Mixing the Worship of Statues and Images, Shinto, Hinayana or Theravada Practices With the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra, part 1 of 3 +%

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Mixing the Worship of Statues and Images, Shinto, Hinayana or Theravada Practices With the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra, part 1 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 1 of 3.


________ The Issue At Hand _______________________

The issue at hand can be summed up by this quote from ARBN:

||| "A Nichiren Buddhist priest that I recently met in Japan
||| said that there were around 50 Nikko sects and SGI and
||| Nichiren Shoshu are only 2 of them and there around 500
||| Nichiren Shu sects. I reckon he'd be right by the amount
||| of temples I visited. Some of the Nichiren Shu and Nikko
||| temples had Nichiren placed directly in front of the
||| Gohonzon. The deity's in the temple grounds and inside
||| their temples of the Pure land, Shingon, Shinto and Zen are
||| the same as the deity's we have in our Gohonzons but in 3D
||| up to about 20m in Height ..."

So, the wayward temples that started from Nichiren Daishonin's faith in the Lotus Sutra have come away from the Daishonin's view that it is the Gohonzon that is the supreme object of devotion for Jambudvipa in the Latter Day of the Law:

From "On Upholding Faith in the Gohonzon", WND I, p. 624:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/73
... I HAVE received the various articles that you so kindly
... sent.
...
... I am entrusting you with a Gohonzon for the protection of
>> your young child. THIS GOHONZON IS THE ESSENCE OF THE
>> LOTUS SUTRA AND THE EYE OF ALL THE SCRIPTURES. IT IS LIKE
>> THE SUN AND THE MOON IN THE HEAVENS, A GREAT RULER ON
>> EARTH, THE HEART IN A HUMAN BEING, THE WISH-GRANTING JEWEL
>> AMONG TREASURES, AND THE PILLAR OF A HOUSE.
...
... When we have this mandala with us, it is a rule that all
... the Buddhas and gods will gather round and watch over us,
... protecting us like a shadow day and night, just as
... warriors guard their ruler, as parents love their
... children, as fish rely on water, as trees and grasses
... crave rain, and as birds depend on trees. You must trust
... in it with all your heart.
...
...................................... With my deep respect,
...
................................................... Nichiren
...
........ The twenty-fifth day of the eighth month
...
........ Reply to the lay nun Myōshin

And, from "The True Aspect of All Phenomena", WND I, p. 386:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/40#para-16

>> BELIEVE IN THE GOHONZON, THE SUPREME OBJECT OF DEVOTION IN
>> ALL OF JAMBUDVĪPA. Be sure to strengthen your faith, and
... receive the protection of Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and
... the Buddhas of the ten directions. Exert yourself in the
... two ways of practice and study. Without practice and study,
... there can be no Buddhism. You must not only persevere
... yourself; you must also teach others. Both practice and
... study arise from faith. Teach others to the best of your
... ability, even if it is only a single sentence or phrase.
... Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
...
...................................... With my deep respect,
...
................................................... Nichiren
...
........ The seventeenth day of the fifth month

The followers of the 5 Senior Priests at Nichiren Shu decline to read "The True Aspect of All Phenomena" Gosho, and erroneously consider it faked, but the same thing is echoed throughout the Gosho repeatedly.

In fact, of the many quotes discussing the "object of devotion" in the Gosho, not a single one of them involves a roomful of statues and images, but instead always the mandalas that Nichiren Daishonin inscribes with his life in sumi ink and sends to his followers:

Quoting from "The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon", WND I p. 832:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/101#para-2

>> WITHOUT EXCEPTION, ALL THESE BUDDHAS, BODHISATTVAS, GREAT
>> SAGES, AND, IN GENERAL, ALL THE VARIOUS BEINGS OF THE TWO
>> WORLDS AND THE EIGHT GROUPS WHO APPEAR IN THE
>> "INTRODUCTION" CHAPTER OF THE LOTUS SUTRA DWELL IN THIS
>> GOHONZON. Illuminated by the light of the five characters
... of the Mystic Law, they display the dignified attributes
... that they inherently possess. This is the object of devotion.

Quoting from "Reply to Kyō'ō", WND I, p. 412:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/45#para-3

>> Kyō'ō's misfortune will change into fortune. MUSTER YOUR
>> FAITH, AND PRAY TO THIS GOHONZON. Then what is there that
... cannot be achieved?

Quoting from "Reply to Niiama", WND I, p. 467:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/55#para-8

>> Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, TREASURED THIS
>> GOHONZON IN HIS HEART FOR NUMBERLESS MAJOR WORLD SYSTEM
>> DUST PARTICLE KALPAS, AND EVEN AFTER HE APPEARED IN THIS
>> WORLD, HE DID NOT EXPOUND IT UNTIL MORE THAN FORTY YEARS
>> AFTER HIS FIRST PREACHING. Even in the Lotus Sutra he did
... not allude to it in the earlier chapters of the theoretical
... teaching. He began things in the "Treasure Tower" chapter,
... he revealed it in the "Life Span" chapter, and he brought
... things to a close in the "Supernatural Powers" and
... "Entrustment" chapters.
...
... Bodhisattvas such as Manjushrī, who lives in the
... Golden-colored World, Maitreya, in the palace of the
... Tushita heaven, and Perceiver of the World's Sounds, on
... Mount Potalaka, and Bodhisattva Medicine King, who is a
... disciple of the Buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue, all
... vied with one another in asking [the Buddha's permission to
... propagate the Gohonzon in the Latter Day of the Law], but
... he refused. The Buddha declared: "Those bodhisattvas are
... known for their excellent wisdom and profound learning, but
... since they have only recently begun to hear the Lotus
... Sutra, their understanding is still limited. Thus they
... would not be able to endure the great difficulties of the
... latter age. My true disciples I have kept hidden in the
... depths of the earth for numberless major world system dust
... particle kalpas. I will entrust it to them." So saying, the
... Buddha summoned Bodhisattva Superior Practices and the
... other bodhisattvas in the "Emerging from the Earth" chapter
... and entrusted them with the five characters of
... Myoho-renge-kyo, the heart of the essential teaching of the
... Lotus Sutra.

Thus, Nichiren Daishonin gave his followers the object of devotion that he intended that they should chant to, and then Nichiren Shu and their spawn and many like them have spurned it, instead placing statues and images in front of the Gohonzon.

That would seem to be a distortion of the Buddha's intent: the intent of the Lotus Sutra, and there would appear to be some deviltry afoot. Let's examine in how many ways this is wrong.


________ Slanders of the True Aspect _____________
________ of All Phenomena ________________________

As a Shinto statue-worshiping follower of Nichiren Shu puts his case, by a distorted translation of the Gosho:

|| Since SGI is wrong about the identity and nature of the
|| Eternal Buddha why would you believe it is correct about
|| anything else?
||
|| The entire thrust of the Rissho Ankoku Ron is that the Treasure
|| of the Buddha is Shakyamuni and the Treasure of the Law is
|| Myoho renge kyo (Lotus Sutra).

Sampling just the first few horrible translations of the Gosho that he quotes to "prove" his fictitious points...

|| Nichiren says in "Reply to Lady Nichinyo":
||
|||| "I for the first time reveal, as a banner of the
|||| spread of the Hokkekyo the Great Mandala which even
|||| Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, and so on, and Tendai,
|||| Myoraku, and so on did not reveal. This is not
|||| at all something which I, Nichiren made myself.
|||| It is the Object of Worship which is from the print
|||| block of the Great Muni, the World Honored One
|||| within the Stupa of Taho and the Separate-Body
|||| Buddhas."
||
|| Clearly, the Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon as taught
|| to him by the Great Muni.

That Nichiren Shu quoted text is a profound forgery and utter uglification of the true text of the Gosho, written to Nichinyo and describing the mandala that he inscribes with his life in sumi ink, here:

From "The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon", WND I, pp. 831-832:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/101#para-1

... How wondrous it is that, around two hundred years and more
... into the Latter Day of the Law, I was the first to reveal
... as the banner of propagation of the Lotus Sutra this great
... mandala that even those such as Nāgārjuna and Vasubandhu,
... T'ien-t'ai and Miao-lo were unable to express. This mandala
... is in no way my invention. It is the object of devotion
... that depicts Shakyamuni Buddha, the World-Honored One,
... seated in the treasure tower of Many Treasures Buddha, and
... the Buddhas who were Shakyamuni's emanations as perfectly
... as a print matches its woodblock. Thus the five characters
... of the Lotus Sutra's title are suspended in the center,
... while the four heavenly kings are seated at the four
... corners of the treasure tower. Shakyamuni, Many Treasures,
... and the four leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth are
... side by side at the top. Seated below them are the
... bodhisattvas, including Universal Worthy and Manjushrī, and
... the voice-hearers, including Shāriputra and Maudgalyāyana.
... [Beside them are] the gods of the sun and moon, the devil
... king of the sixth heaven, the dragon king, and an asura. In
... addition, the wisdom kings Immovable and Craving-Filled
... take up their stations to the south and north. The evil and
... treacherous Devadatta and the ignorant dragon king's
... daughter form a group. Not only the Mother of Demon
... Children and the ten demon daughters, who are evil demons
... that sap the lives of people throughout the major world
... system, but also the Sun Goddess, Great Bodhisattva
... Hachiman, and the seven reigns of the heavenly gods and
... five reigns of the earthly gods, who are the guardian
... deities of Japan—all the various great and small gods, that
... is, the main gods, are ranged in rows. How then could the
... remaining subordinate gods be left out? The "Treasure
... Tower" chapter states, "[Shakyamuni Buddha used his
... transcendental powers to] lift all the members of the great
... assembly up into the air."
...
... Without exception, all these Buddhas, bodhisattvas, great
... sages, and, in general, all the various beings of the two
... worlds and the eight groups who appear in the
... "Introduction" chapter of the Lotus Sutra dwell in this
... Gohonzon. Illuminated by the light of the five characters
... of the Mystic Law, they display the dignified attributes
... that they inherently possess. This is the object of devotion.
...
... This is what is meant when the sutra says "the true aspect
... of all phenomena." Miao-lo stated: "The true aspect
... invariably manifests in all phenomena, and all phenomena
... invariably manifest in the ten factors. The ten factors
... invariably manifest in the Ten Worlds, and the Ten Worlds
... invariably manifest in life and its environment." It is
... also stated that the profound principle of the true aspect
... is the originally inherent Myoho-renge-kyo. The Great
... Teacher Dengyō said, "A single moment of life comprising
... the three thousand realms is itself the Buddha of limitless
... joy; this Buddha has forsaken august appearances."
... Therefore, this Gohonzon shall be called the great mandala
... never before known; it did not appear until more than 2,220
... years after the Buddha's passing.

The Nichiren Shu priests who have corrupted this beautiful writing of Nichrien Daishonin will suffer ages in Avichi hell for it, assuredly. They wanted to worship Shakyamuni as a god, because they think so little of themselves and others. They wanted to lose themselves in stupa worship, like the Hinayana followers of the Pali canon.

Worshiping stupa carvings at places like King Ashoka's Great Stupa at Amaravati (now residing in the British Museum) was the original error that led to statue worship, and then abandoning the true teachings and taking up with images of human beings as their object of worship, or worse yet, the imagined images of deities and the Buddhist gods (stolen from Hinduism) in Shinto, which are merely functions of our life as the common mortal who is the true Buddha.

It is simply just a recycled and crappy version of Pantheistic Hindu god worship, but as a distortion of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, it comes with a drastically worse result.

Then he quotes yet another horribly-translated travesty in two corrupted versions:

|||| "Thus it was revealed that Shakyamuni had long been the
|||| Buddha since the eternal past, and it became clear that
|||| various Buddhas in other worlds were all manifestations of
|||| Shakyamuni Buddha..[ ] now, however, as Shakyamuni was
|||| proved to be the Eternal Buddha, those Buddhas in the
|||| Flower Garland Sutra, or Buddhas in the Hodo, Hannya, or
|||| Great Sun Buddha sutras all became subordinates of
|||| Shakyamuni Buddha." (Kaimoku Sho, p. 174, translated by
|||| Kyotsu Hori, 1987)
||
|| Same quote in the MW's:
||
|||| "When Shakyamuni Buddha revealed that he had gained
|||| enlightenment in the far distant past and had since then
|||| been constantly in the world, it became apparent that all
|||| the other Buddhas were emanations of Shakyamuni....but now
|||| it became apparent that Vairocana Buddha of the Kegon Sutra
|||| and various Buddhas of the Hodo, Hannya and Dainichi sutras
|||| are in fact all followers of Shakyamuni Buddha." (MW V.2,
|||| p.149)

Here is the uncorrupted quote from "The Opening of the Eyes", WND I, p. 256:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/30#para-187

... When Shakyamuni Buddha revealed that he had gained
... enlightenment in the far distant past, it became apparent
... that all the other Buddhas were emanations of Shakyamuni.
... When the Buddha preached the earlier sutras and the first
... half, or theoretical teaching, of the Lotus Sutra, the
... other Buddhas were pictured as standing on an equal footing
... with Shakyamuni, after completing their respective
... practices and disciplines. Therefore, the people who take
... one or another of these Buddhas as their object of devotion
... customarily look down on Shakyamuni Buddha. But now it
... becomes apparent that Vairochana Buddha, who is described
... in the Flower Garland Sutra as being seated on a lotus
... pedestal, and the various Buddhas who appear in the sutras
... of the Correct and Equal and the Wisdom periods, such as
... the Mahāvairochana Sutra, are all in fact followers of
... Shakyamuni Buddha.

Supporting the Hindu/Shinto practice of worshiping Shakyamuni as a god is foul thing that Shakyamuni would himself would be the first to decry.

In India after Buddhism had passed into the East, Shakyamuni was added to the Hindu pantheon of gods to the end of enfolding and crushing the life out of the corrupted and diminished practice of Indian Buddhism: to put a coda to it. These distorted practices are born from that purpose. Just before Nichiren Daishonin's time, that corrupted Buddhism was finally wiped out on the Indian subcontinent by Islam, except in Sri Lanka where the Southern Pali Canon distortions persisted.

The Middle Day of the Law's outdated practice of worshiping statues and erecting towers is NOT for the era of Nichiren Daishonin, it is the hollow and ghostly practice of the dead. Nichiren Daishonin's practice of the Latter Day of the Law is to chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the Gohonzon, and not to the images of any person, Shakyamuni, Nichiren Daishonin or anyone else.

This is made perfectly clear from this passage of the "Immeasurable Meanings Sutra", pp. 12-13. (The Nichiren Shu followers challenge this sutra as provisional, but in fact it is preached during the Lotus Sutra, not once, but twice, and is thus concurrent with the Lotus Sutra, not preached before, or preached after the Lotus Sutra):

The Lotus Sutra: 1 - Introduction, p. 37:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/1#para-15

The Lotus Sutra: 1 - Introduction, p. 47:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/1#para-279

In the quote that destroys all of the statue worshiping, I have highlighted the key phrase so that it cannot be missed.

Without that teaching the true aspect of all phenomena would be difficult to come to grips with.

From the "Immeasurable Meanings Sutra", pp. 12-13:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Prologue/2#para-8

... "When bodhisattvas have in this manner observed the
... beginning and end of these four aspects and have understood
... them in their entirety, then they will clearly perceive
... that all phenomena, never abiding from one instant to
... the next, are constantly being born anew and passing into
... extinction, and then they will immediately perceive the
... true aspect of birth, abiding, change, and extinction.
...
... "Once they have gained this perception, then they must turn
... to the capacities, natures, and desires of living beings.
... Because such natures and desires are immeasurable in
... variety, the ways of preaching the Law are immeasurable;
... and because the ways of preaching the Law are immeasurable,
>> its meanings are likewise immeasurable. THESE IMMEASURABLE
>> MEANINGS ARE BORN FROM A SINGLE LAW, AND THIS LAW IS
>> WITHOUT ASPECT. WHAT IS WITHOUT ASPECT IS DEVOID OF ASPECT
>> AND DOES NOT TAKE ON ASPECT. NOT TAKING ON ASPECT, BEING
>> WITHOUT ASPECT, IT IS CALLED THE TRUE ASPECT.
...
... "When bodhisattvas mahasattva rest and abide in this
... understanding of the true aspect of all phenomena, then the
... pity and compassion that they put forth will be based on
... clear understanding and not groundless, and they will be
... truly capable of rescuing living beings from the sufferings
... that they undergo. And once they have rescued them from
... suffering, they will preach the Law for them and enable
... living beings to enjoy ease and delight.

In fact, the description of the true aspect of all phenomena as being "devoid of aspect" is what explains the famous passage on negations, quoted by Mr. Toda in The Human Revolution from the first chapter of the "Immeasurable Meanings Sutra", Lotus Sutra, p. 7:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Prologue/1#para-21

... his body neither existing nor not existing,
... neither caused nor conditioned, neither self nor other,
... neither square nor round, neither short nor long,
... neither appearing nor disappearing, neither born nor extinguished,
... neither created nor arising, neither acted nor made,
... neither sitting nor lying down, neither walking nor standing,
... neither moving nor turning, neither idle nor still,
... neither advancing nor retreating, neither in safety nor danger,
... neither right nor wrong, neither gaining nor losing,
... neither that nor this, neither departing nor coming,
... neither blue nor yellow, neither red nor white,
... neither crimson nor purple nor any other sort of color,

Santai or the Three Truths can only be found in the Lotus Sutra, this is one of the glories of the Lotus Sutra. "The truth of non-substantiality, the truth of temporary existence, and the truth of the Middle Way." from the SGI Dictionary:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/T/183

The statues or images of human beings capture the aspect of their temporary existence alone, their impermanence.

I have 'temporary existence', am not permanent and thus will vanish from the world, this is my destiny from birth: to be born is to die, that is the guarantee of the four sufferings: birth, aging, sickness and death.

The electron is a fine physical metaphor for this aspect of the Lotus Sutra.

Like an electron that has both a particle and a wave function, I am also 'non-substantial' and that was true before my birth, during my aging, sickness and after my death. In fact I am dying now, particular cells that were crucial to my function are born and then die all the time. I am ALSO like a wave.

In all those phases of my eternal life I am in the 'Middle Way', the unification of the Three Truths.

Images of living beings are images of their 'temporary existence' alone, and like "the Tripitaka teaching and the connecting teaching do not reveal the truth of the Middle Way and therefore lack the three truths," (from the definition of Santai) ... they do not possess the 'true aspect.'

Both Nam-myoho-Renge-Kyo and the "supreme object of devotion for Jambudvipa", the Gohonzon possesses the "true aspect" in the fact that the first is a sound like no other and the second is an arrangement of characters and does not look like you or me or anyone you know. This is how it can reflect ALL THE LIVING BEINGS, not just here, but everywhere that life has or will develop in the ten directions and the three existences of past, present and future, and every other place and time.

All living beings possess the true aspect and they are all Buddhas, like the characters of an enormous version of the Lotus Sutra. However, not even the images of the Lord of Teachings, Shakyamuni, nor of the Buddha of the Latter Day, Nichiren Daishonin reflect anything other than their impermanent aspect.

Only the Gohonzon reflects the true aspect. It is the supreme object of devotion and all others are pitiful in their aspect, by comparison: why would anyone chant the daimoku, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to any other object of devotion?

From "The True Aspect of All Phenomena", WND I, p. 384:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/40#para-5

... The "Thus Come One" is explained clearly in T'ien-t'ai's
... commentary as follows: "The Thus Come One is a general
... designation for the Buddhas of the ten directions and the
... three existences, for the two Buddhas, the three Buddhas,
>> the true Buddha, and provisional Buddhas." THE "TRUE
>> BUDDHA" HERE MEANS COMMON MORTALS, WHEREAS "PROVISIONAL
>> BUDDHAS" MEANS BUDDHAS. However, because of the difference
... between ordinary people and Buddhas that stems from the
... disparity between delusion and enlightenment, ordinary
... people are unaware that they are endowed with both the
... entity and the functions of the three bodies.

This one statement of Nichiren Daishonin is key:

'The "true Buddha" here means common mortals, whereas "provisional Buddhas" means Buddhas.'

This is a strikingly different connotation of the term "provisional Buddhas" from that listed in the SGI Dictionary:

"provisional Buddha [迹仏] (Jpn shakubutsu): Also, transient Buddha. A Buddha who does not reveal his true identity, but assumes a transient status or role in order to save the people. The term is used in contrast with "true Buddha," a Buddha who has revealed his true identity."

In the above Gosho quote Nichiren Daishonin is using the term "provisional Buddha" to mean ALL Buddhas, both BEFORE AND AFTER they reveal their true identity, and that '"true Buddha" in that passage means common mortals'.

He is making a profound and unmistakable distinction here between (1) those who manifest the enlightenment of the Lotus Sutra in their life condition conspicuously and then preach the Law and lead the people in the path of the Lotus Sutra and (2) the common mortals who follow them: that the provisional Buddhas manifesting Myoho-Renge are here for the common people who are the 'true Buddhas.'

The common mortal is the true Buddha, whereas Shakyamuni and Many Treasures in all their manifested glory as inscribed on the Gohonzon, are functions of the entity that is any common mortal enveloped in his or her delusion. Provisional Buddhas then would include Nichiren Daishonin and Sensei, who are here for we deluded mortals struggling on the path of the Lotus Sutra.

That means that if a statue worshiper really wanted to enshrine a more proper image to chant to, it would be the picture of a drunk or a hooker on the street: better that, than just a provisional Buddha who is merely a FUNCTION of that true Buddha, that very human being. Best, no image or visage of any living being to idolize.

This is why we don't chant to images, since images cannot have the true aspect, only the Gohonzon has the true aspect, which means "being without aspect" (from the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, without which the Lotus Sutra would lack the clear understanding of true aspect, and would therefore be less complete.)

From "The True Aspect of All Phenomena", WND I, p. 384:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/40#para-6

... "All phenomena" in the sutra refers to the Ten Worlds, and
>> the "true aspect," to what they actually are. THE "TRUE
>> ASPECT" IS ANOTHER NAME FOR MYOHO-RENGE-KYO; HENCE ALL
>> PHENOMENA ARE MYOHO-RENGE-KYO. Hell's displaying the form
... of hell is its true aspect. When hell changes into the
... realm of hungry spirits, that is no longer the true form of
... hell. A Buddha displays the form of a Buddha, and a common
... mortal, that of a common mortal. The entities of all
... phenomena are entities of Myoho-renge-kyo. That is the
... meaning of "the true aspect of all phenomena." T'ien-t'ai
... states that the profound principle of the true aspect is
... the originally inherent Myoho-renge-kyo. This
... interpretation identifies the phrase "true aspect" with the
... theoretical teaching and "the originally inherent
... Myoho-renge-kyo" with the essential teaching. You should
... ponder this interpretation deep in your heart.
...

The Daishonin says: 'The "true aspect" is another name for Myoho-renge-kyo; hence all phenomena are Myoho-renge-kyo.'

This is the fruit of the clear understanding of that description of true aspect.

If the true aspect was an image of Shakyamuni, then it could not be Myoho-Renge-Kyo, because Myoho-Renge-Kyo is without aspect: you cannot view it from any point and see an aspect of a person, and from every aspect, or viewpoint, you only can perceive the three thousand worlds in a momentary existence of life.

Thus, all entities and phenomena could not be the true entity of Myoho-Renge-Kyo, without having the aspect of Shakyamuni, were Shakyamuni's visage the true aspect.

All phenomena are the true aspect AND Myoho-Renge-Kyo, precisely because the true aspect means being without the aspect of any specific or particular living entity.


________ Slanders of the eternal Buddha __________

Once again, that quote from ARBN:

||| "A Nichiren Buddhist priest that I recently met in Japan
||| said that there were around 50 Nikko sects and SGI and
||| Nichiren Shoshu are only 2 of them and there around 500
||| Nichiren Shu sects. I reckon he'd be right by the amount
||| of temples I visited. Some of the Nichiren Shu and Nikko
||| temples had Nichiren placed directly in front of the
||| Gohonzon. The deity's in the temple grounds and inside
||| their temples of the Pure land, Shingon, Shinto and Zen are
||| the same as the deity's we have in our Gohonzons but in 3D
||| up to about 20m in Height ..."

It is unimaginable that people could read the Gosho quote down below and still not understand what Nichiren Daishonin states clearly: the original Buddha is named Myoho-Renge, and not named Shakyamuni, Nichiren Daishonin, anyone or anything else.

The treachery of the Five Senior Priests who founded Nichiren Shu and converted Nichiren Daishonin's practice of Buddhism into a syncretic Shinto statue-worshiping deist faith has now led to this treasonous view by a denizen of ARBN:

||| I have considered the recipients of Nichiren's writings to
||| be a key factor, or rather, an important element regarding
||| the *meaning* conveyed. Nichiren wrote about the Gohonzon
||| to disciples and lay followers whom he had taught for
||| almost two decades; all of whom grasped the doctrines
||| Nichiren himself established for propagating
||| Myoho-renge-kyo in this latter age.
|||
||| Do you, Chas, accept and believe the preceding 18 years of
||| Nichiren's teachings , written to these disciples and lay
||| followers? In those writings I find and provide passages
||| here, to establish that Nichiren himself taught the primacy
||| of the daimoku as " a complete explanation" of the Lotus
||| Sutra, and Shakyamuni as the true, eternal Buddha. Since
||| you have dismissed the basic understanding ALL recipients
||| of Nichiren's writings most certainly had, how can you make
||| any determinations about the *meaning* expressed in the
||| Gosho?

First, let's hear what Nichiren Daishonin says on the subject.

From "The Entity of the Mystic Law", p. 420:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/47#para-30

... Question: The Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai has explained that
... the term Myoho-renge is used in two different senses, one
... meaning the entity of Myoho-renge and the other being
... figurative in meaning. What are these two kinds of renge,
... or lotus?
...
... Answer: The figurative renge, or lotus, is explained in
... detail in the three metaphors of the lotus blossom
... enfolding the seed, the lotus blossom opening to reveal the
... seed inside, and the lotus blossom falling and the
... seed ripening, so one should refer to them. The lotus that
... is the entity of Myoho-renge is explained in the seventh
... volume of The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra as
>> follows: "RENGE, OR LOTUS, IS NOT A SYMBOL; IT IS THE
>> ACTUAL NAME OF THE ENTITY. For example, at the beginning
... of the kalpa of continuance, the various things in the
... world had no names. The sage observed the principles that
... govern them and on that basis made up names for them." He
... also writes: "Now the name renge is not intended as a
... symbol for anything. It is the teaching expounded in the
... Lotus Sutra. The teaching expounded in the Lotus Sutra is
... pure and undefiled and explains the subtleties of cause
... and effect. Therefore, it is called renge, or lotus. This
... name designates the true entity that the meditation based
... on the Lotus Sutra reveals, and is not a metaphor or
... figurative term."

Note the line, Myoho-Renge is "the actual name of the entity," the Entity of the Mystic Law.

"The entity" of the Mystic Law, BTW, is the original Buddha, the Buddha of Limitless Joy, the Buddha of Beginningless Time, the eternal Buddha, the Buddha of the original state, or the true Buddha: these are all the same.

However, "the entity" is clearly not named Shakyamuni Buddha NOR Nichiren Daishonin, in spite of their profound roles in manifesting the enlightenement of the Lotus Sutra, preaching the Lotus Sutra and leading the Kosen Rufu endeavour to spread it widely.

Myoho-Renge is the entity of eternal enlightenment, not named after someone who practiced Brahmanism (Shakyamuni) or Amida Buddhism (Nichiren Daishonin) earlier in their life. These are real people, who emerge from the impurities of the Saha World and attain enlightenment through the Lotus Sutra alone, and no other practice (in fact, in spite of other grievous slanders of the Law.)

We all manifest Myoho-Renge when we chant the daimoku: when we give voice to the eternal truth of the Law. However, all common mortals are two, but not two, both deluded and enlightened: we are the true Buddha.

Myoho-Renge is always pure and true, never off the mark from beginning to end. This is why we don't worship human beings or statues manifesting their visage or the aspect of their impermanence: we would not want to repeat their errors.

One of the errors that neither Shakyamuni nor Nichiren Daishonin are known for is the error of the kind of preening arrogance that would be in any way comfortable with being worshiped like a Hindu god, and certainly not as God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth in some traditionally deifying sense.

Shakyamuni and Nichiren Daishonin must suffer greatly at the slanders of sincere followers misled by the corrupted priests of Nichiren Shu and the Nikko sects as described at the top quote regarding statue worship of them: being hoisted up and placed in front of the Gohonzon.

According to the Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings: the Lotus Sutra in the Parable of the Phantom City chapter identifies the eternal Buddha (the Buddha of Limitless Joy, AKA the Buddha of Beginningless Time) as the grandfather of Shakyamuni, who as one of the sixteen princes, was the son of Great Universal Wisdom Excellence Thus Come One, who was the son of "the grandfather".

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/ott/PART-1/7#para-15

>> The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: IN
>> THIS PASSAGE WE LEARN ABOUT THE BUDDHA OF THE ORIGINAL
>> STATE [THAT IS, THE BUDDHA OF LIMITLESS JOY]. "GRANDFATHER"
>> IS ANOTHER NAME FOR THE DHARMA-REALM. The first three of
... the ten factors listed in the "Expedient Means" chapter,
... the factors of appearance, nature, and entity, are referred
... to as "grandfather." Outside of these three factors, there
... is no wheel-turning sage king.
...
... The word "wheel-turning" refers to the phases of birth,
... abiding, change, and extinction. The words "sage king"
... refer to the element of the mind. These three factors,
... appearance, nature, and entity, are the father and mother
... of all the Buddhas of the three existences of past,
... present, and future.
...
... Now, when Nichiren and his followers chant
... Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are acting as father and mother
... of the Buddhas of the three existences, as their
... grandfather, the wheel-turning sage king.

The followers of the 5 Senior Priests of Nichiren Shu consider the Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings to ALSO BE FAKED (because its view of Buddhism would disallow statue worship and funeral Buddhism), but once again, the Gosho in many places AND THE CORE OF THE LOTUS SUTRA ITSELF, confirms this view.

That passage refers to this one, the one and only reference to "the grandfather", where his son, who is the father of 16th son Shakyamuni, Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, attains enlightenment when "the Law of the buddhas finally appeared before him". This from the mouth of Shakyamuni Buddha, himself:

The Parable of the Phantom City, LS-7, pp 156-157:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/7#para-35

... "Now, monks, THE BUDDHA GREAT UNIVERSAL WISDOM EXCELLENCE
... PASSED TEN SMALL KALPAS BEFORE THE LAW OF THE BUDDHAS
... FINALLY APPEARED BEFORE HIM AND HE ATTAINED SUPREME
... PERFECT ENLIGHTENMENT. Before this buddha left the
... householder's life, he had sixteen sons, the first of whom
... was named Wisdom Accumulated. These sons each had various
... kinds of rare objects and toys of one kind or another, but
... when they heard that their father had attained supreme
... perfect enlightenment, they all threw aside their rare
... objects and went to where the buddha was. Their mothers,
... weeping, followed after them.
...
... "Their grandfather, who was a wheel-turning sage king,
... along with a hundred chief ministers, as well as a
... hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million of his subjects,
... all together surrounded the sons and followed them to the
... place of enlightenment, all wishing to draw close to the
... thus come one Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, to offer
... alms, pay honor, venerate, and praise him. When they
... arrived, they bowed before his feet, touching their heads
... to the ground.

Since the "grandfather" was the father of the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, who was the father of the 16th son who later became Shakyamuni Buddha, and because the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence attained enlightenment prior to Shakyamuni, this is evidence from the one and only earliest timeline from the Lotus Sutra, that Shakyamuni Buddha was NOT the name of the Buddha of the original state.

In fact, anyone attaining enlightenment on any timeline for the first time cannot be named as the Buddha of the original state, who is enlightened from beginningless time, which is off the end of every timeline and not actually part of any history.

The "grandfather" is anonymous in the Lotus Sutra. The "grandfather" has no time associated with his enlightenment, or assignment of any progenitor and Nichiren Daishonin assigns him as primogenitor in that passage from the Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, as the first: the "Buddha of the original state."

Aside from that, who knows, I don't. As far as I can tell, the eternal Buddha has no other person identified as such in the Lotus Sutra. Shakyamuni attained enlightenment after his father Great Universal Wisdom Excellence and unnamed grandfather with no date for his attainment of the enlightenment.

At any rate, who was first hardly matters, unless you want to worship a statue or image of the first enlightened one. I certainly don't want to worship or pray to any statues of anyone.

I am satisfied that the Buddha leading the army of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth is Nichiren Daishonin, also known as Jogyo Superior Practices. He is the mentor whose Gosho I have made my mentor, because our general, Ikeda Sensei asked me too. I practice as Nichiren Daishonin says and only that way. I worship no person and images of any person.

Continuing, another challenge from a follower of the Nichiren Shu icchantikas/issendai:

||| You, Chas, claim to be practicing Nichiren's teachings- do
||| you not? Then please explain why you cannot believe
||| thousands of passages written in Nichiren's own hand, such
||| as:
|||
||| "Now, when the Eternal Buddha has revealed in the essential
||| section of the Lotus Sutra, this world of endurance
||| (Saha-world) became the Eternal Pure Land, indestructible
||| even by the three calamities of conflagration, flooding,
||| and strong winds, which are said to destroy the world. It
||| transcends the four periods of cosmic change: the kalpa of
||| construction, continuance, destruction and emptiness.
||| Sakaymuni Buddha, the Lord-preacher of this pure and, has
||| never died in the past, nor will He be born in the future.
||| He exists forever throughout the past present and future.
||| All those who receive His GUIDANCE are one with the Eternal
||| Buddha." - Nichiren, "The True Object of Worship".
|||
||| Now, you are interpreting the Lotus Sutra- in an effort to
||| support your SGIkeda's claim that Nichiren, not Shakyamuni
||| is the True, Original Buddha!! By doing this you are also
||| dismissing Nichiren's own statements referencing his
||| identity as the Buddha's envoy, the only one who can
||| understand the "entity of the Lotus"--So, YOU, Chas claim
||| to be --what? the envoy of the Buddha you have demoted?? Or
||| are you just a parrot for SGIkeda's lies??
|||
||| To summarize, I practice Nichiren's Lotus Sutra Buddhism. I
||| regard Nichiren as the ONE teacher for this latter age. I
||| believe the words Nichiren has used to describe himself,
||| Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra--Since, you, Chas do
||| not produce evidence for your assertions from Nichiren's
||| own hand, you are not qualified to call yourself a follower
||| of Nichiren-- in fact, you have clearly shown yourself to
||| be a follower of Ikeda, whose errors have been exposed here
||| and elsewhere , whilst your Top leaders refuse to engage in
||| public debate to settle the matters you continue to parrot
||| here!!

This is yet another bad translation of the Gosho, by corrupted statue-worshiping priests of Nichiren Shu. Note the absence of the term "Eternal Buddha" in the correct translation below, that phrase having been doctored by Nichiren Shu slandering priests in their corrupted translation.

Shakyamuni was of course manifesting Myoho-Renge, his true self and at the highest condition of human existence when he was preaching the Juryo chapter.

But his name was Shakyamuni, not Myoho-Renge, which is "the actual name of the entity" according to Nichiren Daishonin.

From "The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind Established in the Fifth Five-Hundred-Year Period after the Thus Come One's Passing -Nichiren, the shramana of Japan", WND I, p. 366 ... once again, noting the total absence of calling Shakyamuni the "eternal Buddha":
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/39#para-70

... First, at his place of enlightenment, Shakyamuni Buddha
... [preached the Flower Garland Sutra in which he] revealed
... the Lotus Treasury World. In the following fifty years,
... until he entered nirvana in the grove of sal trees,
... Shakyamuni preached about the lands of the various Buddhas,
... such as the Lotus Treasury World and the Land of Secret
... Solemnity [in the Secret Solemnity Sutra], revealed the
... three kinds of lands when he three times purified countless
... lands [in the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra], and
... revealed the four kinds of lands according to the four
... different views [in the Nirvana Sutra]. These lands—the
... Land of Transition, the Land of Actual Reward, and the Land
... of Tranquil Light; the Land of Peace and Sustenance, the
... Pure Emerald World, the Land of Secret Solemnity, and the
... lands of all the other Buddhas—are transient lands that
... change in the course of the kalpas of formation,
... [continuance, decline, and disintegration]. The Buddhas of
... these lands had been magically conjured by Shakyamuni
... Buddha, and when the lord of teachings entered nirvana, all
... these Buddhas likewise entered extinction. In the same way,
... their lands also vanished.
...
... The sahā world Shakyamuni Buddha revealed in the "Life
... Span" chapter is the eternal pure land, impervious to the
... three calamities and to the cycle of the four kalpas. The
... Buddha neither has entered into extinction in the past nor
... will be born in the future. And the same is true of his
... disciples. This means that their lives are perfectly
... endowed with the three thousand worlds, that is, with the
... three realms of existence. The Buddha did not reveal this
... truth in the theoretical teaching, or the first fourteen
... chapters, of the Lotus Sutra because the time was not right
... and the people's capacity was not yet developed.
...
... Shakyamuni Buddha did not transmit the five characters of
... Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the heart of the essential teaching of
... the Lotus Sutra, even to the bodhisattvas Manjushrī and
... Medicine King, let alone to any lesser disciples. He
... summoned from beneath the earth the great bodhisattvas as
... numerous as the dust particles of a thousand worlds and, as
... he preached the eight chapters, transferred it solely to
... them.

Finally, a piece of logic related to time itself, and that logic is irrefutable.

Beginningless time is before any finite point in the past on the timeline, such as when Shakyamuni attained enlightenment. From the Lotus Sutra, chapter 16, starting with the critical phrase "Ga hon gyo bosatsu do":
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/16#para-14

... originally I practiced the bodhisattva way,
... and the life span that I acquired then has
... yet to come to an end but will last twice
... the number of years that have already passed.

A finite time in the past, which is half the time of a future point, can not possibly be the locus known as "beginningless time", which is off the timeline. The eternal Buddha's enlightened life crosses before, during and after every point on the timeline, which is why the adjective "eternal" is applied.

Shakyamuni, in his complete honesty, declared that he attained enlightenment under another Buddha and implicitly therefore that Shakyamuni is not the name of the eternal Buddha, as the Nichiren Shu and it's plausibly deniable legion of SGI attackers erroneously believe. You cannot deny what the Lotus Sutra says, Shakyamuni is not the name of the eternal Buddha, anymore than anyone's impermanent name is. That name is Myoho-Renge.


________ Slanders of the common mortal ___________
________ as the true Buddha ______________________

Let's revisit that ARBN quote from the follower of the Nichiren Shu traitorous founders, the Five Senior Priests who converted Nichiren Daishonin's practice of Buddhism into a syncretic Shinto statue-worshiping of Shakyamuni as God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth:

||| I have considered the recipients of Nichiren's writings to
||| be a key factor, or rather, an important element regarding
||| the *meaning* conveyed. Nichiren wrote about the Gohonzon
||| to disciples and lay followers whom he had taught for
||| almost two decades; all of whom grasped the doctrines
||| Nichiren himself established for propagating
||| Myoho-renge-kyo in this latter age.
|||
||| Do you, Chas, accept and believe the preceding 18 years of
||| Nichiren's teachings , written to these disciples and lay
||| followers? In those writings I find and provide passages
||| here, to establish that Nichiren himself taught the primacy
||| of the daimoku as " a complete explanation" of the Lotus
||| Sutra, and Shakyamuni as the true, eternal Buddha. Since
||| you have dismissed the basic understanding ALL recipients
||| of Nichiren's writings most certainly had, how can you make
||| any determinations about the *meaning* expressed in the
||| Gosho?

There are many pillars upholding the difference of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra from all other Buddhisms, which are then clearly distortions of the Buddha's teachings and intent.

It's also abundantly true that all of Nichiren Daishonin's pillars stand together in perfect logical harmony, without the tiniest weak point in the structure. All of the deviant variants of Buddhism are like horrid collapsing lopsided structures in comparison. They are tents and hastily erected shacks that do not survive even the slight breeze. Let's start with the notion of manifesting Buddhahood in an instant:

From "Wu-lung and I-lung", WND I, p. 1099 (most relevant part highlighted):

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/162#para-1

... Myoho-renge-kyo is likened to the lotus. The great māndāra
... flower in heaven and the cherry blossom in the human world
... are both celebrated flowers, but the Buddha chose neither
... to compare to the Lotus Sutra. Of all the flowers, he
... selected the lotus blossom to symbolize the Lotus Sutra.
... There is a reason for this. Some plants first flower and
... then produce fruit, while in others fruit comes forth
... before flowers. Some bear only one flower but much fruit,
... others send forth many flowers but only one fruit, and
>> still others produce fruit without flowering. THUS THERE
>> ARE ALL MANNER OF PLANTS, BUT THE LOTUS IS THE ONLY ONE
>> THAT BEARS FLOWERS AND FRUIT SIMULTANEOUSLY. THE BENEFIT OF
>> ALL THE OTHER SUTRAS IS UNCERTAIN, BECAUSE THEY TEACH THAT
>> ONE MUST FIRST MAKE GOOD CAUSES AND ONLY THEN CAN ONE
>> BECOME A BUDDHA AT SOME LATER TIME. WITH REGARD TO THE
>> LOTUS SUTRA, WHEN ONE'S HAND TAKES IT UP, THAT HAND
>> IMMEDIATELY ATTAINS BUDDHAHOOD, AND WHEN ONE'S MOUTH CHANTS
>> IT, THAT MOUTH IS ITSELF A BUDDHA, AS, FOR EXAMPLE, THE
>> MOON IS REFLECTED IN THE WATER THE MOMENT IT APPEARS FROM
>> BEHIND THE EASTERN MOUNTAINS, OR AS A SOUND AND ITS ECHO
>> ARISE SIMULTANEOUSLY. IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT THE SUTRA
>> STATES, "IF THERE ARE THOSE WHO HEAR THE LAW, THEN NOT A
>> ONE WILL FAIL TO ATTAIN BUDDHAHOOD." THIS PASSAGE MEANS
>> THAT, IF THERE ARE A HUNDRED OR A THOUSAND PEOPLE WHO
>> UPHOLD THIS SUTRA, WITHOUT A SINGLE EXCEPTION ALL ONE
>> HUNDRED OR ONE THOUSAND OF THEM WILL BECOME BUDDHAS.

The piece to focus on here is:

"The benefit of all the other sutras is uncertain, because they teach that one must first make good causes and only then can one become a Buddha at some later time. With regard to the Lotus Sutra, when one's hand takes it up, that hand immediately attains Buddhahood, and when one's mouth chants it, that mouth is itself a Buddha"

The only conceivable way that one can attain Buddhahood simultaneously with chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, is if one is already a Buddha, and one only needs to chant the daimoku to manifest that pre-existing and inherited Buddhahood.

As argued clearly in the previous 2nd section on slanders of the true aspect of all phenomena, (1.) the common mortal is the true Buddha and provisional Buddhas are a function of the true Buddha (common mortal), and (2.) all phenomena are the true aspect AND Myoho-Renge-Kyo, precisely because the true aspect means without having the aspect of any specific or particular entity, but is inclusive of all entities.

The view that the provisional Buddhas who appear to save we common mortals are THE Buddha, and that we ARE NOT, is a slander of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law and it arises from confusing inconspicuous benefit with enlightenment.

Here is Nichiren Daishonin's explanation of the differences in the teachings, and which view the Lotus Sutra takes.

From "The Unanimous Declaration by the Buddhas", WND II, p. 859:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-2/Content/315#para-185

>> WHEN ONE TURNS TO THE PERFECT TEACHING, however, and sees
... that all phenomena are perfectly fused together, full and
... perfect like the moon on the fifteenth night of the month,
... free of all insufficiency, and when one understands them to
>> the fullest, THEN THERE IS NO MORE JUDGING THEM AS GOOD OR
>> BAD, NO MORE CHOOSING ON THE BASIS OF WHAT IS TIMELY, NO
>> MORE NEED TO SEEK OUT A QUIET SETTING, NO MORE QUESTION OF
>> WHICH PERSONS ARE ELIGIBLE. When one understands that all
... phenomena whatsoever are manifestations of the Buddhist
... Law, then one has fully comprehended the nature of the
... things of the phenomenal realm. Then even if one follows a
... path that is not the way, one will still be fulfilling
... the Buddha way.
...
>> HEAVEN, EARTH, WATER, FIRE, AND WIND ARE THE FIVE WISDOM
>> THUS COME ONES. THEY RESIDE WITHIN THE BODY AND MIND OF ALL
>> LIVING BEINGS AND ARE NEVER SEPARATED FROM THEM EVEN FOR AN
>> INSTANT. THEREFORE WORLDLY AFFAIRS AND AFFAIRS RELATING TO
>> ENLIGHTENMENT BLEND TOGETHER IN HARMONY WITHIN THE MIND OF
>> THE INDIVIDUAL; OUTSIDE OF THE MIND, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO
>> OTHER THING THAT EXISTS. THEREFORE, WHEN ONE HEARS THIS
>> TRUTH, ONE CAN AT THAT POINT IMMEDIATELY ATTAIN THE GOAL OF
>> BUDDHAHOOD WITHOUT A MOMENT'S DELAY, FOR IT IS A PRINCIPLE
>> OF THE UTMOST PROFUNDITY.

To confuse inconspicuous benefit with enlightenment is a slander of the Lotus Sutra, and will cause one to fall into the evil paths.

Inconspicuous benefit grows slowly as one practices, like a great tree.

Being the true Buddha is the heritage of the Law, received from your parents at birth in the form of the three bodies of the Buddha, establishing your true identity as Myoho-Renge, the Entity of the Mystic Law.

You have always been and will always be the true Buddha: to be a living being is to be the true Buddha.

What in heaven's name is so difficult to understand about the common mortal being the true Buddha? It has nothing at all to do with the "original enlightenment" of corrupted Tendai traitors, who just want to sit on their ass and do nothing.

SGI members accept that the enlightenment they attain upon chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the Gohonzon means that they have to walk that talk: the characteristics of a Buddha are the characteristics of a Bodhisattva bent on doing Kosen Rufu. Law -> Wisdom -> Action, and the action of shakubuku speaks the loudest: shakubuku manifests your Buddhahood most clearly.

All living beings are Buddhas, endowed with the three Bodies of the Buddha received from their parents.

From "On the Treasure Tower," WND I, pp. 299-300:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/31#para-3
.. YOU, YOURSELF, ARE A THUS COME ONE WHO IS ORIGINALLY
.. ENLIGHTENED AND ENDOWED WITH THE THREE BODIES. You should
.. chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with this conviction. Then the
.. place where you chant daimoku will become the dwelling
.. place of the treasure tower.

He says it plainly right there: "You, yourself, ARE A THUS COME ONE WHO IS ORIGINALLY ENLIGHTENED AND ENDOWED WITH THE THREE BODIES." Nichiren Daishonin is not just being a cheerleader for Abutsu-bo here, he really means it.

From "Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man," WND I, p. 131:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/13#para-202
.. THE BUDDHA NATURE THAT ALL THESE BEINGS POSSESS IS CALLED
.. BY THE NAME MYOHO-RENGE-KYO. THEREFORE, IF YOU RECITE THESE
.. WORDS OF THE DAIMOKU ONCE, THEN THE BUDDHA NATURE OF ALL
.. LIVING BEINGS WILL BE SUMMONED AND GATHER AROUND YOU. AT
.. THAT TIME THE THREE BODIES OF THE DHARMA NATURE WITHIN
.. YOU—THE DHARMA BODY, THE REWARD BODY, AND THE MANIFESTED
.. BODY—WILL BE DRAWN FORTH AND BECOME MANIFEST. THIS IS
.. CALLED ATTAINING BUDDHAHOOD. To illustrate, when a caged
.. bird sings, the many birds flying in the sky all gather
.. around it at once; seeing this, the bird in the cage
.. strives to get out.”

And there he says it again, very clearly, no interpretation required. "... if you recite the words of the daimoku once ... This is called attaining Buddhahood."

From "The Unanimous Declaration by the Buddhas of the Three Existences regarding the Classification of the Teachings and Which Are to Be Abandoned and Which Upheld," WND II, pp. 847-848:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-2/Content/315#para-105
.. THE SENTIENT BEINGS AND THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE TEN WORLDS
.. ARE THE BUDDHA OF THE DHARMA BODY, ONE WHO POSSESSES THE
.. VIRTUE OF THE THREE BODIES IN A SINGLE ENTITY. Once one has
.. understood this, one will fully realize that all phenomena
.. are the Buddhist Law. This is known as the stage of hearing
.. the name and words of the truth. FROM THE STAGE OF HEARING
.. THE NAME AND WORDS OF THE TRUTH ONE PROCEEDS DIRECTLY TO
.. THE ATTAINMENT OF BUDDHAHOOD IN ONE’S PRESENT FORM. Thus
.. in the teaching of perfect and immediate enlightenment
.. there are no successive stages of practice.

Note the phrase: "From the stage of HEARING THE NAME AND WORDS OF THE TRUTH one proceeds directly to the ATTAINMENT OF BUDDHAHOOD IN ONE’S PRESENT FORM."

From hearing the daimoku -> directly to attaining Buddhahood.

Then he says: "Thus in the teaching of perfect and immediate enlightenment THERE ARE NO SUCCESSIVE STAGES OF PRACTICE."

Thus, there are no extra practices needed to attain Buddhahood.

Enlightenment or Buddhahood is attained by hearing or chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo for the very first time. In that moment you are a participant in the ceremony in the air.

From "The Entity of the Mystic Law," WND I, p. 429:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/47#para-89

.. Therefore, we understand that, once the “Life Span”
.. chapter of the essential teaching had been revealed, ALL
.. THOSE IN THE ASSEMBLY ON EAGLE PEAK BECAME ENLIGHTENED TO
.. THE LOTUS OF THE ENTITY. Those of the two vehicles, the
.. icchantikas, or persons of incorrigible disbelief, and
.. the determinate groups, as well as women and evil men,
.. ALL GAINED AN AWAKENING TO THE LOTUS OF THE ETERNAL BUDDHA.

All living beings are Buddhas, and they all attain Buddhahood/enlightenment in the ceremony in the air, which you participate in, upon any contact with the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra.

From "Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man," WND I, p. 133:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/13#para-217

.. “It is the same way with the practitioners of the Lotus
.. Sutra. THOUGH THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLES OF
.. BUDDHISM AND MAY NOT KNOW THAT THEY ARE SUFFERING FROM
.. DELUSION, IF ONLY THEY HAVE FAITH, THEN WITHOUT A DOUBT
.. THEY WILL BE ABLE TO FREE THEMSELVES simultaneously from
.. the illnesses of the three categories of illusion—illusions
.. of thought and desire, illusions innumerable as particles
.. of dust and sand, and illusions about the true nature of
.. existence. THEY WILL REACH THE LANDS OF ACTUAL REWARD AND
.. TRANQUIL LIGHT, AND CAUSE THE THREE BODIES OF A THUS COME
.. ONE THAT THEY INHERENTLY POSSESS TO SHINE.

In Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo IS EQUAL TO FAITH, chanting it and even hearing it is attaining enlightenment and manifesting your inherent Buddhahood.

From "The Teaching, Practice, and Proof," WND I, p. 470:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/57#para-20
.. People may well wonder what this revelation means. Explain
.. that it teaches that COMMON PEOPLE LIKE OURSELVES, who have
.. been submerged in the sufferings of birth and death since
.. time without beginning and who never so much as dreamed of
.. reaching the shore of enlightenment, BECOME THE THUS COME
.. ONES WHO ARE ORIGINALLY ENLIGHTENED AND ENDOWED WITH THE
.. THREE BODIES.

And that means through the revelation (hearing the daimoku, chanting it) of the Lotus Sutra itself, we common people become the Thus Come Ones (plural,) not through some Bodhisattva path. We perform as Bodhisattvas, BECAUSE WE HAVE ATTAINED BUDDHAHOOD THROUGH CHANTING NAM_MYOHO_RENGE_KYO TO THE GOHONZON.

From "The One Essential Phrase," WND I, p. 922:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/121#para-1
.. SINCE THE LOTUS SUTRA DEFINES OUR BODY AS THE DHARMA BODY
.. OF A THUS COME ONE, OUR MIND AS THE REWARD BODY OF A THUS
.. COME ONE, AND OUR ACTIONS AS THE MANIFESTED BODY OF A THUS
.. COME ONE, ALL WHO UPHOLD AND BELIEVE IN EVEN A SINGLE
.. PHRASE OR VERSE OF THIS SUTRA WILL BE ENDOWED WITH THE
.. BENEFITS OF THESE THREE BODIES. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is only
.. one phrase or verse, but it is no ordinary phrase, for it
.. is the essence of the entire sutra. YOU ASKED WHETHER ONE
.. CAN ATTAIN BUDDHAHOOD ONLY BY CHANTING NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO,
.. AND THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION OF ALL. THIS IS THE
.. HEART OF THE ENTIRE SUTRA AND THE SUBSTANCE OF ITS EIGHT
.. VOLUMES.

Just by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we can attain Buddhahood. He doesn't say how long we have to chant, because it happens immediately.

From "The Entity of the Mystic Law," WND I, p. 420:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/47#para-29
.. IN ESSENCE, THE ENTITY OF MYOHO-RENGE-KYO IS THE PHYSICAL
.. BODY THAT THE DISCIPLES AND FOLLOWERS OF NICHIREN WHO
.. BELIEVE IN THE LOTUS SUTRA RECEIVED FROM THEIR FATHERS AND
.. MOTHERS AT BIRTH. Such persons, WHO HONESTLY DISCARD
.. EXPEDIENT MEANS, PUT FAITH IN THE LOTUS SUTRA ALONE, AND
.. CHANT NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO, WILL TRANSFORM THE THREE PATHS
.. OF EARTHLY DESIRES, KARMA, AND SUFFERING INTO THE THREE
.. VIRTUES OF THE DHARMA BODY, WISDOM, AND EMANCIPATION. The
.. threefold contemplation and the three truths will
.. immediately become manifest in their minds, and the place
.. where they live will become the Land of Eternally Tranquil
.. Light. The Buddha who is the entity of Myoho-renge-kyo, of
.. the “Life Span” chapter of the essential teaching, who is
.. both inhabiting subject and inhabited realm, life and
.. environment, body and mind, entity and function, THE BUDDHA
.. ETERNALLY ENDOWED WITH THE THREE BODIES—HE IS TO BE FOUND
.. IN THE DISCIPLES AND LAY BELIEVERS OF NICHIREN.

Notice the qualifying phrase:

"Such persons, WHO HONESTLY DISCARD EXPEDIENT MEANS, put faith in the Lotus Sutra alone, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, will transform the three paths of earthly desires, karma, and suffering into the three virtues of the Dharma body, wisdom, and emancipation."

You have to "honestly discard expediant means" to gain the benefits of the three bodies: you can't worship statues, practice the four dictums (Zen, Nembutsu, Tantric/True Word, Shakyamuni's provisional precepts), join with Shinto, or chant to pirated printouts of Gohonzon stolen by traitorous, thieving, murderous priests of Nichiren Shu, who betrayed Nichiren Daishonin by distorting his Buddhism into a statue-worshiping Shinto cult forcing Shakyamuni into the role of God Almighty, which he would have rejected as utterly narcissistic. That slander of complicity cancels your benefits of the three bodies.

From "The Doctrine of Three Thousand Realms in a Single Moment of Life," WND II, p. 87:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-2/Content/180#para-43
.. THIS MYOHO-RENGE-KYO IS A TERM DESIGNATING THE ESSENTIAL
.. NATURE OF OUR MINDS, OR, MORE GENERALLY SPEAKING, THE
.. ESSENTIAL NATURE OF THE MINDS OF ALL LIVING BEINGS, THE
.. EIGHT-PETALED WHITE LOTUS BLOSSOM. THE WORDS OF THE BUDDHA
.. HIMSELF TEACH US THIS. From time without beginning until
.. the present, these bodies of ours have transmigrated
.. through the realm of birth and death, in a state of
.. delusion as to the essential nature of the mind that is
.. within these bodies. BUT NOW THAT WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED THE
.. LOTUS SUTRA AND CHANT THE DAIMOKU THAT REPRESENTS THE THUS
.. COME ONE OF ORIGINAL ENLIGHTENMENT, WHO POSSESSES THE THREE
.. BODIES IN A SINGLE BODY, THE THUS COME ONE BECOMES
.. MANIFEST. In our present existence we achieve the inner
.. realization and attainment of Buddhahood that is known as
.. the attainment of Buddhahood in our present form.

Once again, he states it clearly and without any amount of chanting or time passage: our Buddhahood "becomes manifest" at the point when we "have encountered the Lotus Sutra and chanted the daimoku."

You have always been and will always be the true Buddha: to be a living being is to be the true Buddha. More detail on this in the 7th section below on Gradualism.


________ Slanders of the Gohonzon ________________

In an exchange with a follower of the errant 5 Senior Priests of Nichiren Shu on ARBN:

||||.. "You make yourself an enemy of the Lotus Sutra by
||||.. slandering the true aspect via your worship of statues. "
||||
|||| BREAKING NEWS-- I don't worship statues !!
||||
|||| I have one statue, 6 inches in height of Shakyamuni Buddha
|||| below my Nichiren Gohonzon.
||||
|||| Nichiren kept a statue of Shakyamuni and he instructed at
|||| least tree of his disciples on consecrating their statues
|||| of Shakyamuni which they had fashioned themselves!! Three
|||| Goshos describe the meaning of having an image of
|||| Shakyamuni-- and all have been references and presented as
|||| responses to accusations like this one posted by Chas,
|||| months ago.
||||
|||| Chas, you either cannot read, or simply prefers to blast
|||| your own warped notions as though they were facts. Saw a
|||| lot of that during the presidential campaign --
..
.. It's in front of your Butsudan. From the viewpoint of the
.. Gohonzon, you are making it [at least] an equal.

This is all straightforward and clear from the reading of the supreme teaching and the Gosho.

From "The True Aspect of All Phenomena", WND I, p. 384:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/40#para-7

>> Although not worthy of the honor, I, NICHIREN, WAS
>> NEVERTHELESS THE FIRST TO SPREAD THE MYSTIC LAW ENTRUSTED
>> TO BODHISATTVA SUPERIOR PRACTICES FOR PROPAGATION IN THE
>> LATTER DAY OF THE LAW. I WAS ALSO THE FIRST, THOUGH ONLY
>> BODHISATTVA SUPERIOR PRACTICES IS SO EMPOWERED, TO INSCRIBE
>> [THE OBJECT OF DEVOTION as] the embodiment of Shakyamuni
... Buddha from the remote past as revealed in the "Life Span"
... chapter of the essential teaching, of Many Treasures Buddha
... who appeared when the "Treasure Tower" chapter of the
... theoretical teaching was preached, and of the Bodhisattvas
... of the Earth who arrived with the "Emerging from the Earth"
... chapter. Though people may hate me, they cannot possibly
... alter the fact of my enlightenment.

Nichiren Daishonin enscribed all of those onto the Gohonzon. NOT onto an image of Shakyamuni. Shakyamuni could not reveal the daimoku at the heart of the Lotus Sutra, not inscribe the Gohonzon, according to Nichiren Daishonin, who did both.

Continuing in that passage:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/40#para-8

... Therefore, to have exiled me, Nichiren, to this remote
>> island is, I believe, AN OFFENSE THAT CAN NEVER BE
>> EXPIATED, EVEN WITH THE PASSING OF COUNTLESS KALPAS. A
>> PASSAGE FROM THE "SIMILE AND PARABLE" CHAPTER READS, "IF I
>> WERE TO DESCRIBE THE PUNISHMENTS [THAT FALL ON PERSONS WHO
>> SLANDER THIS SUTRA], I COULD EXHAUST A KALPA AND NEVER COME
>> TO THE END." On the other hand, not even the wisdom of the
... Buddha can fathom the blessings that one will obtain by
... giving alms to Nichiren and by becoming his disciple and
>> lay supporter. THE SUTRA READS, "[THE BENEFITS HE GAINS
>> THEREBY WILL BE SUCH THAT] EVEN THE BUDDHA WISDOM COULD
>> NEVER FINISH CALCULATING THEIR EXTENT."

Hence, slanderers, who deny the very intent of this sutra, which is its heart, commit:

"an offense that can never be expiated, even with the passing of countless kalpas."

However, there is hope EVEN FOR THEM, because:

'The sutra reads, "[The benefits he gains thereby will be such that] even the Buddha wisdom could never finish calculating their extent."'

Continuing in that passage:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/40#para-9

>> NICHIREN ALONE TOOK THE LEAD IN CARRYING OUT THE TASK OF
>> THE BODHISATTVAS OF THE EARTH. HE MAY EVEN BE ONE OF THEM.
>> IF NICHIREN IS TO BE COUNTED AMONG THE BODHISATTVAS OF THE
>> EARTH, THEN SO MUST HIS DISCIPLES AND LAY SUPPORTERS. The
... sutra states: "If one [of these good men or good women in
>> the time after I have passed into extinction] IS ABLE TO
>> SECRETLY EXPOUND THE LOTUS SUTRA TO ONE PERSON, EVEN ONE
>> PHRASE OF IT, THEN YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT HE OR SHE IS THE
>> ENVOY OF THE THUS COME ONE. HE HAS BEEN DISPATCHED BY THE
>> THUS COME ONE AND CARRIES OUT THE THUS COME ONE'S WORK."
... Who else but us can this possibly refer to?

In Nichiren's role as "taking the lead" of the task of Kosen Rufu, he established the Gohonzon as THE supreme object of devotion:

And at the end of the "The True Aspect of All Phenomena", WND I, p. 386:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/40#para-16

... In this letter, I have written my most important teachings.
... Grasp their meaning firmly, and make them a part of your
>> life. Believe in the Gohonzon, THE SUPREME OBJECT OF
>> DEVOTION IN ALL OF JAMBUDVĪPA. Be sure to strengthen your
... faith, and receive the protection of Shakyamuni, Many
... Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions. Exert
... yourself in the two ways of practice and study. Without
... practice and study, there can be no Buddhism. You must not
... only persevere yourself; you must also teach others. Both
... practice and study arise from faith. Teach others to the
... best of your ability, even if it is only a single sentence
... or phrase. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
...
...................................... With my deep respect,
...
................................................... Nichiren
...
...
........... The seventeenth day of the fifth month

So, placing ANY OTHER object of devotion in front of, beside, on the same altar with, or frankly, anywhere in the room or building housing the Gohonzon, which is the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa", would be slandering the Gohonzon by conflating the two as equal, or even near equal in worthiness of your devotion, or even within the same realm of equality.

And in my view, placed anywhere "in all of Jambudvipa" along with the Gohonzon is a slander of the Gohonzon. That is simply taking the Daishonin at his word.

Continuing the exchange with the very same follower of the errant 5 Senior Priests of Nichiren Shu on ARBN, out comes the ultimate result of the slanderous view taken above in the earlier exchange:

||| So it was about 18 years between nichuren's establishing
||| Namu-myoho-renge-kyo as the ESSENTIAL practice of the Lotus
||| sutra for this latter age AND the first Honzon masala
||| inscribed by nichiren for a priest who was imprisoned for
||| not recanting his faith in Nichiren's teachings. The first
||| Gohonzon was inscribed on the eve of Nichiren's exile to
||| Sado--right?
|||
||| If you read and study the letters Nichiren wrote from
||| 1271-1282 you will not find a single teaching that claims
||| ONLY with Gohonzon can one attain Buddhahood. What you
||| would also find is that Nichiren was selective bestowing
||| Gohonzon-- it seems that right from the start Nichiren
||| emphasized FAITH alone as the main criteria for bestowing
||| Gohonzon. Now, if you check out what Nichiren taught those
||| who received Gohonzon directly from him, you would also
||| find that he focuses exclusively on the single mind of
||| faith in the Lotus Sutra, the essential phrase and
||| essential practice and that HE is acting as Shakyamuni's
||| disciple, propagating the correct teaching for us in this
||| latter age.
|||
||| Speaking only for myself, I believe that generally
||| speaking, YES, the Gohonzon represents the supreme OBJECt
||| of worship, but SPECIFICALLY it is FAITH in
||| Myoho-renge-kyo, dedicating one's life with single minded
||| focus on the Lotus Sutra itself that is the practice for
||| attaining Buddhahood. --

If that were simply true, then the 20 years that Nichiren Daishonin spent after April 28, 1253, when he first chanted the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, in seeking and trying to inscribe the Gohonzon, bestow it upon his followers and finally declaring it as the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvipa" in this Gosho letter in 1273 ... these efforts of those years were superfluities, an unneeded expenditure of the time and effort of the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth in the mission of Kosen Rufu. That would make Nichiren Daishonin an extraordinary and unmatched wastrel of the precious resources and continuing efforts of Kosen Rufu. Can anyone believing this incredible lie actually consider themselves a follower of Nichiren Daishonin?

And finally this from the same follower of the errant 5 Senior Priests of Nichiren Shu on ARBN:

||| Clearing out 3 Nichikan no-honzons in one very respectful
||| ceremony-- burning them as offerings to Devadatta... was an
||| experience as profoundly joyful as my first encounter with
||| daimoku in August 1988.
|||
||| Whatever Nichikan did-- he is no longer infecting my home
||| or polluting my faith--. RIP Nichikan!! (probably not)
|||
||| I enshrined a Nichiren Prayer Gohonzon--, again, a
||| profoundly joy filled experience!
|||
||| I don't think Chas or anyone can appreciate the difference
||| in authentic v. counterfeit Gohonzons unless you
||| experience it , up close and first hand--

From Immanuel Kant, "Critique of Practical Reason", Book 1, Chapter 1, paragraph 14:
http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/5683/pg5683.txt

... Thus, practical laws refer to the will only, without
... considering what is attained by its causality, and we may
... disregard this latter (as belonging to the world of sense)
... in order to have them quite pure.

Emmanuel Kant wrote of the "Categorical Imperative" in his "Critique of Practical Reason" There are many practical outcomes of the Categorical Imperative (that treating a perfect Law as a utility is categorically unethical, etc.), but one is this:

Categorical: Ends do not justify means. Means and ends must be justified separately.

Let's imagine a scenario, where a person in a town had a perfect Gohonzon and practiced to it, and they were unavailable by any means.

Let's also assume that not having such a perfect Gohonzon denied persons of the experience of attaining perfect enlightenment in this life and there may be not another chance in kalpas of existence across countless lives to attain this perfect enlightenment (e.g. one-eyed turtle.)

1. Could a person consider the act of stealing that perfect Gohonzon and practicing to it, which might entail the violence and murder that is attendant upon burglary, to attain enlightenment of the Lotus Sutra, to the Mystic Law of cause and effect?

If ends justified means, they could steal or murder to obtain an authentic Nichiren Daishonin Gohonzon and get great benefits from it.

However, causality demands that ends do not justify means and YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GAIN BENEFIT FROM STEALING GOHONZON, WHICH IMPLIES THE RISK OF POTENTIALLY COMMITTING VIOLENCE AND MURDER.

2. Since theft of a perfect Gohonzon is not in any way a cause for enlightenment, and since slandering the Law is worse than the secular violations of the criminal code (theft, murder), then Nichiren Daishonin's admonition against receiving from or giving to the icchantika ... includes receiving your authentic Nichiren Daishonin Gohonzon from a slandering priest of Nichiren Shu, founded by the 5 senior traitorous priests that turned Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism into Shinto worship of Shakyamuni as a Hindu god.

By their treason, the Nichiren Shu copies of Nichiren Daishonin's Gohonzon are actually stolen, which included the slander of murdering of the Buddhas in the ten directions (many quotes by Nichiren Daishonin thus.)

YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GAIN BENEFIT FROM RECEIVING STOLEN GOHONZON FROM A PRIEST DISTORTING NICHIREN DAISHONIN"S BUDDHISM AND STEALING HIS FOLLOWERS INTO A NEW SHINTO SECT OF WORSHIPING SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA AS A HINDU GOD.

3. Then receiving that Gohonzon 2nd hand or 3rd hand, or 500th hand from the internet is the very self-same slander of the Law, the intervening handoffs do not wash away the stain. NO MATTER HOW MANY HANDS THE STOLEN GOHONZON PASSES THROUGH, THE PROFOUND SLANDER OF THIEVING AND DISTORTING RETAINS THE SAME POTENCY.


________ Slanders of the Daimoku _________________

The "Namu vs. Nam" argument proffered by the Nichiren Shu statue worshipers, is a slander of the daimoku, because it is a formalistic violation of the precept of adapting to local customs: zuiho bini
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/P/94#para-0

The Japanese written language derived from the ideographic classical Chinese characters which evolved into Manyogana, which were later simplified into Kanji, which retains the semantics of those early ideographs. Modern Japanese smoothed that into Hiragana and the Katakana, which allowed the easy addition of new and foreign words. Much of the semantic meaning of the original classical characters is gone from modern Japanese, but some still survives. An example of this is the old characters for "courtesan", which were composed of the two characters for "tilt" and "castle", which was the effect of many courtesans. But this is not true of most words, which were phonetically added along the way, by encoding sounds into text.

European languages are written in phonetic Latin characters, derived from the Phoenician language of the early traders sailing the Mediterranean Sea. That phonetic alphabet is perfect for recording spoken language into text, which is why romanized Japanese, called Romaiji or Romanji, is used for teaching Japanese in the earliest stages.

Much of modern Japanese and Chinese writing has words that were created by encoding the speech into the pronounced sounds of those characters (which were many in China, with over 100 spoken dialects, along with the dialects along the Silk Road back into the Hindu Kush) at the point of creation of the text, to record those sounds durably.

This has an aspect of what is called a "syllabary", a linguistic method of transcribing borrowed words into text. Here are some examples taken from:
http://www.saiga-jp.com/japanese_language.html

a-ru-ba-i-to: The word borrowed from German "Arbeit". A meaning is "work". In Japan, it means short-term labor contracts, such as a side job and temporary employment.

ka-su-te-ra: The word borrowed from Portuguese "Castella". This is the baked confectionery imported from Portugal to Nagasaki at the Muromachi period (1338-1573).

ku-ro-wassa-n: The word borrowed from French "Croissant". The word about cooking and dress has much borrowing from French.

ra-ji-o: The word borrowed from English "Radio".

me-ri-ya-su: The word borrowed from Spanish "Medias" or Portuguese "Meias". A meaning is stretchy cloth.

sa-ra-ri-ma-n: "Salary" and "man" were combined. People who are working for a company by getting salary. It is used in the same meaning as "Office worker" of English.

pa-so-ko-n: "Personal computer" was abridged.

bakku-mi-ra: "Back" and "mirror" were combined. It is used in the same meaning as "Rear-view mirror" of English.

pe-a-rukku: "Pair" and "look" were combined. It is used in the same meaning as "same outfit, matching outfits" of English.

pe-pa-do-ra-i-ba: "Paper" and "driver" were combined. It is used in the same meaning as "Sunday driver" of English. [Like a driver distracted by reading the newspaper.]

The term "namu [南無] (Jpn; Skt namas): Also pronounced nam." is a similar transliteration of the Sanskrit term "namas", meaning devotion.
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/N/12#para-0

Now, neither "nam" nor "namu" sounds exactly like 'namas", which were words that Shakyamuni or other Indian people of 3000 years ago MIGHT have said, but we have no recordings of that and are unlikely to come across any, so we cannot prove that those sounds came out of their mouths. Faith allows us to perceive the intent of the devotion of what might have been "namas" in the two modern Japaneses pronunciations of "nam" and "namu."

When the sutras were first translated into classical Chinese by Kumarajiva and others, many Sanskrit terms were directly transliterated into Chinese phonetically, and "namas" was one of those.

And yet, the statue worshipers of Nichiren Shu persist in their doctrinaire view on the EXACT pronunciation of this Sanskrit trnaslated word in Japanese. Here is the post from one of them:

||| I also seek the Law-- and it is amazing how a mindful
||| pronunciation and emphasis on the very words Nichiren wrote
||| support the practice of developing the single mind of faith.
|||
||| "Therefore when you chant the daimpku of this sutra, you
||| should be aware that it is a more joyful thing than for one
||| who was born blind to gain sight and see one's father and
||| mother, and a rarer thing than for a man who has been
||| seized by a powerful enemy to be released and reunited with
||| his wife and children," Nichiren- "The Daimoku of The Lotus
||| Sutra"
|||
||| YES!! This is exactly right-- Na-mu-myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo is
||| ITSELF the greatest of joys-- when one respectfully chants
||| exactly as Nichiren wrote it.

And my response:

... There is no way to write "Nam" in Chinese, other than "南無".
... Hence "Nam" and "Namu" are indistinguishable pronunciations
... of the Chinese "南無".
...
... You keep talking as if there was an alternate set of symbols
... for writing "Nam" and that Nichren Daishonin could have
... written that had he intended to.
...
... Both "Nam" and "Namu" are written in Chinese as "南無".
...
... No other way to write either one. They are one and the same.

I went on to explain that when one speaks at a normal pace in society, or chants at speed and in rhythm, modern Japanese speakers will often drop the "u" vowel sound at the end of words.

So, "hitsu" becomes "hits", "setsu" becomes "sets" ... and "Namu" (originally "Namas") becomes "Nam".

It still works as "Nam", and there is no way possible for us to know if Nichiren Daishonin dropped the "u" or not when chanting continuously at pace.

In the words of the Soviet Army: "If it shoots, it works." A practical piece of wisdom, that.


________ The Slander of Gradualism _______________

Gradualism, in Buddhism, is the idea that one starts as a Bodhisattva and gradually gains wisdom to become a Buddha. This view is a slander of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law and it arises from confusing inconspicuous benefit with enlightenment.

Here is Nichiren Daishonin's explanation of the differences in the teachings, and which view the Lotus Sutra takes.

From "The Unanimous Declaration by the Buddhas", WND II, p. 858-859:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-2/Content/315#para-180

... It is essential that one give close study to the three
... teachings that run through all Buddhism. THESE THREE ARE
... THE SUDDEN TEACHING, THE GRADUAL TEACHING, AND THE PERFECT
... TEACHING. These are the unity of the three truths set forth
... in the sacred teachings of the Buddha's lifetime.
...
... THE FIRST TWO TEACHINGS, SUDDEN AND GRADUAL, WERE EXPOUNDED
... BY THE BUDDHA IN THE FIRST FORTY-TWO YEARS OF HIS PREACHING
... LIFE; the perfect teaching was expounded in the last eight
... years. Together they represent the teachings of a period of
... fifty years. Outside of these, there are no other
... doctrines. How then can you fail to understand them
... correctly?
...
... When one is still at the stage of an ordinary living being,
... these three teachings are referred to as the three truths.
... When one has attained the goal of Buddhahood, they are
... called the three bodies. These are different names for the
... same thing. The process of expounding and bringing them to
... light is known as the sacred teachings of the Buddha's
... lifetime. WHEN ONE OPENS UP AND MERGES THESE SO THAT ONE
>> CAN PERCEIVE THAT THE THREE TRUTHS CONSTITUTE A SINGLE
>> ENTITY, THIS IS TO ATTAIN BUDDHAHOOD. THIS IS CALLED
>> OPENING UP AND MERGING, AND THIS IS THE TEACHING THAT
>> PERTAINS TO THE BUDDHA'S ENLIGHTENMENT.
...
... In the doctrinal systems expounded in the other schools,
... these three truths that constitute a unity are treated as
... separate and expounded under eight headings. Each of
... these eight forms the basis for a particular school; thus
... they are all lacking in the principle of full and perfect
... unity and hence have no truth by which one may attain
... Buddhahood.
...
... IN THESE OTHER SCHOOLS, THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY OF TRULY
... ATTAINING BUDDHAHOOD—THEREFORE ONE DISLIKES THEM. BUT WHAT
... ONE DISLIKES ABOUT THEM IS THE FACT THAT THEIR DOCTRINES
... ARE INSUFFICIENT.
...
... WHEN ONE TURNS TO THE PERFECT TEACHING, however, and sees
... that all phenomena are perfectly fused together, full and
... perfect like the moon on the fifteenth night of the month,
... free of all insufficiency, and when one understands them to
>> the fullest, THEN THERE IS NO MORE JUDGING THEM AS GOOD OR
>> BAD, NO MORE CHOOSING ON THE BASIS OF WHAT IS TIMELY, NO
>> MORE NEED TO SEEK OUT A QUIET SETTING, NO MORE QUESTION OF
>> WHICH PERSONS ARE ELIGIBLE. When one understands that all
... phenomena whatsoever are manifestations of the Buddhist
... Law, then one has fully comprehended the nature of the
... things of the phenomenal realm. Then even if one follows a
... path that is not the way, one will still be fulfilling
... the Buddha way.
...
>> HEAVEN, EARTH, WATER, FIRE, AND WIND ARE THE FIVE WISDOM
>> THUS COME ONES. THEY RESIDE WITHIN THE BODY AND MIND OF ALL
>> LIVING BEINGS AND ARE NEVER SEPARATED FROM THEM EVEN FOR AN
>> INSTANT. THEREFORE WORLDLY AFFAIRS AND AFFAIRS RELATING TO
>> ENLIGHTENMENT BLEND TOGETHER IN HARMONY WITHIN THE MIND OF
>> THE INDIVIDUAL; OUTSIDE OF THE MIND, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO
>> OTHER THING THAT EXISTS. THEREFORE, WHEN ONE HEARS THIS
>> TRUTH, ONE CAN AT THAT POINT IMMEDIATELY ATTAIN THE GOAL OF
>> BUDDHAHOOD WITHOUT A MOMENT'S DELAY, FOR IT IS A PRINCIPLE
>> OF THE UTMOST PROFUNDITY.

To confuse inconspicuous benefit with enlightenment is a slander of the Lotus Sutra, and will cause one to fall into the evil paths.

Inconspicuous benefit grows slowly as one practices, like a great tree.

Being the true Buddha is the heritage of the Law, received from your parents at birth in the form of the three bodies of the Buddha, establishing your true identity as Myoho-Renge, the Entity of the Mystic Law.

You have always been and will always be the true Buddha: to be a living being is to be the true Buddha.

You possess the Buddha nature, but it has no nascent form or "off switch," once exposed to the Lotus Sutra, which has happened universally in this time, you manifest Buddhahood. Like a flower tracks the sun.

Even the followers of Bin Laden, and now ISIS, have watched Danny Pearl chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo three times before being beheaded in his death video, along with many millions of curious Islamists.

"Therefore, when one hears this truth, one can at that point immediately attain the goal of Buddhahood without a moment's delay, for it is a principle of the utmost profundity." - Nichiren Daishonin

What is this heard truth that the Daishonin speaks of? It is none other than Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and you manifest your Buddhahood and attain enlightenment simply by hearing it, speaking it and telling others of it.

As practice continues, the inconspicuous benefits of that practice accrue (such as life condition that becomes part of your permanent armor as a Bodhisattva), and with those benefits the danger that one might see oneself and other longtime practitioners or leaders as something special and apart, when in fact neither is true: there are no distinctions between Nichiren Daishonin and his followers: the common mortals of the Latter Day of the Law. Taking up the gradual benefit of life condition as an excuse to feel special and apart from others is the way of Zen.

The Gradual Teaching is the province of Northern Zen Practice, which has influenced funeral Buddhism and Shinto since China. Northern Zen died out after passing along it's slander to temple Buddhisms, monks and priests.

Southern Zen with its doctrine of sudden enlightenment called "Satori", became more popular (nobody wanted to take kalpas to attain enlightenment.) Hence, the Zen koans, sand gardens, smooth rock piles and other devices, like sword matches, or beheading helpless Chinese captives in a single smooth stroke leaving the head attached by a thin strip of skin, to gain a false enlightenment Satori! moment.

Here is the originator of "Gradualism" (a disciple of Kumarajiva) in the Lotus Sutra line, who ended up considering the Nirvana Sutra to be the highest teaching (Hui-kuan):
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/H/72#para-0

Here is the originator of Northern "Gradual" Zen (Shen-hsiu):
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/N/96#para-0

Here is the originator of Southern "Satori" Zen (Hui-Neng):
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/H/75

Nichiren Daishonin is absolutely opposed to gradualism, which is now the way of Zen, punctuated with Satori! moments.

Gradualism is also a foundational element of the phenomenon that is called "funeral Buddhism" across Asia and the Far East, in Shinto, Nembutsu, Shingon/Tantric, Zen, Tendai, Nichiren Shu and Nichiren Shoshu temples: they are all the same in this regard.

Funeral Buddhism is the way that most people practice who are connected to a Buddhist temple, in their home region, or their family's home region. They pay the temple priests for prayers at all of the critical junctures of their life. Marriages and funerals are very expensive and key transitional points where the priests pad their bottom line.

A work acquaintance of mine, a Japanese researcher/programmer of astonishing ability, related to me how his family had to pay $30,000 to the Nembutsu priest, just to find out what the name of their deceased father now had in the Western Region where Amida rules and the dead have gone, so that the future prayers (accompanied by future payments) of that same priest could make their way to him and give him happiness in the next life.

[In contrast. the SGI finds a way to make these moments very inexpensive at the local Buddhist Center, the Activity Center or the Culture Center, through volunteerism by the SGI community. Sensei's message to the families of the deceased outlines how we are continuously born again with our families, and how our prayers and daimoku can make their lives better. This is simply Kenzoku: the shared or common karma of groups, and it is fundamental to how families stay connected across the kalpas.]

Without the view of Gradualism, funeral Buddhism could not exist. The priest supposedly has greater wisdom than you, is enlightened to a higher stage than you, and so his prayers are stronger and more tightly connected than yours, his secret wisdom and his view of your life and his counsel are more focused, and so you should pay him more money, more regularly.

Since the priest is taking care of your deceased ancestors and praying for the good fortune of your extended family, switching temples or religions is simply unimaginable: it means abandoning your whole beloved family and allowing them to fall into hell.

Nichiren Daishonin allows that you can avoid all of this and lead your ancestors and descendents into great happiness simply by practicing the Daishonin's Buddhism: (1) by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and doing regular Gongyo, (2) by protecting your practice and that of others by studying the Gosho and Buddhism and not slandering the Law, (3) and by joining in Kosen Rufu activities to make the world a better place. It's all in your hands, the hands of the eternal Buddha whose actual name is Myoho-Renge.
__________________________________________________

end of part 1, continued in part 2 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:
.
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/
.
. To find an SGI Community Center:
.
http://www.sgi-usa.org/sgilocations/

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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