"The Great Teacher Miao-lo says in his commentary (The Annotations on The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra, volume seven), 'Therefore we know it is because of seeds planted in previous existences that in the latter age one is able to hear the Law even for an instant, and having heard it, take faith in it.' He also says (The Annotations on Great Concentration and Insight volume two), 'Having been born at the end of the Middle Day of the Law, I have been able to behold these true words of the sutra. Unless one has planted the mystic cause in a previous existence, they are truly difficult to encounter.'
During his first forty and more years of teaching, Shakyamuni Buddha kept secret the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. Not only that, he still remained silent concerning them when he preached the first fourteen chapters of the Lotus Sutra, which comprise the theoretical teaching. It was only with the “Life Span” chapter that he spoke openly regarding the two characters of renge, which [represent the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo and] indicate the true effect and the true cause. The Buddha did not entrust these five characters to Manjushri, Universal Worthy, Maitreya, Medicine King, or the others of their group. Instead he summoned forth the bodhisattvas Superior Practices, Boundless Practices, Pure Practices, and Firmly Established Practices and their followers from the great earth of Tranquil Light and transferred the five characters to them."
Nichiren goes on to say:
"These five characters Myoho-renge- kyo were not entrusted even to Mahakashyapa, Shariputra, or the other disciples, though these men had from the outset attended the Buddha as closely as a shadow follows the body. But, even setting that aside, why did the Buddha refuse to entrust them to the bodhisattvas such as Manjushri and Maitreya? Even though they may have been lacking in capability, it would seem unlikely that he should reject them. There are in truth many puzzling aspects about the matter. But the fact was that the bodhisattvas from other worlds were rejected because their connection with this world was slight; or in other cases, although the bodhisattvas were of this saha world, they had only recently established connections with this world; or in still other cases, some were rejected because, although they were disciples of the Buddha, they had not been among his disciples when he first aroused the aspiration for and attained enlightenment in the remote past. Thus, among those who had been his disciples during the forty and more years preceding the preaching of the Lotus Sutra or during the preaching of the theoretical teaching, the first fourteen chapters of the Lotus Sutra, there was not one who could be called an original disciple. We see from the sutra that only these four bodhisattvas had been the disciples of Shakyamuni, the lord of teachings, since numberless major world system dust particle kalpas in the past; from the time he had first aroused the aspiration for and attained enlightenment, they had never followed any other Buddha, nor had they required the instruction of the theoretical and essential teachings.
Thus T’ien-t’ai says, “The great assembly witnessed the Bodhisattvas of the Earth alone making this pledge.” He also states, “[The Buddha said of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth,] ‘These are my disciples, destined to propagate my Law.’ ” Miao-lo says, “The children propagate the Law of the father.” And Tao-hsien states, “The Law embodied therein [in the Lotus Sutra] is the Law that was realized countless kalpas in the past, and therefore it was entrusted to persons who had been the Buddha’s disciples from countless kalpas n the past.” Thus these five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo were entrusted to these four bodhisattvas."
Lastly, Nichiren teaches:
"...And the situation today is just the same. Now, in the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, the time has come to propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo so that all people throughout the country of Japan may receive the seeds of Buddhahood." On Rebuking Slander of the Law and Eradicating Sins.
What are we to make of these seemingly diverse teachings, especially those of "planted" and "received"seeds?
“The Lotus Sutra is like the seed, the Buddha like the sower, and the people like the field.” -- The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood.
“Now in the two thousand years of the True and Counterfeit [Dharmas] when they kept and relied upon the Lesser Vehicle and Provisional Great Vehicle, and practices putting one’s merit [effort] into them, in general there was benefit. Even so, although everyone who practiced those various sutras thought that they obtained the benefit by the various sutras upon which they relied, when we inquire on the meaning by the Hokekyo, they had not one bit of benefit. What is the reason why? It being when the Buddha was in the world they formed a connecting condition with the Hokekyo but it depended upon whether or not there was maturation or not in their capacities. Those whose capacities of the Perfect Teaching are pure and matured in the time [when the Buddha] was in the world attained Buddhahood. Those whose faculties and capacities were faint and inferior [or not yet mature] backslid to the True Dharma [era] and took their realization from the Jomyo [Vimalakirti], Shiyaku, Kan[muryoju]kyo, Ninno hannya kyo and so on, just as when [the Buddha] was in the world. And so in the True Dharma [era] was jointly possessed together of the three, teaching, practice and realization.
“In the Counterfeit Dharma [era] there was teaching and practice but no realization. Now on entering the Latter Dharma there are the teachings, but there is no practice or realization. There is not one person of those who formed the connecting condition when the Buddha was in the world. The two capacities of the Provisional and Real [Teachings] are all gone. At this time for the two [types] of people who are of the rebellious [sins] and blasphemy of the present era for the first time one takes Namu Myoho renge kyo of the ‘Chapter of the Measure of Life’, the Essence of the Hommon as the laying down of the seed (or, as the Buddha Seed). “‘This good, excellent medicine now I leave here. You should take and swallow it. Do not worry that you will not be cured’” refers to this.
It is as when long ago in the Counterfeit Dharma [era] of the past Buddha Ionno when there was not one person who knew the Great Vehicle, the Bodhisattva Fukyo came forth and chanted the Twenty-four Characters which the Master of Teachings had preached. Those who heard those Twenty-four Characters not lacking one person [later] encountered the Great Being (Mahasattva) Fukyo and obtained benefit. This then was because they made the previous hearing of the Dharma the laying down of the seed (geshu).
Now it is also like this. That was the Counterfeit Dharma; this is the polluted evil Latter Dharma. That was a practicer of the First (Elementary) Following Joy [level]; this is a worldling of the Name [Identity]. That was the laying down of seed of the Twenty-four Characters; this is only the Five Characters [of the Daimoku]. Although the times of obtaining the Way (tokudo: Buddhahood) are different, their ultimate meaning of Attaining Buddhahood would be completely the same.” (STN, v. 2, 1479-1480) Kyogyosho Gosho
“Though the people who say the Nembutsu, keep the precepts and so on are many, the persons who rely upon the Hokekyo are few. The stars are many but they do not illuminate the great sea. Grasses are many but they do not form the pillars of the Imperial Palace. Though Nembutsus are many, they are not the Way to become a Buddha. Though one keeps the precepts they do not form the seed for going to the Pure Land. It is only the Seven Characters ‘Namu Myoho renge kyo’ that are the seed for becoming a Buddha. Though, when I said this, people were jealous and did not adopt it, the late Lord Ueno by his believing it has become a Buddha.” (STN, v. 2, 1603) — Gosho unknown by me
There are two processes and two general types of people, according to Nichiren Daishonin: Those who received the seeds of Buddhahood in the past, those in the Higher Six Worlds; and those who never received the seeds, those in the Lower Four Worlds. For those who have already received the seeds, the Daimoku functions to water the seeds. For those who never received the seeds, hearing the Daimoku [Law] is the seed and practicing the Daimoku is the water. He states, “But many who neither received the seeds of Buddhahood nor formed ties with the Buddha in past existences…” and further along, “The sutra explains that all bodhisattvas, persons of the two vehicles, and human and heavenly beings received the seeds of Buddhahood numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago.” Therefore, when he asserts, “If people do not possess innate Buddha wisdom, how could the Buddha say he wanted to open it? One must understand that Buddha wisdom is inherent in all human beings.” [Even those in the Four Lower Worlds who do not possess the Buddha seeds]. How do we reconcile these seemingly diverse teachings? The only way we can resolve the contradictions is that the the Buddha-nature is the FIELD of good fortune synonymous with Buddha wisdom in all beings but without the Buddha seeds and water of Myoho renge kyo, the field will lie fallow and Buddhahood will never open [manifest].
The following is the specific principle which Nichiren Daishonin taught us to bring forth when not engaged in formal debate:
“The people throwing sticks at Never Disparaging are Buddhas training Never Disparaging.” -- mistaken SGI individual
No. Shakyamuni Buddha [Never Disparaging], the Original Eternal Buddha, is the one and only Buddha who has been enlightened since time without beginning and the one who has been training and guiding all others to Buddhahood. This is an integral part of Nichiren’s enlightenment and the enlightenment of all Buddhas throughout the Ten Directions and Three Existences. Shakyamuni Buddha trained himself in the remotest past.
Shakyamuni Buddha of India too is the Original Buddha throughout time and space, the sower of the seeds of Buddhahood in the wasteland of people’s lives since time without beginning. The Original Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni always and exclusively practices the True Law and has been doing so since time without beginning.
Nichiren writes in the Opening of the Eyes:
“Thus, in the various sutras other than the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni does not assemble those Buddhas who carry out different austerities and practices and who possess the three bodies nor does he identify them as emanations of himself. Only in the Hoto chapter of the Lotus Sutra does he do so. This chapter then, is intended as an introduction to the Juryo chapter that follows later. Shakyamuni Buddha who was believed to have attained enlightenment for the first time only some forty and more years previously, calls together Buddhas who had become enlightened as long ago as one or even ten kalpas in the past, and declares that they are emanations of himself. This is a far cry indeed from the Buddha’s usual preaching on the equality of all Buddhas [in their Dharma bodies], and in fact a cause of great astonishment. If Shakyamuni had attained enlightenment for the first time only some forty years earlier, there could hardly have been so many beings in the ten directions who had received his instruction. And even if he was privileged to possess emanations, there would have been no benefit in his showing them to his listeners. T’ien-t’ai, describing what went on in the astonished minds of the assembly, stated: “It was evident to them that Shakyamuni Buddha possessed numerous emanations. Therefore, they understood that he must have attained enlightenment in the far distant past.”
I have collected 98 additional passages of proof but it is difficult to save those who are deaf to the teachings of this Sutra..
Question: What is the Meaning of Original Buddha or Original Teacher?
Answer: Original Teacher means that no matter how eminent, wise, or knowledgeable one may be, no matter how diligent one is in carrying out the Six Paramitas (Six Perfections), and no matter how long one practices the Six Paramitas, there is no way that one could come up with, let alone reveal, Myoho renge kyo independently of Shakyamuni Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha, in the history of the universe, was the one unique individual capable of doing so. Nichiren realized this, taught this, and reverenced Shakyamuni Buddha for His astronomical feat of autonomous self-practice. That is why He, rather than any other individual, is revered as the person of the Gohonzon (Ninpo-Ika or Oneness of Person and Law).
We owe our very Enlightenment to this Buddha and this Buddha alone. The arrogance of those who misconstrue Shakyamuni Buddha’s and Nichiren Daishonin’s words for their own aggrandizement is cause to fall into the Lower Worlds and to remain there for a very long time. How can one follow someone who is so blind to the manifest reality that someone had to give them the Five Characters that they pay homage to? Daisaku Ikeda didn’t come up with the formula Myoho renge kyo. The High Priest didn’t come up with this formula, nor did you, Patrick. Even Nichiren Daishonin didn’t realize and expound the Lotus Sutra in the infinite past. It was Shakyamuni Buddha who taught Nichiren Daishonin and the other Bodhisattvas of the Earth the Lotus Sutra in the remote past. It was Eternal Shakyamuni Buddha who planted the seed of Myoho renge kyo in our Buddha-nature, the seed that, when watered with a correct faith and practice, grows into the magnificent tree of the Supreme Enlightenment of Myoho.
Someone stated: “Now I know you find it hard to accept that Mahayana did not come from Gautama. Sorry to break the news to you. If you choose to worship a man, that contradicts Buddhism and is not what Nichiren meant.”
Reply: Gautama, the flesh and blood man himself, is Mahayana. You are another one who reads what Nichiren says but states “what he meant.” You are no different than he who you revile, Daisaku Ikeda.
“Answer: ‘One: Japan and so on to the whole of Jambudvipa should uniformly take the Master of teachings Lord Shakya of the Original Doctrine as the Object of Worship.” — Repaying Debts of Gratitude
This is the Great Secret Law of the Object of Worship. The Great Secret Law of the Invocation is Namu Myoho renge kyo. The Third Secret Law is that of the High Sanctuary which I will leave for the moment. A chair can not stand on two legs. You arbitrarily throw out the Great Secret Law of the Object of Worship because it grates on your sensibilities. Suck it up or create a new religion, like Ikeda. Isn’t that precisely what you are doing? That is why the Kempon Hokke is great. We preserve Nichiren Daishonin’s religion for those who wish to practice his way and we could give a rats petutey what you or anyone else thinks. Change the teachings and we will attack you with everything at our disposal. Start your own religion. See how many people follow you. You don’t even have one ten millionth the charisma of Ikeda nor one ten trillion the experience of the Daishonin, yet you would undermine the Great Man and his teachings. Shame on you. Unity for the sake of unity, at what expense? In the future, the teachings of the Kempon Hokke will prove to perfectly fit the capacities of all people. Yours and Ikeda’s will fall by the wayside because it is not based on the Enlightenment of the Buddha nor Nichiren but merely on your self satisfied understanding. You think many haven’t heard the correct teachings through the Kempon Hokke? We are coming up on one million views. Whether readily embracing the Daimoku through our efforts or despising the Daimoku for them, they form a relationship to the Sutra. They will attain Buddhahood.
The Age for the Forceful Practices:
Shakyamuni Buddha and Nichiren NEVER said that planting seeds is the way for Mappo. Quite the reverse, this is the age for the forceful practices. Planting seeds is to be done when there is no longer slander. No more slander will occur when fundamental darkness has been vanquished and there is no more slander toward the Lotus Sutra. SGI, contrary to Nichiren, suggests that we accept "slanderers of the dharma" so long as we get along.
The original Kempon Hokke tradition was built on Nichiju's intense activities of admonishing slander, and went hand in hand with an equally rigorous observance of never giving alms to nor receiving alms from slanderers. True Kempon Hokke Priests and lay believers refused to accept alms offered by devotees of rival lines. Nichiju's favorite line from the Lotus Sutra was, "grudge not bodily life" (fushaku shimyo). Kempon Hokke was famous for this slogan, and thus won the support of the Kyoto townspeople.
From Nichiju's intense activities, other temples such as "Myokenji" and "Honkokuji" became very aggressive. Between 1378 and 1444 a total of six monks left Myokenji because they became unhappy with the conservative "geshu" policy of the temple. At "Honkokuji", Nichijin left because he took the initiative and established is own temple, the Honzenji in 1357. The trend had been set toward a very aggressive form of propagation, and Nichiju and his followers were largely responsible for this.
Nichiju built his propagation on aggressive shakubuku, debate, admonition and fuju-fuse [never giving never receiving]. In hopes of bringing solidarity to the Buddhist community, the different Nichiren sects around 1378 decided to set ordinances that people could understand. Nichiryu did this with Myomanji and others with Myokakuji, Myomanji and even Taisekiji.
In 1398 two of Nichiju's disciples at Myomanji carried on the tradition of aggressive propagation. Accompanied by two lay converts and a child, Nichinin sought audience with Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408); the latter, who had refused a similar request from Nichiju, had the group tortured. It is said that the crowd waiting the arrival of tortured bodies from Yoshimitsu's court was as large as that which would gather at the Gion festival. Undaunted, the two disciples later went on to admonish Emperor Go-Komatsu in 1403 and Shogun Yoshimochi in 1408.
Nichiren's teaching begins and ends with the Lotus Sutra. He was transmitting the tradition of scripture worship, which had its origin in early Mahayana Buddhism Practices. Based on Nichiren's writings we can tell that his attitude toward the Lotus Sutra was one of scripture worship, as opposed to relic worship. Nichiren gave personality to the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren was the first person to not only to arrive at the supremacy of the scripture, but he experienced it personality.
Nichiren, based on his writings, believed that while the Lotus Sutra contained the highest truth for salvation, the path to it was subject to the "three-countries, four teachers" doctrine. The three countries of course are India, China and Japan, the four teachers are the Historical Shakyamuni, Chih-I, Saicho, and Nichiren himself. Although Nichiren gave credit to Chih-I and Saicho, he himself saw that the times were now degenerate (Mappo) and the people were spiritually weak. They were much different from that of his two predecessors.
Next, Nichiren believed the second half of the Lotus Sutra (chapters 15 to 28) was his path. This is when the Eternal Buddha appears for the first time. The Buddha reveals in the essential teachings that the first half of the Lotus Sutra was preached by his "earthly manifestation" or trace Buddha, the historical Buddha Shakyamuni.
It was Nichiren who introduced the concept of "hiho hobo" (slander of the True Dharma) or "hobo" for short. The True Dharma, of course is the Lotus Sutra, ALL OTHER SCRIPTURES were considered false and hence their subscribers slanderers.
From the Rissho Ankoku-ron we see that Nichiren's thinking on what constitutes slander was based on the following passages from the Lotus Sutra. In it, the Buddha enumerates the type of slanderers who obstruct the propagation of the sutra:
(1) to the proud, arrogant,
(2) lazy, and indolent,
(3) to those who reckon in terms of "I",
Do not preach this scripture.
(4) To the ordinary fellow of shallow perception,
(5) Profoundly addicted to the five desires,
(6) Hearing yet unable to understand,
Also, do not preach.
(7) If a man not believing,
(8) Maligns this scripture
Then he cuts off all Worldly Buddha-seeds.
(9) Or, again, he may with contorted face,
(10) Harbor doubts and uncertainties.
You are now to hear me tell
Of that man's retribution for his sins:
Whether the Buddha be in the world,
Or whether it be after his passage into extinction,
(11) There shall be those who malign
Such scriptures as this one
And who, seeing that there are readers and reciters,
And copiers, and keepers of this scripture,
(12) Shall, in disparagement, deprecation, (13) Hatred,
And envy of them,
(14) Harbor grudges against them,
The retribution for these men's sins
You are now to hear:
These men, at life's end,
Shall enter the Avici Hell.
Nichiren saw that one can atone for their past sins only by accepting the title, propagating it, and confronting one's persecutors.
In the Lotus Sutra, we see two ways of attaining our goal, the moderate (Shoju) and aggressive (Shakubuku) method. In Shoju, the believer gently persuades the slanderer to accept the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren likened this moderate approach to a compassionate mother coaxing her child to accept her ways or to the warrior's pursuit of literary arts.
In Shakubuku, we see a more direct and argumentative approach, concentrating on the prospects weakness and admonishing him that he can improve only by accepting the title. This is like a father's stern remonstrance or the warrior's pursuit of military arts.
Nichiren said the the two were inseparable but, depending on the time and person involved, either could take precedence over the other. Nichiren was convinced that the people in this time period (the degenerate world) would convert and be saved only through the aggressive method.
There is only one teaching for this time period. There are not two suns in the sky. Graham Lamont always referred to the "older teachings". This is misleading because there are not "older teachings" and "new teachings". There is only the "one teaching". Some SGI and Nichiren Shoshu members say, "let us practice our way!". This too is wrong. There is not a different teaching for each different sect or personality. There is only the Lotus Sutra.
From the Sage and an Unenlightened Man:
"Now in widely propagating the Buddhist teachings and bringing salvation to all people, one must first take into consideration the teaching, the capacity of the people, the time, the country and the sequence of propagation."
"It is a mistake to practice shakubuku at a time when shoju is called for, and equally erroneous to practice shoju when shakubuku is appropriate."
"Shoju is to be practiced when throughout the entire country only the Lotus Sutra has spread, and when there is not even a single misguided teacher expounding erroneous doctrines."
"If, failing to understand this principle, one were to practice shoju or shakubuku at an inappropriate time, then not only would he be unable to attain Buddhahood, but he would fall into the evil paths."
Merely encouraging others to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo is not the appropriate method of propagation in this degenerate age. "Arouse them to accept" is the appropriate teaching. Nichiren Daishonin's practice was not geshu. It was "aggressive shakubuku".