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Record of the Orally Transmitted
Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin

- Ongi Kuden -

Chapter 28: The Encouragement of Bodhisattva Universally Worthy [Fugen Bosatsu Kambotsu]

The sutra states, "World-Honored One, I now therefore employ my transcendental powers to guard and protect this sutra. And after the Thus Come One had entered extinction, I will cause it to be widely propagated throughout Jambudvipa and will see that it never comes to an end." (LS p. 322 3LS p. 341)

It is due to the awesome supernatural powers of Bodhisattva Fugen that people throughout the world will be able to practice the Lotus Sutra. It is because of the protection of Bodhisattva Fugen that kosen-rufu will be achieved. (Gosho Zenshu p. 780)

The sutra states, "Before long this person will proceed to the place of practice, conquer the devil hosts, and attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. He will turn the wheel of the Dharma, beat the Dharma drum, and sound the Dharma conch, and rain down the Dharma rain. He is worthy to sit in the lion seat of the Dharma, amid the great assembly of heavenly and human beings." (LS p. 323, 3LS p. 343)

'This person' refers to the votary of the Lotus Sutra. The place where he upholds and practices the teachings is the seat of Buddhahood. There is no need to leave this place and go elsewhere. The 'lion seat of the Dharma' is the place where people of the ten worlds reside. All of the mountains, valleys and fields where Nichiren and his disciples live and chant Daimoku are the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light, they need not leave their present place and go elsewhere. This is what is meant by [the phrase] 'the lion seat of the Dharma.' (Gosho Zenshu p. 781)

The sutra states, "Therefore, Universal Worthy, if you see a person who accepts and upholds this sutra, you should rise and greet him from afar, showing him the same respect you would a Buddha." (LS p. 3LS p. 343)

There is the ultimate inheritance [contained in the sutra]. Shakyamuni expounded an essential theme of the Lotus Sutra, which he preached for eight years, in the phrase of the eight characters and transferred it to the people of Latter Day of the Law. The eight characters mean [see the above]. The [above phrase] means, without fail, you should show the votary of the Lotus Sutra the same respect as you would a Buddha. (Gosho Zenshu p. 781)

The sutra states, "Before long this person will proceed to the place of practice." (LS p. 323, 3LS p. 343)

Question: The Lotus Sutra starts, at the beginning of the Jo Chapter, with the word 'this,' ["This is what I heard" (LS p. 3)] and ends, in the Fugen Chapter, with the word 'departed.' ["they bowed in obeisance and departed." (LS p. 324)] What teaching did the sutra's translator, the Tripitaka Master Kumarajiva, intend to express?

Answer: The two essential teachings of this sutra are the true aspect [of all phenomena as set forth in the Hoben chapter] and [Buddha's original enlightenment in] the remotest past [set forth in the Juryo chapter]. The initial word 'this' indicates the true aspect, and the concluding word 'departed' represents the remotest past. The reason is that the true aspect corresponds to principle [ri] and the [Buddha's original enlightenment in] the remotest past, to actuality [ji]. 'Principle has the meaning of emptiness [ku], and emptiness has the meaning of 'this.' In this way, 'this' corresponds to principle and to emptiness.

The Hokke Mongu states 'This' means 'not differing' and has precisely the meaning of emptiness. The remotest past corresponds to actuality. The reason is that the Juryo Chapter of the original teaching has, as its primary meaning, the principle of three thousand realms present in a single instant [ichinen sanzen]. 'Departed' corresponds to the past. 'Withdrew' has the meaning of 'opening.' 'This' has the meaning of 'integrating.' 'Opening' represents the mind that discriminates. 'Integrating' represents the mind that is without discrimination. When 'opening' and 'integration' are applied to the beings and the Buddha, then 'integration' represents the Buddha realm, and 'opening,' the realm of the beings. The word 'this' at the beginning of the Jo chapter represents the oneness of the Buddha and living beings. The theoretical teaching corresponds with the realm of non-duality, because it sets forth [the principle of] of the eternal and unchanging truth.

'This' of 'This is what I heard' is the principle of the unchanging truth. Of the three truths of emptiness [ku], provisional existence [ke] and the Middle Way [chudo], 'like' indicates emptiness, 'this' indicates the Middle Way, and 'I heard' corresponds to provisional existence. The theoretical teaching stresses [the truth of] Emptiness [ku] and therefore sets forth duality on the basis of non-duality. Thus, to express the aspect of duality, all the beings who hear [this sutra] equally are arranged in separate categories. 'Departed,' the last word of the essential [hommon] teaching, corresponds to wisdom that functions in accords with changing conditions and to the realm of duality. Hence the use of the word 'departed.' 'Departed' of 'they bowed in obeisance and departed' corresponds to the 'this' [nyo] of true wisdom [shinnyo] that accords with conditions. The essential teaching expounds duality on the basis of non-duality. Two and yet not two [nini funi], constantly identified and 'constantly differing, from past to present, spontaneous and unchanging' - one should ponder this commentary. This word 'departed' is also related to the five thousand who rise and depart from the assembly [in the Hoben-bon]. The reason is that, according to a transmission handed down, that these five thousand persons represent the five levels of defilement. These five levels of defilement bow to the Buddha who is one's own mind and depart. (Gosho Zenshu p. 782)

The two characters 'this' [nyo] and 'departed' [ko] are the two ways of birth and death. Nyo signifies that the Law is condensed into a single life and ko signifies the opening or merging of that life back into the universe. Ko means 'to open' and nyo means 'to combine.' Dengyo states, 'Departed' indicates the thus coming that is without coming and the 'perfect departing that is without departing.' The word 'this' [also] has the meaning of 'all dharmas are the mind' and the word 'departed' has the meaning of 'the mind is all dharmas.' 'All dharmas are the mind' corresponds to the eternal and unchanging true nature of phenomena expounded in the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra. 'The mind is all dharmas' corresponds with the unchanging true nature expounded in the essential teaching of the sutra. Thus, the world of Buddhahood being contained within the one mind has the meaning of 'this,' and [the mind] opening to become the world of Buddhahood has the meaning of 'departed.' This has the same meaning as the oral transmission concerning the three truths and the threefold contemplation. (Gosho Zenshu p. 782)

In another sense, 'this' indicates 'true,' and 'departed' indicates 'aspect.' 'True' indicates the Ninth Consciousness, and aspect the mental functions. Again, 'the dharmas' correspond to 'departed' and the 'true aspect,' to 'this.' The entirety of this sutra from beginning to end is contained in the phrase [in the Hoben chapter], 'the true entity of all phenomena [Shoho Jisso].' The commentary states, 'What is the essence of this sutra? It is the true entity of all phenomena.' (Gosho Zenshu p. 782-83)

Now proceeding a step further, in terms of Nichiren's practice, 'this' [nyo] indicates the 'practice that accords' [nyo] with teaching [the sutra] [nyosetsu shugyo]. When Shakyamuni pronounced the essential transmission of the five characters, [the events of this transmission] began with the Ken Hoto chapter of the sutra. His voice penetrating beneath the earth, he ensured that there would be someone [to propagate the sutra] in both near and distant times, declaring his entrustment [of the sutra] both to his original disciples and to those whom he had taught in his provisional capacity. Thus, the Ken Hoto Chapter serves as a hidden introduction to the essential teaching. With the two Buddhas, Shakyamuni and Taho, sitting side by side and the emanating Buddhas assembled, Shakyamuni expounded and revealed the excellent good medicine which is the Lotus Sutra. Manifesting ten types of supernatural powers, he summed it up in four phrases and entrusted it to Bodhisattva Jogyo. That which was transferred was the title of the Mystic Law. One should ponder the fact that the essential transfer occurred inside the Treasure Tower and the general transfer occurred outside of the tower. In this way, [the substance of the transfer] was revealed in the Yujutsu and Juryo chapters and [the transfer] concluded in the Jinriki and Zokurui Chapters. (Gosho Zenshu p. 783)

Regarding the five characters of Myoho Renge Kyo in the Latter Day of the Law, the sutra states, therefore, "a person of wisdom, hearing how keen are the benefits to be gained, after I have passed into extinction should accept and uphold this sutra. Such a person assuredly and without doubt will attain the Buddha way." (LS p. 276)  It is clear from this passage that in the Latter Day, when the True Law has become obscured and lost, Bodhisattva Jogyo will make his advent and, abbreviating four of the five practices, will attain Buddhahood by the single practice of embracing the five characters of Myoho Renge Kyo. (Gosho Zenshu p. 783)

This passage is perfectly clear and expresses the Buddha's transfer of merit. The mind-ground of one who accepts and holds this sutra is 'this' [nyo] in that it accords [nyo] with the teachings of the sutra. In the 'this' of this mind-ground, because one accepts and holds the five characters of Myoho Renge Kyo and chants the Daimoku, one immediately departs from all ignorance and defilement and manifests the ultimate fruit of wondrous enlightenment. Thus, the word 'departed' is used to conclude the sutra, and is accordingly preceded with the words "accepting and upholding the Buddha's words." (LS p. 324) Even the demon king of the defilements and evil insight, when illuminated by the light of all phenomena manifesting the true aspect, perceives that he pervades the universe in a single thought moment. Then he in turn salutes the Buddha, who is one's own mind; hence the phrase "they bowed in obeisance and departed." (LS p. 324)  One should ponder the interpretation that states 'the three thousand realms interpenetrate and yet each remain as they are.' This sole transmission [of the heritage of the Law] should be kept secret and not told to others. It has been taught that the ultimate meaning of the word 'departed' is the departure of 'not departing and yet departing.' (Gosho Zenshu p. 783)

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