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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The lineage, succession, or transmission of Buddhism

There are two lineages of Buddhism discussed in the Maka Shikan. The first is "the lineage of the twenty-four successors". The second is "the lineage of contemporary masters" from Nagarjuna through Hui-wen to Hui-ssu and Chih-i himself. There are even longer temporal breaks between the lineage of contemporary masters and that of the twenty-four successors, some as long as several centuries or more. Therefore it is obvious that the transmission is through the Sutra scrolls and commentaries and not through a face to face bestowal. Besides, SGI has television and subway advertisements and even a television channel [hehe "life to life"], not to mention their publications. The Nichiren Shoshu so-called face to face bestowal too has been broken many times.

More importantly, we have the instructions of Nichiren Daishonin:

“Are persons who receive instruction orally from their teacher invariably free from error, while those who appear in later ages and who seek and investigate to be regarded as worthless? If so, then should we throw away the sutras and instead follow traditions handed down from the four ranks of bodhisattvas? Should a man throw away the deed of transfer received from his father and mother and instead rely upon oral transmissions? Are the written commentaries of the Great Teacher Dengyo so much trash, and the oral traditions handed down from the Great Teacher Jikaku the only guide to truth?” (Gosho Zenshu, p.1258)

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