Mixing the Worship of Statues and Images, Shinto, Hinayana or Theravada Practices With the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra, part 3 of 3 +
________ Table of Contents, part 1 _______________
... The Issue At Hand
... Slanders of the True Aspect of All Phenomena
... Slanders of the eternal Buddha
... Slanders of the common mortal as true Buddha
... Slanders of the Gohonzon
... Slanders of the Daimoku
... The Slander of Gradualism
________ Table of Contents, part 2 _______________
... Slanders of the legacy of the Buddhas
... Mixing Extraneous Practices with
... the Practice of the Lotus Sutra
... The Next Issue At Hand
... The Costs and Benefits
... of Expedient Means
... The Emergence of the Gohonzon
________ Table of Contents, part 3 _______________
... Examining "Opening the Eyes" and
... "Eye-Opening" Gosho Letters, By Date
... One Foot on the Station
... and One Foot on the Train
part 3 of 3, continued from part 2 of 3:
________ Examining "Opening the Eyes" and ________
________ "Eye-Opening" Gosho Letters, By Date ____
1. In 1264, Nichiren Daishonin wrote this to an unnamed recipient, in the Gosho "Opening the Eyes of Wooden and Painted Images" and this was well before the Gohonzon had emerged as the true object of devotion, p. 87:
.. Our contemporary scholars of the Tendai school think that
.. they alone have mastered the doctrine of three thousand
.. realms in a single moment of life. Yet they equate the
.. Lotus Sutra with the Flower Garland Sutra or with the
.. Mahavairochana Sutra. Their arguments do not go beyond even
.. Ch'eng-kuan's views but remain on the same level as those
.. of Shan-wu-wei and Pu-k'ung. In the final analysis, when
.. the eye-opening ceremony for a newly made wooden or painted
.. image is conducted by True Word priests, the image becomes
.. not a true Buddha but a Buddha of the provisional
.. teachings. It does not even become a Buddha of the
.. provisional teachings. Even though it may resemble the
.. Buddha in appearance, in reality it remains the same
.. insentient plant from which it originated. Moreover, it
.. does not even remain an insentient plant; it becomes a
.. devil or a demon. This is because the erroneous doctrine of
.. the True Word priests, expressed in mudras and mantras,
.. becomes the mind of the wooden or painted image. This is
.. like those instances in which the mind causes a person to
.. alter and turn into a rock, as happened with Uluka or Kapila.
.. Unless one who has grasped the essence of the Lotus Sutra
.. conducts the eye-opening ceremony for a wooden or painted
.. image, it will be as if a masterless house were to be
.. occupied by a thief, or as if, upon death, a demon were to
.. take possession of one's body. When, in present-day Japan,
.. eye-opening ceremonies for the Buddha images are conducted
.. according to the True Word rite, demons occupy them and
.. deprive people of their lives, for a demon is also known as
.. a robber of life. Moreover, devils enter those images and
.. deprive people of benefits; another name for a devil is a
.. robber of benefit. Because the people worship demons, they
.. will bring the country to ruin in their present lifetime,
.. and because they revere devils, they will fall into the
.. hell of incessant suffering in the next.
This is the world of Japanese Buddhism that Nichiren Daishonin and his followers faced. They were the "facts on the ground", so to speak. Funeral Buddhism had gone rampant: greedy priests manufacturing new and utterly corrupt rituals to obtain money from the people, who were powerless to stop these bloodsuckers. Their innovative rituals surrounded every part of life from birth to death and long afterwards. They anointed every object inside the house and outside of it with whatever corrupt distortion of Buddhism was predominating in the village.
Every tool and farm implement, every field, every harvest needed priestly intervention. This is simply Shinto and pantheism worldwide, writ in fine point: the gods control your lives in every detail, you have no power, you need the emissaries of the gods to intercede for you to let the gods know that you are observant in every possible way and completely subservient to the will of the gods, and BTW, the Buddhas are below the gods, too, and you are not even one of those.
[Pantheism or polytheism evolves from folk or local indigenous religions (locked into one location and non-portable,) such as animism, shamanism and totemism, which all start out as worshiping the forces of nature and the sources of food, water, fertility and energy. If the hunt or the harvest was inexplicably unsuccessful or successful, groups would look at patterns of behavior preceding or following those activities, or objects accompanying them that led to those outcomes: those lucky or unlucky practices, objects and sometimes, people, were pattern-recognized as being crucial to their respective outcomes. These identified patterns of behavior and objects became codified in corresponding rituals, the objects received devotion, and those remembering (or innovating) the rules of those rituals and objects became shamans and they received sacrificial offerings, evolving later into simply offerings. Forces of nature and the animals being hunted or cultivated became deified into statues, images and idols with widely recognizable names and appearances, they got shrines for sacrifices and offerings, and soon you have a portable version of these belief systems leading to empire: Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Norse, India, and Shenism of the Chinese, which became centralized with Taoism and Shen Dao worship of the nature and the gods of nature, and which later evolved into the Shinto of the Japanese. These are all the religions of the empire-builders and they lead to the deification of powerful leaders (who become the descendants of the gods) and their royal kin, and ultimately to Emperor worship. This is why idolatry has always led to expansionism and warfare (Kim's North Korea and Hussein's Iraq come to mind as modern examples.)]
After the ritualistic intervention of the local priest, whatever went wrong was YOUR fault, and then you would need more intervention to fix that. What a perfect scam that is!
So, of course, every possibly religious object in the possession of common people had to have its eyes opened or be blessed by the local priest (who required payment before and after, for each item that might be blocking your good fortune from coming through) to cease that religious object being inanimate or possessed by something unpleasant.
This all fosters and magnifies a slavish mindset that is completely counter to the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra, where the common mortal is the true Buddha, and every living being shares in the heritage of the Law, received from their parents as the three bodies of the Buddha. So, we don't really need intercession from priests now, in the modern age.
So, in the defense of his members, Nichiren Daishonin correctly declares that using provisional teachings and practices (typically True Word Tantric) in an eye-opening or other funeral Buddhist ceremony of any kind is a slander of the Buddha's highest teaching, the Lotus Sutra.
He also reminds them that the true Buddha who preaches the Lotus Sutra (anyone chanting or even hearing Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is manifesting the true Buddha), is not the provisional Buddha who preached the Flower Garland Sutra as an expedient means, since the Flower Garland Sutra identifies some of the the benefits of the enlightenment of the Lotus Sutra, but not the means of attaining enlightenment. He also points out that the Buddha preaching the Lotus Sutra is certainly not Mahavairochana, the object of devotion of the True Word priests.
In this sense, doing shakubuku and "breaking" them away from these evil priests, requires co-opting the eye-opening practices. This is an expedient means and every time you do shakubuku, you have to buy into the other person's mindset to relate to them and connect, as Shakyamuni did in his connecting teachings and Nichiren Daishonin does here in the eye-opening ceremony. Evil presents you with a choice between a bad option and a much worse option, with no other immediate alternatives other than cutting and running from the battle as a coward.
Expedient means is ALWAYS involved in shakubuku to some degree, and expedient means is ALWAYS an open wound of some kind that will have to be dealt with later, after the battle. The cost that you MOST CERTAINLY WILL PAY is unknown. That is why the Bodhisattvas of the Earth are much, much tougher than the followers of Shakyamuni, who volunteered to spread the Lotus Sutra in the Ceremony in the Air, and were rejected by the Buddha as not up to the task of Kosen Rufu in favor of we who follow Nichiren Daishonin, the Bodhisattva Jogyo.
Nichiren Daishonin ALWAYS pays the price: he never, ever runs from a fight. He is forming a Sangha and needs to protect and retain his followers, for the mission of Kosen Rufu, but he never sacrifices his main objective: getting people to practice his Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and nothing slanderous, eventually to the supreme object of devotion and nothing else vastly inferior.
However, in 1264, the Gohonzon had not yet emerged and he was co-opting the eye-opening ceremony of the True Word priests in the defense of his followers, and NICHIREN DAISHONIN MUST NOT BE SECOND-GUESSED OR HAVE HIS EXPEDIENT MEANS CODIFIED INTO A DISTORTION OF HIS MAIN OBJECTIVE, which is the practice of chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the Gohonzon and nothing else.
The cost and collateral damage of this particular expedient means remains with us today in the form of the statue worshipers of Nichiren Shu, who would boot Nichiren Daishonin out as the Buddha of the Later Day of the Law, in favor of the Buddha of the Former Day of the Law Shakyamuni, the Lord of Teachings, being worshiped and exalted as God Almighty in a practice of idolatry that was questionable, even in the Middle Day of the Law.
From "The Opening of the Eyes", WND I, p. 271 (upper-cased for emphasis and focus):
.. It also says: "At that time, this sutra will be widely
.. propagated throughout Jambudvipa. In that age there will be
.. evil monks who will steal this sutra and DIVIDE IT INTO
.. MANY PARTS, LOSING THE COLOR, SCENT, AND FLAVOR of the
.. correct teaching that it contains. These evil men will read
.. and recite this sutra, but THEY WILL IGNORE AND PUT ASIDE
.. THE PROFOUND AND VITAL PRINCIPLES THAT THE THUS COME ONE
.. HAS EXPOUNDED IN IT AND REPLACE THEM WITH ORNATE RHETORIC
.. AND MEANINGLESS TALK. They will tear off the first part of
.. the sutra and stick it on at the end, tear off the end and
.. put it at the beginning, put the end and the beginning in
.. the middle and the middle at the beginning or the end. You
.. must understand that these evil monks are the companions of
.. the devil."
Here, Nichiren Daishonin is correctly refuting the method of operation of the followers of Nichiren Shu in codifying their distortions of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra into a watered down Shinto or Hindu practice of idolatry and worshiping deities above the Buddhas, who definitely do not include you.
2. In 1270, Nichiren Daishonin wrote this to Toki Jonin, in the Gosho "Concerning the Statue of Shakyamuni Buddha Made by Toki," and this was still well before the Gohonzon was inscribed, WND II, p. 354:
.. With regard to the statue of Shakyamuni Buddha you have
.. made, in fact you have made and revealed the Buddha of
.. three thousand realms in a single moment of life, which
.. since time without beginning had never been revealed! I am
.. eager to go at once and face it. This is what is meant by
.. the words "The Buddhas wish to open the door of Buddha
.. wisdom to all living beings," and "In truth the time since
.. I attained Buddhahood [is extremely long]."
.. Nevertheless, you had best lose no time in having Iyo-bo
.. perform the eye-opening ceremony. HAVE HIM RECITE THE LOTUS
.. SUTRA IN ITS ENTIRETY AND IMBUE THE SIX SENSE ORGANS OF THE
.. BUDDHA WITH IT. And in this manner change the statue into
.. the living body of the lord of teachings, Shakyamuni, and
.. reverently welcome and enshrine him. I also think that this
.. will be impossible without the presence of you and your
.. son. Regarding the Buddhist hall on your estate, Acharya
.. Daishin knows all about it. You must make absolutely
.. certain to face the Buddha image in prayer and form a bond
.. with the Buddha.
.. You once made offerings to the god Daikoku, and I wonder
.. whether, after that, you encountered nothing to lament in
.. your daily life. This time, please believe that your good
.. fortune will increase, as the sea tide swells and as the
.. moon waxes full, and that your life will lengthen and you
.. will be reborn on Eagle Peak.
Here, Nichiren Daishonin suggests that the eye-opening be performed by reciting the ENTIRE Lotus Sutra. Now, at 69,384 characters, recited at the difficult to maintain speed of one per second ... that would take 19 hours and 16 minutes in a single unbroken session, which is impossible.
That would be the approach required by those followers of Nichiren Shu who would chide the SGI members, saying that we have abandoned the recitation of the long prose section of the Juryo Chapter of the Lotus Sutra in the SGI Gongyo, only now reciting the short verses section of the Jigage.
Of course the secret mystic expedient explained by Sensei (which is not really an expedient means at all) is Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, that "all entities ARE the true entity."
So, chanting one daimoku is reciting all 69,384 characters of the Lotus Sutra, but of course Toki Jonin's priest Iyo-bo suggesting the eye-opening would not grasp that point.
There is a historical aspect to this story, which demonstrates the collateral damage imposed by expedient means. The priest Iyo-bo performing the eye-opening ceremony here is Toki Jonin's son, who would become one of the Five Senior priests who betrayed Nichiren Daishonin after his death in the treasonous formation of Nichiren Shu.
"A stone place just outside the cone of Mt. Fuji, will invariably find its way to the bottom." - Nikko Shonin.
The Five Senior Priests from the SGI Dictionary:
.. five senior priests [???] (Jpn go-roso): Five of the six
.. senior priests, excluding Nikko (1246–1333), designated by
.. Nichiren shortly before his death as his principal
.. disciples. They are Nissho (1221–1323), Nichiro (1245–1320),
.. Niko (1253–1314), Nitcho (1252–1317), and Nichiji (b. 1250).
.. On the eighth day of the tenth month, 1282, at the residence
.. of his lay follower and supporter Ikegami Munenaka in
.. Musashi Province, Nichiren named six senior priests whom he
.. entrusted with the responsibility of propagation in their
.. respective areas after his death. He selected them because
.. of the outstanding efforts and contributions they had made
.. to the dissemination of his teachings. Among them, he
.. formally designated Nikko as his successor. After Nichiren's
.. death, however, the other five refused to follow Nikko. They
.. gradually departed from Nichiren's teachings, compromising
.. with schools their teacher had refuted as erroneous and
.. misleading. On Refuting the Five Priests, completed in 1328
.. by Nichijun, the second chief instructor of Omosu Seminary,
.. describes the differences between Nikko and the five senior
.. priests from six viewpoints: (1) While the five officially
.. declared themselves to be priests of the Tendai school,
.. Nikko identified himself as a disciple of Nichiren, whom he
.. regarded as the reincarnation of the bodhisattva Superior
.. Practices. (2) While the five belittled those letters of
.. Nichiren that were written in a mixture of Chinese
.. characters and Japanese kana syllabary, Nikko treasured
.. them, calling them Gosho, honorable writings. In those days
.. formal documents were written in classical Chinese. (3)
.. While the five regarded the theoretical teaching (first
.. half) and the essential teaching (latter half) of the Lotus
.. Sutra as equal in merit, Nikko held that the former is
.. inferior to the latter. (4) While the five revered images of
.. Shakyamuni Buddha as the object of devotion, Nikko revered
.. Nichiren's mandala (i.e., Gohonzon). (5) While the five read
.. the entire Lotus Sutra in their practice, Nikko recited only
.. the key chapters (i.e., the "Expedient Means" and the "Life
.. Span" chapters). (6) While the five worshiped at Shinto
.. shrines, Nikko prohibited such worship. See also Guidelines
.. for Believers of the Fuji School, The; On Refuting the Five
The BENEFITS OF EXPEDIENT MEANS, which are the formation of a critical mass of a Sangha of followers of Nichiren Daishonin who will remain true followers with Nikko Shonin after Nichiren's death, are purchased at the COST OF EXPEDIENT MEANS, that cost in the form here of the distortions of Nichiren Shu idolatry and the raising of Shakyamuni through deification into the form of god almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
At this point in history, the Gohonzon, "the supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa" has still not emerged yet.
3. In 1271, Nichiren Daishonin wrote this as a guide, rebuking the True Word eye-opening practices, in the Gosho writing "Dialogues for Quick Victory", WND II, p. 404-405:
.. If the questioner asks what sutra the Lotus school relies
.. upon for its descriptions of mudras and the extraordinary
.. physical characteristics of the Buddha, asserting that,
.. since these are not described in the exoteric teachings,
.. the mudras have been stolen from the True Word, and asks
.. your opinion on this:
.. Reply by asking if this is why the questioner slanders the
.. Lotus Sutra.
.. Ask whether, if the questioner's charge of theft is false,
.. he would admit that the True Word teachings bring ruin to
.. the nation.
.. Ask whether the questioner would agree that, ultimately,
.. THE OBJECT OF DEVOTION UPON WHICH THE LOTUS SCHOOL FOUNDS
.. ITSELF [IS NOT A BUDDHA] BUT IS IN FACT THE LOTUS SUTRA OF
.. THE WONDERFUL LAW ITSELF.
.. Ask whether, since the True Word school claims that figures
.. of Shakyamuni must be fashioned on the basis of [the
.. eye-opening ritual of] the three True Word sutras, this is
.. any reason for defaming Shakyamuni by calling him a
.. "three-bodied donkey- or ox-Buddha." Berate the questioner
.. by saying that, if this is so, then he is slandering his
.. own True Word teachings by speaking in this manner.
.. Point out that the mudras and extraordinary physical
.. characteristics of the Buddhas of the three existences of
.. past, present, and future in fact originate from the Lotus
.. Sutra of the Wonderful Law. If the questioner concedes this
.. point, then insist that ultimately the True Word teachings
.. must be viewed as a doctrine that leads to the ruin of the
.. nation. And ask if he will admit that the True Word
.. teachers are guilty of theft [for having stolen the Lotus
.. school's doctrine of three thousand realms in a single
.. moment of life].
.. Point out that at Eagle Peak the dragon king's daughter in
.. her present existence manifested the mudras and physical
.. characteristics of a Buddha and, moving to the southern
.. region, announced that she had attained Buddhahood. Ask if
.. she was able to do this through the power of the True Word
.. teachings. If the questioner says yes, then immediately
.. challenge him to produce a passage in the sutras to support
.. his contention.
Note here that in addition to refuting the True Word eye-opening slanders, he berates them for declaring Shakyamuni a "3-bodied donkey", this is defamation of the 3 bodies of the Buddha, which all living beings receive from their parents at birth. The True Word priests slander the 3 bodies of the Buddha directly, whereas the Nichiren Shu slander the three bodies indirectly, stating that they belong only to Shakyamuni and that he only possesses our crude forms with his three bodies, only allowing us to SHARE HIS BUDDHAHOOD. To them it is as though Nichiren Daishonin had never lived and preached that the common mortal is the true Buddha.
Note also that Nichiren states "Ask whether the questioner would agree that, ultimately, the object of devotion upon which the Lotus school founds itself [IS NOT A BUDDHA] but is in fact the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law itself." This is why the Gohonzon is not a statue nor an image of a living being (or a sculptor's pretty-boy model posing as Shakyamuni,) but is instead a scroll with Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo printed down the middle.
Nichiren Daishonin gives Shakyamuni his due as the Lord of Teachings just to the left on the top of the Gohonzon, without deifying him into God Almighty. Instead, the Daishonin identifies the object of devotion as Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo in the largest characters print down the middle of the Gohonzon.
At this point in history, the Gohonzon, "the supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa" has still not emerged yet, although it must be emerging at this time.
4. In 1272, on the twentieth day of the second month, Nichiren Daishonin wrote this to Sairen-bo rebuking the True Word eye-opening practices, in the Gosho "The Oral Tradition regarding the Enlightenment of Plants", WND II, p. 429:
.. Question: Does the enlightenment of plants pertain to
.. sentient beings or to insentient beings?
.. Answer: The enlightenment of plants pertains to insentient
.. Question: Are both sentient and insentient beings assured
.. of attaining enlightenment in the Lotus Sutra?
.. Answer: That is correct.
.. Question: What proof of this can be cited?
.. Answer: The proof is in the words Myoho-renge-kyo. The word
.. myoho represents the attainment of enlightenment by
.. sentient beings; the word renge represents the attainment
.. of enlightenment by insentient beings. Sentient beings
.. attain enlightenment in life, insentient beings attain
.. enlightenment in death. The attainment of enlightenment in
.. life and death refers to the attainment of enlightenment by
.. sentient and insentient beings. Hence, when we living
.. beings die, wooden toba memorial tablets1 are set up, and
.. eye-opening ceremonies are conducted to consecrate them.
.. This is an example of attainment of enlightenment in death,
.. or the enlightenment of plants.
Later in the same Gosho, he makes a startling declaration:
.. Our bodies are endowed with both sentient and insentient
.. elements. Our nails and hair are insentient—when we cut
.. them, we feel no pain. The other elements, however, are
.. sentient—cutting them inflicts pain and distress. Thus a
.. single body is endowed with both sentient and insentient
.. Both these sentient and insentient elements are endowed
.. with the ten factors of life and the two principles of
.. cause and effect. Thus these sentient and insentient
.. elements make up the three realms of existence: the realm
.. of living beings, the realm of the five components, and the
.. realm of the environment.
.. THE DOCTRINE OF THREE THOUSAND REALMS IN A SINGLE MOMENT OF
.. LIFE I HAVE REVEALED IN ALL ITS PURITY IN THE GREAT
.. MANDALA. It is a doctrine that the scholars of the present
.. age, lacking comprehension in such matters, cannot fathom
.. even in their dreams. T'ien-t'ai, Miao-lo, and Dengyo
.. pondered it in their minds but did not spread it abroad.
.. They said only that there is not one color or one fragrance
.. that is not the Middle Way, but that such words perplex the
.. ear and alarm the mind. INSTEAD OF MYOHO-RENGE, THEY CALLED
.. IT THE CONCENTRATION AND INSIGHT OF PERFECT AND IMMEDIATE
.. Thus the enlightenment of plants refers to the attainment
.. of Buddhahood by those that are dead. Doctrines of this
.. nature are known to few persons. In the end, if one does
.. not understand the meaning of Myoho-renge, such doctrines
.. may lead one astray.
.. You must not under any circumstances forget what I have
.. said here.
Here he reveals privately (bolded for emphasis) to Sairen-bo, for the first time that I have found anywhere in the Gosho, that the Gohonzon, "the great mandala", "the supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa" has emerged in the first months of 1272, confirming my best guess at the end of the the previous section.
Following that, he states clearly (also bolded for emphasis,) once again, that the name of the eternal Buddha is not Shakyamuni, and nothing other than "Myoho-Renge".
I ask the incorrigible disbelievers of Nichiren Shu, is this Gosho also faked?
Note that in the time gap between the current and the next Gosho in the list (1272-1275), that this is the time when he is determinedly distributing Gohonzon to his followers starting in late 1272 and also remonstrating with the the authorities including Hei no Saemon, who represented the regent Hojo Tokimune, for the third time following which the Mongols invaded in late 1274.
Nichiren Daishonin is NOT DISCUSSING plans for the eye-opening of statues, idols, images, toba grave markers or any other thing. And he is not now expressing whether to compete in the eye-opening of statues business with the funeral Buddhists of the True Word School.
His sole focus is the Gohonzon and getting it to this followers to protect them. That is what he is doing during this time: propagating the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa."
That's the history of this period, as opposed to the fantasies of the idolaters of Nichiren Shu.
5. In 1275, Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter to a believer named Yui rebuking the True Word eye-opening practices, in one of the Five Major Writings "The Selection of the Time", WND I, p. 571-572:
.. Though he was the chief priest of the Tendai school, he
.. virtually became a True Word prelate, declaring that the
.. three True Word sutras were the works that would ensure
.. peace and protection of the nation. It has now been more
.. than four hundred years since he spread these doctrines.
.. The eminent leaders who have accepted them are as numerous
.. as rice and hemp seedlings, and the fervent believers who
.. have embraced them are as plentiful as bamboo plants and
.. As a result, of all the temples established throughout
.. Japan by Emperor Kammu and the Great Teacher Dengyo, there
.. is not one that has not become a propagator of the True
.. Word doctrine. Both courtiers and warriors alike invite
.. True Word priests to attend to their religious needs, look
.. up to them as their teachers, confer offices upon them, and
.. place them in charge of temples. AND IN THE EYE-OPENING
.. CEREMONY CARRIED OUT AT THE CONSECRATION OF WOODEN AND
.. PAINTED BUDDHIST IMAGES, THE PRIESTS OF ALL THE EIGHT
.. SCHOOLS OF BUDDHISM NOW USE THE MUDRAS AND MANTRAS OF THE
.. THUS COME ONE MAHAVAIROCHANA AND THE HONORED ONE BUDDHA EYE!
.. Question: When it comes to those who maintain that the
.. Lotus Sutra is superior to the True Word teachings, should
.. they try to make use of these commentaries by Jikaku, or
.. should they reject them?
.. Answer: Shakyamuni Buddha laid down a rule for future
.. conduct when he said that we should "rely on the Law and
.. not upon persons." Bodhisattva Nagarjuna says that one
.. should rely on treatises that are faithful to the sutras,
.. but not rely on those that distort the sutras. T'ien-t'ai
.. states, "That which accords with the sutras is to be
.. written down and made available. But put no faith in
.. anything that in word or meaning fails to do so." And
.. the Great Teacher Dengyo says, "Depend upon the preachings
.. of the Buddha, and do not put faith in traditions handed
.. down orally."
.. If one attends to such statements in the sutras, treatises,
.. and commentaries, then one should not make dreams a basis
.. for evaluating the Buddhist teachings. Rather, one should
.. pay particular attention to those sutras and treatises that
.. make clear the relative superiority of the Lotus Sutra and
.. the Mahavairochana Sutra.
.. As for the assertion that the eye-opening ceremony for
.. wooden and painted images cannot be carried out without the
.. use of True Word mudras and mantras, this is the sheerest
.. nonsense! Are we to suppose that, before the True Word
.. school appeared on the scene, wooden and painted Buddhist
.. images could not be consecrated? IN THE PERIOD BEFORE THE
.. APPEARANCE OF THE TRUE WORD SCHOOL, THERE WERE WOODEN AND
.. PAINTED IMAGES IN INDIA, CHINA, AND JAPAN THAT WALKED ABOUT
.. OR PREACHED THE TEACHINGS OR SPOKE ALOUD. IT WOULD RATHER
.. APPEAR THAT, SINCE PEOPLE HAVE BEGUN TO USE TRUE WORD
.. MUDRAS AND MANTRAS IN CONSECRATING THE BUDDHA IMAGES, THE
.. EFFECTIVENESS OF THE CEREMONY HAS BEEN COMPLETELY LOST.
Note that in the time gap (more than 3 years) between the previous and the current Gosho in the list (1272-1275), that this is the time when he is focused on distributing Gohonzon to his followers starting in late 1272 and also remonstrating with the the authorities including Hei no Saemon, who represented the regent Hojo Tokimune, for the third time following which the Mongols had recently invaded in late 1274.
Nichiren Daishonin is NOT DISCUSSING any plans for the eye-opening of statues, idols, images, toba grave markers or any other thing.
His sole focus is the Gohonzon and getting it to this followers to protect them from the warfare afflicting the land. That is what he is doing during this time: not opening the eyes of statues of Shakyamuni as an object of devotion, but instead propagating the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa."
That's the actual history of the activities of this period, as opposed to the fantasies of the idolaters of Nichiren Shu.
Note also, that he rebukes the True Word School as lame and ineffective (take a hint, Nichiren Shu,) without suggesting that the Lotus Sutra School co-opt their eye-opening ceremonies, or any other expedient means: this is a time of shakubuku, not funeral Buddhism.
Finally, note what he declares in the end of the above Gosho:
.. IF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA, THE LORD OF TEACHINGS, OF THE PURE
.. LAND OF EAGLE PEAK, Many Treasures Buddha of the World of
.. Treasure Purity, the Buddhas of the ten directions who are
.. Shakyamuni's emanations, the bodhisattvas as numerous as
.. the dust particles of a thousand worlds who sprang up out
.. of the earth, Brahma and Shakra, the gods of the sun and
.. moon, and the four heavenly kings DO NOT, CONSPICUOUSLY OR
.. INCONSPICUOUSLY, GIVE ME THEIR PROTECTION AND LEND ME AID,
.. THEN THEY WILL NEVER KNOW A SINGLE DAY OR A SINGLE HOUR OF
.. PEACE AND SAFETY!
Note that he threatens Shakyamuni, the Lord of teachings, and who has as his emanations all of the entities on the Gohonzon (this is no different from the rest of us,) in this final call for protection, OR ELSE! Note that he DOES NOT threaten the actual name of the eternal Buddha "Myoho-Renge", and nor should anyone.
6. In 1276, Nichiren Daishonin wrote this Gosho letter "to the priests of Seicho-ji on Mount Kiyosumi the temple to which the Daishonin had been sent as a child to study" ... "Seicho-ji, which belonged to the Tendai school, at first became a center for the study of the Lotus Sutra. Then it fell under the influence of the True Word school, which promoted esoteric rituals, and later adopted Pure Land teachings, which relied on Amida Buddha." - WND I background, p. 653.
This is exactly the path that Nichiren Shu and their followers are taking, by propagating the teachings of Jodo Shinshu Nembutsu in their temples. NICHIREN SHU ARE EFFECTIVELY THE MODERN TENDAI SCHOOL, IN THEIR LEVEL OF CORRUPTION AND DISSIPATION.
In this Gosho letter, once again, Nichiren Daishonin is rebuking the True Word eye-opening practices, in the Gosho "Letter to the Priests of Seicho-ji", WND I, p. 651:
.. In reality, the True Word sutras belong to the provisional
.. teachings preached before the Lotus Sutra and are inferior
.. even to the Flower Garland or the Wisdom sutras. Yet Jikaku
.. and Kobo were confused on this point and held that the True
.. Word sutras were equal or even superior to the Lotus Sutra.
.. The eye-opening ceremony for a newly made image of the
.. Buddha is therefore conducted with the mudra of the Honored
.. One Buddha Eye and the mantra of the Buddha Mahavairochana.
.. AS A RESULT, ALL THE WOODEN AND PAINTED IMAGES OF THE
.. BUDDHA IN JAPAN HAVE BEEN RENDERED SOULLESS AND SIGHTLESS,
.. AND IN CONSEQUENCE, HAVE BEEN POSSESSED BY THE HEAVENLY
.. DEVIL, BRINGING RUIN UPON THEIR OWN WORSHIPERS. THIS IS WHY
.. THE IMPERIAL COURT [IN KYOTO] IS ABOUT TO PERISH. NOW THE
.. EVIL TEACHING OF THE TRUE WORD SCHOOL HAS MADE ITS
.. APPEARANCE IN KAMAKURA AND THREATENS TO DESTROY ALL OF JAPAN.
Nichiren Daishonin is NOT DISCUSSING any plans for the eye-opening of statues, idols, images, toba grave markers or any other thing.
His sole focus is the Gohonzon and getting it to this followers to protect them from the warfare and plague afflicting the land. That is what he is doing during this time: not opening the eyes of statues of Shakyamuni as an object of devotion, but instead propagating the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa."
That's the actual history of the activities of this period, as opposed to the fantasies of the idolaters of Nichiren Shu.
7. In 1276, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, Nichiren Daishonin wrote this Gosho letter to Shijo Kingo, one of his closest disciples. From "On Consecrating an Image of Shakyamuni Buddha Made by Shijo Kingo", WND I, p. 683-684:
.. IN YOUR DAILY RECORDS YOU WRITE THAT YOU HAVE FASHIONED A
.. WOODEN IMAGE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA. WITH REGARD TO THE
.. EYE-OPENING CEREMONY APPROPRIATE FOR SUCH A STATUE, THE
.. UNIVERSAL WORTHY SUTRA STATES, "THIS GREAT VEHICLE SUTRA
.. [NOTE 1: "THIS GREAT VEHICLE SUTRA" INDICATES THE LOTUS
.. SUTRA. The Universal Worthy Sutra is regarded as an
.. epilogue to the Lotus Sutra.] is the treasure storehouse of
.. the Buddhas, the eye of the Buddhas of the ten directions
.. and the three existences." It also says, "This correct and
.. equal sutra [Note 2: "This correct and equal sutra" here
.. refers to the Lotus Sutra.] is the eye of the Buddhas. It
.. is through this sutra that the Buddhas are able to acquire
.. the five types of vision."
.. Concerning the phrase "acquire the five types of vision" in
.. this sutra, this refers to the physical eyes, the heavenly
.. eye, the wisdom eye, the Dharma eye, and the Buddha eye.
.. These five types of vision are naturally acquired by one
.. who upholds the Lotus Sutra, just as the person who becomes
.. the ruler of a state will naturally be obeyed by all the
.. people of that state, or as the lord of the great ocean
.. will as a matter of course be followed by the fish who
.. dwell there.
.. The Flower Garland, Agama, Correct and Equal, Wisdom, and
.. Mahavairochana sutras may possess the five types of vision
.. in name, but they do not possess them in reality. The Lotus
.. Sutra possesses them in both name and reality. And even if
.. it did not possess them in name, you may be certain that it
.. would possess them in reality.
.. WITH REGARD TO THE THREE BODIES OF A BUDDHA, THE UNIVERSAL
.. WORTHY SUTRA STATES: "A BUDDHA'S THREE TYPES OF BODIES ARE
.. BORN FROM THIS CORRECT AND EQUAL SUTRA, WHICH IS THE GREAT
.. SEAL OF THE LAW THAT ASSURES ENTRY INTO THE SEA OF NIRVANA.
.. IT IS FROM THIS SEA THAT A BUDDHA'S THREE TYPES OF PURE
.. BODIES ARE BORN. THESE THREE TYPES OF BODIES ARE FIELDS OF
.. GOOD FORTUNE FOR HUMAN AND HEAVENLY BEINGS AND ARE HIGHEST
.. AMONG THOSE WORTHY OF ALMS."
.. The three bodies are as follows: first, the Dharma body of
.. a Thus Come One; second, the reward body of a Thus Come
.. One; and third, the manifested body of a Thus Come One.
.. These three types of bodies of a Thus Come One are
.. invariably possessed by all Buddhas. If we use the moon as
.. an illustration, we may say that the moon itself is
.. comparable to the Dharma body, its light to the reward
.. body, and its reflection to the manifested body. Just as a
.. single moon has these three different aspects, so a single
.. Buddha possesses the virtues of these three different bodies.
.. These doctrines of the five types of vision and the three
.. bodies are not expounded anywhere outside of the Lotus
.. Sutra. Therefore, the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai has said,
.. "The Buddha consistently possesses the three bodies
.. throughout the three existences. But in the various
.. teachings, he kept this secret and did not transmit it."
.. In this passage of commentary, the phrase "in the various
.. teachings" refers not only to the Flower Garland, Correct
.. and Equal, and Wisdom sutras, but to all sutras other than
.. the Lotus Sutra. And the phrase "he kept this secret and
.. did not transmit it" means that, throughout the entire body
.. of scriptures outside of the "Life Span" chapter of the
.. Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings,
.. concealed and avoided expounding it. THEREFORE, IN
.. PERFORMING THE EYE-OPENING CEREMONY FOR PAINTED OR WOODEN
.. BUDDHA IMAGES, THE ONLY AUTHORITY TO RELY ON IS THE LOTUS
.. SUTRA AND THE T'IEN-T'AI SCHOOL.
.. In addition, the doctrine of three thousand realms in a
.. single moment of life arises from the concept of the three
.. realms of existence. The three realms of existence are as
.. follows: first, the realm of living beings; second, the
.. realm of the five components; and third, the realm of the
.. environment. Let us set aside the first two for now. The
.. third, the realm of the environment, refers to the realm of
.. plants and trees. And the realm of plants and trees
.. includes those plants and trees from which are produced the
.. five shades of pigment used in painting. From this pigment,
.. painted images are created, and from trees, wooden statues
.. are made.
.. IT IS THE POWER OF THE LOTUS SUTRA THAT CAN INFUSE SUCH
.. PAINTINGS AND STATUES WITH A "SOUL" OR SPIRITUAL PROPERTY.
.. THIS WAS THE REALIZATION OF THE GREAT TEACHER T'IEN-T'AI.
.. IN THE CASE OF LIVING BEINGS, THIS DOCTRINE IS KNOWN AS
.. ATTAINING BUDDHAHOOD IN ONE'S PRESENT FORM; in the case of
.. painted and wooden images, it is known as the enlightenment
.. of plants and trees. This is why [the Great Teacher
.. Chang-an] wrote, "There has never been anything to compare
.. to the brightness and serenity of concentration and
.. insight," and why [the Great Teacher Miao-lo] stated,
.. "They are nevertheless shocked and harbor doubts when they
.. hear for the first time the doctrine that insentient beings
.. possess the Buddha nature."
.. This doctrine [of three thousand realms in a single moment
.. of life] was never heard of in the ages [before the Great
.. Teacher T'ien-t'ai], nor was it known in the ages that
.. followed. And even if it did appear, one may be certain
.. that it had been stolen from him.
.. However, some two hundred years after the time of
.. T'ien-t'ai, Shan-wu-wei, Chin-kang-chih, and Pu-k'ung
.. founded the so-called True Word school on the basis of the
.. Mahavairochana Sutra. And then, although there is no
.. mention of any such doctrine in the Mahavairochana Sutra as
.. the Buddha expounded it, they stole the doctrine of three
.. thousand realms in a single moment of life from the Lotus
.. Sutra and T'ien-t'ai's commentary, and proceeded to make it
.. the heart and core of the True Word school. Moreover, they
.. pretended that the doctrine had originated in India, and in
.. this way deceived and misled the later-day scholars of
.. China and Japan. No one knows the truth of the matter, but
.. all alike assent to and put faith in the assertions of the
.. True Word school. This has been going on now for more than
.. five hundred years.
.. THIS BEING THE CASE, THE WOODEN AND PAINTED IMAGES THAT
.. WERE MADE AND CONSECRATED BEFORE THE TIME OF THE TRUE WORD
.. SCHOOL [WHEN THE T'IEN-T'AI PRACTICES WERE FOLLOWED] HAVE
.. MANIFESTED EXTRAORDINARY POWERS, BUT THOSE IN TEMPLES AND
.. PAGODAS BUILT AFTER TRUE WORD [PRACTICES WERE ADOPTED FOR
.. THE EYE-OPENING CEREMONY] PRODUCE VERY LITTLE BENEFIT.
.. Since there are many instances of this, I will not go into
From the Background section on this Gosho, WND I, p. 688:
.. Making Buddha images was a widespread practice, and, in an
.. age when most people revered the Buddha Amida, the
.. Daishonin was tolerant of the making of images of
.. Shakyamuni as an act leading toward correct understanding.
.. A similar attitude also underlies the next section of the
.. letter, in which the Daishonin comments on Shijo Kingo's
.. hereditary practice of worshiping the sun deity at certain
.. times of the year. He explains here that the power and
.. workings of the sun deity ultimately derive from the
.. Buddhist Law, which the Lotus Sutra expounds.
Let me enlarge upon this difficult point. This Gosho is written to Shijo Kingo, who was a follower requiring an overwhelming amount of effort and focused attention from Nichiren Daishonin. Obviously, in spite of the time and effort involved, the Daishonin had identified him as a "keeper," a follower that he would go to almost any lengths to encourage and protect, mostly from Shijo Kingo's own worst enemy, himself (without offending the Gohonzon or the Buddhist Law, of course.)
This is in keeping with the Buddhist tradition of "expedient means."
There is an obvious "why," in the history of Shijo Kingo and Nichiren Daishonin during the Tatsunokuchi Persecution:
However there are clearly less obvious parts of "why" in the future: things that Shijo Kingo does that influence younger Nichiren Buddhist heroes like himself, such as Nanjo Tokimitsu, Lord Ueno. The relationship of mentor and disciple in this one case will influence much of the future for Nichiren's True Buddhism overall, and the Fuji School founded by Nikko Shonin upon land donated by Nanjo Tokimitsu after Nichiren Daishonin's death.
He refers to both men directly in letters to them as "evil men," partly because they are Samurai, who are nothing less than hired killers of the military government, and partly because that military government of daimyo Lords operates as the Bakafu propping up a Shinto regime of royals posing as roots in the hierarchy of gods who are raised up over the Buddhas.
That is an evil so profound as to be unimaginable, and in the future it led directly to the Pacific War and nuclear holocaust in Japan: which could have been much worse were it not for the presence of Nichiren Daishonin's surviving follower, another great disciple of Nichiren Daishonin, Mr. Toda of the Fuji School (there were 14 more nuclear weapons to be delivered in November of 1945, and a fresh supply of incendiaries/napalm en route before that to the B-29 strategic air command under Curtis LeMay, a man with vanishing little restraint upon the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilians.) Everything would depend on what Hirohito did to forestall the "honorable death of the 100 million," against the resistance of rabid young military officers.
It's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to perceive that Nichiren Daishonin's unbreakable relationship with Shijo Kingo is a proxy or template for that with Nanjo Tokimitsu, and that is a crucial part of what saves Japan from complete destruction later, even though Taisekiji might have been spared in the conflagration. It's the people that matter, the 3000 loyal followers of Mr. Makiguchi like the child Kaneko, who formed the beginning of the Soka Gakkai's growth under Mr. Toda after the war, and the 747,000 or so new members like young Daisaku, Kaneko's future husband.
Hence the necessity of the regression into the eye-opening of statues of the past, even after the Gohonzon, "the supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa" had been propagated widely within the community of Nichiren Daishonin's followers. It was an expedient means, which I call an open and untended wound in the midst of battle, received from the act of saving a precious comrade who embodies something of utmost importance in the future. Nichiren Daishonin does not have the benefit of our hindsight, but his heart (nothing less than Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo) knows the truth and guides him unerringly.
Once again, Nichiren Daishonin had to suffer this expedient means, which may have played a part in his shortened life, and if we ape his suffering and fall into hell with the eye-opening idolaters and distorters of Nichiren Shu, it does not show appreciation for what he went through for us.
Nichiren Daishonin is at this point a few years into his program to propagate the Gohonzon to his followers, which he calls the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa." Clearly that program would be undermined by opening the eyes of inferior objects of devotion, hence he has no program to compete with the True Word efforts in that area.
8. In 1276, on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, Nichiren Daishonin wrote this Gosho letter upon receiving word of the death of his mentor Dozen-bo of Seicho-ji, to Joken-bo, Gijo-bo and the other priests there (where the Daishonin had entered the path of study and where he chanted Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo for the first time.) This is one of the Five Major Writings, and in it the Daishonin refutes the True Word practices of eye-opening statues, which the originally Tendai temple Seicho-ji had fallen into.
From "On Repaying Debts of Gratitude", WND I, pp. 710-711:
.. When an error is as far from the truth as water is from
.. fire or the earth from the sky, people will refuse to
.. believe it, and such errors will have no chance of
.. acceptance. Thus, for example, the doctrines of the Great
.. Teacher Kobo are so full of such errors that even his own
.. disciples would not accept them. As for the practices and
.. ceremonies of the school, they accepted his instructions,
.. but they could not bring themselves to accept his doctrines
.. concerning the relative merits of the sutras. Therefore,
.. they substituted for them the doctrines of Shan-wu-wei,
.. Chin-kang-chih, Pu-k'ung, Jikaku, and Chisho. It is the
.. doctrine of Jikaku and Chisho that declares the True Word
.. and Tendai schools to be identical in principle, and all
.. the people have accepted that declaration.
.. RECOGNIZING THIS SITUATION, EVEN FOLLOWERS OF THE TENDAI
.. SCHOOL, HOPING TO BE ASKED TO PERFORM THE EYE-OPENING
.. CEREMONY FOR THE CONSECRATION OF PAINTED OR WOODEN BUDDHIST
.. IMAGES, ADOPT THE MUDRAS AND MANTRAS IN WHICH THE TRUE WORD
.. SCHOOL IS BELIEVED TO EXCEL. THUS IN EFFECT THE WHOLE OF
.. JAPAN GOES OVER TO THE TRUE WORD SCHOOL, AND THE TENDAI
.. SCHOOL IS LEFT WITHOUT A SINGLE FOLLOWER.
.. A monk and a nun, a black object and a dark blue object,
.. are so easily confused that a person with poor eyesight
.. might well mistake one for the other. But a priest and a
.. layman, or a white object and a red object, even a person
.. with poor eyesight would never confuse, much less someone
.. with good eyes. NOW THE DOCTRINES OF JIKAKU AND CHISHO ARE
.. AS EASY TO MISTAKE FOR THE TRUTH AS A MONK IS FOR A NUN, OR
.. A BLACK OBJECT FOR A DARK BLUE ONE. THEREFORE, EVEN WISE
.. MEN ARE LED ASTRAY, AND THE IGNORANT FALL INTO ERROR. AS A
.. RESULT, FOR THE PAST FOUR HUNDRED AND MORE YEARS, ON MOUNT
.. HIEI, AT ONJO-JI AND TO-JI, IN NARA, THE FIVE PROVINCES
.. SURROUNDING THE CAPITAL, THE SEVEN OUTLYING REGIONS, AND
.. INDEED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE LAND OF JAPAN, ALL THE PEOPLE
.. HAVE BEEN TURNED INTO SLANDERERS OF THE LAW.
It is clear that Nichiren Daishonin views these True Word eye-opening practices as the primal cause for the warfare and plague running rampant through Japan in the middle 1270s.
Nichiren Daishonin is at this point a few years into his program to propagate the Gohonzon to his followers, which he calls the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa." Clearly that program would be undermined by opening the eyes of inferior objects of devotion, hence he has no program to compete with the True Word efforts in that area.
Here is a short history of that temple, from the background to the Gosho quoted in number 6 in this list of Goshos (two above this one) - from "Letter to the Priests of Seicho-ji," WND I, p. 653:
.. Seicho-ji was founded in 771 by a priest named Fushigi, who
.. enshrined there an image of Bodhisattva Space Treasury that
.. he had carved from an oak tree. Bodhisattva Space Treasury
.. was believed to possess wisdom and good fortune as vast as
.. the universe.
.. Seicho-ji, which belonged to the Tendai school, at first
.. became a center for the study of the Lotus Sutra. Then it
.. fell under the influence of the True Word school, which
.. promoted esoteric rituals, and later adopted Pure Land
.. teachings, which relied on Amida Buddha. Nichiren Daishonin
.. was formally ordained at the age of sixteen and later left
.. the temple to visit the great centers of Buddhist learning
.. so as to further his study of Buddhism. The Daishonin says
.. in this letter that he had obtained "a great jewel,"
.. meaning that he attained Buddha wisdom. He then went on to
.. deepen his understanding of the sutras and other works in
.. the Buddhist tradition. Eventually, in 1253, twenty years
.. after he had entered Seicho-ji, he proclaimed the teaching
.. of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the first time.
The fact that the place where Nichiren Daishonin first chanted Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo in this world, is where such a profound corruption occurs, is no accident. Evil never sleeps in its efforts to undermine every single facet of Nichiren Daishonin's existence and efforts, and has the benefit of much time and countless minions in doing just that.
9. "This letter, written in the ninth month of 1278, represents the Daishonin's answers to questions raised by Joken-bo [a priest at Seicho-ji temple, where Nichiren Daishonin entered the priesthood and first chanted Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo in 1253] concerning the object of devotion, or Gohonzon." - from the background to the Gosho below. In this Gosho, one of the Ten Major Writings, Nichiren Daishonin suggests once again that the Lotus Sutra should only be used in eye-opening ceremonies of any kind, however he suggests no program for that replacement, stopping at rebuking the True Word practices.
From "Questions and Answers on the Object of Devotion", WND II, p. 789:
.. Question: What proof can you offer to support your view?
.. Answer: The Universal Worthy Sutra states, "This great
.. vehicle sutra [Note 4: "This great vehicle sutra" and "this
.. correct and equal sutra" mentioned in the following
.. paragraph refer to the Lotus Sutra.] is the treasure
.. storehouse of the Buddhas, the eye of the Buddhas of the
.. ten directions and the three existences, the seed from
.. which spring the Thus Come Ones of the three existences."
.. And it also states: "This correct and equal sutra is the
.. eye of the Buddhas. It is through this sutra that the
.. Buddhas are able to acquire the five types of vision. A
.. Buddha's three types of bodies are born from this correct
.. and equal sutra, which is the great seal of the Law that
.. assures entry into the sea of nirvana. It is from this sea
.. that a Buddha's three types of pure bodies are born. These
.. three types of bodies are fields of good fortune for human
.. and heavenly beings and are highest among those worthy of
.. THESE SUTRA PASSAGES INDICATE THAT THE BUDDHAS ARE BEINGS
.. WHO ARE GIVEN BIRTH, AND THAT THE LOTUS SUTRA IS THAT WHICH
.. IS CAPABLE OF GIVING BIRTH. THE BUDDHAS ARE THE BODY AND
.. THE LOTUS SUTRA IS THE SOUL.
.. THEREFORE IN THE EYE-OPENING CEREMONY FOR BUDDHIST WOODEN
.. AND PAINTED IMAGES, ONLY THE LOTUS SUTRA SHOULD BE USED.
.. BUT NOWADAYS IN THE TRUE WORD SCHOOL WHEN THESE TWO TYPES
.. OF IMAGES ARE CONSECRATED THE MUDRAS AND MANTRAS ASSOCIATED
.. WITH THE THUS COME ONE MAHAVAIROCHANA AND THE HONORED ONE
.. BUDDHA EYE ARE EMPLOYED FOR THE EYE-OPENING CEREMONY. THIS
.. IS UTTERLY CONTRARY TO REASON!
Nichiren Daishonin is at this point many years into his program to propagate the Gohonzon to his followers, which he calls the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa." Clearly that program would be undermined by opening the eyes of inferior objects of devotion, hence he has no program to compete with the True Word efforts in that area.
10. "This letter was written at Minobu in the eighth month of 1279, when Nichiren Daishonin was fifty-eight years old. It was addressed to Soya Doso, a son of Soya Kyoshin, one of the leading believers in Shimosa Province. As this letter describes, in the third month of the same year Doso had taken the opportunity of a Buddhist memorial service to make a large donation to the Daishonin. At the time the Daishonin was living in the wilderness of Mount Minobu. Doso's donation had supported over one hundred disciples in their practice at Minobu that year; thus it seems likely that Doso's determination to protect and support the Daishonin was quite strong." - from the background section of the Gosho letter below.
In this Gosho letter he takes the time to rebuke the eye-opening activities of the True Word priests, once again.
From "King Rinda" (1279), WND I, p. 984:
.. THE LOTUS SUTRA SHOULD BY RIGHTS BE EMPLOYED IN EYE-OPENING
.. CEREMONIES TO ENSURE THEIR EFFECTIVENESS. BUT INSTEAD OF
.. THAT, THE MAHAVAIROCHANA AND OTHER SUTRAS ARE EMPLOYED IN
.. EYE-OPENING CEREMONIES FOR ALL THE VARIOUS WOODEN OR
.. PAINTED IMAGES OF BUDDHAS. AS A RESULT, NONE OF THE BUDDHA
.. IMAGES IN THE TEMPLES AND PAGODAS OF JAPAN, THOUGH THEIR
.. FORMS RESEMBLE THAT OF THE BUDDHA, ARE REALLY BUDDHAS IN
.. MIND. Rather they have the minds of ordinary beings who
.. live in the nine worlds. The custom of revering ignorant
.. teachers as though they were wise men began with this.
.. SUCH PRACTICES SIMPLY WASTE THE FUNDS OF THE NATION; THEY
.. DO NOT PRODUCE EFFECTIVE PRAYERS. ON THE CONTRARY, THE
.. BUDDHAS ARE THEREBY TRANSFORMED; THEY TURN INTO DEVILS AND
.. DEMONS. THIS IS WHAT IS CAUSING DISTRESS TO THE RULER OF
.. the nation and the common people.
.. And now, because the votary of the Lotus Sutra and his lay
.. supporters have appeared, people behave like the many kinds
.. of ordinary beasts who hate the lion king, or like the
.. plants and trees that tremble before the icy wind. But I
.. will put that aside for now.
.. WHY IS THE LOTUS SUTRA SUPERIOR TO OTHER SUTRAS? WHY IS IT
.. BENEFICIAL FOR LIVING BEINGS?
.. To illustrate, the plants and trees have the earth as their
.. mother, the sky as their father, the sweet rains as their
.. food, the wind as their spirit, and the sun and moon as
.. their wet nurses, and in this way they grow to maturity,
.. bring forth flowers, and bear fruit. In the same manner,
.. ALL LIVING BEINGS HAVE THE TRUE ASPECT [OF ALL PHENOMENA]
.. AS THEIR EARTH, THE ASPECT-FREE NATURE AS THEIR SKY, the
.. one vehicle as their sweet rain, and the pronouncement that
.. the Lotus Sutra is foremost among all the sutras that the
.. Buddha preached, now preaches, or will preach, as their
.. great wind. "Adorned with the power of meditation and
.. wisdom" as their sun and moon, they nurture the blessings
.. of perfect enlightenment, put forth the flowers of great
.. pity and great compassion, and bear the fruit of peaceful
.. Buddhahood. Such is the way that all living beings are
Nichiren Daishonin is at this point seven years into his program to propagate the Gohonzon to his followers, which he calls the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa." Clearly that program would be undermined by opening the eyes of inferior objects of devotion, hence he has no program to compete with the True Word efforts in that area.
11. 1280, Debunking True Word Practices:
Nichiren Daishonin decribes and condemns the custom of the day in Japan, of a True Word priest's eye-opening ceremony of a Buddha-image, which instead raises a demon.
From "On Reprimanding Hachiman" , WND II, p. 929:
.. Despite this fact, however, it has become the custom in
.. Japan, not only in True Word temples but in temples of all
.. the other schools as well, to perform the mudra of the
.. Honored One Buddha Eye in order to "open the eyes" of the
.. Buddha image, and to recite the mantra of the Buddha
.. Mahavairochana in order to endow it with the five kinds of
.. wisdom. THIS IS IN EFFECT TO MAKE AN OFFERING OF THE
.. PROVISIONAL SUTRAS OF THE TRUE WORD DOCTRINE TO LIVING
.. BEINGS WHO HAVE BECOME BUDDHAS THROUGH THE LOTUS SUTRA.
.. PERSONS WHO CARRY OUT SUCH ACTS ARE ON THE CONTRARY KILLING
.. THE BUDDHAS, GOUGING OUT THEIR EYES, DEPRIVING THEM OF
.. THEIR LIVES, AND CUTTING THEIR THROATS. How do they differ
.. from Devadatta, who was summarily punished for shedding the
.. blood of Shakyamuni, the lord of teachings, or King
.. Ajatashatru, who was similarly punished for making
.. Devadatta his teacher?
Ask yourself, WHO ARE the "living beings" he is talking about, it's certainly not the statues. Its the people who would possess or simply view the statues, that are the object of "in effect to make an offering of the provisional sutras of the true word doctrine to living beings who have become Buddhas through the Lotus Sutra."
His implication is that all living beings have ALREADY become Buddhas through the Lotus Sutra, and that means common mortals are the true Buddha, once again.
The further implication of that is that in being born and receiving the three bodies of the Buddha from your parents is done "through the Lotus Sutra."
Nichiren Daishonin is at this point eight years into his program to propagate the Gohonzon to his followers, which he calls the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa." Clearly that program would be undermined by opening the eyes of inferior objects of devotion, hence he has no program to compete with the True Word efforts in that area.
________ One Foot on the Station _________________
________ and One Foot on the Train _______________
The Founders of Nichiren Buddhism, and their followers, and those who decided NOT follow Nichiren Daishonin (such as the followers of the corrupt and traitorous priests of Nichiren Shu,) have paid and will continue to pay an incalculable price for the creation of the Sangha for Kosen Rufu (the SGI).
Nature requires that the ontogeny of development of anything, should recapitulate some phylogeny and some cosmogeny: however there must be limits to this for basic efficiency and time span, to sustain real progress and retain creative mimesis.
I would completely disagree with René Girard about conflating mimesis with desire, and desire with conflict.
Instead, I would completely agree with Arnold Toynbee's view of 'creative mimesis' which does not require conflict: instead simply requiring the persuasive arguments of the innovator, followed by the open-minded response by the innovator's followers (which is the mentor and disciple principle.) Here is an expositive quote from Graeme Donald Snooks book, "The Laws of History", [1998, 2014] Routledge of NYC, p. 77 shown (of 77-79):
.. Toynbee argues, like Buckle before him, that, while a stiff
.. challenge can elicit a transforming response, it is
.. possible for the challenge to be so demanding that it
.. absorbs all the energies of the occupying people, thereby
.. leading to stagnation; or it might be so severe that it
.. cornpletely overwhelms and destroys the socicty. There
.. must, he suggests, be a balance between the challenge of
.. the environment and the rcspouse that a society is able to
.. make - a balance he calls the 'golden mean'. Buckle called
.. this concept the 'manageability of nature'.
.. The 'response' of a society to the 'challenge' of adversity
.. is made by a minority of 'creative individuals'. Once
.. again, this idea is similar to that of Henry Buckle, who
.. views the progress of civilization as the outcome of 'the
.. discoveries of great men. Each individual in this minority,
.. accordiug to Toynbee, embarks upon a creative process of
.. 'withdrawal-and-return: withdrawal for the purpose of his
.. personal enlightenment, return for the task of enlightening
.. his fellow men'. Interestingly, Toynbee's great innovators
.. are largely men of the spirit, such as Saint Paul, Saint
.. Benedict, Saint Gregory the Great, the Buddha, Muhammad,
.. Machiavelli, and Dante. These creative individuals are
.. responsible not only for the creative response to critical
.. challenges but also for persuading the great majority of
.. the population - 'the uncreative rank and file' - to follow
.. them. Toynbee calls this
.. the process of mimesis:
.... The problem or bringing the uncreative rank and file into
.... line with the creative pioneers cannot be solved in
.... practice, on the social scale, without bringing into play
.... the faculty or sheer mimesis - one of the less exalted
.... faculties or human nature, which has more in it of drill
.... than of inspiration.
.. He also generalizes the 'creative minority' to innovating
.. sub-societies in larger civilizations, such as Athens
.. during the growth of Hellenic society, the north Italian
.. states in medieval Europe, England during the Industrial
.. Revolution, and 'the possibility that Russia may be going
.. to play a similar role'. The later exemplifies the dangers
.. or prophecy!
.. Toynbee's growth process of 'challenge-and-response' can be
.. illustrated by following through with him the expansion of
.. the Graeco-Roman civilization. The Hellenic civiliza1ion,
.. according to Toynbee, experienced three major challenges,
.. bul only two successful responses. 'Anarchic barbarism'
.. provided the initial challenge, which elicited a political
.. response in the form of the city-state. Owing to the
.. success of this response, a new challenge - 'a rising
.. pressure of population' emerged. In its turn the new
.. challenge led to a number of responses, of which two failed
.. but one succeeded. The first of these failures was Sparta's
.. 'disastrous' response of conquering the agricultural lands
.. of her neighbours. In Toynbee's mind, militarism or
.. conquest was a sign or decadence not growth.
Having suffered through costs of expedient means, human beings should be able to observe that history, learn from it and not need to pay the cost of that suffering more than once (because it is never just twice - there is a harmonic that builds up and becomes stable: certain kinds of harmony around something almost, but not quite the absolute truth, will breed metastable corrupted states in groups of people.) Reapplying the same tactics (expedient means) over and over as an answer to new problems is NOT CREATIVE MIMESIS, BUT IN FACT THE BAD KIND OF STAGNANT, DOGMATIC MIMESIS.
I would not second-guess the expedient means used by Nichiren Daishonin, which worked quite well, WHEN EMPLOYED BY THE DAISHONIN. I imagine that out of his unequaled genius (the premier philosophers, mathematicians and scientists of Ancient Greece, the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution and in the modern day are lesser minds yielding a lesser result,) and also his brutal, grinding and thorough work ethic developed as a student priest, expanded and carried through to the end of his life, that Nichiren Daishonin could have made almost anything work during that time of transition from the Middle Day to the Latter Day of the Law.
However, the kind of priests that we have now - who fall far short of the dedication and raw talent of Nichiren Daishonin (and there is simply no substitute for that kind of talent) - from any Nichiren Shu temple or any other institution - would not be able to replicate his efforts, if only precisely because the clock hands have moved into an entirely different era due to Nichiren Daishonin's efforts and those of his true disciples: Nikko Shonin, Nichimoku Shonin and Nichikan Shonin who finally restored the Fuji School from being a statue-worshiping Shinto school.
The current round of priests are corrupted, married priests, who bilk their followers of their hard-earned money, and then take that cash to visit the red light district: it is simply a pyramid scheme sales job for them.
What do we get from all of this? 70% of Japanese are Nembutsu, worshiping the wrong statue, wrong teachings, not even the Buddha's teachings, praying (and paying the priest) to connect with and protect their deceased loved ones who may be wandering about lost in the Western Kingdom.
During the lifetime of Nichiren Daishonin, he turned the wheel of the Law and changed the era from the Middle Day of the Law and the practices of the Tendai Lotus Sutra School: to the new era in the Latter Day of the Law and the purest modern practices of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra. To accomplish this massive change, Nichiren had one foot set in the past and one foot set in the future, with the present constantly transforming, in different threads at different levels of progress, into the future under his feet. This is a very unstable configuration! I have heard that in the early days Nichiren Daishonin and his followers tried many things, chanting to each other, to statues, plants and trees, etc. During this time both the death pains of the Middle Day and the birth pains of the Latter Day would intrude at the most awkward times: this is the action of the Devilish function seeking to use the facts on the ground to undermine the Daishonin.
It is the function of Devilishness to present the Buddha with an impossible problem: where there is no clearly wonderful solution, and all the elements of the situation conspire to force the Buddha's hand to some painful expediency. Expedient means are an open sore that never heals: they have painful consequences and collateral damage. Some are helped and rise because of expedient means, but sometimes many more suffer and fall from them. The Buddha's task is to build a Sangha during his life that will survive him, and this cannot be based upon personal charisma of any kind, since that will die with the charismatic memory of the founder in the minds of his followers.
Nichiren Daishonin wrote extensively for this very reason, but he also needed a movement: to foster followers and retain them in sufficient numbers would require dealing with dying practices (such as the eye-opening of statues) of the previous era that he himself had followed, you can see this in his writings.
However, we are not Nichiren Daishonin turning the wheel of the Law and creating the Latter Day of the Law: we are fully present in the Latter Day of the Law where those Tendai practices of opening the eyes of statues and pictures had been replaced, by the end of Nichiren Daihsonin's life, with chanting the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra to the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa," the Gohonzon: realizing the "one chapter and two halves" at the heart of the Lotus Sutra. Since we are the children and beneficiaries of his sufferings, it would be nothing less than criminal for us to recapitulate Nichiren Daishonin's painful struggle and sufferings by introducing those now-impure practices into the clarified (as in ghee) practices he gave us by the very end of his life, and which were captured and preserved for us by his greatest followers, Nikko Shonin and Nichimoku Shonin of the Fuji School. And then later re-purified by Nichikan Shonin, who threw out the retrograde practices of the statue-worshipers of the Middle Day and clarified the practice once again. Must we keep recapitulating this personal struggle of Nichiren Daishonin?
No, we must not.
end of part 3 of 3.
. The full 28 Chapters of the Lotus Sutra,
. Nichiren Daishonin's Gosho volumes I and II,
. the Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings
. (Gosho Zenshu, including the Ongi Kuden) and the
. SGI Dictionary of Buddhism are located at:
. To find an SGI Community Center:
LS Chap. 16 .....
All harbor thoughts of yearning
and in their minds thirst to gaze at me.
When living beings have become truly faithful,
honest and upright, gentle in intent,
single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha
not hesitating even if it costs them their lives,
then I and the assembly of monks
appear together on Holy Eagle Peak.
At that time I tell the living beings
that I am always here, never entering extinction,
but that because of the power of an expedient means
at times I appear to be extinct, at other times not,
and that if there are living beings in other lands
who are reverent and sincere in their wish to believe,
then among them too
I will preach the unsurpassed Law.