Mixing the Hindu, Yoga and Tantric practices with the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra +%

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Mixing 'The Non-Buddhist Schools of India' (Hinduism, Yoga, Tantra, etc.) With the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra


________ Table of Contents _______________________

... "The Non-Buddhist Schools of India"

... My Personal Policy

... Mixing Extraneous Practices with
... the Practice of the Lotus Sutra

... Questions and Answers
__________________________________________________



________ "The Non-Buddhist Schools of India" _____

There has recently been evidence that Hinduism, which includes the Yoga (Asanas or postures which began in the Vedas as prayers) and the Tantra (Mudras, Mandalas, Mantras and other magic rituals from the Vedas), which are 4000 year old religious traditions, have become the enemy of the Lotus Sutra.

For myself, who practiced Yoga as a child of 9 (Richard Hittleman's "Yoga and Health" on NET/PBS in the 1960s), I never thought of this as a possibility. However, due to some events recurring enough to overcome my blind spot of childhood Yoga practice, I turned to the Gosho to try to find what Nichiren Daishonin thought of this.

There is a section of "The Opening of the Eyes" that is the first place where I found Nichiren's strong opinion of Hinduism overall, which is inserted below. Summarizing him, these schools all lead unerringly to the Three Evil Paths during one's life, and a descent into a hellish cycle after that. All the pertinent passages are capitalized, for your quick reading. He doesn't address Hinduism in many Goshos, unlike his strong opinions on the 4 Dictums (Nembutsu, Zen, Shingon, Ritsu) which recur frequently. However, Nichiren Daishonin is absolutely clear about Hinduism in "The Opening of the Eyes".

From "The Opening of the Eyes", WND, p. 221-223:
http://www.sgilibrary.org/view.php?page=221&m=0&q=

... Secondly, we come to the NON-BUDDHIST TEACHINGS OF
... INDIA. IN BRAHMANISM we find the two deities: Shiva, who
... has three eyes and eight arms, and Vishnu. They are
... hailed as the loving father and compassionate mother of
... all living beings and are also called the Honorable Ones
... of Heaven and sovereigns. In addition, there are three
... men, Kapila, Uluka, and Rishabha, [Note 15: Kapila and
... Uluka were the respective founders of the SAMKHYA and
... VAISHESHIKA schools, two of the six major schools of
... Brahmanism in ancient India. Rishabha's teachings are
... said to have PREPARED THE WAY FOR JAINISM. They were
... called the three ascetics.] who are known as the three
... ascetics. These ascetics lived somewhere around eight
... hundred years before the time of the Buddha. The
... teachings expounded by the three ascetics are known as
... the four Vedas and number sixty thousand.

... Later, in the time of the Buddha, there were the six
... non-Buddhist teachers who studied and transmitted these
... non-Buddhist scriptures and acted as tutors to the kings
... of the five regions of India. Their teachings split into
... ninety-five or ninety-six different lines, forming
... school after school. The banners of their pride were
... raised higher than the heaven where there is neither
... thought nor no thought, [Note 16: The world of
... formlessness being divided into four realms, this refers
... to the uppermost.] and their dogmatic rigidity was
... harder than metal or stone. But in their skill and depth
... of understanding, they surpassed anything known in
... Confucianism. They were able to perceive two, three, or
... even seven existences, a period of eighty thousand
... kalpas, into the past, and they likewise knew what would
... happen eighty thousand kalpas in the future. AS THE
... FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF THEIR DOCTRINE, SOME OF THESE
... SCHOOLS TAUGHT THAT CAUSES PRODUCE EFFECTS, OTHERS
... TAUGHT THAT CAUSES DO NOT PRODUCE EFFECTS, WHILE STILL
... OTHERS TAUGHT THAT CAUSES BOTH DO AND DO NOT PRODUCE
... EFFECTS. SUCH WERE THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF THESE
... NON-BUDDHIST SCHOOLS.

... The devout followers of the non-Buddhist teachings
... observe the five precepts and the ten good precepts,
... practice the kind of meditation that is still
... accompanied by outflows, and, ascending to the worlds of
... form and formlessness, [Note 17: "Outflows" here means
... illusions or defilements. The worlds of form and
... formlessness are the two highest worlds of the threefold
... world.] [THEY] BELIEVE THEY HAVE ATTAINED NIRVANA WHEN
... THEY REACH THE HIGHEST OF THE HEAVENS. BUT ALTHOUGH THEY
... MAKE THEIR WAY UPWARD BIT BY BIT LIKE AN INCHWORM, THEY
... FALL BACK FROM THE HEAVEN WHERE THERE IS NEITHER THOUGHT
... NOR NO THOUGHT, AND DESCEND INSTEAD INTO THE THREE EVIL
... PATHS. NOT A SINGLE ONE SUCCEEDS IN REMAINING ON THE
... LEVEL OF THE HEAVENS, THOUGH THEY BELIEVE THAT ONCE
... HAVING ATTAINED THAT LEVEL THEY WILL NEVER DESCEND FROM
... IT. Each approves and practices the doctrines taught by
... his teacher and firmly abides by them. Thus some of them
... bathe three times a day in the Ganges even on cold
... winter days, while others pull out the hairs on their
... head, fling themselves against rocks, expose themselves
... to fire, burn their bodies, or go about stark naked.
... Again there are those who believe they can gain good
... fortune by sacrificing many horses, or who burn grasses
... and trees, or make obeisance to every tree they
... encounter.

... ERRONEOUS TEACHINGS SUCH AS THESE ARE TOO NUMEROUS TO BE
... COUNTED. Their adherents pay as much respect and honor
... to the teachers who propound them as the heavenly
... deities pay to the lord Shakra, or the court ministers
... pay to the ruler of the empire. BUT NOT A SINGLE PERSON
... WHO ADHERES TO THESE NINETY-FIVE TYPES OF HIGHER OR
... LOWER NON-BUDDHIST TEACHINGS EVER ESCAPES FROM THE CYCLE
... OF BIRTH AND DEATH. THOSE WHO FOLLOW TEACHERS OF THE
... BETTER SORT WILL, AFTER TWO OR THREE REBIRTHS, FALL INTO
... THE EVIL PATHS, WHILE THOSE WHO FOLLOW EVIL TEACHERS
... WILL FALL INTO THE EVIL PATHS IN THEIR VERY NEXT
... REBIRTH.

... And yet the main point of these non-Buddhist teachings
... constitutes an important means of entry into Buddhism.
... Some of them state, "A thousand years from now, the
... Buddha will appear in the world," [Note 18: Possibly a
... rephrasing of a passage in the Nirvana Sutra.] while
... others state, "A hundred years from now, the Buddha will
... appear in the world." [Note 19: Possibly a rephrasing of
... a passage in the Nirvana Sutra.] The Nirvana Sutra
... remarks, "All of the non-Buddhist scriptures and
... writings in society are themselves Buddhist teachings,
... not non-Buddhist teachings." And in the Lotus Sutra it
... is written, "Before the multitude they seem possessed of
... the three poisons or manifest the signs of distorted
... views. My disciples in this manner use expedient means
... to save living beings." [Note 20: Lotus Sutra, chap. 8.]

From "The Opening of the Eyes", WND, p. 264:
http://www.sgilibrary.org/view.php?page=264&m=0&q=

... THE NON-BUDDHIST SCHOOLS OF SUCH MEN AS VATSA AND
... VAIPULYA, WHICH APPEARED IN INDIA AFTER THE BUDDHA'S
... PASSING, ARE EVEN MORE WRONG IN THEIR VIEWS AND MORE
... CUNNING IN THEIR DOCTRINES THAN THEIR COUNTERPARTS
... BEFORE THE BUDDHA [BECAUSE THEY BORROWED IDEAS FROM
... BUDDHISM]. Similarly, since the introduction of Buddhism
... to China in the Later Han dynasty, non-Buddhist views
... and writings have become even more wrong and cunning
... than the pre-Buddhist writings of Confucianism that deal
... with the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors of
... antiquity. ALSO THE TEACHERS OF THE FLOWER GARLAND,
... DHARMA CHARACTERISTICS, TRUE WORD, AND OTHER SCHOOLS,
... JEALOUS OF THE CORRECT DOCTRINES OF THE T'IEN-T'AI
... SCHOOL, BRAZENLY INTERPRET THE WORDS OF THE TRUE SUTRA
... IN SUCH A WAY THAT THEY WILL ACCORD WITH THE PROVISIONAL
... TEACHINGS.

... THOSE WHO SEEK THE WAY, HOWEVER, SHOULD REJECT SUCH ONE-
... SIDED VIEWS, TRANSCENDING DISPUTES BETWEEN ONE'S OWN
... SCHOOL AND OTHERS, AND SHOULD NOT TREAT OTHERS WITH
... CONTEMPT.

... IN THE LOTUS SUTRA THE BUDDHA SAYS, "AMONG THE SUTRAS I
... HAVE PREACHED, NOW PREACH, AND WILL PREACH, [THIS LOTUS
... SUTRA IS THE MOST DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE AND THE MOST
... DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND]." [NOTE 173: LOTUS SUTRA, CHAP.
... 10.]

... MIAO-LO REMARKS: "THOUGH OTHER SUTRAS MAY CALL
... THEMSELVES THE KING AMONG SUTRAS, THERE IS NONE THAT
... ANNOUNCES ITSELF AS FOREMOST AMONG ALL THE SUTRAS
... PREACHED IN THE PAST, NOW BEING PREACHED, OR TO BE
... PREACHED IN THE FUTURE." [NOTE 174: ON "THE WORDS AND
... PHRASES."] HE ALSO SAYS: "CONCERNING [THE BUDDHA'S
... STATEMENT] THAT THIS WONDERFUL SUTRA SURPASSES ALL THOSE
... OF PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE, THERE ARE THOSE WHO
... PERSIST IN GOING ASTRAY. THUS THEY COMMIT THE GRAVE
... FAULT OF SLANDERING THE SUTRA AND FOR MANY LONG KALPAS
... ARE SUBJECTED TO SUFFERINGS." [NOTE 175: THE ANNOTATIONS
... ON "THE PROFOUND MEANING OF THE LOTUS SUTRA."]

From the Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism:
http://www.sgilibrary.org/search_dict.php?id=2318

... THREE EVIL PATHS

... (Jpn.: san-akudo or san-akushu)

... Also, three evil paths of existence. The realms of hell,
... hungry spirits, and animals, the lowest three of the six
... paths. The three evil paths are the realms of suffering
... into which one falls as a result of evil deeds. "Path"
... here means state or realm of existence.

So, Nichiren Daishonin states clearly that these views are incorrect, and yet we must NOT treat their followers with contempt, which I do not: because they are Buddhas.



________ My Personal Policy ______________________

My personal policy is to inform the people of what slander of the Law really entails (like a warning label on a pack of cigarettes) and to point them in the right direction [with the intent to abolish human misery, through the total abolition of slander of the Law, total abolition of slander of the Lotus Sutra, total abolition of slander of the Gohonzon, total abolition of slander of the Three Treasures and the Sangha, and finally, the total abolition of slander of Nichiren Buddhism.]

Others, once informed and redirected, are free agents.

[As an aside: I have come to believe that there must be a purpose to the poison in the world which arises solely from slander of the Law, even though I have zero tolerance for slander of the Law personally. Once that vast body of poison of doubt is transformed into the medicine of faith in the Lotus Sutra, what a wonderful world it will be ! The Buddhas in the Ten Directions (also known as the World of Living Beings) have seen fit, in their wisdom, to generate an entirely humongous quantity of poison through a seemingly endless variety of slanders, to what end I cannot imagine. I defer to their enlightened wisdom on their choice of path. My best guess is that it has something to with a similarity to the conservation Laws of Physics, where the mass of poison is converted into the energy of faith (with a similarly large conversion factor like the speed of light squared in e=mc^2):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_laws
If so, we must be needing a truly vast amount of faith in the future to face some great challenge: to require this much poison to be created now.]



________ Mixing Extraneous Practices with ________
________ the Practice of the Lotus Sutra _________

I have also inserted below, my friend Jeff's favorite passage from "Letter to Akimoto", which states Nichiren Daishonin's clear position against mixing the practice of the Lotus Sutra (primarily chanting Daimoku to the Gohonzon) with any other extraneous practice.

From "Letter to Akimoto", WND, p. 1014:
http://www.sgilibrary.org/view.php?page=1014&m=0&q=

... A VESSEL IS A KIND OF UTENSIL. Because the great earth
... is hollowed out, water collects on it; and because the
... blue sky is pure, the moon shines in it. When the moon
... rises, the water glows with a pure light; and when the
... rain falls, the plants and trees flourish.

... A vessel is hollowed out like the earth, and water can
... be collected in it the way water is stored in a pond.
... And the reflection of the moon floats on the surface of
... the water in the same way that the Lotus Sutra pervades
... our being.

... BUT A VESSEL IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO FOUR FAULTS. The first is
... being upset or covered, which means that the vessel can
... be overturned or covered with a lid. The second is
... leaking, which means that the water leaks out. The third
... is being defiled, which means that the contents can be
... contaminated. Though the water itself may be pure, if
... filth is dumped into it, then the water in the vessel
... ceases to be of any use. THE FOURTH IS BEING MIXED. If
... rice is mixed with filth or pebbles or sand or dirt,
... then it is no longer fit for human consumption.

... THE VESSEL HERE STANDS FOR OUR BODIES AND MINDS. Our
... minds are a kind of vessel, and our mouths too are
... vessels, as are our ears. The Lotus Sutra is the Dharma
... water of the Buddha's wisdom. But when this water is
... poured into our minds, then we may jar and upset it. Or
... we may shut it out by placing our hands over our ears,
... determined not to listen to it. Or we may spit it out of
... our mouths, determined not to let our mouths chant it.
... In such cases, we are like a vessel that has overturned
... or has had a lid placed on it.

... Again, ALTHOUGH WE MAY HAVE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF FAITH,
... WE MAY ENCOUNTER EVIL INFLUENCES AND FIND OUR FAITH
... WEAKENING. Then we will deliberately abandon our faith,
... or, even though we maintain our faith for a day, we will
... set it aside for a month. IN SUCH CASES, WE ARE LIKE
... VESSELS THAT LET THE WATER LEAK OUT.

... OR WE MAY BE THE KIND OF PRACTITIONERS OF THE LOTUS
... SUTRA WHOSE MOUTHS ARE RECITING NAM-MYOHORENGE- KYO ONE
... MOMENT, BUT NAMU AMIDA BUTSU THE NEXT. THIS IS LIKE
... MIXING FILTH WITH ONE'S RICE, OR PUTTING SAND OR PEBBLES
... IN IT. THIS IS WHAT THE LOTUS SUTRA IS WARNING AGAINST
... WHEN IT SAYS, "DESIRING ONLY TO ACCEPT AND EMBRACE THE
... SUTRA OF THE GREAT VEHICLE AND NOT ACCEPTING A SINGLE
... VERSE OF THE OTHER SUTRAS." [NOTE 1: LOTUS SUTRA, CHAP.
... 3.]

... THE LEARNED AUTHORITIES IN THE WORLD TODAY SUPPOSE THAT
... THERE IS NO HARM IN MIXING EXTRANEOUS PRACTICES WITH THE
... PRACTICE OF THE LOTUS SUTRA, AND I, NICHIREN, WAS ONCE
... OF THAT OPINION MYSELF. BUT THE PASSAGE FROM THE SUTRA
... [THAT I HAVE JUST QUOTED] DOES NOT PERMIT SUCH A VIEW.
... Suppose that a woman who had been the consort of a great
... king and had become pregnant with his seed should then
... turn round and marry a man of common stature. In such a
... case, the seed of the king and the seed of the commoner
... would become mixed together, and as a result, the aid
... and assistance of heaven and the protection of the
... patron deities [Note 2: "The patron deities" refers to
... the tutelary god of a clan. The Minamoto clan, for
... example, revered Great Bodhisattva Hachiman as their
... tutelary deity.] would be withdrawn, and the kingdom
... would face ruin. The child born from two such fathers
... would be neither a king nor a commoner, but someone who
... belongs not to the human realm.

... This is one of the most important points in the Lotus
... Sutra. The doctrine of the sowing of the seed and its
... maturing and harvesting [Note 3: Reference is to the
... three phases of the process by which a Buddha leads
... people to Buddhahood, corresponding to the growth and
... development of a plant. First the Buddha plants the
... seeds of Buddhahood in people’s lives, then he nurtures
... them by helping them practice the Law, and finally he
... enables them to fully manifest Buddhahood.] is the very
... heart and core of the Lotus Sutra. All the Buddhas of
... the three existences and the ten directions have
... invariably attained Buddhahood through the seeds
... represented by the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo.
... The words Namu Amida Butsu are not the seeds of
... Buddhahood, nor can the mantras or the five precepts act
... as such seeds. One must be perfectly clear about this
... point, because this is the fault referred to as being
... mixed.

... IF A VESSEL IS FREE OF THESE FOUR FAULTS OF OVERTURNING,
... LEAKING, BEING DEFILED, AND BEING MIXED, THEN IT CAN BE
... CALLED A PERFECT VESSEL. IF THE EMBANKMENTS AROUND A
... MOAT DO NOT LEAK, THEN THE WATER WILL NEVER ESCAPE FROM
... THE MOAT. AND IF THE MIND OF FAITH IS PERFECT, THEN THE
... WATER OF WISDOM, THE GREAT IMPARTIAL WISDOM, WILL NEVER
... DRY UP.

Hence, mixing any practice of "The Non-Buddhist Schools of India" in any form with the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra is a direct slander of the text of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism.



________ Questions and Answers ___________________

I pose the obvious questions and present my arguments below. [There is much more abundant evidence on Wikipedia, I have included just enough to make the case.]

QUESTION #1. Is Hinduism the "Non-Buddhist Schools of India" that Nichiren Daishonin talks about in the "Opening of the Eyes", which he states will lead unerringly into the Three Evil Paths of Hell, Hunger and Animality?

Yes, see the quotation from that Gosho inserted above. [with sections highlighted, only intending to focus on the key passages related to this question.] Note the discussion of the various schools of Brahminism: that is Hinduism.

QUESTION #2. Is Yoga really Hinduism, which Nichiren Daishonin called "the non-Buddhist teachings of India" in the Gosho "The Opening of the eyes" ... by that I mean is Yoga a Hindu religious practice?

From the Wikipedia.org on "Yoga":

... Yoga is a family of ancient spiritual practices that
... originated in India, where it remains a vibrant living
... tradition and is seen as a means to enlightenment. Karma
... Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Raja Yoga are
... considered the four main yogas, but there are many other
... types. In other parts of the world where yoga is
... popular, notably the West, Yoga has become associated
... with the asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga, which are
... popular as fitness exercises. Yoga as a means to
... enlightenment is central to Vedanta, Hinduism, Buddhism,
... Sikhism and Jainism, and has influenced other religious
... and spiritual practices throughout the world. IMPORTANT
... HINDU TEXTS ESTABLISHING THE BASIS FOR YOGA INCLUDE THE
... UPANISHADS, YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI, THE BHAGAVAD GITA,
... AND THE HATHA YOGA PRADIPIKA.

So, the answer is yes, Yoga is hinduism. Even the modern versions with the Vedic references scraped off is still a practice of Hinduism. Does chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, even once, require someone to know the Lotus Sutra, for it to have the effect of Buddhahood? No. (According to Nichiren.)

Hence, the practice of Yoga that is Hinduism, even without the prayer references to the Vedic teachings of Hinduism, will lead to the three evil paths (according to Nichiren Daishonin in the passage from the "Opening of the Eyes", above.)

Also, there are YOGA SUTRAS listed there in that last sentence above: they are called "sutras", which are by definition Buddhist teachings, but they are provisional sutras that the Buddha specifically stated that we should discard in favor of the Lotus Sutra. These provisional teachings and practices of them are excluded from our practice by Nichiren Daishonin's statement from "The Opening of the Eyes":

... In the Lotus Sutra the Buddha says, "Among the sutras I
... have preached, now preach, and will preach, [this Lotus
... Sutra is the most difficult to believe and the most
... difficult to understand]." [Note 173: Lotus Sutra, chap.
... 10.]

... Miao-lo remarks: "Though other sutras may call
... themselves the king among sutras, there is none that
... announces itself as foremost among all the sutras
... preached in the past, now being preached, or to be
... preached in the future." [Note 174: On "The Words and
... Phrases."] He also says: "Concerning [the Buddha's
... statement] that this wonderful sutra surpasses all those
... of past, present, and future, there are those who
... persist in going astray. Thus they commit the grave
... fault of slandering the sutra and for many long kalpas
... are subjected to sufferings." [Note 175: The Annotations
... on "The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra."]

Worse yet, Yoga is not only Hinduism, it is also Buddhism.

There is recent information regarding Yoga, which has surfaced from the recently released volume two of the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin (WND II, p. 1036).

Nichiren Daishonin (in the Rooster Diagram) lists the five periods as:

... 1. Preaching the Flower Garland Sutra, 21 days.

... 2. Preaching the Agama sutras (Hinayana), 12 years.

... 3. Preaching the Correct and Equal sutras and

... 4. Preaching the Wisdom sutras (provisional Mahayana), [
... periods 2 & 3 together ] 30 years.

... 5. Preaching the Lotus Sutra (preceded by the
... Immeasurable Meanings Sutra), 8 years, and Preaching the
... Nirvana Sutra, one day and one night.

Under the Correct and Equal sutras Nichiren includes the following treatise:

From the "Rooster Diagram of the Five Periods of the Buddha's Lifetime Teachings", WND II, p. 1036:

... The Treatise on the Stages of Yoga Practice
....... 100 volumes
....... spoken by Bodhisattva Maitreya and recorded by Bodhisattva Asanga

Hence, Nichiren Daishonin specifically includes Yoga as a provisional Mahayana practice, which is extraneous to the practice of the Lotus Sutra.

Furthermore, Nichiren Daishonin lists the Yoga Sutras of Bodhisattva Maitreya with the teachings of the 3rd provisional Mahayana period of the Buddha's teachings, and the Yoga sutras would be then be considered a "connecting teaching", or introductory Mahayana (we are way past the time for anything good coming from this). Those sutras had the provisional intent of connecting Brahmin believers with the Buddha's teachings, and were not intended to hang around after the Buddha revealed the truth in the Lotus Sutra.

All of the provisional teachings of the first 4 periods, and their practices, have in fact become the enemies of the Lotus Sutra, without exception, now that the Lotus Sutra has spread widely with the SGI into all the countries of the world.

Are these accidental inclusions, listing the Yoga Sutras as a connecting teaching? I think not.

From "When the Roots Are Exposed, the Branches Wither", WND II, p. 1085:

... The Three Treatises school too is founded on texts that
... are lacking in reason. If persons who are blind
... encounter its teachings, they are led into error. But if
... wise persons of clear vision do so, then the falsity of
... its doctrines becomes apparent. When the roots are
... exposed, the branches wither; when the springs dry up,
... the current ceases to flow-such is the natural
... principle.

... The Nembutsu school, the Zen school, and the True Word
... school have roots that are founded in error and their
... springs lead to deception. But if their roots and their
... springs are exposed to view, though this may be done by
... so lowly a person as I, Nichiren, then, so long as
... Heaven's design is to bring about a time when the great
... Law will spread abroad, those evil teachings will be
... defeated and the true Law will be established-there can
... be no doubt of this.

... Do you realize that already the time is at hand when
... these evil teachings will vanish? I may be despised and
... mercilessly hounded ...

I think that Nichiren left little to chance. So, the previous discossion (before the Yoga Sutras quote of Nichiren) is merely to explain why he includes a treatise on Hindu practices in a list of works of the first 4 periods to "honestly discard" (Entity of the Mystic Law, WND p. 430), and why we should not be "mixing extraneous practices with the practice of the Lotus Sutra" (Letter to Akimoto, WND pp. 1014-1015).

It is really the Rooster Diagram that seals the fate of Yoga, by classifying it as a provisional practice.

The Hindus claim different authorship and a later time than Maitreya’s and Asanga’s. They claim Patanjali "collected" them around 200 BCE.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_Sutras.

If so, someone else authored them and Nichiren claims that someone is the Bodhisattvas Maitreya and Asanga. I prefer to agree with Nichiren Daishonin on these issues, and all others regarding Nichiren's Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra.

QUESTION #3. Has the Tantric influence on Yoga permeated all the modern schools of Yoga?

From the Wikipedia.org on "Tantra":

... TANTRA (Sanskrit: "weave"), TANTRIC YOGA OR TANTRISM is
... any of several esoteric traditions rooted in the
... religions of India. It exists in Hindu, Buddhist, Jain,
... Bönpo, and New Age forms. Tantra has persisted and often
... thrived throughout Asian history. Its practitioners have
... lived in India, China, Japan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan,
... Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Korea, Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia
... and Mongolia. NO FORM OF MEDIEVAL HINDUISM, BUDDHISM, OR
... JAINISM HAS BEEN WITHOUT A TANTRIC COMPONENT. Some South
... Asian Islamic traditions have also borne a tantric
... stamp.

... David Gordon White, while cautioning us about attempting
... a rigorous definition of what for centuries has defied
... such attempts, offers the following working definition:

....... [It] is that Asian body of beliefs and practices
....... which, working from the principle that the universe
....... we experience is nothing other than the concrete
....... manifestation of the divine energy of the godhead
....... that creates and maintains that universe, seeks to
....... ritually appropriate and channel that energy within
....... the human microcosm in creative and emancipatory
....... ways.

... In its Hindu forms, TANTRA CAN BE SUMMARIZED AS A FAMILY
... OF VOLUNTARY RITUALS MODELED ON THOSE OF THE VEDAS,
... TOGETHER WITH THEIR ATTENDANT TEXTS AND LINEAGES. These
... rituals typically involve the visualization of a deity,
... offerings (real or visualized), and the chanting of his
... or her mantra. These practices are usually said to
... require permission from a qualified teacher or guru who
... belongs to a legitimate guruparampara or teacher-student
... lineage. Thus tantra shares some similarities with yoga.

NOTE THAT THE VEDAS [The newest parts of the Vedas are estimated to date to around 500 BCE; the oldest text (RigVeda) found is now dated to around 1500 BCE - Wikipedia.org] AND UPANISHADS [The oldest Upanishads are the Bºhadâranyaka and the Chhândogya ones, dating to the "Brahmana" period of Vedic Sanskrit (from roughly 900 BCE). A second stratum belongs to the "Sutra" period (from roughly 600 BCE), including the Katha and Maitrâyani ones. - Wikipedia] ARE THE CORE TEXTS OF THE HINDU RELIGION. THE BHAGAVAD GITA [Scholars place the actual writing of the Gita in the latter half of the 1st millennium BC (roughly 4th century BC), making it a contemporary of the older Upanishads.- Wikipedia] IS A LATER WORK. THE VARIOUS SCHOOLS AND PRACTICES AND RELIGIOUS UNDERPINNINGS OF YOGA ARE DESCRIBED IN ALL THREE OF THESE HINDU RELIGIOUS WORKS.

ALSO NOTE THAT THE SAME SECTION ON "TANTRA" IN THE WIKIPEDIA.ORG, HAS A SECTION ON THE SHINGON [TRUE WORD] SECT OF BUDDHISM. THIS IS THE SAME SHINGON THAT NICHIREN DAISHONIN SAID "WILL DESTROY THE COUNTRY" in "Letter to Akimoto", WND p. 1016:

... But I, Nichiren, one man alone, declare that the
... recitation of the name of Amida Buddha is an action that
... leads to rebirth in the hell of incessant suffering,
... that the Zen school is the invention of the heavenly
... devil, that the True Word school is an evil doctrine
... that will destroy the country, and that the Precepts
... school and the observers of the precepts are traitors to
... the nation.

So, the answer is yes, Tantra became Tantric Buddhism and has influenced all distortions of Buddhism that developed in the medieval age in the Near and Far East and are practiced now.

That EXCLUDES the pure practice of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra, because we follow the original teaching prior to the Tantra influence. And because Nichiren Daishonin's practice is from the Lotus Sutra, alone. This is why it IS our PRACTICE to follow the Law and NOT to rely on or replace that Law with the minds of others, no matter how wonderful a leader they are.

QUESTION #4. Isn't this just a bunch of theoretical stuff? Why should I worry?

Study is one of the Three PRACTICES. (And is not theoretical.)

Nichiren Daishonin is in identity with Bodhisattva Jogyo "Superior Practices" (on the top row on the Gohonzon, to the right of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, right of Taho Buddha "Many Treasures" and left of Bodhisattva Muhengyo "Boundless Practices). The correct PRACTICE of Buddhism in the Latter Day of the Law, is Nichiren Daishonin's practice. To be a Bodhisattva of the Earth in that assembly, you must follow Jogyo, whom the Buddha appointed as our leader during the Ceremony in the Air in the Lotus Sutra.

Nichiren's practice is according to the Gosho, which is a document completely devoted to practice. (Unlike T'ien T'ai's theoretical works). Nothing about the Gosho is "theoretical". It is all actual, all practical, and all about PRACTICE.

QUESTION #5. You quote the Wikipedia a lot, is that a reliable source?

Some time ago, the New York Times was quoted in discussing a study of the two by the scientific journal Nature:

... Yet Nature's investigation suggests that Britannica's
... advantage may not be great, at least when it comes to
... science entries. In the study, entries were chosen from
... the Web sites of Wikipedia and Encyclopedia. Britannica
... on a broad range of scientific disciplines, and sent to
... a relevant expert for peer review.

... Each reviewer examined the entry on a single subject
... from the two encyclopedias; they were not told which
... article came from which encyclopedia. A total of 42
... usable reviews were returned out of 50 sent out, and
... were then examined by Nature's news team. Only eight
... serious errors, such as misinterpretations of important
... concepts, were detected in the pairs of articles
... reviewed, four from each encyclopedia. But reviewers
... also found many factual errors, omissions or misleading
... statements: 162 and 123 in Wikipedia and Britannica,
... respectively.

Britannica has busily refuted this, due to the fact that they are very pricey and Wikipedia is free. Wikipedia will most likely close the gap on quality and scope over time. Correctness is difficult for all historical tertiary sources, like encyclopedias and textbooks.

However, the Wikipedia sections on Yoga were contributed by experts on the subject. And they have been reviewed by millions of eyeballs. And all the other sources (those sources are copyrighted with restricted usage, which is why I quote the Wikipedia) agree with the Wikipedia entry.

-Chas.
_________________________________________________

LS Chap. 16 .....

At that time the World-Honored One, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

Since I attained Buddhahood
the number of kalpas that have passed
is an immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands,
millions, trillions, asamkhyas.
Constantly I have preached the Law, teaching, converting
countless millions of living beings,
causing them to enter the Buddha way,
all this for immeasurable kalpas.
In order to save living beings,
as an expedient means I appear to enter nirvana
but in truth I do not pass into extinction.
I am always here preaching the Law.
I am always here,
but through my transcendental powers
I make it so that living beings in their befuddlement
do not see me even when close by.
When the multitude see that I have passed into extinction,
far and wide they offer alms to my relics.
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