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.
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)