Again, it appears that in the pre-Lotus sutras great bodhisattvas, gods, and men were guaranteed to obtain Buddahood in the future. However, that guarantee is merely of color and shape without substance, just like trying to grab the moon's reflection in the water or taking the shadow for reality. We might say in those pre-Lotus sutras they do not owe the Buddha as much as they seemed.
Upon reaching enlightenment under the bodhi tree, Sakyamuni Buddha did not preach. Instead some sixty great bodhisattvas such as Hoe, Kudokurin, Kongodo, and Kongozo appeared before the Lord Sakyamuni from all over the universe to preach, in response to the request of such bodhisattvas as Genju and Gedatsugatsu, the doctrine concerning the fifty-two steps to Buddhahood. This fifty-two step doctrine was not what they learned from Sakyamuni. The Kings of Brahma Heaven of all the worlds in the universe and others also came to preach, but what they preached was not what they learned from Sakyamuni. All the great bodhisattvas, gods, dragon-gods, and others in the Flower Garland assembly were great bodhisattvas who had won Mahayana enlightenment before Sakyamuni Buddha. They might have been Sakyamuni's disciples in the past when He was still practicing the way of bodhisattva. Or, they might have been disciples of those Buddhas in the universe who had won Buddhahood before Sakyamuni. At any rate they were not disciples of Lord Sakyamuni preaching the Flower Garland Sutra aFter attaining enlightenment under the bodhi tree.
It was only after Sakyamuni began preaching the Four Teachings (zogyo-Hinayana teaching, tsugyo-common teaching, bekkyo-Mahayana teaching and engyo-perfect teaching) in the Agon, Hodo, and Hannya sutras that He began having disciples. These sutras were preached by Sakyamuni, but His preachings in them were not really His own. Why is that so? It is because the bekkyo and engyo teachings in the Hodo and Hannya sutras were not any different from those in the Flower Garland Sutra, which were not of Sakyamuni Himself but of such great bodhisattvas as Hoe. Those bodhisattvas appear at first glance to have been the Buddha's disciples, but it is more proper to say that they were His teachers. Having listened to them preach bekkyo and engyo teachings in the Flower Garland Sutra, the Buddha learned from them and repeated the teachings when he preached the Hodo and Hannya Sutras later. Therefore the bekkyo and engyo teachings of the Hodo and Hannya are exactly like those in the Flower Garland Sutra, and those great bodhisattvas are teachers of Sakyamuni Buddha. This is the reason these bodhisattvas were called "good friends" meaning not exactly teachers nor disciples. The two teachings of zokyo and tsugyo are merely branches of bekkyo and engyo. Those bodhisattvas such as How who knew the latter should have known the former as well.
The teacher reveals to disciples what they do not know. For instance, all Brahmans among men and gods before the time of Sakyamuni Buddha were disciples of Siva, Visnu, and the Three Hermits. Although they split into ninety-five schools, their teachings did not go beyond those of the Three Hermits. Lord Sakyamuni had also been a student of Brahmanism, but while practicing ascetic and non-ascetic practices for twelve years, He perceived the principles of suffering, emptiness, impermanence and egolessness in all phenomena.
Thus, He was able to remove Himself as a student of Brahmanism and claim to have won His wisdom without the guidance of teachers. So men and gods respected Him as a great teacher. During the time when the Flower Garland, Agon, Hodo, and Hannya sutras were preached, the Lord Sakyamuni was not the teacher who revealed what others did not know, but he was rather a student of such bodhisattvas as Hoe. Likewise, it is said in the Lotus Sutra that bodhisattva Monjusri was a teacher of Sakyamuni Buddha for nine generations. In various sutras preached before the Lotus, the Buddha is quoted to have said that He "never preached even one word." It means that His preachings did not go beyond what was preached by such bodhisattvas as Hoe. Nobody actually owes the Buddha for His teaching and guidance during the preaching of all the sutras expounded before the Lotus Sutra.
When the Buddha at the age of seventy-two preached the Muryogi-kyo on Mt. Sacred Eagle in Magadha India, He dicredited all the sutras expounded in the preceding forty years by declaring, "No truth has been revealed for some forty years." Upon hearing it, great bodhisattvas as well as gods and people were all shocked and wished to know the true teaching. Although a shred of truth seems to have been revealed in the muryogi-kyo (Sutra of Infinite Meanings), the truth itself was not revealed. It was as though the moon was about to appear over the mountains in the east; its rays shone through the mountains in the west, but nobody could yet see the moon.
In revealing the single path to enlightenment replacing the three kinds of teaching for bodhisattas, sravaka, and pratyekabuddha in the second chapter on the "Expedients" of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha briefly expressed the "3,000 in one thought" doctrine held in His bosom. Since it was the first time for the Buddha to reveal the truth, it sounded to His disciples as faint as the voice of a nightingale heard by the half-asleep or the moon rising over a mountain covered by a thin cloud. Surprised by the words of the Buddha, Sariputra and other disciples called on gods, dragon-gods, and great bodhisattvas, and together they petitioned the Buddha: Gods and dragon-gods as numerous as sands of the Ganges River, 80,000 bodhisattvas trying to attain Buddhahood, and Wheel-Turning Noble Kings in millions and billions of lands all respectfully held hands together in gassho and wished to hear the perfect teaching." In other words they requested Him to preach the doctrine which they had never heard of during His preaching of the Flower Garland, Agon, Hodo, and Hannya sutras expounded in some forty years preceding the Lotus Sutra.
As for the 'perfect teaching' which they wished to hear, it is said in the Nirvana Sutra, 'The prefex 'sad' of saddharma means perfect.' It is said in the Wu-i wu-teta-cheng ssu-lun hsuan-i chi by Chun-cheng of Tang China, "The prefix 'sad' of saddharmais a Sanskrit word meaning six, which is the perfect number in India." Chi-ts'ang of Sui China says in his Fa-hua-i-shu, "The 'sad' means perfect," while T'ien-t'ai says in his Fa-hua hsuan-i, fascicle 8, "The 'sad' is a Sanskrit word translated here as Miao in Chinese.' Bodhisattva Nagarjuna, the thirteenth patriarch in the succession of the Buddhism, the premogenitore of schools of Buddhism such as Flower Garland and Shingon, a reincarnation of bodhisattva Hounjizaio Buddha, a great sage who attained the first stage of bodhisattvahood, says in his 1,000 fascicle work of Dai-chido-ron (Great Wisdom Discourse) that 'sad' means six.
The Miao-fa-lien hua-ching is a chinese designation for the Lotus Sutra, which is called the Saddharma-pundarika-sutra in India, Venerable Subhakarasimha's mantra representing the gist of the Lotus Sutra are as follows:
I put my faith in the everywhere-penetrating
Buddha, the three-bodied Buddha. When one
attains all the Buddha's wisdom and eyesight,
he will, like the all-embracing space, be able to
get rid of all delusions and evil passions. When
he accepts the teaching of The Sutra of the Lotus
Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, lives with joy,
and firmly upholds the teaching; he will inevitably
attain the state of emptiness, formlessness, and no
These mantras representing the gist of the Lotus Sutra came from an iron stupa in Southern India. The "Satsuri-daruma" among them means the true dharma, while "satsu" means sho (true) or myo (wonderful). Therefore the Lotus Sutra is called either the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the True Dharma or the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma. Placing the two words of "na" and "mu" in front of the latter, we get "Namu-myoho-renge-kyo" (I put my faith in the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma).
The word myo means gusoku (to be perfect), namely fulfillment of the six paramita or six practices required for the attainment of Buddhahood. Sariputra and others wished to know the way in which a bodhisattva could fulfill the six paramita in order to obtain Buddhahood. "Gu" in "gusoku' means mutually-possessed characteristics or the Ten Realms, and "soku" means to be satisfactory, that is to say, each of the Ten Realms contains in itself characteristics of the other Nine Realms. Altogether, of the 69,384 characters of the Lotus Sutra in the twenty-eight chapters in eight fascicles, each contains in it the character of myo; each of them represents the Buddha with thirty-two or eighty marks of physical excellence. As each of the Ten Realms contains in it characteristics of the realm of Buddha, Grand Master Miao-le stated, "Each realm contains characteristics of the realm of Buddha, not to speak of those of the other Nine Realms."
In these passages, Nichiren Daishonin teaches us about the relationship between the Lotus Sutra, the Flower Garland Sutra and the other sutras. He teaches also, that Sakyamuni Buddha, when he taught the pre-Lotus sutras, was preaching as a provisional Buddha (since he taught provisional sutras). Lastly, he teaches that the whole of Ichinen Sanzen, the 3,000 realms in a momentary existence of life, is contained within the title of the Lotus Sutra (Myoho renge kyo):
"The jewel of the character myo contains all the benefits that the Thus Come One Shakyamuni received by practicing the six paramitas in his past existences: the benefits he obtained through the practice of almsgiving by offering his body to a starving tigress and by giving his life in exchange for that of a dove; the benefits he obtained when he was King Shrutasoma who kept his word, though it meant his death, in order to observe the precepts; the benefits he obtained as an ascetic called Forbearance by enduring the tortures inflicted upon him by King Kali; the benefits he obtained as Prince Earnest Donor and as the ascetic Shojari, and all his other benefits. We, the people of this evil latter age, have not formed even a single good cause, but [by bestowing upon us the jewel of myo] Shakyamuni has granted us the same benefit as if we ourselves had fulfilled all the practices of the six paramitas. This precisely accords with his statement 'Now this threefold world is all my domain, and the living beings in it are all my children. Bound as we common mortals are by earthly desires, we can instantly attain the same virtues as Shakyamuni Buddha, for we receive all the benefits that he accumulated. The sutra reads, 'Hoping to make all persons equal to me, without any distinction between us.” This means that those who believe in and practice the Lotus Sutra are equal to Shakyamuni Buddha." (Letter to the Sage Nichimyo)
The Opening of the Eyes: Protection by Bodhisattvas, Chapter VII with Commentary cont...
Then Bodhisattva Maitreya and other great bodhisattvas began to doubt the Buddha. At the time the Flower Garland Sutra was preached, numerous great bodhisattvas such as Hoe gathered. While wondering who they were, Maitreya and others were told by Sakyamuni Buddha, apparently to their satisfaction, that Hoe and other great bodhisattvas were Sakyamuni's "good friends." The same thing happened to those great bodhisattvas who gathered together at Daihobo where the Daijikkyo was preached, and to those who gathered at Lake White Heron upon the preaching of the Hannya Sutra. The great bodhisattvas appearing from underground now, however, seemed incomparably superior to them, and it appeared probable that they were teachers of Sakyamuni Buddha. Nevertheless, the Buddha declared that it was He who caused them to aspire to enlightenment, as if the Buddha taught and guided immature people as His disciples. It was only natural, therefore, that Bodhisattva Maitreya and others had serious doubts about Sakyamuni Buddha.
Prince Shotoku of Japan was a son of Emperor Yomei, the thirty-second sovereign of Japan. When he was six years old, elderly men coming from Packche, Koguryo, and Tang China paid homage to the Emperor. The six year old crown prince declared that they were his disciples, and these elderly men holding hands in reverence said that the crown prince was their teacher. It was indeed a wonder. It is also said in a work of Confucianism that a certain man, while walking on a street, came across a young man about thirty years old beating an old man of about eighty years old on the street. Asked what was the matter, the story says, the young man answered that this elderly man he was beating was his son.
The relationship between Sakyamuni and great bodhisattvas from underground is similar to these stories. Therefore, Bodhisattva Maitreya and others asked a question, "World-Honored One! When You were the crown prince, You left the palace of the Sakya clan and sat in meditation under the bodhi tree not far from the town of gaya until you attained perfect enlightenment. It has only been some forty years. How could You, World-Honored One, achieve so much in so short a time?"
For some forty years starting with the Flower Garland Sutra, bodhisattvas have asked questions in every assembly to dispel the doubts all beings might have had. This, however, is the most serious question of all.
In the Muryogi-kyo, for instance, 80,000 bodhisattvas such as Daishogon put forth a serious question concerning the apparent discrepancy in time required for attaining Buddhahood. While it had been said in the sutras preached in the first some forty years that it would take many kalpa, now in the Muryogi-kyo it was preached that one could obtain Buddhahood immediately with his own body. Though serious the question of Daishogon, that of maitreya was more crucial.
In another instance, cited in the Kanmuryoju-kyo, it is said that king Ajatasatru, incited by Devedatta, imprisoned his own father, King Bimbisara, and tried to murder his own mother, Vaidehi, but two loyal subjects, Jivaka and Candraprabha, talked him into releasing his mother. Inviting the Buddha, Vaidehi first of all asked this question: "For what crime I might have committed in past lives, did I give birth to such an evil son like this? What causes You, World-Honored One, to be born as a cousin of such a wicked man as Devedatta?" This was a very serious doubt. "Wheel Turning Noble Kings are not born related to enemies. Indra is not born related to a demon. The Buddha has been a man of compassion from the time of innumerable kalpa in the past. Why was he born related to to devedatta, the great enemy? Isn't it because he was not really the Buddha?" Vaidehi might well have wondered. The Buddha did not answer this question. Therefore those who read the Kanmuryoju-kyo do not understand the real relationship between Sakyamuni and Devedatta unless they read the twelth chapter, "Devedatta," of the Lotus Sutra. This serious question of Vaidehi was not so serious a question as the one asked by Maitreya.
The thirty-six questions asked by Kasyapa in the Nirvana Sutra were not so serious as the one asked by Maitreya. If the Buddha had not squarely answered the question to dispel this doubt, the whole teaching of Buddhism would have appeared to be worthless, and the questions of everyone would have remained unanswered. Here lies the importance of the sixteenth chapter, 'The Life Span of the Buddha,' of the Lotus Sutra.
Thereafter, preaching the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha declared, 'All the gods, men, and asura demons believed that this Sakyamuni Buddha was the one who had left the palace of the Sakya clan and sat in meditation under the bodhi tree not far from the town of Gaya and attained perfect enlightenment.'
This declaration of the Lotus Sutra represented what all the great bodhisattvas had in mind while listening to the sutras starting with the Flower Garland at the place of His enlightenment to the 'Peaceful Practice' chapter of the Lotus. 'To speak the truth, good men,' continued the Buddha, 'It has been countless years (many hundreds of thousands of trillions of nayuta kalpa) since I obtained Buddhahood.'
Thus with one stroke He denied as untrue all His previous statements such as 'obtaining the first enlightenment' said three times in the Flower Garland Sutra, 'the first enlightenment' in the Agon Sutra, 'the first meditation under the bodhi tree' in the Yuima Sutra, 'the first sixteen years after enlightenment in the Daijikkyo,' 'I once sat in meditation at the place of enlightenment to expel four demons' in the Great Sun Buddha Sutra, 'for twenty-nine years since His enlightenment' in the Ninno Sutra, 'I once meditated under the bodhi tree in the place of enlightenment for six years' stated in the Muryoyogi-kyo, and 'At first I sat at the place of enlightenment, gazed on the tree, and walked about it meditating' in the 'Expedients' (second) chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
Thus it was revealed that Sakyamuni had long been the Buddha since the eternal past, and it became clear that various Buddhas in other worlds were all manifestations of Sakyamuni Buddha. In the pre-Lotus sutras, as well as the theological section of the Lotus Sutra, various Buddhas and Sakyamuni Buddha were on the same level, each practiced Buddhism on their own. Therefore, those who considered various Buddhas to be their main figures of worship did not worship Sakyamuni. Now, however, as Sakyamuni was proved to be the Eternal Buddha, those Buddhas on the lotus petals in the Flower Garland Sutra, or Buddhas in the Hodo, Hannya, or Great Sun Buddha sutras all became subordinates of Sakyamuni Buddha.
Obtaining enlightenment at the age of thirty, Sakyamuni Buddha took over this world, which had been domains of Braham King, the king of devils in the Sixth Heaven, and others. But now the Buddha reversed what had been said in the pre-Lotus sutras and in the theological section of the Lotus that this world is the defiled land whereas other worlds in the universe are pure lands. He now declared that this world is the land of the Original Buddha and what had been said to be pure lands throughout the universe are defiled lands of manifestations.
Since Sakyamuni Buddha is Eternal and all other Buddhas in the universe are His manifestations, then those great bodhisattvas converted by manifested Buddhas are also disciples of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha. If the "Life Span of the Buddha" chapter had not been expounded, it would be like the sky without the sun and moon, a contry without a king, mountains and rivers without gems, or a man without a soul. Nevertheless, seemingly knowledgeable men of such provisional schools of Buddhism as Ch'eng-kuan of the Hua-yen, Chia-hsiang of the San-lun, Tz'u-en of the Fa-hsiang, and Kobo of the Shingon tried to extol their own canons by stating: 'The lord of the Flower Garland Sutra represents the reward-body (Hojin) of the Buddha whereas that of the Lotus Sutra the accommodative-body (Ojin);' or 'the Buddha in the sixteenth chapter is an illusion; it is the Great Sun Buddha who is enlightened.' Clouds cover the moon and slanderers hide wise men. When people slander, ordinary yellow rocks appear to be of gold and slanderers seem to be wise. Scholars in this age of decay, blinded by slanderous words, do not see the value of the gold in the 'Life Span of the Buddha' chapter. Even among men of the Tendai School some are fooled into taking a yellow rock for gold. They should know that if Sakyamuni Buddha had not been the Eternal Buddha, there could not have been so many who received guidance from Him.
The Object of Worship in terms of the person is the original Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni. No amount of spin on the part of the SGI or the Nichiren Shoshu can change this prime point of the Nichiren faith. By pointing this out for posterity, the Buddha in the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin in the Opening of the Eyes have resolved all doubts.
Yet, just like the men of the Tendai sect who were fooled into taking a yellow rock for gold, or the brain damaged infant who doubts his mother's breast is the source of nourishment, the members of the SGI and Nichiren Shoshu doubt the golden words of the Buddha and Nichiren Daishonin or are fooled by lesser men. What's worse, there are priests and leaders of these sects who know the truth but who, attached to the inferior doctrines of their own sects, continue to assert that up is down and black is white.
When you call out across the packed courtyard for your father who you haven't seen in thirty years but call out, "Jimmy Lyons, Jimmy Lyons" while his name is really Anthony Reale, he will not turn to answer you and he will get lost in the crowd. Your prayers to reunite with your father will go unanswered.
If you insult and deprecate the learned teacher who has been by your side for most of your life, asserting that all he has taught you is a lie and, in fact, he should embrace the false views of your new teachers, the learned teacher will abandon you and never teach you all that he knows.
Living under the auspices of a great sovereign, you foment a rebellion, can you expect the sovereign to continue to allow you to live on his land? He will reproach you and force you to leave.
Mistaking the identity of the Eternal Buddha or paying lip service to him while worshipping a new found teacher is slandering the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha and Nichiren Daishonin. You will regret it.
The Opening of the Eyes: Protection by Bodhisattvas, Chapter VII with Commentary cont...
The moon does not shy away from its own reflection but it can not reflect without water. Even though the Buddha hopes to convert the populace, He can not appear in this world to convert the populace unless the causative relationship is ripe. It is like Hinayana sages of sravaka, who have listened to the Mahayana teaching and ascended the ladder of the bodhisattva way leading to Buddhahood, until they are able to guide the people. In the end, however, they have to wait for the future for their Buddhahood. It is because they have listened only to the pre-Lotus sutras and strove for self-control and self-salvation without creating enough causative relationship for them to appear in this world to complete the eight phases of Buddhahood in order to guide the people. If Sakyamuni has attained Buddhahood for the first time in this world, Brahma King, Indra, the sun, the moon, the Four Heavenly Kings, and others who owned this world as their domain from its beginning, would have been the Buddha's disciples only for some forty years. And those who listened to the preaching of the Lotus eight years on Mt. Sacred Eagle could hardly think that their new master, who had attained Buddhahood only some forty years ago, had actually been the Buddha since time immemorial. It seemed to them that Sakyamuni was behind those who had been in this world such as Braham King, Indra, and the Four Heavenly Kings.
But now since it has been revealed that Sakyamuni is the Eternal Buddha, Bodhisattva Nikki and Gakko, disciples of Yakushi Buddha in the world to the east; Bodhisattva Kannon and Seishi, disciples of Amitabha Buddha in a land to the west; various disciples of Buddhas in various lands throughout the universe as well as disciples of the Great Sun Buddha depicted in both the Diamond Realm Mandala and the Matrix-store Realm Mandala of the Great Sun Buddha and the Kangocho-kyo now are all disciples of Sakyamuni Buddha. Since Buddhas in the worlds throughout the universe are all manifestations of Sakyamuni Buddha, their disciples are of course of Sakyamuni's disciples. The sun, the moon, and stars, that have been in this world from the beginning, are disciples of Sakyamuni Buddha.
Nevertheless, all Buddhist schools except for Tendai are confused with their main objects of worship. The Kusha, Jojitsu, and Ritsu Schools make the main object of worship Sakyamuni Buddha who attained Buddhahood by going through the thirty-four steps of fighting against delusions and evil passions. This is like a crown prince of a world-honored sovereign, who, confused, thinks of himself as a son of an ordinary subject.
The Four Schools of Kegon, Shingon, Sanron, and Hosso are of Mahayana Buddhism, among which two schools of Hosso and Sanron worship as their main object of worship a Buddha similar to the accommodative body of Mahayana Buddha (shojin). It is just like a crown prince of a Heavenly King thinking of himself as the son of a warrior.
The Kegon and Shingon schools establish Vairocana and the Great Sun Buddha instead of Sakyamuni Buddha as the object of worship respectively. It is like a king's son despising his father while respecting a nameless person who acts as though he were the King of the Dharma.
The Pure Land School considers Amitabha Buddha, who is merely a manifestation of Sakyamuni in the Pure Land to the West, to be the lord of this world and abandons Sakyamuni, who is the real lord of this world. The Zen school, just like a lowly man with little virtue despising his parents, despises the Buddha and His sutras.
They are all confused about the main object of worship. It is analogous to the situation before the time of the Three Emperors, when people did not know who their fathers were and behaved like beasts and birds. Those Buddhist schools which do not know of the 'Life Span of the Buddha' chapter are the same as beasts and birds; they do not know the debt they owe to the Eternal Buddha. Grand Master Miao-le declared: Eternity in the life of the Buddha, who is our parent, has not been revealed in the pre-Lotus sutras. If one does not know the eternity in the life of his father, the Buddha, he is also confused about the Buddha land his father governs. Such a man, no matter how capable he may be, is not at all worthy of a human."
Grand Master Miao-le was a man of the T'ien-pao Period toward the end of T'ang China. Having widely read and deeply contemplated canons of the San-lun (Sanron), Hua-yen (Kegon), Fa-hsiang (Hosso), and Chen-yen (Shingon) Schools, he concluded that those who do not know of the Original Buddha revealed in 'The Life Span of the Buddha' chapter are like 'beasts and birds, who may be talented but do not know of the land governed by the father. 'No matter how capable he may be' refers to men like Fa-ts'ang and Ch'eng-kuan of the Hua-yen (Kegon) School and Venerable Subhakarasimha (Shan-wu-wei) of the Chen-yen (Shingon) School, who were men of talent but, like children who do not know their father, did not know of the true and eternal Sakyamuni Buddha.
All the Buddhas throughout the universe as well as their disciples are disciples of the Eternal Shakyamuni Buddha. We, the Bodhisattvas of the Earth are the original disciples of this Buddha. Despite this, Nichiren Shonin writes:
"Nevertheless, all Buddhist schools except for Tendai are confused with their main objects of worship."
The situation today, with the heretical SGI and Nichiren Shoshu is similar. They worship Nichiren Daishonin as the True Buddha, some of them assert that they worship Namu Myoho renge kyo-Nichiren as the True Buddha, and others worship just Namu Myoho renge kyo as the True Buddha. First of all, there is no mention in either the Lotus Sutra or the authenticated Gosho of any concept as True Buddha let alone the identity of this never mentioned being-concept. Secondly, those who worship Namu Myoho renge kyo as the True Buddha confuse the Law with the Buddha. Every believer in the Nichiren faith worships the Law of Namu Myoho renge kyo as the Law fused with the "person" of the Gohonzon. This "person" is none other than the Original Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni. The SGI and the Nichiren Shoshu are un-filial sons who are confused about the main object of worship. Despite their men of talent, like Nikken, the High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu and Daisaku Ikeda of the SGI, they are no better than beasts or birds.
Opening of the Eyes: Protection by Bodhisattvas, Chapter VII with Commentary cont...
Grand Master Dengyo, the primogenitor of exoteric and esoteric Buddhism in Japan has said in his Hokke Shuku (Outstanding Principles of the Lotus Sutra):
The canons of other schools, too, preach
some ultimate reality, which is the mother
of Buddhahood. However, those schools
have motherly love but no strictness of the
father. Only the Tendai Lotus School, with
both its strictness and love, is the parent of
all sages, wise men, those who have much
to learn and nothing to learn, as well as those
who aspire for enlightenment.
As for the three steps for obtaining Buddhahood: its seeding, nurturing and harvest, even those terms are not mentioned in canons of the Shingon or Kegon School, not to speak of its true meaning. They maintain that one would be able to reach the first of the ten stages of bodhisattvahood and obtain Buddhahood within the present lifetime. However, as provisional sutras they do not preach the planting of seeds in the past. Thus they talk about attaining buddhahood without planting seeds, which is like Chiao-kao of Ch'in China or Yuge-no-Dokyo of Japan trying to usurp the throne without any right.
These schools of Buddhism fight one another for the sole ownership of the seed of Buddhahood, but I, Nichiren do not jump in the scramble, leaving the matter up to the sutras. Based on the concept of the seed of Buddhahood preached in the Lotus Sutra, Bodhisattva Vasubandhu insisted on the 'supremacy of the seed.' This later became the '3,000 in one thought' doctrine of T'ien-t'ai. The seed that enabled those Buddhas of various Mahayana sutras such as the Flower Garland and Great Sun Buddha to obtain Buddhahood is explained in the '3,000 in one thought' doctrine. It was Grand Master T'ien-t'ai alone who perceived this doctrine.
Ch'eng-kuan of the Kegon School plagiarized this doctrine to interpret a saying in the Flower Garland Sutra as: 'Mind is like a skillful painter.' Canons of the Shingon school such as the Great Sun Buddha Sutra do not contain any of the 'attainment of Buddhahood by the Two Vehicles,' 'eternity in the life of the Buddha,' and '3,000 in one thought' doctrines. Having come to Chiina and and read Mo-ho-chih-kuan of T'ien-t'ai, Subhakarasimha thought of reading the T'ien-t'ai concept of '3,000 in one thought' into such expressions in the Great Sun Buddha Sutra as 'reality of mind' and 'the Buddha as the origin of all things' in order to lay the foundation for the Chen-yen (Shingon) School. He further adopted the finger signs and mantra words and created a theology maintaining that the Lotus Sutra and the Great Sun Buddha Sutra were equal in doctrine (because both have the '3,000 in one thought' doctrine), but in ritualism the latter is superior (because it has the finger signs and mantra). Where in the Great Sun buddha Sutra can we find doctrines of the 'attainment of Buddhahood by men of the Two Vehicles' and 'mutually-possessed characteristics of the Ten realms' represented in the Daimond Realm and the Matrix-store Realm Mandalas? This is the most serious falsification of all. Grand Master Dengyo has declared:
The newly transmitted Shingon School has
hidden the fact that its interpretation of the
Great Sun Buddha Sutra was written by the
T'ien-t'ai monk I-hsiang on the basis of what
he heard from Subhakarasimha and his own
knowledge of T'ien-t'ai doctrine. The Kegon
(Flower Garland) School, which had been
introduced to Japan earlier, has hidden such
influence of T'ien-t'ai upon its theology as
Fa-tsang's Five Teachings based on the
Four Teachings of T'ien-t'ai.
If one had gone to Hokkaido, he might be able to claim this well known Japanese poem by Hitomaro to be his own:
At the first light of dawn
A boat leaves the foggy beach of Akashi,
Disappearing behind an island
Perhaps islanders would be fooled by such a man. So are scholars of China and Japan by Subhakarasimha and Fa-tsang. Liang-hsu of the Tendai School in China had this to say: 'Compared to the Lotus Sutra, teachings of such schools as Chen-yen (Shingon), Shan (Zen), Hua-yen (Kegon), and San-lun (Sanron), are expedient gates leading to the true teaching of the Lotus.' It was because of his false preaching, stolen from the T'ien-t'ai doctrine, that Venerable Subhakarasimha was punished by Emma, the Lord of the Law. It must have been due to his change of mind and submission to the Lotus that he was later released. It was to show their submission to the Lotus that Subhakarasimha and Amoghavajra (Pu-k'ung) thereafter placed the Lotus Sutra in the center between the Diamond Realm Mandala and the Matrix-store Realm Mandala as if it were the great king served at left and right by two subordinates, the Great Sun Buddha Sutra of the Matrix-store Realm and the Kongocho-kyo of the Diamond Realm. In assessing the doctrines of various sutras, Kobo of Japan regarded the Flower Garland higher than the Lotus, the latter placed behind the Great Sun Buddha and Flower Garland. However, he, too, in transmitting ritualism to his disciples such as Jitsue, Shinga, Encho, and Kojo, placed the Lotus Sutra in the center between the two mandalas as mentioned above.
In another instance, when grand Master Chia-hsiang of the san-lun School wrote the Fa-hua-hsuan-lun in ten fascicles, he maintained, in contradiction to T|'ien-t'ai. that the Lotus Sutra was inferior to the Hannya Sutra and therefore was preached before it. He also insisted that the Lotus Sutra meant to lead the two Vehicles of sravaka and paratyekabuddha into bodhisattvahood whereas T'ien-t'ai had said all three groups were to merge into Buddhahood. However, he later submitted to T'ien-t'ai and served him seven years discontinuing his own lectures, dispersing his disciples, and even making himself a stool for T'ien-t'ai to climb up onto a pulpit. Grand Master T'zu-en of the Fa-hsiang School expressed many false concepts in his Fa-yuan-i-lin-chang in seven fascicles (revised edition in twelve fascicles). Looking down on the Lotus he wrote: 'The One-Vehicle teaching for all the people is merely expedient, while the three separate teachings for bodhisattvas, sravaka and pratyekabuddha are the true teaching.' However, one of his disciples, Ching-shui, later wrote the Fa-hua-hsuan-tsan-yao-chi: in the fourth fascicle of which, he maintained that the One-Vehicle teaching in the Lotus is also true. Although his written statements were ambiguous, his heart was with T'ien-t'ai.
Ch'eng-kuan of the Hua-yen School wrote a commentary on the Flower Garland Sutra, in which he compared it with the Lotus and seemed to have concluded that the Lotus was expedient. However, he later wrote that the T'ien-t'ai School considered the '3,000 in one thought' doctrine to be true, as did his own school. Isn't it that Chen-kuan regretted what he had written earlier? So did Grand Master Kobo. Without a mirror, one can not see his own face. Without enemies, one can not see his own faults. Scholars of the Shingon and other schools did not realize their own faults until they met Grand Master Dengyo.
Therefore we say that, although Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, men, and gods appearing in various sutras seemed to have attained Buddhahood through their respective sutras, in reality they were truly enlightened because of the Lotus Sutra. The great vow of Sakyamuni and other Buddhas to save a countless number of people was fulfilled in this sutra of Lotus. in the second chapter, it is stated, "My (Buddha's) all wishes are fully satisfied."
As I contemplate, it is doubtless that Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and gods appearing in such sutras as the Flower Garland, Kanmuryoju-kyo and Great Sun Buddha Sutra would protect those who read and practice them. However, if those who read and practice those sutras should become antagonist to practitioners of the Lotus Sutra, those deities would abandon practitioners of the Flower Garland and other sutras for those of the Lotus Sutra.
It is, for instance, like a filial son who would abandon his own father for royal service if his compassionate father should become an enemy of the king. This is a most filial act, and the same could be said of Buddhism. I believe that the Buddhas, bodhisattvas and ten female rasetsu demons mentioned in the Lotus will protect me. In addition, numerous Buddhas in six directions and twenty-five bodhisattvas mentioned in the canons of the Pur Land School, 1,200 deities appearing in the two mandalas of the Shingon School, as well as all Buddhas and guardian deities of the seven schools of Buddhism will protect Nichiren. I believe it was in this way that guardian deities of the seven schools of Buddhism protected Grand Master Dengyo.
Nichiren Daishonin points out many important concepts in these passages:
1). The canons of the Lotus Sutra contains the love of a mother and the strictness of a father.
2). The three steps for obtaining Buddhahood; seeding, nurturing, and harvest. The seeds or Namu Myoho renge kyo were planted in the remote past by the Original Buddha Shakyamuni. Over infinite kalpas the seeds have become dry or damaged. We water and nurture the seeds through chanting Namu Myoho renge, teaching others, and faith in the Object of Devotion (the life and land of the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni or Gohonzon). Due to the simultaneity of cause and effect or the simultaneity of flowering and fruit, we harvest the fruit of Buddhahood through the flowering of our faith in the Lotus Sutra. Having strong faith is itself Buddhahood.
3). The "supremacy of the seed" of the Lotus Sutra (Myoho renge kyo), planted in all beings in the infinite past by the Original Eternal Buddha, is the actual cause by which all beings attain Buddhahood regardless of the apparent means (sutra) which depends upon the time. Today, in the Latter Age, only faith in the Lotus Sutra brings people to fruition.
4). Plagiarism to bolster the inferior teachings to which one is attached is a recurring problem in Buddhism. The Lotus Sutra and the doctrines based on the Lotus Sutra, being supreme, are those which are most often plagiarized. I would add, creating or altering Gosho to bolster the inferior teachings of SGI and Nichiren Shoshu.
5). Benefit (protection), punishment, and redemption are the results of either wholesome or un-wholesome relationships with the Lotus Sutra and the Eternal Buddha. By abandoning misguided teachings and teachers and whole-heartedly embracing the Lotus Sutra and the Eternal Buddha, we are assured of benefit and redemption:
"In the same way, one who chants the daimoku as the Lotus Sutra teaches will never have a twisted mind." (MW vol 5, Letter to Myomitsu Shonin, pg 196),
"Those who seek the truth of buddhism, however, should reject one sided views whether they are of their own sects or other sects and should not treat others with contempt." (MW vol 2, Opening Of The Eyes, pg 167)
"One should use the Sutras as his eyes and give precedence to the wisdom of the Buddha. Surely however, if this standard is made clear people will become enraged and harbor indignation in their minds. Let them do as they will. What matters most is that we honor the Buddha's command. As a rule people in the world value what is distant and despise what is near, but this is the conduct of the ignorant. Even the distant should be repudiated if it is wrong, while that which is near should not be discarded if it accords with the truth. Even though people may revere (their predecessors doctrines), if those doctrines are in error, how can we employ them today". (MW vol 4, Reply to Hoshina Goro Taro, pg 42-43)