of the Orally Transmitted
Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin
- Ongi Kuden -
Chapter 1: Introduction [Jo]
The sutra states "This is what I heard." (LS p. 3, 3LS p. 31)
'This is what I heard' means to listen to the meaning and significance of each passage and phrase of the (sutra's) 28 chapters as a teaching that expounds the reality of one's own life. That which is 'heard' is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Therefore, the sutra says, 'all attain the Buddha.' (Gosho Zenshu p. 794)
'This' indicates 'the substance of a doctrine heard from the Buddha' while 'what I heard' indicates 'a person who can uphold that doctrine' (Gosho Zenshu p. 709). The substance of a doctrine indicates Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Those who cannot believe are those who don't hear in the sense of "I heard." Only votaries of the Lotus Sutra are to be called those who hear." In this connection, the Hokke Mongu, vol. 1. states: "'This' is the word meaning belief and obedience. Through belief, one can understand the Law. Through obedience, the way of master and disciple is established. Only Nichiren and his disciples [deshi] may be called 'those who hear.'" (Gosho Zenshu p. 709)
The sutra states: "as a fire dies out when firewood is exhausted." (LS p. 20, 3LS p. 48)
The commentary reads: Kaudinya is a surname. Here (in China) we translate it as "a receptacle for fire" Aijinata belonged to the Brahman caste and his ancestors tended the sacrificial fire, hence the name of his clan. Fire has two functions, which are to illuminate and to burn. 'To illuminate' means that darkness does not arise (fusho). 'To burn' means that things are not produced. (fusho) Therefore, Aijinata takes 'unborn' as his surname.
"'Fire' indicates the wisdom fire of the Buddha nature. As for its twofold significance, illuminating indicates the wisdom of true being that accords with the conditions, while burning indicates the principle of true being that is eternal. The two words 'illuminating' and 'burning' (further) indicate the essential and theoretical teachings. That which is endowed with these two virtues of fire, illuminating and burning, is Namu Myoho Renge Kyo."
"Now when Nichiren and his disciples chant Namu Myoho Renge Kyo, they dispel the darkness of birth and death and cause the fire of nirvana's wisdom to burn before their eyes. When we realize birth and death are nirvana, this is 'illumination' meaning darkness does not arise. We burn the firewood of earthly desires and behold the fire of enlightened wisdom before our eyes. When we realize that worldly passions are enlightenment, that is burning which means that things are not produced. Considering the matter in this light, Kaundinya is ourselves, the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, who manifest the worldly passions being precisely enlightenment and birth and death being precisely nirvana." (Gosho Zenshu p. 710)
The sutra states: "There were the eight dragon kings: ..and King Ajatashatru, son of Vaidehi, with several hundreds of thousands of followers." (LS p. 5, 3LS p. 33)
"All the people of Japan have become Ajatashatru, killing the Buddhas who are their father and abusing the Lotus Sutra their mother. The Wu-liang I-ching states, 'The Buddhas are like the ruler of a county, and this sutra is like his consort. They unite to give birth to a bodhisattva who is their child. Those who slander the Law, even though they may now be in their mother's womb, are enemies of the Lotus Sutra. Are they not enemies who are yet to be born?' Additionally, Japan in the present age is filled with the three kinds of powerful enemies. Fix your mind on the phrase 'satru means enemy' and ponder it."
"Nichiren and his disciples avoid this grave slander. If persons who slander the Mystic Law take faith in the Lotus Sutra and devote themselves to Shakyamuni, how can they fail to eradicate the past slander of killing their mother and father? However, if the parents fail to take faith in the Lotus Sutra, perhaps they should be slain. For the mother, representing attachment to the provisional teachings, and the father, who is the failure to distinguish between expedient means and truth, are to be slain. Thus the commentary states: 'Because contemplation and understanding destroy the mother who is selfish attachment and the father, who is ignorance, they are called 'disobedience.' This disobedience is actually obedience. In committing this crime, one achieves the Way."
"Now in the Latter Day of the Law 'contemplation and understanding' means the contemplation and understanding that are the Daimoku. A child is disobedient when killing one's parents. However, to kill one's mother and father who fail to take faith in the Lotus Sutra is obedience. This is the meaning of 'disobedience is obedience.' I, Nichiren and my disciples have the Ajashartru nature. Therefore, if we take up the sword of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, we can slay the fundamental delusions (father) and greedy attachments (mother) within us and achieve Buddhahood like Shakyamuni. When applied to the three powerful enemies in the Kanji [13th Chapter of the Lotus Sutra], greedy attachment means the first enemy which are lay persons and delusion corresponds to the second and third enemies who are monks." (Gosho Zenshu p. 710)
The sutra states: "At that time, the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows, one of his characteristic features, which lit up eighteen thousand worlds in the eastern direction. There was no place that the light did not penetrate, reaching downward as far as the Avichi hell and upward to the Akanishtha Heaven." (LS p. 6, 3LS p. 34)
"This passage indicates that the beings of the ten worlds will all attain Buddhahood. That Devadatta attained Buddhahood is clear from this passage. Devadatta's attainment of Buddhahood is expounded following the Ken Hoto [11th Chapter of the Lotus Sutra], in the section of the text setting forth the two admonitions. But Devadatta already attained Buddhahood when the above passage was expounded. The word 'reach' refers to the extent of the [the ray of light sent forth from] the tuft of white hair [between the Buddha's brows]." (Gosho Zenshu p. 711)
"The light from the white tuft of hair is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 'Upward to the Akanishitha Heaven' indicates the truth of emptiness (ku). 'Reaching downward to the Avichi Hell' represents the truth of provisional existence, and the ray of light itself represents the Middle Way. From this, [it is evident] that all beings of the ten worlds attain Buddhahood simultaneously. The prediction of his Buddhahood in the Devadatta [12th] Chapter [of the Lotus Sutra], was only to confer upon him the title of the Buddha, Heavenly King." (Gosho Zenshu p. 712)
"Now in terms of the attainment of Buddhahood by living beings and their environments, the passage 'reaching downward as far as the Avichi Hell' indicates the attainment of Buddhahood in the environment, while the prediction that Devadatta will attain Buddhahood indicates the attainment of Buddhahood by living beings. Both living beings and their environments attain Buddhahood by means of the Law." (Gosho Zenshu p. 712)
When Nichiren and his disciples recite the Lotus Sutra and chant Daimoku for the sake of those who have passed away, the light of our Daimoku will enter the Avichi Hell, enabling them to attain Buddhahood. The principle of offering prayers for the deceased is derived from this phrase [as above] in the Lotus Sutra. Although one holds no faith in the sutra and falls into the Avichi Hell, his filial offspring who practice the Lotus Sutra can surprisingly bring about a reversal of his situation through the light of their Daimoku. Thus I, Nichiren infer from this passage 'reaching downward as far as the Avichi Hell' that the Buddha emitted the ray of light to cause Devadatta to attain Buddhahood." (Gosho Zenshu p. 712)
The sutra states: "Heavenly drums sounded of themselves." (LS p. 16, 3LS p. 46)
This phrase praising the omens, which were identical in both this world and the other worlds, means that the Buddha preached spontaneously without being asked. 'Preaching spontaneously without being asked' means that Shakyamuni Buddha expounded the Lotus Sutra without being requested to do so. Nichiren and his disciples are those who 'preach spontaneously without being asked.' We declare [The Four Dictums that say] 'Nembutsu leads to the hell of incessant suffering, Zen is the work of devils, Shingon will destroy the nation and Ritsu is traitorous. This we preach without being asked to. Thus, the three kinds of powerful enemies arise.
'Heavenly drums' indicate Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 'Of themselves' means without obstacle. 'Sounded' means the sound of one's voice when chanting. In another sense, all living beings freely uttering words and speech, sounds and voices, is "preaching spontaneously without being asked." The cries of the Aboratsu [hell guardians] rebuking evil-doers, the groans of those starving in the realm of hungry ghosts, and the thoughts of all sentient beings arising one by one from the three poisons of greed, anger, and stupidity are all spontaneous preaching. The essence of all these sounds and voices is Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. Both the origin and trace teachings and the five characters of Myoho Renge Kyo are the 'heavenly drums.' 'Heavenly' means the 'heaven' that is the supreme meaning. 'Preaching spontaneously' means the preaching of the self-enjoyment body.
The commentary states: "Preaching spontaneously" means that at the beginning of the Hoben [2nd] Chapter [of the Lotus Sutra], the Buddha arose from meditation and addressed Shariputra, praising [the wisdom of the Buddhas] both extensively and briefly. [By means of the auspicious signs manifested in] both this world and other worlds, he expressed [the profundity of the Law] that exhausts the power of words. Whether explained as the object [of meditation] or as the wisdom [that fathoms the Law] is precisely the basis of the entire sutra and the core of the five periods. This is no trivial matter.
The 'basis of the entire sutra and the core of the five periods' referred to in this commentary is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. (Gosho Zenshu p. 713)
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