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Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Buddhism of the Sowing and the Buddhism of the Harvest

The original manuscript of the Kanjin Honzon Sho [True Object of Worship] is designated a National Treasure by the Japanese government and is kept in the treasure storehouse of the Hokekyoju Temple in Ichikawa City, Japan. The document is considered crucial to the understanding of Nichiren Daishonin. Nichiren refers to the treatise as being of the "utmost importance".

The Kanjin Honzon Sho from the Major Works of the SGI is translated from the Gosho Zenshu which is the modern Japanese translation of the original Chinese and medieval Japanese Gosho translated by Nichiren Shoshu priests. One should note that the Nichiren Shoshu and the SGI are the only Nichiren sects that advocate Nichiren as True Buddha and the only sects that rely on Gosho Zenshu. The Major Works translation reads:

"The “Teacher of the Law” chapter of the Lotus Sutra states, “Since hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the Thus Come One is in the world, how much more will this be so after his passing?” The “Treasure Tower” chapter states, “They [the Buddhas] make certain that the Law will long endure. . . . [The Thus Come One Many Treasures, I myself ], and these emanation Buddhas who have gathered here, surely know this is our aim.” Look at what the “Encouraging Devotion” and “Peaceful Practices” chapters state about the future. The theoretical teaching was preached for the people after Shakyamuni Buddha’s passing.

As regards the essential teaching, it was addressed exclusively to the people early in the Latter Day of the Law. On the surface, the Buddha seems to have preached this teaching for the enlightenment of the people of his day; he planted the seeds of Buddhahood in their lives in the remote past [numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago] and nurtured the seeds through his preaching as the sixteenth son of the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence [major world system dust particle kalpas ago] and through the first four flavors of teachings and the theoretical teaching in this life. Then with the essential teaching he brought his followers to the stage of near-perfect enlightenment and finally to that of perfect enlightenment.

In actuality, however, the essential teaching bears no resemblance whatsoever to the theoretical teaching. The preparation, revelation, and transmission of the essential teaching are intended entirely for the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law. The essential teaching of Shakyamuni’s lifetime and that revealed at the beginning of the Latter Day are both pure and perfect [in that both lead directly to Buddhahood]. Shakyamuni’s, however, is the Buddhism of the harvest, and this is the Buddhism of sowing. The core of his teaching is one chapter and two halves, and the core of mine is the five characters of the daimoku alone." Kanjin Honzon Sho (SGI Major Works ) pp 169-170

The Kanjin Honzon from the NOPPA translation of the Nichiren Shu is translated directly from the Showa Tehon which is a copy of the original collection of Gosho written in Chinese and medieval Japanese. The NOPPA translation reads.

"It is stated in the tenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, 'The Teacher of the Dharma': 'This sutra has aroused much hatred and jealousy even in the lifetime of the Buddha. How much more can this be expected after His death!' And in the eleventh chapter, 'Appearance of the Stupa of Treasures': 'Taho Buddha and the Buddhas in manifestation (funjin Buddhas) from all the worlds in the universe gathered together to make this dharma live forever....Buddhas in manifestation should remember My (the Buddha's) intention to keep on spreading the dharma forever.'You may find similar statements in the thirteen chapter, 'Encouragement for Upholding this Sutra', and fourteenth chapter, 'Peaceful Practices'. They show that the theoretical section of the Lotus Sutra is directed to those in the beginning of the Latter Age.

The essential section of the Lotus Sutra is preached solely for those living in the beginning of the Latter Age. At first glance it appears that the seed of Buddhahood was planted in them by the Eternal Buddha in the eternal past or 500 dust particle kalpa ago. The seed germinated and grew within them with the help of all the sutras from the Lotus Sutra preached by the sixteenth prince of Daitsuchisho Buddha in 3,000 dust particle kalpa in the past to all those preached by Sakyamuni in his life before the Lotus Sutra and the theoretical section of the Lotus Sutra. Finally the essential section of the Lotus Sutra enabled them to attain Buddhahood.

On closer examination, however, the essential section differs from the theoretical section. That is to say the essential section, all through the prologue, the main discourse, and the epilogue, was preached for those people in the beginning of the Latter Age of the Decadent Dharma. The teaching of the essential section during the lifetime of Sakyamuni Buddha and that which would spread in the beginning of the Latter Age are likewise absolutely perfect. However the former is for attaining enlightenment, whereas the latter is for sowing the seed of Buddhahood. While the former is crystallized in the sixteenth chapter, 'Duration of the Life of the Buddha', with half a chapter each preceding and following it, the latter is solely embodied in the five characters of Myo, Ho, Ren, Ge, and Kyo, the title of the Lotus Sutra." Kanjin Honzon Sho, Nichiren Shu (NOPPA 1991) pp 120 - 122;

What was referred to by Nichiren as "the teaching for attaining enlightenment" [MW - Buddhism of the Harvest] is the teaching by the historical Buddha during his lifetime, i.e., his spoken words to his disciples. In the Age of Mappo we can only rely on the Lotus Sutra but the manner of its faith, practice, and propagation in the Age of Mappo differs from that done by the historical Buddha during his lifetime. We rely on the Daimoku transmitted by the Buddha to the Bodhisattvas from underground who are commissioned to expound the Lotus Sutra in this Age of Mappo. In Chapter 15 of the Lotus Sutra, the various provisional Bodhisattvas from this and other worlds ask to expound the Lotus Sutra. However, the Buddha demurs saying, "I do not want you to uphold this sutra...." Kanjin Honzon Sho, Nichiren Shu (NOPPA 1991) p 124; MW p 172.

Nichiren, referencing Tien-tai, discusses this rejection: "After all, Sakyamuni Buddha could not reveal his innermost enlightenment, or the great dharma hidden in the lines of the Duration of the Life of the Buddha Chapter [Chapter 16] to those great bodhisattvas from other worlds who had been guided by the teaching of the theoretical section." Kanjin Honzon Sho, Nichiren Shu (NOPPA 1991) p 126; MW 173.

Nichiren continues, explaining that in this Age of Mappo, the essence of the Lotus Sutra, Myo Ho Renge Kyo is taught to the people by the Bodhisattvas from underground, who are the original disciples of Sakyamuni Buddha:

"Lands at the beginning of the Latter Age slander the true dharma and those who live there have poor capacity for comprehension and faith in Buddhism. Therefore, instead of relying on Buddhas from other worlds, the Buddha called out great bodhisattvas from underground to entrust them with the task of transmitting the five characters of Myo, Ho, Ren, Ge, and Kyo, the essence of the 'Duration of the Life of the Buddha' chapter, to the people in this world. It meant also that those guided by the teaching of the theoretical section were not the original disciples of Sakyamuni Buddha." Kanjin Honzon Sho, Nichiren Shu (NOPPA 1991) p 126; MW 173.

"Having thus manifested the ten divine powers, Sakyamuni Buddha transmitted the five characters of Myo, Ho, Ren, Ge, and Kyo to the original disciples of the Buddha since the eternal past, who had sprung up from underground." Kanjin Honzon Sho, Nichiren Shu (NOPPA 1991) p 140; MW 176.

"Tien-tai comments on this in his 'Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra': Following 'Thereupon Sakyamuni Buddha said to the host of bodhisattvas' is the third section of the chapter on the Divine Powers, summarizing the essence of the Lotus Sutra and transmitting it to the bodhisattvas from underground." Kanjin Honzon Sho, Nichiren Shu (NOPPA 1991) p 142; MW I:76.

"The manifestation of the ten divine powers in the 21st chapter on the 'Divine Powers' is for the sake of transmitting the five characters of Myo, Ho, Ren, Ge Kyo to the four bodhisattvas of Jogyo, Muhengyo, Jyogyo and Anryugyo, representing the host of bodhisattvas who had sprung from underground." Kanjin Honzon Sho, Nichiren Shu (NOPPA 1991) p 142; MW I:76-77.

Nichiren goes on to explain that the time had only just arrived for the bodhisattvas from underground to appear and propagate Myoho Renge Kyo, the excellent medicine for the Latter Age:

"Now we are at the beginning of the Latter Age of the Decadent Dharma, when Hinayana teachings strike down Mahayana teachings, provisional teachings destroy true teachings, east is taken for west and west for east, and heaven and earth are upside down. Under these circumstances, the four ranks of bodhisattva-teachers who preach the theoretical section of the Lotus Sutra remain in hiding. Gods desert the land which they are supposed to protect. Then, for the first time, those bodhisattvas from underground appear in this world to encourage ignorant people to take the five characters of Myo, Ho, Ren, Ge, and Kyo, the excellent medicine of the Latter Age. Many ignorant people would fall into hell by slandering the five characters, but they would be saved eventually. (NOPPA) pp. 143

The meaning of the Buddhism of the Sowing and the Buddhism of the Harvest is not that there are two different Buddhisms, the Buddhism of Shakyamuni and the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin. It means that this Latter Day is for sowing the seeds of Buddhahood, not for harvesting the seeds.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this in depth presentation of a crucial matter with regards to SGI & their parent Nichiren Shoshu's grave error, declaring TWO different Buddhisms - Shakyamuni's , whose Buddhism they claim is useless , dead and Nichiren's Buddhism whose teachings they have corrupted with their own view that Nichiren is the Original Buddha- demoting Shakyamuni to provisional Buddha/ status.

    It should be clear that to correctly understand this prime point, one has to bear in mind that what you have presented here has been disregarded by Ikeda and his disciples , and rather than study and debate the facts based on the teachings , they will discredit the "person " sharing them and then attack the authenticity of the teachings.

    But it is often overlooked , that in actuality what SGI & NST are doing is disregarding and discrediting Nichiren -- consistency from the beginning to the end of their propagating arbitrary views and distortions of the Daishonin's teachings.

    It is possible though, for anyone who has a seeking mind based on faith in Myoho - Renge- Kyo , to discern the truth of this crucial matter - study, chant and purify his own mind of faith and correct his own practice.

    It bears nothing that there is no reason to wait for the leaders of SGI or the priests of NST. to adopt the correct teachings -- : Bears noting , that this is s great opportunity to follow the Law and not " persons of eminence ".
    Best, ~Katie