Sutra, chap. 7.
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. Ibid., chap. 2.
- 4. The P,6shi Keko Sutra
states that at birth, Lao Tzu was already whitehaired and had the appearance of an old
- S. Tushita Heaven: See p. 65, n.
- 6. Eight kinds of lowly beings:
Nonhuman beint who protect Buddhisrn Thy are gods, dragons, a kind of demon called ya
ha, gods of music called gan hana, demons called asura who live at the
bottom of the sea, birds called garuda who prey on dragons, gods with beautiful
voices called kim"ara, 21id mahoraga, who are gods shaped like snakes.
- 7. Five obstacles: See p. zi, n.
- 8. A reference to a doctrine of
the provisional Mahayana sutras, which maintains that neither those of shanion (Learning)
nor engaku (Realization) can attain Buddhahood. The Hosso sect, based on the Gejim~iitsu
Sutra, one of the provisional Mahayana sutras, divides human beings into five groups,
according to their inborn religious capacity. These five groups are also called the five
natures. The groups predestined for shamon and for engaku constitute two of
these five. The are c ailed the determinate groups, because the state they will achieve is
- 9. A re erence to the Yujutsu
(15th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. When the Bodhisattvas of the Earth appear, Shakyamum
Buddha says to Bodhisattva Miroku and the other listeners in the assembly, "Ever
since the long distant past I have been te hi d'd' ing the members of this multitude
[i.e., the 'ac in (' 'm Bodhisattvas of the Earrk]~"This is the sutra's first
indication that Shakyamum had first attained enlightenment in the distant past
ofgohyaku-jinten ,~o and not in his present life. However, Miroku and the others find the
Budd a's words perplexing. How, they wonder, in the mere forty-some years since his
enlight enment under the Bodhi tree, has the Buddha contrived to teach and train so -any
majestic and noble bodhisattvas? it is, Miroku says, as though a young man of twenty-five
wee to point to a venerable old man of a hundred and say, "This is my son."
- 10. Wish-granting jewel: See p. 9,
- ii. Lotus Sutra, chap. 2.
- 12. Ibid., chap. 3.
- 13. Ibid., chap. 10.
- 14. Ibid., chap. 14.
- 15. Four kinds of people: The four
kinds of believers-monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen.
- 16. Hokke Motigu, vol. 8.
- 17. NehanSyj Sho.
- 18. To these people
Shakyamuni Buddha preached the teachings of the Kqon Surra after attaining
enlightenment Linder the Bodhi tree.
- 19. Deer Park: (Skt Mrigadava)
The,name ofa park in Varanasi in India, the lite of present-day Sarnath, where,Aakyamuni
is said to have preached the teachings that became the Agon sfirras.
- 20. Five ascetics: Ajnata
Kaundinya, Ashvajit, Bhadrika, Dashabala Kashyapa and Mahanama. Before Shakyamuni attained
enlightenment, they engaged in ascetic practices together with him. However, when
Shakyamuni orsook asceticism, they thought that he had abandoned his quest and left him.
After his enlightenment, he went to the Deer Park where the~ were still practicing
austerities, and expounded for them the teachings that ecame the Agon sutras.
- 21. Hodo surras: The sutras
of the H&d6 period, the third of the five periods set forth by T'ien-t'ai. The I-Fodo
sutras correspond to the provisional Mahayana sutras.
- 22. Trayastrimsha Heaven: The
Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods. See P. 44, n. 6.
- 23. Ten stages of f~itk* Thk first
ten of the fifty-two stages of bodhisattva Pa I In these ten stages, one eliminates the
illusions of thought and desire rhccthlce. ompany existence w i acc in the threefold world
and the six paths.
- 24. The verge of full
enlightenment: The stage of togaku, the fif the fifty-two stages and the last stage before
a bodhisattva attains Buddhahood.
- 25. Eye of the Buddha: One of the
five ~pes of vision-the eye of common mortals, the divine eye, the,eye of wisdom,
eeyeoftheLawandt ceyeo the Buddha. The eye of the Buddha perceives the true nature of life
spanning past, present and future and includes all the other four perceptive faculties.
- 26. The Buddha is often likened to
the sun because he dispels the darkness, or illusions, of the people.
- 27. Age of enlightenment: The
period when many eople are sure to attain enlightenment through practicing the Buddha's
- 28. Age of meditation: The period
during which people will widely practice meditation in order to perceive the truth.
- 29 Age of reading, reciting and
listening: The period when studying and reciting the sutras and receiving lectures on them
constitute the central practice.
- 30. Age of building temples and
stupas: The period when many temples and stupas are built.
- 31. This period refers to the
beginning of the Latter Day of the Law. The last of the five five-hundred-year periods,
which is called the age of conflict.
- 32. These remarks are found
in Tao-cho's Anraku Shfi.
- 33. This explanation
appears in Hbnen's work Senchaku ShR.
- 34. Difficult-to-practice
way: Together with the "easy-to-pract . wIce Re one of two ways of"Buddhist
practice mentioned in the Ju * u bibasha Ron. T difficult-to-practice way means the
exertion of strenuous eflort in austere prac tices for countless aeons in order to attain
enlightenment. The Pure Land school interprets the difficult-to-practice way as the
practice ofany sutra other than its three basic surras (the Amida, Mulyq-~'u and Kamm
ry6ju sutras In contrast, the "easy-to-practicewa, . yon the namues ofBudlas, rel
- upon theirg, r of salvation to attain enlig enment. The Igyo (E chapter he ~~iubiba,ha
Ron emphasizes salvation by the power ddha, saying that one can be reborn in the Pure
Land by calling on this Buddha's name. T'an-luan also adopted this classification in his
work Qj5 Ron CW. However, Nataijuna's intention was not to deny the benefit of the
difficult-to Frractice way ' ut to set forth the easy-to-practice way as a temporary
expedient to those lacking courage to persevere in the Buddhist practice. In other words, t1icJq-jWbasha
Ron presents the easy-to-practice wg, or calling upon the name of Amida or other
Buddhas, as a means, and th, F1 icult-to-practice way as the essential and fundamental
practice leading to Buddhahood.
- 35. This statement appears
in the Anraku ShF&
- 36. This statement appears in the 0jo
- 37. Three Pure Land sutras: The Mury6ju,
Kammury5ju and Amida sutras.
- 38. Oi5 Raisan.
- 39. Anraku S6.
- 40. Seven major temples of
Nara: Principal temples of Buddhism in Nara-T-odai-ji, K6fuku-ji, Gang&-ji, Daian-ji,
Yakushi-ji, Saidai-ji and H6ryEji.
- Lotus Sutra, chap. 23.
- 42. Ibid., chap. 17.
- 43. Ibid., chap. 14.
- 44. Ibid., chap. to.
- 45. Ibid., chap. 14.
- 46. Kumbhandas: Demons
which drain human vitality.
- 47. Lotus Sutra, chap. 23.
- 48 line verse of the Kanji 3
cha t r, which details the three powerful enemies who will attack the
All three of these quotations appear in the twenty fge votary e Lotus Sutra in the evil
latter age. The first quote comes from the passage, "There will be monks in that evil
th erverse views and hearts that are fawning and crooked who will s attained what they
have not attained, being proud and boastful at econd, from the passage, "Or there
will be forest-dwelling monks wearing clothing of patched rags and living in retirement
who will claim they are practicing the true Way, despising and looking down on the rest of
mankind"; and the third, from the passage, "In a muddied kalpa, in an evil age
there will be many different things to fear. Demons will take possession ofothers and
through them curse, revile and heap shame on us.-
- 49. Wise man: Nichiren Daishonin.
- 5o. A reference to Ryokan of
Gokuraku-ji temple and Daryra of Kencho-ji, among others.
- 51Ten mystic powers: Mystic ers
which Shakyamuni Buddha displays before transferring the essence Yth7, Lotus Sutra to the
Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
- 52. "All the beings ... cried
out ... Namu Shakyamum Buddha" refers to one of the Buddha's ten mystic powers and
means that all the beings in the ten directions converted to the Buddha's teachings.
Although the Lotus Sutra says that they cried "Namu Shakyamum Buddha:' it does not
mention that they cried "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo " in saying, Nichiren Daishonin
interprets the conversion of all the Beings as described in the Jinriki (21St) chapter to
mean the conversion of all people in the Latter Day to the Mystic Law.
- Hokke Mongu, vol. i.
- HokkeMongu Ki, vol. i.
"Inconspicuous benefit" here indicates the benefit of the Mystic Law.
- Shugo Kokkai Sho.
- Katsu: An ancient kingdom
extending from Manchuria to northern Korea. According to old maps, "a land to the
east of T'ang and to the west of Katsu" would indicate Japan.
- Five im urities: Impurities of the
age, of desire, of the people, of thought and of fife itself They are listed in the Hoben
(2.nd) chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
- Hokke ShRku.
- Kalpa of Continuance: One of the
four kalpas set forth in ancient Indian cosmology-the Kalpa of Formation, the Kalpa of
Continuance, the Kalpa of Decline and the Kalpa oF Disintegration. Durin this kalpa, a
cyclic increase and decrease in the human life span repeats itseg nineteen times.
"The ninth kalpa of decrease" means the ninth period of decrease.
- World of formlessness: One
division of the threefold world. A purely spiritual realm, the world of formlessness is
free from the restrictions of matter.
- Wu (464-549): The first ruler of
the Liang dynasty in China. Known as a man ofmagnanimous disposition, he deeply revered
Buddhism, read the Buddhist scriptures and lectured on them.
- His vow: A reference to a document
in which Errmeror Wu pledged not to follow the way of Taoism. he would rather sink into
the evil paths for a long period of st the True Law of Buddhism (yet nevertheless forming
a b n in Heaven by embracing the teachings of Lao Tzu with Buddhism). in the Guketsu, Nfiao-lo
expressed Emperor Wu's intention in different words, saying that he would rather be
Devadatta and sink into hell for a long period than be the non-Buddhist sage Udraka
Ramaputra and be reborn in Heaven. The Daishonin's version of Emperor Wu's vow essentially
follows that of Ntao-lo, the worZng INfers sliFtly. though it actually says that time for
~oing again ond with it) than be rebor (and form no connection
- Udraka Rarnaputra: A ermit and
master of ogc meditation, the second teacher under whom Shakyamum practiced airtcr 'he
renounced the world. According to the Daichido Ron, through the practice of
meditation Udraka Ramaputra attained rebirth in Heaven, specifically in the realm where
there is neither thought nor no thought, or the highest o0le four realms in the world of
- Bodhisattvas of the theoretical
teaching: Bodhisattvas instructed and ded by a provisional Buddha. In the pre-Lotus Sutra
teachings and in the tTeioretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamum did not reveal
his true identity, that is, his original enlightenment in the remote past of gohyakufintengo.
The bodhisattvas whom he taught in this provisional capacity are called bodhisattvas
of the theoretical teaching, and are said to appear in the two thousand years ofthe Former
and Middle Days. In contrast, the Bodhisattvas of the Earth are called the bodhisattvas
ofthe essential teaching, and are viewed as those charged with the task of propagating the
True Law in the Latter Day.
- Ten mystic principles: Principles
set forth by -rien-t'ai in the Hokke Gengi in interpreting the word myo of Myoho-renge-kyo,
the title of the Lotus Sutra. According toTien-t'ail these ten mystic principles are
all implicit in the single word myo. There are two categories of the ten mystic
principles: the ten mystic principles ot the theoretical teaching, and the ten mystic
principles of the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra. The ten mystic principles of the
theoretical teaching are based on the concept of "the true enitity of all phenomena.
He revealed in the Hoben (2nd) chapter that the ten mystic principles of the
essential teaching are based on the revelation of the Buddha's original enlightenment in
the remote past of gohyakujintengo as expounded in the Juryo (16th) chapter.
- This passage refers to the
"three standards of comparison." "Whether or not the process of instruction
is revealed from beginning to end" corresponds to the second standard. "Whether
or not the oiginal relationship between master and disciple is clarified" corresponds
to the third standard, and "Which teachings would lead to enlightenment and which
would not" corresponds to the first standard. The "three standards of
comparison" is explained in detail in the Glossary.
- That is, the year A.D. 67 in the
reign ofEmperor Ming of the Later Han dynasty.
- Exoteric and esoteric teachings:
Here, a classification of the four teach
ings of method set forth by'rien-t'ai. The four teachings of method, a classifica
tion of Shakyamuni's teachings according to how they were expounded, consist
of the sudden teaching, the gradual teaching, the secret teaching and the
indeterminate teach' Among them, the three teachings other than the secret
teachin Red exoteric teachings, because they were revealed
explicit secret teaching refers to those teachings which the
Buddh so that his listeners each benefit from them differ
ently according to their capacities without being aware of this. Because they
were in effect revealed secretly and are not accessible to everyone, these teach
ings are categorized as esoteric.
- Kashyapa Matanga and Chu-fa-lan:
Two Indian monks traditionally believed to have first introduced Buddhi s to China. The
Sanskrit for Chu-faIan is unknown. InA.D. 67 they travelgi India to Lo-yang in China at
the request of Emperor NEng of the Lateriagn-d-yiiasty and translate the ShyiinisW Sutra
at Pai-ma-ssu temple in Lo-yang.
- T"ien-tai lived frorn'llob to
597, or from 471 to 530 years after A.D. 67, traditionall regarded as the date of
Buddhism's first introduction to China.
- Chi -che: Title given to
T'ien-eai. Chih-che means wise man.
- 'rai-tsung (s98-649): The second
emperor of the T"ang dynasty.
- Twelve divisions of the
scriptures: A classification of all the Buddhist sutras according to their presentation,
style and content. The eighty thousand sacred teachings, mentioned immediately after, also
indicate all of the Buddha's teachings.
- Three Rulers: See p. 19, n.
- Five Emperors: See p. 19, n.
- Kao-ch'ang: A kingdom locafed in
the southern foothills of the Tien Shan mountains. In 640 'it was con iered by
Emperor Tai-tsung. L
- Koguryo: A kingdom establisre'd in
the first century B.C. in what is now northern Korea. In 668 it was
conquered by Emperor Kao-tsung, the third emperor of the T'an d nasty.
- Fa-tsang (643 7i2~- Thye
third patriarch of the Kegon school in China. He is often regarded as the founder of the
school because he contributed greatl to the systematization of the Kegon doctrine. He
learned the Kegon teachings from Chih-yen, and is said to have lectured on the Kegon Sutra
at the request of Empress Wu.
- Mudras and mantras: See
p. 57, n. 9.
- Three mysteries of body, mouth and
mind: A doctrine of esoteric Shingon. In terms of tice, the mystery of the body means the
making of mudras;the rnystery of mouth.(i.e:, speech) means the uttering of mantras;
and the mystery of the mind, meditation on an esoteric mandala or one of the figures
agpearing in it. The Shingon school teaches that through these three practices, t body,
mouth and mind of the common mortal are united with those of Dainichi Buddha, thus
enabling him to attain Buddhahood in his Present form.
- Buddhism was first introduced to
Japan in the thirteenth year of the reign of Emperor Kimmei (A.D. 552). Some
accounts give the year of introduction as 538.
Back to "The Selection
of the Time" Gosho
by Will Kallander