Mark: No Myoho renge kyo, no Buddhahood, no seed, no tree. Even those few Hindus, before the time of the Buddha that you trot out as having attained “Supreme and Perfect Enlightenment” have done so with the seed of Myoho renge kyo which was planted in their lives by the Buddha countless dust mote atoms ago.
You have attributed the cause of Enlightenment to one’s own efforts alone or to ethnogens. Those who achieve “Enlightenment” on their own are Pratyekkabuddhas or Men of Self Realization. There is not even a Buddhist category for those who claim to have achieved Enlightenment, whether partial or Pure and Perfect, through ethnogens or who advocate their use. Those who claim to be enlightened and believe it to be something other than Myoho renge kyo are deluded. These are not my own observations and assertions. They are the observations and assertions of Shakyamuni Buddha and Nichiren Daishonin. Nichiren Daishonin didn’t say, “try practicing your way.” He said, “Try practicing as I do”! Your errors obviate even the teachings of the Historical Buddha, that of Dependent Origination. They also obviate a sense of gratitude. Who can a Man of Self Realization thank? Narrow and superficial is the Way of the World of Self Realization. I already discussed the masters of the game of telephone and they are not the Hinayana disciples.
Dave: You have an untenable position in all this, when you claim to worship Gautama. Most of the other characters in the Lotus Sutra are fictitious as well, with the possible exception of some of the historical disciples named in the Sutra–but even then the interactions are all invented as a literary device.
There is no direct teachings of Gautama buddha, appearing as any Mahayana Sutra although Mahayana does include some actual teachings of Gautama mixed in with the epic events.
Mark: Namu means to worship ["In worshiping all the deities and Buddhas, the word Namu is put ahead of their names." -- Nichiren]. We worship Myoho renge kyo and the Gohonzon. Then we have to ask ourselves, what is the nature and reality of the Gohonzon? Nichiren Daishonin teaches the Gohonzon in terms of the Person and in terms of the Law. We know the Law is Myoho renge kyo or Namu Myoho renge kyo [5 or 7 characters]. Who is the “Person” of the Gohonzon? Nichiren specifically teaches that it is Shakyamuni Buddha of the Juryo Chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the Three Bodied Tathagata, one of whose bodies is Shakyamuni Buddha of India. Generally Nichiren Daishonin teaches that the person of the Gohonzon is each one of us who chants Namu Myoho renge kyo and has faith in the Lotus Sutra and Shakyamuni Buddha. Never once have I heard the expression, Namu Buddha-nature nor Namu Buddha-wisdom from either Shakyamuni Buddha nor Nichiren Daishonin. Neither nature nor mind is the entirety of Buddha nor of man. Worshiping a disembodied Buddha-nature is the same as the Shingon worship of Dainichi Buddha http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmak%C4%81ya.
Dave: Using a literal approach will always fail to discover the real meaning of the Sutra. Practice alone can show one the real truth and that will lead to an enlightenment where you no longer will be guessing about it and locked into literalism.
It is only indirectly about the debt owed to Gautama as a historical founder. One should have gratitude to all people who strove to teach the practice of Buddhism and who stayed true to the spirit of compassion and symbolically to all buddhas.
Mark: If you study the Gosho and Lotus Sutra, you know that Nichiren Daishonin believed in and reverenced a real and abiding Original Buddha.