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

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

Post by rory » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:12 pm

Queequeg:
If you don't see Buddhanature through actual insight, then you start with seeing it, however faintly, on faith. With each moment of seeing Buddhanature, the faith is almost immediately replaced by experience, and as faith deepens in Buddhanature, experience follows, further deepening understanding.
Here is the Tendai/Tiantai Endon shikan
Perfect and Sudden Calming-and-Contemplation
The perfect and sudden calming and contemplation from the very beginning takes ultimate reality as its object. No matter what the object of contemplation might be, it is seen to be identical to the middle. There is nothing that is not true reality. When one fixes the mind on the dharmadhatu as object and unifies one’s mindfulness with the dharmadhatu as it is, then there is not a single sight nor smell that is not the middle way.
from Original Enlightenment:
...but "To say that "walking standing, sitting, and lying down are themselves the essence of calming and contemplation" is thus to express the insight of one awakened to original nonduality, not to deny the necessity of practice]."
p 216.

In Tendai/Tiantai you must practice.

So in Nichiren Buddhism you're saying that experience replaces practice? And what do you mean by 'experience'?
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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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 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:57 pm

rory wrote:Queequeg:
If you don't see Buddhanature through actual insight, then you start with seeing it, however faintly, on faith. With each moment of seeing Buddhanature, the faith is almost immediately replaced by experience, and as faith deepens in Buddhanature, experience follows, further deepening understanding.
Here is the Tendai/Tiantai Endon shikan
Perfect and Sudden Calming-and-Contemplation
The perfect and sudden calming and contemplation from the very beginning takes ultimate reality as its object. No matter what the object of contemplation might be, it is seen to be identical to the middle. There is nothing that is not true reality. When one fixes the mind on the dharmadhatu as object and unifies one’s mindfulness with the dharmadhatu as it is, then there is not a single sight nor smell that is not the middle way.
from Original Enlightenment:
...but "To say that "walking standing, sitting, and lying down are themselves the essence of calming and contemplation" is thus to express the insight of one awakened to original nonduality, not to deny the necessity of practice]."
p 216.

In Tendai/Tiantai you must practice.

So in Nichiren Buddhism you're saying that experience replaces practice? And what do you mean by 'experience'?
gassho
Rory
Good question. I think this arguably is a point of departure for Nichiren.

I think our regular, ordinary life, in "reading the sutra with the body" is the practice. This is where Nichiren leaves Tiantai, and goes back directly to the Lotus Sutra.

If any practice can be discerned in the Lotus Sutra, its the propagation of the Lotus Sutra - the exhortation to teach even one phrase, and concomitantly describing the immense benefit of even a person who hears of the Lotus through a telephone game of 50 people and reacts with the slightest joy.

The example of the practice for Nichiren was Sadaparibhuta who went around honoring everyone for their Buddhanature, even when people reacted violently to him. Just point out people's Buddhanature and conduct yourself toward them as though they were Buddhas.

The ultimate meditation in Mohezhikuan involves not sleeping for 90 days, and its said you arrive at an insight into the True Reality. I don't think anyone, including Zhiyi, accomplished that. The Kaihogyo monks at Hieizan do this meditation for 10 days at the end of their marathon practices. And IIRC, they've had to reduce the number of days in that last practice because they found people tended to die around day 9. Like a lot of Tiantai's writings, I think he meant it for effect, not to be taken literally.

Living your ordinary life viewing everyone and everything as Buddhanature and conducting yourself accordingly is as challenging a practice as they come... I don't know if its necessarily easier than not sleeping for 90 days. I think it might be harder. :shrug:
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 Anonymous X » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:40 am

Now you start to lose me when you talk about doing a practice in order to achieve something. Plus, the unnaturalness of these kinds of practices are more in line with ascetic traditions and counterproductive to Buddhist insight. Sounds sort of fanatical to me.

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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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:18 am

I don't recall reading that one can't sleep during the 90 day samadhi practice. Unlike the 10 day fast the Marathon monks do, in the 90 day samadhi practice, eating, drinking and going to the toilet are allowed. This is why the kaihogyo monks were dying, they were starving themselves to death. As for sleeping, it is a common practice in China to "sleep" through the night in meditation posture.... although you're not meant to sleep of course. So this may be what Chih-i is referring to when he says to not lay down. In which case, this practice, although difficult, is entirely achievable. I believe it is still carried out on Mt Hiei.

As for the opening of that particular chapter, I find it on topic for this thread;
"Those who wish to ascend to the sublime level(s) [of awakening] cannot advance without practice. [It is comparable to] one who understands well how to churn and skim [milk]: that person can surely obtain ghee. The Lotus Sðtra says, “Also, behold the children of the
Buddha … cultivating various practices,… thus seeking the Buddha’s Path.”"

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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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:56 am

Maybe we're getting down to the question of practice and what that even really means.

The Lotus gives us glimpses of how the Buddha sees the world. He says meditating under the bodhi tree was a show. He declares that sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and non-regressing bodhisattvas with their combined powers of insight still can't even begin to fathom his awakening. Instead, he praises a certain kind of engagement in the world as the cause of Buddhahood.

In the scheme of things, it seems the vast development of the dedicated meditator, in relation to the unpracticed, is not all that accomplished.

I'm not saying per se contemplative practices are useless at all. I am questioning whether they're as important and efficacious as proponents insist.

There is a strong prejudice against what I will call public, engaged practice in favor of contemplation in the Buddhist community that seems distorted and exaggerated in some sense.

Is it really such a more effective practice to sit in contemplation rather than engage with others, striving to see their buddhahood and try to relieve their suffering?

It seems to me, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, "Bodhissatva is as bodhisattva does." Not just what he thinks. Seems this is the view of the Lotus.
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 Seishin » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:13 pm

I think this whole topic really goes off on several different tangents and at times is a little perplexing....

Personally I do not feel there is a "favour" of contemplative meditation "over" what you call "engaged practice". On the contrary, I think contemplative meditation is engaged practice - but that's another topic.

It also begs the question: is Daimoku engaged practice? Does it help one see the buddhanature in others? I have no doubt you will say yes - and for the record I'm not saying it isn't/doesn't. You will note I have not once stated that it is a fruitless topic.

But reading through all the replies on this thread I have been left somewhat confused. It seems for some the Daimoku is said to be the best practice - but at the same time is no better than others. It also is not a practice, but is a practice. It also seems to be the only thing needed for complete Buddhahood - but at the same time it isn't... I'm confused... could this be because we have people from different Nichiren backgrounds posting on the one thread? Possibly. Reading through the links on this thread certainly points that way.

You have an amazing knowledge Queequeg, one that I'm quite jealous of. And you have eloquently explained the Daimoku and what the practice means to you - but it doesn't seem like many others in the various Nichiren schools understand or even agree with this.. would you say that's a fair statement?

I'm sorry to have "opened the can of worms" in this thread, and please accept my apologies for causing you suffering over it.

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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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:54 pm

Seishin wrote: But reading through all the replies on this thread I have been left somewhat confused. It seems for some the Daimoku is said to be the best practice - but at the same time is no better than others. It also is not a practice, but is a practice. It also seems to be the only thing needed for complete Buddhahood - but at the same time it isn't... I'm confused... could this be because we have people from different Nichiren backgrounds posting on the one thread? Possibly. Reading through the links on this thread certainly points that way.
"It is and it is not. It both is not and not not..." Couldn't help but observe the echos of Zhiyi there.
it doesn't seem like many others in the various Nichiren schools understand or even agree with this.. would you say that's a fair statement?
In my description of Daimoku as upaya and intersubsumptive, there are brethren who will bristle at that, but they shouldn't. There are some who declare NMRK as ultimate ultimate, but they're the minority - maybe not in number of believers but among the views of major schools. I stand by my view and it is well supported. The question is really what the upaya means in practice. That is a question where Nichiren was firm and me personally, I'm not convinced but I accept in practice.

In the West, our main exposure to Nichiren is SGI, and to a lesser extent Nichiren Shoshu. The former is a splinter of the latter. In the broader Nichiren world, these are minority teachings. And in SGI, fundamentally a lay community, the learning is limited, and the practice tends to stay at an elementary level.There is a reason SGI is looked on with... Distrust, and their aggressive approach in the 50sand 60s is only part of the problem. It also has to do with their cliff notes interpretation. The sect they came from is a very significant outlier on many doctrinal points.

To a lesser extent, Nichiren Shu is in the West, but their numbers are very small. They also are more of a loose confederation of temples than a unified school. There is a significant diversity of views. It's a healthy community in my view. People disagreeing without stomping off to make their own uniform club.

The idea that causing people to hear the Daimoku is widespread and that doing so brings people onto the path of Buddhahood, whether they understand it or not, whether they accept it or not.

The thing is, Nichiren left writings and there is general agreement which ones are important. This tends toward a general uniformity. The differences lie in interpretation and application.

I think those are the main themes I touched on.

I didn't explicitly discuss shakubuku, but it's implied in causing people to hear the teaching on Buddhanature. There are differences in view on that practice in the community.

On the whole, though, I think what I wrote is more or less consistent with views in the broader Nichiren community, though I'm probably on balance at the more liberal end of the spectrum. .

On the 90 day meditation, technically sleeping, even while seated, is cheating. You are supposed to fight off sleep with chanting... it seems the point is to so deprive yourself of sleep that you open up at deeper levels. I get that and appreciate it. I can see the effects in much less rigorous practice. That said, and in spite of everything else I've expressed, I'd like to give a go at that some day. I'd like to try the kaihogyo for that matter. Maybe another life when I have more time to refine.
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 Seishin » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:06 pm

Queequeg wrote:
On the 90 day meditation, technically sleeping, even while seated, is cheating. You are supposed to fight off sleep with chanting...
Don't suppose you can point me to where it says that? I don't recall it, and couldn't see it after a quick skim this morning... Many thanks :twothumbsup:

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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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:13 pm

Seishin wrote:On the contrary, I think contemplative meditation is engaged practice - but that's another topic.
I would not disagree with that. By the same token, I'd argue the more explicitly engaged practices are contemplative also. Might be worth a separate thread.
Seishin wrote: It also begs the question: is Daimoku engaged practice? Does it help one see the buddhanature in others? I have no doubt you will say yes - and for the record I'm not saying it isn't/doesn't. You will note I have not once stated that it is a fruitless topic.
I think the practice of seeing Buddhanature is a big sprawling topic.

I'll just say this for now... Daimoku is like the visible part of the iceberg. There is a whole lot more going on. In the case of Sadaparibhuta, he had to exercise dedication, energy, patience, forebearance, etc to do what he did. By the same token we have an extensive record of Nichiren's life as example of how this practice looks in real life, from advanced commentaries to letters encouraging and consoling people dealing with everyday suffering and a spectrum between.
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 Seishin » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:14 pm

(With regards to the constantly seated Samadhi) Scratch that. Found it. I wonder though, whether he is really talking about not sleeping *at night* apposed to not sleeping in the day time. Rev Jikai may know as he's met someone who's completed this. I had always assumed that those who practice this sleep at night as all other aspects of nature are permitted... :thinking:

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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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:22 pm

That's the question... It might very well be as you describe. That in practice, people do sleep... I also think Zhiyi put things in certain ways to make a point sometimes... Even if you're sleeping, you shouldn't indulge.

I recently read experiences of Kagyu retreatants who slept sitting up during their three year retreats. They explained you don't really sleep. It may well be this is what Zhiyi was actually referring to.
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 Seishin » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:32 pm

Queequeg wrote:I recently read experiences of Kagyu retreatants who slept sitting up during their three year retreats. They explained you don't really sleep. It may well be this is what Zhiyi was actually referring to.

A practice popular in China and I believe still done in some Zen temples in Japan. ( I have fallen asleep in meditation before now, only to be woken up by my own snores :twothumbsup: )

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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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:35 pm

Queequeg wrote:You guys are caught up in the connection between the forming of sounds with the mouth, as if that is all that is implied by the practice of Daimoku. Nichiren explicitly taught that the Daimoku, more than just contemplated, more than just recited, must be "read with the body." The Daimoku is actually a teaching on taking the moment to moment nature of life, in the most mundane circumstances, and striving to live in accord with Buddhanature moment to moment, no matter how faintly understood.
What is the definition of buddha-nature? I'm asking this because there are quite a few ways to define it, and depending on that there can be different approaches to it. If, for instance, it refers to the presence of various buddha qualities, then a sudden path should mean the immediate presence of those qualities.
The practical application is the same whether Buddhanature is seen through insight or through faith. I honor you as a Buddha either way. The experience of honoring you as a Buddha has beneficial effects regardless of how my experience is informed. The effects are different - as they say, we hear the same teaching differently - but like the Dharma rain, it falls and nourishes everyone.
That description sounds to me as a skilful means to teach people the practice of humility and respect, but not really anything that brings about insight into interdependence.
If any practice can be discerned in the Lotus Sutra, its the propagation of the Lotus Sutra - the exhortation to teach even one phrase, and concomitantly describing the immense benefit of even a person who hears of the Lotus through a telephone game of 50 people and reacts with the slightest joy.
How is that any different from accumulating worldly merit that may eventually bring one to studying the Dharma? Furthermore, with propagation as the sole practice actually found in that scripture, it is hard to see how that actually covers the whole of Buddhadharma. It is like saying that obtaining faith in the Triple Jewel is the basis of enlightenment, but at the same time that is only the very first step on the path and not the entirety of the path.
There is a strong prejudice against what I will call public, engaged practice in favor of contemplation in the Buddhist community that seems distorted and exaggerated in some sense.
I have not seen that raised as an objection here.
Is it really such a more effective practice to sit in contemplation rather than engage with others, striving to see their buddhahood and try to relieve their suffering?
Interpersonal relations have been the subject of practice from the beginning under the topic of ethical discipline. As for Mahayana, the accumulation of merit - the first three paramitas - are very important. However, without wisdom meritorious acts only generate samsaric results.

"With no understanding of the meaning of absence,
But engaging only in mere studies
And failing to engage in meritorious acts-
Such base people are lost."

(Nagarjuna: Sixty Stanzas of Reasoning, v31)
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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:14 pm

Astus wrote: What is the definition of buddha-nature? I'm asking this because there are quite a few ways to define it, and depending on that there can be different approaches to it. If, for instance, it refers to the presence of various buddha qualities, then a sudden path should mean the immediate presence of those qualities.
In Tiantai, everything is Buddha, has Buddha qualities. This is explained through the mutual possession of the ten worlds.

I think the definition of Buddhanature is dependent on the immediate context. I can't think of any that is excluded.

I think that in the Lotus Schools, at the most basic level, its the meaning implied by Sadaparibhuta's greeting:

I deeply respect you. I dare not belittle you. Why is this? Because all of you practice the bodhisattva path, and will become buddhas.

More expansively, its the meaning explained in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra which is considered an elaboration of the Lotus Sutra.

From there, it includes the meanings drawn out in Lotus School commentary.
The practical application is the same whether Buddhanature is seen through insight or through faith. I honor you as a Buddha either way. The experience of honoring you as a Buddha has beneficial effects regardless of how my experience is informed. The effects are different - as they say, we hear the same teaching differently - but like the Dharma rain, it falls and nourishes everyone.
That description sounds to me as a skilful means to teach people the practice of humility and respect, but not really anything that brings about insight into interdependence.
I guess that's your opinion. Have you tried this practice?

Notwithstanding, if your day to day life, including your dealings with other people, whether you think they are Buddhas or not, does not give you an insight into interdependence, then you're a zombie and not conscious.

That said, in the Lotus School, our interactions are informed by the teachings on the mutual possession of the ten worlds, thousand factors, three thousand realms in a single thought moment. Interdependence is a central teaching.
If any practice can be discerned in the Lotus Sutra, its the propagation of the Lotus Sutra - the exhortation to teach even one phrase, and concomitantly describing the immense benefit of even a person who hears of the Lotus through a telephone game of 50 people and reacts with the slightest joy.
How is that any different from accumulating worldly merit that may eventually bring one to studying the Dharma? Furthermore, with propagation as the sole practice actually found in that scripture, it is hard to see how that actually covers the whole of Buddhadharma. It is like saying that obtaining faith in the Triple Jewel is the basis of enlightenment, but at the same time that is only the very first step on the path and not the entirety of the path.
I quoted the Lotus Sutra that directly addresses these points. You'll have to take up your argument with Gautama.

Joking aside, how is Buddhadharma excluded from any dharma anywhere in the dharmadhatu? Above you ask about interdependence - well, interdependence means that Buddhadharma is interdependent with everything. You can't avoid it.

If propagation is your main practice, then it follows you'll need to take up all sorts of additional practices, like study, and contemplation. It might help to take public speaking courses. It might help to hang out with hustlers in brothels to understand their world and figure out how to speak to them effectively (like Vimalakirti). In short, this is nothing different than the point of the highest bodhisattva vows. The difference being, instead of refraining from teaching until one gets their PhD, one volunteers as the Buddha's ambassador from the start.

Practice for oneself and for others. Seeking above and edifying below.

Its really about compassion and acting on the impulse to help people who suffer. I may not know how to swim, but I have grabbed hold of a floating donut and I KNOW that holding onto this floating donut is better than drowning. Does it matter that I don't understand why the donut floats, or who put it here? "Dude, you're drowning. Grab this." The sutra says one who does that is the Tathagata's envoy, doing the Tathagata's work, sent by the Tathagata.

Talk to a teacher who has been teaching for a long time. Ask them if they've learned anything about life through the activity of teaching all those years.
I have not seen that raised as an objection here.
Its hard to discern where you're going with your pronouncements, insistence on standards that are foreign to this particular system of thought, and apparent lack of acknowledgment of answers to previous questions. And this is not the first time around that you've asked questions on this topic. You were pretty offensive and dismissive the last time around. You have a habit of grabbing statements out of context and then proceed to criticize when the context of those statements give them a different meaning than you presume. Its hard to tell if you're just trying to debate minutiae without any real point or actually have a discussion, or you just don't comprehend what you're reading. Look at the thread. I had to push back on you at one point because all you offered were opinions in disagreement which come across as dismissive. If that's not what you mean, well. But I'm of the opinion that the way a person expresses themselves is generally a pretty good gauge of what they think. Its more likely than not, those things they write reflect the way ideas are formulated in the 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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:15 pm

Queequeg wrote:Its hard to discern where you're going with your pronouncements, insistence on standards that are foreign to this particular system of thought, and apparent lack of acknowledgment of answers to previous questions.
Simply put, I'd like to make sense of what Nichiren's teaching is about. Reciting the title, the sutra, respecting others based on the assumption of inherent buddha-nature - these are clear elements. What I still find unclear is how one gets from delusion to enlightenment. There is a general description of the bodhisattva path in Mahayana, where one needs to remove the twofold obscuration, so unless the cause of samsara (ignorance) is not accepted within the Lotus Tradition, I'm trying to figure out how those practices of recitation and respect can actually address delusion. I did go through the answers you have provided in this thread so far, I also read some explanations available online from Nichiren followers and some of the works of Nichiren as well, but it is simply not clear.
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 narhwal90 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:17 pm

From the SGI camp, I'm in complete agreement with what Q has posted wrt the action of daimoku and its non-exclusivity. It may be I am more permissive in interpretation than others in SGI OTOH I don't think what Q has said is far afield from the usual SGI stance. Not trying to speak for him here but I think disagreement with SGI is on other topics.

The 3 Poisons are accepted in SGI, "Greed, Anger, Stupidity" was the instruction- note http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/120 "Two Kinds of Illness" though I'm not a fan of how he treats the other schools in the text.

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/66

Selection of the Time, Nichiren quotes Chang-an "Chang-an says, You should let your choices be fitting and never adhere solely to one or the other.” this is stated in the context of propagation, fitting the method to the time and capacity of the hearer. But, if generally applied, becoming aware of choices involves becoming aware of their consequences. Daimoku in the role of reflection increases awareness of choices and consequences.

Daimoku operates in a transformative role as well;

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/45

here Nichiren encourages a follower that daimoku and the Lotus Sutra will change difficulty into fortune. It does not address daimoku as mechanism, but a form of it can be seen when a member is encouraged to chant about an interpersonal problem to develop compassion for the other. Instead of snapping into emotional habits the mind is calmed, awareness of the humanity of the other and thus one's own is increased. Examples of this kind of change are commonplace in SGI and in the other Nichiren schools too I imagine. Its a mundane example perhaps, but thats what works as proof for me.

In both cases the poisons are reduced, delusion is abated, the member has moved his or her "life condition" higher among the 10 worlds and so increasing the expression of innate buddhahood.

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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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:42 pm

Astus wrote:
Queequeg wrote:Its hard to discern where you're going with your pronouncements, insistence on standards that are foreign to this particular system of thought, and apparent lack of acknowledgment of answers to previous questions.
Simply put, I'd like to make sense of what Nichiren's teaching is about. Reciting the title, the sutra, respecting others based on the assumption of inherent buddha-nature - these are clear elements. What I still find unclear is how one gets from delusion to enlightenment. There is a general description of the bodhisattva path in Mahayana, where one needs to remove the twofold obscuration, so unless the cause of samsara (ignorance) is not accepted within the Lotus Tradition, I'm trying to figure out how those practices of recitation and respect can actually address delusion. I did go through the answers you have provided in this thread so far, I also read some explanations available online from Nichiren followers and some of the works of Nichiren as well, but it is simply not clear.
If you're really interested, I suggested a book by Brook Ziporyn above. Notwithstanding his style of presenting the subject, I think you're going to be surprised.

To put it simply, delusion is taken for granted as something that can't be avoided, and actually is affirmed as an expression of Buddhahood. Zhiyi does something very different with delusion than you seem to think must be done - he kind of shrugs.

Even if you manage to escape one delusion or another, its just going to be replaced by another. Enlightenment is realizing the real nature of delusions. Once you understand that, what more is there to do with them? What is there to address?

Nichiren builds off the view.
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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:47 pm

narhwal90 wrote:From the SGI camp,
I think Narwhal, you can attest to the way "seeing everyone everything as a Buddha" plays out in practical way in SGI - and I mean this in the most positive way - not really having a deep understanding of what Buddhahood or Buddhanature means, but treating people as though they were Buddhas - just like Sadaparibhuta. When done right, SGI is a pocket of great goodness expressed in the simplest human terms.
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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:30 pm

Queequeg wrote:
narhwal90 wrote:From the SGI camp,
I think Narwhal, you can attest to the way "seeing everyone everything as a Buddha" plays out in practical way in SGI - and I mean this in the most positive way - not really having a deep understanding of what Buddhahood or Buddhanature means, but treating people as though they were Buddhas - just like Sadaparibhuta. When done right, SGI is a pocket of great goodness expressed in the simplest human terms.
So attested. I've been attending my home district for quite a few years, I have seen how the members are committed to one another thru illness & death, job/home moves, kid drama (up to and including stuff like them being put in jail on murder charges). The commitment means showing up for meetings, driving people to meetings, chanting with & for them, home (or hospital) visits or even just listening to them talk. I have seen that treatment extended & maintained without regard of age, gender, skin color, ethnicity, or length of membership- though to be fair in the latter case if one has been around a while more people know you so the circle of interest tends to be bigger. To me buddhahood looks like compassion and commitment to one another.

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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 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:41 pm

Queequeg wrote:If you're really interested, I suggested a book by Brook Ziporyn above. Notwithstanding his style of presenting the subject, I think you're going to be surprised.
Thanks. And until I can actually obtain that book, isn't there anything online, like in the works of Nichiren?
Enlightenment is realizing the real nature of delusions. Once you understand that, what more is there to do with them? What is there to address?
So it is accepted in Mahayana in general.

The thorough understanding of cyclic existence -
This is referred to as “nirvana.”

(Nagarjuna: Sixty Stanzas of Reasoning, v6)
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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