If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

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bcol01
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If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by bcol01 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:10 am

...why didn't he just tell them to chant NMRK from day 1?

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by thecowisflying » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:37 am

This isn't just a Nichiren Teaching it's basically universally accepted in the Mahayana. The Tian Tai School which Nichiren came from has a txt known as "A Guide to the Tiantai Fourfold Teachings", which is fairly comprehensive on the subject.

It's on the last section of this PDF
http://www.bdkamerica.org/system/files/ ... s_2013.pdf

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:00 pm

It was not yet the age of dharma-degeneration, so the practice prescribed by Nichiren for the "latter days of the law" was not necessary, at the time. I think that is an answer in-line with mainstream Nichiren thought, though I could always be (and frequently am) wrong.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः
उत्पन्नाजातुविद्यन्तेभावाःक्वचनकेचन

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by bcol01 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:57 am

:twothumbsup:
Coëmgenu wrote:It was not yet the age of dharma-degeneration, so the practice prescribed by Nichiren for the "latter days of the law" was not necessary, at the time. I think that is an answer in-line with mainstream Nichiren thought, though I could always be (and frequently am) wrong.

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Seishin » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:45 am

This may be controversial, but as this question is in the Mahayana section..... because the practice of NMRK wasn't taught by the Buddha. This practice is unique to Nichiren

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Queequeg » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:47 pm

The practice of NMRK is nothing other than single minded concentration on the real aspect of reality. If the Buddha didn't teach that then I dont know what he did teach. Namo - expression of refuge / devotion. Myohorengekyo - the title of the Lotus Sutra in Chinese as translated by Kumarajiva. As Zhiyi explained, the entirety of the Buddha's teachings are included in this title. The Lotus Sutra is the real aspect.

NMRK is the expression and practice in a time and place but the particulars of expression are not the point. In other places and other times it goes by different names, it's practice appears differently, it's taught by other Buddhas and bodhisattvas. It is practiced by different beings. The thing is, most of us are mired in the prison of self and can't see the big picture yet. And so there are expedients. NMRK is accessible, at this moment in time in this Saha world for people of the meanest capacity. It causes even the most distracted to hear the Dharma. It is also the practice/teaching held in utmost regard by the Buddhas.

Shakyamuni did teach it. It was just expressed in a different string of sounds.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by narhwal90 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:51 pm

There is some difference between Nichiren schools on the question- Shosu/SGI propose Nichiren as the Buddha of mappo which was a comparatively recent claim, I believe Shu at least don't take that position. So from a Shoshu/SGI standpoint the more recent incarnation did teach NMRK, and the former did not because the time was not ready for it. Though the traditional prayer praising Nichiren as the True Buddha of the Latter Day is present in the official SGI liturgy it is not emphasized elsewhere, I don't know how Shoshu presents the concept these days however.

https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=17660&start=20

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Astus » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:56 pm

Queequeg wrote:Shakyamuni did teach it.
If it had been taught by him, it should have been found in the sutras.
It was just expressed in a different string of sounds.
Do you mean he said one thing but meant another? Or do you refer to the general idea of reciting scripture titles?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Queequeg » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:17 pm

Astus wrote:
Queequeg wrote:Shakyamuni did teach it.
If it had been taught by him, it should have been found in the sutras.
So are we debating whether Buddha taught the Lotus Sutra?
It was just expressed in a different string of sounds.
Do you mean he said one thing but meant another? Or do you refer to the general idea of reciting scripture titles?
Nope. Neither.

He spoke in the language and conventions intelligible to the people in Northern India circa 500 bce. He taught
Queequeg wrote:single minded concentration on the real aspect of reality.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by DGA » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:24 pm

Queequeg wrote:The practice of NMRK is nothing other than single minded concentration on the real aspect of reality.
That may be the meaning of NMRK. The explicit practice--the recitation of those Sino-Japanese characters--Buddha Shakyamuni did not teach that, as you acknowledge. I think that's uncontroversial.
Astus wrote:
Queequeg wrote:Shakyamuni did teach it.
If it had been taught by him, it should have been found in the sutras.
Lotus Sutra, chapter five, parable of the herbs.

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Astus » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:59 pm

Queequeg wrote:So are we debating whether Buddha taught the Lotus Sutra?
No, not that. Does the Lotus Sutra teach reciting its own title as a practice?
He taught
Queequeg wrote:single minded concentration on the real aspect of reality.
And that real aspect is a title of a scripture? Shouldn't it be something like suchness, emptiness, dependent origination, etc.?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Astus » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:03 pm

DGA wrote:The explicit practice--the recitation of those Sino-Japanese characters--Buddha Shakyamuni did not teach that, as you acknowledge. I think that's uncontroversial.
This is what I referred to with pointing out the absence of the practice in the scriptures.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by DGA » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:07 pm

According to Buddha Shakyamuni, all the Buddhas are always teaching sentient beings according to their capacities. That's not an idea exclusive to Nichiren's teaching--that's Mahayana Buddhism 101.

Now, about this:
bcol01 wrote:...why didn't he just tell them to chant NMRK from day 1?
Some very useful Buddhist practices weren't publicly taught or widely diffused in Buddha Shakyamuni's lifetime. Some weren't taught at all at that time (koans for example). That does not mean that they are illegitimate. Did Shakyamuni teach anyone to recite anything in Sino-Japanese characters? That seems implausible, but it is entirely plausible that the practice of NMRK is an excellent one for those with that capacity for practice.

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Queequeg » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:49 pm

DGA wrote:
Queequeg wrote:The practice of NMRK is nothing other than single minded concentration on the real aspect of reality.
That may be the meaning of NMRK. The explicit practice--the recitation of those Sino-Japanese characters--Buddha Shakyamuni did not teach that, as you acknowledge. I think that's uncontroversial.
Agree.

Nichiren would probably have agreed with that also.

Lotus Sutra is not a text, per se. Its the Buddha's profoundest wisdom, which has found particular expressions throughout time and space, dependent on the particular local causes, conditions and needs of beings. That's the story of the first half of the Sutra. Nichiren lived in medieval Japan where the Lotus Sutra was acknowledged widely as the Buddha Shakyamuni's most profound teaching, and in particular, as expressed as the translation by Kumarajiva. That was the text that Zhiyi commented on, and it was the title of that text through which he encapsulated the Buddha's 80,000 teachings. All of this is at once totally provisional (conditioned) and sublime (妙).
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Queequeg » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:44 pm

Astus wrote:Does the Lotus Sutra teach reciting its own title as a practice?
Chapter 19:
“O Mañjuśrī! Even the title of this Lotus Sutra cannot be heard in incalculable lands. How much more is it unable to be seen, accepted, preserved, and recited!
Chapter 26
The Buddha said to the rākṣasīs: “Splendid! Splendid! You protect those who preserve the name of the Lotus Sutra. Your merit is immeasurable. How much more merit is there in protecting those who perfectly preserve and revere the sutra in various ways; such as by offering flowers, perfumes, necklaces, fragrant ointments, scented powders, burning incense, banners, canopies, and music, or by lighting ghee lamps, oil lamps, fragrant oil lamps, lamps of oil made from sumanas, campaka, vārṣika, and utpala flowers! How much more merit is there in offering such things in hundreds to thousands of ways! O Kuntī! You and your retinues should protect the expounders of the Dharma in this way.”
He taught
Queequeg wrote:single minded concentration on the real aspect of reality.
And that real aspect is a title of a scripture? Shouldn't it be something like suchness, emptiness, dependent origination, etc.?
Two answers:
Sure. Why not? Why not NamuCocacola? Why not Rubberbabybuggybumper? Do what floats yours, as long as its single minded concentration on the real aspect of reality. If that's what you do, and that's what I do, then we nod in agreement whether we use the same language or not. What is there to argue about? What is there to even say to each other? Its like when you're cruising on a motorcycle and another motorcyclist is approaching from the other direction. Its customary to wave and acknowledge each other. Why, because riding a bike is f'in fun and we're seeing each other on the same level of joy even though we've got roaring engines between our legs that drown out our voices and we're passing too fast to exchange any other courtesies.

Here is why not. Suchness, emptiness, dependent origination, etc. are often misunderstood and incomplete teachings in and of themselves (Exhibit A: Almost any thread on Dharmawheel). Taken together they approach a complete teaching. Implicitly understood is the fact that various debates have gone on for a long time among Buddhists - whether Emptiness is the complete teaching or not. In the Lotus Tradition, it is understood that a teaching that privileges Emptiness over or to the exclusion of dependent origination is a biased, lopsided view - a coarse view, and possibly a wrong view if it slips into nihilism. A teaching that posits emptiness and dependent origination as exclusive dyad is obtuse. A teaching that posits emptiness and dependent origination as holistically integrated in a single thought moment is complete. NMRK is a creature of this school of thought and refers to this so-called Threefold Integrated Truth.

Why NMRK in particular? Why not Namu Ichijo Myoten (Refuge/Devotion to the Sublime Sutra of the Single Vehicle) which means the same thing as NMRK? Because it is accepted that the Buddha taught this title, MRK. It is the Buddha's own words, his own mind - it is the name he gave to this teaching (See Zhiyi's Fahua Hsuan-i).

It doesn't really matter if you understand or accept this. This is what NMRK means for people who practice it (at least in some attenuated continuum sense - the practitioner with meager capacity probably does not have an inkling about this; nonetheless, by practicing NMRK, even with the most feeble intent, their mind has oriented to the sublime reality and they are treading the path; in time, they will become increasingly familiar with the Mind of MRK which is the Buddha's mind.)
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Astus » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:07 pm

Queequeg wrote:A teaching that posits emptiness and dependent origination as holistically integrated in a single thought moment is complete. NMRK is a creature of this school of thought and refers to this so-called Threefold Integrated Truth.
Tendai has the practice of contemplating the threefold truth, and that is understood to be the vipasyana leading to the wisdom of enlightenment. Repeating merely the title of a text that does not even include explicitly that doctrine seems very far from that. They are further from each other than the difference between riding a bike and repeating the name of a bike.
by practicing NMRK, even with the most feeble intent, their mind has oriented to the sublime reality and they are treading the path; in time, they will become increasingly familiar with the Mind of MRK which is the Buddha's mind.)
To say that it serves as a basis for later development sounds fine to me, but not anything beyond that.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Queequeg » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:10 pm

Astus wrote:
Queequeg wrote:A teaching that posits emptiness and dependent origination as holistically integrated in a single thought moment is complete. NMRK is a creature of this school of thought and refers to this so-called Threefold Integrated Truth.
Tendai has the practice of contemplating the threefold truth, and that is understood to be the vipasyana leading to the wisdom of enlightenment. Repeating merely the title of a text that does not even include explicitly that doctrine seems very far from that. They are further from each other than the difference between riding a bike and repeating the name of a bike.
Thus declared Astus.
by practicing NMRK, even with the most feeble intent, their mind has oriented to the sublime reality and they are treading the path; in time, they will become increasingly familiar with the Mind of MRK which is the Buddha's mind.)
To say that it serves as a basis for later development sounds fine to me, but not anything beyond that.
Your opinion is duly noted.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Astus » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:46 pm

Queequeg wrote:Thus declared Astus.
I'd rather like to find an explanation for it. As for me declaring anything, here are some passages from Huineng on the matter:

"Good friends, people of this world always recite prajñā with their mouths, but they don’t recognize the prajñā of the self-natures. This is like talking about eating, which doesn’t satisfy one’s hunger. ... To recite it orally without practicing it in the mind is [as unreal] as a phantasm or hallucination, [and as evanescent] as dew or lightning. To recite it orally and practice it mentally is for mind and mouth to correspond."
(Platform Sutra, ch 2, BDK ed, p 28)

[Fada] said, “I have recited the Lotus Sutra three thousand times.”
The master said, “Even if you recite it ten thousand times it won’t help you understand the meaning of the scripture.”
...
Fada said, “If this is so, then should one just understand the meaning and not bother to recite the sutras?”
The master said, “Can the sutras be in error? How could they impede your mindfulness? It is just that delusion and enlightenment are in the person, that harm and benefit depend on oneself. To recite with the mouth and practice in the mind is to turn the sutra. To recite with the mouth without practicing in the mind is to be turned by the sutra.”

(Platform Sutra, ch 7, BDK ed, p 55, 58)

"To learn and recite is the small vehicle, to be enlightened to the Dharma and understand its meaning is the middle vehicle, and to cultivate according to the Dharma is the Great Vehicle. To penetrate all the myriad dharmas and to be equipped with all the myriad dharmas, without any defilement at all; to transcend the characteristics of the various dharmas, without anything that is attained: this is called the Supreme Vehicle."
(Platform Sutra, ch 7, BDK ed, p 63)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Queequeg » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:26 pm

Astus,

You offered your opinions. What response is there to that?

You copy pasta some quotes of some source you seem to approve of. What response is there to that?

Here is my response: Congratulations! High Five!
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: If according to Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddha taught people according to their level of understanding or capacity...

Post by Astus » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:45 pm

Queequeg wrote:What response is there to that?
Let me rephrase it then as a question: what is the connection between recitation and insight? How does one get from repeating the title to enlightenment?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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