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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Reverend Yasahara corrects Graham Lamont


Hongaku means Original Enlightenment. Shigaku means the attainment of 
enlightenment. To explain the relationship between Hongaku and Shigaku, there 
are some metaphors.  For one example,  a man is in a dark room with furniture, 
but he can not see and make use of anything inside the room because it is 
dark.  However, when once he turns on the light, he gets to be able to see the 
furniture clearly in the room.  In this situation, the furniture was there from 
the beginning, however, he sees it only after he turns on the light.  It is not 
that the furniture suddenly appeared.  The furniture was always there.  It was 
just he could not see it.  The fact that the furniture was there from the 
beginning stands for the Hongaku.  And the fact that turning on the light and 
getting to be able to see the furniture stands for the Shigaku.  Another 
example, there was a blind man.  He could see nothing.  One day in excellent 
doctor came to see him and had an operation on his eyes.  As a result, the 
doctor opened his eyes and he gets to be able to see the sun and the moon.  As 
we know, the sun and the moon were originally there (Hongaku).  But he saw them 
for the first time when his eyes were cured (Shigaku).  

Therefore, when one attains the enlightenment (Shigaku), he never fail to 
attain the original enlightenment (Hongaku).  And it is not until when one has 
Shigaku that he becomes aware of Hongaku (Oh! Everything has been originally in 
the enlightened state!!).  

So, until the time we have Shigaku, we should make use of our power of belief 
that this world is in reality the Buddha's Pure Land.  Nichiren Daishonin said 
in his writing named "Junyoze no koto", "Like waking up to reality from dream 
where one saw various illusion; after cleaning off the deluded thought and 
view, then you will see that everywhere in the dharma world is the Pure Land of 
tranquil light, and that the body of your own is the Tathagata of original 
enlightenment (Hongaku) possessing the three bodies in one."  

Some say that "Junyoze no koto" is a 'forgery' ?  However, this Gosho is one of 
Roku-nai Goshos.  So it should be considered as a genuine Gosho.  I think the 
attitude of discarding every Gosho that contradicts one's own opinion would 
prevent one from understanding proper Nichiren Buddhism.  The note I wrote 
about Hongaku and Shigaku was from what I studied from Rev.  Honda's book named 
"Daizokyo Yogi" (a commentary on the essential point of the Buddhist Canon), 
which consists of thick eleven volumes.  And Rev. Honda preaches about Hongaku 
and Shigaku in PP35-37 of its fourth volume, where Rev. Honda himself cites 
the very same part of 'Junyoze no koto' that I translated and wrote in the last 
answer note.  So that is of course no problem.  Incidentally, I have obtained 
almost all books of Rev.  Honda and studied them precisely before.  So I want 
to say that people should not have a falsely fixed idea on the teachings of 
Kempon Hokke or true Buddhism Needless to say, the explanation I wrote about 
Hongaku and Shigaku have nothing to do with the Ideology of Hongaku of medieval 
old T'ien T'ai, which teaches that we need not practice because everyone has 
already enlightened. 

Rev. Sorin Yasuhara 
Kempon Hokke Shu 


September 22, 1998 

As you know the parables regarding "Hongaku and Shigaku" I wrote before was 
from the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (pp.522-523 Vol,2) which Rev.  Honda cited in 
his book along with "Junyoze no koto". 

Answer to Mr. Lamont's last note 

1) Lamont and some of the other sect's scholars thinks "Junyoze no Koto' is a 
forgery. But teachers of Jumonryu (followers of Nichiju) do not.  Rev. Honda 
used this Gosho to support his view not only in "Daizokyo yogi" but also even 
in "Hokekyo Kogi" ("Lectures on the Lotus Sutra") the copy or which Lamont 
stated he had in his last note.  Also Rev.  Honda put this Gosho into his  
"Seigoroku" (analects of sacred words).  Moreover, another famous teacher of 
Jumonryu, Rev.  Nisshi Nakagawa also put this Gosho into his "Seigoroku" 
(analects of sacred words).  I think the reason why he insists that this Gosho 
is a forgery is that it bothers his biased view on the Nichiren Buddhism.  It 
is the matter of course that this Gosho does not bother the correct view of 
Jumonryu at all. 

2) Lamont brings forward the so-called "Hongaku shiso" (ideology of Hongaku) 
and refutes it citing Rev. Honda"s words in "Hokekyo kogi,"with which he 
thinks is a refutation to my last note regarding "Hongaku and Shigaku'. And 
Lamont hates Hongaku monism and thinks Hongaku monism is not the view of 
Jumonryu (followers of Nichiju). 

I agree with him on the point that "Hongaku shiso" is wrong.  But it is totally 
beside the mark to refute us with refuting "Hongaku shiso".  Because the term 
"Hongaku" itself never means nor imply the "Hongaku shiso".  He misunderstands 
to take the term "Hongaku" immediately as "Hongaku shiso".  This is the most 
critical and fundamental error in his view. 

As I explained before, the term "Hongaku" only means "Original Enlightenment". 
This, as everyone can see very easily, is what is preached in the Honmom
(Original Doctrine), especially in the Chapter 16 'Measure of life'. On the other
hand, in the Shakumon (Manifestation Doctrine) it preaches on the basis of
"Shigaku" (Attainment of Enlightenment).  Therefore, needless to say the,
 subject of "Hongaku and Shigaku" is parallel to the subject of "Honmon and

If I add a little more explanation here, in the Shakumon there is a matter of 
"attaining" but in the Honmom there is no such a matter because Honmon is the 
view or world which is preached from the stand point of Original (Eternal) 
Buddha, In other words. Shakamon is based on dualism and preaches distinction 
(discrimination) between worldly beings and Buddha; Honmom is based on monism 
and preaches the ultimate equality of worldly beings and Buddha. If Buddhism 
does not preach the monism and only upholds dualism, it loses its life. There 
are in the world many other religions like Judaism, Christianity or lslam which 
is based on dualism with the teachings of absolute discrimination between 
divinity and humanity. And they are wrong in their object of worship and 
doctrine of ultimate dualism.  In other words, it is a matter of common 
knowledge that Nichiren Buddhism is a religion of monism, because the Lotus 
Sutra (Hokekyo) is the teaching or One Vehicle (Ichi-jo).  More importantly, it 
does not mean mechanical monism but means the monism that can only be attained 
by our faith of whole-hearted devotion (Namu). In this sense, chanting Namu 
Myoho Renge Kyo (Daimoku) wholeheartedly is essential for this monism.  It is 
so to speak a bridge between the dualism and monism. And this is the theory of 
Sokushin-Jobutsu (attaining buddhahood in this very body) of Nichiren Buddhism 
So if one stays attached to the view that the dualism is the ultimate substance 
of the doctrine of Nichiren Buddhism, where can he find the chance of Jobutsu 
(attaining buddhahood)?  With such a wrong view, Buddha and he have to be the 
parallel lines forever. 

In the "Kanjin Honzon Sho" (On the Object of Worship in Contemplation), 
Nichiren Daishonin states "Now the Saha World of the Original Time is the 
Ever-abiding Pure Land apart from the Three Calamities and outside of the Four 
Kalpas. The Buddha has not already been extinguished in the past and will not 
be born in the future. Those who are converted are of the same essence.  This 
is identical to the complete possession of the three thousand (realms) of one's 
own mind, the three types world" (translated by Lamont). How does Lamont read 
this essential part of this Gosho?  Does he reject the "Kanjin Honzon Sho" as a 
forgery, too?  By the way, "Hongaku Shiso" is a distorted view derived from the 
erroneous understanding of the doctrine of Buddha's three bodies. This view 
does not take the three bodies unitedly. Instead, after separating worldly 
beings and Buddha, the view links the Dharma Body (but this is merely an 
abstract one which is equivalent to a man in the dark or a blind man before the 
operation in the parables I wrote in the first note) only to the worldly beings 
and the other two bodies (Enjoyment Body and Response Body) to the Buddha.  
Then, one who has this view stays conceited thinking that it is the worldly 
beings that are the Original Buddha and Buddhas like Shakya, Taho are merely 
the Manifestation Buddha, In this way this view shuts the door to attaining 
buddhahood.  Therefore, the subject of "Hongaku shiso" is the matter of 
misunderstanding regarding the doctrine of Buddha's three bodies. That is by 
no means the matter of  "Hongaku and Shigaku". One must not be confused to 
connect Incidentally, the part of Gosho I cited from "Junyoze no koto" was 
"Like waking up to reality from dream where one saw various illusion; after 
deluded thought and view, then you will see that everywhere in is the Pure Land 
of tranquil light, and that the body of your own is the Tathagata of original 
enlightenment possessing the three bodies in one." Let us see the underlined 
part, it expresses the ultimate state of us which comes after cleaning off the 
deluded thought and view (practice).  And what one should know here is that the 
"Tathagata of original enlightenment possessing the three bodies in one" is the 
very "Actual Buddha" (Ji Butsu) revealed in the Chapter 16 of the Hokekyo.  
That is by no means the Ideality (Abstraction) of Unmanifest Original 
Enlightenment (Hongaku no ritai) or Abstract Buddha (Ributsu). 

Accordingly, there was no room for argument in here from the first without 
Lamont's confusion and misunderstanding.  If he has some more confusion in 
these regards, he should read carefully the writings of Nichiren Daishonin or 
teachers of Jumonryu, especially Nichiju Daishoshi's "Fuju-sho" instead of 
those commentaries written by the other sect's's scholars.  So he will surely 
find the break-through. 

With Gassho, 
Rev. Sorin Yasuhara 

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