Nichiren as Honbutsu

mansurhirbi87
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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by mansurhirbi87 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:10 pm

ok, change "solve" for "understand" though. To understand the common and the difference in their teachings or perspectives help us with the other questions. better put: the difference among Shakyamuni, Tientai and Nichiren"s Lotu Sutra IMHO

_/\_

ronnymarsh
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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by ronnymarsh » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:03 am

The systematization of the Tientai school organizes the teachings in 5 PERIODS:

1. Kegon: The preaching of the Kegon Sutra (Avatamsaka) to the Bodhisattvas and Celestial Beings soon after the enlightenment of Shakyamuni under the Bodhi tree.

2. Agon: The preaching of the teaching of the Srvakayana and Pratyekabudhayana, the "hinayana".

3. Hoto: The transition period between "hinayana" and "mahayana", where Shakyamuni introduces elements of the Bodhisatvayana.

4. Hannya: The period of the in-depth presentation of the Mahayana, the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras dealing with "Shunyata" from the Mahayana perspective.

5. Hokke-nehan: The concluding period of the teaching of Shakyamuni which includes the Lotus Sutra and the Nirvana Sutra.

This systematization of the Tientai school is to some extent the result of the general observation of the development of Buddhism transmitted from India to China and a cordon that ties and attempts to correct certain discrepancies and contradictions that appear in the Buddhist literature.

The first Chinese school was the "Huayan" (jp. Kegon), from the earliest translations of Lokakshema. The teachings of this school come from the perspective of "Tathagatagarbha", we can also link it to the Jonang school in Tibet (which has disappeared) and the Chinese school of "Nirvana" which was partly absorbed by Huayan itself and also by Tiantai.

From the development of this school, other Buddhist texts began to enter China, and new schools began to form. These 5 periods of Tiantai systematization are also the systematization of Chinese Buddhist schools in 5 large groups in order of appearance in China:

1. Huayan
2. Hinayana - Jojitsu, Kusha and Ritsu.
3. Initial Mahayana - Yogacara [hosso], Pure Land [jodo], True Word [shingon] and Zen.
4. Final Mahayana - Madhyamaka [Sanron]
5. Tiantai.

Observing this systematization of Chi-i we note that his main concern is not strictly historical, but practical. In a way these 5 periods of teaching are also systematized in the 4 Degrees of Teaching

1. ZOKYO - Hinayana / Tripitaka - Agon Period [Jojitsu, Kusha and Ritsu]
2. BEKKYO - Mahayana Yogacara - Period Kegon [Huayan] and Hoto [Hosso, jodo, shingon and Zen]
3. TSUKYO - Mahayana Madhyamaka - Hannya Period [Sanron]
4. ENKYO - Mahayana "round" [synthesis between the three previous] - Hokke period [Tiantai]

And these three can be simplified simply in "Hinayana" and "Mahayana".

The systematization of Chi-i in 5 Periods is best because it shows certain nuances, but when one does not want to investigate these nuances one can, to some degree, work with these three great groups of Teaching.

Analyzing the teaching of Tiantai, the Lotus Sutra and Nirvana, they express a certain type of teaching that is the result of the harmonization between Madhyamaka and Yogacara.

The Yogacara thought, which is at the base of the Hosso (characteristic of the Dharmas), Jodo, Shingon, Zen, and Kegon schools, states that ultimately everything is mind. The best description of this is the Chinese work "Awakening of the Faith," which demonstrates the elements of Reality in ONE MIND, TWO PORTAINS.

In order to understand this, one must first understand the use of the three Sanskrit terms that are translated by "mind" in the Western languages: Manas, Vijnana and Citta.

Vijnana [consciousness] correspond to the six consciousnesses that arise from the six senses.
Manas [gross mind] corresponds to the deluded mind which sees in the aggregates the existence of "atman".
Citta [nucleus] corresponds to the deepest of the mind, the aspect always awakened and enlightened, but which is obscured by the obscurities generated by the other "minds".

The Yogacara school systematized these terms in the Eight Consciences:

1st to 6th - Vijnana
7th - Manas
8ª - Citta

The development of the Yogacara philosophy served to answer certain problems that appeared in the Hinayana abidharmas, more precisely the thought of the sarvasative school that taught that the dharmas were actually existing in the three times.

The Yogacara argument is that dharmas do not exist by themselves, they are purely mental products. When we speak of 5 aggregates, 6 senses, 12 bases and 18 spheres, we have no real contact with them, but only through the product of mental contemplation.

The Madhyamaka philosophy presents an answer in terms of Santai: Three Truths

1. Empty
2. Existence
3. Middle Path

The thought of the Yogacara is problematic from the Madhyamaka point of view because it affirms the absolute emptiness of the dharmas.

When we speak of absolute emptiness, this does not necessarily mean "non-existence." There is a big question that shows the distinction between Madhyamaka and Yogacara:

"Is emptiness empty?"

When the yogacara affirms an abstruse emptiness she denies that emptiness is empty. This is known in the history of Mahayana Buddhism as "emptiness of another" or "explicit emptiness." That is, the Void is empty of everything else except of itself.

The madhyamaka instead states that the Void is empty as well. This is known in the history of Mahayana Buddhism as "emptiness of self" or "implied emptiness." That is, the Void is empty of everything including of itself.

The Mahayana schools of Chinese origin: Kegon, Hosso, Jodo, Shingon and Zen, constructed their philosophy from the teaching of the "emptiness of another", that is, prioritizing the Yogacara position. The Mahayana Sanron school constructed its philosophy from the perspective of the "emptiness of itself", that is, giving priority to the Madhyamaka.

In these terms, we can identify the following philosophical characteristics in the first 4 of the 5 Periods of Chi-i systematization:

1. Kegon: Yogacara-Madhyamaka (Absolute Void in essence term)
2. Agon: Hinayana (true existence of dharmas)
3. Hoto: Yogacara (Absolute Void in term of essence)
4. Hannya: Madhyamaka (essentially empty void)

When you say "You can not talk about emptiness and having an essence in the same breath". You are making a statement from the point of view of the strict Madhyamaka, that is, from the point of view of teaching the Sanron school, that is, from the perspective of a Provisional Teaching.

This is understandable because in the nineteenth century Japanese Buddhism was involved in a political and consequently religious opening as well. With this openness, Japanese Buddhism can communicate again with other Buddhisms and know "Tibetan Buddhism". From that moment a dialectical dynamics developed in the various Buddhist schools, starting from positions of reform and conservative positions. The modern Nichiren Shu, for example, was constructed under a reformist and revisionist perspective of Nichiren Buddhism, while the modern Nichiren Shoshu was constructed as a conservative reaction to revisionism.

The influence of Tibetan Buddhism in Japan is more philosophical than religious. Tibet, since the Gelug (Kadam) school became prominent and went on to direct the country's politics, prioritizes and defends as the highest expression of Mahayana Buddhist thought the strict Madhyamaka philosophy, ie the Void of Si. There is a certain control in the learning of Tibetan Buddhism which is carried out by the Gelugpas, and the defenders of the Yogacara or of a mixture of Madhyamaka-Yogacara have no very happy destinations there. The Jonang school (tathagatagarbha), for example, was destroyed by Gelug.

Thus, there exists within the current Japanese Buddhism a certain revisionist action that wishes that the Japanese Buddhist thought leaves mainly of the madhyamaka school, that is, from the perspective of Sanron (three treaties).

The problem is that Nichiren's teachings (and I include here also Dogen, Honen, and Shinran who were also Tendai monks) depart from Tiantai's understanding of the issue.

As for the first four periods, Chi-i placed the Hannya period, ie the teachings on Emptiness (Sanron school), Madhyamaka, as the highest provisional Mahayana, above the Hoto period and Agon (Hinayana) . However, Huayen, which is the synthesis of Yogacara-Madhyamaka, is the highest teaching among the first four periods, losing position only to the Hokke-Nehan period.

This is the philosophical position of the Tiantai / Tendai teaching: synthesis of yogacara and madhyamaka.

This yogacara / madhyamaka synthesis of the Tiantai / Tendai school is nothing more than a positive approach to the Madhyamaka of Nagarjuna, presenting the Void as POSITIVE expression of the Absolute.

This understanding of Chi-i is due largely to Kumarajiva's translations of both the Nagarjuna texts and the Lotus Sutra. Without these translations Tientai / Tendai / Nichiren Buddhism would not make the least sense [one of the characteristics of Kumarajiva's translations is the relation between the term "bhava" (entity) and "ho" (Law, dharma): in the Sanskrit texts where we have "bhava" he translated as "ho"]. An important translation in Chi-i is also the "Maha PrajnaParamita Shastra" which only exist in Chinese.

In short, the Madhyamaka understanding of Chi-i and the Tiantai school (and consequently of Nichiren) is that the "truth of the middle way" (third of the three truths, santai) is identical in terms and essence to BUSSHO, ie , "Buddha-nature" [tathagatagarbha].

He for example writes in "fahua hsuan-i" criticizing the Sanron doctrine: The teaching of non-characteristic exposes emptiness and eradicates characteristics. It still belongs to the realm of impermanence, since it fails to expose the permanence of the Buddha's nature.

In the Tiantai teaching, speaking in "Shunyata" in terms of the Absolute is always speaking in "Buddha-nature," that is, necessarily in the real "essence" of all things, which is innately (ontologically) enlightened. That is, the truth of the middle way is the ultimate truth that encompasses the other two truths of emptiness and existence.

This position clearly unfolds in the doctrine of HONGAKU which is the refutation of modern revisionists.

Philosophically, you may choose to study Nichiren from the thought of the Tiantai / Tendai school or the Sanron school. Once you make this choice consciously, it is impossible to have a productive debate because the two conceptions are mutually exclusive and mutually void. However, nowhere does Nichiren embrace the Sanron understanding, it is refuted equally like any other conception developed from the first four stages and the first three teachings.

ronnymarsh
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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by ronnymarsh » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:04 am

Chi-i also systematized the practice of the Lotus Sutra in the six stages, and this understanding is also important in Nichiren, especially with regard to enlightenment.

The first stage of practice is RISOKU 理 即

The term ri 理 has several meanings, such as "reason," "theory," as well as "intrinsic order" and "inner essence." Risoku is the stage of the person who is ignorant, who has not heard the Lotus Sutra, but who is enlightened intrinsically, and its illumination is like a "hypothesis", that is, a rational truth not yet put into action.

The person who practices, being in any of the first five stages, is not doing to bring about the Buddha's nature, but to develop it.

The Nirvana Sutra explains this by comparing it with the GHG production process.

When milk is placed in certain circumstances and treatment it turns into clarified butter, gee, this is only possible because it has the "nature of the clarified butter". Likewise, beings when placed in certain circumstances also become Buddhas, for they possess the Buddha nature.

This does not mean that milk has the same value as clarified butter, or that ordinary beings have the same value as the Buddha.

To have Buddha nature in fact is not the same thing as being enlightened, but this does not negate the innate enlightenment theory.

As I said, the enlightenment in Mahayana Buddhism is at the epistemological level, that is, in the relationship / function, in the way of expressing oneself in the world (with the environment and society). To be enlightened ontologically, or inatamente (hongaku) ​​does not mean that it is not necessary to practice, or that all will become Buddhas in an easy way.

If a lighted bulb is covered in dust, it is not only because it is lit it does not need to be cleaned. It's not just because someone has found a gemstone that you do not need to polish it.

Even if the lamp is always lit and bright, it is only possible to express its luminosity when what is covered is eliminated.

The misrepresentation of Hongaku in the medieval tent does not mean that Nichiren simply abandoned and adopted Shikaku instead.

Shikaku is the theory of enlightenment in the pre-sutra lotus teachings, when he says to earnestly forsake them this implies abandoning the teaching of gradual enlightenment as well.

ronnymarsh
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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by ronnymarsh » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:04 am

About HONBUTSU and the three bodies.

Nichiren says in "Sanze Shobutsu Sokanmon Kyoso Hairu [sanze
shobutsu sokanmon sho] "(19th writing of the Rokurai list):

An Essay on the Protection of the Nation states: "The Buddha of the reward body, which exists depending on causes and conditions, represents a provisional result obtained in a dream, while the eternally endowed Buddha of the three bodies represents the true Buddha of the time before of enlightenment. "The first represents the Buddha obtained through the practice of the first three of the four teachings, and the second, the Buddha perceived through the observation of the mind described in the last of the four teachings, the perfect teaching. (...) The three bodies, as they are exposed in the provisional teachings, are not free of impermanence. But the three bodies exposed in true teaching are endowed with entity and function.
(...)
The law that is without distinction is the wonderful Law of the only vehicle. (...) This is the Tathagata of original enlightenment, the three bodies that are a single unit, and beyond that there is no Law.
(...)
The mind itself, the nature of the mind and the entity of the mind - these three are the three bodies of the Tathagata of original enlightenment within the body itself. This is what the Lotus Sutra means when it speaks of the three factors, "Nyozeso" (manifest body), "Nyozesho" (body of reward), Nyozetai "(Dharma body).

....................................

I acknowledge that the idea of ​​Nichiren as Honbutsu is something that expressly will only emerge at least 200 years after the death of the founder. However, Buddhism is not Protestantism.

When I see Buddhists making complaints about this, the Protestant claims of "sola scriptura" come to mind, this is something that should not exist in Buddhism because of its very formation.

If something is only valid when it has been validated in writing by the person himself, then I am sorry to say but we should abandon Buddhism.

The first Buddhist Sutras were only beginning to be written about 500 years after the death of Shakyamuni. The Lotus Sutra in particular only appears completely almost 1000 years after the death, and the validity of the statements of Nichiren and Chi-i are valid only when we take into account the text of Kumarajiva, and when compared with the Sanskrit and Tibetan versions as well as other Chinese translations, we see that there are many discrepancies.

An example of this is the doctrine of the "10 factors", Junyoze, which only exists in the Kumarajiva translation. If we were to base ourselves primarily on the Sanskrit version, the whole theory of ichinen sanzen, the foundation of the Tiantai and Nichiren doctrine, would be completely nullified.

A Buddhism is not a "book" religion, it is the religion of practice. If a certain reasoning is acquired by inference and it can be demonstrated rationally, then it is valid. This is what has supported Buddhism for all this time.

Nichiren himself does not speak with all the words: "I am the original Buddha", as in the same way it does not say that it is "jogyo bosatsu". In "Fundamentals of Enlightenment" [Soya donh gohenji] he says:

I, Nichiren, am neither Bodhisattva Superior Practices nor his envoy, but I have preceded them, spreading the five characters to prepare the way.

Here Nichiren categorically affirms that he is not "jogyo bosatsu", but even so all traditions insist that he is. Because?

What causes us to admit the identity of certain masters as manifestations of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is what we infer from their behavior. The Tibetan people, for example, admit that the Dalai Lama is Kanzeon's manifestation, but publicly he categorically says that he is not, and yet, the more he denies it, the more faith therein goes. Because?

The Shurangama Sutra explains that what proves that one is the manifestation of a Buddha, Bodhisattvas or Dharmapala, is the fact that he never says this. One way to identify a false teacher is precisely if he explicitly says that he is.

If Nichiren said to be Jogyo Bosatsu, or Honbutsu, that would be the proof that he is not. But the fact that he did not say it is what proves what we infer from his activity.

dude
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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by dude » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:41 am

Some very good and vitally important points raised here.
I hope everyone reads it.

mansurhirbi87
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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by mansurhirbi87 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:33 am

i agree, dude.

ronnymarsh
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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by ronnymarsh » Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

About the "Lotus Sutras" of the three masters

When we speak of the Lotus Sutra of Shakyamuni, Tientai and Nichiren, the term is employed in the sense of "main doctrine."

From the point of view of the Tiantai school, the Lotus Sutra is superior because [besides stating it] it is the only sutra of Ichinen Sanzen reveals [3000 potential worlds in a single mental instant]. The doctrine of Ichinen Sanzen is a result of the junction of the main teaching of the theoretical section of the Lotus Sutra [Shakumon], the Junyoze, 10 factors, and the teaching of mutual possession which is inferred from the primordial section of the Sutra [Honmon] in the revelation of Nyorai's eternal life.

So, in a way, when Nichiren Shoshu and SGI are talking about the three Lotus Sutra, they are referring to the doctrinal teachings that reveal Ichinen Sanzen, and also to the Buddhist practices developed with the intention of realizing it.

In summary, the Lotus Sutra means the teaching that reveals the doctrine of Ichinen Sanzen and the practice to realize it.

In the aspect of the Doctrine, the Lotus Sutra is the text of the "Saddharma pundarika Sutram", more precisely the chapter 2 and 16, and this is common among the three masters.

With regard to the practice engaged in performing Ichinen Sanzen, the masters propose different things:

** Shakyamuni’s [practice] Lotus Sutra:

The practices of the Shakyamuni Lotus Sutra are defined in chapter 17, Distinction of Benefits. There are levels of practice for people living in the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, and practices for people who would live after his death.

The basic practices of the Shakyamuni Lotus Sutra are: "reading, reciting and accepting"; intermediate practices are: "reading, reciting, accepting, propagating and copying"; the complete practice is the set of previous ones plus the development of the 6 paramitas.

The complete practice of the Shakyamuni Lotus Sutra requires the sustenance of the doctrinal aspect, plus the development of all the disciplines he taught in the other Sutras: sitting meditation, reciting the names of Buddhas, developing the 4 foundations of mindfulness, etc.

** Tientai practice [Lotus] sutra:

In the Sutra it says:

"Wherever these good men are sitting, standing or circling in spiritual exercise"

From this, Chi-i developed his SHIKAN method (shamata-vipashyana) relying primarily on the Partytpanna samadhi sutra [Samadhi sutra of the face-to-face contemplation of the Buddhas].

From it Chi-i structured 4 practices of Samadhi [SHI]. They were very demanding practices, such as staying secluded for 90 days circling the Amitabha statue while reciting his name, sitting for a short time a day.
There are also 10 portals of Vipashyana [KAN] based on the understanding of the Teachings of the Madhyamaka-Yogacara synthesis.


** Nichiren's Practical Lotus Sutra:

As SHI method [Shamata] KAN [Vipashyana] Nichiren established Faith in the Lotus Sutra. To recite the title of the Sutra contemplating the Gohonzon mandala is to express this faith. Once a person develops faith, with the spirit of "when his only desire is to see the Buddha, without exiting even if it costs his own life".

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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by Queequeg » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:50 pm

ronnymarsh wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:03 am
Philosophically, you may choose to study Nichiren from the thought of the Tiantai / Tendai school or the Sanron school. Once you make this choice consciously, it is impossible to have a productive debate because the two conceptions are mutually exclusive and mutually void. However, nowhere does Nichiren embrace the Sanron understanding, it is refuted equally like any other conception developed from the first four stages and the first three teachings.
You ought not assume my position. I was responding to you presenting only two truths in your first post. You did not mention anything about Three Truths in your post and that's what I was criticizing. Now, you've turned to address the Three Truths.

My point was - Tiantai, and Nichiren, cannot be understood without the Middleway Buddhanature taught in the Perfect Threefold Truth. I think we are agreed on this.

I'm not quite sure what you are arguing in some parts of this post, but in the overall picture, I don't disagree with you're points about the excessive retreat into a particular Madhyamaka position. I don't know if that is a modern trend in Japanese Buddhism. It does correspond to what I understand as Critical Buddhism. Please don't assume that's where I'm coming from. You'll see in my post I am implicitly critiquing that myself.

On to your next post.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by Queequeg » Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:01 pm

ronnymarsh wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:04 am
The term ri 理 has several meanings, such as "reason," "theory," as well as "intrinsic order" and "inner essence." Risoku is the stage of the person who is ignorant, who has not heard the Lotus Sutra, but who is enlightened intrinsically, and its illumination is like a "hypothesis", that is, a rational truth not yet put into action.
Actually, for Zhiyi, the person at the First Stage of Buddha in Principle has not heard of Buddha Nature. This is understood to be synonymous with the teaching of the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra is the teaching of universal Buddha Nature.

Let's be clear about that.
The misrepresentation of Hongaku in the medieval tent does not mean that Nichiren simply abandoned and adopted Shikaku instead.

Shikaku is the theory of enlightenment in the pre-sutra lotus teachings, when he says to earnestly forsake them this implies abandoning the teaching of gradual enlightenment as well.
I agree.

Zhiyi also compared the teaching on Buddha Nature to poison added to the milk. Throughout the process of making clarified butter, the poison never changes quality and can kill. Likewise, the Sudden and Perfect teaching immediately brings a person onto the Perfect path. This illustrates the way in which the Gradual path is immediately made irrelevant by the teaching on Buddha Nature (Essential Teaching of the Lotus Sutra).
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by Queequeg » Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:27 pm

ronnymarsh wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:04 am
About HONBUTSU and the three bodies.

Nichiren says in "Sanze Shobutsu Sokanmon Kyoso Hairu [sanze
shobutsu sokanmon sho] "(19th writing of the Rokurai list):

An Essay on the Protection of the Nation states: "The Buddha of the reward body, which exists depending on causes and conditions, represents a provisional result obtained in a dream, while the eternally endowed Buddha of the three bodies represents the true Buddha of the time before of enlightenment. "The first represents the Buddha obtained through the practice of the first three of the four teachings, and the second, the Buddha perceived through the observation of the mind described in the last of the four teachings, the perfect teaching. (...) The three bodies, as they are exposed in the provisional teachings, are not free of impermanence. But the three bodies exposed in true teaching are endowed with entity and function.
(...)
The law that is without distinction is the wonderful Law of the only vehicle. (...) This is the Tathagata of original enlightenment, the three bodies that are a single unit, and beyond that there is no Law.
(...)
The mind itself, the nature of the mind and the entity of the mind - these three are the three bodies of the Tathagata of original enlightenment within the body itself. This is what the Lotus Sutra means when it speaks of the three factors, "Nyozeso" (manifest body), "Nyozesho" (body of reward), Nyozetai "(Dharma body).

....................................

I acknowledge that the idea of ​​Nichiren as Honbutsu is something that expressly will only emerge at least 200 years after the death of the founder. However, Buddhism is not Protestantism.

When I see Buddhists making complaints about this, the Protestant claims of "sola scriptura" come to mind, this is something that should not exist in Buddhism because of its very formation.

If something is only valid when it has been validated in writing by the person himself, then I am sorry to say but we should abandon Buddhism.

The first Buddhist Sutras were only beginning to be written about 500 years after the death of Shakyamuni. The Lotus Sutra in particular only appears completely almost 1000 years after the death, and the validity of the statements of Nichiren and Chi-i are valid only when we take into account the text of Kumarajiva, and when compared with the Sanskrit and Tibetan versions as well as other Chinese translations, we see that there are many discrepancies.

An example of this is the doctrine of the "10 factors", Junyoze, which only exists in the Kumarajiva translation. If we were to base ourselves primarily on the Sanskrit version, the whole theory of ichinen sanzen, the foundation of the Tiantai and Nichiren doctrine, would be completely nullified.

A Buddhism is not a "book" religion, it is the religion of practice. If a certain reasoning is acquired by inference and it can be demonstrated rationally, then it is valid. This is what has supported Buddhism for all this time.

Nichiren himself does not speak with all the words: "I am the original Buddha", as in the same way it does not say that it is "jogyo bosatsu". In "Fundamentals of Enlightenment" [Soya donh gohenji] he says:

I, Nichiren, am neither Bodhisattva Superior Practices nor his envoy, but I have preceded them, spreading the five characters to prepare the way.

Here Nichiren categorically affirms that he is not "jogyo bosatsu", but even so all traditions insist that he is. Because?

What causes us to admit the identity of certain masters as manifestations of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is what we infer from their behavior. The Tibetan people, for example, admit that the Dalai Lama is Kanzeon's manifestation, but publicly he categorically says that he is not, and yet, the more he denies it, the more faith therein goes. Because?

The Shurangama Sutra explains that what proves that one is the manifestation of a Buddha, Bodhisattvas or Dharmapala, is the fact that he never says this. One way to identify a false teacher is precisely if he explicitly says that he is.

If Nichiren said to be Jogyo Bosatsu, or Honbutsu, that would be the proof that he is not. But the fact that he did not say it is what proves what we infer from his activity.
I'm sorry. That is not convincing at all. Your arguments are all over the place and frankly, irrelevant and meaningless.

All that amounts to is we ought not be saying Nichiren is Jogyobosatsu or Hombutsu. I agree. We can talk about functions - Nichiren fulfilled the function of Jogyobosatsu. Did he fulfill the function of Hombutsu? I don't find any basis to say that. If I can draw on what you wrote previously, its because Nichiren revealed the cause of Buddhahood in Mappo that he is the Hombutsu - but in the Lotus narrative, and in Nichiren's own hand, this is the function of Jogyobosatsu. To say that this is actually Hombutsu does not accord with anything Nichiren wrote and so in the end only serves to create confusion, IMHO.

This has been my problem with Nichiren as Hombutsu teaching. This is not to deny that Nichiren carried out the work of Hombutsu - this is what Hokke Gyoja do - and that he, like all beings, have Buddha Nature, but collapsing the identities creates problems. Especially when this is taken as a foundational teaching that casts a certain light on all other teachings.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

ronnymarsh
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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by ronnymarsh » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:26 pm

It is precisely this, to say that Nichiren is Honbutsu is the same as saying that he performed the work of Honbutsu. The identity of something is defined not in what it "is" but in what it "does".

In terms of existence, Nichiren, Shakyamuni, I, you, all beings, are exactly the same thing: the set of five aggregates. What sets us apart is our karma, or what we do. Our identities are established on that basis.

Honbutsu is neither the body nor the gross mind of Nichiren, nor of Shakyamuni, nor of any other. It's Namumyohorenguekyo.

The Gohonzon, which expresses the Original Buddha, is composed not only of Nichiren, nor only by Shakyamuni, is a set of beings representing the 10 worlds, and we who sing together.

When we open the Butsudan the mandala expresses "namumyohorenguekyo", this is what the mandala "does", just as we sit and try with the unified mind (shinjin) to express the same thing, this ceremony is itself the Original Buddha.

Nichiren in the NSS is regarded as "Nin Honzon" [object of contemplation in terms of person], and gohonzon is regarded as "Ho Honzon" [object of devotion in terms of law].

Why?

Both express the Namumyohorenguekyo.
The key to understanding this is the fact of "expressing namumyohorenguekyo". All who express, with the unified mind, the True Law, fulfill the function of the Original Buddha, whether insensitive objects or sentient beings.

This is called "kyotimyogo" (mystical fusion between subject and object)

_/|\_

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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by mansurhirbi87 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:43 pm

amazing discussion !! _/\_

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Queequeg
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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by Queequeg » Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:51 am

ronnymarsh wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:26 pm
It is precisely this, to say that Nichiren is Honbutsu is the same as saying that he performed the work of Honbutsu.
If that's all it is, then we don't have to go any further than the terminology Nichiren used to describe himself - Hokke Gyoja. This goes no further than saying he does the work of the Buddha. In other words, he reads the sutra with his body.
The identity of something is defined not in what it "is" but in what it "does".
Names matter. Its why we refer to the law as Myohorengekyo, as opposed to Ichijomyoten. Or "I would never disparage you because you will be a buddha." Or

namah samanta-buddhānām
om a ā am ah
sarva-buddha-jna-sākshebhyah
gagana-sambhavālakshani
saddharma-pundarīka-sūtra
jah hūm bam hoh vajrārakshaman
hūm svāhā

All of these things refer to the same teaching, express the same teaching (though I do not agree calling Nichiren hombutsu is the same as calling him Jogyobosatsu or Hokke Gyoja.)
In terms of existence, Nichiren, Shakyamuni, I, you, all beings, are exactly the same thing: the set of five aggregates. What sets us apart is our karma, or what we do. Our identities are established on that basis.
Which is why calling Nichiren "hombutsu" is not correct. He is not hombutsu.
Honbutsu is neither the body nor the gross mind of Nichiren, nor of Shakyamuni, nor of any other. It's Namumyohorenguekyo.
And here is another departure. Hombutsu is Myohorengekyo. It is Shakyamuni of the 16th Chapter.
The Gohonzon, which expresses the Original Buddha, is composed not only of Nichiren, nor only by Shakyamuni, is a set of beings representing the 10 worlds, and we who sing together.

When we open the Butsudan the mandala expresses "namumyohorenguekyo", this is what the mandala "does", just as we sit and try with the unified mind (shinjin) to express the same thing, this ceremony is itself the Original Buddha.

Nichiren in the NSS is regarded as "Nin Honzon" [object of contemplation in terms of person], and gohonzon is regarded as "Ho Honzon" [object of devotion in terms of law].

Why?

Both express the Namumyohorenguekyo.
The key to understanding this is the fact of "expressing namumyohorenguekyo". All who express, with the unified mind, the True Law, fulfill the function of the Original Buddha, whether insensitive objects or sentient beings.

This is called "kyotimyogo" (mystical fusion between subject and object)

_/|\_
This is the Nichiren Shoshu forum, so I will leave it at that. I simply do not accept these doctrines. They are unique to some factions of the Fuji School, Taisekiji in particular.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by ronnymarsh » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:18 am

Before continuing, I would like to say that my faith in Nichiren's identity as the Original Buddha is not derived from my faith in Nichiren Shoshu. When I was younger, after beginning my readings in Goshos and in Buddhist texts, I rejected Soka Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu, I agreed that they were heretical to Nichiren's own teaching. But as I was studying, I came to see certain subtleties and relationships that needed to be made that pointed precisely to this understanding I have of Nichiren as the Original Buddha. And it was only after understanding these elements that I became more open to Nichiren Shoshu [for being the only one in the West who preaches this].

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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by ronnymarsh » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:24 am

Continuing ...
Yes, the Honbutsu is ultimately namumyohorenguekyo. Nichiren [the set of the five aggregates that formed the person of Nichiren] is not Honbutsu in extremely absolute terms, but in term of function and related to us: mappo beings [hence Mappo's Original Buddha].

Honbutsu, in extremely absolute terms, is precisely, let's say, the image of the air ceremony.

The problem, in my perspective, with the thought of NS, KH, RKK, among others, who consider Shakyamuni as Eternal Buddha is that the whole rest of the ceremony is ignored.

The most important elements in the ceremony are: the treasure tower adorned with seven treasures in which are Shakamuni and Taho Nyorai and the 4 leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

This figure is the mandala that represents the Original Buddha.

Look, let's think about it. If Nichiren wanted people to literally adopt the Shakyamuni who participates in this ceremony as an object of contemplation, would it not make much more sense for the gohonzon mandalas to bring "namu-shakamuni-butsu" attended to by the invocations of the four bodhisattvas?

Some texts, such as the "Shibosatsu Zoryu Sho", actually give the idea that the Gohonzon should indeed be constituted by Shakyamuni in the center attended by the 4 bodhisattvas around him.

However, this is not what Nichiren reproduced in the Gohonzons he wrote or in what he described in "kanjin no honzon sho". The reproduction of the original Buddha that Nichiren does is precisely the reproduction of the ceremony of the air, plus some details that are of extremely important for this identification of the ceremony as the Original Buddha, as for example Fudou-myoo and Aizen-myoo.

These two deities do not appear in the Lotus Sutra, but they have seminal importance in the meaning of the Gohonzon.

Although Nichiren vehemently criticized Shingon Buddhism, there is a lot of "mikkyo" in the bowels of his teaching, and the Bija of Fudou and Aizen are part of that Tantric element in Nichiren.

Fudo and Aizen do not appear in the Lotus Sutra but appear in the description of the Kongokai Mandala (Vajradhatu) flanking each sub-mandala in the same positions as it appears in the Nichiren Gohonzon. In Kongochokyo, where the Kongokai mandala is described, Shakyamuni is practicing under the Bodhi tree, but has not yet attained enlightenment. Then Dainichi, who in this Sutra is the expression of the Original Buddha, describes the mandala of the Dharmadhatu and teaches it to practice, it is only through this practice that Shakyamuni can achieve enlightenment.

Why would Nichirne use elements of lower sutras which he teaches to abandon?

I believe that the use of Fudo and Aizen is an aid to his disciples to understand what he was dealing with and not to get into confusion. As his disciples were monks Tendais just like him, knowledge of this fact would be easy for them since Mikkyo was also an integral part of the Japanese Tendai teaching.

Shakyamuni is part of the ceremony, as is Taho, as are the four Bodhisattvas, and the transmitted Dharma.

Shakyamuni and Taho together in the tower indicates the union of reality and wisdom. This image, if you pay close attention is repeated in several other images in Mahayana Buddhism, for example, in the mandala of Sukhavati, there is Amitabha in the center and the two bosatsus flanking it. Amitabha would be the equivalent of the tower of the treasures and the two bodhisatvas to the Buddhas Shakyamuni and Taho. On the shingon altars the main image is Dainichi Nyorai, and beside it are the two mandalas, the Womb and the Diamond, the meaning is the same: fusion of reality and wisdom.

In "kanjin honzon sho" Nichiren gives an explanation of what he means by "Shakyamuni of essential teaching" in relation to Mikkyo, he says:

"In the Dainichi and Kongocho Sutras, he appeared as the over a thousand and two hundred honored"

A thousand and two hundred honored is the number of beings present in the two mandalas put together. In doing so Nichiren is not relating the original Buddha to one person, whether Shakyamuni or Dainichi, or any other, but with the meaning of the two mandalas: the phenomenal world and the adamantine world, that is, the fusion of reality and wisdom .

The Shakyamuni who attained enlightenment in Gohyaku Jitengo represents only one aspect, and not all reality.

[A curiosity: In the Kongokai mandala, Dainichi represents the Original Buddha, when it is written in Siddham, he is the bija VAM (http://www.visiblemantra.org/bija/vam.png). If you look closely, there is a detail in most of the Gohonzons written by Nichiren [before 1280 - the NS Shutei does not have this detail]: The personal seal of his signature is constructed from the bija VAM in siddham.

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Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by Queequeg » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:53 pm

After 1275 Nichiren apparently used bhrum for his seal until the end of his life, along with myo.. I believe bhrum is the syllable for the tower/stupa... Ie. Abutsubo is the treasure tower.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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