Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

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Caoimhghín
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Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by Caoimhghín » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:08 pm

If this runs contrary to the TOS, please feel free to delete it. My purposes in establishing this thread are largely in the interest of gathering proofs of orthodoxy in Nichiren Buddhism(s), not to proliferate heterodoxy.

I would like to continue this dialogue, concerning misinterpretation of the doctrine of the poison drum, from a perspective of "poison drum's advocate", if one will. I will like to persist in this misunderstanding, as so that I may be proven wrong, and in the process, information about the true teaching of Nichiren concerning the poison drum may rise to the surface.

If this is a misuse of the forum, my apologies.
narhwal90 wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:On the subject of hongaku as a doctrine in danger of misinterpretation, I think the same is precisely the case with Nichiren's expounding of the doctrine of the poison drum.

If we misunderstand hongaku, there is no need to practice, but if we misunderstand the poison drum, then it is actually more expedient, preferable, and more "in-line" with Nichiren Buddhism to "hate" it. Consider the following:

It is much easier to trash the Lotus Sutra than to praise it. It is much easier to mock and slander the saddharma rather than to try to understand/realize/live it. It is easier to make fun of Nichiren than it is to meet him on common ground. I don't say these things as insults, I just happen to think they are objectively true things. It is easier to mock, denigrate, and consider teachings/teachers inferior than it is to try to understand them.

With this in mind, why not trash the Lotus Sutra? Why not trash Nichiren? It all leads to enlightenment anyways. The Lotus Sutra's salvation is inescapable.

Obviously the above is a misinterpretation, but I hope the misinterpretation is illuminating.
There are disagreeable consequences of slander of the sutra and practitioners, NIchiren points out some of the types and relative severities in various gosho. So I suppose I'd say its a better idea not to trash others or the sutra since doing so is at least unskillful.
Consider: it still leads to enlightenment. It takes longer, but it leads there. Furthermore, every moment of "practice" as a poison drum is easier and less effort than proper practice. You take longer to get there, but you exert less effort in each moment of that longer progression towards enlightenment.

I don't believe this, what I am saying, but I would like to see what the proper interpretation is, from a Nichiren perspective.
歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

markatex
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Re: Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by markatex » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:34 pm

I've never heard anyone make this argument. It's certainly an interesting angle.
It takes longer, but it leads there. Furthermore, every moment of "practice" as a poison drum is easier and less effort than proper practice.
It doesn't directly lead there. In slandering the Dharma, you create a relationship with it, albeit a negative one. Yes, you will eventually become a Buddha, but only after working through the karma of having slandered, and after that, you will still have to engage in "proper practice" to get there. You wouldn't be doing yourself any favors.

narhwal90
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Re: Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by narhwal90 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:29 am

The poison drum thing bugs me a bit, not in its theory but in its application. Note how often its employed when talking about someone else's actions/motivations in the abstract and sometimes specifically, thus making the old error of trying assess another's karma and future. Is it preferable to justify unskillful conduct discussing the Lotus sutra or Nichiren which aggravates others, using the poison drum idea to think something has been achieved?

Ages ago in the old NSA days a friend of mine had a gohonzon for a while, left the practice and ended up burning it on a charcoal grill to dispose of it having gone back to the christian church. Are any of us here qualified to make any statements about poison drums?

markatex
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Re: Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by markatex » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:05 am

Honestly, I've only heard the concept mentioned briefly in Nichiren Shu. I think it's more of an SGI/Nichiren Shoshu thing. It's definitely not something that is constantly brought up. Basically, if it happens, it happens, but it's certainly nothing to aim for, or to deliberately bait other people into creating for themselves.

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Re: Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by Caoimhghín » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:11 am

One of the reasons why I thought it was interesting to see it pop up in a Nichiren context is because the doctrine of the poison drum is actually usually associated with Indian Yogācāra, not East Asian Buddhism, as far as I had previously known.

Tendai must have absorbed the doctrine at one point, I assume? Maybe that is why it appears in Nichiren Buddhism?
歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

narhwal90
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Re: Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by narhwal90 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:44 am

markatex wrote:Honestly, I've only heard the concept mentioned briefly in Nichiren Shu. I think it's more of an SGI/Nichiren Shoshu thing. It's definitely not something that is constantly brought up. Basically, if it happens, it happens, but it's certainly nothing to aim for, or to deliberately bait other people into creating for themselves.
Its not mentioned at all in SGI that I can recall, and was only briefly discussed in NSA- I've seen it discussed far more frequently on this board than anywhere else I've seen.

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Re: Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by Queequeg » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:33 am

The people of today in any event already turn their backs on the Lotus Sutra, and because of that error they will undoubtedly fall into hell. Therefore, one should by all means persist in preaching the Lotus Sutra and causing them to hear it. Those who put their faith in it will surely attain Buddhahood, while those who slander it will establish a “poison-drum relationship” with it and will likewise attain Buddhahood.
-How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra
When I speak of understanding capacity, I am referring to preaching by a person of wisdom. Again, one should preach only the Lotus Sutra even to those who slander the Law, so that they may establish a so-called “poison-drum relationship” with it. In this respect, one should proceed as Bodhisattva Never Disparaging did.

However, if one is speaking to persons who one knows have the capacity to become wise, then one should first instruct them in the Hinayana teachings, then instruct them in the provisional Mahayana teachings, and finally instruct them in the true Mahayana. But if speaking to those one knows to be ignorant persons of lesser capacity, then one should first instruct them in the true Mahayana teaching. In that way, whether they choose to believe in the teaching or to slander it, they will still receive the seeds of Buddhahood.
-The Teaching, Capacity, Time, and Country
According to the above passage of the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai, in this latter age the persons who are lacking in good roots are many, and those who possess them are few. Therefore, many people are doubtless destined to fall into the evil paths in their next existence. And if they are destined for the evil paths in any case, then one should preach the Lotus Sutra to them forcefully and thereby allow them to create a “poison-drum relationship” with the sutra. Hence there can be no doubt that this latter age is the proper time in which to preach the Lotus Sutra to all people, thus enabling them to create a reverse relationship with it by slandering it.
-On Reciting the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra

Nichiren's teaching on the poison drum is premised on the assumption that this is the degenerate age when people's capacity is so poor that they are overwhelmingly destined for the lower paths. Since this is so, may as well plant a seed, which whether cultivated or rejected will establish a connection to buddhadharma that will irreppressibly end in enlightenment. It is premised on the conviction that people are really doomed in this age.

The poison drum is from the Mahaparinirvana sutra.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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

Slartibartfast
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Re: Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by Slartibartfast » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:13 am

To the original poster I would say that even if it is true that a poison drum relationship is easier than a direct one (which I believe is debatable), it is a less efficient one. By which to say that not only would a poison drum relationship, as pointed out above, take longer to achieve enlightenment, but it would neither minimize suffering nor maximize value creation along the way. The opposite in fact. If we consider a Buddha someone who maximizes value creation in those around her (my personal definition, I made it up) and, of course, that a Buddha learns the truth of choice and suffering, meaning that they have no choice (i.e. they know the right thing and so must do it), then the poison drum route starts to look a lot less enticing. Basically a poison drum relationship heaps enough suffering on a person who has slandered the teachings that they realize the truth of suffering and look to help others create value. Instead of just helping others to create value. Yes, both get you to the same place and everyone is free to choose suffering (or suffer from choice) if they wish, but do you really want to?

Just my 0.0199999... cents.

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Re: Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by tkp67 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:02 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:08 pm
If this runs contrary to the TOS, please feel free to delete it. My purposes in establishing this thread are largely in the interest of gathering proofs of orthodoxy in Nichiren Buddhism(s), not to proliferate heterodoxy.

I would like to continue this dialogue, concerning misinterpretation of the doctrine of the poison drum, from a perspective of "poison drum's advocate", if one will. I will like to persist in this misunderstanding, as so that I may be proven wrong, and in the process, information about the true teaching of Nichiren concerning the poison drum may rise to the surface.

If this is a misuse of the forum, my apologies.
narhwal90 wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:On the subject of hongaku as a doctrine in danger of misinterpretation, I think the same is precisely the case with Nichiren's expounding of the doctrine of the poison drum.

If we misunderstand hongaku, there is no need to practice, but if we misunderstand the poison drum, then it is actually more expedient, preferable, and more "in-line" with Nichiren Buddhism to "hate" it. Consider the following:

It is much easier to trash the Lotus Sutra than to praise it. It is much easier to mock and slander the saddharma rather than to try to understand/realize/live it. It is easier to make fun of Nichiren than it is to meet him on common ground. I don't say these things as insults, I just happen to think they are objectively true things. It is easier to mock, denigrate, and consider teachings/teachers inferior than it is to try to understand them.

With this in mind, why not trash the Lotus Sutra? Why not trash Nichiren? It all leads to enlightenment anyways. The Lotus Sutra's salvation is inescapable.

Obviously the above is a misinterpretation, but I hope the misinterpretation is illuminating.
There are disagreeable consequences of slander of the sutra and practitioners, NIchiren points out some of the types and relative severities in various gosho. So I suppose I'd say its a better idea not to trash others or the sutra since doing so is at least unskillful.
Consider: it still leads to enlightenment. It takes longer, but it leads there. Furthermore, every moment of "practice" as a poison drum is easier and less effort than proper practice. You take longer to get there, but you exert less effort in each moment of that longer progression towards enlightenment.

I don't believe this, what I am saying, but I would like to see what the proper interpretation is, from a Nichiren perspective.

From what I understand the purpose of the poison drum relationship is to convert those of incorrigible belief. The reasoning is If one is incapable of understanding a truth rejection of said truth creates an inverse relationship opposed to no relationship whatsoever.

This basically means it is better to hear and accept/reject the sutra opposed to not hearing it at all.

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Minobu
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Re: Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by Minobu » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:13 pm

Well.......ok......here goes....

Drunk and depressed i ripped up the rolled gohonzon of mine being kept in my mother's butsudan ....then in front of her....flushed it down the toilet...


all that was left which she salvaged were two sticks....

Ok ...so like at the time it was a challenge to the Lotus sutra....Years before in my early days...there was this guy that burned up a gohonzon and about a year later died in a rooming house fire...needless to say the gossip was outrages....

The head of Canada kept my little secret...she , the very beautiful person , Mrs Izumi told me not to talk about it....

I realize that the whole act was one of betrayal...or desperately trying to betray the Lotus sutra....like a bad marriage that was once so filled with love...

Then it just shows me what i really am...that was about 40 years ago....

My life is filled with "Bid Saves" from above ...still today...

The Lotus sutra never let me down even though i tried so desperately to betray The Lotus sutra.

Was it poison drum from ages and kalpas ago that brought me that fateful day on a corner on Yonge st being shakabukkued and brought to me first meeting....

after the meeting we went to the Kai Kan and chanted an hour with other members from all over Toronto's district meetings.

45 minutes into the hour...i felt like coming home...that feeling one gets after a long vacation ... then five weeks later my father being cured of waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia.....so many wonderful changes and stuff happening at the moment of Gojukai ...i felt eternity...when he gonked me on the head...eternity in a moment...asking around after if everyone felt that...only to find that i was prolly a nut case...lol....

so much more .....then a veil of ignorance ...big time...drugs, alcohol...debauchery ...then the flushing of the Gohonzon years later...

how does one fall from that pinnacle of showmanship from The Lotus sutra ...to that?

poison drum...kalpas ago and then ripening with Gakki .....


love ya all...
d

illarraza
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Re: Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by illarraza » Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:07 am

Caoimhghín wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:08 pm
If this runs contrary to the TOS, please feel free to delete it. My purposes in establishing this thread are largely in the interest of gathering proofs of orthodoxy in Nichiren Buddhism(s), not to proliferate heterodoxy.

I would like to continue this dialogue, concerning misinterpretation of the doctrine of the poison drum, from a perspective of "poison drum's advocate", if one will. I will like to persist in this misunderstanding, as so that I may be proven wrong, and in the process, information about the true teaching of Nichiren concerning the poison drum may rise to the surface.

If this is a misuse of the forum, my apologies.
narhwal90 wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:On the subject of hongaku as a doctrine in danger of misinterpretation, I think the same is precisely the case with Nichiren's expounding of the doctrine of the poison drum.

If we misunderstand hongaku, there is no need to practice, but if we misunderstand the poison drum, then it is actually more expedient, preferable, and more "in-line" with Nichiren Buddhism to "hate" it. Consider the following:

It is much easier to trash the Lotus Sutra than to praise it. It is much easier to mock and slander the saddharma rather than to try to understand/realize/live it. It is easier to make fun of Nichiren than it is to meet him on common ground. I don't say these things as insults, I just happen to think they are objectively true things. It is easier to mock, denigrate, and consider teachings/teachers inferior than it is to try to understand them.

With this in mind, why not trash the Lotus Sutra? Why not trash Nichiren? It all leads to enlightenment anyways. The Lotus Sutra's salvation is inescapable.

Obviously the above is a misinterpretation, but I hope the misinterpretation is illuminating.
There are disagreeable consequences of slander of the sutra and practitioners, NIchiren points out some of the types and relative severities in various gosho. So I suppose I'd say its a better idea not to trash others or the sutra since doing so is at least unskillful.
Consider: it still leads to enlightenment. It takes longer, but it leads there. Furthermore, every moment of "practice" as a poison drum is easier and less effort than proper practice. You take longer to get there, but you exert less effort in each moment of that longer progression towards enlightenment.

I don't believe this, what I am saying, but I would like to see what the proper interpretation is, from a Nichiren perspective.
“Assert aloud, ‘The various sutras have no attainment and are the source of falling to hell; the Hokekyo alone is the Dharma for Attaining Buddhahood and try to break and subdue the people and dharmas of the various sects.” (On Practice According to the Preaching)

“….because this era is ‘firm in struggle and the Pure Dharma is hidden and sinks’ [Daijikkyo 55 (“Embudai hon”) (T.13.363)], and, on top of this, there are only evil countries, evil kings, evil ministers, evil commoners and they turn against the True Dharma and revere perverted dharmas and perverted teachers, so evil demons enter into the land and the Three Calamities and the Seven Disasters have arisen in abundance.” (STN, v. 1, 735)

“In the ‘Chapter of Expedience’ and so on it appears one is to preach this Sutra in light of the capacities [of the audience]; in the ‘Chapter of Fukyo’ it appears that, even though they slander, one should just forcibly preach it. The former and latter [parts] of the one Sutra are like water and fire. However, Tendai Daishi reconciles them, saying, ‘As to those who already originally had good [karmic roots], Shakya guards them with the Lesser [Vehicle]; as to those who originally never yet had good [karmic roots], Fukyo forcibly poisons them with the Great [Vehicle].’ [Hokke mongu 10B (T.34.141a27-b1)]
The heart (meaning) of the text is: For those who originally had good [karmic] roots and who should obtain understanding within the present lifetime one should directly preach the Hokekyo. However, if among them there are still capacities who hear yet are likely to slander, one should temporarily prepare them with the Provisional Sutras and afterwards preach the Hokekyo. Those who originally have not had the good [karmic] roots of the Great [Vehicle], even now they are not going to believe the Hokekyo and for whatever reason are going to fall to the Evil Ways [of Rebirth] so just forcibly preach the Hokekyo and cause them to slander and also make them form a rebellious condition. According to this commentary, in the Latter Age those without good [karmic roots] are many; those having good [karmic roots] are few. Therefore there is no doubt they will fall to the Evil Ways [of Rebirth]. We should all the same forcibly preach and cause them to hear the Hokekyo and they should form the condition of the poison drum, should they not? So there are none who contest that this is the season for preaching the Hokekyo that they may form the condition of blasphemy, are there?” (STN, v. 1, 204-205)

Commentary by Graham Lamont [slightly edited]:

In general “in the Latter Age those without good [karmic roots] are many; those having good [karmic roots] are few.” This is a general characteristic of our time. Most people today are slanderers but there were few during the time of the Buddha. Therefore today, principally, the forceful practices are employed according to Nichiren Daishonn.
“The Buddha did not cure slanderers against the Dharma, because there were none when the Buddha was in the world. In the Latter Dharma (mappo) it is full of the Strong Enemies of the One Vehicle. The benefit of the Bodhisattva Fukyo refers to this.” (STN, v. 2, 1850)

Most people today are unbelievers opposed to the truth and must receive the seed of Buddhahood by forming a so-called poisoned drum relationship with the Sutra [rebellious condition] in which they eventually attain Buddhahood much later.
Are those who so easily dismiss the teaching methods of Nichiren Shonin, as wise as Shakyamuni Buddha or Nichiren Daishonin? If Nichiren Daishonin felt compelled to use the methods "unenlightened teacher", how is it that these people (who cannot even completely agree on consistent doctrine) claim that they are wiser and can use the methods suited to the Buddha’s lifetime?

Incidentally the terms, ‘forcibly preach’ and ‘forcibly poison’ in the above passages should not be confused with ‘forced conversion'. Here It means simply to preach the Supreme Truth of the Hokekyo whether the hearers desire and are ready for it or not. It is a public proclamation of the Lotus Sutra as the only way to Buddhahood, not a call for violence or compulsory conversion.

The benefit of the ‘poisoned drum’ is from the Great Nirvana Sutra (fasc. 9 ‘Chapter of the Tathagata Nature’ (T.12.420a) and is also mentioned by Myoraku Daishi (Hokke mongu ki 10chu (T .34.349a):

“…the surpassingly arrogant still form the distant cause [of Buddhahood]; how should hearing and believing be without manifest benefit?: Therefore, those who disparage and blaspheme form the cause of the poison drum.”

Nichiren Daishonin also preaches:

“Question: If, because the masses of beings would slander, the Buddha at first did not preach the Hokekyo but, after more than forty years preached the Hokekyo, why do you in the present era not preach the Provisional Sutras [like him] but instead preach the Hokekyo, cause people to slander and fall to the Evil Ways of Rebirth?
“Answer: When the Buddha was in the world the Buddha sat under the Bodhi Tree and reflected on the capacities and He knew and perceived, ‘If at the present time I preach the Hokekyo, the masses of beings would slander and would fall to the Evil Ways of Rebirth; if I preach after more than forty years have passed, they should rise to the Non-backsliding of the First Abode and so on to Sublime Enlightenment.’

“In the polluted era of the Latter Age it is would be difficult for there to be even one person in ten thousand to be of the matched capacity (to ki) and be likely to enter the First Abode. Furthermore, because the person who converts is not the Buddha, it would be a difficult thing for him to reflect on the capacities of people. Therefore the Buddha instructed that for the sake of both rebellious conditions and obedient conditions (gyaku en jun en) one should first preach the Hokekyo. But there would also be cases, even after the Extinction [of the Buddha] when, to those who would likely become the congregation of matched capacities, one would first preach the Provisional Sutras. Furthermore, the person who puts pity (hi) first preaches the Provisional Sutras first, like the Buddha Shakya. Those who put mercy (ji) first should preach the Real Sutra first, like the Bodhisattva Fukyo.”

“Furthermore, it would be difficult for the worldlings of the Latter Age to avoid the Evil Ways of Rebirth anyway; if just the same they fall to the Evil Ways of Rebirth, if one causes them to slander the Hokekyo and fall, it would not resemble falling by worldly sin. As in the text, ‘Hearing the Dharma, giving rise to slander, and falling to hell is superior to making offering to Ganges’ sands of Buddhas.’ and so on. [Maha shikan bugyoden guketsu 1-5 (T.46.174c)]

"The heart (meaning) of this text preaches that to slander the Hokekyo and fall to hell is hundreds and thousands and myriad times superior to the merit of offering to, adhering to, and adoring Ganges’ sands of Buddhas, the Buddha Shakya, the Buddha Amida and so on.” (STN, v. 1, 260-261)

Mark

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Minobu
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Re: Misunderstanding the Poison Drum

Post by Minobu » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:55 pm

illarraza wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:07 am


"The heart (meaning) of this text preaches that to slander the Hokekyo and fall to hell is hundreds and thousands and myriad times superior to the merit of offering to, adhering to, and adoring Ganges’ sands of Buddhas, the Buddha Shakya, the Buddha Amida and so on.” (STN, v. 1, 260-261)

Mark
I doubt if the offender is left off the hook......The offence is grave enough to warrant a relationship with The Lotus Sutra , but i doubt if that means Karmic backlash won't happen in samsara...



Eventually......


It's just a whole other awareness of who and what you are , developes , leading you to embrace the practice...might just be one moment in time, saying the ODaimoku in this life....but you did say it..causing the vibration and the full intent of this Buddhist Practice to permeate Samsara....There by assuring you get to meet with the Lotus Sutra again and again till you finally resolve to follow the means to the end game..that being....the emptying of Samsara of beings, and the seeing it fill up again with lost sentient beings ...


This is what happened to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara after accomplishing liberating all sentient beings...When asked to look and see Samsara filling up again The Bodhisattva broke in a thousand pieces ...the Buddhas rebuilt the Bodhisattva and gave the Bodhisattva one thousand arms to help out ...


The one line that is like my motto from the mouth of 2nd President of the Soka Gakki Josei Toda...it's when he said..." when i accomplish kosen rufu on this planet i will go do it all over again somewhere else....not an exact quote....but hey !! it does show one that both Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and Toda , knew being born again in some pure land after this life is really not the Bodhisattva "Ideal"

Getting your life life dirty with Samsaric friends is the life for me. {after thought } (maybe i enjoy the dirt too much....lol...)

love love love
d

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