Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

illarraza
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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby illarraza » Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:43 pm

Minobu wrote:
Queequeg wrote: The Lotus Sutra is the sermon by which all beings on the path of Buddhahood first hear of this capacity. It is always delivered by the Buddha in his primordial aspect, to us in our primordial aspect.


so i wonder if all other Buddhist sects and schools, Mahayana anyway, that teach that we are all Buddhas , get it from the Lotus Sutra.
I ask this for it is quite a marvel if you think about it.
You asked Malcolm somewhere something along the lines of why not go directly to the source instead of the long way around. i forget you words but it was about why do the other instead of the actual source ...i hate it when i can't remember exactly...but hopefully people see what i am getting at.


Now why do you say always delivered by the Buddha in His Primordial aspect...is this referring to the fact this is the Main Teaching and most important...So when ever it is given He does it this way ..and does He do it over and over all over time and space at different times...

also what is our Primordial aspect?

ok sorry full of questions this morning.


Mostly, Zen adherents cite the Mahayana Nirvana Sutra as explicitly revealing universal Buddha nature. If you happen upon the writings of Mark Vettanen, you will see what I mean.

Mark

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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Minobu » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:33 pm

illarraza wrote:
Minobu wrote:
Queequeg wrote: The Lotus Sutra is the sermon by which all beings on the path of Buddhahood first hear of this capacity. It is always delivered by the Buddha in his primordial aspect, to us in our primordial aspect.


so i wonder if all other Buddhist sects and schools, Mahayana anyway, that teach that we are all Buddhas , get it from the Lotus Sutra.
I ask this for it is quite a marvel if you think about it.
You asked Malcolm somewhere something along the lines of why not go directly to the source instead of the long way around. i forget you words but it was about why do the other instead of the actual source ...i hate it when i can't remember exactly...but hopefully people see what i am getting at.


Now why do you say always delivered by the Buddha in His Primordial aspect...is this referring to the fact this is the Main Teaching and most important...So when ever it is given He does it this way ..and does He do it over and over all over time and space at different times...

also what is our Primordial aspect?

ok sorry full of questions this morning.


Mostly, Zen adherents cite the Mahayana Nirvana Sutra as explicitly revealing universal Buddha nature. If you happen upon the writings of Mark Vettanen, you will see what I mean.

Mark

i'm confused..
so you are saying that only in Zen do we have a universal Buddha Nature.

or, that Zen learn it from the Nirvana sutra and not The Lotus Sutra.

Do you equate Buddha nature with Primordial Buddha, or are they different in some way ?

I thought both Sutras were sort of of the same teachings. or The Nirvana was a continuation of the Lotus.
As he died to make men holy
Let us die to make things cheap
And say the Mea Culpa which you’ve probably forgot
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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Queequeg » Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:14 pm

Not sure what Illaraza is referring to, but...

Minobu wrote:
I thought both Sutras were sort of of the same teachings. or The Nirvana was a continuation of the Lotus.


This is a Tientai view. Not necessarily shared by Zen school.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Coëmgenu » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:16 pm

Queequeg wrote:Not sure what Illaraza is referring to, but...

Minobu wrote:
I thought both Sutras were sort of of the same teachings. or The Nirvana was a continuation of the Lotus.


This is a Tientai view. Not necessarily shared by Zen school.
The idea of one being a "continuation" of the other seems very specific a doctrine, so it makes sense that a certain "school" or "sect" might have had a hand in the refinement of such a sentiment, if for nothing more than the careful choice of words that goes into referring to the relationship between the two as a "continuation".

The Mahāyānamahāparinirvāṇasūtra, for a long time, was the single more popular and widely propegated Mahāyānasūtra in existence, because it seems to have been written down and widely distributed before the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra. I am not saying that the Buddha didn't preach the Saddharma by saying that it enters the written record later, I hope no one misunderstands me. But I think we have all reconciled ourselves to the fact that the Saddharma arose in material history during a Buddhist "revival" of sorts, somewhat analogous to the revivals in the West in the 1700s, but in a Dharmic setting rather than a Christian one. Perhaps it was not necessary to have a Saddharma before, perhaps the Saddharma no-doubt preached by the upāyakāya of Shakyamuni had not yet been diluted, who knows?, there are any number of reasons as to why the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra arises in material history at a later date, but that is all trivial side-matter.

The Mahāyānamahāparinirvāṇasūtra being a "continuation" of one thing or another is a view that I have not encountered before, but definitely one I understand having encountered it now. I am going to present an alternative view, but an alternative view that isn't necessarily opposed to the nirvānasūtra being a continuation of the saddharma, maybe consider it an "alternative linguistic phrasing".

Whether or not the Nirvāṇasūtra is a continuation of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra, the two have always been "sister sūtrāṇi". They have so much in common doctrinally. I said earlier than the Mahāyānamahāparinirvāṇasūtra has been historically more popular than the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra, but that is only because the Nirvāṇasūtra was written down earlier. The Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra has also obviously been hugely influential from the moment we have any record of it existing as a distinct sūtra, in fact, it may well be today the most influential and widely distributed Buddhavacana that has ever existed, but the Mahāyānamahāparinirvāṇasūtra is older, and for that simple reason, people have clung to it. It was their grandma's sūtra/teaching. It was their father's sūtra/teaching. And besided, it has a spooky level of doctrinal similarity to the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra anyways, so why view it negatively?

So to this day, to the best of my knowledge, all schools that venerate the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra also venerate the Mahāyānamahāparinirvāṇasūtra, whether as a continuation, a predecessor, a sister-text, or as a parallel textual manifestation. This is not just because the text is/was popular. After all, the Heart Sūtra is/was popular (and wonderful), but doesn't have nearly the influence that the Mahāyānamahāparinirvāṇasūtra has had in the Lotus tradition. It is because of the similarity in teaching between the two sūtrāṇi that the Mahāyānamahāparinirvāṇasūtra is still famous in the Lotus tradition. To put in plainer, due to the merits and conformity of the Mahāyānamahāparinirvāṇasūtra to the Saddharma, IMO, it has been elevated beyond the scope of simply being a fad among Buddhist practitioners. No other sūtra approaches the Saddharma so directly and openly aside from the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra itself.

Obviously I believe in this, but I also know it is just my own opinion and my own thoughts, not trying to make statements about absolute reality here or "what any school should or shouldn't do". Just sharing. Hopefully it is not useless to those unfortunate enough to have read through the entirety of my internet drivel. :tongue:
"My pure land is not destroyed,
yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire,
with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings
filling it everywhere."
(Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra XVI)

All these dharmāḥ are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion.(SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶(Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasya Mantra)

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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Minobu » Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:57 am

great post :good: Coëmgenu

I always thought The Nirvana Sutra was taught during the last three days of Our Lord's Life.
As he died to make men holy
Let us die to make things cheap
And say the Mea Culpa which you’ve probably forgot
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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Coëmgenu » Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:19 am

Minobu wrote:great post :good: Coëmgenu

I always thought The Nirvana Sutra was taught during the last three days of Our Lord's Life.
I was talking about when it entered into the written canon, not necessarily when it was taught under any given circumstances. These sūtras have a tendency to float around for many years as oral teachings before being written down in a final form a bit later. In fact there were no Buddhist scriptures at all for a long time after the death of the ascetic Gautama, just oral teachings.
"My pure land is not destroyed,
yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire,
with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings
filling it everywhere."
(Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra XVI)

All these dharmāḥ are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion.(SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶(Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasya Mantra)

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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Minobu » Sun Dec 11, 2016 4:46 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Minobu wrote:great post :good: Coëmgenu

I always thought The Nirvana Sutra was taught during the last three days of Our Lord's Life.
I was talking about when it entered into the written canon, not necessarily when it was taught under any given circumstances. These sūtras have a tendency to float around for many years as oral teachings before being written down in a final form a bit later. In fact there were no Buddhist scriptures at all for a long time after the death of the ascetic Gautama, just oral teachings.

Yeah i had a huge problem with this at one time..i mean really big.
Recovering Sutras from Nagas at the bottom of the Ocean
I mean really now.

Then Kundalini kicked in and I Realized Something About The Naga King.

I have something brewing and Lord Buddha Nagarjuna knows where it will ........

I only know of a few Sutras written or told by Lord Buddha Nagarjuna .
The Flower Garland Sutra and The Nirvanna Sutra and The Lotus Sutraa and another Avatsamka Sutra...
I've only studied The Lotus but feel I should study other teachings...

I'm convinced He is here for a reason.
And Nichiren's teachings are the culmination of His life and Dharma Kaya works..

If you look one can see the Great Work in these teachings.
As he died to make men holy
Let us die to make things cheap
And say the Mea Culpa which you’ve probably forgot
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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Minobu » Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:38 pm

Minobu wrote:
Then Kundalini kicked in and I Realized Something About The Naga King.

I have something brewing and Lord Buddha Nagarjuna knows where it will ........


I would like to comment on this for it seems it was misconstrued.

Then Kundalini kicked in and I Realized Something About The Naga King.

this was not a statement pointing solely to an experience in the sense of a personal experience, it was more to do with the concept, and my knowledge of such and what it entails in many secret teachings.

I have something brewing and Lord Buddha Nagarjuna knows where it will ........

This is more to do with my relationship and my lack of knowledge of the teachings and how they reflect themselves in my understanding of Nichiren Shonin's practice which as any practitioner knows has a Lineage , some of it secret and not exactly clear.
As he died to make men holy
Let us die to make things cheap
And say the Mea Culpa which you’ve probably forgot
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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Minobu » Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:07 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:I was talking about when it entered into the written canon, not necessarily when it was taught under any given circumstances. These sūtras have a tendency to float around for many years as oral teachings before being written down in a final form a bit later. In fact there were no Buddhist scriptures at all for a long time after the death of the ascetic Gautama, just oral teachings.


The question is What Ocean did he retrieve the Lotus Sutra from ,and what exactly is a real Naga ?
Half serpent half human body..

Serpent coils and hydrofoils
You don't believe what he does with oils
Speaking words that he said once
Yesterday.


From;Coming down soft and easy
:Shawn Phillips
As he died to make men holy
Let us die to make things cheap
And say the Mea Culpa which you’ve probably forgot
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought

Leonard Cohen

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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Coëmgenu » Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:26 pm

Minobu wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:I was talking about when it entered into the written canon, not necessarily when it was taught under any given circumstances. These sūtras have a tendency to float around for many years as oral teachings before being written down in a final form a bit later. In fact there were no Buddhist scriptures at all for a long time after the death of the ascetic Gautama, just oral teachings.


The question is What Ocean did he retrieve the Lotus Sutra from ,and what exactly is a real Naga ?
Half serpent half human body..

Serpent coils and hydrofoils
You don't believe what he does with oils
Speaking words that he said once
Yesterday.


From;Coming down soft and easy
:Shawn Phillips
Snakes are the keepers of wisdom cross-culturally in almost all world mythologies. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the snake eats the flower of immortality, causing Gilgamesh to be unable to take the knowledge of how to cultivate the tree of life that he had learned from Utnapishtem. In the Bible, the snake is associated with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Maháyána Buddhism, snakes guard the knowledge of the saddharma. In ancient Greek religion, the snakes were invoked by doctors and astrologers for their wisdom, we see this today in the form of the caduceus being a symbol of having the education to be a doctor.

So when someone says something is taken down by the Nagas into the sea, there is alot that could mean. Samsara is often represented visually by fire, nirvana by water, I'm thinking particularly of the Fire Sermon in the ágamas when I say that. The Nagas taking down the wisdom of the saddharma into the ocean could mean any number of things.

Incidently, Maurice Walshe, a Theravádin, in the introduction of his translation of the Díghanikáya, says that he believes that the Naga and Geruda were human tribes originally who became mythologized over time, presumably subscribing to some new academic theory or another.
"My pure land is not destroyed,
yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire,
with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings
filling it everywhere."
(Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra XVI)

All these dharmāḥ are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion.(SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶(Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasya Mantra)

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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby bcol01 » Sun Dec 25, 2016 7:12 pm

This is superb! Would you mind if I copy-pasted this and kept it for my own learning/references?

Thank you SO much! :))))

:namaste:

Queequeg wrote:Question 20 – The questioner asserts again that Nichiren has not yet provided proof of the realm of Buddha in our minds.

The point of the question is whether Buddhahood is something acquired or whether it is something already an intrinsic aspect of our selves. If it is acquired, then the Buddha is separate from us. If it is intrinsic, on the other hand, then out thoughts, words and actions are already the path of Buddhahood.

Nichiren first quotes from the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra. The following is the full context of the quote, with the actual passage quoted in bold:
“Good men, the seventh inconceivable benefit and power of this sutra is this: If good men or good women, while the Buddha is in the world or after he has passed into extinction, are able to hear this sutra and rejoice and put faith and hope in it, greeting it as something rare; if they accept, uphold, read, recite, copy, explain, preach, and practice it as it directs, conceiving a desire for enlightenment, cultivating good roots, nurturing minds of great compassion, and desiring to save all living beings from their sufferings, then although they have not yet been able to practice the six paramitas, the six paramitas will of themselves appear before them. In their present bodies they will be able to gain the truth of birthlessness, their earthly desires and their sufferings of birth and death will in one moment be cast off and destroyed, and they will ascend to the seventh stage of the bodhisattva.

“Suppose, for example, there is a stalwart hero who wipes out the king’s enemies. Once these enemies have been destroyed, the king rejoices greatly and takes half of his kingdom and presents it all to the hero as a fief. The good men and good women who uphold this sutra will be similar to this. They will be the bravest and most heroic of all practitioners. And though they do not seek for them, the six paramitas, those treasures of the Dharma, will come to them naturally. Their enemies, birth and death, will of themselves be scattered and destroyed, and they will be enlightened to the truth of birthlessness, which is like receiving half the buddha land in fief and its treasures as a gift to enjoy in tranquillity.

“Good men, this is called the seventh benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra.


Next he quotes the Lotus Sutra:

all press their palms and with reverent minds
wish to hear the teaching of perfect endowment.


The full context of this line is the discourse between Shariputra and the Buddha in the Second Chapter. The Buddha has just praised his awakening and told the assembly they can’t understand his wisdom. The assembly is perplexed, and Shariputra speaking on their behalf explains this unease,asking the Buddha to teach this “perfect endowment”. The Buddha responds that he can’t because no one will understand and will instead fall into doubt. Shariputra persists, asking three times, the Buddha agrees, but before he can start, 5000 people in the assembly get up and leave. The Buddha lets them go, and then begins to explain that all the Buddhas teach with the same purpose – even though their teachings may be various and different according to circumstances and conditions.

Next he quotes the Nirvana Sutra, a commentary on the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra by Nagarjuna, and several other works, including Zhiyi Tiantai’s Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra, on the meaning of the word “sad” as in the Sanskrit title of the Lotus Sutra – Saddharma Pundarika Sutra. Sad is said to connote the number six which implies Perfection. Nichiren explains the significance, “in essence they mean that Shakyamuni’s practices and the virtues he consequently attained are all contained within the five characters of Myoho-Renge-Kyo. If we believe in these five characters, we will naturally be granted the same benefits as he was.” The point here is that the Lotus Sutra, according to its title, expounds the complete and perfect teaching of the Buddha.

If one thinks that the Lotus Sutra is just a book, that is not incorrect, but it also is not a complete understanding. The Lotus Sutra is a particular discourse in which the Buddha directly expresses his awakening without expedients. It is not communicated in terms that can be intellectually understood, but since the Buddha’s awakening is beyond words, so is its transmission. The book is one of the media by which we are exposed to awakening. The Lotus Sutra is a book, but itis not just this particular book we call the Lotus Sutra. In other places this sutra is expounded in millions upon millions of volumes. Even in India, Nichiren suggested that it had been recorded in several versions, some longer and some shorter than the work Kumarajiva translated. There are also several Chinese translations. Nichiren even surmised that it might be the same as the Vairocana Sutra – which is a very different discourse in literal terms. In other places, the Lotus may only be a few lines long – like the Heart Sutra (The Heart Sutra is one text in a genre of Sutras called Prajna Paramita. Some of these are very long, some not so long. They all are considered, however, to expound on the same wisdom. The difference is in their manner of expression.) The Lotus Sutra that Nichiren received and transmitted as Bodhisattva Visistacaritra was five characters – 妙法蓮華経 Myoho Renge Kyo.

In the Lotus Schools, the words of the Sutra themselves are understood to be Buddhas. There are copies of the Lotus Sutra in Japan in which each character is rendered within an image of a stupa, or next to pictures of Buddhas, or on Lotus thrones.
Image

Along these lines, Zhiyi taught a repentance ritual based on the Lotus Sutra, and instead of enshrining a Buddha statue, advised simply enshrining a copy of the sutra since the sutra itself is the body of the Buddha.
“In a suitably quiet and secluded place, one prepares and adorns a special room to be the place for the Bodhimandala. In a special place one is seated at a proper distance from the Bodhimandala. In the Bodhimandala, placed well like a high throne, one places a single copy of the Lotus Sutra. It is not necessary to place any other images, sarira [relics], or other Sutras with it. One only enshrines the Lotus Sutra. One may place banners, canopies, and various other offerings around it.”


The Lotus Sutra states,
“Medicine King, in any place whatsoever where this sutra is preached, where it is read, where it is recited, where it is copied, or where a roll of it exists, in all such places there should be erected stupas made of the seven kinds of gems, and they should be made very high and broad and well adorned. There is no need to enshrine the relics of the Buddha there. Why? Because in these stupas the entire body of the thus come one will already be present. All kinds of flowers, incense, necklaces, silken canopies, streamers and banners, music and hymns should be offered as alms to these stupas and they should be accorded reverence, honor, and praise. If when people see these stupas they bow in obeisance and offer alms, then you should know that these people have all drawn near to supreme perfect enlightenment.”
Ch. 10.

The point is, the Lotus Sutra is the Buddha. When you read its words, you are directly encountering the Buddha.

This passage from Nichiren’s work called The Doctrine of Three Thousand Realms is long, but relevant here:

[W]hen, through the Lotus Sutra, we meditate moment by moment on the meaning of threefold contemplation in a single mind and the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, then we come to realize that we ourselves are Thus Come Ones of original enlightenment. Then the clouds of ignorance part and the moon of the essential nature of phenomena shines forth. We wake from dreams of delusion and the round moon of original enlightenment is seen in all its brilliance. We see that this fleshly form received in birth from our parents, this body bound by earthly desires, is none other than the Thus Come One who has existed always and is ever-abiding.

This is what is called the attainment of Buddhahood in one’s present form, the realization that earthly desires are none other than enlightenment and that the sufferings of birth and death are none other than nirvana.

At this time when we gaze at the phenomenal world, we see that all things conform to the single principle of the Middle Way, and that the Buddha and living beings are one. This is what T’ien-t’ai means when he writes in his commentary, “There is not one color or one fragrance that is not the Middle Way.”

At this time we see that all the worlds of the ten directions are the Pure Land of Tranquil Light. Where, then, can one find the pure lands of Amida Buddha or the Buddha Medicine Master? This is what the Lotus Sutra means when it says, “These phenomena are part of an abiding Dharma, [and] the characteristics of the world are constantly abiding.”

We may wonder whether, without reciting the sutra, it is possible simply through the meditation of the mind-ground alone to attain Buddhahood. The fact is that the meditation on three thousand realms in a single moment of life and the method of meditation known as threefold contemplation in a single mind are contained within the five characters Myoho-renge-kyo. And these five characters, Myoho-renge-kyo, are also contained within the single life of each of us. Thus T’ien-t’ai’s commentary states: “This Myoho-renge-kyo represents the depths of the secret storehouse of the original state, the enlightenment attained by the Thus Come Ones of the three existences.”

When we chant this Myoho-renge-kyo, the Buddha of original enlightenment present in our lives becomes manifest. Our bodies and minds are comparable to the storehouse of the teachings, and the word myō is comparable to the seal [that permits the opening of the storehouse]. Thus the commentary of T’ien-t’ai states: “To reveal the depths of the secret storehouse—this is called myō, or wonderful. To define the proper relationship between the provisional and the true—this is termed hō, or the Dharma. To point to the original enlightenment attained by the Buddha in the far distant past—this is compared to ren, or lotus. To clarify the perfect way of the non-duality of provisional and true—this is compared to ge, or blossom. The voice carries out the work of the Buddha, and this is called kyō, or sutra.”

And the commentary also states: “Myō is a term used to praise the Dharma that is beyond ordinary comprehension. Myō is also the Dharma of the Ten Worlds and the ten factors, the Dharma that is both provisional and true.”

Chanting the daimoku, or title, of the Lotus Sutra is the same as carrying out meditation. Ignorant persons may find this difficult to believe. But the second volume of Great Concentration and Insight by T’ien-t’ai has a passage “regarding recitation and silence” in which the word “recitation” refers to recitation of the Lotus Sutra and “silence” to the practice of meditation or contemplation. And again, in the first volume of his Meaning of the Four Teachings, T’ien-t’ai states: “Not only [are such practices as recitation] not a needless waste of effort, they are essential in enabling one to grasp the principle involved.”

The Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai was a reincarnation of the bodhisattva Medicine King, and in his commentaries he discussed the merits of reciting the sutra and those of meditation. To begin with, in his commentaries he defined four guidelines for interpreting the words and phrases of the Lotus Sutra, namely, causes and conditions, correlated teachings, theoretical and essential teachings, and observation of the mind. But persons who do not understand the importance of these four types of interpretation are likely to apply only one type of interpretation, turning all their attention to the way in which the passage relates to the theoretical and essential teachings, or turning all their attention to how it relates to observation of the mind.
In the Lotus Sutra, we find the doctrine directly stated, we find it taught through similes, and we find it taught through an explanation of causes and conditions in the past. In passages where the doctrine is directly stated, the original purpose for which the Buddhas appear in the world is set forth, the direct path by which all living beings can attain Buddhahood. And daimoku represents the cause and condition that permits not only us but all living beings to proceed directly to the place of enlightenment.

Therefore T’ien-t’ai in the first volume of his Profound Meaning states: “All the little practices of goodness are gathered together, and one finds one’s destination in the breadth and magnitude of the one vehicle.” By “breadth and magnitude” he means that all living beings without exception shall be guided to this goal.

Although this goal may be set forth as the original purpose for which one person, Shakyamuni, made his appearance in the world, yet all beings in the stage of near-perfect enlightenment and below should look up to it and should have faith in this sutra, the Lotus. For this sutra itself is the original purpose for which the Buddhas appear in the world…

Those who are knowledgeable may practice both sutra recitation and meditation. Those uninformed may simply chant the daimoku, for in doing so they will be abiding by the principle of the sutra.

This Myoho-renge-kyo is a term designating the essential nature of our minds, or, more generally speaking, the essential nature of the minds of all living beings, the eight-petaled white lotus blossom. The words of the Buddha himself teach us this. From time without beginning until the present, these bodies of ours have transmigrated through the realm of birth and death, in a state of delusion as to the essential nature of the mind that is within these bodies. But now that we have encountered the Lotus Sutra and chant the daimoku that represents the Thus Come Oneof original enlightenment, who possesses the three bodies in a single body, the Thus Come One becomes manifest. In our present existence we achieve the inner realization and attainment of Buddhahood that is known as the attainment of Buddhahood in our present form.

And when we die, our bodies will emit a glow. This is what is known as the outward-directed activity associated with the attainment of Buddhahood. This is what the Lotus Sutra means when it says, “Then in a future existence they will be able to become Buddhas.”

“When for the sake of brevity one mentions only the daimoku, or title, the entire sutra is by implication included therein.” This means that one recitation of the daimoku is equivalent to one recitation of the whole sutra.

When we chant Myoho-renge-kyo, the Thus Come One of the essential nature of our minds becomes manifest, and the sounds that reach the ears of others wipe out their offenses accumulated over countless asamkhya kalpas. When they respond with joy even for a moment, they attain Buddhahood in their present form. Even though they may not believe this, the seed has been planted, it is maturing, and through it they will invariably attain Buddhahood.

The Great Teacher Miao-lo states: “Whether one accepts or rejects the teachings, they have entered one’s ear and one has thus established a bond with them. And then, though one may comply with them or go against them, in the end one will because of this bond be able to achieve liberation.”
And I, Nichiren, declare that these words, “whether one accepts or rejects,” “though one may comply with them or go against them,” constitute a passage worthy to be engraved on the heart. This is what the Lotus Sutra means when it says, “If there are those who hear the Dharma, [then not a one will fail to attain Buddhahood].” Here it speaks of those “who hear the Dharma.” But if it were referring to those who attain Buddhahood through meditation, it would say, “If there are those who meditate on the Dharma.”


Nichiren continues to explain this mutual inclusion of the ten worlds, particularly the world of Buddhahood in us. He demonstrates this teaching, quoting the sutra. Particularly, he quotes the second chapter:
Shariputra, you should know
that at the start I took a vow,
hoping to make all persons
equal to me, without any distinction between us,
and what I long ago hoped for
has now been fulfilled.
I have converted all living beings
and caused them all to enter the buddha way.


Commenting on this, Nichiren wrote, “Shakyamuni Buddha, who has attained perfect enlightenment, is our own flesh and blood. His practices and the resulting virtues are our bones and marrow.”

Concluding the discussion, Nichiren quotes Zhanran, the Great Teacher Miao-lo:

“You should understand that one’s life and its environment at a single moment encompass the three thousand realms. Therefore, when one attains the Buddha way, one puts oneself in accord with this fundamental principle, and one’s body and mind at a single moment pervade the entire realm of phenomena.”

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Queequeg
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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Queequeg » Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:25 pm

bcol01 wrote:This is superb! Would you mind if I copy-pasted this and kept it for my own learning/references?

Thank you SO much! :))))

:namaste:


As soon as I press send, I don't own it, except the blame. I'll keep the blame. LOL
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
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john perry
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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby john perry » Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:50 am

I can't find the story of the Naga king retrieving the lotus sutra in the ocean.

Do the dragon kings live in the ocean? This makes me want to ask a lot of questions.

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Minobu
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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Minobu » Tue Dec 27, 2016 5:01 am

bcol01 wrote:This is superb! Would you mind if I copy-pasted this and kept it for my own learning/references?

Thank you SO much! :))))

:namaste:

It's a great lil spot on the web.

after a few months your practice will change.

I elavate my desktop computer and chant "WITH" this Gohonzon.
i downloaded it and cut off the left hand label in the white border with a photo shop sort of thingy that comes with macs.

This is Hand written By Nichiren shonin and was at His bedside up until He passed away..

there is a stroke that is a mistake on it.

I like that , it reminds me of aPersian rug where the real authentique hand crafted ones always have one knot with a mistake in it.
The Persians believe only God is perfect.

http://nichirenscoffeehouse.net/GohonzonShu/081.html
As he died to make men holy
Let us die to make things cheap
And say the Mea Culpa which you’ve probably forgot
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought

Leonard Cohen

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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby Queequeg » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:16 pm

It has been a while since we touched this thread.

As we get into the last part of the treatise, we need a primer on some of the concepts Nichiren applies.

Three Divisions of a Sutra – this is a system of analyzing sutra by dividing it into three parts. The first part is the “introduction” or “preparation” where the circumstances and reasons for a particular discourse are set forth. Sutras begin with “Thus I heard” and then continue with a statement informing us of the place, the beings in attendance, and the particular interactions that prompt the Buddha to deliver a discourse. The second part is the “Discussion” or “Revelation”. In this section we find the substantive teaching of the particular sutra. The third part is the “Dissemination” or “Transmission” section in which the Buddha exhorts the assembly to receive and propagate the teaching.

That is a really simple explanation, but we'll get into it in more detail once we apply it to the text at hand.

Relative and Absolute Sublime – These are two manners of revealing truth, particularly as explained in the Lotus Sutra.

On one hand, we are able to define Truth through a process of refinement – proceeding from general principal and incrementally identifying finer levels of meaning. The other way is the sudden, immediate revelation of truth - what can roughly be described as direct realization. Zhiyi explained the two ways of approaching the Sublime Dharma in Fahua Hsuan-i, or Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra. Note that “subtle”, which I refer to as “sublime”, are both alternate translations for “myo” (妙) of Myoho Renge Kyo. These passages are from Swanson's translation in Tientai Philosophy:

Now, to consider that which is “subtle” in relation to that which is “crude” as a relative term denoting incompleteness and to clarify “subtle” as a term denoting completeness. This means one contrasts “crude” and “subtle” as relative terms [in the same way as one contrasts the terms] eternity and transiency, or great and small [or Mahayana and Hinayana].

The Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra says, “I explain that dharmas neither exist nor inexist; all dharmas arise due to causes and conditions.” This clarifies completeness [ie. the meaning of “subtle”]. “First [the Buddha] sat under the Bodhi-tree and with his power conquered passions [Mara] and attained the ambrosia-like extinction and perfected the path of awakening.” This refers to the incomplete [attainments of the] past and compares it with completeness [the attainment of Buddhahood.]

The Pancavimsati-sahasrika-prajnaparamita Sutra says, “In Jambudvipa the second turning of the wheel of the law was seen.” This [second turning] is in contrast to the first [turning of the wheel of the law] at the Deer Park. The Prajnaparamita [Sutras] are the second [turning of the wheel of the law].

The Mahaparinirvana Sutra says, “In the past there was the first turning of the wheel of the law at Varanasi; now there is another turning of the wheel of the law at Kusinagara.” All Sutras [which contain the sermons preached] at the Deer Park are incomplete, small, and crude. [The teachings of the Mahayana are] complete, great, and sublte in relative contrast to these [Hinayana teachings]. [This is the meaning of “relative subtlety”.]

This Lotus Sutra clarifies that “In the past in Varanasi you turned the Dharma-wheel concerning the four truths, preaching the Dharma with discrimination concerning the arising and perishing of the five aggregates. Now again you are turning the wheel of the Dharma which is most subtle and supreme.” This also shows the subtlety of the Lotus teachings in relative contrast to the crudity of [the teachings of] Deer Park. The meaning of subtle here is the same [as in the other Mahayana texts mentioned above]; it is in relative contrast to the crude. This is the meaning of this text.


In the Nirvana Sutra, this idea is illustrated through the metaphor of the refinement of milk into ghee (clarified butter). It is said that Milk yields Cream which yields Curds which yields Butter which yields Ghee. This same view of increasing sublimity is applied by Zhiyi and later Nichiren to identify increasingly refined expositions of the Buddha Dharma as presented in the Buddhist canon.

The Absolute Sublime, in contrast, is nothing like the relative approach to identifying truth; it is the truth itself, without reference to anything else. The real nature of truth is such that comparison is impossible. In Zhiyi’s system of classifying the Buddha’s teachings, the Absolute Sublime is revealed in full in the Perfect Teaching. Zhiyi teaches:

[I]f the Perfect Teaching arises, then the non-discriminative dharma is explained. The extremes are integrated with the middle; there is nothing which is not the Buddha-dharma. All is quiescent and pure. How then can there be a Buddha-dharma that is not the Buddha-Dharma? Because of [the universality of] the Tathagata’s dharmadhatu there is no form or appearance outside the dharmadhatu. [To speak of] mere relativity is “crude,” but through form alone one can attain the “subtle.” There is nothing which is relative, nothing which is absolute. I do not know how to name it. If we must use words, it should be called “absolute.”

The Mahaparinirvana Sutra says that that which is great is called “immeasurable” and “beyond conceptualization;” therefore it is called “great”. It is analogous to the fact that space is called “great” even though this is not due to [a greatness contrasted with] small spaces. Nirvana is also like this. It is not due to [a contrast with] small characteristics that it is called “great” nirvana.

The “subtle” is also like this. “Subtle” means “beyond conceptual thought”; it is not subtle due to [a contrast with] crudities. If it is determined that there is a dharmadhatu which is vast, great, independent, and absolute, this kind of “great thing” must be described as existing [in contrast to nothingness], but how then can it be called absolute [in the absolute, non-relative sense]?

Now, the dharmadhatu is pure and not something which can be seen, heard, realized, known, or verbalized. The [Lotus Sutra] says, “Cease, cease, it is not necessary to explain. My dharma is subtle and difficult to conceptualize.” The “Cease, cease, it is not necessary to explain” refers to the absolute severance of words. The “My dharma is subtle and difficult to conceptualize” refers to the absolute severance of conceptualization.

It also says, “This dharma cannot be expressed; the marks of words are quiescent.” This also refers to the limits of praising [the Buddha, or the subtlety of reality] with language. [The Buddha-dharma] cannot be expressed with relative terms, and it cannot be expressed with absolute terms. It means the extinguishing of the relative and the absolute. Therefore it is said, “[words are] quiescent.”

It is also said that all dharmas have “the mark of eternal quiescent extinction which finally is reduced to emptiness.” This emptiness is also empty, therefore neither the relative nor the absolute have substantial Being. The Mulamadhyamikakarika says, “If dharmas arise in relation to [something else], that dharma in turn gives rise to relative [dharmas].”

Now, there is no causation through relation [to something independent of oneself] and no [substantial] dharma which arises. The Kusalamula-samgraha says, “[This bodhisattva] has already attained the patience [which comes from understanding the truth of] non-arising. This “non-arising” does not arise, since non-arising does not [substantially] arise.” This is called “absolute”.

If one says anything further, then what is that which is absolute and what reality is made manifest? There is no end to the flow [of words] and one falls into frivolous discussion [prapanca]. If one [relies on] discriminative conceptions based on deluded feelings, [one can say that] the absolute depends on the non-absolute and that[the concept] “neither absolute nore relative” is in relative contrast to [the concept of] “both the relative and absolute.”

Verbalization is repetitive and continues endlessly. The reason is that words arise in accordance with [ordinary deluded] conceptions and perceptions. If mental conceptualization does not stop, how can one transcend verbalization? It is like a foolish dog which chases a lump; its efforts are in vain because in the end he does not go beyond the lump. If one can have a subtle awaking concerning that “within the palace walls”, the wind of conceptual thinking will cease and the mind, like water will become clear and pure, and words and thoughts are transcended. It is like a crafty lion which releases the lump and chases people. When the lump [verbalization] is left behind, the lump [verbalization] is transcended.

When one is awakened concerning subtle [reality], one has the penetrating knowledge that outside dharmadhatu there are no dharmas and that to discuss the absolute [verbally] means that one must clarify the absolute in terms of the doctrine of existence. To experience the absolute in terms of the absolute is to clarify the absolute in terms of doctrine of emotiness. This is like a delightful horse which only sees the shadow of the whip and enters [his stable]. This is called “absolute subtlety.”


Before moving on, let us introduce a further point about the Absolute that is critical to understanding the Lotus Sutra.

Question: What is the meaning of interpreting subtlety in terms of the absolute?

Asnwer: Certainly “subtle” can also be called “absolute”; “subtle” and “absolute” are merely different names [for the same thing]. Is it not like a person saying that he is the absolute best?

Also, “subtle” refers to the absolutizer and “crude” refers to the absolutized. This “subtle” [reality] has the effect of absolutizing the crude. Therefore the absolute is brought forward and called “subtle.”

It is like the first half of the Lotus Sutra (the Trace or Provisional Gate). First the teaching of expedient means is presented where the great teaching [of Mahayana] are not explicit. Now, when the great teachings are made explicit, the teachings of expedient means are absolutized. That which is absolutized is then called “subtle”. Also, if the great teachings are already explicit in the first half of the Lotus Sutra, then one cannot realize the explication of the great teachings in the second half (the Original Gate).

Now, when the teaching are made explicit in the second half, the great teachings in the first half [are seen to be] identical with the absolute. The power to absolutize the great [teachings] in the first half comes from the great [teachings] in the second half. The great teachings which absolutize the first half are called the great [teachings] of the second half, therefore it is called absolute. Also, even if the great teachings of the second half are made explicit, one is not able to arouse the subtlety of the mind of contemplation.

Now, if one enters the contemplation of subtle quiescence, the way of verbalization is severed and the teachings of the second half of the Lotus Sutra are identified with the absolute. [Realizing] the absolute depends on [the practice of] contemplation. By calling this “absolute”, one can speak of the subtlety of contemplation. I have called the absolute “subtle” in order to manifest meaning.


Zhiyi is describing how the gradual approach of the relative sublime, going from the “crude” to the “subtle” leads to realization of the absolute. Through a progressive process, our conceptual understanding comes closer and closer to the truth by defining it in increasingly refined terms, until finally, like a horse who only sees the shadow of the whip and enters the stable, we reach a point where we see the implication of the gradual path and make that leap to understanding the absolute. Zhiyi asserts that this leap occurs only in contemplation wherein we bring an end to verbalization and realization is attained. “the wind of conceptual thinking will cease and the mind, like water will become clear and pure, and words and thoughts are transcended.”

Relative and Absolute are the teachings of expedient means and the revelation of Life Span in the Lotus Sutra respectively. The Buddha teaches in myriad ways for one purpose – to bring all beings to the point that they can be introduced to the sublime reality of the Buddha's complete body, the Lotus Sutra or more specifically, “Myohorengekyo.” The revelation of the Buddha's body, however, has no actual connection with the expedients except that the expedients prepare the person to be receptive to the Absolute.

The Trace Gate brings us to the threshold of the Original Gate, but its only with the realization of the Original Gate that the Trace Gate is revealed as true in the Absolute sense. Only when the Buddha’s complete enlightenment is revealed does the real import of all his expedient teachings become obvious, and all the Dharmadhatu revealed to be complete and perfect without altering it in the least. If you are familiar with Brook Ziporyn's analogy of the set-up and punchline of a joke, this is what he is referring to.

Its at this threshold of the Original Gate that Nichiren’s teachings on the Daimoku pertain. It is that moment of revelation of the absolute, the sublime.

In a following post, I will analyze the next section of the Gosho in terms of these two sets of ideas – the Three Divisions of the Sutra and the Relative and Absolute Sublime.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

narhwal90
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Re: Study Group: Kanjin no Honzon sho

Postby narhwal90 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:43 pm

Thanks for picking up this thread again Q. Tell you what I sure need to dig into Tendai a lot more to put Nichiren into context. I had the impression we made it to the end of the gosho and lived to tell the tale, are we starting over but working the material in a 3 Divisions and Relative vs Absolute context?


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