Nevertheless, people doubt me, and I myself wonder why gods and deities have not come to help me. They made vows to the Buddha to protect a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. I would think therefore, that they should hurriedly come to the aid of a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra, even if he is like a monkey, and carry out their promise to the Buddha. Yet, none has come to help me. Does that mean that I am not a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra? Since this question is the basis of this writing and of cardinal importance in my life, I will take this up again and again in order to find a definite answer.
Chi-cha of Wu in Ancient China is said to have seen the lord of Hsu and sensed that the Lord was envious of of his (Chi-cha's) treasured sword given by his king. Realizing that he had yet to perform a royal mission, Chi-cha decided to present the sword to the Lord on his way back. However, the Lord was already dead when Chi-cha tried to see him again. Therefore, it is said, he placed the sword on the Lord's tomb to carry out what he had promised in his heart. A man named Wang-shou is said to have paid for drinking water from a river by throwing coins in it, while Hung-yen followed his slain lord in death, by cutting his stomach and inserting his lord's liver in it.
These are examples of wise men repaying favors they had received. How much more would great sages like Sariputra and Kasyapa repay favors? Upholding the 250 Commandments and 3,000 rules of dignified conduct without fail, and free of delusions in view and thought, they won freedom from the Six Realms of transmigration. They are leaders of Brahma, Indra, gods and deities and eyes of all the people.
Nevertheless, they have been discarded as being unable to obtain Buddhahood in those sutras some forty years before the Lotus Sutra. By taking the pill of immortality, the Lotus Sutra, they were sure of obtaining Buddhahood as though a roasted seed would germinate, a broken rock becomes whole again, and a dead tree bears flowers and fruits. Not having formally become Buddhas by going through the eight stages in the life of the Budda, how can they afford to forget what they owed to the sutra? If they did, they would be not only inferior to such wise men as Chi-cha and Hung-yen but also similar to those beasts which bites the hand that feeds them.
A turtle which had been saved by a man named Mao-pao in Chin China is said to have never forgotten his kindness and came to help him escape across a river when he was defeated in a battle. Han Emperor Wu-ti is said to have released a large fish he caught in Lake Kun-ming, In gratitude, it is said, the fish at night presented him with a large gem. Even beasts repay the kindness they receive, not to speak those great saints.
Venerable Ananda was the second son of King Dronodana while venerable Rahula was a grandson of King Suddodana. Born into families of high social standing and having attained the arhatship, they both had been considered as having no possibility of obtaining Buddhahood. During the eight year preaching of the Lotus Sutra on Mt. Sacred Eagle, however, they were granted the titles of Sengaiejizitsuo Buddha and Toshippoke Buddha respectively. Had they not been assured of Buddhahood thanks to the Lotus Sutra who would respect them no matter how noble their family blood and how great their sainthood had been?
King Chieh of the Hsia Dynasty and King Chou of the Yin (Shang) Dynasty were rulers of ancient China who were respected by their subjects. However, when they lost their kingdoms as a result of tyrannical governing, the term 'Chieh-Chou' became a symbol of all that is wicked and cruel. Even men of humble origin or men with leprosy would feel offended today if they are called Chieh or Chou.
Had it not been for the Lotus Sutra, who would know the names of as many as 1,200 or innumerable sravaka who were assured of obtaining Buddhahood in the sutra, or who would listen to them? Even if 1,000 sravaka gathered together after the death of the Sakyamuni Buddha and compiled all the Buddhist scriptures, nobody would read them, not to speak of making their portraits and statues objects of worship. As they are, those arhats are respected and worshiped today simply because they were assured of Buddhahood in the Lotus Sutra. Without the Lotus Sutra, they would be like fish without water, monkeys without trees, infants without breasts, and subjects without a sovereign. How can they afford to discard a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra?
Listening to the sutras expounded before the Lotus, those men of sravaka gained the Eyes of Heaven and Eyes of Wisdom, in addition to human eyes. Besides they gained the Eyes of Dharma as well as the Eyes of Buddha listening to the Lotus Sutra. They should be able to see through all the worlds in the universe, not to speak of finding a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra in this world. Even if I, Nichiren were so wicked a person to have abused those men of sravaka with slanderous words or struck them with sticks or swords for billions of trillions of kalpa, they would not abandon me so long as I am a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. For instance, do any parents abandon thir children who abuse them? It is said that an owl, when grown up, eats its mother, but a mother owl does not give up its baby. A beast called hakyo is said to devour its father when grown up, but its father does not abandon its child. These are acts of beasts and birds. How could such saints of sravaka abandon a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra? Therefore, the four great men of sravaka have expressed their gratitude to the Buddha for assuring them of Buddhahood, saying:
Now we are men of sravaka
In the true sense of the word,
Who can cause everyone to listen
To the way of the Buddha.
Now we are arhats
In the true sense of the word,
Who deserve to receive offerings
In various worlds
Among various creatures,
Gods, men, devils and Brahmans.
You, the World-Honored One,
Have done a great favor
Out of Your deep compassion
In expounding this rare teaching of Lotus
Who would be able to repay Your favors
Even in innumerable kalpa?
No one will be able to repay Your favors
Even if he tries to do so
By serving You with his hands and feet,
Respectfully bowing his head to You,
And offering you all he had.
No one will be able to repay Your favors
Even if he tries to do so
By carrying You on his head and shoulders,
Showing respect from the bottom of his heart
For kalpa as incalculable as sands of the Ganges River.
No one will be able to repay Your favors
Even if he tries to do so
By offering You delicious food,
Garments adorned with invaluable treasures,
And various beddings and medicines;
Or by erecting stupas
Made of Malayan sandalwoods,
Adorned with precious treasures;
Or by spreading garments of treasures
On the ground as offerings to You
For as long as incalculable kalpa
As many as sands of the Ganges River.
In the sutras preached before the Lotus Sutra, men of sravaka were scolded and humiliated in great assemblies of men and gods on numerous occasions. Having heard that men of sravaka would never obtain Buddhahood, for instance, Venerable Kasyapa cried out with a loud voice that resounded throughout the entire world, causing dumbfounded Venerable Subhuti to drop his alms bowl. Having been told that sravaka men were not entitled to receive alms, Sariputra spit out the food he had in his mouth. Unable to see the intelligence of his audience, Purna was scolded for breing as stupid as putting manure in a beautiffuly decorated vase. The Buddha, who praised the Hinayana sutras of Agon-gyo and earnestly urged His disciplesto uphold the 250 Commandments earlier at the Deer Park, now suddenly changed His mind and scolded them as vehemently as this. It was a contradiction hard for them to swallow.
In another instance, the Buddha scolded Devedatta for being such a fool as to transform himself into an infant who, while being embraced by King Ajatasatru of Magadha, sucked the kings saliva. Devedatta, feeling a strong resentment against the Buddha as if he had been shot through the chest by a poisoned arrow, vowed:
Gautama is not a Buddha. I am the first son of King
Dronodana, elder brother of Venerable Ananda, and
a member of the Gautama clan. No matter how badly
I behaved, he should have told me about it privately.
How could he be a Buddha or a great man when he
put me to such shame in the midst of a large crowd
of men and gods? Formerly he was my enemy who
robbed me of the woman I had loved. Now he is my
enemy who insulted me in front of a crowd. He will
remain my sworn enemy generation after generation,
life after life.
"Great Concentration and Insight says: “If one lacks faith [in the Lotus Sutra], one will object that it pertains to the lofty realm of the sages, something far beyond the capacity of one’s own wisdom to comprehend. If one lacks wisdom, one will become puffed up with arrogance and will claim to be the equal of the Buddha.” -- Opening of the Eyes.
This is the crux of what's wrong with the SGI's teachings and the problem with their master-disciple teachings. Only the "sage" Daisaku Ikeda and the Three Presidents of the SGI can properly interpret the lofty teachings of the Lotus Sutra while out of the other side of the leaders' mouths, we hear, "SGI members are all Buddhas."
"A sutra says: "Rely on the Law and not upon persons. Rely on the meaning of the teaching and not on the words. Rely on wisdom and not on discriminative thinking. Rely on sutras that are complete and final and not on those that are not complete and final." The meaning of this passage is that one should not rely upon the words of the bodhisattvas and teachers, but should heed what was established by the Buddha. It further means that one should not rely upon the teachings of the True Word, Zen, and Nembutsu schools, which are based upon the sutras of the Flower Garland, Agama, Correct and Equal, and Wisdom periods, but should uphold the sutras that are complete and final. And by relying upon "sutras that are complete and final," it means upholding the Lotus Sutra." -- WND1, 873, How Those Initially Aspiring to The Way Can Attain
Buddhahood Through The Lotus Sutra
Gary Mark wrote, "Other Gosho with passages containing the admonition to 'Rely upon the law and not upon persons'":
Conversation Between a Sage and an Unelightened Man
Opening of the Eyes
Teaching Practice and Proof
Selection of the Time
Repaying Debts of Gratitude
Letter of Petition from Yorimoto
The number of passages in the writings of Nichiren Daishonin that contain the teaching "the oneness of mentor and disciple", "the oneness of master and disciple", "the oneness of teacher and disciple" or the concept, "there can be no Buddhism without the oneness of mentor and disciple" are zero
Opening of the Eyes: Protection by Arhats, Chapter VI with Commentary cont...
Protection by Arhats, Chapter VI cont...
As I contemplate from these instances, such great men of sravaka as Sariputra, Kasyapa, and Maudgalyayana were originally from Brahman families or Brahman elders. Therefore they were believed in and respected by kings and lay followers. Some of them were originally of high social status and from rich families. Giving up rank and homor and suppressing their pride, they took off the layman's clothes to put on shabby looking siol-colored robes, discarding their hossu brush of white long hair and bow and arrow, symbols of their high social standing. Like beggars, they followed Sakyamuni Buddha, each holding a beggars bowl in hand, without a house to shelter them against the rain and wimd, and with few clothes and little food to keep them alive. As all the people in the whole of India were disciples and followers of Brahmanism, even the Buddha Himself encountered nine great difficulties, including Devedatta's attempt to kill Him by rolling a huge rock down a hill on Him, King Ajatasatru's attempt at killing Him by releasing a drunken elephant to attack Him, and King Ajita's attempt at the Buddha's life by giving Him only horse feed for ninety days.
When the Buddha went to a Brahman village to beg for food, He did not receive any offering except for a bowlful of water in which rice had been washed. It is also said that the Buddha was once accused of breaking the Buddhist rule by a Brahmin woman named Cinca who, placing a bowl on her stomach, claimed to be made pregnant by the Buddha. Even the Buddha was confronted with difficulties such as these, not to speak of His disciples, who had to go through numerous difficulties.
Countless people of the Sakya clan were murdered by king Virudhaka of Sravasti, and many more of them were trampled to death by drunken elephants. Nun Utpalavarna was beaten to death by Devedatta, and Venerable Kalodayin was murdered and buried in horse manure, while venerable Maudgalyayana was beaten to death by a group of Brahmins armed with bamboo sticks. Moreover, the influential Six Schools of Brahmanism joined forces in appealing to such powerful kings as Ajatasatru and Prasenajit saying:
Sakyamuni is the most evil man in this world.
Wherever He goes, there are three calamities
and seven disasters. Just as many rivers flow
into an ocean and many trees grow on a huge
mountain, many evil men such as Kasyapa,
Sariputra, Maudgalyayana, and Subhuti gather
around Sakyamuni. The primary duties of man
are to be a loyal subject and a filial child. However,
they are fooled by Sakyamuni into renouncing their
families against parental wishes. They hide them-
selves in the mountains, against the royal ordinance.
As such they should not be allowed to stay in the
country. It is due to their presence that we have
frequent cosmic disorders and natural calamities
in our land these years.
These were difficult enough to bear, but there were more to come, making it hard for them to follow the Buddha. not knowing what to do upon being scolded and shamed by the Buddha in front of the great crowd of men and gods, they only remained bewildered.
The heaviest blow of all hit them when the Buddha stated in the Yuima Sutra:
'Those who offer alms to you, men of sravaka, can not be called those who sow the seed in the 'fertile rice fields' where the seed of Buddhahood can germinate and grow. Those who give offering to you will fall into the three evil Realms of hell, of hungry souls and of beasts and birds.'
This was when the Buddha was staying in the Amra Garden, where an immeasurably large crowd including the Brahma Heaven King, Indra, the sun and the moon, the Four Heavenly Kings, and gods and dragon-gods in the heaven and earth gathered. In the midst of them, the Buddha declared, 'Those gods and men who give offerings to monks like Subhuti will fall into the Three Evil Realms.' How could they, those gods and men who heard Him say this, present offerings to such men of sravaka? After all, it even appeared that the Buddha was trying to kill off those men of the Two Vehicles. Right-hearted men felt that He was too severe. Those Hinayana sages were barely able to sustain their lives with the offerings given to the Buddha.
If Sakyamuni Buddha had passed away after preaching only some forty years without preaching the Lotus in the last eight years, who would have given offerings to these respectable people? They would certainly be in the realm of the hungry souls.
However, just as the sun in spring melts away the ice and the strong wind shakes off all the dew, those sutras preached in some forty years were discredited at once by one statement: 'The truth has not been revealed yet.' Just as the strong wind dispels disperses dark clouds revealing the full moon in the sky and the sun shines in the clear sky, it was made shiningly clear that 'the Buddha reveals the truth after preaching provisional dharma for a long time.' It was stated in the Lotus Sutra, the spotless mirror, in the indisputable words of the Buddha as clear as the sun and the moon in the sky that men like Sariputra and Kasyapa could obtain Buddahood and that they would be Keko Buddha and Komyo Buddha respectively in the future. That was the very reason why lay followers among gods and men after the death of the Buddha continued to look up to those Hinayana sages as if they were Buddhas.When the water is clear the moon is bound to reflect in it. when the wind blows, trees and grasses are bound to bend. So, when there is a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra, those Hinayana sages such as Sariputra and Kasyapa should come to see him even if it means they have to overcome such obstacles as great fires or huge rocks. Kasyapa is said to have begun meditation to wait for the future Buddha of Maitreya, but this is not the time for him to do so. I wonder why they have not rushed to rescue the practitioner of the Lotus when his life is at stake. Does this mean that the Lotus Sutra widely spreading during the Latter Age of the Decadent Dharma, predicted in the sutra, has not come true?
Are these words "widely spread" false? Am I, Nichiren, not a practitioner of the Lotus? Are they protecting those great liars of the Zen School, who insist that the truth can not be expressed in writing and therefore, the Lotus Sutra is not the truth? Are they defending the Pure Land School which, seeing no use for the Lotus Sutra in this Latter Age, urged that the gate to the Lotus Sutra be closed and the sutra be thrown away, and to close down Lotus temples. Or is it that gods and deities, shying away from the great difficulties in this decadent world, do not descend to help the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra in spite of their vow before the Buddha to do so? Both the sun and the moon are still in the sky, Mt. Sumeru still exists, the tide of the sea still rises and ebbs, and four seasons come and go in order. Why is it then that no one comes to help the practitioner of the Lotus? This doubt of mine grows greater and greater.
This is a truly amazing section of the writing. I am so proud to have Nichiren Daishonin as my leader, master, mentor, and teacher. It brings tears to my eyes.
His tormentors, if they could have seen him, would have thought him absolutely insane or would be laughing at him; Nichiren Shonin comparing his persecutions to those of the Buddha's; asserting that the Lotus Sutra would widely spread while he was in a ramshackle hut in the middle of a cemetery on a freezing cold winter day and having only a handful of disciples.
Every last prediction of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin, the Supreme Votary of the Lotus Sutra is true. Now, it is we who laugh at the Zen men and the Amidists and those who would change one iota, one dot of the Lotus Sutra or the writings and the purport of Nichiren Daishonin.
Every character of the Lotus Sutra, the Gohonzon, is a golden Buddha. If you have not experienced this reality, you must give it your all, your whole entire life, your body and mind, even for a short time, then you will see things the way they really are. "No other knowledge is purposeful." "No other memory of this life will remain with you." Nichiren Daishonin states:
"That I, Nichiren, have written out an Object of Worship , which will protect you, can not be inferior to the Lion's Roar. When in the Sutra it says, 'The Power of the Lion Roused to the Attack,' it refers to this. And you should really believe in this Mandala. 'Namu Myoho renge kyo' is like the lion's roar. What hindrance by illness shall there be?" (Reply to Kyo'o)