“One should consider the fact that, if the Buddha had not attained enlightenment in the distant past, there could not have been so many people converted to his teachings.” — The Opening of the Eyes
The Buddha is the source of both the Specific and the General transmission. The Gohonzon, though a text, is the reality of the Buddha.
“The Maka Shikan says: “If one lacks faith in the Lotus sutra he will object that it pertains to the lofty realm of the sages, something far beyond the capacity of his own wisdom to comprehend. If one lacks wisdom, he will become puffed up with his own arrogance and will claim to be the equal of the Buddha.” – The Opening of the Eyes
The transmission of the Law in the Latter Day is chanting Namu Myoho renge kyo to a valid Gohonzon and encouraging others to do the same. Nichiren Daishonin, unlike the SGI and the Nichiren Shoshu, never advocated a model based on a patriarchal transmission, patriarchal transmission of the golden mouthed ones, nor a patriarchal transmission through current masters. In Shakyamuni’s and Nichiren’s Buddhism, there is neither an oral nor a patriarchal transmission of the Law. The Succession Through the Scrolls of the Sutra is the true meaning of exoteric Mahayana Buddhism.
Nichiren Daishonin writes:
“Are persons who receive instruction orally from their teacher invariably free from error, while those who appear in later ages and who seek and investigate to be regarded as worthless? If so, then should we throw away the sutras and instead follow traditions handed down from the four ranks of bodhisattvas? Should a man throw away the deed of transfer received from his father and mother and instead rely upon oral transmissions? Are the written commentaries of the Great Teacher Dengyo so much trash, and the oral traditions handed down from the Great Teacher Jikaku the only guide to truth?” (Gosho Zenshu, p.1258)
To disabuse those who would adopt the teachings of Buddhist elites, conmen, and posseurs, I would like to further cite Nichiren Daishonin and the Lotus Sutra:
“Putting all this aside, I will point out the truth for the sake of my followers. Because others do not choose to believe it now, they are persons who thereby form a reverse relation. By tasting a single drop, one can tell the flavor of the great ocean, and by observing a single flower in bloom, one can predict the advent of spring. One does not have to cross the water to faroff Sung China, spend three years traveling to Eagle Peak in India, enter the palace of the dragon king the way Nagarjuna did, visit Bodhisattva Maitreya [in the Tushita heaven] the way Bodhisattva Asanga did, or be present at the two places and three assemblies when Shakyamuni preached the Lotus Sutra, in order to judge the relative merits of the Buddha’s lifetime teachings. It is said that snakes can tell seven days in advance when a flood is going to occur. This is because they are akin to dragons [who make the rain fall]. Crows can tell what lucky or unlucky events are going to take place throughout the course of a year. This is because in a past existence they were diviners. Birds are better at flying than human beings. And I, Nichiren, am better at judging the relative merits of sutras than Ch’eng-kuan of the Flower Garland school, Chia-hsiang of the Three Treatises school, Tz’u-en of the Dharma Characteristics school, and Kobo of the True Word school. That is because I follow in the footsteps of the teachers T’ien-t’ai and Dengyo. If Ch’eng-kuan and the others had not accepted the teachings of T’ien-t’ai and Dengyo, how could they have expected to escape the sin of slandering the Law?
I, Nichiren, am the richest man in all of present-day Japan. I have dedicated my life to the Lotus Sutra, and my name will be handed down in ages to come. If one is lord of the great ocean, then all the gods of the various rivers will obey one. If one is king of Mount Sumeru, then the gods of the various other mountains cannot help but serve one. If a person fulfills the teaching of “the six difficult and nine easy acts” of the Lotus Sutra, then, even though he may not have read the entire body of sutras, all should follow him.” –The Opening of the Eyes
Nichiren Daishonin is a far more accomplished Master than any past or present priest or layman.
“The Great Teacher Dengyo was disparaged by the priests of Nara, who said, “Saicho has never been to the capital of T’ang China!” (ibid.)
“The Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai trusted and obeyed Shakyamuni and worked to uphold the Lotus school, spreading its teachings throughout China.” — On the Buddha’s Prophecy
“In the Tendai school, however, there appeared a priest known as the Great Teacher Miao-lo. Though he lived more than two hundred years after the time of the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai, he was extremely wise and had a clear understanding of the teachings of T’ien-t’ai…” – Repaying Debts of Gratitude
Who credentialed or certified Tientai, Miao-lo, or Nichiren? Nichiren Daishonin gave himself the Buddhist name Nichi-Ren. Who ordained Shakyamuni Buddha? This nonsense about seeking a living master will stifle your growth and development as a direct disciple of the Original Buddha. It is the evil priestly and monastic agenda to coerce you into accepting them as teachers and offering them alms, rather than the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha and Nichiren Daishonin. Their’s is not True Mahayana (exoteric Buddhism) which is based on the Succession Through the Scrolls of the Sutra and the authentic writings of Nichiren. The Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin teach that we are direct disciples of the Original Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni. Buddhism is accessible to all with or without a “face to face” transmission.
Nichiren Daishonin states:
“While the Great Teacher Jikaku was in Japan, he made a thorough study of the teachings of both Dengyo and Kobo, and he spent a period of ten years in China studying under the eight distinguished priests, including the Tripitaka Master Pao-yüeh of southern India, learning all the loftiest and most secret doctrines. On this basis, he completed his commentaries on the two sutras. In addition, he prayed to the image of the Buddha, and awoke from dreaming that he had seen the arrow of wisdom strike the sun of the Middle Way. So great was his joy that he requested Emperor Nimmyo to issue an edict acknowledging Mount Hiei as a center of the True Word practice.
Though he was the chief priest of the Tendai school, he virtually became a True Word prelate, declaring that the three True Word sutras were the works that would ensure peace and protection of the nation. It has now been more than four hundred years since he spread these doctrines. The eminent leaders who have accepted them are as numerous as rice and hemp seedlings, and the fervent believers who have embraced them are as plentiful as bamboo plants and rushes.
As a result, of all the temples established throughout Japan by Emperor Kammu and the Great Teacher Dengyo, there is not one that has not become a propagator of the True Word doctrine. Both courtiers and warriors alike invite True Word priests to attend to their religious needs, look up to them as their teachers, confer offices upon them, and place them in charge of temples. And in the eye-opening ceremony carried out at the consecration of wooden and painted Buddhist images, the priests of all the eight schools of Buddhism now use the mudras and mantras of the Thus Come One Mahavairochana and the honored one Buddha Eye! — Repaying Debts of Gratitude
Look what happened to Buddhism with men like Jikaku who studied under, “the Eight Distinguished Teachers”, every one of them certified, credentialed and ordained. Also, the priestly shackle that some advocate, diminishes one’s faith in the Supreme Law affirmed by all Buddhas (Myoho renge kyo). Others studied under men who were heretics or traitors to Nichiren and still others were trained, ordained and/or, certified by modern day disciples of these shameful men. Nichiren continues:
“Question: When it comes to those who maintain that the Lotus Sutra is superior to the True Word teachings, should they try to make use of these commentaries by Jikaku, or should they reject them?
Answer: Shakyamuni Buddha laid down a rule for future conduct when he said that we should “rely on the Law and not upon persons.” Bodhisattva Nagarjuna says that one should rely on treatises that are faithful to the sutras, but not rely on those that distort the sutras. T’ien-t’ai states, “That which accords with the sutras is to be written down and made available. But put no faith in anything that in word or meaning fails to do so.” And the Great Teacher Dengyo says, “Depend upon the preachings of the Buddha, and do not put faith in traditions handed down orally.” — The Selection of the Time
“Instead of wasting all those supplies and making work for other people by insisting upon traveling all the way to China, they should have made a more careful and thorough study of the doctrines of the Great Teacher Dengyo, who was their own teacher!.” –Repaying Debts of Gratitude
“But after he went to China at the age of forty, though he continued to call himself a disciple of Dengyo and went through the motions of carrying on Dengyo’s line, he taught a kind of Buddhism that was wholly unworthy of a true disciple of Dengyo.” (ibid.)
Although I am merely an ignorant layman, I think that some of our present day priests and so-called mentors should have made a more careful and thorough study of the doctrines of Nichiren Daishonin who they claim as their Buddhist Master. Then they wouldn’t be teaching a type of Buddhism that is wholly unworthy of a true disciple of Nichiren. One mentor in particular has shackled his disciples to himself like a sick siamese twin who will eventually end up killing both himself and his sibling.
“At that time, after the great assembly had heard the Buddha speak of the
great length of his life-span, incalculable, limitless asamkhyeyas of
living beings gained a great advantage. At that time, the World-Honored
One declared to the bodhisattva-mahasattva Maitreya: “O Ajita!
When I preached on the great length of the life-span of the Thus Come
One, living beings to the number of sands in six hundred and eighty
myriads of millions of nayutas of Ganges rivers gained acceptance of
[the doctrine of] the unborn dharmas. Again, a thousand times this
number of bodhisattva-mahsattvas heard and were enabled to take hold
of the gateway of the dharanis. Again, bodhisattva-mahasattvas equal
to the number of the atoms in one world-sphere gained joy in preaching
and unimpeded eloquence. Again, bodhisattva-mahasattvas equal in
number to the atoms in one world-sphere gained the dharani that can
be turned to a hundred thousand myriads of millions of incalculable
[uses]. Again, bodhisattva-mahasattvas equal in number to the atoms
in the thousand-millionfold world were enabled to turn the unreceding
Wheel of the Dharma. Again, bodhisattva-mahasattvas equal in number
to the atoms in two thousand middle lands were enabled to turn the
pure Wheel of the Dharma. Again, bodhisattva-mahasattvas equal in
number to the atoms in a minor thousand of lands were destined
after eight rebirths to gain anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Again, bodhi
sattva-mahasattvas equal to four times the number of atoms under
four heavens were destined after four rebirths to gain anuttarasamvak
sambodhi. Again, bodhisattva-mahasattvas equal in number to threetimes
the number of atoms under four heavens were destined after three
the number of atoms under four heavens were destined after three
rebirths to gain anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Again, bodhisattva-maha-
sattvas equal in number to twice the atoms under four heavens
were destined after two rebirths to gain anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”
– Lotus Sutra Chapter 17
Nichiren Shonin quotes Nan-yueh:
"The Daigo shojin Sutra says: ‘Ordinary beings and the Thus Come One share a single Dharma body. Being pure and mystic beyond comparison, it is called Myoho-renge-kyo.’” — Entity of the Mystic Law
“Those who practice the Lotus Sutra are pursuing through this single act of devotion the mind that is endowed with all manner of fortunate results. These are present simultaneously and are not acquired gradually over a long period of time. This is like the blossom of the lotus which, when it opens, already possesses a large number of seeds or results. Hence such persons are called the people of the one vehicle.” — The Entity of the Mystic Law
“Thereupon Shakyamuni Buddha rose from the seat of the Dharma, and by great supernatural powers, put his right hand on the heads of the innumerable Bodhisattva-mahasattvas, and said: “For many hundreds of thousands of billions of asamkhyas of kalpas, I studied and practiced the Dharma difficult to obtain, and [finally attained] Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Now I will transmit the Dharma to you. Propagate it with all your hearts, and make it known far and wide.” — Lotus Sutra, Chapter 22 Transmission
The merit of the Buddha comes directly from the Buddha. After the close of Chapter 22, the replicas of Shakyamuni Buddha never again appear. They went back to their home worlds at the end of this chapter because the Buddha has entrusted Bodhisattva Jogyo and the Bodhisattvas of the Earth with carrying out the transmission of the Dharma in this Latter Age. The transmission of Buddhahood come from the Original Buddha Shakyamuni and nowhere else.
Nichiren Daishonin in the “Ho’on Jo” [Repaying Debts of Gratitude], enumerates the Three Great Secret Laws (“san dai hi ho”):
“The first is the object of worship (honzon). All the people in Japan as well as the rest of the whole world should revere the Lord Buddha Shakyamuni (Original and Eternal Buddha) revealed in the essential section (honmon) of the Lotus Sutra as the Object of Worship (honzon)…”; Second, there is the high sanctuary of true Buddhism; Third, in Japan, China, India and all the other countries of the world, every person, regardless of whether he is wise or foolish, shall set aside other practices and join in the chanting of Namu-myoho-renge-kyo.”
In the “Kanjin Honzon Sho” [True Object of Worship], he says:
“Shakyamuni Buddha, the Lord preacher of this pure land, has never died in the past, nor will He be born in the future. He exists forever throughout the past present and future.” In the Senji Sho [Selection of the Time] we read, “It was not I, Nichiren, who made these three important predications. I believe it was solely the spirit of Shakyamuni Buddha, entering my body, who made them.”
On the Four Stages of Faith and The Five Stages of Practice Reads,
“Within these chapters of transmission, the four stages of faith and the five stages of practice expounded in the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter refer to what is most important in the practice of the Lotus Sutra, and are a standard for those living in the time of the Buddha and after his passing.
Ching-hsi writes: “‘To produce even a single moment’s faith and understanding’ represents the beginning in the practice of the essential teaching.” Of these various stages, the four stages of faith are intended for those living in the Buddha’s lifetime, and the five stages of practice for those living after his passing. Among these, the first of the four stages of faith is that of producing even a single moment’s faith and understanding, and the first of the five stages of practice is that of rejoicing on first hearing the Lotus Sutra. These two stages together form a casket containing the treasures of the “hundred worlds and thousand factors” and the “three thousand realms in a single life-moment”; they are the gate from which all Buddhas of the ten directions and the three existences emerge.”
Nichiren Daishonin goes on to say,
“Answer: This is a very important question, and so I will be referring to the text of the sutra in answering you. In describing the first, second and third of the five stages of practice, the Buddha restricts those at these stages from practicing precepts and meditation, and places all emphasis upon the single factor of wisdom. And because our wisdom is inadequate, he teaches us to substitute faith, making this single word “faith” the foundation. Disbelief is the cause for becoming an icchantika and for slander of the True Law, while faith is the cause for wisdom and corresponds to the stage of myoji-soku.’
“Answer: Such persons are restricted from practicing almsgiving, the keeping of the precepts, and the others of the five paramitas, and are directed to chant Namu-myoho-renge-kyo exclusively. This practice corresponds to the capacity of persons at the stages of “producing even a single moment’s faith and understanding” and “rejoicing on first hearing the Lotus Sutra.” It represents the true intention of the Lotus Sutra. ”
And further along:
“Question: When your disciples, without any understanding, simply recite with their mouths the words Namu-myoho-renge-kyo, what level of attainment do they reach?
Answer: Not only do they go beyond the highest level of the four tastes or the three teachings as well as that attained by practitioners of the perfect teaching set forth in the sutras that precede the Lotus Sutra, but they surpass by millions and billions of times the founders of the Shingon and various other schools of Buddhism–men such as Shan-wu-wei, Chih-yen, T’zu-en, Chi-tsang, Tao-hsuan, Bodhidharma and Shan-tao.”
Nichiren Daishonin writes:
“Although Nichiren dwells in such a remote and forlorn retreat [Minobu], within the heart of his fleshly body he holds concealed the secret Dharma of the sole great matter (ichidaiji) transmitted by the Eternal Shakyamuni, master of teachings, on Vulture Peak.” –Nanjo Hyoe Shichiro-dono gohenji
The Dharma is not something handed down from a master to a disciple, but directly accessible to anyone at any moment via a personal relationship formed with the Buddha and the Lotus Sutra by chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.
From the Object of Devotion For Observing the Mind:
“..the Eternal Lord Shakyamuni’s practices undertaken as the cause (for attaining Buddhahood), and his virtues acquired as their effect, are completely contained within the five characters of Myoho-Renge-Kyo. When we receive and hold these five characters, he will spontaneously transfer to us the merit of his causes and effects.”
To conclude, when we chant Namu Myoho renge kyo with faith in and reverence for the Lotus Sutra, Gohonzon, Shakyamuni Buddha, and the Daimoku, and spread the teachings to the best of our abilities, we are Bodhisattvas of the Earth, requiring no intercession by either priest nor layman.