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Record of the Orally Transmitted
Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin

- Ongi Kuden -

Chapter 12: Devadatta [Daibadatta]

The sutra states, "There is the daughter of the Dragon King Sagara, who has just turned eight." (LS p. 187, 3LS p. 212)

Devadatta represents the world of hell. The 'dragon girl' represents the Buddha realm. However, the ten worlds are mutually possessed, which equal a hundred realms, a thousand realities and three thousand realms. Eight [years] represent the eight volumes [of the Lotus Sutra]. The eight years are the impurities that are our eight sufferings. One should bear in mind that, in its entirety, the attainment of Buddhahood set forth in the Lotus Sutra is represented by the eight years [of the dragon girl]. The eight sufferings are precisely the sutra's eight rolls, and these eight sufferings, being the eight rolls, appeared as the eight-year old dragon girl. (Gosho Zenshu p. 745)

Another interpretation is that 'eight' should be read as 'opening a jewel.' The 'jewel' indicates the one mind of the dragon girl, and 'opening,' the three thousand realms. Therefore, 'eight' is what is expressed by 'opening the Buddha's knowledge and insight.' [The passage] from "her wisdom has keen roots' to 'she is gentle and refined in will, capable of attaining bodhi" (LS p. 187) represents conversion to the Lotus Sutra. Within [this passage, the phrase] "[W]hen it comes to conceiving in mind and expounding by mouth" (LS p. 187) represents verbal actions; 'she is gentle and refined in will' represents mental actions and [the most profound store of secrets expounded by the Buddhas] she is able to accept and hold in its entirety, and 'she has entered deep into meditation' represents bodily actions. The three kinds of actions, being precisely the three virtues [of the Buddha], they are the Buddha nature of the three truths. (Gosho Zenshu p. 745)

"Conceiving in mind" (LS p. 187) represents the single thought-moment, and 'expounding by mouth' the three thousand realms. "Has been able to keep and embrace all" (LS p. 187) refers to the dragon girl's accepting and holding the Lotus Sutra. "Jewel" (LS p. 188) means the wish-granting jewel, the Mystic Law. 'Eight' means to open the Law within one's body and mind. (Gosho Zenshu p. 745)

The two Chinese characters 'dragon' and 'woman' are used to represent the dragon king's daughter. 'Dragon' refers to the father and 'woman' refers to his eight-year old daughter. The combination of both these Chinese characters indicates the Buddhahood of the father and daughter. The eight-year old dragon girl's attainment of Buddhahood [indicates that] the ancestral founder [of Japan] was an imperial ruler who upheld the sutra. The first of the human rulers was Emperor Jimmu. Emperor Jimmu was the son of Ugaya-fukiaezu-no-mikoto, who was the fifth in the five reigns of earth deities. This Ugaya-fukiaezu-no-mikoto was the son of Toyatama-hime, and Toyotama-hime was the daughter of the Dragon King Sagara, the elder sister of the eight-year old dragon girl. Thus, the ancestral founder was a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. (Gosho Zenshu p. 746)

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