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Friday, February 5, 2016

Nichiren on fundamental darkness

"The Buddhas, because they were enlightened by the Lotus Sutra, were able to attain Buddhahood. Therefore, if they should fail to preach the sutra to others, they would be withholding from others the seeds of Buddhahood and would be committing a fault. For this reason, the Thus Come One Shakyamuni made his appearance in this sahā world and prepared to preach it. But the devil king of the sixth heaven, otherwise known as the fundamental darkness, took possession of the bodies of all the people and caused them to hate the Buddha and impede his preaching.

Thus the king known as Virūdhaka killed five hundred people of the Shākya clan; Angulimāla chased after the Buddha; Devadatta rolled a huge stone down on him; and Chinchā, the daughter of a Brahman, tied a bowl to her belly and claimed to be pregnant with the Buddha’s child.

The lord of a Brahman city proclaimed that a fine of five hundred ryō of gold should be levied against anyone who invited the Buddha into the city. As a result, the people of the city blocked the road with thorns, threw filth into the wells, built a barricade of spikes at the gate, and put poison in the Buddha’s food, all because of their hatred of him.

The nun Utpalavarnā was murdered, Maudgalyāyana was killed by Brahmans of the Bamboo Staff school, and Kālodāyin was buried in horse dung, all because of animosity toward the Buddha.

Nevertheless, the Buddha managed to survive these various ordeals, and, at the age of seventy-two, forty-two years after he first began preaching the Buddhist teachings, at a mountain called Gridhrakūta northeast of the city of Rājagriha in central India, he began to preach the Lotus Sutra. He preached it for a period of eight years. Then, on the bank of the Ajitavatī River at the city of Kushinagara in eastern India, in the middle of the night on the fifteenth day of the second month, when he was eighty years of age, he entered nirvana.

But before that, he had revealed his enlightenment in the form of the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, the words of this sutra are indeed the very soul of Shakyamuni Thus Come One. And since every single word constitutes the soul of the Buddha, Shakyamuni Thus Come One will protect those who practice this sutra as though he were protecting his very own eyes. He will accompany them just as a shadow accompanies a body. How then could the prayers of such persons not be answered?" -- On Prayer

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