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Saturday, September 22, 2018

"The Gohonzon is just paper and ink" -- SGI leader

Nichiren writes:

"As for the characters of the Lotus Sutra, a blind person cannot seethem at all. A person with the eyes of a common mortal sees them as black in color. Persons of the two vehicles see them as the void. Bodhisattvas see various different colors in them, while a person whose seeds of Buddhahood have reached full maturity sees them as Buddhas...."(Letter to Horen)

"The blind cannot see the characters of this sutra. To the eyes of ordinary people, they look like characters. Persons of the two vehiclesperceive them as the void. Bodhisattvas look on them as innumerable doctrines. Buddhas recognize each character as a golden Shakyamuni...." (Reply to the Lay Priest Soya)

"Though this mandala has but five or seven characters, it is the teacher of all Buddhas throughout the three existences and the seal that guarantees the enlightenment of all women." (On Offering Prayers to the Mandala of the Mystic Law)

"I have dedicated my life to Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra, extending compassion to all living beings and rebuking slanders of the Law." (MW vol 5, A Sage and an Unenlightened Man, pg 107) 

"And among the Sutras, the Lotus Sutra is a manifestation in writing of Shakyamuni Buddha's intent; it is his voice set down in written word." (The Pure and Far Reaching Voice, pg 147) 

"Shakyamuni Buddha and the written words of the Lotus Sutra are two different things but their heart is one. Therefore, when you cast your eyes upon the wordsof the Lotus Sutra you should consider that you are beholding the living body of the Buddha Shakyamuni." (Ibid, pg 147) 

"However the Buddha recognizes each character as a golden Lord Shakyamuni.' This is the meaning of the statement that '[one who is able to hold this Sutra] thereby holds the Buddha's body'. Those who practice Buddhism but adhere to distorted views destroy this loftiest of Sutras." (MW vol 5, Reply to Soya Nyudo,pg 164) 

"Only the Lotus Sutra represents the wonderful teaching preached directly from the golden mouth of Shakyamuni Buddha, who is perfectly endowed with the three bodies." (MW vol 5, Letter to Myomitsu Shonin, pg 196) 

"Therefore, the words of this Sutra are indeed the very soul of Shakyamuni Buddha. And since every single word constitutes the soul of the Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha will protect persons who practice this Sutra as though he were protecting his very own eyes. He will accompany such persons just as a shadow accompanies a body. How then could the prayers of such persons not be answered." (MW vol 7, On Prayer, pg 34) 

"The Shakyamuni Buddha who lived in a past even more distant than gohyaku-jintengo-became enlightened to the Lotus that is the entity of the Mystic Law. Thereafter, in age after age and lifetime after lifetime, he declared that he had attained the way and he revealed the fundamental principle of wisdom and reality." (MW vol 7, The Entity of the Mystic Law, pg 67) 

"The Buddha taught that offering one's little finger for the sutra is more rewarding than covering an entire galaxy with seven kinds of jewels. Sessen Doji offered his life, and Gyobo Bonji ripped off his own skin to seek the truth of Buddhism. Since nothing is more precious than life itself, those who dedicate their l ives to the Buddhist practice are certain to attain Buddhahood. If they are prepared to offer their lives, why should they begrudge any other treasure for the sake of Buddhism? On the other hand, if one is loath to part with his material possessions, how can he possibly give away his life, which is far more valuable? 

Society dictates that one should repay a great obligation to another even at the cost of his own life. Many warriors die for their lords, perhaps even more than one would imagine. A man will die to defend his honor; a woman will die for a man. Fish want to survive; they deplore their pond's shallowness and dig holes to hid in, yet tricked by bait, they take the hook. Birds in a tree fear that they are too low and perch in the top branches, yet bewitched by bait, they too are caught in snares. Human beings are equally vulnerable. They give their lives for shallow, worldly matters but rarely for the noble cause of Buddhism. Small wonder they do not attain Buddhahood."(Letter to Sado)


Nichiren teaches that rice is not merely rice but life itself. How much more so is the Lotus Sutra which is food for all the Buddhas of the universe. Not only is the Lotus Sutra life itself but the life of the Original Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni, our Parent, Teacher, and Sovereign. 

This is not to negate the worth of the people who protect and practice the Lotus Sutra. As the Lotus Sutra states, "Among all the living they are supreme." (LS Ch.23) The people are not ipso facto supreme. They are only supreme in relation to their connection with the object (Lotus Sutra) . "So it is also with those who are able to receive and keep this Sutra." -- Nichiren

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