arhat, to exhaust all outflows and enter deeply into meditation. All attain freedom and become endowed with the eight emancipations. Now what is your opinion? Are the benefits gained by this great dispenser of charity many or not?”
Maitreya said to the Buddha: “World-Honored One, this p.288man’s benefits are very many indeed, immeasurable and boundless. Even if this dispenser of charity had merely given all those playthings to living beings, his benefits would still be immeasurable. And how much more so when he has enabled them to attain the fruits of arhatship!”
The Buddha said to Maitreya: “I will now state the matter clearly for you. This man gave all these objects of amusement to the living beings in the six paths of existence of four hundred ten thousand million asamkhya worlds and also made it possible for them to attain the fruits of arhatship. But the benefits that he gains do not match the benefits of the fiftieth person who hears just one verse of the Lotus Sutra and responds with joy. They are not equal to one hundredth, one thousandth, one part in a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, a million. Indeed it is beyond the power of calculation, simile, or parable to express the comparison.
“Ajita, the benefits gained by even the fiftieth person who hears the Lotus Sutra as it is handed along to him and responds with joy are immeasurable, boundless asamkhyas in number. How much greater then are those of the very first person in the assembly who, on hearing the sutra, responds with joy! His blessings are greater by an immeasurable, boundless asamkhya number, and are in fact incomparable.
“Moreover, Ajita, suppose a person for the sake of this sutra visits a monks’ quarters and, sitting or standing, even for a moment listens to it and accepts it. As a result of the benefits so obtained, when he is reborn in his next existence he will enjoy the finest, most superior and wonderful elephants, horses, and carriages, and palanquins decked with rare treasures, and will mount up to the heavenly palaces. Or suppose there is a person who is sitting in the place where the Law is expounded, and when another person appears, the first person urges him to sit down and listen, or offers to share his seat and so persuades him to sit down. The benefits gained by this person will be such that when he is reborn he will be in a place where the lord Shakra is seated, where the heavenly king Brahma is seated, or where a wheel-turning sage king is seated.
p.289“Ajita, suppose there is a person who speaks to another person, saying, ‘There is a sutra called the Lotus. Let us go together and listen to it.’ And suppose, having been urged, the other person goes and even for an instant listens to the sutra. The benefits of the first person will be such that when he is reborn he will be born in the same place as dharani bodhisattvas. He will have keen faculties and wisdom. For a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand ages he will never be struck dumb. His mouth will not emit a foul odor. His tongue will never be afflicted, nor will his mouth be afflicted. His teeth will not be stained or black, nor will they be yellow or widely spaced, nor will they be missing or fall out or be at an angle or crooked. His lips will not droop down or curl back or be rough or chapped or afflicted with sores or misshapen or twisted or too thick or too big or black or discolored or unsightly in any way. His nose will not be too broad or flat or crooked or too highly arched. His face will not be swarthy, nor will it be long and narrow, or sunken and distorted. He will not have a single unsightly feature. His lips, tongue, and teeth will all be handsomely proportioned. His nose will be long and high, his face round and full, his eyebrows long and set high, his forehead broad, smooth, and well shaped, and he will be endowed with all the features proper to a human being. In each existence he is born into, he will see the Buddha, hear his Law, and have faith in his teachings.
“Ajita, just observe! The benefits gained merely by encouraging one person to go and listen to the Law are such as this! How much more, then, if one single-mindedly hears, preaches, reads, and recites the sutra and before the great assembly makes distinctions for the sake of people and practices it as the sutra instructs!”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

If someone in the Dharma assembly
is able to hear this sutra,
even just one verse,
and responding with joy, preaches it to others,
p.290and in this way the teachings are handed along
till they reach the fiftieth person,
the blessings gained by this last person
are such as I will now define.
Suppose there is a great dispenser of charity
who bestows goods on immeasurable multitudes,
doing this for a full eighty years,
responding to each person’s desires.
Seeing the signs of decrepitude and old age,
the white hair and wrinkled faces,
the missing teeth, the withered forms,
he thinks, “Their death is not far off;
I must now teach them
so they can gain the fruits of the way!”
Immediately for their sake he employs an expedient means,
preaching the true doctrine of nirvana:
“Nothing in this world is lasting or firm
but all are like bubbles, foam, heat shimmer.
Therefore all of you must quickly
learn to hate it and be gone!”
When the people hear this doctrine,
all are able to become arhats
endowed with the six transcendental powers,
the three insights, and eight emancipations.
But the fiftieth person
who hears one verse [of the Lotus Sutra] and responds with joy
gains blessings that are far greater,
beyond description by simile or parable.
And if one who has had the teachings passed along to him
receives blessings that are immeasurable,
how much more so one who in the Dharma assembly
first hears the sutra and responds with joy.
Suppose someone encourages another person,
urging him to go and listen to the Lotus,
saying, “This sutra is profound and wonderful,
p.291hard to encounter in a thousand, ten thousand kalpas!”
And suppose, as urged, the person goes to listen,
even though he listens for just a moment.
The blessings that the first person gets in reward
I will now describe in detail:
Age after age, no afflictions of the mouth,
no teeth missing, yellow or blackened,
lips that are not thick, curled, or defective,
no hateful features,
a tongue not dry, black, or too short;
nose high, long, and straight,
forehead broad, smooth, and well shaped,
face and eyes all properly aligned and impressive,
the kind people delight to look at,
breath free of foul odor,
a fragrance of blue lotus flowers
constantly emitted by the mouth.
Suppose one goes to the monks’ quarters
expressly to listen to the Lotus Sutra
and listens with joy for just a moment—
I will now describe one’s blessings.
In existences to come among heavenly and human beings
one will acquire wonderful elephants, horses, carriages,
palanquins adorned with rare jewels,
and will mount to the palaces of heaven.
If in the place where the Law is expounded
one encourages someone to sit and hear the sutra,
the blessings one acquires will enable one
to gain the seat of Shakra, Brahma, and the wheel-turner.
How much more so if one listens single-mindedly,
explains and expounds the meaning,
and practices the sutra as the sutra instructs—
one’s blessings will know no bounds!

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/18

rāga [貪・貪欲・愛] (Skt, Pali; Jpn ton, ton’yoku, or ai): Greed, desire, emotion, feeling, love, or passion. Rāga, indicating greed or avarice, is a component of the three poisons, the three sources of vice and suffering; the other two are dvesha (anger) and moha (foolishness). See also three poisons.
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three poisons [三毒] (Jpn san-doku): Greed, anger, and foolishness. The fundamental evils inherent in life that give rise to human suffering. In The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom, the three poisons are regarded as the source of all illusions and earthly desires. The three poisons are so called because they pollute people’s lives and work to prevent them from turning their hearts and minds to goodness. The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra by T’ien-t’ai speaks of the three poisons as the underlying cause of the three calamities of famine, war, and pestilence, stating: “Because anger increases in intensity, armed strife occurs. Because greed increases in intensity, famine arises. Because foolishness increases in intensity, pestilence breaks out. And because these three calamities occur, earthly desires grow more numerous and powerful than ever, and false views increasingly flourish.” In the “Simile and Parable” (third) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni says to Shāriputra, “He [the Thus Come One] is born into the threefold world, a burning house, rotten and old, in order to save living beings from the fires of birth, aging, sickness, and death, care, suffering, stupidity, misunderstanding, and the three poisons; to teach and convert them and enable them to attain supreme perfect enlightenment.”

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18
The Essence of the “Life Span” Chapter

Background
WHEN Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, expounded the “Life Span” chapter, he referred to what all living beings had heard in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings and in the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra. He said: “In all the worlds the heavenly and human beings and asuras all believe that the present Shakyamuni Buddha, after leaving the palace of the Shākyas, seated himself in the place of meditation not far from the city of Gayā and there attained supreme perfect enlightenment.”1 This statement expresses the idea held by all the Buddha’s disciples and the great bodhisattvas from the time they heard Shakyamuni preach his first sermon in the Flower Garland Sutra up through the time he expounded the “Peaceful Practices” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
We find two flaws in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings: First, “Because the Ten Worlds are separate from one another in these teachings, they fail to move beyond the provisional.”2 That is, they do not reveal the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, that of discarding the provisional and revealing the true,3 or that of persons of the two vehicles being capable of attaining Buddhahood—the doctrines related to the ten factors of life stated in the “Expedient Means” chapter of the theoretical teaching.
Second, “Because they teach that Shakyamuni first attained enlightenment in this world, they fail to discard the Buddha’s provisional status.”4 Thus they do not reveal the Buddha’s original enlightenment in the remote past expounded in the “Life Span” chapter. These two great doctrines [the attainment of Buddhahood by persons of the two vehicles and the Buddha’s original enlightenment] are the core of the Buddha’s lifetime teachings, the heart and marrow of all the sutras.
The theoretical teaching states that persons of the two vehicles can attain Buddhahood, thus avoiding one of the shortcomings found in the sutras expounded during the first forty years and more of the Buddha’s preaching. However, since the “Life Span” chapter had not yet been expounded, the true doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life remained obscure, and the enlightenment of persons of the two vehicles was not assured. In these respects the theoretical teaching does not differ from the moon’s reflection on the water, or rootless plants drifting on the waves.
The Buddha also stated, “But good men, it has been immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas since I in fact attained Buddhahood.”5 With this single proclamation, he refuted as great falsehoods his other statements [concerning his own p.183enlightenment]. For instance, the Flower Garland Sutra states that Shakyamuni attained Buddhahood for the first time in this world. The Āgama sutras speak of his first attainment of the way, and the Vimalakīrti Sutra says, ”For the first time the Buddha sat beneath the bodhi tree.” The Great Collection Sutra states, “It is sixteen years [since the Thus Come One first attained the way].” The Mahāvairochana Sutra describes the Buddha’s enlightenment as having taken place “long ago when I sat in the place of meditation.” The Benevolent Kings Sutra refers to the Buddha’s enlightenment as an event of “twenty-nine years” ago. The Immeasurable Meanings Sutra states, “In the past I sat upright in the place of meditation,” and the “Expedient Means” chapter of the Lotus Sutra says, “When I first sat in the place of meditation . . . ”
When we come to the “Life Span” chapter of the essential teaching, the belief that Shakyamuni attained Buddhahood for the first time [in India] is demolished, and the effects [enlightenment] of the four teachings are likewise demolished. When the effects of the four teachings are demolished, their causes are likewise demolished. “Causes” here refers to Buddhist practice [to attain enlightenment] or to the stage of disciples engaged in practice. Thus the causes and effects expounded in both the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings and the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra are wiped out, and the cause and effect of the Ten Worlds6 in the essential teaching are revealed. This is the doctrine of original cause and original effect. It teaches that the nine worlds are all present in beginningless Buddhahood and that Buddhahood exists in the beginningless nine worlds. This is the true mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, the true hundred worlds and thousand factors, the true three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
Considered in this light, it is evident that Vairochana Buddha depicted in the Flower Garland Sutra as sitting on a lotus pedestal, the sixteen-foot Shakyamuni described in the Āgama sutras, and the provisional Buddhas of the Correct and Equal, Wisdom, Golden Light, Amida, and Mahāvairochana sutras are no more than reflections of the Buddha of the “Life Span” chapter. They are like fleeting images of the moon in the sky mirrored on the surface of the water held in vessels of varying sizes. The wise men and scholars of the various schools are first of all confused as to [the nature of the Buddhas of] their own school, and more fundamentally, they are ignorant of [the Buddha of] the “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. As a result, they mistake the reflection of the moon on the water for the real moon shining in the sky. Some of them enter the water and try to grasp it with their hands, while others try to snare it with a rope. As the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai says, “They know nothing of the moon in the sky, but gaze only at the moon in the pond.”7 He means that those attached to the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings or the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra are not aware of the moon shining in the sky, but see only its reflection in the pond.
The Great Canon of Monastic Rules also tells of five hundred monkeys who, emerging from the mountains, saw the moon reflected in the water and tried to seize it. However, as it was only a reflection, they fell into the water and drowned. This writing equates the monkeys with Devadatta and the group of six monks.8
Were it not for the presence of the “Life Span” chapter among all the teachings of Shakyamuni, they would be like the heavens without the sun and moon, a kingdom without a king, the mountains and seas without treasures, or a person without a soul. This being so, without the “Life Span” p.184chapter, all the sutras would be meaningless. Grass without roots will die in no time, and a river without a source will not flow far. A child without parents is looked down upon. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the heart of the “Life Span” chapter, is the mother of all Buddhas throughout the ten directions and the three existences.
With my deep respect,
Nichiren

The seventeenth day of the fourth month
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NICHIRENLIBRARY.ORG MYOHO-RENGE-KYO NYORAI JURYO HON DAI JU ROKU MYOHO-RENGE-KYO HOBEN PON DAI NI

CHAPTER 16

The Life Span of the Thus Come One

At that time the Buddha spoke to the bodhisattvas and all the great assembly: “Good men, you must believe and understand the truthful words of the thus come one.” And again he said to the great assembly: “You must believe and understand the truthful words of the thus come one.” And once more he said to the great assembly: “You must believe and understand the truthful words of the thus come one.”
At that time the bodhisattvas and the great assembly, with Maitreya as their leader, pressed their palms together and addressed the Buddha, saying: “World-Honored One, we beg you to explain. We will believe and accept the Buddha’s words.” They spoke in this manner three times, and then said once more: “We beg you to explain it. We will believe and accept the Buddha’s words.”
At that time the world-honored one, seeing that the bodhisattvas repeated their request three times and more, spoke to them, saying: “You must listen carefully and hear of the thus come one’s secret and his transcendental powers. In all the worlds the heavenly and human beings and asuras all believe that the present Shakyamuni Buddha, after leaving the palace of the Shakyas, seated himself in the place of enlightenment not far from the city of Gaya and there attained supreme perfect enlightenment. But good men, it has been immeasurable, boundless hundreds, p.266thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas since I in fact attained buddhahood.
“Suppose a person were to take five hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million nayuta asamkhya major world systems and grind them to dust. Then, moving eastward, each time he passes five hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million nayuta asamkhya worlds he drops a particle of dust. He continues eastward in this way until he has finished dropping all the particles. Good men, what is your opinion? Can the total number of all these worlds be imagined or calculated?”
The bodhisattva Maitreya and the others said to the Buddha: “World-Honored One, these worlds are immeasurable, boundless—one cannot calculate their number, nor does the mind have the power to encompass them. Even all the voice-hearers and pratyekabuddhas with their wisdom free of outflows could not imagine or understand how many there are. Although we abide in the stage of non-regression, we cannot comprehend such a matter. World-Honored One, these worlds are immeasurable and boundless.”
At that time the Buddha said to the multitude of great bodhisattvas: “Good men, now I will state this to you clearly. Suppose all these worlds, whether they received a particle of dust or not, are once more reduced to dust. Let one particle represent one kalpa. The time that has passed since I attained buddhahood surpasses this by a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million nayuta asamkhya kalpas.
“Ever since then I have been constantly in this saha world, preaching the Law, teaching, and converting. And elsewhere I have led and benefited living beings in hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas and asamkhyas of lands.
“Good men, during that time I have spoken about the buddha Burning Torch and others, and described how they entered nirvana. All this I employed as an expedient means to make distinctions.
“Good men, if there are living beings who come to me, I employ my buddha eye to observe whether their faith and other faculties are keen or dull, and then depending upon how p.267receptive they are to salvation, I appear in different places and preach to them under different names, and describe my life span as long or short. Sometimes when I make my appearance I say that I am about to enter nirvana, and also employ different expedient means to preach the subtle and wonderful Law, thus causing living beings to awaken joyful minds.
“Good men, the thus come one observes how among living beings there are those who delight in lesser teachings, meager in virtue and heavy with defilement. For such persons I describe how in my youth I left my household and attained supreme perfect enlightenment. But in truth the time since I attained buddhahood is extremely long, as I have told you. It is simply that I use this expedient means to teach and convert living beings and cause them to enter the buddha way. That is why I speak in this manner.
“Good men, the scriptures expounded by the thus come one are all for the purpose of saving and emancipating living beings. Sometimes I speak of myself, sometimes of others; sometimes I present myself, sometimes others; sometimes I show my own actions, sometimes those of others. All that I preach is true and not false.
“Why do I do this? The thus come one perceives the true aspect of the threefold world exactly as it is. There is no ebb or flow of birth and death, and there is no existing in this world and later entering extinction. It is neither substantial nor empty, neither consistent nor diverse. Nor is it what those who dwell in the threefold world perceive it to be. All such things the thus come one sees clearly and without error.
“Because living beings have different natures, different desires, different actions, and different ways of thinking and
making distinctions, and because I want to enable them to put down good roots, I employ a variety of causes and conditions, similes, parables, and phrases and preach different doctrines. This, a buddha’s work, I have never for a moment neglected.
“Thus, since I attained buddhahood, an extremely long period of time has passed. My life span is an immeasurable number of asamkhya kalpas, and during that time I have constantly abided p.268here without ever entering extinction. Good men, originally I practiced the bodhisattva way, and the life span that I acquired then has yet to come to an end but will last twice the number of years that have already passed. Now, however, although in fact I do not actually enter extinction, I announce that I am going to adopt the course of extinction. This is an expedient means that the thus come one uses to teach and convert living beings.
“Why do I do this? Because if the Buddha remains in the world for a long time, those persons with shallow virtue will fail to plant good roots but, living in poverty and lowliness, will become attached to the five desires and be caught in the net of deluded thoughts and imaginings. If they see that the thus come one is constantly in the world and never enters extinction, they will grow arrogant and selfish, or become discouraged and neglectful. They will fail to realize how difficult it is to encounter the Buddha and will not approach him with a respectful and reverent mind.
“Therefore as an expedient means the thus come one says: ‘Monks, you should know that it is a rare thing to live at a time when one of the buddhas appears in the world.’ Why does he do this? Because persons of shallow virtue may pass immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of kalpas with some of them chancing to see a buddha and others never seeing one at all. For this reason I say to them: ‘Monks, the thus come one is hard to get to see.’ When living beings hear these words, they are certain to realize how difficult it is to encounter a buddha. In their minds they will harbor a longing and will thirst to gaze upon the buddha, and then they will work to plant good roots. Therefore the thus come one, though in truth he does not enter extinction, speaks of passing into extinction.
“Good men, the buddhas, the thus come ones, all act in such a manner. They act in order to save living beings, so what they say is true and not false.
“Suppose, for example, that there is a skilled physician who is wise and understanding and knows how to compound medicines to effectively cure all kinds of diseases. He has many sons, p.269perhaps ten, twenty, or even a hundred. He goes off to some other land far away to see about a certain affair. After he has gone, the children drink some kind of poison that makes them distraught with pain and they fall writhing to the ground.
“At that time the father returns to his home and finds that his children have drunk poison. Some are completely out of their minds, while others are not. Seeing their father from far off, all are overjoyed and kneel down and entreat him, saying: ‘How fine that you have returned safely. We were foolish and by mistake drank some poison. We beg you to cure us and let us live out our lives!’
“The father, seeing his children suffering like this, follows various prescriptions. Gathering fine medicinal herbs that meet all the requirements of color, fragrance, and flavor, he grinds, sifts, and mixes them together. Giving a dose of these to his children, he tells them: ‘This is a highly effective medicine, meeting all the requirements of color, fragrance, and flavor. Take it and you will quickly be relieved of your sufferings and will be free of all illness.’
“Those children who have not lost their senses can see that this is good medicine, outstanding in both color and fragrance, so they take it immediately and are completely cured of their sickness. Those who are out of their minds are equally delighted to see their father return and beg him to cure their sickness, but when they are given the medicine, they refuse to take it. Why? Because the poison has penetrated deeply and their minds no longer function as before. So although the medicine is of excellent color and fragrance, they do not perceive it as good.
“The father thinks to himself: My poor children! Because of the poison in them, their minds are completely befuddled. Although they are happy to see me and ask me to cure them, they refuse to take this excellent medicine. I must now resort to some expedient means to induce them to take the medicine. So he says to them: ‘You should know that I am now old and worn out, and the time of my death has come. I will leave this good medicine here. You should take it and not worry that it will not p.270cure you.’ Having given these instructions, he then goes off to another land, where he sends a messenger home to announce, ‘Your father is dead.’
“At that time the children, hearing that their father has deserted them and died, are filled with great grief and consternation and think to themselves: If our father were alive he would have pity on us and see that we are protected. But now he has abandoned us and died in some other country far away. We are shelterless orphans with no one to rely on!
“Constantly harboring such feelings of grief, they at last come to their senses and realize that the medicine is in fact excellent in color and fragrance and flavor, and so they take it and are healed of all the effects of the poison. The father, hearing that his children are all cured, immediately returns home and appears to them all once more.
“Good men, what is your opinion? Can anyone say that this skilled physician is guilty of lying?”
“No, World-Honored One.”
The Buddha said: “It is the same with me. It has been immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayuta asamkhya kalpas since I attained buddhahood. But for the sake of living beings I employ the power of expedient means and say that I am about to pass into extinction. In view of the circumstances, however, no one can say that I have been guilty of lies or falsehoods.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

Since I attained buddhahood
the number of kalpas that have passed
is an immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands,
millions, trillions, asamkhyas.
Constantly I have preached the Law, teaching, converting
countless millions of living beings,
causing them to enter the buddha way,
all this for immeasurable kalpas.
In order to save living beings,
p.271as an expedient means I appear to enter nirvana
but in truth I do not pass into extinction.
I am always here, preaching the Law.
I am always here,
but through my transcendental powers
I make it so that living beings in their befuddlement
do not see me even when close by.
When the multitude sees that I have passed into extinction,
far and wide they offer alms to my relics.
All harbor thoughts of yearning
and in their minds thirst to gaze at me.
When living beings have become truly faithful,
honest and upright, gentle in intent,
single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha,
not hesitating even if it costs them their lives,
then I and the assembly of monks
appear together on Holy Eagle Peak.
At that time I tell the living beings
that I am always here, never entering extinction,
but that because of the power of expedient means
at times I appear to be extinct, at other times not,
and that if there are living beings in other lands
who are reverent and sincere in their wish to believe,
then among them too
I will preach the unsurpassed Law.
But you have not heard of this,
so you suppose that I enter extinction.
When I look at living beings
I see them drowned in a sea of suffering;
therefore I do not show myself,
causing them to thirst for me.
Then when their minds are filled with yearning,
at last I appear and preach the Law for them.
Such are my transcendental powers.
For asamkhya kalpas
constantly I have dwelled on Holy Eagle Peak
and in various other places.
p.272When living beings witness the end of a kalpa
and all is consumed in a great fire,
this, my land, remains safe and tranquil,
constantly filled with heavenly and human beings.
The halls and pavilions in its gardens and groves
are adorned with various kinds of gems.
Jeweled trees abound in flowers and fruit
where living beings enjoy themselves at ease.
The gods strike heavenly drums,
constantly making many kinds of music.
Mandarava blossoms rain down,
scattering over the Buddha and the great assembly.
My pure land is not destroyed,
yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire,
with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings
filling it everywhere.
These living beings with their various offenses,
through causes arising from their evil actions,
spend asamkhya kalpas
without hearing the name of the three treasures.
But those who practice meritorious ways,
who are gentle, peaceful, honest, and upright,
all of them will see me
here in person, preaching the Law.
At times for this multitude
I describe the Buddha’s life span as immeasurable,
and to those who see the Buddha only after a long time
I explain how difficult it is to meet a buddha.
Such is the power of my wisdom
that its sagacious beams shine without measure.
This life span of countless kalpas
I gained as the result of lengthy practice.
You who are possessed of wisdom,
entertain no doubts on this point!
Cast them off, end them forever,
for the Buddha’s words are true, not false.
He is like a skilled physician
p.273who uses an expedient means to cure his deranged sons.
Though in fact alive, he gives out word he is dead,
yet no one can say he speaks falsely.
I am the father of this world,
saving those who suffer and are afflicted.
Because of the befuddlement of ordinary people,
though I live, I give out word I have entered extinction.
For if they see me constantly,
arrogance and selfishness arise in their minds.
Abandoning restraint, they give themselves up to the five desires
and fall into the evil paths of existence.
Always I am aware of which living beings
practice the way, and which do not,
and in response to their need for salvation
I preach various doctrines for them.
At all times I think to myself:
How can I cause living beings
to gain entry into the unsurpassed way
and quickly acquire the body of a buddha?

CHAPTER 2

Expedient Means

At that time the world-honored one calmly arose from his samadhi and addressed Shariputra, saying: “The wisdom of the buddhas is infinitely profound and immeasurable. The door to this wisdom is difficult to understand and difficult to enter. Not one of the voice-hearers or pratyekabuddhas is able to comprehend it.
“What is the reason for this? The buddhas have personally attended a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million, a countless number of buddhas and have fully carried out an immeasurable number of buddhas’ ways and doctrines. They have exerted themselves bravely and vigorously, and their names are universally known. They have realized the Law that is profound and never known before, and preach it in accordance with what is appropriate, yet their intentions are difficult to understand.
“Shariputra, ever since I attained buddhahood I have through various causes and various similes widely expounded my teachings and have used countless expedient means to guide living beings and cause them to renounce their attachments. Why is this? Because the thus come ones are fully possessed of both expedient means and the paramita of wisdom.
“Shariputra, the wisdom of the thus come ones is expansive and profound. They have immeasurable [compassion], unlimited [eloquence], power, fearlessness, concentration, emancipation, p.57and samadhis, and have deeply entered the boundless and awakened to the Law never before attained.
“Shariputra, the thus come ones know how to make various distinctions and to expound the teachings skillfully. Their words are soft and gentle and can delight the hearts of the assembly.
“Shariputra, to sum it up: the buddhas have fully realized the Law that is limitless, boundless, never attained before.
“But stop, Shariputra, I will say no more. Why? Because what the buddhas have achieved is the rarest and most difficult-to-understand Law. The true aspect of all phenomena can only be understood and shared between buddhas. This reality consists of the appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, internal cause, relation, latent effect, manifest effect, and their consistency from beginning to end.”
At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

The heroes of the world are unfathomable.
Among heavenly beings or the people of the world,
among all living beings,
none can understand the buddhas.
The buddhas’ power, fearlessness,
emancipation, and samadhis
and the buddhas’ other attributes
no one can reckon or fathom.
Earlier, under the guidance of countless buddhas
I fully acquired and practiced various ways,
profound, subtle, and wonderful doctrines
that are hard to see and hard to understand.
Having practiced these ways for immeasurable millions of kalpas,
in the place of enlightenment I achieved the goal.
I have already come to see and know completely
the meainig of this great effect,
the various natures and appearances.
I and the buddhas of the ten directions
can now understand these things.
p.58This Law cannot be described,
words fall silent before it.
Among the other kinds of living beings
there are none who can comprehend it,
except the many bodhisattvas
who are firm in the power of faith.
The many disciples of the buddhas
in the past have given offerings to the buddhas,
have already cut off all outflows
and now are dwelling in their last incarnations.
But even such persons as they
have not the power needed.
Even if the whole world
were filled with men like Shariputra,
though they exhausted their thoughts and pooled their capacities,
they could not fathom the buddha wisdom.
Even if the ten directions
were all filled with men like Shariputra
or like the other disciples,
though they filled the lands in the ten directions
and exhausted their thoughts and pooled their capacities,
still they could not understand it.
If pratyekabuddhas, acute in understanding,
without outflows, in their last incarnations,
should fill the worlds in the ten directions,
as numerous as bamboos in a grove,
though they should join together with one mind
for a million or for countless kalpas,
hoping to conceive of the Buddha’s true wisdom,
they could not understand the smallest part of it.
If bodhisattvas newly embarked on their course
should give offerings to numberless buddhas,
completely mastering the intent of the various doctrines
and also able to preach them effectively,
like so many rice and hemp plants, bamboos or reeds,
filling the lands in the ten directions,
p.59with a single mind, with their wonderful wisdom,
for kalpas numerous as Ganges sands
should all together pool their thoughts and capacities,
they could not understand the buddha wisdom.
If bodhisattvas who never regress,
their number like Ganges sands,
with a single mind should join in pondering and seeking,
they could not understand it either.
I also announce to you, Shariputra,
that this profound, subtle, and wonderful Law
without outflows, incomprehensible,
I have now attained in full.
Only I understand its characteristics,
and the buddhas of the ten directions do likewise.
Shariputra, you should know
that the words of the various buddhas never differ.
Toward the Law preached by the buddhas
you must cultivate a great power of faith.
The world-honored one has long expounded his doctrines
and now must reveal the truth.
I announce this to the assembly of voice-hearers
and to those who seek the vehicle of the cause-awakened one:
I have enabled people to escape the bonds of suffering
and to attain nirvana.
The Buddha, through the power of expedient means,
has shown them the teachings of the three vehicles,
prying living beings loose from this or that attachment
and allowing them to attain release.

At that time among the great assembly there were voice-hearers, arhats whose outflows had come to an end, Ajnata Kaundinya and others numbering twelve hundred persons. And there were monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen who had conceived a desire to become voice-hearers or pratyekabuddhas. Each of these had this thought: Now for what reason does the world-honored one so earnestly praise expedient means and p.60state that the Law attained by the Buddha is profound and difficult to understand, that it is very difficult to comprehend the meaning of the words he preaches, that not one of the voice-hearers or pratyekabuddhas can do so? If the Buddha preaches but one doctrine of emancipation, then we too should be able to attain this Law and reach the state of nirvana. We cannot follow the gist of what he is saying now.
At that time Shariputra understood the doubts that were in the minds of the four kinds of believers, and he himself did not yet fully comprehend. So he addressed the Buddha, saying, “World-Honored One, what causes and conditions lead you to earnestly praise the foremost expedient means of the buddhas, the profound, subtle, and wonderful Law that is difficult to understand? From times past I have never heard this kind of preaching from the Buddha. Now the four kinds of believers all have doubts. We beg that the world-honored one will expound this matter. For what reason does the world-honored one earnestly praise this Law that is profound, subtle and wonderful, difficult to understand?”
At that time Shariputra, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

Sun of wisdom, great sage and venerable one,
at long last you preach this Law.
You yourself declare you have attained
power, fearlessness, samadhis,
concentration, emancipation, and other such attributes,
and the Law that is beyond comprehension.
This Law attained in the place of enlightenment
no one is capable of questioning you about.
“My intention is hard to fathom,
and no one can question me.”
No one questions, yet you yourself preach,
praising the path you walk on.
Your wisdom is very subtle and wonderful,
that which all the buddhas attain.
The arhats who are without outflows
p.61and those who seek nirvana
now have all fallen into the net of doubt,
wondering for what reason the Buddha preaches this.
Those who seek to become cause-awakened ones,
the monks and nuns,
heavenly beings, dragons, and spirits,
and gandharvas and others,
look at one another, filled with perplexity,
gazing upward at the most honored of two-legged beings.
What is the meaning of all this?
I beg the Buddha to explain it for us.
Among the assembly of voice-hearers
the Buddha has said I am foremost,
yet now I lack the wisdom
to solve these doubts and perplexities.
Have I in fact grasped the ultimate Law,
or am I still on the path of practice?
The sons born from the Buddha’s mouth
press palms together, gaze upward and wait.
We beg you to put forth subtle and wonderful sounds
and at this time explain to us how it really is.
The heavenly beings, dragons, and others,
their numbers like Ganges sands,
the bodhisattvas seeking to be buddhas
in a great force of eighty thousand,
as well as the wheel-turning sage kings
come from ten thousands of millions of lands,
all press their palms and with reverent minds
wish to hear the teaching of perfect endowment.

At that time the Buddha addressed Shariputra, saying, “Stop, stop! There is no need to speak further. If I speak of this matter, then the heavenly and human beings throughout the worlds will all be astonished and doubtful.”
Shariputra once more spoke to the Buddha, saying, “World-Honored One, we beg you to preach! We beg you to preach! What is the reason? Because this assembly of countless hundreds, p.62thousands, ten thousands, millions of asamkhyas of living beings in the past have seen the buddhas; their faculties are vigorous and acute and their wisdom is bright. If they hear the Buddha preach, they will be capable of reverent belief.”
At that time Shariputra, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

Dharma King, none more highly honored,
speak, we beg you, without reserve!
In this assembly of numberless beings
are those capable of reverent belief.

The Buddha stopped Shariputra, saying, “If I speak of this matter, the heavenly and human beings and asuras throughout the worlds will all be astonished and doubtful. The monks who are overbearingly arrogant will fall into a great pit.”
At that time the world-honored one repeated what he had said in verse form:

Stop, stop, no need to speak!
My Law is wonderful and difficult to ponder.
Those who are overbearingly arrogant
when they hear it will never show reverent belief.

At that time Shariputra once more spoke to the Buddha, saying, “World-Honored One, we beg you to preach! We beg you to preach! In this assembly at present persons like myself number in the hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions. In age after age we have already attended the buddhas and received instruction. People of this kind are certain to be capable of reverent belief. Throughout the long night they will gain peace and rest and will enjoy many benefits.”
At that time Shariputra, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

Supremely honored among two-legged beings,
we beg you to preach this foremost Law.
p.63I who am regarded as the Buddha’s eldest son
ask you to favor us by making distinctions and preaching.
The countless members of this assembly
are capable of according reverent belief to this Law.
The buddhas have already in age after age
taught and converted them in this manner.
All with a single mind and palms pressed together
desire to hear and receive the Buddha’s words.
I and the others of the twelve hundred of our group,
as well as the others who seek to become buddhas,
beg that for the sake of this assembly
you will favor us by making distinctions and preaching.
When we hear this Law
we will be filled with great joy.

At that time the world-honored one said to Shariputra, “Three times you have stated your earnest request. How can I do other than preach? Now you must listen attentively and carefully ponder. For your sake I will now analyze and explain the matter.”
When he had spoken these words, there were some five thousand monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen in the assembly who immediately rose from their seats, bowed to the Buddha, and withdrew. What was the reason for this? These persons had roots of guilt that were deep and manifold, and in addition they were overbearingly arrogant. What they had not attained they supposed they had attained, what they had not understood they supposed they had understood. And because they had this failing, they did not remain where they were.
The world-honored one was silent and did not try to detain them.
At this time the Buddha said to Shariputra, “Now this assembly of mine is free of branches and leaves, made up solely of the steadfast and truthful. Shariputra, it is well that these persons of overbearing arrogance have withdrawn. Now listen carefully and I will preach for you.”
Shariputra said, “So be it, World-Honored One. We are eager to listen!”
p.64The Buddha said to Shariputra, “A wonderful Law such as this is preached by the buddhas, the thus come ones, at certain times. But like the blooming of the udumbara, such times come very seldom. Shariputra, you and the others must believe me. The words that the buddhas preach are not empty or false.
“Shariputra, the buddhas preach the Law in accordance with what is appropriate, but the meaning is difficult to understand. Why is this? Because we employ countless expedient means, discussing causes and conditions and using words of simile and parable to expound the teachings. This Law is not something that can be understood through pondering or analysis. Only those who are buddhas can understand it. Why is this? Because the buddhas, the world-honored ones, appear in the world for one great reason alone. Shariputra, what does it mean to say that the buddhas, the world-honored ones, appear in the world for one great reason alone?
“The buddhas, the world-honored ones, wish to open the door of buddha wisdom to all living beings, to allow them to attain purity. That is why they appear in the world. They wish to show the buddha wisdom to living beings, and therefore they appear in the world. They wish to cause living beings to awaken to the buddha wisdom, and therefore they appear in the world. They wish to induce living beings to enter the path of buddha wisdom, and therefore they appear in the world. Shariputra, this is the one great reason for which the buddhas appear in the world.”
The Buddha said to Shariputra, “The buddhas, the thus come ones, simply teach and convert the bodhisattvas. All the things they do are at all times done for this one purpose. They simply wish to show the buddha wisdom to living beings and enlighten them to it.
“Shariputra, the thus come ones have only the single buddha vehicle that they employ in order to preach the Law to living beings. They do not have any other vehicle, a second one or a third one. Shariputra, the Law preached by all the buddhas of the ten directions is the same as this.
“Shariputra, the buddhas of the past used countless numbers p.65of expedient means, various causes and conditions, and words of simile and parable in order to expound the doctrines for the sake of living beings. These doctrines are all for the sake of the one buddha vehicle. These living beings, by listening to the doctrines of the buddhas, are all eventually able to attain wisdom embracing all species.
“Shariputra, when the buddhas of the future make their appearances in the world, they too will use countless numbers of expedient means, various causes and conditions, and words of simile and parable in order to expound the doctrines for the sake of living beings. These doctrines will all be for the sake of the one buddha vehicle. And these living beings, by listening to the doctrines of the buddhas, will all eventually be able to attain wisdom embracing all species.
“Shariputra, the buddhas, the world-honored ones, who exist at present in the countless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, and millions of buddha lands in the ten directions, benefit and bring peace and happiness to living beings in large measure. These buddhas too use countless numbers of expedient means, various causes and conditions, and words of simile and parable in order to expound the doctrines for the sake of living beings. These doctrines are all for the sake of the one buddha vehicle. And these living beings, by listening to the doctrines of the buddhas, are all eventually able to attain wisdom embracing all species.
“Shariputra, these buddhas simply teach and convert the bodhisattvas. They do it because they wish to show the buddha wisdom to living beings. They do it because they wish to awaken living beings to the buddha wisdom. They do it because they wish to cause living beings to enter the path of buddha wisdom.
“Shariputra, I too will now do the same. I know that living beings have various desires, attachments that are deeply implanted in their minds. Taking cognizance of this basic nature of theirs, I will therefore use various causes and conditions, words of simile and parable, and the power of expedient means and expound the doctrines for them. Shariputra, I do this so that all p.66of them may attain the one buddha vehicle and wisdom embracing all species.
“Shariputra, in the worlds of the ten directions, there are not two vehicles, much less three! Shariputra, the buddhas appear in evil worlds of five impurities. These are the so-called impurity of the age, impurity of desire, impurity of living beings, impurity of view, and impurity of life span.
“Shariputra, when the age is impure and the times are chaotic, then the defilements of living beings are grave, they are greedy and jealous and put down roots that are not good. Because of this, the buddhas, utilizing the power of expedient means, apply distinctions to the one buddha vehicle and preach as though it were three.
“Shariputra, if any of my disciples should claim to be an arhat or a pratyekabuddha and yet does not heed or understand that the buddhas, the thus come ones, simply teach and convert the bodhisattvas, then he is no disciple of mine, he is no arhat or pratyekabuddha.
“Again, Shariputra, if there should be monks or nuns who claim that they have already attained the status of arhat, that these are their last incarnations, that they have reached the final nirvana, and that therefore they have no further intention of seeking supreme perfect enlightenment, then you should understand that such as these are all persons of overbearing arrogance. Why do I say this? Because if there are monks who have truly attained the status of arhat, then it would be unthinkable that they should fail to believe this Law. The only exception would be in a time after the Buddha had passed away, when there was no buddha present in the world. Why is this? Because after the Buddha has passed away it will be difficult to find those who can embrace, read, recite, and understand the meaning of a sutra such as this. But if they encounter another buddha, then they will attain decisive understanding with regard to this Law.
“Shariputra, you and the others should with a single mind believe and accept the words of the Buddha. The words of the buddhas, the thus come ones, are not empty or false. There is no other vehicle, there is only the one buddha vehicle.”
p.67At that time the world-honored one, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

There are monks and nuns
who behave with overbearing arrogance,
laymen full of self-esteem,
laywomen who are lacking in faith.
Among the four kinds of believers, the likes of these
number five thousand.
They fail to see their own errors,
are heedless and remiss with regard to the precepts,
clinging to their shortcomings, unwilling to change.
But these persons of small wisdom have already left;
the chaff among this assembly
has departed in the face of the Buddha’s authority.
These persons were of paltry merit and virtue,
incapable of receiving this Law.
This assembly is now free of branches and leaves,
made up only of those steadfast and truthful.
Shariputra, listen carefully,
for the Law that the buddhas have attained,
through the power of countless expedient means
they preach for the benefit of living beings.
The thoughts that are in the minds of living beings,
the different types of paths they follow,
their various desires and natures,
the good and bad deeds they have done in previous existences—
all these the Buddha takes cognizance of,
and then he employs causes, similes, and parables,
words that embody the power of expedient means,
in order to gladden and please them all.
Sometimes he preaches sutras,
verses, stories of the previous lives of disciples,
stories of the previous lives of the Buddha, of unheard-of things.
At other times he preaches regarding origins,
p.68uses similes, parables, passages of poetry
or discourses.
For those of dull capacities who delight in a lesser teaching,
who greedily cling to birth and death,
who, despite the innumerable buddhas,
fail to practice the profound and wonderful way
but are perplexed and confused by a host of troubles—
for these I preach nirvana.
I devise these expedient means
and so cause them to enter into the buddha wisdom.
Up to now I have never told you
that you were certain to attain the buddha way.
The reason I never preached in that manner
was that the time to preach so had not yet come.
But now is the very time
when I must decisively preach the great vehicle.
I use these nine devices,
adapting them to the living beings when I preach,
my basic aim being to lead them into the great vehicle,
and that is why I preach this sutra.
There are sons of the buddha whose minds are pure,
who are gentle and of acute capacities,
who under innumerable buddhas
have practiced the profound and wonderful way.
For these sons of the buddha
I preach this sutra of the great vehicle.
And I predict that these persons
in a future existence will attain the buddha way.
Because deep in their minds they think of the Buddha
and practice and uphold the pure precepts,
they are assured they will attain buddhahood,
and hearing this, their whole bodies are filled with great joy.
The Buddha knows their minds and their practices
and therefore preaches for them the great vehicle.
When the voice-hearers and bodhisattvas
p.69hear this Law that I preach,
as soon as they have heard one verse
they will all without doubt be certain of attaining buddhahood.
In the buddha lands of the ten directions
there is only the Law of the one vehicle,
there are not two, there are not three,
except when the Buddha preaches so as an expedient means,
merely employing provisional names and terms
in order to conduct and guide living beings
and preach to them the buddha wisdom.
The buddhas appear in the world
solely for this one reason, which is true;
the other two are not the truth.
Never do they use a lesser vehicle
to save living beings and ferry them across.
The Buddha himself dwells in the great vehicle,
and adorned with the power of meditation and wisdom
that go with that Law he has attained,
he uses it to save living beings.
I myself testify to the unsurpassed way,
the great vehicle, the Law in which all things are equal.
If I used a lesser vehicle
to convert even one person,
I would be guilty of stinginess and greed,
but such a thing would be impossible.
If a person will believe and take refuge in the Buddha,
the thus come one will never deceive him,
nor will he ever show greed or jealousy,
for he has rooted out evil from among the phenomena.
Therefore throughout the ten directions
the Buddha alone is without fear.
I adorn my body with the special characteristics
and shine my light upon the world.
I am honored by numberless multitudes
and for them I preach the emblem of the reality of things.
p.70Shariputra, you should know
that at the start I took a vow,
hoping to make all persons
equal to me, without any distinction between us,
and what I long ago hoped for
has now been fulfilled.
I have converted all living beings
and caused them all to enter the buddha way.
If when I encounter living beings
I were in all cases to teach them the buddha way,
those without wisdom would become confused
and in their bewilderment would fail to accept my teachings.
I know that such living beings
have never in the past cultivated good roots
but have stubbornly clung to the five desires,
and their folly and craving have given rise to affliction.
Their desires are the cause
whereby they fall into the three evil paths,
revolving wheel-like through the six paths of existence
and undergoing every sort of suffering and pain.
Having received a tiny form in the womb,
in existence after existence they constantly grow to maturity.
Persons of meager virtue and small merit,
they are troubled and beset by manifold sufferings.
They stray into the dense forest of mistaken views,
debating as to what exists and what does not,
and in the end cling to such views,
embracing all sixty-two of them.1
They are profoundly committed to false and empty doctrines,
holding firmly to them, unable to set them aside.
Arrogant and puffed up with self-importance,
p.71fawning and devious, insincere in mind,
for a thousand, ten thousand, a million kalpas
they will not hear a buddha’s name,
nor will they hear the correct teaching—
such people are difficult to save.
For these reasons, Shariputra,
I have for their sake established expedient means,
preaching the way that ends all suffering,
and showing them nirvana.
But although I preach nirvana,
this is not a true extinction.
All phenomena from the very first
have of themselves constantly borne the marks of tranquil extinction.
Once the sons of the Buddha have carried out the way,
then in future existences they will be able to become buddhas.
I have employed the power of expedient means
to unfold and demonstrate this doctrine of three vehicles,
but the world-honored ones, every one of them,
all preach the single vehicle way.
Now before this great assembly
I must clear away all doubts and perplexities.
There is no discrepancy in the words of the buddhas,
there is only the one vehicle, not two.
For numberless kalpas in the past
countless buddhas who have now entered extinction,
a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million types
in numbers incapable of calculation—
such world-honored ones,
using different types of causes, similes, and parables,
the power of countless expedient means,
have expounded the characteristics of all phenomena.
These world-honored ones
have all preached the doctrine of the single vehicle,
converting countless living beings
and causing them to enter the buddha way.
p.72And these great sage lords,
knowing what is desired deep in the minds
of the heavenly and human beings and the other living things
throughout all the worlds,
have employed still other expedient means
to help illuminate the highest truth.
If there are living beings
who have encountered these past buddhas,
and if they have listened to the Law, presented alms,
or kept the precepts, shown forbearance,
been assiduous, practiced meditation and wisdom, and so forth,
cultivating various kinds of merit and virtue,
then persons such as these
all have attained the buddha way.
After the buddhas have passed into extinction,
if persons are of good and gentle mind,
then living beings such as these
have all attained the buddha way.
After the buddhas have passed into extinction,
if persons make offerings to the relics,
raising ten thousand or a million kinds of towers,
using gold, silver, and crystal,
seashell and agate,
carnelian, lapis lazuli, pearls
to purify and adorn them extensively,
in this way erecting towers;
or if they raise up stone mortuary temples
or those of sandalwood or aloes,
hovenia or other kinds of timber,
or of brick, tile, clay, or earth;
if in the midst of the broad fields
they pile up earth to make a mortuary temple for the buddhas,
or even if little boys at play
should collect sand to make a buddha tower,
p.73then persons such as these
have all attained the buddha way.
If there are persons who for the sake of the buddhas
fashion and set up images,
carving them with many distinguishing characteristics,
then all have attained the buddha way.
Or if they make things out of the seven kinds of gems,
of copper, red or white copper,
pewter, lead, tin,
iron, wood, or clay,
or use cloth soaked in lacquer or resin
to adorn and fashion buddha images,
then persons such as these
have all attained the buddha way.
If they employ pigments to paint buddha images,
endowing them with the characteristics of hundredfold merit,
if they make them themselves or have others make them,
then all have attained the buddha way.
Even if little boys in play
should use a piece of grass or wood or a brush,
or perhaps a fingernail
to draw an image of the buddha,
such persons as these
bit by bit will pile up merit
and will become fully endowed with minds of great compassion;
they all have attained the buddha way.
Merely by converting the bodhisattvas
they bring salvation and release to numberless multitudes.
And if persons, in the presence of such memorial towers,
such jeweled images and painted images,
should with reverent minds make offerings
of flowers, incense, banners, or canopies,
or if they should employ persons to make music,
striking drums or blowing horns or conch shells,
playing pipes, flutes, zithers, harps,
p.74balloon guitars, cymbals, and gongs,
and if these many kinds of wonderful notes
are intended wholly as an offering;
or if one with a joyful mind
sings a song in praise of the buddha’s virtue,
even if it is just one small note,
then all who do these things have attained the buddha way.
If someone with a confused and distracted mind
should take even one flower
and offer it to a painted image,
in time he would come to see countless buddhas.
Or if a person should bow or perform obeisance,
or should merely press his palms together,
or even should raise a single hand,
or give no more than a slight nod of the head,
and if this were done in offering to an image,
then in time he would come to see countless buddhas.
And if he himself attains the unsurpassed way
and spreads salvation abroad to countless multitudes,
he will enter the nirvana of no remainder
as a fire dies out when the firewood is exhausted.
If persons with confused and distracted minds
should enter a memorial tower
and once exclaim, “Hail to the buddha!”
then all have attained the buddha way.
If from past buddhas
when they were in the world or after their extinctions,
there should be those who heard this Law,
then all have attained the buddha way.
The world-honored ones of the future,
whose numbers will be incalculable,
these thus come ones
will also employ expedient means to preach the Law,
and all these thus come ones
through countless expedient means
p.75will save and bring release to living beings
so that they enter the buddha wisdom free of outflows.
If there are those who hear the Law,
then not a one will fail to attain buddhahood.
The original vow of the buddhas
was that the buddha way, which they themselves practice,
should be shared universally among living beings
so that they too may likewise attain this way.
The buddhas of future ages,
although they preach hundreds, thousands, millions,
a countless number of doctrines,
in truth do so for the sake of the single vehicle.
The buddhas, most honored of two-legged beings,
know that phenomena have no constantly fixed nature,
that the seeds of buddhahood sprout through causation,
and for this reason they preach the single vehicle.
But that these phenomena are part of an abiding Law,
that the characteristics of the world are constantly abiding—
this they have come to know in the place of enlightenment,
and as leaders and teachers they preach expedient means.
The presently existing buddhas of the ten directions,
whom heavenly and human beings make offerings to,
who in number are like Ganges sands,
they have appeared in the world
in order to bring peace and comfort to living beings,
and they too preach the Law in this way.
They understand the foremost truth of tranquil extinction
and therefore employ the power of expedient means,
and though they point out various different ways,
in truth they do so for the sake of the buddha vehicle.
They understand the actions of living beings,
the thoughts that lie deep in their minds,
the deeds they have carried out in the past,
their desires, their natures, the power of their exertions,
and whether their capacities are acute or dull,
p.76and so they employ various causes and conditions,
similes, parables, and other words and phrases,
adapting what expedient means are suitable to their preaching.
Now I too am like this;
in order to bring peace and comfort to living beings
I employ various different doctrines
to disseminate the buddha way.
Through the power of my wisdom
I know the natures and desires of living beings
and through expedient means I preach these doctrines,
causing all living beings to attain joy and gladness.
Shariputra, you should understand
that I view things through the buddha eye,
I see the living beings in the six paths,
how poor and distressed they are, without merit or wisdom,
how they enter the perilous road of birth and death,
their sufferings continuing with never a break,
how deeply they are attached to the five desires,
like a yak enamored of its tail,
blinding themselves with greed and infatuation,
their vision so impaired they can see nothing.
They do not seek the Buddha, with his great might,
or the Law that can end their suffering,
but enter deeply into erroneous views,
hoping to shed suffering through greater suffering.
For the sake of these living beings
I summon up a mind of great compassion.
When I first sat in the place of enlightenment
and gazed at the tree and walked around it,
for the space of three times seven days
I pondered the matter in this way.
The wisdom I have attained, I thought,
is subtle, wonderful, the foremost.
But living beings, dull in capacity,
p.77are addicted to pleasure and blinded by foolishness.
With persons such as this,
what can I say, how can I save them?
At that time the Brahma kings,
along with the heavenly king Shakra,
the four heavenly kings who guard the world,
and the heavenly king Great Freedom,
in company with the other heavenly beings
and their hundreds and thousands and ten thousands of followers,
reverently pressed their palms together and bowed,
begging me to turn the wheel of the Law.
Immediately I thought to myself
that if I merely praised the buddha vehicle,
then the living beings, sunk in their suffering,
would be incapable of believing in this Law.
And because they rejected the Law and failed to believe in it,
they would fall into the three evil paths.
It would be better if I did not preach the Law
but quickly entered into nirvana.
Then my thoughts turned to the buddhas of the past
and the power of expedient means they had employed,
and I thought that the way I had now attained
should likewise be preached as three vehicles.
When I thought in this manner,
the buddhas of the ten directions all appeared
and with brahma sounds comforted and instructed me.
“Well done, Shakyamuni!” they said.
“Foremost leader and teacher,
you have attained the unsurpassed Law.
But following the example of all other buddhas,
you will employ the power of expedient means.
We too have all attained
the most wonderful, the foremost Law,
but for the sake of living beings
p.78we make distinctions and preach the three vehicles.
People of small wisdom delight in a small doctrine,
unable to believe that they themselves could become buddhas.
Therefore we employ expedient means,
making distinctions and preaching various goals.
But though we preach the three vehicles,
we do it merely in order to teach the bodhisattvas.”
Shariputra, you should understand this.
When I heard these saintly lions
and their deep, pure, subtle, wonderful sounds,
I rejoiced, crying, “Hail to the buddhas!”
Then I thought to myself,
I have come into this impure and evil world,
and as these buddhas have preached,
I too must follow that example in my actions.
After I had thought of the matter in this way,
I set out at once for Varanasi.
The marks of tranquil extinction borne by all phenomena
cannot be explained in words,
and therefore I used the power of expedient means
to preach to the five ascetics.
This I termed turning the wheel of the Law,
and also with regard to “the sound of nirvana,”
and “arhat,” “Dharma,” and “Samgha,”
I used these terms to indicate distinctions.
“From infinite kalpas in the past
I have extolled and taught the Law of nirvana,
ending the long sufferings of birth and death.”
This is how I customarily preached.
Shariputra, you should know this.
When I looked at the buddha sons,
I saw incalculable thousands, ten thousands, millions
who had determined to seek the buddha way,
every one with a respectful and reverent mind,
all coming to the place of the Buddha,
p.79people who in the past had listened to other buddhas
and heard the Law preached through expedient means.
Immediately the thought came to me
that the reason the thus come one has appeared
is so he may preach the buddha wisdom.
Now is precisely the time to do so.
Shariputra, you should understand
that persons of dull capacity and small wisdom,
who are attached to appearances, proud and overbearing,
are incapable of believing in this Law.
Now I, joyful and fearless,
in the midst of the bodhisattvas,
honestly discarding expedient means,
will preach only the unsurpassed way.
When the bodhisattvas hear this Law,
they will be released from all entanglements of doubt.
The twelve hundred arhats,
they too will all attain buddhahood.
Following the same fashion that the buddhas of the three existences
employ in preaching the Law,
I now will do likewise,
preaching the Law that is without distinctions.
The times when the buddhas appear in the world
are far apart and difficult to encounter.
And even when they appear in the world
it is difficult for them to preach this Law.
Throughout incalculable, innumerable kalpas
it is rare that one may hear this Law,
and a person capable of listening to this Law,
such a person is likewise rare.
It is like the udumbara flower,
which all the world loves and delights in,
which heavenly and human beings look on as something rare,
but which appears only once in many many ages.
p.80If a person hears this Law, delights in and praises it,
even if he utters just one word,
then he has made offerings
to all the buddhas of the three existences.
But a person like this is very rarely found,
rarer than the udumbara flower.
You should have no doubts.
I, being king of the doctrines,
make this announcement to the entire great assembly.
I employ only the single vehicle way
to teach and convert the bodhisattvas,
I have no voice-hearer disciples.
You, Shariputra,
and the voice-hearers and bodhisattvas,
you should understand that this wonderful Law
is the secret crux of the buddhas.
In an evil world of the five impurities
those who merely delight in and are attached to the desires,
living beings such as this
in the end will never seek the buddha way.
When evil persons in the world hereafter
hear about the single vehicle preached by the Buddha,
they will be confused, will not believe or accept it,
will reject the Law and fall into the evil paths.
But if there are those with a sense of shame, persons of purity
who have determined to seek the buddha way,
then for the sake of such as these
one should widely praise the way of the single vehicle.
Shariputra, you should understand this.
The Law of the buddhas is like this.
Employing ten thousand, a million expedient means,
they accord with what is appropriate in preaching the Law.
Those who are not versed in the matter
p.81cannot fully comprehend this.
But you and the others already know
how the buddhas, teachers of the world,
accord with what is appropriate in employing expedient means.
You will have no more doubts or perplexities
but, your minds filled with great joy,
will know that you yourselves will attain buddhahood.

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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

NICHIRENLIBRARY.ORG OTT LOTUS NIKKO’S NOTES CHAPTERS 2

Chapter Two: Expedient Means

Eight important points

 

Point One, regarding the “Expedient Means” chapter

(Translator’s note: According to Words and Phrases, there are three types of hōben, or expedient means. The first is known as hōyū hōben,or “adaptations of the Law expedient means,” teachings that were preached in accordance with people’s capacities and tastes. They stress the truth of impermanence and the severing of attachment to the phenomenal world and correspond to Hinayana and early Mahayana. The second is called nōtsū hōben, or “expedient means that can lead one in,” teachings that the Buddha preached as a gateway to the true teaching. The third is called himyō hōben, or “the secret and wonderful expedient means,” which corresponds to the ultimate truth. “Secret and wonderful” refers to the fact that the Buddha concealed the truth for the first more than forty years of his preaching life, explaining it only in the Lotus Sutra. Unlike the first two expedients, the third type not only leads people to the truth but simultaneously contains the truth.)

Words and Phrases, volume three, states, “The  of hōben (expedient means) means secret. The ben means wonderful. ‘Wonderful’ leads to ‘secret’; this is identical with the truth, which is kept secret. When we examine what is meant by the priceless jewel sewn into the lining of the man’s robe (chapter eight, Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples), we see that it is in no way different from the jewel in the topknot of the king (chapter p.21fourteen, Peaceful Practices). And the man who is called a hired laborer is in fact no different from or apart from the rich man’s son (chapter four, Belief and Understanding). All of these similes point to what is secret, what is wonderful.

“It is as the Lotus Sutra says: ‘Only I [Shakyamuni] understand its [the Law’s] characteristics, / and the Buddhas of the ten directions do likewise’ (chapter two). ‘Stop, stop, no need to speak! / My Law is wonderful and difficult to ponder’ (ibid.). Therefore the term ‘secret’ is used to explain the  of hōben, and the term ‘wonderful’ is used to explain the ben. This is in fact the meaning that underlies this chapter. So it is called the ‘Expedient Means’ chapter.”

On “The Words and Phrases,” volume three, says, “The third type of expedient means is characterized as secret and wonderful. Because it can be termed wonderful, it is identical [with the truth]. . . . The perfect [teaching] is regarded as identical [with the truth], but the three [teachings—the Tripitaka, the connecting, and the specific teachings] are characterized as not identical [with the truth]. Therefore it is in contrast to these non-identical teachings that the teaching [of the Lotus Sutra] is characterized as being identical [with the truth].”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The priceless “jewel” mentioned in the passage of commentary from Words and Phrases is the jewel sewn into the lining of the robe, which is the same as the jewel in the king’s topknot. And the hired laborer is absolutely identical with the rich man’s son. But in the end persons who slander the Law and fail to have faith in it are followers of the provisional teachings outside the body of the truth, the teachings represented by two types of expedient means known as “adaptations of the Law” and those “that can lead one in.” For that reason, such persons cannot recognize [that the two jewels or the two persons in the above similes are] the same and no different from each other.

Now Nichiren and his followers, who recite Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are observers of the “secret and wonderful expedient p.22means,” teachings that are within the body of the truth. Therefore, after the title of the sutra, Myoho-renge-kyo, comes the chapter entitled “Expedient Means.”

In explaining the statement in Words and Phrases that “this is identical with the truth, which is kept secret,” in his On “The Words and Phrases,” volume three, Miao-lo says, “The perfect [teaching] is regarded as identical [with the truth].” And if identical means the perfect [teaching], then this must be another name for the Lotus Sutra. Identical must indicate the truth that ordinary people are identical with the highest level of being, or the Buddha of the true aspect of all phenomena. Perfect refers to the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. Though the words “identical” and “perfect” are different, they are each another name for “wonderful.” That all living beings are in fact the Buddha of the true aspect of all phenomena is a wonderful thing, an unfathomable thing! But persons who slander the Law are at present unaware of this fact. Therefore it is referred to as being secret.

The Record also says: The three thousand worlds of the Dharma-realm may be termed secret and wonderful. Secret means strict [or without a single exception]. The three thousand worlds, every single one of them, exit [in one’s life]. There is nothing more unfathomable than this! Even persons who are called great slanderers of the Law will in time come to accept and uphold Myoho-renge-kyo—this is the purpose of the “Expedient Means” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.

Now that we have entered the Latter Day of the Law, Nichiren and his followers are carrying out this task correctly. To take the persons and teachings of the sutras preached prior to the Lotus Sutra and lead them into the body of teachings of the Lotus Sutra—this is the purpose of the “Expedient Means” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. This is also termed the attainment of Buddhahood in one’s present form, or “their consistency from beginning to end” (chapter two), the consistency of the ten factors.

Again, the “Expedient Means” chapter represents the Ten Worlds, or in another sense it represents ignorance or darkness. p.23Myoho-renge-kyo, or the Lotus Sutra, stands at the apex of the Ten Worlds, and at the same time represents the Dharma nature. It exemplifies the principle that earthly desires are identical with enlightenment, that the sufferings of birth and death are identical with nirvana.

“The perfect [teaching] is regarded as identical [with the truth]” refers to the three thousand realms in a single moment of life. “Wonderful” and “identical [with the truth]” are synonymous. “Perfect” and “wonderful” are the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life expressed in a single word. “Perfect” refers to the true aspect of all phenomena. A commentary [The Annotations on “Great Concentration and Insight,” volume one] explains the word “perfect” by saying, “Perfect means perfect and interfused or perfect and full.” “Perfect and interfused” refers to the theoretical teaching; “perfect and full” refers to the essential teaching. “Perfect” also refers to the two practices of concentration and insight. Again, it refers to the fact that we are made up of the two elements of body and mind. The expression of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, in a single word, is the secret storehouse of the Eshin school of teachings.

In the character en 圓, or “perfect,” the outer enclosure 囗 represents a single moment of life, while the element 員 (literally, number) represents three thousand realms. The principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life is unfathomable. This wonderful principle was never expounded in the three teachings previous to the Lotus Sutra, the Tripitaka teaching, the connecting teaching, and the specific teaching. Therefore it is called “secret.”

From all this you should understand that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo represents the expedient means of the single mind or life.1 Myoho-renge-kyo represents the ninth consciousness, while the Ten Worlds represent the levels from the eighth consciousness on down.

You should think all these matters over carefully. The  of p.24hōbenmay also refer to the ten directions. The ten directions are the same as the Ten Worlds. The ben of hōben indicates something that is unfathomable in nature.

Point Two, regarding the words “The wisdom of the Buddhas is infinitely profound and immeasurable. The door to this wisdom is difficult to understand and difficult to enter. Not one of the voice-hearers or pratyekabuddhas is able to comprehend it.”

Words and Phrases, volume three, says, “First the passage praises the true wisdom, and then it praises the provisional wisdom. ‘True’ here refers to ‘the wisdom of the Buddhas.’ This is not the ‘true and provisional’ that applies to the teachings expounded in accordance with the capacities of people, the three teachings prior to the Lotus Sutra, the Tripitaka, the connecting, and the specific teachings. Therefore the text describes it as the wisdom ‘of the Buddhas.’ It is a manifestation of the truth the Buddhas realized for themselves, and therefore it is termed ‘wisdom.’

“The essence of this wisdom is the three kinds of wisdom of a single mind. ‘Infinitely profound and immeasurable’ are the words of praise applied to this wisdom. The true wisdom of the Buddhas is of such depth that it can clearly penetrate to the very base of universal truth; therefore it is described as ‘infinitely profound.’ And it is of such width that it extends to the very limits of the Dharma-realm; therefore it is described as ‘immeasurable.’ ‘Infinitely profound and immeasurable’ refers to its vertical and horizontal dimensions.

“To employ a simile, if the roots of a tree reach far down, then its branches will flourish; and if the source of a river is far away, its flow will be long-lasting. Such are the terms used to describe true wisdom. And those used to describe provisional wisdom follow the same pattern.

“When the sutra speaks of ‘the door to this wisdom,’ it is praising the provisional wisdom. It is an expedient means that acts as a corridor to the teaching of the Buddhas’ enlightenment, a force p.25that enables one to advance on one’s way. Therefore it is described as a ‘door.’ A door is that by which one enters upon the way. The ‘way’ one enters upon is the true teaching, and the corridor leading to the way is the provisional teachings.

“The sutra praises the provisional wisdom by saying that it is ‘difficult to understand and difficult to enter.’ It is beyond comprehension, yet we comprehend it; it has indescribably great assistance to offer. To those acquainted only with the seven expedient means it is beyond measuring. Only when one reaches the ten stages of security can one for the first time be said to ‘understand’ it. And when one reaches the ten stages of development, one may be said to ‘enter’ it. Here we mention only the earlier stages, the stages of security, and the later stages, the stages of development. During the intervening stages, one comes to realize that this wisdom is truly difficult to expound and difficult to awaken to.

“The sutra, however, makes a special point of saying that none of the voice-hearers or pratyekabuddhas are able to comprehend it. Because such persons are so heavily weighed down by their attachments, it makes a special point of admonishing them.”

On “The Words and Phrases,” volume three, says, “The [passage that includes the] words ‘refer to its vertical and horizontal dimensions’ consists of a doctrine, its simile, and a reference to both true and provisional wisdom. This shows the pattern to be followed. Here the true wisdom has been interpreted as being vast in its horizontal dimensions and all-reaching in its vertical dimensions or depth. In what follows, we are to understand that the provisional wisdom should be interpreted to be extremely profound in principle. The interpretation of the provisional wisdom is to be given in what follows, and so its characteristics are described in advance in this passage. That is why the commentary says what it does.

“In the passage ‘The door to this wisdom,’ the word ‘this’ refers to the wisdom that is the cause of the true wisdom mentioned earlier in the text [as ‘the wisdom of the Buddhas’]. If the wisdom here is likened to a door, then it must be provisional. But if this is p.26the door to wisdom, then the wisdom must be the true wisdom that results from the cause. In this passage, therefore, the ten stages of development are to be understood as the corridor that leads to the way, perfect enlightenment as the way itself, and the state following enlightenment as what comes after one has attained the way.

“Therefore one should understand that the purpose underlying this passage is to describe the cause that leads to enlightenment.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The meaning of this passage in Words and Phrases and the commentary on it in On “The Words and Phrases” is perfectly clear. In the passage referring to the vertical and horizontal dimensions, the vertical dimensions represent the essential teaching and the horizontal dimensions represent the theoretical teaching. The “roots” are the roots of a plant or tree. Plants and trees in their growth climb upward. Hence the roots here stand for the theoretical teaching [that leads one upward to enlightenment in the essential teaching]. The “source” represents the essential teaching. The source is the fountainhead from which the river flows. Rivers flow downward. Hence the source here stands for the essential teaching [from which enlightenment flows downward]. The flourishing branches stand for the fourteen chapters of the theoretical teaching in the Lotus Sutra, and the long-lasting flow or the river stands for the fourteen chapters of the essential teaching.

The wisdom referred to is the three kinds of wisdom of a single mind. The “door” is the door that enables one to enter into this wisdom. The essence of the three kinds of wisdom of a single mind is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and the door is the mind of faith. So the passage in volume two of the Lotus Sutra (chapter three, Simile and Parable) says, “Even you, Shāriputra, / in the case of this sutra / were able to gain entrance through faith alone.” Here “entrance” is the same in meaning as “door.”

Now when Nichiren and his followers recite Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are giving expression to this wisdom. The “Simile and Parable” chapter says, “This house has only one gate p.27(door).” With regard to gates, there is the gate of being, the gate of emptiness, the gate that is both being and emptiness, and the gate that is neither being nor emptiness. The gate of being is birth. The gate of emptiness is death. The gate that is both being and emptiness is the birth and death of a single mind or life. The gate that is neither being nor emptiness is that which is not birth and not death.

The gate of being is exemplified by the five characters that make up the daimoku. The gate of emptiness is exemplified by the way in which these five characters are endowed with all the phenomena of the universe, without respect to any one particular direction or another. The gate of both being and emptiness is exemplified by the way in which these five characters are endowed with the essential and the theoretical teachings. And the gate that is neither being nor emptiness is exemplified by the underlying meaning of the whole sutra.

This kind of inner enlightenment is not something that can be comprehended by the wisdom of the people of the two vehicles who had yet to hear the Lotus Sutra. Therefore volume three of Words and Phrasessays, “To those acquainted only with the seven expedient means it is beyond measuring.”

Now Nichiren and his followers have gained entrance to this wisdom. Therefore when the verse passage [in chapter two of the Lotus Sutra] says, “Among the other kinds of living beings / there are none who can comprehend it, / except the many bodhisattvas / who are firm in the power of faith,” it is referring to persons like us, who are votaries of the Lotus Sutra.

Point Three, regarding the passage “Because the Buddhas, the World-Honored Ones, appear in the world for one great reason(ichidaiji innen) alone.”

Words and Phrases, volume four, says, “‘One’ here means the one true aspect. It is not simply ‘one’ as contrasted to five, or to three, or to seven, or to nine. Therefore the text says ‘one’ (ichi). In its nature this ‘one’ is vast and broad, far broader than five, three, p.28seven, or nine. Therefore the text defines it as ‘great’ (dai). It is the ceremony in which the Buddhas appear in the world. Therefore the text describes it as an event or affair(ji). Living beings possess the capacity to aspire after the Buddhas. Therefore this is designated as the in, or ‘cause,’ part of the word ‘reason’ (innen, or causes and conditions). The Buddhas, observing this capacity, act in response to it. Therefore this is designated as the en, or ‘condition,’ part of the word ‘reason.’ This is the true reason for which the Buddhas appear in the world.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “One” represents the Middle Way teachings of the Lotus Sutra. “Great” represents the teachings on non-substantiality of the Flower Garland Sutra. And the “affair” represents the teachings on temporary existence of the Āgama, Correct and Equal, and Wisdom sutras, the three lesser flavors of milk, cream, and curdled milk. The sutras preached prior to the Lotus Sutra set forth this doctrine of the three truths, but in a form like that of a shattered jewel, not that of a perfect treasure.

Again we may say that “one” stands for myō, “great” stands for hō,“affair” stands for ren, “cause” stands for ge, and “condition” stands forkyō. Or again we may say that our head corresponds to myō, our throat to hō, our chest to ren, our stomach to ge, and our legs to kyō. Hence this five-foot body of ours constitutes the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo.

For a period of more than forty years the Thus Come One Shakyamuni concealed and kept secret this great affair. Only when he came to preach the Lotus Sutra did he reveal it. It was for the purpose of preaching this great affair that the Buddha made his appearance in the world. When he revealed that our own bodies are the embodiments of the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, he was [as chapter two of the Lotus Sutra says] “opening the door of Buddha wisdom,” revealing that we can attain Buddhahood in our present bodies or existences.

“Opening” here is another name for the mind of faith. When we recite Myoho-renge-kyo with the mind of faith, we are in that p.29very act opening the door of Buddha wisdom. And at the same time, when we open up the mind of faith and [chant and] manifest Nam-myoho-renge-kyo within our lives, we are “showing the Buddha wisdom to living beings” (chapter two). And when we show them this, we are awakening them to the fact that this place where we dwell now is the Pure Land of Eagle Peak. We are awakening them to the fact that we can attain Buddhahood in our present bodies, which is what is called “causing living beings to awaken to the Buddha wisdom” (ibid.). And when these beings who have awakened can “mount this jeweled vehicle / and proceed directly to the place of practice” (chapter three, Simile and Parable), this is “inducing living beings to enter the path of Buddha wisdom” (chapter two). This is what it truly means to use the mind of faith to open the door of Buddha wisdom.

With regard to the word “enter” in the phrase “inducing living beings to enter the path of Buddha wisdom,” if viewed in terms of the theoretical teaching, it refers to entering into or embracing the theoretical principle of the true aspect of all phenomena. If viewed in terms of the essential teaching, it means entering into an awakening that a person at the stage of being a Buddha in theory is actually a Buddha of original enlightenment. Now persons like Nichiren and his followers, who have learned to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, may be said to have entered the treasure tower.

With regard to the word “Buddha” in the phrase “opening the door of Buddha wisdom,” this refers to the Buddha world that is inherent in the nine worlds. With regard to the word “wisdom,” it refers to the two characters myōhō, or “Wonderful Law,” to the two characters shikan, or “concentration and insight,” to the two virtues of tranquility and brightness that pertain to enlightenment, to the two phases of birth and death, to the cause and effect of body and mind.

In the end, “wisdom” means the Wonderful Law. It means to use the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra to open up the Buddha mind that is inherent in the nine worlds. If we think of this, we realize that Buddha in fact is the living beings of the nine worlds.

p.30When the Buddha opens up and reveals this Buddha wisdom, and asks them if they will uphold it in their present bodies till they manifest Buddha bodies, this is showing the Wonderful Law, or what the sutra calls “showing the Buddha wisdom to living beings.” And when teacher and disciples have fully responded to one another and the disciples have received the teaching, so that they gain the awakening referred to where the sutra says, “I took a vow, / hoping to make all persons / equal to me, without any distinction between us” (chapter two), this is what the sutra calls “causing living beings to awaken to the Buddha wisdom.”

When the disciples reach such an awakening, they see that all the various and individual entities in the three thousand worlds of the Dharma-realm are the Lotus Sutra. Entering into this kind of inner enlightenment is what is called “entering the path of Buddha wisdom.” This is a matter that must be treated with secrecy.

Again we may say that the four processes related to the Buddha wisdom, the “opening,” “showing,” “awakening,” and “entering,” correspond to the eight phases of the Buddha’s existence. “Opening” corresponds to the birth phase of the Buddha’s existence, and “entering” corresponds to the death phase. And the two processes in between, “showing” and “awakening,” correspond to the other six phases. Thus the two phases that precede birth, namely, descending from heaven and entering his mother’s womb, correspond to the “showing” of the Buddha wisdom, and the phases of renouncing the world, conquering the devils, attaining enlightenment, and turning the wheel of the Law, correspond to the “awakening” of the Buddha wisdom.

The doctrines embodied in the provisional teachings were designed to remove one from the realm of birth and death. Therefore they cannot be termed the “opening,” “showing,” “awakening,” and “entering” of the Buddha wisdom. But when we come to the present sutra, the Lotus, we awaken to the realization that the two phases of life and death are the wonderful workings of one mind, and that the two ways of existence and nonexistence are the true functions of an inherently enlightened mind. This is p.31what is meant by the “opening,” “showing,” “awakening,” and “entering” of the Buddha wisdom. Intending to carry out these four activities with regard to the Buddha wisdom, the Buddhas of the three existences “for this one great reason” made their appearance in the world.

And yet, speaking of this Lotus Sutra that can “open the door of Buddha wisdom,” Hōnen tells us to “discard, close, ignore, and abandon” it; and the Great Teacher Kōbō assigns it to the third level and disparages it by calling it a doctrine of “frivolous theory.” Persons such as this may be said to cut off the tongues of the five categories of Buddhas who preach in a uniform manner, may they not? And the Great Teachers Jikaku and Chishō and their kind are like men who place a sword in the hands of a wicked son so that he may cut off the head of his own parent, are they not?

Again, in the phrase ichidaiji, or “one great affair,” the ichi, or “one,” stands for the truth of the Middle Way in the doctrine of the three truths, the dai, or “great,” stands for the truth of non-substantiality, and the ji, or “affair,” stands for the truth of temporary existence.

And what are the three truths that join to form a perfect unity? They are that which is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. These five characters constitute the fundamental purpose for which Nichiren appeared in this world, and therefore they are referred to as a ji, or “affair.”

Among all people in the country of Japan, those who become disciples and supporters of Nichiren are the ones of whom it may be said, “Living beings possess the capacity to aspire after the Buddhas. Therefore this is designated as the in, or ‘cause,’ part of the word ‘reason’ (innen, or causes and conditions).” And when for their sake I propagate the ultimate principle of the Lotus Sutra, this is what is meant by “The Buddhas, observing this capacity, act in response to it. Therefore this is designated as the en, or ‘condition,’ part of the word ‘reason,’” is it not?

The in, or “causes,” is the planting of the original seed of Buddhahood, and the en, or “conditions,” goes back to the en that wasp.32established in one’s previous existence major world system dust particle kalpas ago or numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago. The ji, or “affair,” which is the actuality of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, refers to Nichiren himself, and is indeed a great affair.

“One” is one single moment of life, and “great” is the three thousand realms. The preaching of the three thousand realms came about through the “affair” of causes and conditions. The “affair” refers to the realm of living beings, the “causes” refers to the realm of the five components, and the “conditions” refers to the realm of the environment. With regard to the “conditions,” or the realm of the environment, we may say that basic conditions dictate that Jambudvīpa is the land where Myoho-renge-kyo, or the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, should be propagated. Therefore, the sutra says, “I will cause it to be widely propagated throughout Jambudvīpa and will see that it never comes to an end” (chapter twenty-eight, Universal Worthy).

Point Four, regarding the “five impurities” in the passage “Shāriputra, the Buddhas appear in evil worlds of five impurities. These are the so-called impurity of the age, impurity of desire, impurity of living beings, impurity of view, and impurity of life span.”

Words and Phrases, volume four, says, “The impurity of the kalpa or age has no separate form [but is the impurities associated with that particular age]. Kalpa refers to a long period of time, while kshana refers to a short period of time. . . . The impurity of living beings has no separate form [but is the impurities associated with those particular living beings]. It is the results of illusions of thought and arrogance [and other illusions of desire] as they are manifested among living beings. . . . The impurity of desire takes form as one is driven by the five delusive inclinations. The impurity of view takes form as one is driven by the five false views. The impurity of life span takes form through the continued existence of one’s body and mind.”

p.33The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Nichiren and his followers have removed themselves from these five impurities. Since, as the sutra says, “This, my land, remains safe and tranquil” (chapter sixteen, Life Span), we are not affected by the impurity of the age. Since we manifest the unconditioned Buddha body of the true aspect, we are not affected by the impurity of living beings. Since we understand the wonderful truth that earthly desires are enlightenment and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana, we are not affected by the impurity of desire. Since we possess the Buddha body that has existed without beginning from numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago, we are not affected by the impurity of life span. And since we are votaries of the Lotus Sutra who “honestly discarding expedient means, / will preach only the unsurpassed way” (chapter two), we are not affected by the impurity of view.

In effect, it is faith in Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that determines whether these five impurities will arise. Therefore the passage on the five impurities applies to all the living beings of Japan [who do not have such faith]. Hence volume four of Words and Phrases says, “The mark of the impurity of the age is the fact that the other four types of impurity appear in increased number and intensity and flock about the age. Because anger increases in intensity, strife of arms occurs. Because greed increases in intensity, famine arises. Because foolishness increases in intensity, pestilence breaks out. And because these three calamities occur, earthly desires grow more powerful and false views increasingly flourish.”

This is what the sutra means when it says, “Since hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the Thus Come One is in the world, how much more will this be so after his passing?” (chapter ten, The Teacher of the Law).

Persons who do not have faith in the Lotus Sutra are gravely impeded by the five impurities. Hence the sutra says, “In this evil world of the five impurities / those who merely delight in and are attached to the desires, / living beings such as this / in the end will never seek the Buddha way” (chapter two). Here “the p.34Buddha way” is simply another name for the Lotus Sutra. As T’ien-t’ai says, “The term ‘Buddha way’ refers to this sutra [the Lotus] in particular.”

Point Five, regarding the passage “There are monks and nuns / who behave with overbearing arrogance, / laymen full of self-esteem, / laywomen who are lacking in faith. / Among the four kinds of believers, the likes of these / number five thousand. / They fail to see their own errors, / are heedless and remiss with regard to the precepts, / clinging to their shortcomings, unwilling to change. / But these persons of small wisdom have already left; / the chaff among this assembly / has departed in the face of the Buddha’s authority. / These persons were of paltry merit and virtue, / incapable of receiving this Law. / This assembly is now free of branches and leaves, / made up only of those steadfast and truthful.”

Words and Phrases, volume four, says, “Overbearing arrogance, self-esteem, and lack of faith are faults common to all four kinds of believers. But the two types of believers who have left the household life, the monks and nuns, because they have devoted much practice to the way and have gained proficiency in meditation, often mistakenly believe that they have attained the goal of enlightenment, and are therefore particularly given to overbearing arrogance. The two types of believers who remain in ordinary life, the laymen and laywomen, are often puffed up with pride and frequently display self-esteem. Women, being shallow in wisdom, often fall into mistaken views. The words ‘They fail to see their own errors’ refer to all three errors of the mind, overbearing arrogance, self-esteem, and lack of faith. Because these people conceal their failings, flaunt their virtues, and are incapable of self-reflection, they show themselves to be persons of no shame. If they could see their own errors, they would be monks with a sense of shame.”

On “The Words and Phrases,” volume four, says, “The words p.35‘Because these people conceal their failings’ refer to the three errors of overbearing arrogance, self-esteem, and lack of faith. ‘Because these people conceal their failings, flaunt their virtues’ refers to overbearing arrogance. ‘Incapable of self-reflection’ refers to self-esteem. ‘Persons of no shame’ refers to a lack of faith. But if a person is capable of ‘seeing his own errors,’ then he is without these three errors. Although he has not yet reached the goal of enlightenment, he can still be called a person with a sense of shame.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The purpose of these passages in the commentary Words and Phrases and the subcommentary On “The Words and Phrases” is to explain the arrogance of the five thousand monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen in the assembly who rose from their seats, bowed to the Buddha, and withdrew (chapter two). You should examine them carefully. The two categories of monks and nuns are persons who have left the household life, and both are said to display overbearing arrogance. To conceal their failings and flaunt their virtues is their basic characteristic. The upāsaka, or laymen, are men, and their basic characteristic is self-esteem. The upāsikā, or laywomen, are women, and their basic characteristic is shamelessness.

These four kinds of believers are very plentiful in Japan today. The sutra says that they “number five thousand.” But in fact in Japan there are 4,994,828 such persons to be seen. When Shakyamuni Buddha was in the world, five thousand persons rose from their seats and withdrew from the assembly where he was preaching. But now, in the Latter Day of the Law, all the living beings in this land of Japan rise from their seats and withdraw from the place where Nichiren is preaching.

The monks and nuns who display overbearing arrogance—they are priests like Dōryū and Ryōkan, are they not? Or like the nuns of Kamakura. The laymen are persons like [the lay priest of] Saimyō-ji [Hōjō Tokiyori], and the laywomen are all the women, whether high or low in station [who are lacking in faith], are they not? None of these deign to see their own errors.

p.36Now these people slander Nichiren and his followers, trying to give them an evil name. Are they not those who “fail to see their own errors”? They are guilty of great slander against the Law. Without doubt they are persons who withdraw from the assembly where the Lotus Sutra is preached.

But when they have encountered Nichiren, they may be said, in the words of the sutra, to have “bowed to the Buddha and withdrawn” (ibid.). This “bowing to the Buddha and withdrawing” is a mark of their contempt for him. It is not in any sense the bowing and departing of those who have understanding and belief. This is why the sutra, speaking of such persons, says, “They are heedless and remiss with regard to the precepts.” Volume four of Words and Phrases says, “In the phrase ‘heedless and remiss with regard to the precepts,’ the word ‘heedless’ refers to errors in the precepts pertaining to the code of conduct, and the word ‘remiss’ refers to errors in the precepts that accompany meditation and the precepts that accompany the way [or emancipation from earthly desires].”

These five thousand arrogant persons are the five types of abiding earthly desires2 that are always part of our makeup. But now when we encounter the Lotus Sutra, we awake to the fact that arrogance itself is part of the Dharma-realm, so that “bowing to the Buddha and withdrawing” means that it has “departed in the face of the Buddha’s authority.” The “Buddha” here is the Buddha realm that is part of our nature, and his “authority” is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Therefore when we speak of withdrawing or departing, it refers to a “departure that is not a departure.” You should think of it as the kind of departure described in the passage at the end of the “Universal Worthy” chapter that reads, “They bowed in obeisance and departed.”

On the other hand, we may also say that the withdrawal of the five thousand persons from the assembly signifies that in fact p.37there is no withdrawing from the assembly where the Lotus Sutra is preached. The reason is that one has already gained enlightenment through the briefly expressed replacement of the three vehicles with the one vehicle that took place with “the true aspect of all phenomena” passage (chapter two). At that time it was made clear that, as far as self-esteem and overbearing arrogance are concerned, such arrogance itself is a part of the Dharma-realm, the impulse to arrogance that is intrinsic to our nature. The phrase “the likes of these number five thousand” refers to the five types of abiding earthly desires that are at all times a part of our makeup. If we were without these five types of abiding earthly desires, then the whole meaning of the Lotus Sutra would be lost.

When we realize that these five types of abiding earthly desires are an intrinsic and constantly present part of our nature, then we may speak of them as numbering five thousand. And when we do not endeavor to cut off such delusions but look on these five abiding elements, just as they are, as constituting an inherent part of the myōhō,or Wonderful Law, then it may be said that we “fail to see our own errors.”

As to the phrase “heedless and remiss with regard to the precepts,” this does not refer to the kind of precepts and rules put forth in the Hinayana and provisional teachings, which are designed to cure various sicknesses in human nature. Rather it refers to the Wonderful Law embodied in the passage [that describes a person who can accept and uphold the Lotus Sutra], saying of such a person that “this is what is called observing the precepts” (chapter eleven, Treasure Tower). Therefore the act of being heedless and remiss is in essence, just as it is, the entity referred to in the words “This is what is called observing the precepts.”

Therefore, since we recognize this heedlessness and remissness as, just as it is, a part of our basic nature, we may be said, in the words of the sutra, to “cling to our shortcomings, unwilling to change.” From the beginning, these are the wonderful precepts of the one vehicle, a vehicle in which the entire Dharma-realm is contained in one particle of dust and the ten directions are all present in a single moment of life, and therefore we may say with the p.38sutra that “these persons of small wisdom have already left.”

The “chaff” that the sutra speaks of, each and every speck of dust, each and every phenomenon, is the three bodies of original enlightenment. Therefore, although, as the sutra says, such persons may be “of paltry merit and virtue,” they are the enlightened body of original and unconditioned enlightenment. Regarding the passage of the sutra that says that these persons are “incapable of receiving this Law”: Having heard the substance of the doctrine as it was expounded in the brief replacement of the three vehicles by the one, the passage on “the true aspect of all phenomena,” they attain enlightenment just as they are. The venerable Shāriputra then asks the Buddha to preach and expound the doctrine with distinctions for the benefit of persons of dull capacity. This refers to the fact that, when the extended exposition of the replacement of the three vehicles by the one was delivered, these persons were “incapable of receiving this Law” [because they already understood it].

But to return to the true meaning of the Lotus Sutra, the substance of the Wonderful Law knows no distinction between the persons who are capable of receiving the Law and the Law that is capable of being received. It is truly a Wonderful Law that is beyond imagination. And when one proceeds to awaken to its importance, the sutra can declare that “this assembly is now free of branches and leaves.”

This kind of inner awakening, an awakening to the true aspect in its purity, is the realization that outside of this true aspect no other phenomenon whatsoever exists. Therefore the sutra can say that it is made up “only of those steadfast and truthful.” In essence, steadfast and truthful refer to the realization that the body and mind are the Wonderful Law.

When Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we may say that the company is made up “only of those steadfast and truthful.” “Those” refers to the Buddha of the true aspect of all phenomena. “Those” also refers to the Ten Worlds, and “steadfast and truthful” refers to the realization that the p.39bodies and minds of beings in the Ten Worlds are the Wonderful Law. And the word “only” is applied because such realization is limited to this sutra [the Lotus].

The five thousand arrogant persons are in fact nothing other than the Lotus Sutra. The five thousand arrogant persons are the five elements of which we are made. The five elements themselves are Myoho-renge-kyo.

Again, the five thousand arrogant persons represent fundamental darkness. Hence it is said of them that they “bowed to the Buddha and withdrew.” This is speaking of persons who withdraw from the ninth consciousness to the eighth consciousness, and on down to the six consciousnesses, that is, those who transmigrate in the realm of birth and death. And when the sutra says that such persons have “departed in the face of the Buddha’s authority,” it is speaking of the teachings that lead to the extinguishing of the sufferings of birth and death and the return to nirvana. Hence the “authority” spoken of here is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This is the total entity of original delusion and original enlightenment. You should give very careful thought to this matter.

Point Six, regarding the passage “Shāriputra, you should know / that at the start I took a vow, / hoping to make all persons / equal to me, without any distinction between us, / and what I long ago hoped for / has now been fulfilled. / I have converted all living beings / and caused them all to enter the Buddha way.”

The commentary [volume four of Words and Phrases] says, “This points out the cause [for the attainment of Buddhahood] in order to encourage faith.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The “I” here refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, who in fact attained Buddhahood in the remote past. This Shakyamuni Buddha of the essential teaching is none other than we, living beings.

p.40The “me” in the phrase “equal to me” [that is, the Buddha] represents the last seven of the ten factors of life. The living beings of the nine worlds represent the first three of the ten factors. We living beings are the parent, and the Buddha is the child. Father and son constitute a single entity, a beginning and end that are ultimately equal. We living beings are described in the “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra as the Buddha eternally endowed with the three bodies.

Nichiren and his followers, who today chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are the ones meant here. And if we stop to think of it, we realize that the two vows taken by Shakyamuni, the universal or general vow and the individual or particular vow, were taken for the sake of living beings such as us. Therefore when Nichiren chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, vowing to make it possible for all the living beings in this country of Japan to attain Buddhahood, this is what is described in the sutra in the words “at the start I took a vow, / hoping to make all persons / equal to me.” And when in the end he has guided and led all beings so that they become one with the Buddha himself, you should understand that this is what is referred to by the words “what I long ago hoped for / has now been fulfilled.”

In the phrase “has now been fulfilled” (kon ja i manzoku), the character i means “already.” What is the passage referring to when it says that “now it has already been fulfilled”? On the whole, the commentaries of T’ien-t’ai indicate that the “already” refers to the pronouncement on the “true aspect of all phenomena” made earlier by the Buddha. But from the point of view of the teachings of our school, you should understand that it refers to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and that this is what is being described in the words “now it has already been fulfilled.”

For this reason the passage “hoping to make all persons / equal to me, without any distinction between us” is one of great importance. “What I long ago hoped for” is the True Cause. And “to make all persons / equal to me, without any distinction between us” is the True Effect. The Shakyamuni Buddha of perfect p.41enlightenment is our own flesh and blood. His practices and the resulting virtues are our bones and marrow, are they not?

The commentary of T’ien-t’ai says, “This points out the cause [for the attainment of Buddhahood] in order to encourage faith.” “Pointing out the cause” is none other than the True Effect.3 And now when Nichiren chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, he is enabling all living beings to attain Buddhahood in the ten thousand years of the Latter Day of the Law. Is it not right, therefore, to say, “What I long ago hoped for / has now been fulfilled”?

“Already” refers to the daimoku, which was chanted for the first time on the twenty-eighth day of the fourth month of the fifth year of the Kenchō era (1253), and hence we may think of it as something that has taken place “already.” There can be no question that through this act the truly excellent medicine of the Wonderful Law is being applied in order to cure the grave illness of darkness that afflicts all living beings. In the light of this act, Nichiren has “fulfilled” his vow. “Fulfilled” may also be taken to refer to the achieving of Buddhahood on the part of the living beings.

The passage in a commentary [volume one of On “Great Concentration and Insight”] says, “Perfect means perfect and interfused or perfect and full. Sudden means sudden and complete or sudden and satisfactory.”4 You should think about this.

Point Seven, regarding the passage “Now I, joyful and fearless, / in the midst of the bodhisattvas, / honestly discarding expedient means, / will preach only the unsurpassed way.”

Words and Phrases, volume four, says, “The three lines of verse beginning with the line ‘in the midst of the bodhisattvas’ refer to p.42the moment when the true teaching is revealed. The five vehicles [or the teachings for achieving the realms of human beings, heavenly beings, voice-hearers, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas] are distorted teachings, not straightforward. The connecting teaching and the specific teaching are one-sided and secondary, not the correct and primary teaching. But now the Buddha discards all these biased and distorted teachings and honestly preaches only the one way.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The bodhisattvas referred to here are the bodhisattvas that dwell in the ninth of the nine worlds. Again, bodhisattvas also refers to all living beings. Now it means Nichiren and his followers. Again, the heavenly gods and benevolent deities are also bodhisattvas.

“Honestly” refers to the principle that earthly desires are enlightenment and the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. The “one way” that the commentary speaks of is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Now, in the Latter Day of the Law, it is Nichiren and his followers, is it not, who honestly work to propagate the one way?

Point Eight, regarding the passage “When evil persons in ages to come / hear the Buddha preach the single vehicle, / they will be confused, will not believe or accept it, / will reject the Law and fall into the evil paths.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “In ages to come” refers to the Latter Day of the Law. “Evil persons” refers to Hōnen, Kōbō, Jikaku, Chishō, and their like. “The Buddha” refers to Nichiren and his followers. “The single vehicle” refers to Myoho-renge-kyo. Because these persons fail to have faith in this, they are bound to fall into the three evil paths.

Notes

1. Here “the expedient means” indicates the three thousand realms and “the single mind or life” indicates a single moment of life. Together they mean the three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

2. The Lion’s Roar of Queen Shrīmālā Sutra (Columbia University Press, 1974) lists four static kinds of defilement: the static kind based on a particular viewpoint, the static kind in attraction to desire, the static kind in attraction to form, and the static kind in attraction to gestation. The five types of abiding earthly desires consist of these and the static kind based on darkness or ignorance.

3. Realizing the cause for the attainment of Buddhahood means the attainment of Buddhahood itself. Hence “pointing out the cause” means the True Effect, or the effect of Buddhahood.

4. The quotation explains the key principles of the Lotus Sutra that enable ordinary people to attain Buddhahood immediately. It is cited to describe the characteristics of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which Nichiren expounded to lead all people in the Latter Day of the Law to Buddhahood.

Lotus Sutra: 1 Introduction http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/1

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

This is what I heard:
At one time the Buddha was in Rajagriha, staying on Mount Gridhrakuta. Accompanying him were a multitude of leading monks numbering twelve thousand persons. All were arhats whose outflows had come to an end, who had no more earthly desires, who had attained what was to their advantage and had put an end to the bonds of existence, and whose minds had achieved a state of freedom.
Their names were Ajnata Kaundinya, Mahakashyapa, Uruvilva Kashyapa, Gaya Kashyapa, Nadi Kashyapa, Shariputra, Great Maudgalyayana, Mahakatyayana, Aniruddha, Kapphina, Gavampati, Revata, Pilindavatsa, Bakkula, Mahakaushthila, Nanda, Sundarananda, Purna, son of Maitrayani, Subhuti, Ananda, and Rahula. All were like these, great arhats who were well known to others.
There were also two thousand persons some of whom were still learning and some who had completed their learning.
There was the nun Mahaprajapati with her six thousand followers. And there was Rahula’s mother, the nun Yashodhara, with her followers.
There were bodhisattvas mahasattva, eighty thousand of them, none of them ever regressing in their search for supreme perfect enlightenment. All had gained dharanis, delighted in preaching, were eloquent, and turned the wheel of the Law that knows no p.36regression. They had made offerings to immeasurable hundreds and thousands of buddhas, in the presence of various buddhas had planted numerous roots of virtue, had been constantly praised by the buddhas, had trained themselves in compassion, were good at entering the buddha wisdom, and had fully penetrated the great wisdom and reached the farther shore. Their fame had spread throughout immeasurable worlds and they were able to save countless hundreds of thousands of living beings.
Their names were Bodhisattva Manjushri, Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, Bodhisattva Gainer of Great Authority, Bodhisattva Constant Exertion, Bodhisattva Never Resting, Bodhisattva Jeweled Palm, Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Brave Donor, Bodhisattva Jeweled Moon, Bodhisattva Moonlight, Bodhisattva Full Moon, Bodhisattva Great Strength, Bodhisattva Immeasurable Strength, Bodhisattva Transcending the Threefold World, Bodhisattva Bhadrapala, Bodhisattva Maitreya, Bodhisattva Jeweled Accumulation, and Bodhisattva Guiding Leader. Bodhisattvas mahasattva such as these numbering eighty thousand were in attendance.
At that time the heavenly king Shakra with his followers, twenty thousand sons of gods, also attended. There were also the sons of gods Rare Moon, Pervading Fragrance, Jeweled Glow, and the four great heavenly kings, along with their followers, ten thousand sons of gods.
Present were the sons of gods Freedom and Great Freedom and their followers, thirty thousand sons of gods. Present were King Brahma, lord of the saha world, the great Brahma Shikhin, and the great Brahma Light Bright, and their followers, twelve thousand sons of gods.
There were eight dragon kings, the dragon king Nanda, the dragon king Upananda, the dragon king Sagara, the dragon king Vasuki, the dragon king Takshaka, the dragon king Anavatapta, the dragon king Manasvin, and the dragon king Utpalaka, each with several hundreds of thousands of followers.
There were four kimnara kings, the kimnara king Law, the kimnara king Wonderful Law, the kimnara king Great Law, and p.37the kimnara king Upholding the Law, each with several hundreds of thousands of followers.
There were four gandharva kings, the gandharva king Pleasant, the gandharva king Pleasant Sound, the gandharva king Beautiful, and the gandharva king Beautiful Sound, each with several hundreds of thousands of followers.
There were four asura kings, the asura king Balin, the asura king Kharaskandha, the asura king Vemachitrin, and the asura king Rahu, each with several hundreds of thousands of followers.
There were four garuda kings, the garuda king Great Majesty, the garuda king Great Body, the garuda king Great Fullness, and the garuda king As One Wishes, each with several hundreds of thousands of followers. And there was King Ajatashatru, the son of Vaidehi, with several hundreds of thousands of followers.
Each of these, after bowing in obeisance before the Buddha’s feet, withdrew and took a seat to one side.
At that time the world-honored one, surrounded by the four kinds of believers, received offerings and tokens of respect and was honored and praised. And for the sake of the bodhisattvas he preached the great vehicle sutra entitled Immeasurable Meanings, a teaching to instruct the bodhisattvas, one that is guarded and kept in mind by the buddhas.
When the Buddha had finished preaching this sutra, he sat with his legs crossed in the lotus position and entered into the samadhi of the origin of immeasurable meanings, his body and mind never moving. At that time heaven rained down mandarava flowers, great mandarava flowers, manjushaka flowers, and great manjushaka flowers, scattering them over the Buddha and over the great assembly, and everywhere the buddha world quaked and trembled in six different ways.
At that time the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, the heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, the human and nonhuman beings in the assembly, and the petty kings and wheel-turning sage kings—all these in the great assembly, having gained what they had never p.38had before, were filled with joy and, pressing their palms together, gazed at the Buddha with a single mind.
At that time the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows, one of his characteristic features, lighting up eighteen thousand worlds in the eastern direction. There was no place that the light did not penetrate, reaching downward as far as the Avichi hells and upward to the Akanishtha heavens.
From this world one could see the living beings in the six paths of existence in all of those other lands. One could likewise see the buddhas present at that time in those other lands and could hear the sutra teachings that those buddhas were expounding. At the same time one could see the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen who were carrying out religious practices and attaining the way. One could also see the bodhisattvas mahasattva who, through various causes and conditions and various types of faith and understanding and in various forms and aspects, were carrying out the way of the bodhisattva. And one could also see the buddhas who had entered parinirvana, and could also see how, after the buddhas had entered parinirvana, towers adorned with the seven treasures were being erected for the buddha relics.
At that time Bodhisattva Maitreya had this thought: Now the world-honored one has manifested these miraculous signs. But what is the cause of these auspicious portents? Now the Buddha, the world-honored one, has entered into samadhi. An unfathomable event such as this is seldom to be met with. Whom shall I question about this? Who can give me an answer?
And again he had this thought: This Manjushri, son of a Dharma king, has already personally attended and given offerings to immeasurable numbers of buddhas in the past. Surely he must have seen these rare signs before. I will now question him.
At this time the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, and the heavenly beings, dragons, spirits, and others all had this thought: This beam of brightness from the Buddha, these signs of transcendental powers—now whom shall we question about them?
p.39At that time Bodhisattva Maitreya wished to settle his doubts concerning the matter. And in addition he could see what was in the minds of the four kinds of believers, the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, and the heavenly beings, dragons, spirits, and others who made up the assembly. So he questioned Manjushri, saying, “What is the cause of these auspicious portents, these signs of transcendental powers, this emitting of a great beam of brightness that illumines the eighteen thousand lands in the eastern direction so we can see all the adornments of the buddha worlds there?”
Then Bodhisattva Maitreya, wishing to state his meaning once more, asked the question in verse form:

Manjushri,
why from the white tuft between the eyebrows
of our leader and teacher
does this great light shine all around?
Why do mandarava
and manjushaka flowers rain down
and breezes scented with sandalwood
delight the hearts of the assembly?
Because of these
the earth is everywhere adorned and purified
and this world
quakes and trembles in six different ways.
At this time the four kinds of believers
are all filled with joy and delight,
they rejoice in body and mind,
having gained what they never had before.
The beam of brightness from between the eyebrows
illumines the eastern direction
and eighteen thousand lands
are all the color of gold.
From the Avichi hells
upward to the Summits of Being,
throughout the various worlds
the living beings in the six paths,
p.40where their births and deaths are tending,
their good and bad deeds,
and the pleasing or ugly recompense they receive—
all these can be seen from here.
We can also see buddhas,
those sage lords, lions,
expounding and preaching sutras
that are subtle, wonderful, and foremost.
Their voices are clear and pure,
issuing in soft and gentle sounds,
as they teach bodhisattvas
in numberless millions.
Their brahma sounds are profound and wonderful,
making people delight in hearing them.
Each in his own world
preaches the correct teaching,
following various causes and conditions
and employing immeasurable similes,
illuminating the Buddhist Law,
guiding living beings to enlightenment.
If a person should encounter troubles,
loathing aging, sickness, and death,
the buddhas preach to him on nirvana,
explaining how he may put an end to all troubles.
If a person should have good fortune,
having in the past made offerings to the buddhas,
determined to seek a superior teaching,
the buddhas preach the way of the cause-awakened one.
If there should be buddha sons
who carry out various religious practices,
seeking to attain the unsurpassed wisdom,
the buddhas preach the way of purity.
Manjushri,
I have been dwelling here,
seeing and hearing in this manner
many things numbering in the thousands of millions.
Numerous as they are,
p.41I will now speak of them in brief.
I see in these lands
bodhisattvas numerous as Ganges sands,
according with various causes and conditions
and seeking the way of the buddha.
Some of them give alms,
gold, silver, coral,
pearls, mani jewels,
seashell, agate,
diamonds, and other rarities,
men and women servants, carriages,
jeweled hand carriages and palanquins,
gladly presenting these donations.
Advancing toward the buddha way,
their desire is to achieve this vehicle
that is foremost in the threefold world
and praised by the buddhas.
There are some bodhisattvas
who give jeweled carriages drawn by teams of four,
with railings and flowered canopies
adorning their tops and sides.
Again I see bodhisattvas
who give their own flesh, hands, and feet,
or their wives and children,
seeking the unsurpassed way.
I also see bodhisattvas
who happily give
heads, eyes, bodies, and limbs
in their search for the buddha wisdom.
Manjushri,
I see kings
going to visit the place of the buddha
to ask him about the unsurpassed way.
They put aside their happy lands,
their palaces, their men and women attendants,
shave their hair and beards
and don the clothes of the Dharma.
p.42Or I see bodhisattvas
who become monks,
living alone in quietude,
delighting in chanting the sutras.
Again I see bodhisattvas
bravely and vigorously exerting themselves,
entering the deep mountains,
their thoughts on the buddha way.
And I see them removing themselves from desire,
constantly dwelling in emptiness and stillness,
advancing deep into the practice of meditation
till they have gained the five transcendental powers.
And I see bodhisattvas
resting in meditation, palms pressed together,
with a thousand, ten thousand verses
praising the king of the doctrines.
Again I see bodhisattvas,
profound in wisdom, firm in purpose,
who know how to question the buddhas
and accept and abide by all they hear.
I see buddha sons
proficient in both meditation and wisdom,
who use immeasurable numbers of similes
to expound the Law to the assembly,
delighting in preaching the Law,
converting the bodhisattvas,
defeating the legions of the devil,
and beating the Dharma drum.
And I see bodhisattvas
profoundly still and silent,
honored by heavenly beings and dragons
but not counting that a joy.
And I see bodhisattvas
living in forests, emitting light,
saving those who suffer in hell,
causing them to enter the buddha way.
And I see buddha sons
p.43who have never once slept,
who keep circling through the forest
diligently seeking the buddha way.
And I see those who observe the precepts,
no flaw in their conduct,
pure as jewels and gems,
and in that manner seeking the buddha way.
And I see buddha sons
abiding in the strength of fortitude,
taking the abuse and blows
of persons of overbearing arrogance,
willing to suffer all these,
and in that manner seeking the buddha way.
I see bodhisattvas
removing themselves from frivolity and laughter
and from foolish companions,
befriending persons of wisdom,
unifying their minds, dispelling confusion,
ordering their thoughts in mountain and forest,
and for a million, a thousand, ten thousand years
in that manner seeking the buddha way.
Or I see bodhisattvas
with delicious things to eat and drink
and a hundred kinds of medicinal potions,
offering them to the buddha and his monks;
fine robes and superior garments
costing in the thousands or ten thousands,
or robes that are beyond cost,
offering them to the buddha and his monks;
a thousand, ten thousand, a million kinds
of jeweled dwellings made of sandalwood
and numerous wonderful articles of bedding,
offering them to the buddha and his monks;
immaculate gardens and groves
where flowers and fruit abound,
flowing springs and bathing pools,
offering them to the buddha and his monks;
p.44offerings of this kind,
of many different wonderful varieties
presented gladly and without regret
as they seek the unsurpassed way.
Or there are bodhisattvas
who expound the doctrine of tranquil extinction,
giving different types of instruction
to numberless living beings.
Or I see bodhisattvas
viewing the nature of all phenomena
as having no dual characteristics,
as being like empty space.
And I see buddha sons
whose minds have no attachments,
who use this wonderful wisdom
to seek the unsurpassed way.
Manjushri,
there are also bodhisattvas
who after the buddha has passed into extinction
make offerings to his relics.
I see buddha sons
building memorial towers
as numberless as Ganges sands,
ornamenting each land with them,
jeweled towers lofty and wonderful,
five thousand yojanas high,
their width and depth
exactly two thousand yojanas,
each of these memorial towers
with its thousand banners and streamers,
with curtains laced with gems like dewdrops
and jeweled bells chiming harmoniously.
There heavenly beings, dragons,
human and nonhuman beings,
with incense, flowers, and music
constantly make offerings.
Manjushri,
p.45these buddha sons
in order to make offerings to the relics
adorn the memorial towers
so that each land, just as it is,
is as outstandingly wonderful and lovely
as the heavenly king of trees
when its flowers open and unfold.
When the Buddha emits a beam of light
I and the other members of the assembly
can see these lands
in all their various outstanding wonders.
The supernatural powers of the buddhas
and their wisdom are rare indeed;
by emitting one pure beam of light,
the buddhas illuminate countless lands.
I and the others have seen this,
have gained something never known before.
Buddha son, Manjushri,
I beg you to settle the doubts of the assembly.
The four kinds of believers look up in happy anticipation,
gazing at you and me.
Why does the world-honored one
emit this beam of brightness?
Buddha son, give a timely answer,
settle these doubts and occasion joy!
What rich benefits will come
from the projecting of this beam of brightness?
It must be that the Buddha wishes to expound
the wonderful Law he gained
when he sat in the place of enlightenment.
He must have prophecies to bestow.
He has showed us buddha lands
with their adornment and purity of manifold treasures,
and we have seen their buddhas—
this is not done for petty reasons.
Manjushri, you must know.
The four kinds of believers and the dragons
p.46gaze at you in surmise,
wondering what explanation you will give.

At that time Manjushri said to the bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya and the other great men: “Good men, I suppose that the Buddha, the world-honored one, wishes now to expound the great Law, to rain down the rain of the great Law, to blow the conch of the great Law, to beat the drum of the great Law, to elucidate the meaning of the great Law. Good men, in the past I have seen this auspicious portent among the buddhas. They emitted beams of light like this, and after that they expounded the great Law. Therefore we should know that now, when the present Buddha manifests this light, he will do likewise. He wishes to cause all living beings to hear and understand the Law, which is difficult for all the world to believe. Therefore he has manifested this auspicious portent.
“Good men, once, at a time that was an immeasurable, boundless, inconceivable number of asamkhya kalpas in the past, there was a buddha named Sun Moon Bright, thus come one, worthy of offerings, of right and universal knowledge, perfect clarity and conduct, well gone, understanding the world, unexcelled worthy, trainer of people, teacher of heavenly and human beings, buddha, world-honored one, who expounded the correct teachings. His exposition was good at the beginning, good in the middle, good at the end. The meaning was profound and far-reaching, the words were skillful and wondrous. It was pure and without alloy, complete, clean, and spotless, and bore the marks of brahma practice.
“For the sake of those seeking to become voice-hearers he responded by expounding the doctrine of the four noble truths, so that they could transcend birth, aging, sickness, and death, and attain nirvana. For the sake of those seeking to become pratyekabuddhas he responded by expounding the doctrine of the twelve-linked chain of causation. For the sake of the bodhisattvas he responded by expounding the six paramitas, causing them to gain supreme perfect enlightenment and to acquire the wisdom that embraces all species.
p.47“Then there was another buddha who was also named Sun Moon Bright, and then another buddha also named Sun Moon Bright. There were twenty thousand buddhas like this, all with the same appellation, all named Sun Moon Bright. And all had the same surname, the surname Bharadvaja. Maitreya, you should understand that from the first buddha to the last, all had the same appellation, all were named Sun Moon Bright. They were worthy of all the ten epithets and the teachings they expounded were good at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end.
“The last buddha, when he had not yet left family life, had eight princely sons. The first was named Having Intention, the second Good Intention, the third Immeasurable Intention, the fourth Jeweled Intention, the fifth Increased Intention, the sixth Cleansed of Doubt Intention, the seventh Echoing Intention, and the eighth Law Intention. Dignity and virtue came easily to them, and each presided over a four-continent realm.
“When these princes heard that their father had left family life and had gained supreme perfect enlightenment, they all cast aside their princely positions and followed him by leaving family life. Conceiving a desire for the great vehicle, they constantly carried out brahma practices, and all became teachers of the Law. They had already planted good roots in the company of a thousand, ten thousand buddhas.
“At that time the buddha Sun Moon Bright preached the great vehicle sutra entitled Immeasurable Meanings, a teaching to instruct the bodhisattvas, one that is guarded and kept in mind by the buddhas. When he had finished preaching the sutra, he sat cross-legged in the midst of the great assembly and entered into the samadhi of the origin of immeasurable meanings, his body and mind never moving. At this time heaven rained down mandarava flowers, great mandarava flowers, manjushaka flowers, and great manjushaka flowers, scattering them over the buddha and over the great assembly, and everywhere the buddha world quaked and trembled in six different ways.
“At that time the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, the heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, p.48kimnaras, mahoragas, the human and nonhuman beings in the assembly, and the petty kings and wheel-turning sage kings—all these in the great assembly gained what they had never had before and, filled with joy, pressed their palms together and gazed at the buddha with a single mind.
“At that time the thus come one emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows, one of his characteristic features, lighting up eighteen thousand buddha lands in the eastern direction. There was no place that the light did not penetrate, just as you have seen it light up these buddha lands now.
“Maitreya, you should understand this. At that time in the assembly there were twenty million bodhisattvas who were happy and eager to hear the Law. When these bodhisattvas saw this beam of light that illumined the buddha lands everywhere, they gained what they had never had before. They wished to know the causes and conditions that had occasioned this light.
“At that time there was a bodhisattva named Wonderfully Bright who had eight hundred disciples. At this time the buddha Sun Moon Bright arose from his samadhi and, because of the bodhisattva Wonderfully Bright, preached the great vehicle sutra called the Lotus of the Wonderful Law, a teaching to instruct the bodhisattvas, one that is guarded and kept in mind by the buddhas. For sixty small kalpas the buddha remained in his seat without rising, and the listeners in the assembly at that time also remained seated there for sixty small kalpas, their bodies and minds never moving. And yet it seemed to them that they had been listening to the buddha preach for no more than the space of a meal. At this time in the assembly there was not a single person who in body or mind had the least feeling of weariness.
“When the buddha Sun Moon Bright had finished preaching this sutra over a period of sixty small kalpas, he spoke these words to the Brahmas, devils, shramanas, and Brahmans, and to the heavenly and human beings and asuras in the assembly, saying, ‘Tonight at midnight the thus come one will enter the nirvana of no remainder.’
p.49“At this time there was a bodhisattva named Virtue Storehouse. The buddha Sun Moon Bright bestowed a prophecy on him, announcing to the monks, ‘This bodhisattva Virtue Storehouse will be the next to become a buddha. He will be called Pure Body, tathagata, arhat, samyak-sambuddha.’
“After the buddha had finished bestowing this prophecy, at midnight he entered the nirvana of no remainder.
“After the buddha had passed away, Bodhisattva Wonderfully Bright upheld the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, for a period of fully eighty small kalpas expounding it for others. The eight sons of the buddha Sun Moon Bright all acknowledged Wonderfully Bright as their teacher. Wonderfully Bright taught and converted them and roused in them a firm determination to gain supreme perfect enlightenment. Those princely sons gave offerings to immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of buddhas, and after that all were able to achieve the buddha way. The last to become a buddha was named Burning Torch.
“Among the eight hundred disciples of Wonderfully Bright was one named Seeker of Fame. He was greedy for gain and support, and though he read and recited numerous sutras, he could not understand them, but for the most part forgot them. Hence he was called Seeker of Fame. Because this man had in addition planted various good roots, however, he was able to encounter immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of buddhas, to make offerings to them, revere, honor, and praise them.
“Maitreya, you should understand this. Bodhisattva Wonderfully Bright who lived then—could he be unknown to you? He was no other than I myself. And Bodhisattva Seeker of Fame was you.
“Now when I see this auspicious portent, it is no different from what I saw before. Therefore I suppose that now the thus come one is about to preach the great vehicle sutra called the Lotus of the Wonderful Law, a teaching to instruct the bodhisattvas, one that is guarded and kept in mind by the buddhas.”
p.50At that time Manjushri, wishing in the presence of the great assembly to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

I recall that in a past age
immeasurable, innumerable kalpas ago
there was a buddha, most honored of men,
named Sun Moon Bright.
This world-honored one expounded the Law,
saving immeasurable living beings
and numberless millions of bodhisattvas,
causing them to enter the buddha wisdom.
The eight princely sons whom this buddha sired
before taking leave of family life,
when they saw that the great sage had left his family,
did likewise, carrying out brahma practices.
At that time the buddha preached the great vehicle,
a sutra named Immeasurable Meanings,
and in the midst of a great assembly
for the sake of the people broadly made distinctions.
When the buddha had finished preaching this sutra
he sat in the seat of the Law,
sitting cross-legged in the samadhi
called the origin of immeasurable meanings.
The heavens rained mandarava flowers,
heavenly drums sounded of themselves,
and the heavenly beings, dragons, and spirits
made offerings to the most honored of men.
All the buddha lands
immediately quaked and trembled greatly.
The buddha emitted a light from between his eyebrows,
manifesting signs that are rarely seen.
This light illumined the eastern direction,
eighteen thousand buddha lands,
showing how all the living beings there
were recompensed in birth and death for their past deeds.
That one could see how these buddha lands,
p.51adorned with numerous jewels,
shone with hues of lapis lazuli and crystal
was due to the illumination of the buddha’s light.
One could also see the heavenly and human beings,
dragons, many yakshas,
gandharvas, and kimnaras,
each making offerings to his respective buddha.
One could also see thus come ones
naturally attaining the buddha way,
their bodies the color of golden mountains,
upright, imposing, very subtle and wonderful.
It was as though in the midst of pure lapis lazuli
there should appear statues of real gold.
In the midst of the great assembly the world-honored ones
expounded the principles of the profound Law.
In one after another of the buddha lands
the voice-hearers in countless multitudes
through the illumination of the buddha’s light
all became visible with their great assemblies.
There were also monks
residing in the midst of forests,
exerting themselves and keeping the pure precepts
as though they were guarding a bright jewel.
One could also see bodhisattvas
carrying out almsgiving, forbearance, and so forth,
their number like Ganges sands,
due to the illumination of the buddha’s light.
One could also see bodhisattvas
entering deep into meditation practices,
their bodies and minds still and unmoving,
in that manner seeking the unsurpassed way.
One could also see bodhisattvas
who knew that phenomena are marked by tranquillity and extinction,
each in his respective land
preaching the Law and seeking the buddha way.
At that time the four kinds of believers,
p.52seeing the buddha Sun Moon Bright
manifest his great transcendental powers,
all rejoiced in their hearts,
and each one asked his neighbor
what had caused these events.
The one honored by heavenly and human beings
just then arose from his samadhi
and praised Bodhisattva Wonderfully Bright, saying,
“You are the eyes of the world,
one whom all can take faith in and believe,
able to honor and uphold the storehouse of the Law.
The Law that I preach—
you alone can understand and grasp it.”
The world-honored one, having bestowed this praise,
causing Wonderfully Bright to rejoice,
preached the Lotus Sutra
for fully sixty small kalpas.
He never rose from this seat,
and the supreme and wonderful Law that he preached
was accepted and upheld in its entirety
by the teacher of the Law Wonderfully Bright.
After the buddha had preached the Lotus,
causing all the assembly to rejoice,
on that very same day
he announced to the assembly of heavenly and human beings,
“I have already expounded for you
the meaning of the true aspect of all phenomena.
Now when midnight comes
I will enter nirvana.
You must strive with all your heart
and remove yourselves from indulgence and laxity.
It is very difficult to encounter a buddha—
you meet one once in a million kalpas.”
When the children of the world-honored one
heard that the buddha was to enter nirvana,
each one was filled with sorrow and distress,
p.53wondering why the buddha should so quickly seek extinction.
The sage lord, king of the Law,
comforted and reassured the countless multitude,
saying, “When I enter extinction
you must not be concerned or fearful!
This bodhisattva Virtue Storehouse
has already fully understood in his mind
the true aspect that is without outflows.
He will be next to become a buddha,
bearing the name Pure Body,
and he too will save immeasurable multitudes.”
That night the buddha entered extinction,
as a fire dies out when the firewood is exhausted.
They divided and apportioned his relics
and built immeasurable numbers of towers,
and the monks and nuns
whose number was like Ganges sands
redoubled their exertions,
thereby seeking the unsurpassed way.
This teacher of the Law Wonderfully Bright
honored and upheld the buddha’s storehouse of the Law
throughout eighty small kalpas,
broadly propagating the Lotus Sutra.
These eight princely sons
whom Wonderfully Bright converted
held firmly to the unsurpassed way
and were thus able to encounter innumerable buddhas.
And after they had made offerings to these buddhas
they followed them in practicing the great way
and one after the other succeeded in becoming a buddha,
each in turn bestowing a prophecy on his successor.
The last to become a heavenly being among heavenly beings
was named the buddha Burning Torch.
As leader and teacher of seers
he saved immeasurable multitudes.
p.54This teacher of the Law Wonderfully Bright
at that time had a disciple
whose mind was forever occupied with laziness and sloth,
who was greedy for fame and profit.
He sought fame and profit insatiably,
often amusing himself among clansmen and those of other surnames.
He threw away what he had studied and memorized,
neglected and forgot it, failed to understand it.
Because of this
he was named Seeker of Fame.
But he had also carried out many good actions
and thus was able to meet with innumerable buddhas.
He made offerings to the buddhas
and followed them in practicing the great way,
carrying out all the six paramitas,
and now he has met the lion of the Shakyas.
Hereafter he will become a buddha
whose name will be Maitreya,
who will save living beings extensively
in numbers beyond calculation.
After that buddha passed into extinction,
that lazy and slothful one—he was you,
and the teacher of the Law Wonderfully Bright—
that was the person who is now I myself.
I saw how the buddha Torch Bright [Sun Moon Bright]
earlier manifested an auspicious portent like this.
And so I know that now the Buddha
is about to preach the Lotus Sutra.
The signs now are like those of the earlier auspicious portent,
this is an expedient means used by the buddhas.
Now when the Buddha emits this beam of brightness
he is helping to reveal the meaning of the true aspect of phenomena.
Human beings now will come to know it.
p.55Let us press our palms together and wait with a single mind.
The Buddha will rain down the rain of the Law
to fully satisfy all seekers of the way.
You who seek the three vehicles,
if you have doubts and regrets,
the Buddha will resolve them for you,
bringing them to an end so that nothing remains.

Immeasurable Meanings Sutra: 3 Ten Benefits http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Prologue/3

CHAPTER 3

Ten Benefits

At that time the bodhisattva mahasattva Great Adornment addressed the Buddha once more, saying: “World-Honored One, the world-honored one has preached this subtle, wonderful, profound, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra. Truly it is profound, profound, profound! Why do I say so? Because in this assembly when the bodhisattvas mahasattva, the four kinds of believers, the heavenly beings, dragons, and spirits, the kings of states, ministers, and subjects, and other living beings hear this profound, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, there are none who fail to gain dharani teachings, the three doctrines, four stages, or the desire to attain enlightenment. So we know that this teaching is true and correct in word and principle, worthy of unsurpassed veneration. It is guarded and protected by all the buddhas of the three existences. There is no devil host, no congregation of non-Buddhist believers who can invade it, nor can it be destroyed by any erroneous views or accidents of birth and death. Why? Because once one hears it, one can uphold all the doctrines.
“If there are living beings who are able to hear this sutra, they will gain great profit. Why? Because if they can practice it, then without fail they will quickly gain unsurpassed enlightenment. As for those living beings who are unable to hear it, one should know that they will lose great profit, for though immeasurable, boundless, inconceivable asamkhya kalpas may pass, they will in p.21the end fail to gain unsurpassed enlightenment. Why? Because they will not know about the great direct way to enlightenment, but will travel perilous byways beset by numerous hindrances and trials.
“World-Honored One, this sutra is beyond comprehension. We beg that the world-honored one, taking pity upon this great assembly, will broadly expound the profound and unfathomable matters contained in this sutra. World-Honored One, where does this sutra come from, where does it lead to, where does it abide, that it should possess such immeasurable benefits, such inconceivable powers, assuring to the multitude the quick attainment of supreme perfect enlightenment?”
At that time the world-honored one said to the bodhisattva mahasattva Great Adornment: “Excellent, excellent, good men. It is just so, just so, just as you have spoken. Good men, this sutra I preach is profound, profound, truly profound! Why do I say so? Because it assures that the multitude will quickly attain unsurpassed enlightenment. Because once one hears it, one can uphold all the doctrines. Because for living beings it brings great profit and enrichment. Because practicing it, one travels a great direct way free of hindrances and trials.
“Good men, you ask where this sutra comes from, where it leads, where it abides. Listen carefully and with attention. Good men, this sutra issues originally from the dwelling and abode of the buddhas. Its aim is to lead all living beings to conceive the desire for enlightenment. And it abides in the practices carried out by bodhisattvas. Good men, this is where this sutra comes from, where it leads, and where it abides. Therefore this sutra is able to possess such immeasurable benefits, such inconceivable powers, and to assure to the multitude the quick attainment of unsurpassed enlightenment.
“Now, good men, would you like to hear about the ten inconceivable benefits and powers that this sutra possesses?”
Bodhisattva Great Adornment said, “Please, we wish very much to hear!”
The Buddha said: “Good men, the first is that this sutra can cause bodhisattvas who have not yet conceived the desire for p.22enlightenment to conceive such a desire. It can cause those who are without compassion or benevolence to nurture compassionate minds. It can cause those who delight in killing and slaughter to nurture minds of great pity. It can cause those filled with envy and jealousy to nurture minds of joyful acceptance. It can cause those who are begrudging and attached to things to nurture minds capable of relinquishing. It can cause those who are close-fisted and greedy to nurture minds of almsgiving. It can cause those of abundant arrogance and pride to nurture minds that uphold the precepts. It can cause those much given to wrath and anger to nurture forbearing minds. It can cause those who are indolent and lazy to nurture minds of diligence. It can cause those who are scatterbrained and disordered to nurture minds devoted to meditation. It can cause those with much ignorance and folly to nurture minds of wisdom. It can cause those who are not yet capable of saving others to nurture minds set upon saving others. It can cause those who practice the ten evil acts to nurture minds devoted to the ten good acts. It can cause those who delight too much in the conditioned to strive for minds fixed on the unconditioned. It can cause those whose minds are given to regression to cultivate minds of non-regression. It can cause those given to outflows to nurture minds free of outflows. It can cause those with many earthly desires to nurture minds that cleanse and extinguish such desires.
“Good men, this is called the first benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra.
“Good men, the second inconceivable benefit and power of this sutra is this: If living beings are able to hear this sutra, though they hear only one recitation, one verse, or just one line, they will be able to comprehend and master hundreds, thousands, millions of meanings, so many that although immeasurable numbers of kalpas should pass, they would never be able to finish expounding the teaching they have received and uphold. Why? Because the meanings of this teaching are immeasurable.
“Good men, this sutra may be likened to a single seed from which grow hundreds, thousands, ten thousands of other seeds, p.23and from each of these seeds in turn grow more seeds numbering in the hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, so that they keep on increasing in this way until they become immeasurable. This sutra is like this. From a single Law grow hundreds and thousands of meanings, and from each of those hundreds and thousands in turn grow more, numbering in the hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, so that they keep on increasing in this way until there are an immeasurable, boundless number of meanings. That is why this sutra is called Immeasurable Meanings.
“Good men, this is called the second benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra.
“Good men, the third inconceivable benefit and power of this sutra is this: If living beings are able to hear this sutra, though they hear only one recitation, one verse, or just one line, and are thereby able to comprehend and master hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of meanings, then although they have earthly desires, it will be as though they were free of earthly desires, and they will go in and out of the realm of birth and death without thoughts of fear or dread. Toward living beings they will acquire minds of pity and tenderness, and they will confront all phenomena with brave and stalwart thoughts.
“They will be like a young man of great strength who can lift and hold aloft various heavy objects. The person who upholds this sutra will in like manner be able to shoulder the weighty treasure of unsurpassed enlightenment and bear living beings on his back, carrying them out of the path of birth and death.
“Even before he is capable of saving himself he will be capable of saving others. He will be like a ship’s captain whose body is afflicted with grave illness, whose four limbs fail to function properly, and who remains on this shore. But he has a sound and durable ship and can always explain to others the articles needed to get them over the water, so that by providing these he can insure their crossing. The person who upholds this sutra will be like this. Though he is afflicted with the body of one who dwells in the five realms, constantly beset by one hundred and eight illnesses, and though he remains on this shore, the shore of p.24ignorance, aging, and death, yet he will possess this durable great vehicle sutra, Immeasurable Meanings, which explains how living beings can be saved and how, if one practices it as it directs, one can escape from birth and death.
“Good men, this is called the third benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra.
“Good men, the fourth inconceivable benefit and power of this sutra is this: If living beings are able to hear this sutra, though they hear only one recitation, one verse, or just one line, they will be filled with brave and stalwart thoughts. Though they have not yet saved themselves, they will be able to save others. They will become companions of the bodhisattvas, and the buddhas, the thus come ones, will at all times turn toward such persons when they expound the Law. And once these persons have heard it, they will be able to accept and uphold all of it, abide by it without violation, propagate it for the sake of others, and preach it widely in accordance with what is appropriate.
“Good men, such persons will be like a prince newly born to the king of a country and his queen. When he is one day, two days, or seven days old; one month, two months, or seven months old; one year, two years, or seven years old, though he is not yet able to manage the affairs of state, already he is respected and looked up to by the ministers and the people. He is a companion to the sons of other great kings, and the king and queen love and dote on him and are forever talking of him. Why? Because he is still just a child.
“Good men, the person who upholds this sutra will be like this. The buddhas, who are the king, and the sutra, which is the queen, join together in harmony to give birth to this bodhisattva son. If the bodhisattva is able to hear this sutra, whether it is one line or one verse, one repetition, two repetitions, ten, a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, or immeasurable, countless repetitions equal to the sands of a million ten thousand Ganges Rivers, though he cannot fully grasp the extent of its truth, and though he cannot make the lands of the major world system quake and tremble or with brahma sounds like the roll of thunder turn the great wheel of the Law, already he will be revered and looked up p.25to by all the four kinds of believers and eight kinds of guardians, and he will have the great bodhisattvas for his companions. He will enter deeply into the secret Law of the buddhas and will be able to expound it without error or omission. He will be constantly guarded and kept in mind by the buddhas, who will pity and love him, favor and shelter him, because he is new in these studies.
“Good men, this is called the fourth benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra.
“Good men, the fifth inconceivable benefit and power of this sutra is this: If there are good men or good women who, while the Buddha is in the world or after he has passed into extinction, accept, uphold, read, recite, or copy this profound, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, then although such persons are still bound and encumbered by earthly desires, unable to remove themselves from the concerns of the ordinary individual, yet they will be able to manifest and show to others the way of the great bodhisattva. They will be able to expand a single day so that it covers a hundred kalpas, or compress a hundred kalpas into a single day, causing other living beings to rejoice and give wholehearted assent [to their words].
“Good men, these good men and good women will be like little dragons who, only seven days after they are born, are already able to make clouds rise up and rain to fall.
“Good men, this is called the fifth benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra.
“Good men, the sixth inconceivable benefit and power of this sutra is this: If good men or good women, while the Buddha is in the world or after he has passed into extinction, accept, uphold, read, or recite this sutra, then although they are still encumbered by earthly desires, they will be able to preach the Law for living beings and enable them to break away from earthly desires, from the realm of birth and death, and to cut off all suffering. Once living beings have heard them, they will carry out religious practice, gaining the doctrines, gaining various stages, and gaining the ways, just the same as if they had been taught by the Buddha, the thus come one.
p.26“Suppose, for example, there is a prince who, although still just a boy, is entrusted with the management of affairs of state because the king is abroad on a journey or has been seized by illness. If at that time the prince follows the king’s orders and abides by the law in issuing directives to the various clerks and government officials, guiding the flow of affairs in a proper manner, then each of the people of the state will comply with the spirit of his instructions, and the order that prevails will be like that when the king himself is in charge.
“The good men and good women who uphold this sutra will be the same as this. Whether the Buddha is in the world or has passed into extinction, if these good men, though they have not yet been able to reach the stage of immobility, follow the Buddha’s methods of preaching and giving instruction when they expound the Law, then once living beings have heard them and single-mindedly applied themselves to practice, they will be able to cut off earthly desires, gain the doctrines, gain various stages, and gain the ways.
“Good men, this is called the sixth benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra.
“Good men, the seventh inconceivable benefit and power of this sutra is this: If good men or good women, while the Buddha is in the world or after he has passed into extinction, are able to hear this sutra and rejoice and put faith and hope in it, greeting it as something rare; if they accept, uphold, read, recite, copy, explain, preach, and practice it as it directs, conceiving a desire for enlightenment, cultivating good roots, nurturing minds of great compassion, and desiring to save all living beings from their sufferings, then although they have not yet been able to practice the six paramitas, the six paramitas will of themselves appear before them. In their present bodies they will be able to gain the truth of birthlessness, their earthly desires and their sufferings of birth and death will in one moment be cast off and destroyed, and they will ascend to the seventh stage of the bodhisattva.
“Suppose, for example, there is a stalwart hero who wipes out the king’s enemies. Once these enemies have been destroyed, the p.27king rejoices greatly and takes half of his kingdom and presents it all to the hero as a fief. The good men and good women who uphold this sutra will be similar to this. They will be the bravest and most heroic of all practitioners. And though they do not seek for them, the six paramitas, those treasures of the Law, will come to them naturally. Their enemies, birth and death, will of themselves be scattered and destroyed, and they will be enlightened to the truth of birthlessness, which is like receiving half the buddha land in fief and its treasures as a gift to enjoy in tranquillity.
“Good men, this is called the seventh benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra.
“Good men, the eighth inconceivable benefit and power of this sutra is this: If there are good men or good women who, while the Buddha is in the world or after he has passed into extinction, are able to obtain this sutra, they will revere and put faith in it as though they were gazing upon the Buddha’s body, and will not let themselves treat it any differently. They will love and delight in this sutra, accept, uphold, read, recite, copy, and do obeisance to it, putting it into practice as the Law directs, strictly observing the precepts, firmly persevering, carrying out the paramita of almsgiving, cultivating profound pity and compassion, and preaching this unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra far and wide for the sake of others.
“If there are persons who have never believed in the existence of sinfulness or blessing, then they will show them this sutra and, employing various kinds of expedient means, will convert them and prevail upon them to believe. Through the authority and power of the sutra, such persons will be able to develop minds of faith, abruptly changing their direction. And once having developed minds of faith, because they proceed with courage and diligence, they will be able to acquire the dignity, virtue, authority, and power of this sutra, to gain the ways, and to gain various stages.
“Therefore these good men and women, because of the benefits they gain through being converted, will in their present forms as men and women be able to gain the truth of birthlessness, to p.28gain the upper level, and to become companions of the bodhisattvas. Quickly they will be able to lead living beings to success, to purify the buddha land, and before long to gain unsurpassed enlightenment.
“Good men, this is called the eighth benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra.
“Good men, the ninth inconceivable benefit and power of this sutra is this: If there are good men or good women who, while the Buddha is in the world or after he has passed into extinction, are able to obtain this sutra, who leap with joy on having gained what they never had before, who accept, uphold, read, recite, copy, and offer alms to it and for the sake of the multitude, observing distinctions, expound and preach the message of this sutra far and wide, then in one instant they will be able to wipe out the lingering guilt and heavy obstacle of their deeds in former existences and to attain a state of purity. Thereafter they will acquire great eloquence, step by step adorn themselves with the paramitas, acquire various samadhis including the shuramgama samadhi, enter the great gate of the dharani teachings, gain the power of diligent effort, and quickly attain the highest levels. They will be skilled at dividing their bodies and producing emanations of themselves, dispatching them to the lands in the ten directions to rescue and save all living beings in the twenty-five realms of existence from their dire sufferings, enabling them all to gain emancipation. This is because the sutra possesses this power.
“Good men, this is called the ninth benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra.
“Good men, the tenth inconceivable benefit and power of this sutra is this: Suppose there are good men or good women who, while the Buddha is in the world or after he has passed into extinction, are able to obtain this sutra, and are filled with great joy, greeting it as something rare. After they themselves have accepted, upheld, read, recited, copied, offered alms, and put it into practice as it directs, they will also be able far and wide to encourage those in household life and those who have left such life to accept, uphold, read, recite, copy, offer alms, explain, and p.29preach the sutra and practice it as the Law directs. Because they have the power to cause others to practice this sutra, others will gain the ways and gain various stages. All this will come from the fact that these good men and good women are moved to compassion and have the power to convert others diligently. As a result, these good men and good women in their present bodies will be able to gain immeasurable dharani teachings.
“While they are still at the stage of ordinary persons, while they are just beginning, they will find themselves naturally capable of committing themselves to countless asamkhyas of broad resolutions and great vows, demonstrating profound determination to save all living beings, exercising great compassion, rescuing multitudes far and wide from their sufferings, gathering to themselves a mass of good roots, and bringing enrichment and benefit to all. They will expound the moisture of the Law, pouring it everywhere to water the dry and barren places. They will show themselves able to dispense the medicine of the Law to living beings, bringing peace and happiness to all. Gradually they will come forth and ascend until they reside at the stage of the clouds of the Law. The moisture of their favor will water all places; nothing will be outside their compassion. They will encompass all living beings who suffer, causing them to enter upon the buddha path. And because of all this, these people will before long gain supreme perfect enlightenment.
“Good men, this is called the tenth benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra.
“Good men, this unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra fully possesses great and marvelous supernatural powers such as these. It is worthy of unsurpassed veneration, for it can enable ordinary persons all to attain the stage of sage; leaving forever the realm of birth and death, they will all gain freedom. Therefore this sutra is called Immeasurable Meanings. It can cause all living beings who are still at the level of ordinary persons to put forth immeasurable shoots that will grow into the way of the bodhisattva, to plant trees of benefits that will flourish, put out branches, and spread. Therefore this sutra is dubbed the possessor of inconceivable benefits and power.”
p.30At that time the bodhisattva mahasattva Great Adornment and the others of the eighty thousand bodhisattvas mahasattva, speaking in a single voice addressed the Buddha, saying: “World-Honored One, as the Buddha has preached, this profound, subtle, wonderful, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra is true and correct in word and principle, worthy of unsurpassed veneration. It is guarded and protected by all the buddhas of the three existences. There is no devil host, no congregation of non-Buddhist believers who can invade it, nor can it be destroyed by any erroneous views or accidents of birth and death.
“Thus it is that this sutra possesses ten benefits and inconceivable powers such as have been described. It brings great enrichment and benefit to all living beings immeasurable in number. It causes all bodhisattvas mahasattva each one to gain the samadhi of immeasurable meanings. Or perhaps they will gain hundreds and thousands of dharani teachings, or they will be able to gain the various levels and various types of cognition of the bodhisattva, or they will gain the four-way and four-stage enlightenment of the cause-awakened one and the arhat. The world-honored one in his compassion and mercy has been pleased to preach the Law for us in this way, enabling us to gain the great profits of the Law. This is most wonderful, something never known before. The compassion and favor of the world-honored one is indeed difficult to repay!”
When they had finished speaking these words, the major world system quaked and trembled in six different ways. From the sky there rained down various kinds of heavenly flowers, heavenly utpala flowers, padma flowers, kumuda flowers, pundarika flowers. There also rained down countless varieties of heavenly incense, heavenly robes, heavenly necklaces, and priceless heavenly jewels that came tumbling and turning through the air and descended as offerings to the Buddha and the great assembly of bodhisattvas and voice-hearers. Heavenly vessels from heavenly kitchens were heaped and overflowing with a hundred heavenly flavors; merely observing their forms and smelling their aromas was enough to make one feel satisfied. Heavenly streamers, heavenly banners, heavenly canopies, and wonderful p.31heavenly playthings were ranged here and there, heavenly musical instruments played, and songs were sung to praise the Buddha.
Then in the eastern region the buddha worlds numerous as Ganges sands also quaked and trembled in six different ways, raining down heavenly flowers, heavenly incense, heavenly robes, heavenly necklaces, priceless heavenly jewels, heavenly vessels from heavenly kitchens with a hundred heavenly flavors, so that observing their forms and smelling their aromas was enough to make one feel satisfied. Heavenly streamers, heavenly banners, heavenly canopies, and wonderful heavenly playthings were ranged here and there, heavenly musical instruments played, and songs were sung in praise of the buddhas and the great assemblies of bodhisattvas and voice-hearers there, and the same occurred in the southern, western, and northern regions, in the four intermediate directions, and in the upper and lower regions.
At that time the Buddha addressed the bodhisattva mahasattva Great Adornment and the others of the eighty thousand bodhisattvas mahasattva, saying: “You should approach this sutra with profound feelings of respect, practice it as the Law directs, convert all beings far and wide, and propagate it with a diligent mind. At all times be industrious in its cause, guard it day and night, and enable living beings, each one of them, to enjoy the profits of the Law. You will then in truth be showing great compassion and great pity. Use the transcendental power of your vows to guard and protect this sutra, and do not let it be impeded by doubt. In the time given you, you must without fail cause it to spread throughout Jambudvipa, making certain that all living beings are able to see and hear it, to read, recite, copy, and offer alms to it. Then as a result you yourselves will be able quickly to gain supreme perfect enlightenment.”
At that time the bodhisattva mahasattva Great Adornment and the others of the eighty thousand bodhisattvas mahasattva rose from their seats and proceeded to where the Buddha was. They bowed their heads to the ground in obeisance before the Buddha’s feet and circled around him a hundred thousand times. Then they advanced, knelt on one knee, and all blending their voices in unison, spoke to the Buddha, saying: “World-Honored p.32One, we have been fortunate enough to receive the compassion and mercy of the world-honored one, who for our sake has preached this profound, subtle, wonderful, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra. Respectfully we accept the Buddha’s charge. After the thus come one has passed into extinction, we will propagate this sutra far and wide, causing all beings everywhere to accept, uphold, read, recite, copy, and offer alms to it. We beg you to have no concern or fret on that account. We will employ the power of our vows to enable all living beings everywhere to see, hear, read, recite, copy, and offer alms to this sutra, and to gain the sutra’s marvelous supernatural blessings.”
At that time the Buddha praised them, saying, “Excellent, excellent, good men. Now you are true sons of the Buddha. With the vastness of your great compassion and great pity, you can rescue those sunk in profound suffering, save those in peril. You are fields of good fortune for all living beings. You will act as great and good guides and teachers for all beings far and wide. You are great supports and resting places for all living beings. You are great almsgivers for all living beings. At all times you will take the profits of the Law and distribute them abroad to all beings.”
At that time all the members of the great assembly were filled with great joy. Bowing in obeisance to the Buddha, they accepted and upheld his teaching and then departed.

Immeasurable Meanings Sutra: 2 Preaching the Law http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Prologue/2

CHAPTER 2

Preaching the Law

At that time the bodhisattva mahasattva Great Adornment and the others of the eighty thousand bodhisattvas mahasattva, having spoken these verses in praise of the Buddha, all together addressed the Buddha, saying: “World-Honored One, we, this multitude of eighty thousand bodhisattvas, now desire to pose some questions regarding the Law of the thus come one. We wonder if the world-honored one will be kind enough to listen?”
The Buddha said to Bodhisattva Great Adornment and the others of the eighty thousand bodhisattvas, “Excellent, excellent, good men. You know when the time is right. Proceed with your questions! Before long, the thus come one will enter parinirvana, and he wishes to make certain that there will be no more doubts anywhere after he has entered nirvana. What do you wish to ask about? Now is the time to speak.”
Bodhisattva Great Adornment and the others of the eighty thousand bodhisattvas, speaking in a single voice, then addressed the Buddha, saying: “World-Honored One, if bodhisattvas mahasattva wish to succeed quickly in gaining supreme perfect enlightenment, what sort of doctrines should they practice? What sort of doctrines can cause bodhisattvas mahasattva to succeed quickly in gaining supreme perfect enlightenment?”
The Buddha said to Bodhisattva Great Adornment and the others of the eighty thousand bodhisattvas, “Good men, there is a single doctrine that can cause bodhisattvas to succeed quickly in gaining supreme perfect enlightenment. If bodhisattvas study this doctrine, then they will be able to gain supreme perfect enlightenment.”
“World-Honored One, what is the name of this doctrine? What is its meaning? What practices does it prescribe for bodhisattvas?”
The Buddha said: “Good men, this single doctrine is called the doctrine of immeasurable meanings. If bodhisattvas wish to practice and study these immeasurable meanings, then they should observe and perceive how all phenomena, from the beginning down to the present, are in nature and aspect empty and tranquil, without bigness or littleness, without birth or extinction, not abiding, not moving, neither advancing nor retreating, but like vacant space, without any dualism.
“But living beings in their vain delusions make wild calculations, saying, this is one thing, that is another, this brings gain, that brings loss, and give rise to thoughts that are not good, carrying out evil acts, transmigrating through the six paths of existence and undergoing sufferings and bitterness for immeasurable millions of kalpas without ever being able to escape.
“Bodhisattvas mahasattva, clearly perceiving that this is so, are moved to pity in their minds, and inspired by great compassion, wish to rescue these beings from their plight. They should then once more enter deeply into the study of all phenomena. If the aspects of phenomena are such, then such-and-such phenomena will be born. If the aspects of phenomena are such, then such-and-such phenomena will abide. If the aspects of phenomena are such, then such-and-such phenomena will change. If the aspects of phenomena are such, then such-and-such phenomena will undergo extinction. If the aspects of phenomena are such, this can lead to the birth of bad phenomena. If the aspects of phenomena are such, this can lead to the birth of good phenomena. And the same applies in the case of the abiding, changing, and extinction of phenomena.
“When bodhisattvas have in this manner observed the beginning and end of these four aspects and have understood them in their entirety, then they will clearly perceive that all phenomena, never abiding from one instant to the next, are constantly being born anew and passing into extinction, and then they will immediately perceive the true aspect of birth, abiding, change, and extinction.
“Once they have gained this perception, then they must turn to the capacities, natures, and desires of living beings. Because such natures and desires are immeasurable in variety, the ways of preaching the Law are immeasurable; and because the ways of preaching the Law are immeasurable, its meanings are likewise immeasurable. These immeasurable meanings are born from a single Law, and this Law is without aspect. What is without aspect is devoid of aspect and does not take on aspect. Not taking on aspect, being without aspect, it is called the true aspect.
“When bodhisattvas mahasattva rest and abide in this understanding of the true aspect of all phenomena, then the pity and compassion that they put forth will be based on clear understanding and not groundless, and they will be truly capable of rescuing living beings from the sufferings that they undergo. And once they have rescued them from suffering, they will preach the Law for them and enable living beings to enjoy ease and delight.
“Good men, if bodhisattvas are able in this manner to practice the immeasurable meanings of this all-embracing doctrine, then they are certain to succeed quickly in attaining supreme perfect enlightenment. Good men, this profound, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra is true and correct in word and principle, worthy of unsurpassed veneration. It is guarded and protected by all the buddhas of the three existences. There is no devil host, no congregation of non-Buddhist believers who can invade it, nor can it be destroyed by any erroneous views or accidents of birth and death. Therefore, good men, if bodhisattvas mahasattva wish to gain unsurpassed enlightenment quickly, they should practice and study this profound, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra.”
At that time Bodhisattva Great Adornment addressed the Buddha once more, saying: “World-Honored One, the Law preached by the world-honored one is beyond ordinary comprehension, the capacities and natures of living beings are also beyond ordinary comprehension, and the doctrines and emancipations are likewise beyond ordinary comprehension. Regarding the doctrines that the Buddha has preached to us, we have no more doubts or difficulties. But because confusion and misunderstanding arise in the minds of living beings, we wish to question the world-honored one further.
“In the forty and more years since the thus come one gained the way, he has constantly expounded for the sake of living beings upon the principle of the four aspects of phenomena, the principle of suffering, of emptiness, impermanence, no self, no bigness, no littleness, no birth, no extinction, one aspect that is no aspect, the nature of phenomena, the aspect of phenomena, from the beginning emptiness and tranquillity, neither coming nor going, neither appearing nor disappearing.
“Those who listened to you were perhaps able to gain the heat stage, the peak stage, or the foremost worldly stage, to attain the stage of the stream-winner, of the once-returner, of the non-returner, or the arhat, to gain the way of the pratyekabuddha, to conceive a desire for enlightenment, to ascend to the first level, the second level, the third level, and so forth to the tenth level.
“The principles of these various doctrines that you have expounded upon in past days—how do they differ from those you are expounding now? You say that if bodhisattvas practice this profound, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, they are certain to quickly attain unsurpassed enlightenment. Just what does this mean? We beg the world-honored one to have compassion and pity for all, and for the sake of living beings far and wide to make clear the distinctions, so that all those everywhere in this present existence and in ages to come, when they hear the doctrines, may be free from the net of residual doubt!”
Thereupon the Buddha said to Bodhisattva Great Adornment: “Excellent, excellent, you great and good men. You have seen fit to ask the thus come one about the subtle and wonderful meaning of this profound, unsurpassed great vehicle. You should understand that by doing so you can benefit many people, assure peace and joy to human and heavenly beings, and rescue living beings from suffering. This is in truth great pity and compassion. And because it is true, it cannot be vain. As a result of this, you will without fail quickly attain unsurpassed enlightenment. And you will also make it possible for all living beings in the present age and in ages to come to attain unsurpassed enlightenment.
“Good men, in the past I sat upright for six years under the bodhi tree in the place of enlightenment and was able to gain supreme perfect enlightenment. With the Buddha eye I observed all phenomena and knew that this enlightenment could not be explained or described. Why? Because I knew that living beings are not alike in their natures and desires. And because their natures and desires are not alike, I preached the Law in various different ways. Preaching the Law in various different ways, I made use of the power of expedient means. But in these more than forty years, I have not yet revealed the truth. Therefore the ways they gained were not uniform but differed in different cases, and they have not been able to quickly attain unsurpassed enlightenment.
“Good men, the Law may be compared to water that can wash away dirt and defilement. A well, a pond, a river, a stream, a brook, a channel, a vast sea—all are capable of washing away all kinds of dirt and defilement. And the water of the Law is like this, because it can wash living beings clean of the dirt of earthly desires.
“Good men, water possesses a single nature, but rivers, streams, wells, ponds, brooks, channels, and vast seas each have their particular differences. The nature of the Law is like this too—in its ability to wash away grime and impediment, it is without differentiation. But in its categories of three doctrines, four stages, or two ways,1 it is not uniform.
“Good men, although all forms of water can be used for washing, a well is not the same as a pond, a pond is not the same as a river or stream, a brook or channel is not the same as the sea. And as the thus come one, hero of the world, enjoys complete freedom with regard to the Law, so the various doctrines that he preaches are like [these bodies of water]. What he preaches in the beginning, in the middle, and later, is in all cases capable of washing clean the earthly desires of living beings. But what he preaches in the beginning is not the same as what he preaches in the middle, and what he preaches in the middle is not the same as what he preaches later. The beginning, middle, and later preachings are identical in their words and phrases, but each is different in meaning.
“Good men, when I rose up from under the kingly [bodhi] tree, proceeded to Deer Park in Varanasi, and turned the wheel of the Law, preaching the four noble truths for Ajnata Kaundinya and the others of the five ascetics, I explained that the various phenomena are from the beginning all empty and tranquil, that they succeed each other without ever abiding, that from one instant to the next they are born and pass into extinction. During the middle period, both here and in various other places, for the sake of the monks and the host of bodhisattvas I expounded and set forth the twelve-linked chain of causation and the six paramitas, likewise explaining that the various phenomena are from the beginning all empty and tranquil, that they succeed each other without abiding, that from instant to instant they are born and pass into extinction. And now once more I am here expounding this great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, again explaining that the various phenomena are from the beginning all empty and tranquil, that they succeed each other without abiding, that from instant to instant they are born and pass into extinction. Therefore, good men, though in what I preach at the beginning, in the middle, and at a later time the words and phrases are the same, the meaning is quite different. Because the meaning is different, the understanding of living beings is different. And because their understanding is different, the doctrines they gain, the stages they gain, the ways they gain are likewise different.
“Good men, in the beginning I preached the four noble truths for the sake of those who wished to become voice-hearers. At that time eight million heavenly beings came down to listen to the Law and conceived a desire for enlightenment. In the middle period in one place and another I expounded the profound teaching of the twelve-linked chain of causation for the sake of those who wished to become pratyekabuddhas, and immeasurable numbers of living beings conceived the desire for enlightenment or abided at the level of voice-hearers.
“Then I preached the twelve divisions of the broad and impartial sutras, the teaching of great wisdom, and the Flower Garland teaching of the ocean-imprint meditation, describing the many kalpas of practice for bodhisattvas, and hundreds and thousands of monks and ten thousands and millions of human and heavenly beings, immeasurable living beings, were able to attain and abide in the stage of stream-winner, once-returner, non-returner, arhat, or pratyekabuddha, or in the doctrine of original causation.
“Good men, you should understand that in this sense, though my preachings are the same, they differ in their meaning. Because their meaning is different, the understanding of living beings is different. And because their understanding is different, the doctrines they gain, the stages they gain, the ways they gain are likewise.
“Therefore, good men, from the time I gained the way and first began to preach the Law down to the present day, when I expound the great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, I have never failed to preach suffering, emptiness, impermanence, no self, not absolute, not provisional, not big, not little, from the beginning not born, at the present time not passing into extinction, one aspect that is no aspect, the aspect of phenomena, the nature of phenomena, neither coming nor going, living beings shifting from one to another of the four aspects.
“Good men, for this reason none of the many buddhas ever vary in the words they speak. They can use a single sound to respond to all the multitude of voices everywhere, can use a single body to manifest bodies as numerous as the immeasurable, countless sands of hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of Ganges Rivers. And each of these bodies in turn manifests different types of forms numerous as the sands of some hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas and asamkhyas of Ganges Rivers. And each of these forms in turn manifests forms numerous as the sands of some hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas and asamkhyas of Ganges Rivers.
“Good men, this then is the inconceivably profound realm of the buddhas. It cannot be understood by persons of the two vehicles, nor can it be grasped even by bodhisattvas in the ten stages of security. Only between one buddha and another can it be fully comprehended.
“Good men, for this reason I have stated that this subtle, wonderful, profound, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra is true and correct in word and principle, worthy of unsurpassed veneration. It is guarded and protected by all the buddhas of the three existences. There is no devil host, no congregation of non-Buddhist believers who can invade it, nor can it be destroyed by any erroneous views or accidents of birth and death. If bodhisattvas mahasattva wish to gain unsurpassed enlightenment quickly, they should practice and study this profound, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra.”
When the Buddha finished speaking, the major world system quaked and trembled in six different ways. From the sky various different kinds of heavenly flowers rained down of their own accord, heavenly utpala flowers, padma flowers, kumuda flowers, pundarika flowers. There also rained down countless varieties of heavenly incense, heavenly robes, heavenly necklaces, and priceless heavenly jewels that came tumbling and turning through the air and descended as offerings to the Buddha and the great assembly of bodhisattvas and voice-hearers. Heavenly vessels from heavenly kitchens heaped and overflowing with heavenly foods of a hundred flavors, heavenly streamers, heavenly banners, heavenly canopies, and wonderful heavenly playthings were ranged here and there, heavenly musical instruments played, and songs were sung to praise the Buddha.
Then in the eastern region the buddha worlds, numerous as Ganges sands, also quaked and trembled in six different ways, raining down heavenly flowers, heavenly incense, heavenly robes, heavenly necklaces, priceless heavenly jewels, heavenly vessels from heavenly kitchens, a hundred heavenly flavors, heavenly streamers, heavenly banners, heavenly canopies, and wonderful heavenly playthings. Heavenly musical instruments played and songs were sung in praise of the buddhas and the great assembly of bodhisattvas and voice-hearers, and the same occurred in the southern, western, and northern regions, in the four intermediate directions, and in the upper and lower regions.
In this assembly, thirty-two thousand bodhisattvas mahasattva gained the samadhi of immeasurable meanings, thirty-four thousand bodhisattvas mahasattva gained countless immeasurable dharanis, and all were able to turn the unregressing wheel of the Law of all the buddhas of the three existences.
When the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, great wheel-turning kings, petty wheel-turning kings, kings of the silver wheel, the iron wheel, and other kinds of wheels, kings of states, princes, ministers, subjects, gentlemen and ladies of the state, and rich men of the state, along with the hosts of hundreds and thousands of followers accompanying them, heard the Buddha, the thus come one, preach this sutra, some gained the heat stage, the peak stage, the foremost worldly stage, the stage of stream-winner, of once-returner, of non-returner, of arhat, or of pratyekabuddha. Some gained the bodhisattva’s truth of birthlessness. Some gained one dharani, some two dharanis, some three dharanis, some four dharanis, some five, six, seven, eight, nine, or ten dharanis. Some gained hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of dharanis, and some gained an asamkhya of dharanis, immeasurable, countless as Ganges sands.
All were able to acquiesce and obey and to turn the unregressing wheel of the Law. Immeasurable numbers of living beings conceived the desire for supreme perfect enlightenment.