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Record of the Orally Transmitted
Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin

- Ongi Kuden -

Chapter 2: Expedient Means [Hoben]

"The five characters of Myoho Renge Kyo represent the Ninth Consciousness while the Hoben-bon presents the levels from the eighth to the first consciousness. The ninth consciousness is the world of Buddhahood, while the eighth to the first levels are the realm of delusion. Since this chapter is entitled Myoho Renge Kyo Hoben bon, this indicates that delusion and Buddhahood are not two separate things. This means that all of the myriad phenomena and the three thousand realms there are part of the truth of the expedient means of Myoho Renge Kyo." (Gosho Zenshu p. 794)

The sutra states, "Shariputra, ever since I attained Buddhahood I have…used countless expedients means to guide living beings and cause them to leave all attachments." (LS p. 24, 3 LS p. 51)

The world 'leave' should read 'perceive' which [attachments] are proper. (Gosho Zenshu p. 773)

The sutra states, "The wisdom of the Buddha is infinitely profound and immeasurable. The door to this wisdom is difficult to understand and difficult to enter. Not one of the voice-hearers or pratykabuddhas is able to comprehend it." (LS p. 23, 3LS p. 51)

'[D]oor to this wisdom' means faith. (Gosho Zenshu p. 715)

The sutra states, "The true entity of all phenomena can only be understood and shared between Buddhas." (LS p. 24, 3LS p. 52)

That all living things are the Buddha of the True Entity of all Phenomena is a wonderful thing, an unfathomable thing! But persons who slander the Law are at present unaware of this fact. Therefore it is referred to as secret. Even persons who are called great slanderers of the Law will, in time, come to accept and uphold Myoho Renge Kyo. This is the purpose of the Hoben [2nd] chapter of the Lotus Sutra. But in the end, persons who slander the Law and fail to have faith in it are disciples of provisional teachings outside the body of the truth, the teachings represented by the two types of expedient teachings known as 'functional expedients' and 'truth gateway expedients.' Now Nichiren and his disciples who recite Nam Myoho Renge Kyo are observers of the secret and mystic expedient teaching, which is within the body of the truth. (Gosho Zenshu p. 714)

The sutra states, "Because the Buddhas, the World Honored Ones, appear in this world for one great reason alone. Shariputra, what does it mean to say that the Buddhas, the World Honored Ones, appear in the world for one great reason alone? The Buddhas, the World Honored ones wish to open the door of Buddha wisdom to all living beings, to allow them to attain purity. That is why they appear in the world." (LS p. 31, 3LS p. 59)

The Hokke Mongu states, 'People develop seeking spirit to aspire to the Buddha's advent; that is the inherent cause [for the Buddha's advent]. The Buddha perceives that spirit and responds to it; that is the external cause.' Sensing the capacity of the people the Buddha takes action accordingly. (Gosho Zenshu p. 716)

What does Bodhisattva Fukyo's profound respect for people signify? The real meaning of Lord Shakyamuni's appearance in this world lay in his behavior as a human being. People develop the seeking spirit to aspire to the Buddha's advent, that is the inherent cause (for his advent). The Buddha perceives that spirit and responds to it; that is the external cause. To 'open' is another name for faith. (Gosho Zenshu p. 716)

Our head represents the character Myo, our throat represents Ho, our chest represents Ren, our stomach represents the character ge and our legs represent the character kyo. One's five-foot body is the five characters of Myoho Renge Kyo themselves. When we reveal our Buddha wisdom, that our whole body represents the five characters of Myoho Renge Kyo, we attain Buddhahood in our present form. (Gosho Zenshu p. 716)

The sutra states, "Shariputra, the Thus Come Ones have only a single Buddha vehicle which they employ in order to preach the Law to living beings. They do not have any other vehicle, a second one or a third one." (LS p. 31, 3LS p. 60)

[Regarding the Great Vehicle] 'Ichi' [one] represents the life-moment [ichinen] and 'dai' [great] indicates conditions of life [sanzen]. What creates the condition of life are the internal and external causes of reality. 'Ichi' refers to chutai [entity], dai to kutai [potential] and ji to ketai [form]. What is meant by the perfect unity of the three truths?  It is that which is called Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

The sutra states, "These Buddhas simply teach and convert bodhisattvas. They do it because they wish to show the Buddha wisdom to living beings." (LS p. 32, 3LS p. 60)

The Buddha is in fact the beings of the nine worlds. (Gosho Zenshu p. 717)

The sutra states, "The Buddhas appear in the evil ages of the five impurities. These are the so-called impurity of age, impurity of desire, impurity of living beings, impurity of view, and impurity of lifespan." (LS p. 32, 3LS p. 61)

The fourth volume of the Hokke Mongu states, 'impurity of age' indicates a time when the other four impurities all increase violently. By an increase in anger, warfare arises. By an increase in greed, famine arises. By an increase in stupidity, pestilence arises. Because these three calamities occur, the people's earthly desires grow all the more intense and their false views thrive and multiply. (Gosho Zenshu p. 718)

The sutra states, "When he [the Buddha] had spoken these words, there were some five thousand monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen in the assembly who immediately rose from their seats, bowed to the Buddha, and withdrew. What was the reason for this? These persons had roots of guilt that were deep and manifold, and it addition they were overbearingly arrogant. What they had not attained they supposed they had attained, what they had not understood they supposed they understood. And because they had this failing, they did not remain where they were." (LS p. 30, 3LS p. 59)

The Hokke Mongu states, 'Because they conceal their failings, flaunt their virtues' refers to arrogance. 'Incapable of self-reflection' refers to self-importance. (Gosho Zenshu p. 718)

These five thousand persons are inherent in the earthly desires and sufferings of the five dwellings, which exist in our lives. When we now encounter the Lotus Sutra, arrogance is opened [to reveal it] as being precisely as Buddhahood. There is no departure in this departing of the five thousand arrogant ones because, in light of the enlightenment of the Lotus Sutra, the five levels of defilement are originally inherent and constantly exist as the fundamental darkness of life. (Gosho Zenshu p. 719-20)

The sutra states, "When the voice-hearers and bodhisattvas hear the Law that I preach, as soon as they have heard one verse, they will all without doubt be certain of attaining Buddhahood. In the Buddha land of the ten directions they is only the Law of the one vehicle, there are not two, there are not three." (LS p. 35, 3LS p. 64)

The Nam Myoho Renge Kyo that Nichiren now chants will enable all living beings throughout the ten thousand years of Latter Day of the Law to attain Buddhahood. The 'one vehicle' is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. (Gosho Zenshu p. 720)

The sutra states, "Shariputra, you should know that at the start I took a vow, hoping to make all persons equal to me, without any distinction between us, and what I long ago hoped for has now been fulfilled." (LS p. 36, 3LS p. 65)

'I' means Shakyamuni who is the Buddha since time without beginning. He is the teacher of true Buddhism, which are actually we common mortals. The Juryo [16th] chapter says we are Buddhas with the three enlightened properties of life. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo that I, Nichiren now chants will enable all people throughout Latter Day of the Law to attain Buddhahood. Is this not the meaning of this [above] passage? 'Now' because it is the Daimoku that I chanted on April 4th, 1253. Without a doubt, the great beneficial medicine of Myoho will cure the great disease, of ignorance, that afflicts all people. Thinking of this, I feel 'fulfilled.' For common mortals, fulfillment means to attain Buddhahood."  (Gosho Zenshu p. 720)

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