The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

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The Cicada
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The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by The Cicada » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:58 am

Valid, or not? Please discuss.

http://alt.religion.buddhism.nichiren.n ... -hokke-kai
In the Kempon Hokke, there are no such secret transmissions. The true transmission or succession lies in the scrolls of the Lotus Sutra and is transmitted directly from the Original Buddha, found in the Lotus Sutra, to the believer. This principle is called "kyokan sojo".

There is no special secret doctrine handed to one disciple alone. There is no intermediary between the believer and the Lotus Sutra. When one takes faith in the Lotus Sutra, as elucidated by Nichiren himself (and we must base this on his authentic writings, rejecting all forgeries) then we have the true succession from the eternal Original Buddha Shakyamuni of the 16th Chapter of the the Lotus Sutra, to the believer directly. Those who place their faith in "secret transmissions" outside of the words of Nichiren and the Lotus Sutra are likely to be fooled by spiritual tyrants. Any faith in an external hierarchy or "succession" (Taisekiji and Soka Gakkai are the best examples) places the teaching and the benefits outside of the individual practitioner. Nichiren admonished his followers to "never seek this teaching outside of yourself". He often quoted the Nirvana Sutra ("Daihatsu-nehan-gyo") which says "Rely on the Dharma: do not rely on human beings. Rely on (innate Buddha) wisdom: do not rely on consciousness alone." Likewise, Dengyo Daishi (founder of the Tendai school in Japan and Nichiren's predecessor in transmitting the teachings of the Lotus Sutra) said, " Place reliance on the Buddhas's preaching: do not believe in oral transmissions"
(Hokke Shuku, DDZ, V. 3, 245.)

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Re: The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by markatex » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:20 pm

I have heard of the concept of the Dharma being transmitted to us “from the scrolls of the Lotus Sutra,” but not the specific name of the teaching. I don’t think it’s specific to Kempon Hokke, and it strikes me as fairly straightforward and non-controversial.

Nichiren’s reference to “oral transmissions” was probably aimed at Zen Buddhism, which famously emphasizes “a special transmission outside the scriptures,” per Bodhidharma.

Priests/ministers are not intermediaries between us and the Dharma. They are more like life coaches and their experience and advice is often invaluable to lay practitioners, but they don’t hold any secret transmission.

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Re: The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by DGA » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:47 pm

markatex wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:20 pm
I have heard of the concept of the Dharma being transmitted to us “from the scrolls of the Lotus Sutra,” but not the specific name of the teaching. I don’t think it’s specific to Kempon Hokke, and it strikes me as fairly straightforward and non-controversial.

Nichiren’s reference to “oral transmissions” was probably aimed at Zen Buddhism, which famously emphasizes “a special transmission outside the scriptures,” per Bodhidharma.
This is plausible.

I wouldn't rule out a different interpretation that doesn't contradict yours: Nichiren may be criticizing esoteric and other practices in Tendai-shu that require oral and other kinds of transmission.

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Re: The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by Queequeg » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:56 pm

The Cicada wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:58 am
Valid, or not? Please discuss.

http://alt.religion.buddhism.nichiren.n ... -hokke-kai
In the Kempon Hokke, there are no such secret transmissions. The true transmission or succession lies in the scrolls of the Lotus Sutra and is transmitted directly from the Original Buddha, found in the Lotus Sutra, to the believer. This principle is called "kyokan sojo".
I, Nichiren, have abandoned both the approach that expands and that which condenses and favor the essence of the matter, which means the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo that were transmitted to Bodhisattva Superior Practices... Shakyamuni Buddha has already entered the treasure tower and is seated side by side with the Buddha Many Treasures, the emanations of the Buddha have gathered from the ten directions, the Bodhisattvas of the Earth have been summoned, and the essence, the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, has been entrusted to these bodhisattvas so that they may transmit it to the Latter Day of the Law. No one in the present age can doubt this.

-Choosing the Heart of the Lotus Sutra

The transmission is the Daimoku. The scrolls are an expansion of the Daimoku.
There is no special secret doctrine handed to one disciple alone. There is no intermediary between the believer and the Lotus Sutra. When one takes faith in the Lotus Sutra, as elucidated by Nichiren himself (and we must base this on his authentic writings, rejecting all forgeries) then we have the true succession from the eternal Original Buddha Shakyamuni of the 16th Chapter of the the Lotus Sutra, to the believer directly. Those who place their faith in "secret transmissions" outside of the words of Nichiren and the Lotus Sutra are likely to be fooled by spiritual tyrants. Any faith in an external hierarchy or "succession" (Taisekiji and Soka Gakkai are the best examples) places the teaching and the benefits outside of the individual practitioner. Nichiren admonished his followers to "never seek this teaching outside of yourself". He often quoted the Nirvana Sutra ("Daihatsu-nehan-gyo") which says "Rely on the Dharma: do not rely on human beings. Rely on (innate Buddha) wisdom: do not rely on consciousness alone." Likewise, Dengyo Daishi (founder of the Tendai school in Japan and Nichiren's predecessor in transmitting the teachings of the Lotus Sutra) said, " Place reliance on the Buddhas's preaching: do not believe in oral transmissions"
(Hokke Shuku, DDZ, V. 3, 245.)
In general, no objection. The manner of presentation sounds reactionary. Reactionary = provisional (at best).

Forget the criticism. Just do it: Three Great Secret Laws.
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

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Re: The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by Queequeg » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:13 am

Question: If a person simply chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with no understanding of its meaning, are the benefits of understanding thereby included?

Answer: When a baby drinks milk, it has no understanding of its taste, and yet its body is naturally nourished. Who ever took the wonderful medicines of Jīvaka knowing of what they were compounded? Water has no intent, and yet it can put out fire. Fire consumes things, and yet how can we say that it does so consciously? This is the explanation of both Nāgārjuna and T’ien-t’ai, and I am restating it here.

-Four Depths of Faith and Five Stages of Practice

If Nichiren contemplated all the sutra as the source of transmission, he could not have taught this.

To an extent, Jazz is Ricky has a point.
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

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Re: The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by markatex » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:29 pm

DGA wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:47 pm

I wouldn't rule out a different interpretation that doesn't contradict yours: Nichiren may be criticizing esoteric and other practices in Tendai-shu that require oral and other kinds of transmission.
Yes, it’s possible. I don’t know the context off-hand. But Nichiren’s attitude toward esoteric Buddhism generally was likely more complicated than people think. Whereas he didn’t ever think much of Zen, at least the sort propagated by Dainichi Nonin, who was influential at the time.

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Re: The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by The Cicada » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:22 am

Queequeg wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:13 am
If Nichiren contemplated all the sutra as the source of transmission, he could not have taught this.
I dunno 'bout that.
To an extent, Jazz is Ricky has a point.
Now, I admired the individual's spirit but I honestly never read most of their posts after a certain point. Which points were pertinent?

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Re: The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by illarraza » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:12 am

The Cicada wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:22 am
Queequeg wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:13 am
If Nichiren contemplated all the sutra as the source of transmission, he could not have taught this.
I dunno 'bout that.
To an extent, Jazz is Ricky has a point.
Now, I admired the individual's spirit but I honestly never read most of their posts after a certain point. Which points were pertinent?
Let's not forget the scrolls of the Lotus Sutra are also Gohonzon. Nichiju, the founder of the Kempon Hokke taught:

"This Great Mandala is the mandala that represents non-duality of subject and its surroundings; unity of the Buddha and the Dharma; oneness of all living beings and the Buddha; and the inter-possession of each of the Ten Realms. Therefore, since those who reverently listen to its name [Namu Myoho renge kyo] will eradicate the three persistent delusions (Kenji, Jinja and Mumyo)* in an instant, and those who reverently gaze upon it, even once, will attain Sambodhi (perfect Enlightenment); then this Great Mandala is a secret means of immediate enlightenment and a model of attaining Buddhahood in this very body. And, this sutra is the real Purpose for the advent of the Buddhas, and the direct way to Buddhahood for all living beings. Reading or reciting [this sutra] is the practice that is suitable for the organ of hearing, and these are the roots of goodness that have a connection with this [Saha] world. Copying** [this sutra] is the root of making the life of the teachings ever-abiding, and is the great goodness of committing them to memory or keeping them in mind." -- Nichiju

*( 1 ) kenji no waku (delusions of view and desire); (2) jinja no waku (delusions as innumerable as particles of dust and sand); and (3) mumyo no waku (delusions about the principle of the Middle Way or ultimate reality)

** In this modern period, "bestowing this Sutra".

Nichiren writes:

"The truth of Buddhism has nothing to do with the opinion of the majority. All that is important is whether a belief is in accord with the scriptures. And, further, the golden words of the Buddha have already informed us that in the age of the Latter Day of the Law those who uphold the Right Dharma would be few in number. Thus the Nirvana Sutra says
that "those who uphold the Right Dharma are as few as the grains of earth on a fingernail, and those that slander the
Dharma are as numerous as the earth in of all the ten directions."

Nichiju also taught:

"Among the disciples of the school of Nichiju, nobody should be chosen, directly or indirectly as an heir disciple. However, anybody among the priests or the laymen of my congregation that spreads the teaching in Kyoto and swears that other sects are the root of all evils and that only the Hokke Sect makes us enter Nirvana can be my disciple. And if candidates are equally gifted, they should propagate during the summer, practicing in turn. You should consider a person who spreads the teaching like this as the true disciple of Nichiju and Nichiren Shonin. So in the days to come, this shall be my will." -- The Third Year of Meitoku Mizunoe Saru January 29th [1392] Seal of Nichi-ju

The Lotus Sutra itself chooses heir disciples, not the SGI, Kempon Hokke, nor any sect or organization.

Mark

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Re: The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by illarraza » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:41 am

Here are three essays on the Transmission from the perspective of the Kempon Hokke. The first is a debate between a Nichiren Shoshu adept and A Kempon Hokke adept (me):

https://markrogow.blogspot.com/2018/08/ ... ce-to.html

The second is a more or less complete view from Nichiren and my commentary:

https://markrogow.blogspot.com/2018/05/ ... r-sgi.html

The last is a discussion of the Specific and the General Transmission:

https://markrogow.blogspot.com/2015/08/ ... hiren.html

In short:

Nichiren taught the Specific Transmission as the transmission from the Original Buddha Shakyamuni to Bodhisattva Jogyo. Nichiren taught the General Transmission as the transmission from the Original Buddha Shakyamuni to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

The Specific Transmission does not refer to a transmission from Nichiren Daishonin to the Nichiren Shoshu priests, to Daisaku Ikeda, nor the Three Presidents. The General Transmission does not refer to the Nichiren Shoshu priests nor the three presidents transmitting the Law to their disciples and believers.

They fabricated their teachings on the transmission in order for the self serving agenda of money and power. They make the transmission appear other than what the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren taught.

Nichiren Daishonin' explanation of the transmission accords with the Lotus Sutra's. Nichiren Shoshu's and SGI's does not.

Mark

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Re: The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by illarraza » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:08 am

Queequeg wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:13 am
Question: If a person simply chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with no understanding of its meaning, are the benefits of understanding thereby included?

Answer: When a baby drinks milk, it has no understanding of its taste, and yet its body is naturally nourished. Who ever took the wonderful medicines of Jīvaka knowing of what they were compounded? Water has no intent, and yet it can put out fire. Fire consumes things, and yet how can we say that it does so consciously? This is the explanation of both Nāgārjuna and T’ien-t’ai, and I am restating it here.

-Four Depths of Faith and Five Stages of Practice

If Nichiren contemplated all the sutra as the source of transmission, he could not have taught this.

To an extent, Jazz is Ricky has a point.
Taking something out of context of the Five Major Works, let alone the entire 2000 + page canon of Nichiren, is shortsighted, I believe. True, this is the most important doctrine of Nichiren but there are Three Great Secret Laws (encompassed by the one). Then there are the actions and behaviors of the Supreme Votary that match the Lotus Sutra word for word, sentence by sentence, and passage for passage. Nichiren also taught that there are those who chant the Daimoku yet go against the Sutra and Nichiren, it Supreme Votary. Sure, even they will eventually attain Buddhahood but when?

Were this teaching from the Four Stages of Faith and Five Stages of Practice enough, why would Nichiren have taught the Fourteen Slanders, reverence for the Gohonzon and Shakyamuni Buddha, the Three Obstacles and Four Devils, the Three Truths, the Three Powerful Enemies, and the exclusive faith and practice of the Lotus Sutra for example? These are found in the Threefold Lotus Sutra and the Nirvana Sutra. And by the way, Jazz Ricky returned to the Nichiren Shoshu where he is reciting the Sutra five times in the morning and three times in the evening. So much for the Daimoku only.

Mark

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Re: The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by Queequeg » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:26 am

illarraza wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:08 am

Taking something out of context of the Five Major Works, let alone the entire 2000 + page canon of Nichiren, is shortsighted, I believe. True, this is the most important doctrine of Nichiren but there are Three Great Secret Laws (encompassed by the one). Then there are the actions and behaviors of the Supreme Votary that match the Lotus Sutra word for word, sentence by sentence, and passage for passage. Nichiren also taught that there are those who chant the Daimoku yet go against the Sutra and Nichiren, it Supreme Votary. Sure, even they will eventually attain Buddhahood but when?

Were this teaching from the Four Stages of Faith and Five Stages of Practice enough, why would Nichiren have taught the Fourteen Slanders, reverence for the Gohonzon and Shakyamuni Buddha, the Three Obstacles and Four Devils, the Three Truths, the Three Powerful Enemies, and the exclusive faith and practice of the Lotus Sutra for example? These are found in the Threefold Lotus Sutra and the Nirvana Sutra. And by the way, Jazz Ricky returned to the Nichiren Shoshu where he is reciting the Sutra five times in the morning and three times in the evening. So much for the Daimoku only.

Mark
You confuse the transmission with the practice.
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

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Re: The Kempon Hokke Doctrine of the Transmission Through the Scrolls

Post by Queequeg » Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:26 am

To be clear: We are talking about the transmission of the Saddharma.

Nichiren writes in Kanjinnohonzonsho (Translated by Senchu Murano):
The eternity of the world of the Eternal Buddha was not expounded in the first fourteen chapters of the Hokekyo [or any of the sutras taught before the Lotus] because the time was not yet ripe for that and also because the hearers had not yet become capable of understanding it. The Five Characters, (when prefixed with Namu), Myoho Renge Kyo, are the core of the “Discourse of the Eternal Buddha” in the Saddharmapundarika-sutra. The Buddha did not transmit this core even to Manjusri, Bhaisajyaraja, or other great bodhisattvas. Needless to say, neither did he do so to the lesser bodhisattvas. The Buddha summoned from underground the bodhisattvas as numerous as the particles of dust of one thousand worlds, expounded to them the eight chapters (Chapters XV to XXII), and transmitted the core of the sutra to them...

The Perfect Mahayana teaching was revealed in the second fourteen chapters of the Saddharmapundarika-sutra. The Perfect Mahayana teaching was revived at the beginning of the Age of Degeneration. Therefore, the beginning of the Age of Degeneration is concurrent with the time of the Buddha except for two differences: 1) the seed of Buddhahood was brought to fruition in the lifetime of the Buddha, while the seed of Buddhahood was sown for the first time in the minds of the hearers at the beginning of the Age of Degeneration; and 2) the most important part of the second fourteen chapters was the One Chapter and Two Halves while [the seed of Buddhahood given at the beginning of the Age of Degeneration] is in the form only of the Five Characters, Myoho Renge Kyo.
Its worth reading that entire text, particularly the section I've omitted between these two quoted paragraphs. Nichrien Daishonin explains the Gohonzon and lays out how the body of the Buddha Shakyamuni's teachings can be divided into introduction, main teaching, and supplement. In the introduction, the audience is prepared to hear the main teaching. The main teaching is the real import of the teaching. In the supplement, the Buddha transmits the teaching. He then explains that the main teaching can further be divided into the introduction, main teaching and supplement. Similarly, the Theoretical and Essential teachings can be divided this way. In the paragraphs quoted above, Nichiren Daishonin explains the teaching transmitted in the Degenerate Age: the heart of the Essential section, Myoho Renge Kyo.

In the Degenerate Age, its not the entire sutra that is transmitted, but rather the Five Characters. These were transmitted to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, namely the Four Leaders.

What you confuse with the transmission is not the transmission. The transmission is causing people to hear the teaching. Teachings on Sadaparibhuta Bodhisattva (Never Disparaging, Fukyo) are descriptions of what happens when you practice the Daimoku for oneself and for others. One does not set out to be beaten - its what happens as a consequence of propagating the Daimoku.

I suppose there is commentary by later teachers, and then there is what Nichiren actually wrote in one of his most important letters.
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

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