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Gongyo Series

The Lotus Sutra Reveals the Secret Teaching for Attaining Buddhahood

An image of the portion from the gongyo book referenced in the article
Photo by Yvonne Ng

In his book The Heart of the Lotus Sutra, Ikeda Sensei details the significance and meaning of “Expedient Means” and “Life Span of the Thus Come One,” the 2nd and 16th chapters of the Lotus Sutra, which we recite in our daily practice of gongyo.

This month, let’s study what Sensei says on pages 49–51 about the following passage:

Joju jinjin. Mi-zo-u ho.

They have realized the Law that is profound and never known before. (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 56)

The Lotus Sutra reveals to all people the “secret” teaching “understood and shared [only] between Buddhas” that has never been known before. But a genuine secret teaching is not something kept to oneself, hidden from others and used to create an aura of mystery or to appropriate authority. When the proper time arrives, a genuine secret teaching should be expounded passionately and spread to cure all humankind’s ills, its brilliant force thus proven. That is the purpose of this secret teaching, of this “Law that is profound and never known before.”

In many of his writings, Nichiren Daishonin refers to the Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws as a “great mandala never before known” (“The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 832). He writes: “Even in the Lotus Sutra he [Shakyamuni] 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” (“Reply to Niiama,” WND-1, 467). …

Nichiren bestowed the great secret teaching known only to Buddhas upon all people of the Latter Day in the form of the object of devotion that has never before been known. Toward that end, he underwent great persecutions.

It is important to always remember the immense compassion the Daishonin revealed in spreading this teaching. For the same reason, it is important to practice faith based on a profound sense of gratitude and joy.

The “Law that is profound and never known before” manifests in our lives when we have ardent faith in the “great mandala never before known.” …

The Law that is profound and never known before does not exist  somewhere else. It manifests in the living bodies, the actual lives of us who embrace the Gohonzon.

Advance With the Pride of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth

The Law that is profound and never known before does not exist somewhere else. It manifests in the living bodies, the actual lives of us who embrace the Gohonzon. In “On the Treasure Tower,” Nichiren writes, “Whether eminent or humble, high or low, those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are themselves the treasure tower, and, likewise, are themselves the Thus Come One Many Treasures” (WND-1, 299).

In other words, we should erect the treasure tower of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo within our lives. This is the spirit that imbues the passage “They have realized the Law that is profound and never known before.”

Not only Shakyamuni but all people can awaken to the Law that is profound and never known before. All people can establish the treasure tower in their lives and shine brilliantly as entities of the treasure tower. In time, the earth will teem with countless shining treasure towers of life. From the standpoint of Nichiren Buddhism, this will constitute the actual proof of the passage “They have realized the Law that is profound and never known before.” We are opening a never before known dawn in human history by means of the great, never before known Mystic Law.

Because it is such a teaching, votaries and courageous Bodhisattvas of the Earth never known before must appear in order to spread it. Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda said, “We are members of the Soka Gakkai family, Bodhisattvas of the Earth, who have emerged from the earth to accomplish the unprecedented widespread propagation of the Law.” We have inherited President Toda’s spirit and are striving to carry out this practice never known before.

Please be confident that in advancing this “unprecedented widespread propagation of the Law,” we will receive immeasurable and boundless good fortune and blessings, the likes of which have never been known before.


Check out the free SGI-USA app and find awesome features such as an electronic liturgy book that includes a digital bell and an audio aid for guests and new members to learn gongyo.

Just search for “SGI-USA” in your device’s app store and download the app to explore these and other invaluable features to help facilitate your daily Buddhist practice.

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