Nichiren on Pure Land

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Queequeg
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Nichiren on Pure Land

Post by Queequeg » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:52 pm

I saw the discussion in the Pure Land forum, Why Pure Land, and questions were raised about Nichiren's view of Pure Land. Rather than dilute that discussion, I'll post this here.

1. Nichiren followed Shakyamuni Buddha. However, the Shakyamuni Buddha he followed is not the Shakyamuni conceived of in most Buddhist sources - ie. the being who, after eons of Bodhisattva practice, was born in Lumbini, awakened at Gaya, first turned the wheel at Sarnath, and passed at Kusinagara, although he is not exclusive of that Shakyamuni, either. Rather, the Shakyamuni Nichiren followed was the Primordial Buddha. All other Buddhas, including the earthly Shakyamuni Buddha, are emanations of this Primordial Buddha.

2. Nichiren criticized any teachings that obscured this Primordial Buddha.

3. Nichiren's criticism of Pure Land Teachings was expressed in many ways, but ultimately came down to the obscuring of the Primordial Buddha. Honen taught an exclusive Pure Land practice. By definition, if a person followed it, the Primordial Buddha was obscured.

Nichiren's views on Zhiyi's recommendation of Amida oriented practice is pretty straight forward.

In Mohozhikuan, Zhiyi recommended four types of practice to cultivate the Great Practice - Constantly Sitting Samadhi, Constantly Walking Samadhi, Both Walking and Sitting Samadhi, and Neither Walking nor Sitting Samadhi. In the Constantly Sitting Samadhi, Zhiyi recommended chanting a Buddha's name if you found obstacles in your contemplative practice. He did not specify which Buddha's name to call, but calling on Amitabha became the practice. Constantly Walking Samadhi is explicitly an Amitabha oriented practice, wherein one circumabulates an image of Amitabha for 90 days, calls his name, and contemplates him. The Both Walking and Sitting Samadhi are based on the Vaipulya Dharani Sutra or the Lotus Sutra. In the case of the latter, its more or less the Lotus Confessional Samadhi practice. The Neither Sitting nor Walking Samadhi is what I'd describe as universal Mahayanist practice centered on Amitabha attended by Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta.

In relation to the Perfect Teaching, these are considered preparatory practices and not considered actual practice of the Perfect Path.

For Nichiren, in the Latter Day of the Law when the Earthly Shakyamuni's teachings are said to have lost efficacy, only the sublime teaching of the Primordial Buddha - The Perfect Path, expressed as the Lotus Sutra, is efficacious. This includes the preparatory practices taught by Zhiyi. Specifically, the Pure Land teachings are considered teachings of the Earthly Shakyamuni. Accordingly, they are viewed as having no salvific power.
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 on Pure Land

Post by Losal Samten » Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:41 am

Queequeg wrote:1. Nichiren followed Shakyamuni Buddha. However, the Shakyamuni Buddha he followed is not the Shakyamuni conceived of in most Buddhist sources - ie. the being who, after eons of Bodhisattva practice, was born in Lumbini, awakened at Gaya, first turned the wheel at Sarnath, and passed at Kusinagara, although he is not exclusive of that Shakyamuni, either. Rather, the Shakyamuni Nichiren followed was the Primordial Buddha. All other Buddhas, including the earthly Shakyamuni Buddha, are emanations of this Primordial Buddha.
Mahayana notes that the historical Shakyamuni was a supreme nirmanakaya, an emanation of the dharmakaya, which isn't separate from the manifest display, if it were, then it would be no different than the Hindu idea of the ultimate. Is this Primordial Buddha another name for the dharmakaya? Is the Primordial Buddha a literal entity, or symbolic? Do you have any quotes from sutras that detail this buddha?
2. Nichiren criticized any teachings that obscured this Primordial Buddha.
How are those obscurative teachings chosen as being obscurative, and how was Nichiren qualified to make that distinction?
3. Nichiren's criticism of Pure Land Teachings was expressed in many ways, but ultimately came down to the obscuring of the Primordial Buddha. Honen taught an exclusive Pure Land practice. By definition, if a person followed it, the Primordial Buddha was obscured.
See above. How does the repetition of an homage to a sutra not qualify as obscurative? Meditation on an undefiled object is meditation on an undefiled object, whether that object is a sutra or a buddha. The Lotus Sutra is from the Primordial Buddha, but Amitabha, who you say is an emanation of the Primordial Buddha, is also not an emanation of the Primordial Buddha?
...In relation to the Perfect Teaching, these are considered preparatory practices and not considered actual practice of the Perfect Path.
Did the buddha talk about this Perfect Teaching, or Perfect Path? What defines the path as being perfect? Shila, samadhi, prajna? The six paramitas?
For Nichiren, in the Latter Day of the Law when the Earthly Shakyamuni's teachings are said to have lost efficacy, only the sublime teaching of the Primordial Buddha - The Perfect Path, expressed as the Lotus Sutra, is efficacious.
Did Earthly Shakyamuni not teach the Lotus Sutra? Did Earthly Shakyamuni not teach every sutra? Did the Primordial Buddha say only the Primordial Buddha's teachings are efficacious, or was that spoken from Earthly Shakyamuni's mouth?
Specifically, the Pure Land teachings are considered teachings of the Earthly Shakyamuni.
As above, if you split the realisation from the buddha, you end up with a Hindu, non-liberative, concept.
Accordingly, they are viewed as having no salvific power.
Salvific means leading to buddhahood, yes? In which case, the two accumulations of wisdom (to realise the dharmakaya) and the accumulation of merit (to realise the emanatory rupakaya) are the only accepted method. The way of going about this is shila, samadhi, prajna, and whilst beings are capable of doing any of these, the path to buddhahood is still open.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨོཾ་ཧ་ནུ་པྷ་ཤ་བྷ་ར་ཧེ་ཡེ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ།།
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Re: Nichiren on Pure Land

Post by Queequeg » Sat Mar 12, 2016 1:29 am

Mother's Lap wrote: Mahayana notes that the historical Shakyamuni was a supreme nirmanakaya, an emanation of the dharmakaya, which isn't separate from the manifest display, if it were, then it would be no different than the Hindu idea of the ultimate. Is this Primordial Buddha another name for the dharmakaya? Is the Primordial Buddha a literal entity, or symbolic? Do you have any quotes from sutras that detail this buddha?
According to Nichiren, the Primordial Buddha is primordially triple bodied. This is in contrast to, for instance, a conception of Shakyamuni who attained the Nirmanakaya at Gaya, or a Buddha that appears only as a Sambhogakaya (in the Saha world, Amitabha, for instance, only appears as Sambhogakaya), or Mahavairocana who is only Dharmakaya. These are considered incomplete emanations of the Primordial Buddha, along with triple bodied Buddhas whose Sambhogakaya and/or Nirmanakaya have beginnings.

This is a Tiantai/Tendai view of the Primordial Buddha based primarily on the Lotus Sutra and Zhiyi's exegesis on it. The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra is also a source.
2. Nichiren criticized any teachings that obscured this Primordial Buddha.
How are those obscurative teachings chosen as being obscurative, and how was Nichiren qualified to make that distinction?
According to Nichiren, he came to that conclusion by consulting the entire canon, the Lotus Sutra in particular, as well as the Immeasurable Meanings and Samanthabhadra Sutras that are considered the introduction and epilogue to the Lotus Sutra; he also relied on the commentaries of the Tiantai school, Zhiyi and Zhanran in particular.

In brief, the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra says something to the effect that in the 40 years prior to expounding the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha had not revealed his profoundest teaching. In the Lotus, Shakyamuni explains that everything he taught to that point was an expedient preparing the way for the exposition of the Lotus Sutra, his profoundest teaching.

This has been interpreted in the East Asian Lotus Schools to inform the various methods of distinguishing Buddhist teachings. The short of these is that the Sublime Dharma is expounded without adulteration in only the Lotus and Mahaparinirvana Sutras. All other Sutra teachings are adulterated and in themselves do not lead to Annuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Nichiren applied the logic of the Tiantai systems of distinguishing the Buddha's various teachings, combined with Mappo thinking, which was actually something that informed Honen's teachings.
3. Nichiren's criticism of Pure Land Teachings was expressed in many ways, but ultimately came down to the obscuring of the Primordial Buddha. Honen taught an exclusive Pure Land practice. By definition, if a person followed it, the Primordial Buddha was obscured.
See above. How does the repetition of an homage to a sutra not qualify as obscurative? Meditation on an undefiled object is meditation on an undefiled object, whether that object is a sutra or a buddha. The Lotus Sutra is from the Primordial Buddha, but Amitabha, who you say is an emanation of the Primordial Buddha, is also not an emanation of the Primordial Buddha?
The Daimoku has various implications depending on capacity. For those of the least capacity, its described as an amulet tied around our necks so that we never lose connection to the sublime dharma even as we tumble through samsara. For those of higher capacities, it is a teaching of increasing sublimity, up to the attainment of annuttarasamyaksambodhi.

If you any Buddha is reified as its simple story it is obscuring the Primordial Buddha - in Amitabha's case, he is a Buddha who attained enlightenment after a bodhisattva career in which he made various vows, including the vow to cause all beings who call his name to be born in Sukhavati. If you imagine Amitabha as such, this would seem to be an obscuration of the Primordial Buddha - you are mistaking an emanation for the Primordial Buddha. The same would apply if you think that Shakyamuni is a Buddha who first attained enlightenment at Gaya.

Did the buddha talk about this Perfect Teaching, or Perfect Path? What defines the path as being perfect? Shila, samadhi, prajna? The six paramitas?
According to the East Asian Lotus Teachings, yes.

Did Earthly Shakyamuni not teach the Lotus Sutra?
No. The Primordial Shakyamuni taught the Lotus Sutra.
Did Earthly Shakyamuni not teach every sutra?
No. Some Sutras were taught by other enlightened beings. Some were taught by Buddhas other than Shakyamuni.
Did the Primordial Buddha say only the Primordial Buddha's teachings are efficacious, or was that spoken from Earthly Shakyamuni's mouth?
Only the Sublime Dharma is ultimately efficacious. Everything else is an expedient that is efficacious only in so far as it is based on the Sublime Dharma.
Salvific means leading to buddhahood, yes? In which case, the two accumulations of wisdom (to realise the dharmakaya) and the accumulation of merit (to realise the emanatory rupakaya) are the only accepted method. The way of going about this is shila, samadhi, prajna, and whilst beings are capable of doing any of these, the path to buddhahood is still open.
Perfect Teaching kind of blows up all that. Its a little hard to explain.
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 on Pure Land

Post by Queequeg » Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:10 am

Note.

The views expressed are my understanding of Nichiren. I'm not meaning to criticize any teachings.

Questions were raised in another thread and I'm sharing my understanding.
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 on Pure Land

Post by Losal Samten » Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:19 am

Queequeg wrote:...
Thanks for sharing. Image
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨོཾ་ཧ་ནུ་པྷ་ཤ་བྷ་ར་ཧེ་ཡེ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ།།
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Re: Nichiren on Pure Land

Post by Queequeg » Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:15 am

:cheers:
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 on Pure Land

Post by Son of Buddha » Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:43 pm

The jist I got from Nichirens argument was that Amitabhas 18th vow has a clause that states if you slander the correct dharma then you will be excluded from the Pureland and of course Nichiren viewed the correct Dharma as the Lotus sutra.

So from Nichirens postion (from what I understand)
HE stated that Honen had told his followers to abandon all other sutra and only follow the pureland sutra, BUT by doing so this means that you would be violating the 18th vow in the pureland sutra themselves on abandoning the correct dharma, therefore that interpretation of pureland went against the 18th vow itself.


Which is why Nichirens said that Nembutsu for these sects lead them to avichi hell.


(1) Nembutsu pureland practice that abandoned the correct dharma violates the 18th vow and Nembutsu leads to hell

(2) Nembutsu practice that accepts the correct dharma upholds the 18th vow and nembutsu leads to pureland.

(3) granted of course pureland sects claimed the correct dharma was the Vow/Nembutsu/Shinjin itself so their interpretation was/is correct.

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Re: Nichiren on Pure Land

Post by illarraza » Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:13 pm

First of all, an excellent synopsis Son of Buddha. Here is the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren's proof text of your assertions.

Pure Land, a Refutation of the Nembutsu, an essay by Graham Lamont (1)

I. The "Last Five Hundred Years" and the Latter Dharma
(Mappo) An old claim of the Pure Land believers against the
Hokekyo or Lotus Sutra is that this Sutra, as opposed to
their Three Pure Land Sutras (Jodo Sambukyo ), is
inappropriate to our time, the age of the Latter Dharma
(Mappo). A variant of this contention has now been advanced
by the claim that the Hokekyo is limited only to the fifth
five hundred years since the Buddha and is irrelevant to the
present age, since by the usual reckoning (from 949 B.C.E.)
this period of the fifth five hundred years has passed. Thus
once again they try to make the Supreme Sutra as an
irrelevant teaching when in reality it is the teaching for
the salvation of the beings of our age and is especially
left for them. Let us argue following the Sutra-based
teachings of Nichiren Shonin the Great Bodhisattva who was
sent by the Eternal Lord Shakya as His Messenger to the
people of the Latter Dharma to begin the spread of the
Truth.

First we shall consider the misinterpretation of the term
"last five hundred years" by the partisans of the Pure Land
teaching (which is centered on the Buddha Amida in the Pure
Land of Gokuraku in the Western Quarter): they assume that
this expression "last five hundred years" in the twenty
third chapter of the Hokekyo refers to that period alone,
but it is clear from other passages in the Sutra that the
Buddha meant this Hokekyo for the whole of the ten thousand
years of the Latter Dharma: Directly following upon the
revelation of the Eternal Shakyamuni in the sixteenth
chapter, the next chapter says:

"In the evil era, the time of the Latter Dharma
Those who can keep this Sutra"

It imposes no limitation relating to the "last five hundred
years" of the five five-hundred-year periods as described in
the Daijikkyo. Clearly the teaching was to begin to spread
throughout the world when the other teachings were being
destroyed. Thus the Tendai masters rightly said that the
literal interpretation of "the last five hundred years" was
a teaching at first sight, a surface interpretation (ichio)
and that, in accordance with the Sutra, at second sight
(saio) it is the whole ten thousand years of the Latter
Dharma. Again Nichiren Shonin in his "Go gohyaku sai gomon"
(STN, v. 3, 2293) notes that the verses of the "Chapter of
Practices of Peaceful Joy"

13:
In the Last Era
The Ones who keep this Sutra
With regard to the householders and religious
As well as those who are not Bodhisattvas
Ought to produce compassion (T.9.39a)

The term "Last Era" (in the Japanese reading "nochi no sue
no yo" or "nochi no masse" or "later end/final era") seems
to emphasize its being the whole or even the later part of
age of the Latter Dharma. In any case one cannot say that
this refers to the literal "last five hundred years" alone.
Further, Nichiren Shonin cites the phrase "within (or in the
midst of) of the Latter Dharma" (T.9.37c-38a, cited in the
Kaimoku sho (STN, v.1, 592) and also in the Kyo gyo sho
gosho (STN, v. 2, 1481) where it is rightly glossed as
meaning the ten thousand years of the Latter Dharma. If the
Pure Land partisans wish to limit the spread of the Hokekyo
to "within" the last five hundred years, meaning the
beginning of the Latter Dharma, they must accept the spread
"within" the Latter Dharma since the same "within" or "in
the midst of" (chu) is used for both expressions. The Tendai
masters such as Chan-jan (Myoraku Daishi) are thus correct
in saying the "five hundred" years are "temporarily
according to the time when the Great Teaching is to spread"
(Hokke mongu ki 1B (T. 34. 157b))

The Daijikkyo clearly emphasizes the destruction of "Pure
Dharma" meaning the Lesser Vehicle and Provisional Great
Vehicle Sutras; by contrast, the Lotus Sutra emphasizes the
"wide proclamation and spreading" (kosen rufu) at the same
time, the "last five hundred years", which means the
beginning of the time when this teaching of the Hokekyo
would spread through the world.

The Daijikkyo says that the Pure Dharma will sink and be
hidden and, although it is a sutra previous to the Lotus
Sutra and, therefore, an expedient, its prophecy is
confirmed in the Lotus Sutra in the "Chapter of the
Practices of Peaceful Joy" 14 when it says, "The Bodhisattva
Mahasattvas who in the Last Era, when the Dharma is about to
be extinguished, receive and keep, read and recite this
Sutra Canon are not to harbor a mind of jealousy and envy or
sycophancy and deception." (T.9.38b) Clearly this
"extinction" of the Dharma refers to the other teachings,
for this Sutra is to be spread when the other teachings are
destroyed at the beginning of the Latter Dharma.

Now must turn to the relative value of the statements made
by the Hokekyo and the Pure Land Sutras.

In the Sutra of Immeasurable Meanings (Muryogikyo),
immediately before preaching the Hokekyo, the Buddha states:
"For more than forty years I have never yet revealed the
Truth." (T.9.386b) And with the Previous Teachings,
expedient teachings. "Passing through immeasurable,
boundless, inconceivable asamkheya kalpas, they in the end
were not able to achieve Supreme Bodhi." (T.9.387a) In other
words, those seeking enlightenment were not able to attain
the Supreme Bodhi or Enlightenment of the Buddha up to this
point, following the teachings of the Buddha. This is
because up to that time He had not revealed the Real
Teaching but had put forth only Provisional or Expedient
Teachings, which conformed to the capacities (ki) of a
particular audience or group of beings. Immediately after
the Sutra of Immeasurable Meanings the Buddha preaches the
Lotus Sutra or Hokekyo, in which it proclaims: "As to the
World-honored One's Dharma, after a long time, He is
certainly going to preach the Truth." ("Chapter of
Expedience" 2 (T.9.6a))

Hence we should know that the Truth, formerly withheld in
the Buddha's temporal career, is only now and of necessity
going to be revealed in this Sutra. The teachings of the
other Sutras, before this time, are now abolished as mere
expedients, temporary, provisional measures to lead people
onward to the Truth of the One Buddha Vehicle. "I
forthrightly abandon expedience and only preach the Supreme
Way." ("Chapter of Expedience" 2 (T.9.10a))

Note that Chan-jan (Myoraku Daishi) glasses "abandon"
(she/sha) as "abolish" (fei/hai) (Hokke gengi shakushin 1A
(T.33.S16c)) Thus we should know that the Buddha is now
preaching only the absolute truth, the One Vehicle leading
directly to Buddhahood. Now the Pure Land Sutras are from
the third period of the Buddha's lifetime, the Hodo
(Vaipulya) period (roughly thirty years), previous to the
Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom) Sutras.

And as we might expect in the case of all Sutras that are
provisional, mere expedients for a particular audience, the
Sutras before the Hokekyo, contradict themselves. The Pure
Land partisans claim that the Muryojukyo will outlast all
other Sutras by one hundred years. (T.12.279a11-12) But note
that another version of this sutra, the Bussetsu Muryo shojo
byodo kyo states, "After by Parinirvana the Way of the
Sutras will remain for one thousand years; after a thousand
years the Way of the Sutras will be cut off; I am
compassionate to all, and especially retain this Sutra
Dharma to stay and abide a hundred years; in the midst of
the hundred years finally then it will cease, stop, and be
cut off." (T.1Z.299c11-13 and n. 12 from the Ming and Yuan
editions) (According to some commentators (T.12.279a, n. 3)
there is also to be another thousand years before that last
hundred years; this is very interesting because, according
to the standard reckoning of the time of the Buddha's
Parinirvana (949 B.C.E.), the two thousand year period plus
the one hundred years would be in the first part of Honen's
lifetime (1133-1212), or about 1151 C.E. In other words,
according to this version the teaching of this Sutra is
supposed to cease about the time Honen, the great exponent
of Pure Land (exclusive Nembutsu) is starting on his career!


We may also note that this alternate translation with the
actual years is an older translation (supposedly by
Chih-ch'ien from the Later Han) than the more standard
version of the Muryojukyo in use by Pure Land partisans now;
although the thousand year passage occurs only in the Yuan
and Ming versions, if this is, indeed, a slightly older
version then the actual calculation of the years were
deleted for some reason from the standard version translated
by K'ang Seng-k'ai in the Ts'ao Wei period (220-280).

But even leaving this aside, Nichiren Shonin points out
(Shugo kokka ron, STN, v. 1, '00-102) that the
pronouncements of the sutras previous to the Lotus Sutra are
not determinate, because, for example the Ninnokyo or Sutra
of the Benevolent Kings predicts it will last eight thousand
years past the age of the Latter Dharma.

By contrast, the words of the Hokekyo are final and we have
shown its destiny is to be propagated throughout the age of
the Latter Dharma beginning with the fifth five hundred
years. Nichiren Shonin explains the text "After My
Extinction within the five hundred years after (or the last
five hundred years) they shall widely proclaim and spread it
and not allow it to be cut off." "The character 'after'
[last] following on 'After My Extinction' is the character
'after' (go) in 'after the various sutras of the more than
forty years are completely extinguished.'" (Shugo kokka ron,
STN, v. 1, 102 l. 14) In other words, Nichiren Shonin
interprets the last five hundred years as "after" the other
(merely provisional) Sutras have run their course and
disappear or virtually disappear because they are no longer
of any effect. (N.B. The rendering of the kambun text with
the word "after" instead of "last ' fits Nichiren Shonin's
reading in this instance; both renderings are perfectly
legitimate; the problem is more with the word order and
vocabulary of English than with the original Chinese. This
particular rendering is also in the future tense as a
prophecy but it can also be read as,an imperative, which
really does not affect the sense here.)

II. The Pure Land (Nembutsu) Followers claim that Amida is
Our Savior The Pure Land believers advance the claim that
the Buddha Amida is the special savior of the people of this
Saha World in the age of the Latter Dharma. But let us note
the Eighteenth Vow of Amida in (Muryojukyo), which is
central to Rebirth (ojo) in the Pure Land faith:

"Even though I should obtain Buddhahood, when the beings of
the Ten Directions believe and rejoice with all their heart,
desiring to be born in my country, if they are not born
[there], I shall not accept True Enlightenment; only
excepting the Five Rebellious Sins and Blasphemy against the
True Dharma." (T.12.268a26-28)

The Pure Land patriarchs have developed various clever
arguments to undo the obvious meaning of this sutra text:
that Amida in His central vow excludes from His Pure Land
all those who commit the Five Rebellious Sins and those who
commit blasphemy against the Dharma. Now Pure Land
commentators tried to use texts of the Great Parinirvana
Sutra (Daihatsunehangyd) (T.12.554a-b, 574c) to show that
the people of our age, the "Ever sinking" and those "Who
emerged from the sea but then sank back again", were saved
by the Buddha Amida and those above this level were saved by
the Buddha Shakya. This idea appears to have come from
Shan-tao's interpretation but following an interpretation by
Genshin (942-1017), one of the greatest exponents of Pure
Land doctrine in the Tendai Sect,1 Nichiren Shonin
demonstrates that these two Watanabe Hoyo, "Nichiren Shonin
no shukyo ni okeru 'hobo' no igi" ("The Significance of
'Blasphemy against the Dharma' in Nichiren Shonin's
Religion" in Miyazaki Eishu and Motai Kyoko, eds. Nichiren
Shonin kenkyu, 96 classes of those "ever sinking" and
"emerging, then sinking back" are, in fact, those who
blaspheme against the Dharma and those guilty Of the Five
Rebellious Sins, but as we have just seen, the Buddha Amida
excludes these very people. (Note also the phrase in the
"Chapter of Expedience" 2 (T.9.9c), "...the multitudes of
beings, sinking in suffering, unable to believe this Dharma,
because they destroy the Dharma, not believing, will fall to
the Three Evil Ways [of Rebirth]." This shows that the
beings sinking in the sea of suffering here do so because of
unbelief in the Truth and efficacy of this Sutra.) By
contrast, the Concluding Sutra of the Hokekyo, the Fugengyd,
actually proclaims that these excluded sinners, those who
commit the Five Rebellious Sins and Blasphemy against the
Dharma, to be the very capacities for the Hokekyo :

"If kings, great ministers, brahmins, householders, wealthy
householders, officials, these people and so on, greedily
seeking with no revulsion, commit the Five Rebellious Sins,
blaspheme the Hodo Sutra and are possessed of the Ten Evils,
the retribution for these Great Evils is to fall to the Evil
Ways of Rebirth surpassing a torrential rain: they must
certainly be going to fall to the Avici Hell. If they desire
to extinguish and be rid of these karmic hindrances, they
ought to give rise to repentance and change and do penance
for their sins." (T.9.394a) (N.B.: the terms Hodo Sutra
applies to!his Hokekyo in this instance, as is generally
acknowledged.)

Among the tive types of repentance which are mentioned there
is this: "they should only profoundly believe in the Cause
and Effect, the Way of the One Reali1y, and know that the
Buddha is not Extinguished." (T.9.394b)

There can be no doubt that this particular form of
repentance is centered on the principal teaching of the
Hokekyo: the One Reality revealed in the "Chapter of
Expedience" 2 and the Eternal Buddha revealed in the
"Chapter of the Measure of Life of the Tathagata" 16. In
other words, among the various types of repentance
recommended by the Concluding Sutra of the Hokekyo is the
very faith preached by Nichiren Shonin. The response to
Blasphemy against the Dharma and all other types of sins is,
indeed, the repentance by believing in the true Hokke faith!

Moreover, Blasphemy against the Dharma is the very worst of
diseases, incurable save by "the One Buddha Lord Shakya's
Excellent Medicine of the Sublime Sutra" (Ota nyuo dono
gohenji or "Reply to the Tonsured Layman Ota", STN, v, 2,
1116 l. 8), for it is written in the "Chapter of the
Original Matter of the Bodhisattva Yakuo" 23, "This Sutra is
the Excellent Medicine for the Diseases of the people of
Jambudvipa: if persons have a disease and get to hear this
Sutra, the disease at once shall be extinguished. "
(T.9.54c25-26) It is this Sutra alone which can cure the sin
of Blasphemy against the Dharma, which is unbelief or wrong
belief.

The Great Parinirvana Sutra (Daihatsunehangyo) says, "If
there are those who have disparaged and blasphemed this True
Dharma, they can themselves change and do penance, returning
to the Dharma ... except for this True Dharma there is no
further salvation and protection; for this reason they ought
to return to the True Dharma." (T,12.425b, cited by Nichiren
Shonin in the "Reply to the Tonsured Layman Ota", STN, v. Z,
1116) It is clear. as both the Tendai Masters and Nichiren
Shonin have shown from the Sutra texts, that this Great
Parinirvana Sutra is, in fact, the Diffusion Section to
Lotus Sutra . (E.g., the Shugo kokka ron, STN, v. 1,
130-132, noting especially the passage where the Great
Parinirvana Sutra (T.12.420a) points back to the salvation
of the unsavable Shravakas in the Lotus Sutra; so the Great
Parinirvana Sutra is the "gleaning" to the "great harvest"
of the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra alone has saved the
Shravakas, thus fulfilling the vows of all Bodhisattvas to
save all beings and alone has revealed the True Attainment
of Buddhahood in the Most Distant Past, that is to say, the
Eternal Life of the Buddha Shakyamuni.) When it refers to
this True Dharma, it is referring back to the Supreme Lotus
Sutra.

Now what is Blasphemy? The Pure Land (Nembutsu) people and
others will argue that they do not "disparage and blaspheme"
the Dharma of the Lotus Sutra.

Let us answer from the Sutra text in the "Chapter of the
Parable" 3: first, the Buddha Shakyamuni proclaims, "Now
these three worlds are all my own; the beings therein are
all my children. But now this place has many calamities and
hardships; I alone can guard and save them." (T.9.14c26- 28)
(Note that this applies not only to the Buddha Shakyamuni's
Historical Manifestation in the first half of the Lotus
Sutra (the Shakumon) but also in the second half (the
Hommon) where the Buddha proclaims, "I likewise am the
Father of the World, The One who saves from the various
sufferings and travails." ("Chapter of the Measure of Life
of the Tathagata" 16) Thus it is the Buddha Shakyamuni,
revealed as the Eternal Buddha, who is our true savior, the
rescuer of the unsavable!

Thus far from being alien to all beings (as well as the
non-sentient support retribution) of this Saha World, as
some Pure Land teachers and others claim, the Buddha Shakya
is the Lord, Teacher, and Parent of this World from the Most
Distant Past. So He has revealed Himself as uniquely the
Parent and Savior of us beings. Note that even in the
intermediate period after His True Enlightenment in the
inconceivable past it is the Buddha Shakyamuni who,
manifested as the Brahmacarin Hokai (Hokai bonji) performing
the Bodhisattva practice made a vow that "gathering the
multitudes of beings driven forth from the Pure Lands of the
Ten Directions, I shall save them." (From fasc. 6 the
Hikekyo or Sutra of the Flower of Compassion) cited in the
"Letter to Jorembo" or Jorembo gosho) (STN, v. 2, 1076; also
"Epistle to Lord Matsuno" (Matsuno dona goshosoku), STN. v,
2, 1277 and cf. Nichiren Shonin ibun jiten, 1004a) Contrast
the vows of the Bodhisattva Hozo who as the Buddha Amida
abandons this Saha World and also its people excluding those
who commit Blasphemy and the Five Rebellious Sins.

The Buddha Shakya has said, as we noted above, that it is
this Sutra, the Hokekyo, that is His revelation of the
Truth, and yet, He continues immediately afterwards in the
same "Chapter of the Parable" 3, "Though I again teach and
(decree, yet they do not do not believe and receive."
(T.9.14c28-29) Likewise He urges: "I for the sake of beings
by means of this parable preach the One Buddha Vehicle; if
you [plural] can believe and accept these words, all in
every case are going to become able to obtain the Buddha
Way. This Vehicle is subtle and sublime, pure and foremost,
in the various worlds there is none superior." (T.9.15a5-8)

He then warns against disbelief: "If persons do not believe
and disparage and blaspheme this Sutra, then they cut off
all the worlds' Buddha seeds. (Or again if they frown and
harbor doubts and confusions, you should hear preached the
retribution of this person's sin . "These persons at life's
end will enter Avici Hell for fully one kalpa and, when the
kalpa is exhausted, will again be born like this turning on
to numberless kalpas and emerging from hell will fall to the
beasts...." (T.9.15b2Z-c2) clearly disbelief is the source
of all this; as faith is the source of salvation, so lack of
faith and doubt are the source of evil retribution. (We must
note despite the length of this terrible punishment in Avici
and other evil places of rebirth, this is not eternal
damnation.)

According to the buddha in His Real (non-expedient)
Teaching, unbelief, harboring doubts, in regard to this
Sutra will lead to retribution in the Avici (Unremitting)
Hell and other evil states of rebirth through countless
aeons.

Now the Pure Land followers still say they have not
"blasphemed and disparaged" yet it is clear that they do not
believe in the efficacy of this Sutra for people of this
Latter Age; rather they harbor doubts about it and teach at
variance to what the Buddha has said in a final and
authoritative way in this very Lotus Sutra; for do they not
follow Shan-tao in saying "not one in a thousand" attain by
the Hokekyo and other sutras when this Sutra proclaims all
shall attain by this One Vehicle? Do they not follow Honen's
famous prescription in the Senchahu shu to "abandon, close,
put aside, cast away' (sha hei kaku ho) the Lotus Sutra
among the other sutras'? Is this what the Lotus Sutra
teaches: that we should abandon it now in this age, far from
the time of the historical Buddha? Now the Pure Land
partisans will most probably argue in one or the other of
two ways

1) They claim that, in following Honen, they never intended
to criticize the Hokekyo but merely meant that "the truth
[of the Lotus Sutra] is profound and the understanding [of
the people of our age of the Latter Dharma] is slight" (ri
jin ge mi); the Lotus Sutra, they claim, is only for great
sages and not for ordinary unenlightened worldlings: its
practices are too difficult.

Let us see what the Diffusion Section (ruzubun) within the
Sutra (as opposed to the separate Diffusion Section Sutras,
the Fugengy6 and the Daihatsunehangyo) has to say: "Still
further, after the Extinction of the Tathagata, if they hear
this Sutra and do not disparage it but give rise to the mind
of following joy, you should know it is already the aspect
of profound faith and understanding." (The "Chapter of the
Distribution of Merits" 17 (T.9.45b22- 24))

Now this passage describes the Five Ranks (gohon) after the
Extinction of (the historical manifestation of) the Buddha.
The person who hears and does not blaspheme against this
Supreme Dharma but has the joy of following in faith
already has the aspect of profound faith and understanding.
Note that understanding is not a prerequisite for this but
only "following joy", the very first stage of the spiritual
journey. Clearly the Buddha intends this Sutra for beings
such as ourselves. (Note that in this same chapter this is
in the period of the Latter Dharma for in the next stage of
faith, "keeping" this Sutra, it is specifically said to be
"in the evil era at the time of the Latter Dharma"
(T.9.46a13).)

Moreover, in the "Chapter of Following Joy" the vast merit
of one who has heard this Sutra even at fiftieth hand is
proclaimed by the Buddha yet this person is clearly even
less spiritually advanced than the person who first heard it
in the Buddha's congregation and has not yet even entered
the level of the Identity of Contemplation and Practice
(kangyo soku) but is at the level of the Identity of Name
(myoji soku) where real understanding or practice have not
yet really begun. (Note that, unlike the first forty-nine,
this fiftieth person has not even preached the Dharma to
someone else and so is at the most elementary level.) Yet
such "shallow" merit is actually vastly superior to that of
the great sages of the teachings of the Previous Sutras.
(Tayu sakan dono gohenji, STN, v. 2, 1852) That this should
be so is explained by the well-known principle, "Because the
more the teaching is Real, the more the [spiritual] level is
lowered.") The Sutra itself says: "When there are beings
who, hearing that the Buddha's Lifespan is of such great
length, can produce so much as one thought of faith and
understanding, the merit which they obtain shall have no
limit or measure. If there are good sons or good daughters
who for the sake of Anuttara- samyak-sambodhi practice the
Five Paramitas, the Dana Paramita, the Sila Paramita, the
Kshanti Paramita, the Virya Paramita, and the Dhyana
Paramita, excluding the Prajna Paramita, when one compares
this merit to the former merit, it does not reach one part
of a hundred parts, a thousand parts, or one hundred
trillion parts and it is something even calculations and
similes cannot know. If there are good sons or good
daughters who have merit such as this, there would be no
instance of backsliding in Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi."
(T.9.44cl 8-29)

Although this passage is technically within the Four Faiths
(Four Levels of Belief with increasing levels of
understanding and practice), which are practiced in the
Buddha's Lifetime, Chan-jan (Janran, Myoraku, the sixth
Chinese Patriarch of the Tendai (T'ien-t'ai) Sect) in the
Hokke mongu ki points out that the Four Faiths and Five
Ranks are practically the same, so that "one thought of
faith and understanding" is applicable to the time after the
historical Buddha; thus a single thought of faith in this
Sutra and specifically in the Buddha's Immeasurable
Lifespan, as preached in the Sixteenth Chapter, is superior
to all Five Paramitas or Perfections except the Prajna
Paramita or Perfection of Wisdom since that is identical to
this Sutra itself. Such faith is at least as "easy" as the
Nembutsu but is surely superior in merit. (Incidentally the
verse paraphrase of the above passage affirms that it is
"one thought of faith" without any mention of understanding
as a prerequisite (T.9.45a26). And Chan-jan also affirms in
the Hoke mongu ki 9B (T.34.342b) that the first faith has no
understanding.

Clearly this Lotus Sutra is not something meant for great
sages alone; it has nothing to do with entering into a
trance (samadhi) and so on. Thus the Fugenqyo says one who
practices "though not entering samadhi, only recites and
keeps" (T.9.389c) and the sixth patriarch of the Tendai
Sect, Myoraku Daishi (Chan-jan) glosses, "With
unconcentrated (lit., "scattered") minds reciting the Dharma
Flower (Hokke) without entering trance and samadhi, sitting,
standing, or walking single-mindedly think on the characters
of the Dharma Flower. " (Maka shikan bugyo den guketsu 2-
2.18v (T.46.192c). Nichiren Shonin that this is surely the
easy practice for the unenlightened worldlings of the Latter
Dharma, for it makes no distinction as to our behavior and
has nothing to do with trance but demands single-minded
devotion and he says, "'Think on the characters of the
Dharma Flower' means that this Sutra does not resemble the
characters of the various sutras; though one recites one
character, it encompasses the characters of the Eighty
thousand Jewelled Stores [of the Buddha Dharma] and gathers
in the merit of all the Buddhas." (Shugo kokka ron, STN, v.
1, 110)

For those who wish to be reborn in a Pure Land, in the
"Chapter of Devadatta" 12 it says, "The Buddha addressed the
bhikshus, 'In a future era It there are good sons or good
daughters who hear the "Chapter of Devadatta" of the Sublime
Dharma Flower Sutra (Myohokekyo ) and with a pure mind
believe and reverence, not producing doubts and confusion,
they shall not fall to the hells, hungry ghosts, or beasts
but be born before the Buddhas of the Ten Directions and in
the place where they are born they shall constantly hear
this Sutra; if they are born among humans or gods they shall
receive superior and sublime joy. If before a Buddha, they
shall be born by transformation in a lotus flower.'"
(T.9.35a14- 18)

Note that there is no exclusion of Blasphemers against the
Dharma, because this Sutra is the very Teaching that rescues
such evil people. Thus this clear promise of the Buddha is
specifically focused on the chapter where the most evil
person in Buddhist tradition is shown to attain Buddhahood.
Moreover, even in excellent heavenly and human rebirths,
they shall be able to hear this Supreme Lotus Sutra, a fact
which is most important for in such a rebirth they shall
always have access to Buddhahood.

2) They assert that they only meant to combine their
Nembutsu (believing in and chanting the Name of Amida
(shomyo)) with the Lotus Sutra and dedicating the merits to
Rebirth in the Pure Land of Gokuraku presided over by the
Buddha Amida in the Western Direction. The Lotus Sutra says
in the "Chapter of the Parable" (T.9.16a), "Only rejoicing
to receive and keep the Great Vehicle Sutra Canon, not even
receiving one verse of other Sutras"; since the "Chapter of
Expedience" 2 (T.9.8a) declares:

"Now is properly the time;
I shall determinately preach the Great Vehicle;
The Nine Sections of the Dharma I
Preach following and according with the masses of beings:
Having them enter the great Vehicle is the fundamental And
for that reason I preach this Sutra,"

then, in effect, this Sutra is the True or Real Great
Vehicle (Mahayana) and none of the other sutras are really
so; in that sense they are the Lesser Vehicle; we are not
even to receive (i.e., accept out of faith) a single verse
of these other sutras, including the "Mahayana" sutras which
are not truly the Great Vehicle.

Likewise in the "Chapter of the Divine Powers of the
Tathagata" 21 states: "For that reason you, after the
Tathagata's Extinction, should single-mindedly receive and
keep, read and recite, explain and preach, copy and write,
and practice in accordance with the preaching." (T.9.52a20-
21)

The Sutra says one is to practice it single-mindedly, i.e.,
to the exclusion of other sutras and teachings.

Therefore, in the age of the Latter Dharma, the time for
this Sutra, no other practice or teaching should be employed
and that restriction applies to the Nembutsu.

A Refutation of the Nembutsu(2) by Graham Lamont

Now the Pure Land followers still say they have not "blasphemed and disparaged" yet it is clear that they do not believe in the efficacy of this Sutra for people of this Latter Age; rather they harbor doubts about it and teach at variance to what the Buddha has said in a final and authoritative way in this very Lotus Sutra; for do they not follow Shan-tao in saying "not one in a thousand" attain by the Hokekyo and other sutras when this Sutra proclaims all shall attain by this One Vehicle? Do they not follow Honen's famous prescription in the Senchahu shu to "abandon, close, put aside, cast away' (sha hei kaku ho) the Lotus Sutra among the other sutras'? Is this what the Lotus Sutra teaches: that we should abandon it now in this age, far from the time of the historical Buddha? Now the Pure Land partisans will most probably argue in one or the other of two ways 1) They claim that, in following Honen, they never intended to criticize the Hokekyo but merely meant that "the truth [of the Lotus Sutra] is profound and
the understanding [of the people of our age of the Latter Dharma] is slight" (ri jin ge mi); the Lotus Sutra, they claim, is only for great sages and not for ordinary unenlightened worldlings: its practices are too difficult.

Let us see what the Diffusion Section (ruzubun) within the Sutra (as opposed to the separate Diffusion Section Sutras, the Fugengy6 and the Daihatsunehangyo) has to say: "Still further, after the Extinction of the Tathagata, if they hear this Sutra and do not disparage it but give rise to the mind of following joy, you should know it is already the aspect of profound faith and understanding." (The "Chapter of the Distribution of Merits" 17 (T.9.45b22- 24))

Now this passage describes the Five Ranks (gohon) after the Extinction of (the historical manifestation of) the Buddha. The person who hears and does not blaspheme against this Supreme Dharma but has the joy of following in faith already has the aspect of profound faith and understanding. Note that understanding is not a prerequisite for this but only "following joy", the very first stage of the spiritual journey. Clearly the Buddha intends this Sutra for beings such as ourselves. (Note that in this same chapter this is in the period of the Latter Dharma for in the next stage of faith, "keeping" this Sutra, it is specifically said to be "in the evil era at the time of the Latter Dharma" (T.9.46a13).)

Moreover, in the "Chapter of Following Joy" the vast merit of one who has heard this Sutra even at fiftieth hand is proclaimed by the Buddha yet this person is clearly even less spiritually advanced than the person who first heard it in the Buddha's congregation and has not yet even entered the level of the Identity of Contemplation and Practice (kangyo soku) but is at the level of the Identity of Name (myoji soku) where real understanding or practice have not yet really begun. (Note that, unlike the first forty-nine, this fiftieth person has not even preached the Dharma to someone else and so is at the most elementary level.) Yet such "shallow" merit is actually vastly superior to that of the great sages of the teachings of the Previous Sutras. (Tayu sakan dono gohenji, STN, v. 2, 1852) That this should be so is explained by the well-known principle, "Because the more the teaching is Real, the more the [spiritual] level is lowered.") The Sutra itself says: "When there are beings who, hearing that the Buddha's Lifespan is of such great length, can produce so much as one thought of faith and understanding, the merit which they obtain shall have no limit or measure. If there are good sons or good daughters who for the sake of Anuttara- samyak-sambodhi practice the Five Paramitas, the Dana Paramita, the Sila Paramita, the Kshanti Paramita, the Virya Paramita, and the Dhyana Paramita, excluding the Prajna Paramita, when one compares this merit to the former merit, it does not reach one part of a hundred parts, a thousand parts, or one hundred trillion parts and it is something even calculations and similes cannot know. If there are good sons or good daughters who have merit such as this, there would be no instance of backsliding in Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi." (T.9.44cl 8-29)

Although this passage is technically within the Four Faiths (Four Levels of Belief with increasing levels of understanding and practice), which are
practiced in the Buddha's Lifetime, Chan-jan (Janran, Myoraku, the sixth Chinese Patriarch of the Tendai (T'ien-t'ai) Sect) in the Hokke mongu ki points out that the Four Faiths and Five Ranks are practically the same, so that "one thought of faith and understanding" is applicable to the time after the historical Buddha; thus a single thought of faith in this Sutra and specifically in the Buddha's Immeasurable Lifespan, as preached in the Sixteenth Chapter, is superior to all Five Paramitas or Perfections except the Prajna Paramita or Perfection of Wisdom since that is identical to this Sutra itself. Such faith is at least as "easy" as the Nembutsu but is surely superior in merit. (Incidentally the verse paraphrase of the above passage affirms that it is "one thought of faith" without any mention of understanding as a prerequisite (T.9.45a26). And Chan-jan also affirms in the Hoke mongu ki 9B (T.34.342b) that the first faith has no understanding.

Clearly this Lotus Sutra is not something meant for great sages alone; it has nothing to do with entering into a trance (samadhi) and so on. Thus the
Fugenqyo says one who practices "though not entering samadhi, only recites and keeps" (T.9.389c) and the sixth patriarch of the Tendai Sect, Myoraku Daishi (Chan-jan) glosses, "With unconcentrated (lit., "scattered") minds reciting the Dharma Flower (Hokke) without entering trance and samadhi, sitting, standing, or walking single-mindedly think on the characters of the Dharma Flower. " (Maka shikan bugyo den guketsu 2- 2.18v (T.46.192c). Nichiren Shonin teaches that this is surely the easy practice for the unenlightened worldlings of the Latter Dharma, for it makes no distinction as to our behavior and has nothing to do with trance but demands single-minded devotion and he says, "'Think on the characters of the Dharma Flower' means that this Sutra does not resemble the characters of the various sutras; though one recites one character, it encompasses the characters of the Eighty thousand Jewelled Stores [of the Buddha Dharma] and gathers in the merit of all the Buddhas." (Shugo kokka ron, STN, v. 1, 110)

For those who wish to be reborn in a Pure Land, in the "Chapter of Devadatta" 12 it says, "The Buddha addressed the bhikshus, 'In a future era It there are good sons or good daughters who hear the "Chapter of Devadatta" of the Sublime Dharma Flower Sutra (Myohokekyo ) and with a pure mind believe and reverence, not producing doubts and confusion, they shall not fall to the hells, hungry ghosts, or beasts but be born before the Buddhas of the Ten Directions and in the place where they are born they shall constantly hear this Sutra; if they are born among humans or gods they shall receive superior and sublime joy. If before a Buddha, they shall be born by transformation in a lotus flower.'" (T.9.35a14- 18)

Note that there is no exclusion of Blasphemers against the Dharma, because this Sutra is the very Teaching that rescues such evil people. Thus this clear promise of the Buddha is specifically focused on the chapter where the most evil person in Buddhist tradition is shown to attain Buddhahood. Moreover, even in excellent heavenly and human rebirths, they shall be able to hear this Supreme Lotus Sutra, a fact which is most important for in such a rebirth they shall always have access to Buddhahood.

2) They assert that they only meant to combine their Nembutsu (believing in and chanting the Name of Amida (shomyo)) with the Lotus Sutra and dedicating the merits to Rebirth in the Pure Land of Gokuraku presided over by the Buddha Amida in the Western Direction. The Lotus Sutra says
in the "Chapter of the Parable" (T.9.16a), "Only rejoicing to receive and keep the Great Vehicle Sutra Canon, not even receiving one verse of other Sutras"; since the "Chapter of Expedience" 2 (T.9.8a) declares:

"Now is properly the time; I shall determinately preach the Great Vehicle; The Nine Sections of the Dharma I Preach following and according with the masses of beings: Having them enter the great Vehicle is the fundamental And for that reason I preach this Sutra,"

Then, in effect, this Sutra is the True or Real Great Vehicle (Mahayana) and none of the other sutras are really so; in that sense they are the Lesser
Vehicle; we are not even to receive (i.e., accept out of faith) a single verse of these other sutras, including the "Mahayana" sutras which are not truly the Great Vehicle.

Likewise in the "Chapter of the Divine Powers of the Tathagata" 21 states: "For that reason you, after the Tathagata's Extinction, should single-mindedly receive and keep, read and recite, explain and preach, copy and write, and practice in accordance with the preaching." (T.9.52a20- 21)

The Sutra says one is to practice it single-mindedly, i.e., to the exclusion of other sutras and teachings.

Therefore, in the age of the Latter Dharma, the time for this Sutra, no other practice or teaching should be employed and that restriction applies to the Nembutsu.

A Refutation of the Nembutsu(3)

Thus we can conclude from the main text of the Hokekyo, from the Fugengyo, and also from the Great Parinirvana Sutra the remedy for the spiritual illness of Blasphemy, which is, in essence, the denial of the supremacy, relevance, and efficacy of the Hokekyo to save all beings and
especially the beings of the Latter Dharma.

The claim of the Pure Land partisans is epitomized in a famous remark of
Shan-tao that with Sutras such as the Hokekyo "not one in thousand" attains Enlightenment or Rebirth in the Pure Land because these Sutras are for sages. Against this "not one in thousand", Nichiren Shonin cites the promise of the Hokekyo: "If they hear the Dharma there is not one who does not attain Buddhahood." (The "Chapter of Expedience" (T.9.9b)) and he asks the simple but profound question: whom do you wish to believe: the Buddha or the human teacher Shan-tao? As Nichiren Shonin explains
later, it means that "of the people who keep this Sutra a hundred of a hundred, a thousand of a thousand, not missing even one person, become
Buddhas." ("Reply to the Lady Nun Ueno" (Ueno ama gozen gohenji), STN, v, 2, 1890) (Likewise we can cite from the same chapter, "Be they Shravakas or Bodhisattvas. hearing even one verse of the Dharma that I preach, they shall all attain Buddhahood (or "become Buddhas") without doubt (or "there is no doubt".)" (T.9.8a)

(A number of the above arguments also follow the "Letter to Jorembo" (Jorembo gosho) (STN, v, 2, 1075) and the also the Nembutsu mugen jigoku sho (STN, v. 1, 37) and the Hoon sho (STN, v. 2, 1231))

Now one more tactic of the Pure Land advocates, especially the Jodo Shinshu, is to claim that the Pure Land Sutras were preached at the same period as the Lotus Sutra; however, this argument does not
work for the Buddha's words defeat them:

"'Of the various sutras I have preached, Among these sutras, The Dharma Flower (Hokke) is the very foremost.'

At that time the Buddha further announced to the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Yakuo, "The Sutra Canons which I preach are immeasurable thousands of tens of thousands of hundreds of thousands, those I have already preached, those I am now preaching, those I am going to preach. Yet among those this Dharma Flower Sutra is the very most difficult to believe and difficult to understand." (The "Chapter of the Dharma Teacher" 10: T.9.31b)

From this we see that of all Sutras, including those now being preached, this Lotus Sutra is Supreme and surpasses all the Sutras, including the Pure Land Sutras, even if we allow that the Three Pure Land Sutras were preached at this same time as the Hokekyo ! It overrules all other Sutras with the Final Truth which the Lord Buddha preached. (incidentally this unique pronouncement of Lord Shakya that this Lotus Sutra surpasses any other of His other preachings also overrules any other preachings such as those claimed by the Tibetan Buddhists, who have lured away foolish people from the True Dharma by claiming that since there are even higher Esoteric (Tantric) forms of Buddhism than the ones known to Nichiren
Shonin, these overrule the Hokekyo and invalidate Nichiren's teaching; however, the Buddha's pronouncement is absolute and final and applies to everything He ever preached or would preach; it does not depend on whether Nichiren Shonin knew or did not know of a particular Esoteric transmission. Moreover, Nichiren Shonin actually anticipates such an argument since he points out in the Hoon sho (STN, v. 2, 1196-1197) that the above phrase, "those I have already preached, those I am now preaching, those I am going to preach", summed up in the words, "already, now, about (to)" (in kambun, "i kon to"), includes any sutra of any kind not transmitted into China (and hence to Japan) or hidden in some place such as the palaces of the celestial gods or dragons, since the Buddha has pronounced these words in the "Chapter of the Dharma Teacher" 10 and has had them confirmed as "all true" by the Buddha Tahe from the Past (Chapter 11) and again by the Buddhas of the Ten Directions Who extend Their Miraculous Tongues (Chapter 21) with the various celestial and other gods (present from the "Chapter of the Preface" 1 as witnesses. Where could there be any sutra superior to this very Hokekyo?) 3) The Pure Land believers claim that a reference in the


"Chapter of Yakuo" 23 (T,9.54b29-c2) supports their position:

"If there is a woman who hears this Sutra Canon and practices it in accordance with the preaching, when her life ends here, she shall at once go to the abode of the Buddha Amida of the Anraku World..."

However, note that this passage does not refer to the practices of the Pure Land Sect, the Nembutsu (shomyo or chanting the name of Amida) and so on but says that one must practice according to the preaching of this Lotus Sutra; we have already seen that such a correct practice is to be single-minded. excluding other Sutras and their practices (as we saw above) and, therefore, there is no question of mixing the practices or calling them equal: "The Kangyo [Kan Muryojukyo] is a Provisional Teaching; the Hokekyo is the Real Teaching: they cannot at all be equal." (Hokke shoshin jobutsu sho, STN, v. 2, 1428)

Furthermore, Myoraku affirms, "One need not point further to the Kangyo and others." (Hokke mongu ki 10 (T.34.355b) In other words, the causal practice for Rebirth in the Pure Land Amida is the proper practice of the Hokekyo and not the Nembutsu or anything else. "Only the power of the Hokekyo alone measures up" to the task of saving women in this age of the Latter Dharma. (On the Rebirth of Woman (Nyonin ojo sho), STN, v. 1,349)

Moreover, the phrase from Myoraku refers not merely to causal practice but the effect (Buddhahood) for neither the Buddha Amida nor the Pure Land of Anraku mentioned here are identical to that described in the Kangyo. In effect this Buddha and His Land are manifestations of a type of Pure Land from the eternal Pure Land revealed in the Sixteenth Chapter of the Lotus Sutra.

We can conclude that it is, indeed, the Lotus Sutra that is the Sutra that teaches the Way to Rebirth and Enlightenment in this age of the Latter Dharma beginning with the fifth five hundred years and it shall not be cut off into the future until Lord Ajita (i.e., the future Buddha Maitreya comes forth in the world. (STN, v. 3, 2477 (fragment 2))

Author Graham Lamont from the Kempon Hokke archives

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Re: Nichiren on Pure Land

Post by Myoho-Nameless » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:01 pm

Queequeg wrote: 1. Nichiren followed Shakyamuni Buddha. However, the Shakyamuni Buddha he followed is not the Shakyamuni conceived of in most Buddhist sources - ie. the being who, after eons of Bodhisattva practice, was born in Lumbini, awakened at Gaya, first turned the wheel at Sarnath, and passed at Kusinagara, although he is not exclusive of that Shakyamuni, either. Rather, the Shakyamuni Nichiren followed was the Primordial Buddha. All other Buddhas, including the earthly Shakyamuni Buddha, are emanations of this Primordial Buddha.

2. Nichiren criticized any teachings that obscured this Primordial Buddha.
Q, thanks for posting this. I feel like this was floating around in my head but it sort of clicked after this whole PL discussion happened. I have been trying to get a better consistent practice and this thread helped motivate. Would have said so earlier but I have to finalize the last stretch of my degree and this quarter.

:anjali:
"Keep The Gods Out Of It. Swear On Your Heads. Which I Will Take If You Break Your Vow."- Geralt of Rivia

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Re: Nichiren on Pure Land

Post by Queequeg » Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:31 am

Very happy you found it helpful. :smile:

Good luck with the final stretch! Finish strong!
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 on Pure Land

Post by Queequeg » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:00 pm

Rooster Diagram of the Five Periods of the Buddha's Teachings

The above document outlines Nichiren's views on the various Buddhist teachings, as well as the his views on the Primordial Buddha of the Lotus Sutra.

The document appears to be notes, possibly for lecture.

Extensive passages from Zhiyi's Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra and Zhanran's On the Words and Phrases are quoted regarding Amida Buddha's relationship to beings of the Saha world.
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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