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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

More on Temdai Medieval Original Enlightenment thought

"Here is a passage from the "Ongi Kuden" upheld by Josei Toda as equivalent to the "Final Teachings" a term usually reserved for the Lotus Sutra itself. Here is a passage that preaches Medieval Tendai Hongaku Original Enlightenment]: "Twenty Three: "The Remotest past" [STN 3:2671]" 

"The Ongi Kuden states: The meaning of this (Fathoming the Lifespan") chapter lies in the Buddha’s actual attainment of enlightenment in the remotest past (kuon jitsujo). "Remotest past" has the meaning of "not setting in motion," "unadorned," and "being just as it is originally." Because this is the Buddha endowed with the uncreated three bodies, he does not attain enlightenment for the first time; this is "not setting in motion." He is not endowed with the thirty-two marks or eighty character characteristics; thus he is "unadorned." Because he is the originally inherent Buddha who constantly abides, this is "being just as it is originally." This is the meaning of the "remotest past." "Remotest past" (kuon) indicates Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. "Actual attainment" (jitsujo) means "truly opened," that is, opened [and revealed] as being uncreated." -- from "Some Disputed Writings in the Nichiren Corpus.. by J. Stone Ph.D., pages 526-527 }

Toda interprets this passage:

"In this passage, the text interprets the Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment in the remotest past, described in the "Fathoming the Lifespan" chapter, not as a past occurrence at some finite point in time, but as the revelation that Buddhahood is inherent originally. Hence the characters ‘jitsujo’—"actual attainment"—are accompanied by ‘furigana’ indicating that they are to be read ‘makoto ni hiraketari’ or "truly opened." 

This is a reasonably good example of Medieval Hongaku Thought being falsely represented as the idea of Nichiren Shonin. In it, the Buddha is no longer a real Buddha, sharing his limitless and timeless enlightenment by his compassion but is rather seen as the substance of the universe itself which is originally pure and enlightened and nothing past that. The Buddha is seen as an "originally inherent Buddha" who constantly abides and therefore has no beginning, explaining the limitless Lifespan of the Buddha. 

In Original Enlightenment thought, the Universal Body of the Buddha, sometimes called the "Dharma Body" becomes central. The Buddha is "things just as they are", inherent in the fabric of the Universe and all things and beings contained in it. So we can understand how by this view proponents of this theology eventually have declared the common person as the ‘real’ Buddha, or ‘all life’ as the Buddha. We have all seen SGI members say things like "I am the Buddha" or "The Buddha is me !"

So this is very a popular idea in the SGI because they understand that a philosophy that absolutely affirms ‘the self’ is attractive to people who are looking to feel better about themselves personally and who, at the same time, have rejected any sort of transcendent spiritual religious belief system, often due to a poor experience with the religion of their birth, (Christianity or Judaism) and who are now working that poor experience out on Buddhism. 

The question is whether or not this is "Koshogi", "the right old teachings of Nichiren Shonin" or something different and at odds with it. It is clear to me and many other people who are careful students of what Nichiren wrote, that Nichiren Shonin’s original teachings did not employ this formulation of Original Enlightenment as its basic premise.

An Eternal Universal Buddha (often called the Buddha’s "Dharma Body") is found in many of the Sutras and is nothing at all special. This Universal Buddha is the aspect of the Buddha that is identical with all things and beings in the Universe, perfect and inherently enlightened simply ‘as they are’, manifesting only an ‘unadorned’ (pure) existence. If this was all the Lotus Sutra preached, as it would have to for Original Enlightenment to be valid, it would just be more of the same, equal to other Sutras. But the Lotus Sutra stands apart from all of the prior teachings precisely because in it we find a Buddha whose wisdom and compassion is also eternal, an Eternal Reward Body (enlightened wisdom and conduct is the ‘reward’ of practice) which is really the central principle of Buddha, according Nichiren. The Manifest Body of Shakyamuni Buddha too is eternal according to Nichiren Daishonin

This Three Bodied Buddha is found in only one place, the Honmon section of the Lotus Sutra, which is the ‘Original Gate’ to enlightenment from which all enlightenment arises and whose merits and insight are squeezed down into the Object of Worship, for us to ‘receive and keep’ . It is this ‘Honmon Buddha’ (Essential Buddha or Central Buddha or Original Buddha), that Nichiren Shonin believed in, not this "Kanjin Buddha" of Original Enlightenment theology, a metaphorical Buddha that is a reflection of your own life. The Original Enlightenment ‘Kanjin Buddha’ is "Ri-Butsu", an idealized conception of a Buddha, not actually real but only a bag of meritorious conceptions that people shoot for as a goal . Substituting this "Kanjin |Buddha" for the Original and Eternal Buddha of the Honmon is "Hobo", a serious blasphemy, according to Nichiren Daishonin.. 

Nichiren rarely describes this Buddha in his authentic writings as "uncreate triple body" as we see in the above passage but instead constantly describes the Buddha as "Lord, Teacher, and Parent" , and the "Good Physician" who is ever watchful and dispensing the cure for our spiritual illness .

Nichiren is not simply using flowery language when he repeats over and over that the Buddha is ‘Lord, Teacher and Parent’ but rather it is indicative of a religious principle that upholds a real Buddha .."Ji-Butsu", an Actual Buddha, who lifts all beings to their enlightenment by inconceivable powers and via the grace of faith. 

When Nichiren writes that "it is hard to believe that the world of Buddha can exist in the world of Humans" in the Kanjin Honzon Sho, it does not indicate the sort of Dharma Body oriented inherency of Medieval Hongaku thought. 

The Buddha and Humans share the same reality but the human does not fathom the entirety of the universe and cannot attain enlightenment by his own meager powers in the age of Mappo. That is why true Nichiren Buddhists do not rely on meditation or undergo hard Tendai/Shingon like esoteric rituals to attempt to gain enlightenment by their own personal insight. Instead, the seed of Buddhahood must be planted within us. 

This occurs when we hear ‘Namu Myohorengekyo.’ The enlightenment of the Buddha is thereby ‘taken in’ and then exists in our own mind , as hard as that is to believe. So we receive the Daimoku when we hear it, which plants the seed of enlightenment and then we keep it via strong faith which provides a fertile field for the seed of enlightenment to grow. 

The universe does not simply just exist, it is also simultaneously being cognized, perfectly, what Myoraku Daishi called an "Inconceivable Field of Cognition" that the faithful can enter (as we all have a Buddha Nature) and which enters us (as the Buddha has full Enlightenment) both coming together bringing the ordinary person to enlightenment. That is something different than Hongaku idea’s of the common person being the Buddha inherently." --MS

****Slightly edited


  1. "You must listen carefully and hear of the Thus Come One's secret and his transcendental powers.

    "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." LS chapter16

    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."

    Any other way of not seeing and refuses to see what Thus come one Musa Sanjin Buddha is saying here by Shakyamuni is Hobo because you have mistaken the person Shakyamuni for the eternal unchanging law that only the 3 bodied Tathagata Thus Come One is.

    This is what you have accused the SGI as doing with Ikeda and NS with Nichiren how ironic and unfortunate that you cant see your reflection in them. Its about time that you all woke up to yourselves rather than being satisfied with shallow self serving explanations on Nichirens interpretations of Shakyamuni and the Lotus Sutra and see it all through clear eyes

    1. "Any other way of not seeing and refuses to see what Thus come one Musa Sanjin Buddha is saying here by Shakyamuni is Hobo because you have mistaken the person Shakyamuni for the eternal unchanging law that only the 3 bodied Tathagata Thus Come One is. "

      Hey, Noel-- I don't appreciate being called, "evil" because I have not disputed, much less disregarded Nichiren's teachings re: the identity of Shakyamuni Buddha-- as you have done, which by the way is, defined by the Buddha as "slander of the True Teaching".

      "This is what you have accused the SGI as doing with Ikeda and NS with Nichiren how ironic and unfortunate that you cant see your reflection in them."

      Noel, you are no less guilty of disregarding, or more precisely, slandering, the teachings of Nichiren and Shakyamuni. You may differ in not deferring to Ikeda or The High Priest du jour, but your behavior displays the same contempt for Nichiren and Shakyamuni as does the behavior of SGI and NST --.

      " Its about time that you all woke up to yourselves rather than being satisfied with shallow self serving explanations on Nichirens interpretations of Shakyamuni and the Lotus Sutra and see it all through clear eyes."

      I accept what Nichiren has written, appreciating his teachings in the context of his devotion to upholding and propagating the Lotus Sutra and thus fulfilling the prophesies declared by Shakyamuni.
      Nichiren's life validates Shakyamuni's teachings. What could be more clear?

      All that appears *clear* from your expressed viewpoint, is that you have a rather high regard for your own perceptions. So much so, that you are comfortable demeaning those who show respect and true regard for Nichiren-- while you chant the daimoku he taught and claim it rendered you superior to him!

      I can't help noticing how clearly you demonstrate the unreliability of perception through impaired sensed organs, that is the gravest impediment and most severe obstacle for all of us born in the Latter Day of the Law--.As you continue to deny what is True and good--you become less capable of seeing your own errors.

      Instead of continuing to attack and criticize those of us striving to protect the teachings of Nichiren, why don't you share your pet Buddha's strategy for saving all living beings in this saha world?


    2. "Hey, Noel-- I don't appreciate being called, "evil"

      Well guess what Katie we all are no matter how puritanical we think we are at deciphering what Nichiren and Shakyamuni are saying so get use to it like the rest of us in the suffering Saha world. This is why we try to heal ourselves and others through what we think, say and do while we search for intelligible reason through whatever means so that we makes sense of it all

      oneness of good and evil
      [善悪不二] (Jpn zen’aku-funi )

      Also, non-duality of good and evil. The principle that good and evil are not separate and distinct, but are inherent in all phenomena. "Good" in Buddhism means that which benefits oneself and others, while "evil" means that which harms oneself and others. Good and evil are not two mutually exclusive entities but are two different functions of life. The principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life elucidates that all possible conditions or states of existence reside within life at each moment. Life therefore simultaneously possesses the potential for both good and evil, and even when manifesting one, it is never devoid of the potential for the other. SGI Dictionary

    3. What It Means to Slander the Law - Gosho

      "A concept set forth by T’ien-t’ai in The Profound Meaning of the “Perceiver of the World’s Sounds” Chapter. He says, “The icchantika has eliminated good as an acquired quality and only retains good as an intrinsic quality, whereas the Buddha has eliminated evil as an acquired quality and only retains evil as an intrinsic quality.” This last quality is described as “the evil element inherent in the Buddha’s life,” which means that the Buddha understands the nature of evil, controls it, and uses it to lead all living beings to Buddhahood." note 50

      These references that have been kindly provided by the SGI library may help you grasp the concept of good and evil that you may have overlooked during your 20 year membership, hope this helps you in your endeavour to reach a more complete understanding of Nichiren Buddhism.... cheers

    4. In plain everyday, Mappo English-- you, Noel, said this:

      "Any other way of not seeing and refuses to see what Thus come one Musa Sanjin Buddha is saying here by Shakyamuni is Hobo because you have mistaken the person Shakyamuni for the eternal unchanging law that only the 3 bodied Tathagata Thus Come One is. "

      Appreciating all of the profound aspects of non duality and the inherent potential for evil, thoughts words and deeds we all share, I am sorry to have to point out that your authoritative, judgmental rendering of anyone who does not see what you see, as EVIL-- is poor form-- . Not appreciated. End of story.

      I guess you have to assume I am somehow intellectually inferior- why else would I severely criticize your arcane cosmic blueprint collection? I must be delusional or just plain feeble minded. Only a flawed mere mortal would object to having their substantiated views of Nichiren's teachings turned into a piñata by Noel Panton
      -- maybe it is only a game, after all.

      No fun being labeled and diagnosed by you-- and you aren't even close to convincing me that anything you believe is of any practical use-- So, thanks for giving me something new to ponder--catch you later--


  2. matrix of the Thus Come One [如来蔵] ( tathāgata-garbha;  nyorai-zō): Also, matrix of the Tathāgata, womb of the Thus Come One, womb of the Tathāgata, or Tathāgata-store. An expression that refers to all people or living beings as potential Buddhas.

    Tathāgata-garbha means that all living beings have the pure mind of the Thus Come One, or Buddha, hidden within the “matrix” or “womb” of their earthly desires. That all living beings are “the womb of the Thus Come One” means that all have the potential for attaining Buddhahood.

    This concept is found in various sutras and treatises, such as the Matrix of the Thus Come One Sutra, Shrīmālā Sutra, Secret Solemnity Sutra, The Treatise on the Treasure Vehicle of Buddhahood, and The Treatise on the Buddha Nature.

    For example, the Matrix of the Thus Come One Sutra states that all living beings are “the matrix of the Thus Come One,” the womb in which the Thus Come One is formed. The Sanskrit garbha means womb or embryo.

    According to the Shrīmālā Sutra, translated into Chinese by Gunabhadra, the Dharma body is buried or stored amid one’s earthly desires. When this store is opened, the Dharma body appears. Soka Gakkai NB Library

    1. When Shakyamuni Buddha of the Juryo Chapter, the Three Bodied Tathagata, says, "I sometimes show myself and sometimes another", who do yo think it is when he shows himself? He shows himself as the Shakyamuni Buddha of India or the Manifestation Body of the Three Bodied Tathagata from time without beginning.If you don't believe me, perhaps you will believe Nichiren:

    2. You have made Lord Shakya your God who has lived as common mortal with an ever changing reward body.

      You are a person worshipper Mark no doubt about that so go easy on the SGI and Ikeda because you are doing the same thing yourself as you are accusing them of.

      People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones but you have been hurtling boulders at every one that you disagree with and now I'm in your sights because I don't accept the eternal Shakyamuni Buddha obsession that you are possessed by and say that Nichiren had the same obsession.

      There is a deeper meaning behind the words for why Nichiren spoke the way he did about Shakyamuni. Nichiren was humble at times and didn't want people to think of him as a Buddha so by praising Lord Shakya it took the attention away from himself so I've been told.

      It is frowned upon in Japanese society to big note yourself with the exceptions within the cults. You are way out of line with my understanding of ichinen sanzen which is the ultimate principle of the Lotus Sutra.

      Though I've tried to explain many times its only fallen on death ears because your mind is set and I doubt that you will change

    3. Sorry noel. Your understanding of ichinen sanzen is erroneous. Your amala/alaya consciousness ideas are provisional doctrines that are the opposite of ichinen sanzen. Your self satisfied understanding is slander. As you can not read the gosho in japanese your understsnding is limited. There are over 128 gosho that are not translated into english. To assume you have a firm grasp of the teachings is ridiculous. You are the one with deaf ears and the inability to change. Musa sanjin is a japanese corruption of Tientai doctrine created to support the insane hongaku shiso doctrine. You need to study the equally evil corruption of the fourfold rise and fall.
      The shoshu Nichiren was humble line is bogus. Your understanding of the fuji monryu is incomplete. Have u been to japan and personally seen,heard and studied these things? Do yourself a favor and drop the provisional and embrace the true. Gassho
      信恵 本朝沙門

  3. Coming from someone that believes that shakyamuni has always been Buddha and always will be Buddha makes me not to able to take you seriously. Sorry about that Jerry but I hope you get there eventually. I'll send you some daimoku in the meantime Noël

  4. "Coming from someone that believes that Shakyamuni has always been Buddha and always will be Buddha makes me not to able to take you seriously." Is that why you don't take Nichiren seriously?

    1. I don't believe that Nichiren means what you think he says

  5. “However, later seeking and entering the deep cave, you see a single hermitage. The voices of the reading and reciting of the Hokekyo echo against blue heaven and the words of discussing the doctrine of the One Vehicle are heard in the midst of the mountains. Informing [them, of your presence and requesting] admittance, you enter the chamber, place your mother’s bones before the Master of Teachings Lord Shakya, cast your five limbs to the ground, press your palms together, and opening your two eyes, look up to the Holy Face: joy overflows your body and the pain of your heart suddenly ceases.”(On forgetting Ones Copy Of The Lotus Sutra, NOPPA Translation)

    “Shakyamuni Buddha our father and mother, who is endowed with the three virtues of soverign, teacher and parent, is the very one who encourages us, the people driven out by all the other Buddhas, saying, ‘I alone can save them’. The debt of gratitude we owe him is deeper than the ocean, weightier than the earth, vaster than the sky. Though we were to pluck out our two eyes and place them before him as an offering until there were more eyes there than stars in the sky, though we were to strip off our skins and spread them out by the hundreds of ten thousands until they blanketed the ceiling of heaven, though we were to give him our tears as offerings of water and present him with flowers for the space of a hundred billion kalpas, though we were to offer him our flesh and blood for innumerable kalpas, until our flesh piled up like mountains and our blood overflowed like vast seas, we could never repay a fraction of the debt we owe to this Buddha!” (Ibid, pg 71-72)

    1. If Lord Shakya wasn't at one with the eternal 3 bodied Tathagatta he would be a common mortal.

      The eternal buddha that we praise is the eternal 3 bodied tathagata thus come one but some refer to as the eternal Shakyamuni buddha.

      I feel this is where the confusion is that needs to be sorted out

    2. The eternal Three bodied tathagata that is one with lord shakya sure is great and lord shakya that is one with the eternalthree bodied tathagata sure is great

  6. "I don't believe that Nichiren means what you think he says"

    Another aspect of Nichiren's teachings that distinguishes this religion from the major world religions is that the writings are extant, and are consistent,literal pronouncements, as opposed to metaphorical, or metaphysical innuendos.

    It may be just another aspect of our minds in mappo, to want or need to *interpret* what is written-- but, Nichiren, knowing we were afflicted with this flaw, painstakingly clarified all crucial matters for us to be able to *believe*, have faith and practice Shakyamuni's Lotus Sutra. This, perhaps is Nichiren's greatest display of deep concern for others, it certainly shows his deep insight into our plight and thoughtfulness for our challenges to "think straight".

    Not being able to believe, and therefore, not rejoicing at hearing the Law and the teachings expounded by Nichiren, that resonate with our time, is a karmic impediment-- that would be understood via the doctrine of inchinen sanzen, specifically examining the realm of a single human life--Of the five components that unite temporarily to create a single living being , "consciousness," is the most important for us in the Latter Day--It is subject to our *conscious* control through self discipline and dedication , which is why we are *able to* believe in and take faith in the Lotus Sutra"

    How do we master out minds? Nichiren taught we need daimoku and devotion to the one True, Ultimate teaching--

    If one applies oneself to assiduous practice, not accepting a single verse or teaching from any other than the Lotus Sutra, then one will come to believe--and will naturally rejoice in the Law. From that moment faith is aroused and wisdom wells forth. This pure wisdom is the exact *thing* we need, that we cannot manifest in the Latter Day due to our past karma and sins of slander of the Law.

    At no time has attaining enlightenment been a cake walk. It is reasonable to assume it will become more difficult as our lives become more heavily stained with the three poisons-- For some, the greatest difficulty is *believing* EXACTLY what the Buddha taught--

    Note: again, that is why Nichiren was so meticulous in writing EXACTLY what he intended to convey. Literally-- very different style form what most of us are familiar with reading in religious/spiritual texts.

    Believe is first- practice with this belief firmly in mind-- then, actual proof will manifest, great joy will well forth, faith will be aroused AND True wisdom will allow one to enter the path of Buddhahood--

    The first stage of practice in the Latter Day is "rejoicing on hearing the Law"-- and practice advances on a continuum -- BUT just as in most cases of child/human development, it matters not how long one remains in a particular stage of development, but the milestone must be achieved before moving along to the next stage-- Just like this, our Buddhist practice progresses--

    So many who were introduced to Nichiren's practice in America are still cycling in the six lower worlds, mistaking rapture for enlightenment -- and have yet to experience joy from the Law-- Like the children playing the burning house, unaware of the danger-- absorbed in their play, they are the most difficult to shakubuku-- attached to worldly fame and treasures of the store house-- and full of distorted views that appear to bring them benefit--which are fed and fanned by Daisaku Ikeda-- causing the flames to engulf entire cities :-O

  7. and unfortunately, entire nations