logic behind NMRK?

Post Reply
nichiren-123
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:07 pm

logic behind NMRK?

Post by nichiren-123 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:56 am

This has always been something I can't understand: what is the logic or theory behind why chanting NMRK manifests in enlightenment?
from a historical perspective, on what ground did Nichiren say that chanting has any effect?

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 1162
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:06 pm

nichiren-123 wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:56 am
This has always been something I can't understand: what is the logic or theory behind why chanting NMRK manifests in enlightenment?
from a historical perspective, on what ground did Nichiren say that chanting has any effect?
I am a non-Nichiren Buddhist posting here, so this is an outsider's perspective, so take it how you will. That being said, I do not think it is wrong, but it may well be misinformed in some ways.

There's a couple underpinning presumptions, maybe more, as well as numerous bases in the LS text itself, I would recently looking at the Treasure Tower chapter and was recently reminded of the way that the coming together of the bodies of Śākyamuni Buddha is much like how chanting NMHRK is described.

Regarding 'why the title of the LS' you have a few underpinnings that come from Ven Nichiren's background in Tendai/Tiāntāi

1) The LS is the definitive teaching of the Buddha (a claim of the LS itself)

2) Ichinen sanzen

Daimoku seems, to me, to be an attempt (a successful attempt a Nichiren Buddhist would say) to create a series of infallible instructions to produce a successful ichinen sanzen contemplation, but I may be way-off in saying this.

Ichinen sanzen intersects with an Indian belief that a scholar named Brook Ziporyn identifies as "all dharmāḥ are reducible to X". It is like Indra's Net, or interpenetration.

From that perspective, the entirely of the definitive saddarma of the Buddha in the LS is reduced to its title, but 'reduced' does not mean 'lessened' in this context. The word itself, in Ven Zhiyi's original Chinese, actually means 'equivalent'. I will find the character shortly, as I was looking it up a while ago.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 1162
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:09 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:06 pm
1) The LS is the definitive teaching of the Buddha (a claim of the LS itself)
To which we should add, what is the LS in the context of the LS? The LS is self-referential, but what does the LS mean when it talks about the LS? How does the text we have relate to the preaching of the meta-LS? Which is said to be preached at all times by Śākyamuni Buddha in his Pure Land?

Recently looking through some parallel recension of the sūtra, Ven Dharmarakṣa's and a few Sanskrit ones, I realized that the different recensions this sūtra has historically had are very diverse. They all say 'the same thing' but they also don't. They use different terminologies and different ways of explaining the events and ideas of the sūtra. But I wouldn't say that they are ever saying 'different things' also.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 1162
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:34 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:06 pm
Ichinen sanzen intersects with an Indian belief that a scholar named Brook Ziporyn identifies as "all dharmāḥ are reducible to X". It is like Indra's Net, or interpenetration.

From that perspective, the entirely of the definitive saddarma of the Buddha in the LS is reduced to its title, but 'reduced' does not mean 'lessened' in this context. The word itself, in Ven Zhiyi's original Chinese, actually means 'equivalent'. I will find the character shortly, as I was looking it up a while ago.
"Equivalent" was me not quite remembering correctly. The word is 趣.

From the Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra Scroll 6, Ch 15, v 0561b20:

故一切法趣空
hence all dharmāḥ tend toward emptiness

This 一切法趣 is expanded in 摩訶止觀 (Mahāśamathavipaśyanā, Great Calming Insight) by Ven Zhiyi, a treatise on, amongst other things, 一念三千 (yī niàn sān qiān), or 'ichinen sanzen'.

This is explored in Ziporyn, Evil And/or/as the Good: Omnicentrism, Intersubjectivity and Value Paradox in Tiantai Buddhist Thought, 123.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 4345
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:28 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:06 pm
From that perspective, the entirely of the definitive saddarma of the Buddha in the LS is reduced to its title, but 'reduced' does not mean 'lessened' in this context. The word itself, in Ven Zhiyi's original Chinese, actually means 'equivalent'. I will find the character shortly, as I was looking it up a while ago.
"It is all green cup!", screams the psychonaut in the throes of an acid trip. (That's a joke for those who've read Ziporyn.)

To quote Blake, somewhat in the wrong context:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
-Modest Mouse

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world!"
-The Grateful Dead

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 4345
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:37 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:09 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:06 pm
1) The LS is the definitive teaching of the Buddha (a claim of the LS itself)
To which we should add, what is the LS in the context of the LS? The LS is self-referential, but what does the LS mean when it talks about the LS? How does the text we have relate to the preaching of the meta-LS? Which is said to be preached at all times by Śākyamuni Buddha in his Pure Land?

Recently looking through some parallel recension of the sūtra, Ven Dharmarakṣa's and a few Sanskrit ones, I realized that the different recensions this sūtra has historically had are very diverse. They all say 'the same thing' but they also don't. They use different terminologies and different ways of explaining the events and ideas of the sūtra. But I wouldn't say that they are ever saying 'different things' also.
This is why Nichiren could refer to Sadaparibhuta's twenty-four character Lotus Sutra. Alternatively, he could entertain, somewhat skeptically, the notion that the Mahavairocana Sutra is the Lotus with mudras and mantras. That in some places, the Lotus Sutra is taught in fragrances. In other places it is billions of volumes long, and why for him, it was only 5 or 7 characters.

There is a collection of essays on the Lotus Sutra called "The Buddhist Kaleidoscope." The title itself invokes this idea that the Lotus is ever adaptive. In there is an essay suggesting that the structure of the text itself lends itself to the reader reading themselves into the text... I picture it something like the little boy in Never Ending Story getting to the point in the book where he is reading about himself reading the book. The text does not remain on the page, but pours forth, bleeding into the world in which it is found. And that's how the text actually describes itself.

From a literature perspective, its brilliant story telling. As a dharma text, its the embodiment of the very upaya it describes.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
-Modest Mouse

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world!"
-The Grateful Dead

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 4345
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:54 pm

nichiren-123 wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:56 am
This has always been something I can't understand: what is the logic or theory behind why chanting NMRK manifests in enlightenment?
from a historical perspective, on what ground did Nichiren say that chanting has any effect?
The logic, in its simplest, is this:
Out of his compassion toward the ignorant people who live in the Age of Degeneration, and who do not know the gem of the teaching of one mind–three thousand (ichinen sanzen), the Buddha puts this gem into the bag of the Five Characters and hangs this bag around their necks.
Kanjin no Honzon sho

We are in the storm of the Degenerate Age. The detailed and careful practice of ichinen sanzen is very difficult (but not impossible). Regardless, the Daimoku is the Universal Gate 本門, the Diamond Precept that can't be broken, entry which is only through faith, open to all, accessible with the faintest intent. The Buddha gave us this teaching deep in our mind so that no matter how we are thrown about, we would never be parted from the Sublime Dharma (Saddharma, 妙法).

The Daimoku is the foundation of the entire Buddhist path.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
-Modest Mouse

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world!"
-The Grateful Dead

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25468
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:45 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:37 pm

This is why Nichiren could refer to Sadaparibhuta's twenty-four character Lotus Sutra. Alternatively, he could entertain, somewhat skeptically, the notion that the Mahavairocana Sutra is the Lotus with mudras and mantras. That in some places, the Lotus Sutra is taught in fragrances. In other places it is billions of volumes long, and why for him, it was only 5 or 7 characters.

There is a collection of essays on the Lotus Sutra called "The Buddhist Kaleidoscope." The title itself invokes this idea that the Lotus is ever adaptive. In there is an essay suggesting that the structure of the text itself lends itself to the reader reading themselves into the text... I picture it something like the little boy in Never Ending Story getting to the point in the book where he is reading about himself reading the book. The text does not remain on the page, but pours forth, bleeding into the world in which it is found. And that's how the text actually describes itself.

From a literature perspective, its brilliant story telling. As a dharma text, its the embodiment of the very upaya it describes.

Again, very standard Mahāyāna.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Minobu
Posts: 1817
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:57 pm

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Minobu » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:03 pm

cool...

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 4345
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:20 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:45 pm
Again, very standard Mahāyāna.
The first time I picked up Words of My Perfect Teacher, the first Tibetan commentary I ever read, the first half of the text was almost completely intuitive for me. That was actually the first time I knew for certain that Nichiren taught Mahayana and was not exceptional in many of the respects that I was taught he was exceptional. There are, of course, aspects to his teaching that are different.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
-Modest Mouse

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world!"
-The Grateful Dead

User avatar
Minobu
Posts: 1817
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:57 pm

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Minobu » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:17 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:20 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:45 pm
Again, very standard Mahāyāna.
The first time I picked up Words of My Perfect Teacher, the first Tibetan commentary I ever read, the first half of the text was almost completely intuitive for me. That was actually the first time I knew for certain that Nichiren taught Mahayana and was not exceptional in many of the respects that I was taught he was exceptional. There are, of course, aspects to his teaching that are different.
which is why i see Kundalini in his teaching and Gohonzon..the Man knew...He left bread crumbs all over the place for future participants...

illarraza
Posts: 510
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:30 am

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by illarraza » Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:18 am

Minobu wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:17 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:20 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:45 pm
Again, very standard Mahāyāna.
The first time I picked up Words of My Perfect Teacher, the first Tibetan commentary I ever read, the first half of the text was almost completely intuitive for me. That was actually the first time I knew for certain that Nichiren taught Mahayana and was not exceptional in many of the respects that I was taught he was exceptional. There are, of course, aspects to his teaching that are different.
which is why i see Kundalini in his teaching and Gohonzon..the Man knew...He left bread crumbs all over the place for future participants...
Over and over again, the Lotus Sutra states, "this Sutra" (Myoho renge kyo), more than 300 times. Myoho renge kyo is that which delivers all the living. since that is so, Namu "this Sutra". Namu Myoho renge kyo.

Mark

nichiren-123
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by nichiren-123 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:14 pm

Bumping this thread as I've thought of more questions which might move the conversation forward:

1) If you lack faith in NMRK then will it work? The way I understand it, the first time you hear the dharma (i.e. NMRK or LS) then you have a connection that can never be broken. you may not believe in NMRK but if you've heard it at least spoken then you will have an unbroken link with it that will remain until the point of supreme perfect enlightenment and beyond.
That much seems obvious to me. However, what I mean is that if you chant with strong faith, will this mean you manifest buddhahood as a lifestate reliably whenever you chant?

2) What does it mean to have faith in the lotus sutra?

3) Is NMRK the entirety of the buddhist path to enlightenment, or just the beginning? Can you attain enlightenment purely through daimoku or is study an essential component? If study is important then what should you study? The gosho? tiantai? madhyamaka? theravada? everything you can get your hands on?
Did nichiren ever offer a "study plan"?

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 1162
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:56 pm

nichiren-123 wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:14 pm
2) What does it mean to have faith in the lotus sutra?
I myself am very interested in seeing responses to this question of yours, specifically as it relates to faith vs śrāddha, etc.

Did you know that Tiāntāi had a huge problem with the Great Vehicle Awakening of Śrāddha Treatise (大乗起信論/Mahāyānaśraddhotpādaśāstra) before it was eventually incorporated into the synthesis? I only add because I feel that this is likely relevant as well to Nichiren Buddhists. There is a fascinating article here, apologies if you and all others here have already read it. I hope this is not a distraction from your OP.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

narhwal90
Posts: 510
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:10 am

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by narhwal90 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:50 pm

In SGI its not uncommon to hear people discuss chanting to prove it doesn't work, with the general result being they see some change. Its also not uncommon for people to talk about how chanting did not apparently do anything, often the proposed explanation is the chanting is not whole-hearted eg chanting in front of the gohonzon while texting rather than giving it one's whole attention. I would personally characterize the former as a more whole-hearted honest effort than the latter, the implication being confidence in the outcome of the practice is not as critical as the determination and effort put into it. I have a very different experience chanting etc in a more whole hearted manner than I did a few years ago.

As far as faith, I tend to think of it as confidence that the lessons being taught by the sutra, both in attitude and in action work. Personally I view all the chapters as relevant and to be studied, though there are other views about that in Nichiren-land.

illarraza
Posts: 510
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:30 am

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by illarraza » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:36 am

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:54 pm
nichiren-123 wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:56 am
This has always been something I can't understand: what is the logic or theory behind why chanting NMRK manifests in enlightenment?
from a historical perspective, on what ground did Nichiren say that chanting has any effect?
The logic, in its simplest, is this:
Out of his compassion toward the ignorant people who live in the Age of Degeneration, and who do not know the gem of the teaching of one mind–three thousand (ichinen sanzen), the Buddha puts this gem into the bag of the Five Characters and hangs this bag around their necks.
Kanjin no Honzon sho

We are in the storm of the Degenerate Age. The detailed and careful practice of ichinen sanzen is very difficult (but not impossible). Regardless, the Daimoku is the Universal Gate 本門, the Diamond Precept that can't be broken, entry which is only through faith, open to all, accessible with the faintest intent. The Buddha gave us this teaching deep in our mind so that no matter how we are thrown about, we would never be parted from the Sublime Dharma (Saddharma, 妙法).

The Daimoku is the foundation of the entire Buddhist path.
The Lotus Sutra states: "The Buddha said, 'If there are good men or good women who, with regard to this sutra, can accept and uphold even one four-line verse, if they read and recite it, understand its meaning, and practice it as the sutra directs, the benefits will be very many.'”

Namu Myoho Renge kyo is the four-line verse.

Mark

illarraza
Posts: 510
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:30 am

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by illarraza » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:50 am

nichiren-123 wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:14 pm
Bumping this thread as I've thought of more questions which might move the conversation forward:

1) If you lack faith in NMRK then will it work? The way I understand it, the first time you hear the dharma (i.e. NMRK or LS) then you have a connection that can never be broken. you may not believe in NMRK but if you've heard it at least spoken then you will have an unbroken link with it that will remain until the point of supreme perfect enlightenment and beyond.
That much seems obvious to me. However, what I mean is that if you chant with strong faith, will this mean you manifest buddhahood as a lifestate reliably whenever you chant?

2) What does it mean to have faith in the lotus sutra?

3) Is NMRK the entirety of the buddhist path to enlightenment, or just the beginning? Can you attain enlightenment purely through daimoku or is study an essential component? If study is important then what should you study? The gosho? tiantai? madhyamaka? theravada? everything you can get your hands on?
Did nichiren ever offer a "study plan"?
We Manifest Buddhahood not merely when we chant. According to Nichiren, what it means to have faith in the Lotus Sutra is to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo no matter what until the last moment of our life and practice as the Lotus Sutra and he teach. He taught that faith manifested as a bodily reading of the Lotus Sutra. Besides the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren studied everything, especially that which he needed to refute the provisional teachings and the secular authorities.

Mark

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 4345
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: logic behind NMRK?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:49 pm

nichiren-123 wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:14 pm
Bumping this thread as I've thought of more questions which might move the conversation forward:

1) If you lack faith in NMRK then will it work? The way I understand it, the first time you hear the dharma (i.e. NMRK or LS) then you have a connection that can never be broken. you may not believe in NMRK but if you've heard it at least spoken then you will have an unbroken link with it that will remain until the point of supreme perfect enlightenment and beyond.
That much seems obvious to me. However, what I mean is that if you chant with strong faith, will this mean you manifest buddhahood as a lifestate reliably whenever you chant?

2) What does it mean to have faith in the lotus sutra?

3) Is NMRK the entirety of the buddhist path to enlightenment, or just the beginning? Can you attain enlightenment purely through daimoku or is study an essential component? If study is important then what should you study? The gosho? tiantai? madhyamaka? theravada? everything you can get your hands on?
Did nichiren ever offer a "study plan"?
Question 2 needs to be answered before 1.

"Faith" here means to completely integrate the teaching; to enter it. We call the teaching a dharma gate (法門) because its something you enter, and once "inside", the landscape is illuminated through the teaching. "Faith" here does not mean that we seize some abstract object and hold to its truth while maintaining a distinction between self and object. When we enter the Dharma Gate, our experience is illuminated by the teaching. Buddhas know the real nature of the teaching. However, we are not there yet; we take the contours of reality on the instruction of the Buddha.

Question 1 - as the Merry Pranksters would say, "You're either on the bus or you are off the bus." There is no being half way on the bus. In this sense, lacking faith doesn't really have meaning. You either enter the gate or you don't. If you don't, you are on the outside looking in. However, the moment that you walk through the gate, even as the landscape may seem unfamiliar, you have entered.

The only real detriment is to be ignorant or indifferent of the Buddhadharma - one remains inert to the Dharmagate. To embrace the gate and go through obviously is the greatest benefit, but to have aversion is also an act of "faith". To have an aversion to something, one must first acknowledge the object of aversion; to comprehend Buddhadharma, even if one's reaction is aversion, is entry. To have an aversion to the Buddhadharma means that a bond has been formed, and one has in fact entered the gate. The stronger the aversion, ironically, the stronger the bond. This is why Nichiren welcomed persecution because he understood that he was enabling others to establish a deep bond to the Buddhadharma. The karmic retribution for acting out aversion to the Buddhadharma will play out - Devadatta still fell into Avichi alive - but when that karmic retribution is exhausted, then the he will eventually constructively embark on the path toward Buddhahood.

Once you enter the gate, Buddhahood is assured. All thoughts, words and deeds thence are bodhisattva practice. Actually, the karmic trail that led to the gate is likewise revealed to be bodhisattva practice, because it has been part of the path to Buddhahood. There is nothing that is outside this path to enlightenment. When you sit on the seat of enlightenment, one will realize that since time immemorial, one has been headed to this moment of enlightenment like a true and swift arrow aimed directly at the bull's eye. All of those lives are revealed to be the practices that led to Buddhahood. When the Buddha reveals his life span, he reveals all of the practices that led to Buddhahood, and they are indistinguishable from Buddhahood, except in some conventional, expedient sense.

In other words, entry into the gate collapses all the distinctions that once diced up the world around you into this and that, I and other, you and me, etc. etc. without altering those distinctions in any way. As you chant Daimoku, Buddhahood manifests as you - In Nichiren's vocabulary, you read the sutra with your body. You are the manifestation of perfection of Buddhahood, which is continuous with Buddhahood.

Question 3 - In light of the above, which is called the Sudden and Perfect Teaching, does asking about the path even make any sense?

Nichiren taught that "faith" practice and study are the three pillars of Buddhism. Practice and Study deepen Faith. Faith and Study deepen Practice. Faith and Practice deepen Study. These three infinitely concatenate through to full blown Buddhahood.

If you have the time, capacity, and inclination, one should begin their study everything. One starts with the Daimoku and comes to know all dharmas, Non-Buddhist Teachings, Hinayana, Provisional Mahayana, True Mahayana, with study proceeding through the "Preparation, Revelation and Transmission" stages of the teachings. One should undertake practice of ichinen sanzen meditation if possible. In all cases, one exerts complete effort to enter the Dharmagate of Myohorengekyo.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
-Modest Mouse

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world!"
-The Grateful Dead

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bois de Santal, KathyLauren, Lobsang Chojor, Mr. G, nichiren-123 and 35 guests