The Essence of the Juryo Chapter
When the Lord Shakyamuni expounded the Juryo chapter, he said, making reference to what all living beings had heard in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings and in the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra: "All gods, men and asuras of this world believe that after leaving the palace of the Shakyas, Shakyamuni Buddha seated himself at the place of meditation not far from the city of Gaya1 and attained the supreme enlightenment."2 This statement shows the idea held by all the Buddhas disciples and the great bodhisattvas from the time they heard Shakyamuni preach his first sermon in the Kegon Sutra, up through the time he expounded the Anrakugyo3 chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
We find two flaws in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings. First, [as Miao-lo says,] "Because they teach that the Ten Worlds are separate from one another, they fail to move beyond the provisional doctrines."4 That is, they do not reveal the theory of ichinen sanzen, the principle of discarding the provisional and revealing the true,5 or the capacity of those in the two vehicles to attain Buddhahood, all of which are implicit in the doctrine of the ten factors stated in the Hoben chapter of the theoretical teaching.
Second, "Because they teach that Shakyamuni first attained enlightenment in this world, they fail to discard the Buddhas provisional status."6 Thus they do not reveal the Buddhas original enlightenment expounded in the Juryo chapter. These two great doctrines [the attainment of Buddhahood by those of the two vehicles and the Buddhas original enlightenment] are the core of the Buddhas lifetime teachings, the very heart and marrow of all the sutras.
The theoretical teaching states that persons in the two realms of shomon and engaku can attain Buddhahood, thus avoiding one of the shortcomings found in the sutras expounded during the first forty years and more of the Buddhas preaching. However, since the Juryo chapter had not yet been expounded, the true doctrine of ichinen sanzen remained obscure and the enlightenment of those in the two vehicles was not assured. In these respects the theoretical teaching does not differ from the moons reflection on the water or rootless plants drifting on the waves.
The Buddha also stated: "However, men of devout faith, the time is limitless and boundless - a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, hundred thousand, nayuta7 aeons -- since I in fact attained Buddhahood."8 With this single proclamation, he refuted as great falsehoods the words of the Kegon Sutra, which states that Shakyamuni attained Buddhahood for the first time in this world; the Avon sutras, which speak of his "first attainment of the path"; the Vimalakirti Sutra, which reads, "For the first time the Buddha sat beneath the tree"; the Daijuku Sutra, which states, "It is sixteen years since the Buddha first attained enlightenment"; the Dainichi Sutra, which describes the Buddhas enlightenment as having taken place "some years ago when I sat in the place of meditation"; the Ninno Sutra, which refers to the Buddhas enlightenment as an event of "twenty-nine years ago"; the Muryogi Sutra, which states, "Previously I went to the place of meditation"; and the Hoben chapter of the Lotus Sutra, which says, "When I first sat in the place of meditation."
When we come to the Juryo chapter of the essential teaching the belief that Shakyamuni attained Buddhahood for the first time in India is demolished, and the effects [enlightenment] of the four teachings9 are likewise demolished. When the effects of the four teachings are demolished, their causes are likewise demolished. "Causes" here refers to Buddhist practice [to attain enlightenment] or to the stage of disciples engaged in practice. Thus the causes and effects as expounded in both the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings and the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra are wiped out, and the cause and effect of the Ten Worlds10 in the essential teaching are revealed. This is the doctrine of original cause and original effect. It teaches that the nine worlds are all present in the beginningless Buddhahood, and that Buddhahood exists in the beginningless nine worlds. It is the true mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, the true hundred worlds and thousand factors,11 the true ichinen sanzen.
Considered in this light, it is evident that Vairochana Buddha seated on a lotus pedestal as depicted in the Kegon Sutra, the sixteen-foot Shakyamuni described in the Agon sutras,12 and the other provisional Buddhas mentioned in the Hodo, Hannya, Konkomyo, Amida and Dainichi sutras are no more than reflections of the Buddha of the Juryo chapter. They are like fleeting images of the moon in the sky mirrored on the surface of the water held in vessels of varying sizes. The learned priests and scholars of the many sects are first of all confused as to the meaning of the sutras upon which their own doctrines are based, and more fundamentally, they are ignorant of the teaching expounded in the Juryo chapter of the Lotus Sutra. As a result, they mistake the reflection of the moon on the water for the real moon shining in the sky. Some of them enter the water and try to grasp it with their hands, while others try to snare it with a rope. As the Great Teacher Tien-tai says, "They know nothing of the moon in the sky, but gaze only at the moon in the pond."13 He means that those attached to the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings or the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra are not aware of the moon shining in the sky but see only its reflection in the pond. The Sogi Ritsu14 also tells of five hundred monkeys who, emerging from the mountains, saw the moon reflected in the water and tried to seize it. However, as it was only a reflection they fell into the water and drowned. This writing equates the monkeys with Devadatta and the group of six monks [who lived in the Buddhas lifetime]15.
Were it not for the presence of the Juryo chapter among all the teachings of Shakyamuni, they would be like the heavens without the sun and moon, a kingdom without a king, the mountains and seas without treasures or a person without a soul. This being so, without the Juryo chapter, all the sutras are meaningless. Grass without roots will die in no time and a river without a source will not flow far. A child without parents is looked down upon. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the heart of the Juryo chapter, is the mother of all Buddhas throughout the ten directions and the three existences of past, present and future.
With my deep respect,
The seventeenth day of the fourth month
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 3, page 31.
Designed by Will Kallander