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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Innate Original Enlightenment is NOT a doctrine of Nichiren


(Here Lamont refutes Rev. Yasahara's view of Hongaku)

It is has been stated that opposition to hongaku (innate original enlightenment) is wrong and that the “Matter of the Ten Thusnesses” (Junyoze no koto) is a genuine work simply because it is recorded in the “Rokunai gosho” collection. 

1) The “Rokunai” catalogue is not any guide to authenticity; although at one time it was a slightly better standard for genuine works than the “Rokuge” collections, the naive belief that it was compiled on the first anniversary of Nichiren’s death has long since been discredited; it is a catalogue from long after. (“Nichiren Shonin Ibun jiten”, 1212c); as far as I can see the first reference to such collection is by Honjobo Nichijitsu of the Nakayama Lineage in 1461. Clearly given the state of Nichiren Buddhism then under the influence of the most corrupt monistic tendencies of the Medieval Tendai (chuko Tendai) establishment, the “Rokunai mokuroku” is by no means any guaranteeof authenticity; in light of the sophisticated studies done in modern times when access to texts of various sects and lineages became easier, to cling to the notion that any document in this collection is ipso facto reliable and genuine is the height of ignorance and naivete. 

[Note: in Maltz’s so-called “Kempon Hokke Vision, v. 3, no. 6, p. 7, Yashuhara admits that this was compiled not later than 120 years after Nichiren; plenty of time for all sort of forgeries to be admitted to the canon.] 

Of all the forgeries under Nichiren’s august name, this particular document is perhaps the most egregious fake, because it can be shown to be derived from a work FALSELY attributed to Genshin (Eshin sozu: 942 1017) and included in “Eshin sozu zenshu”, v. 3, the “Essential Notes on Attaining Buddhahood in this Very Body by the ‘Hokke’” (“Hokke sokushin jobutsu yoki”); the “Junyoze no koto” itself was long ago a subject of dispute even in traditional times and was once regularly attributed to (of all people) Jikaku Daishi (Ennin: 794-864), a man whose errors Nichiren sharply attacked! As to the 

“Essential Notes on Attaining Buddhahood in this Very Body by the ‘Hokke’”, of which this work is clearly a revision or adaptation, at various times it was also attributed to Kakucho (960 1034); textual studies by Shigyo Kaishu showed decades ago that the present “Junyoze no koto” and the “Essential Notes on Attaining Buddhahood in this Very Body by the ‘Hokke’” extremely close. (See Asai Yorin, “Nichiren kyogaku no kenkyu”, pp. 275-277, 303); this conclusion, far from being overturned in recent years has been adopted by standard reference works: (See“Nichiren Shonin Ibun jiten”, 503c) Moreover, even the editors of the “Showa Teihon” in the Nichiren Sect, who were not very strict in separating out forgeries decided to put this “Junyoze no koto” in the Continuation Section (zokuhen) which is reserved for questionalbe texts. (v. 3, 2030-2033; no.3) [Note, even if one were to concede that this work is by Nichiren, it  is supposedly from the year (Shoga 2 = 1258) and thus would have less significance than Sado and post-Sado writings.] 

Let us now turn to the assertion that Honda Nissho was fervent believer in this hongaku monism, so beloved of Maltz and other “ex” Gakkai “New Agers”. From the Kanjin Honzon-Sho, Nichiren Dai Shonin (trans. Kyotsu Hori), Chapter 4 (Upholding the Lotus Sutra and Attaining Buddhahood), Pages 88-96 

"Question (20): You have not responded to the serious question raise earlier regarding the Buddha residing in our minds, have you? 
Answer: It is said in the Sutra of Infinite Meaning (Muryogi-kyo), an introductory teaching to the Lotus Sutra: "though unable to perform the six kinds of practice leading to Buddhahood: charity, observing precepts, perseverance, effort, meditation and wisdom, upholders of this sutra will inevitably receive merits from practicing them." The second chapter of the Lotus Sutra states: "We wish to hear the way to perfection;" and in the Nirvana Sutra it is said: "'Sad' in the Saddharmapundarika (Lotus Sutra) means 'perfection'." Bodhisattva Nagarjuna says in his great Wisdom Discourse (Daichido-ron) that "sad" means "six" while the Annotations on the Four Mahayana Treatises (Wu-i wu-te ta-cheng ssu-lun hsuan-i chi) by Hui-chun of T'ang China means "perfection" in India. The Annotations on the Meaning of the Lotus Sutra (Fa-hua i-su) by Chi-tsang states that "sad" is translated as "perfection"; whileGrand Master T'ien-t'ai states in his Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra (Fa-hua hsuan-i) that "sad" is a Sanskrit term which is translated as "miao" (wonderful) in China. 

I fear that I may debase these passages if I try to interpret them, but I dare do so in order to answer your question. The gist of these passages is that Sakyamuni Buddha's merit of practicing the bodhisattva way leading to Buddhahood, as well as that of preaching and saving all living beings since His attainment of Buddhahood are altogether contained in the five words of myo, ho, ren, ge, and kyo (Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Dharma) and that consequently, when we uphold the five words, the merits which He accumulated before and after His attainment of Buddhahood are naturally transferred to us. Thus, it is stated in the Lotus Sutra (chapter four, "Understanding by Faith) that four great sravaka such as Kasyapa rejoiced in their understanding of the teaching of the Lotus Sutra enabling sravaka to attain Buddhahood, and reported to the Buddha that they had been given invaluable jewels without asking for them. This represents the attainment of Buddhahood by the sravaka realm contained in our minds.

Not only the sravaka but also Sakyamuni Buddha is within us. For we encounter such a statement like this in the second chapter of the Lotus Sutra: "It was my (Sakyamuni's) original vow to let all beings become like Myself. My vow has now been fulfilled. I have helped them all enter the way of the Buddha." Does this not mean, that Sakyamuni Buddha, who has attained Perfect Enlightenment, is our flesh and blood, and all the merits He has accumulated before and after attaining Buddhahood are our bones? 

Moreover, the eleventh chapter of the Lotus Sutra "Appearance of the Stupa of Treasures", states: "Those who uphold the teaching of this sutra are deemed to serve me, Sakyamuni, and Taho Buddha. They also serve Buddhas in manifestation here who adorn and glorify their respective worlds." This means that Sakyamuni Buddha, Taho Buddha, and all the Buddhas in manifestation are in our minds, and that we, upholders of the Lotus Sutra, will follow their steps and inherit all the merits of those Buddhas. 

This is the meaning of the passage in the tenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra,"The Teacher of the Dharma", which reads: "Those who hear of this Lotus Sutra even for a moment, will instantly attain Perfect Enlightenment." A passage in the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, "Duration of the Life of the Buddha", contends: "It has been many hundreds of thousands of billions of nayuta of kalpa (an incalculably long period of time) since I have attained Buddhahood." It means that Sakyamuni buddha, within our minds, is an ancient Buddha without beginning, manifesting Himself in three bodies, and attained buddhahood in the eternal past described as 500 dust-particle kalpa ago. 

In the same chapter, another passage reads: "The duration of My life, which I obtained through the practice of the way of bodhisattvas, has not yet expired. It is twice as long as the length of time stated above: 500 dust-particle kalpa." This reveals the bodhisattva-realm within out minds. The bodhisattvas described in the fifteenth chapter, "Appearance of Bodhisattvas from Underground", who have sprung out of the great earth, as numerous as the number of dust-particles of 1,000 worlds, are followers of the Original Buddha Sakyamuni who resides within our minds. 

They are like T'ai-kung-wang and Duke of Chou, retainers of King Wu of the Chou dynasty in ancient China, who at the same time served the King's young son, King Ch'eng; or Takeuchi-no Sukune of ancient Japan, a leading minister to Empress Jingu, who concurrently served her son, Prince Nintoku. Just like them Bodhisattvas Jogyo, Muhengyo, Jogyo and Anryugyo, the four leaders of those bodhisattvas sprung up from the earth, are simultaneously followers of the Original Buddha and Bodhisattvas who reside in the minds of us, ordinary people. 

Therefore, Grand Master Miao-le has declared in his Annotation on the Mo-ho chih-kuan (Mo-ho chih-kuan fu-hsing-chuan hung-chueh): "You should know that both our bodies and the land on which we live are a part of the 3,000 modes of existence which exist in our minds. Consequently, upon our attainment of Buddhahood, we are in complete agreement with the truth of '3,000 existences contained in one thought', and our single body and single thought permeate through all the worlds in the universe." 
Let us take a look at Honda’s “Hokekyo kogi” (“Lectures on the Lotus Sutra”); commenting on the “Chapter of the Measure of Life of the Tathagata”: in volume 2, p. 215, he  specifically states in commenting the first line of the central “Jiga ge”: 

“The saintly patriarch relying on the vast numbers preaches the innumerable, and therewith judges it to reveal the Beginningless Really-existing Original Buddha of Concrete (or Tangible) Character of the Enjoyment and Response [Bodies], when as he says it ‘is the Beginningless Ancient Buddha of kalpas as many as the dust of countries touched or not by the dust of five hundred of tens of trillions of nayutas of asamkheyas of great trichiliocosms (gohyaku jinden gô) and so on to the Three Bodies that are revealed’, it is this. Although in discussing this Original Buddha there are those who cull out the Buddha Who practiced and manifested the Effect and point to the Ideality (Abstraction) of Unmanifest Original Enlightenment (hongaku no ritai) and take this Abstract Buddha (ributsu) that is the unenlightened worldling (bombu) to be the Original Buddha (hombutsu) and take the Actual Buddha (jibutsu) as the Manifestation Buddha (shakubutsu);" 

"This is by no means (kesshite) the conclusion of the faith and practice of [the Bodhisattva] Converted by the Original Buddha (honge). However, among the Saint’s latter lineages they frequently assert this doctrine and advocate that it is the sublime doctrine revealed by the ‘[Chapter] of the Measure of Life’ alone and the Ultimate Theory exceeding the {Bodhisattva] Converted by the Original Buddha (honge); the ignorant heedlessly would follow suit. Alas! This child is to be pitied !” The passage is reasonably clear: in interpreting this central part of the “Lotus Sutra” Honda makes it clear that the Buddha spoken of in Chapter Sixteen is of a concrete or tangible character (gutaikaku) relating to the Enjoyment and Response Bodies (hojin and ojin) and he utilizes a phrase from the “Kanjin honzon sho” to describe this Buddha; although there are some who have tried to twist the phrase to mean something else Honda is fairly clear: he believes in the “Actual Buddha” (ji butsu) and dismisses the theory of the Abstract or Ideal (ritai) Original Enlightenment, which, as every scholar should know, is oriented towards the Dharma Body (hosshin) of the Buddha

(See the comparison between the two views, the “Beginningless Ancient Buddha” and the “Hongaku Uncreate Three Bodies” in Asai Yorin, “Nichiren kyogaku no kenkyu”, pp. 287-315, especially the summary on p. 295) 

It should be noted that Honda’s description tallies with the idea found in the “Kaimoku sho” (STN, v. 1, 5536-8) where Nichiren says the feature that separates the “Hokekyo” from all other Mahayana Sutras is the concept of the “revelation of the original” (kempon) of the Enjoyment Body (hojin) and of the Response Body (ojin). (Shigyo Kaishu, “Nichiren no ‘Kanjin honzon sho’ no busshin ron ni tsuite” p. 181, cites this “Kaimoku sho” passage to show Nichiren was NOT oriented towards the Hosshin based hongaku view of the Buddha

Significantly Honda then goes on to criticize in no uncertain terms those ignorant people who willy-nilly follow those who take ri hongaku to be the Original or Fundamental Buddha and take the Actual Buddha to be a a mere Manifestation Buddha. (This hongaku doctrine is clearly expressed in “On the Reality of the Dharmas” (Shoho jisso sho) (STN, v. 1, 724 l. 11)), a work much praised by Taisekiji and the Soka Gakkai. Surely this fact is significant: the position vehemently proclaimed by the Fuji Branch is the very position which Honda condemns as being by no means the final doctrine of Nichiren Shonin; he then continues by noting the prevalence of this view among the latter-day religious groups of the Nichiren movement he pities the children who blindly take this view point. Could there be a better description of Maltz and his Soka Gakkai followers? Truly they are to be pitied !

As for Yasuhara’s claim that Honda cited the “Junyoze no koto” in the“Daizokyo yogi” (“Essential Doctrine of the Great Sutra Store”), I do not doubt it; but in what context did he use it? Moreover, as the title implies this appears to be an over-all view of the Buddhist canon, not the quintessential Truth of all Truths, the “Lotus Sutra”. 

Nor again can Yasuhara wriggle out of the charge of promoting Medieval Tendai by saying that the Medieval Tendai (Chuko Tendai) idea required no practice; of course, the people who introduced this sort of thought into the Nichiren canon tack on chanting the Daimoku and so on in order to make their fundamental alteration of Nichiren’s world view more acceptable and plausible.

Moreover, even some Chuko Tendai works included some kind of nod in the direction “practice”. The sin here is to twist Nichiren’s doctrine of an actually-existing Buddha into this abstract Hongaku in which the worldling is the Original Buddha. 

In fact, those people who passed off such works as these as genuine writings of Nichiren fundamentally changed the metaphysics behind his religion from the concept of an objective, actual Eternal Buddha Who is omnipresent and even in our minds and Who out of Great Compassion grants us His merit through the Daimoku into that of a highly subjective monistic view in which the Buddha Body is reduced to a mere projection of ourselves. (Again: see the writings by Shigyo and Asai cited above.) 

Despite attempts by various groups (such as the forerunners of themodern so-called Nichiren Shu) to reconcile the two concepts of the Buddha Body, they are fundamentally different and the people who combined them always gave the Hongaku view precedence. Because of the relative complexity of some of the issues I will defer this. (Again: see the writings by Shigyo and Asai cited above.) 

I have to say Maltz’s recent statements seem to bear out my belief that he and his followers really do not understand the difference between hongaku thought and the historical Nichiren’s hommon thought. 

The terms “hombutsu” (original Buddha) or “hondo” (original land) do not of themselves imply the hongaku monistic world view. Likewise the concept of the Buddha in our minds does not imply the Tathagata of  Original Enlightenment. [Likewise on rare occasions “hongaku” can be synonym for the actual Original Buddha but this appears to be a relatively rare usage and that is clearly not what is meant in these forgeries attributed to Nichiren.] Denying “Hongaku” is not equivalent to denying the Original Buddha (hombutsu). Quite the contrary it is defending and giving honor to the Original Buddha Shakyamuni! 

There is much more I could say and possibly will say on this subject but Iwant to make the following observations: First: Maltz has declared on the basis ofone passage in Stone’s book that every one who dares to oppose his Soka Gakkai Hongaku philosophy is “out of bounds” and “in the penalty box”. Who gave him authority to cut off rational discussion in this preemptive and dictatorial way? 

Cannot anyone see what is happening here? Not only is he chiming inwith the Gakkai/Taisekiji metaphysical view (he only differs from them where he needs a hook to pull in their members or ex-members to build his own organization) but he is acting like an absolute ruler in cutting off discussion! 

Well, let us see who is in the “penalty box” with me:Most of the Old Jumonryu (followers of Nichiju) before the lineage began to decline. (Unless, of course, Kubota and Yasuhara want to show me that these men were gung-ho for “Ri hongaku”.) 

The above cited scholars, Asai Yorin and Shigyo Kaishu, two of the best historical and textual scholars of the mid-twentieth century Tamura Yoshiro, author of the monumental work, “Kamakura Shin Bukkyo no kenkyu” (“A Study of the New Buddhism of Kamakura”) Miyazaki Eishu (I believe he is an acquaintance of Rev. Kubota) who says in his excellent little reference work “Nichiren jiten” p. 261, where he labels the “Ongi kuden” and “Onko kikigaki” forgeries and notes that if Nichiren used these concepts it was as a warning and was exceptional, for Hongaku was not really part of the original Tendai doctrinal system."

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