dharmapdx wrote: ↑
Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:29 pm
Note: I recall a discussion earlier where Q wrote that the Four Noble Truths are subsumed into NMRK and thus become more or less irrelevant to Nichiren Buddhism. Still, this is all a surprise….
You might find my recent comment here interesting: viewtopic.php?f=39&t=28774&start=20#p452429
Nichiren's teachings are Sudden and Perfect as explained by Zhiyi.
In Zhiyi's Mohezhikuan, (translated by Swanson as "Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight"), you can find an explanation how the 4NT are understood in the various teachings.
Arising and Perishing (Tripitaka view) - "suffering and the causes of suffering are the causes and results of the mundane world, and the path and extinction are the causes and results for transcending the world." This takes suffering as real, and transcendence as something other than the real. (Not unreal, either. Simply beyond possibility of definition in terms that arise and perish). The goal is to exhaust karma completely.
Neither Arising Nor Perishing (Shared View) - "suffering is not an afflication and all things are empty... neither do the causes have any mark of coalescing - both cause and effect are empty... The path has the mark of non-duality; there is no one who overcomes and nothing that is overcome." This takes only emptiness as real. The goal is to settle completely into emptiness.
Immeasurable (Separate View) - "a discriminating analysis of suffering reveals that existence has immeasurable marks... the causes have immeasurable marks...the path has innumerable marks... extinction has innumerable marks... these means are empty in themselves; innumerable in their primary and auxiliary variations, but are all not innumerable. Although they are not innumerable, nevertheless you can make innumerable distinctions without confusion or disorder." This takes suffering as empty, but freely resorts to convention to alleviate suffering. This is embodied in the highly advanced bodhisattva who tirelessly works for the liberation of other beings while dwelling in emptiness themselves.
Spontaneous (Sudden) - "The Four Truths are spontaneous and are all the true aspect and are beyond conceptual understanding. It is not only that the supreme truth lacks multiplicity." This takes suffering as such
, the causes of suffering as such
, the path as such
, and the result as such
. There is an element of the immeasurable here, but the difference is that where emptiness and conventions are understood as distinct in the Immeasurable view (like the convention that light is composed of waves or particles, and never both, depending on how you look at it), in the Sudden view, emptiness and convention are integrated - this is otherwise expressed in Tiantai as the Threefold Inclusive Truth; but also ichinen sanzen.
Its hard to explain this integrated view, but here's a lame attempt: a can and a can opener are in a sense a completely integrated whole. Similarly, a deluded being and a Buddha are a completely integrated whole. To distinguish one from the other makes each part unintelligible. One half of that equation makes easy sense - Buddha is defined in relation to the deluded being, as its cure. The inverse is harder to consider, and can only really be understood by intuition (or actual knowledge of a Buddha). In any event, this implies that the being is, even as it is deluded, is "seen" by a Buddha as a function of themselves... an expression of awakening. Buddha functions as illumination dispelling ignorance.
The can experience the can opener as something that opens it. The opener experiences the can as something to be opened.
4NT is a teaching for people who conceive of life in cynical terms - which the belief in samsara sets up. If you don't believe in samsara, or are not particularly haunted by its existential implications, what particular use is the 4NT? Some Buddhist paths insist you must wholly accept samsara and then experience the suffering of that in order to really be Buddhist - to experience the liberation offered.
But, the sudden and perfect is full awareness in this moment... what's past and future - present recollection of previous circumstances, and speculation about circumstances that may succeed the present circumstances, respectively. Present, though, is the only tangible. Wherever you go, there you are. Seems the only useful teaching is how to deal with the moment.
NMRK is about the moment - ie. the eternal Eagle Peak.
So... what's that thing about 4NT again?