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Sunday, September 4, 2016

SGI Yogacara [Mind Only] teachings accord with the mind of the common mortal. The Lotus Sutra accords with the mind of the Buddha.

"Wonhyo spent the earlier part of his career as a monk. In 661 he and a close friend - Uisang (625–702, founder of the Korean Hwaom school) - were traveling to China where they hoped to study Buddhism further. Somewhere in the region of Baekje the pair were caught in a heavy downpour and forced to take shelter in what they believed to be an earthen sanctuary. During the night Wonhyo was overcome with thirst, and reaching out grasped what he perceived to be agourd, and drinking from it was refreshed with a draught of cool, refreshing water. Upon waking the next morning, however, the companions discovered much to their amazement that their shelter was in fact an ancient tomb littered with human skulls, and the vessel from which Wonhyo had drunk was a human skull full of brackish water. Upon seeing this, Wonhyo vomited. Startled by the experience of believing that a gruesome liquid was a refreshing treat, Wonhyo was astonished at the power of the human mind to transform reality. After this "One Mind"[7] enlightenment experience, he abandoned his plan to go to China. He left the priesthood and turned to the spreading of the Buddhadharma as a layman..."

SGI's teachings reflect just such a view: "Two women are sitting in the Ob-Gyn office. One is an expectant mother who had been trying to have a child for many years and has finally become pregnant and is expected to have a healthy baby in two weeks. The other woman has just been diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer. To the expectant mother, the office is brimming with vitality and joy, the pictures on the wall evoke an abiding sense of well being, the receptionist is an angel of mercy, the doctor is a compassionate father figure, and the wait to see the doctor passes as if a moment . To the woman with late stage ovarian cancer, the office is a gloomy prison cell, the pictures on the wall evoke a sense of foreboding, the receptionist is curt and uncaring, the doctor's bedside manner is disturbing, and the hour wait seems like an eternity.

From the perspective of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha, Tientai, and Nichiren, the doctors office is thus: It simultaneously possesses all Ten Worlds, their mutual possession, One Thousand Factors, and Three Thousand Realms in an ever changing panoply, whose essence is the Eternal Buddha's Realm. Nichiren teaches:

"The “Expedient Means” chapter, which belongs to the theoretical teaching, expounds the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, making clear that persons of the two vehicles can achieve Buddhahood. It thus eliminates one of the two errors found in the earlier sutras. But it nevertheless retains the provisional aspect, and fails to reveal the eternal aspect, of the Buddha’s enlightenment. Thus the true doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life remains unclear, and the attainment of Buddhahood by persons of the two vehicles is not properly affirmed. Such teachings are like the moon seen in the water, or rootless plants that drift on the waves.

When we come to the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra, then the belief that Shakyamuni first obtained Buddhahood during his present lifetime is demolished, and the effects of the four teachings are likewise demolished. When the effects of the four teachings are demolished, the causes of the four teachings are likewise demolished. Thus the cause and effect of the Ten Worlds as expounded in the earlier sutras and the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra are wiped out, and the cause and effect of the Ten Worlds in the essential teaching are revealed. This is the doctrine of original cause and original effect. It reveals that the nine worlds are all present in beginningless Buddhahood and that Buddhahood is inherent in the beginningless nine worlds. This is the true mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, the true hundred worlds andthousand factors, the true three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

When we consider the matter in this light, we can see that Vairochana Buddha seated on the lotus pedestal of the ten directions as described in the Flower Garland Sutra, the little Shakyamuni described in the Āgama sutras, and the provisional Buddhas described in the sutras of the Correct and Equal and the Wisdom periods such as the Golden Light, Amida, and Mahāvairochana sutras are no more than reflections of the Buddha of the “Life Span” chapter. They are like fleeting reflections of the moon that float on the surfaces of various large and small bodies of water. The scholars of the various schools of Buddhism, confused as to [the nature of the Buddhas of] their own school and, more fundamentally, ignorant of [the Buddha of] the “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, mistake the reflection in the water for the actual moon, some of them entering the water and trying to grasp it in their hands, others attempting to snare it with a rope. As T’ien-t’aisays, “They know nothing of the moon in the sky, but gaze only at the moon in the pond.”

Lastly, Nichiren's view of the matter derives from the Lotus Sutra:

The Tathagata knows and sees the appearance
of the Three Worlds in accordance with reality:
there is no Birth-and-Death,
whether backsliding or emerging;
likewise there is neither existence in the world
nor extinction; they are not real; they are not void,
they are not thus; they are not different.
It is not as the Three Worlds
see the Three Worlds. In such a matter as this
the Tathagata sees clearly
and is without error. -- Lotus Sutra Chapter 16 [Juryo-hon]


The masses of beings see the kalpas exhausted,
When they are burned by the great fires;
This land of mine is peaceful and secure;
Gods and humans ever fill it. corrects
and forests and various halls and pavilions,
With various types of jewels adorned; On the
jewelled trees many flowers and fruit, Wherein
the masses of beings take their pleasure
and rejoice. The gods strike the celestial drums,
Ever making instrumental music.
Raining mandara flowers. Scattering them
Over the Buddha and the great assemblies.
Though My Pure Land is not destroyed,
Yet the masses see it burned up,
Worrisome fears and agonizing sufferings
And such things all filling it up. These
beings of various sins, Because of the causes
and conditions of their evil karma, Though
they pass through asemkheyas of kalpas,
Do not hear the name of the Three Jewels.
Those who have performed merit,
Who are gentle and pliant, simple and upright,
Then all see my body.
Staying here, preaching the Dharma.
Sometimes for these masses I preach the
Buddha's Life is immeasurable. To those who
see the Buddha only after a long time, I preach
for them the Buddha is difficult to encounter.
The power of My Wisdom is like this;
The illumination of the Light of My Wisdom is
immeasurable; My Lifespan is immeasurable
kalpas; It is what I obtained by performing the
karmas for a long time. You those who have
wisdom, Do not produce doubts about this. You
should cut them off and cause them to end forever:
The Buddha's Words are true and not empty. -- Lotus Sutra Chapter 16 [Jiga-ge]


"The sahā world Shakyamuni Buddha revealed in the “Life Span” chapter is the eternal pure land, impervious to the three calamities and to the cycle of the four kalpas. The Buddha neither has entered into extinction in the past nor will be born in the future. And the same is true of his disciples. This means that their lives are perfectly endowed with the three thousand worlds, that is, with the three realms of existence. The Buddha did not reveal this truth in the theoretical teaching, or the first fourteen chapters, of the Lotus Sutra because the time was not right and the people’s capacity was not yet developed." -- True Object of Worship


  1. Interesting to check out the comparison of Nichiren Buddhism with some the other schools

    Nichiren Buddhism

    Nichiren (1222–1282) was a Buddhist monk who taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra as the exclusive means to attain enlightenment, and the chanting of Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō as the essential practice of the teaching. Nichiren Buddhism includes various schools with diverging interpretations of Nichiren's teachings.

    Nichiren Buddhism views the Buddha nature as "The inner potential for attaining Buddhahood", common to all people. Based on the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren maintained that "all living being possess the Buddha nature", being the inherent potential to attain Buddhahood: "The Buddha nature refers to the potential for attaining Buddhahood, a state of awakening filled with compassion and wisdom."

    The emphasis in Nichiren Buddhism is on "revealing the Buddha nature" - or attaining Buddhahood – in this life time through chanting the name of the Dharma of the Lotus Sutra: "[T]the Buddha nature within us is summoned forth and manifested by our chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo."

    The potential for Buddhahood exists in the whole spectrum of the Ten Worlds of life, and this means that all people, including evil doers, have Buddha nature which remains as a dormant possibility or a theoretical potential in the field of emptiness or non-substantiality until it is materialized in reality through Buddhist practice.

    In his letter "Opening the Eyes of Wooden and painted Images" Nichiren explains that insentient matter (such as trees, mandalas, images, statues) also possess the Buddha nature, because they serve as objects of worship. This view regards the Buddha nature as the original nature of all manifestations of life – sentient and insentient – through their interconnectedness:

    This concept of the enlightenment of plants in turn derives from the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, which teaches that all life—insentient and sentient—possesses the Buddha nature.

  2. Focusing on the *power* of the mind, SGI taps into popular *new age* culture, claiming to have the means to refine and direct the inherent power of the common mortal mind. Films like, "What the Bleep Do We Know" and "The Secret" provided fertile soil for SGI to propagate its own *brand* of mind only teachings. -- Another way SGI capitalized on American culture to win converts.

    I was naturally skeptical of Mr. Ikeda's guidance on *transforming reality* based on holding the picture of what one desires in mind when chanting daimoku to the Gohonzon. Ikeda encouraged members to *visualize your goal* and *chant with determination to achieve it*, and this was parroted by leaders on a consistent basis , but it also included "introducing new members" "doing activities" and "making financial contributions"-- this was the *brand* SGI called, Nichiren Buddhism-- the teaching itself was not sufficient, one had to "take action within the SGI". How was *reality transformed*? By the change one could see and show evidence of in one's circumstances; share the tangible results at a meeting, encourage others, etc.

    It's hard to point out this major error to SGI members, who rely on discriminative thinking routinely and never try to comprehend the Lotus Sutra, because they are taught it isn't necessary. so, they don't really know what the goal of Nichiren's practice is. In the SGI, the jewel of the Lotus Sutra, 3,000 realms in a single moment of life, is infused with concepts related to "Focusing one's mind on one's personal goals and desires"-- .

    It is interesting to note how many SGI members are becoming disillusioned with the *results* of their efforts , now that the focus is *Uniting with Sensei's vision/mind*-- This opened the door for even greater divergence in the discriminative thinking that had already created *many minds* amongst the *one body*, now known as "SGI Buddha".

    Now, it is even more of a crap shoot for members chanting reverently for the fulfillment of their dreams-- because so few members get *results* uniting with Sensei's mind, and those that do insist that those who don't *get* the connection with Sensei are destined to fail to attain their goals. Not very encouraging...

    The common mortal mind cannot conceive the Lotus Sutra, nor can our common mortal mind understand or grasp the Lotus Sutra-- only through faith, chanting the seven characters Nichiren wrote, "Na-mu-myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo" can we arouse faith in the Lotus Sutra and the Gohonzon.

    The most common mistake made by common mortals, with regard to the teachings of Nichiren is to discount the approach he demonstrated toward the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren believed the Buddha's golden words when he said "This sutra is the most difficult to believe and the most difficult to understand". Nichiren believed the Buddha when he said that "Faith is the portal to the Buddha's wisdom, and thus he aroused faith through belief. Most common mortals will dismiss Nichiren's own detailed documentation of his practice, and instead begin to grapple with *understanding* the teachings through their own discriminative thinking. Thus they never "see the Buddha" in their own lives--- ; they don't even know what they are missing.