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Ikeda Sensei’s Lectures

Key Passages From The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings (Part 11)

Part 11: ‘The Life Span of the Thus Come One’ Chapter—Part 1 of 3 Sowing the Seeds of Buddhahood—The Sacred Work of the Buddha to Bring Happiness to All People

Members at the May Kosen-Rufu Gongyo meeting in Buffalo, New York, May 2024. Photo by Tomoko Gelbaum.

After attending a lecture[1] on the Lotus Sutra by my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, on September 13, 1948, when the scorching heat of summer had subsided and refreshing autumn rains nourished the earth, I expressed my deep emotions in my diary. 

I am awed by the depth and greatness of the Lotus Sutra. The way to true happiness for humanity lies only in the Lotus Sutra. … I find myself moved to tears by the boundless compassion of Nichiren Daishonin, who, motivated solely by his wish to lead all people to enlightenment, fought against adversity to bring the brilliant light of dawn to a dark and evil age. 

Convinced of my good fortune and the importance of my mission, I strengthened my resolve, writing: “Mr. Toda is truly a teacher for all humanity. … Young people must advance, forever forward. Young people must advance, to ensure the eternal transmission of the Law!” 

Seventy-five years have passed since then, and the path of kosen-rufu that I have walked in the spirit of oneness with my mentor has crossed rugged mountains and rushing torrents to become a great open road traveled joyously by Bodhisattvas of the Earth emerging in every country and region of the globe. Nothing is more reassuring than seeing ever-growing numbers of outstanding young people following in my footsteps!

September 8, 2002, marked 45 years since Mr. Toda made his Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons[2] and entrusted the fulfillment of this goal to young people. That day, I attended a world peace gongyo meeting with youth training course participants from 50 countries and territories. In the question-and-answer session that followed, a young woman from Australia asked me about the best way to share Nichiren Buddhism with people her own age. 

Praying for her happiness and that of her friends, I replied that it was important to be sincere, cheerful and confident when she spoke about how wonderful Nichiren Buddhism is: 

Tell them about living a life of conviction. Explain to them how you have forged a life of value while enjoying proof of the power of your Buddhist practice and how you are advancing with courage and boundless hope for the future. 

Ultimately, it all comes down to you proudly sharing your conviction and experience in faith. Doing so plants the seeds of happiness and hope in your friends’ lives. These seeds will undoubtedly take root, bud and eventually flower. Until then, it is enough that you continue chanting and wait for that time to come.[3]

The method for spreading Nichiren Buddhism is sowing the seeds of Buddhahood. Sincere dialogue with others based on continued prayer will reach them on the deepest level of their lives. It will enable them to forge a profound connection to Nichiren Buddhism that will be a cause for their happiness. 

In this installment, we will begin our study of The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings section focusing on “The Life Span of the Thus Come One,” the 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra,[4] which the Daishonin describes as “the heart of the essential teaching” (“The ‘Expedient Means’ and ‘Life Span’ Chapters,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 748). We will see that the Buddhism of sowing—of sowing the seeds of the Mystic Law, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—is crucially important in the Latter Day of the Law. 

The term “Thus Come One” in this chapter’s title is the first of the ten honorable titles of a Buddha.[5] It means “having come from the realm of truth.” The Thus Come One does not passively dwell in the realm of truth, but actively comes from it, appearing before living beings and preaching the Law to lead them to enlightenment. 

As expressed in his words “May all beings be happy!”[6] Shakyamuni worked tirelessly for the happiness of all living beings throughout his life. 

The “Life Span” chapter’s revelation of the Buddha’s original enlightenment in the remote past affirms that this struggle is not limited to the present, but continues eternally into the future. Furthermore, this eternal Buddha does not exist apart from people in the real world. This Buddha is the noblest person among them, awakened to life’s eternal nature, preaching the great Law to lead all living beings to enlightenment, and striving forever to achieve that goal. The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings section “Point One, concerning Chapter Sixteen, The Life Span of the Thus Come One Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,” elucidates the very essence of a religion truly dedicated to people’s happiness. 

Distinct from other sections of The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings devoted to Lotus Sutra chapters, this one is prefaced in Japanese by the seven characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo[7]—translated in English as “The Life Span of the Thus Come One Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (OTT, 123). Nichiren Daishonin also says, “The title of this chapter deals with an important matter that concerns Nichiren himself” (OTT, 123), and in the following passage presents the essence of that matter.

[Chapter Sixteen: The Life Span of the Thus Come One Twenty-seven important points]

Point One, concerning Chapter Sixteen, The Life Span of the Thus Come One Nam-myoho-renge-kyo

… The Thus Come One is Shakyamuni Buddha or, more generally speaking, all the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three existences. Or, more specifically, it refers to the Buddha of the original state who is eternally endowed with the three bodies.

Now it is the understanding of Nichiren and his followers that, generally speaking, the term “Thus Come One” refers to all living beings. More specifically, it refers to the disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren.

This being the case, the term “eternally endowed with the three bodies” refers to the votaries [or practitioners] of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law.

The title of honor for one who is eternally endowed with the three bodies is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. (OTT, 123–24)

Just before the above passages, at the opening of point one, Nichiren Daishonin cites lines from Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai’s[8] Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra: “Thus Come One is a general designation for the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three existences” and “a special designation for the three Buddhas [i.e., the three Buddha bodies] of the original state”[9] (OTT, 123). He goes on to assert that “Thus Come One” refers in general to all living beings, while it specifically means his followers. 

Nichiren regarded “Thus Come One Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” as the ultimate title of a Buddha. He declares: “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the heart of the ‘Life Span’ chapter, is the mother of all Buddhas throughout the ten directions and the three existences” (“The Essence of the ‘Life Span’ Chapter,” WND-1, 184). In other words, Shakyamuni and all Buddhas attained enlightenment through Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, revealed this one fundamental Law for the sake of all living beings into the eternal future. 

The designation of a true Thus Come One, therefore, is not limited to Shakyamuni and the other Buddhas. All people who chant, embrace and spread the one fundamental Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo shine with the light of the infinitely noble life state of the Thus Come One. In a general sense, all people have the potential to become Thus Come Ones. 

In a specific sense, however, those who chant and spread Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is the seed or cause for the enlightenment of all Buddhas, and manifest the boundless life state of the Buddha within them—namely, Nichiren’s disciples who embrace the Mystic Law—are Buddhas in reality. 

Nichiren then states that “the term ‘eternally endowed with the three bodies’ refers to the votaries [or practitioners] of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law” (OTT, 124) and “The title of honor for one who is eternally endowed with the three bodies is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (OTT, 124). “Eternally endowed” (Jpn musa)—which can be translated literally as “not created” or “not made” (see OTT, 139)—refers to the truth just as it is, inherent and eternal. The focus is on ordinary people’s potential for Buddhahood. 

Ultimately, the Thus Come One is each person who upholds the Mystic Law. Ordinary people who manifest the eternally inherent life state of Buddhahood, are the true Thus Come Ones. This is the view of what it means to be a Buddha, the view of Shakyamuni, and the view of attaining Buddhahood expressed in The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings.  

We endeavor to spread Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the fundamental Law of the universe and life, and bring forth our own and others’ Buddhahood. These are the noble actions of a Buddha, inspired by the wish to lead all people to enlightenment. The true aim of Nichiren Buddhism is to awaken people who will stand up with the same vow as the Buddha—ordinary people who will strive for the eternal happiness of all humanity. 

As the Daishonin states, “If the Law that one embraces is supreme, then the person who embraces it must accordingly be foremost among all others” (“Embracing the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 61). The lives of practitioners who embrace the supreme teaching of the Mystic Law and dedicate themselves to the path of dialogue and encouragement to awaken the Buddha nature in all people shine with unmatched nobility. 

The Mystic Law is the teaching of the “great wisdom of equality” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 210), transcending and embracing all differences. Practicing and sharing the Mystic Law spreads the light of life’s innate dignity, the music of human harmony and waves of lasting peace. This unceasing struggle is the heart of our great movement for kosen-rufu.

The “Life Span” chapter opens with Shakyamuni expounding on “the Thus Come One’s secret and his transcendental powers” (LSOC, 265). In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin comments on this as follows: 

In the view of Nichiren and his followers, the realization and understanding of the concept of attainment of Buddhahood in one’s present form[10] is what is meant by “the Thus Come One’s secret and his transcendental powers.” For outside of the attainment of Buddhahood, there is no “secret” and no “transcendental powers.” (OTT, 125)

Attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form—that is, revealing the state of Buddhahood in our lives, just as we are—comprises the essence of the “Thus Come One’s secret and transcendental powers.” “Secret,” here, indicates the teaching that enables ordinary people to attain Buddhahood.

Numerous Buddhist scriptures portray Buddhas as magnificent and resplendent beings[11] who possess the thirty-two features and eighty characteristics.[12] They also teach that attaining Buddhahood is not the result of practice merely in this present existence but countless eons of practice over past lifetimes. In contrast, the Lotus Sutra teaches that ordinary people can attain Buddhahood right here and now, just as they are. 

Mr. Toda once remarked that we ordinary people living in the Latter Day of the Law need a teaching that transcends the principle of cause and effect of attaining Buddhahood taught by Shakyamuni prior to the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra and enables us to awaken to our eternal life state of Buddhahood. In response to that need, he said, Nichiren Daishonin established the teaching by which we could, in the reality of our daily lives, break through the principle of attaining Buddhahood based on causes and effects from past lifetimes, return to the life state of Buddhahood within us from time without beginning and transform our destiny into a bright, positive one.[13]

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the one and only “secret” teaching for attaining Buddhahood in our present form, and the Daishonin says that the “single word ‘faith’ or ‘to believe’” (see OTT, 125) is key to accessing that teaching. Strong faith in the Mystic Law is the way to vibrantly tap the life state of Buddhahood.

Next, we will look at the section that is the crux of the entire Lotus Sutra, where Shakyamuni “casts off the transient and reveals the true,”[14] disclosing his true identity as the Buddha who has attained enlightenment in the remote past.

He proclaims: “It has been immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas since I in fact attained Buddhahood” (LSOC, 265–66). While these words indicate that Shakyamuni attained enlightenment in the remote past, Nichiren Daishonin offers the interpretation that the “meaning of this chapter, however, is that ‘I’ represents the living beings of the Dharma-realm” (OTT, 126). 

As we noted earlier, the true significance of the “Life Span” chapter is not only Shakyamuni’s revelation of his original attainment of enlightenment, but also his declaration implying that all living beings are Buddhas. The Daishonin then explains from the standpoint of “the original lords of teachings of the ‘Life Span’ chapter” (OTT, 126) that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the great teaching that opens the way to enlightenment.

Point Three, regarding the words “But good men, it has been immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas since I in fact attained Buddhahood” [LSOC, 265–66].

Now Nichiren and his followers, those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are the original lords of teachings of the “Life Span” chapter. Generally speaking, the bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching are not the sort of persons who are qualified to handle this chapter. For they employ an approach in which the theoretical teaching is on the surface and the essential teaching is in the background, while Nichiren and his followers employ an approach in which the essential teaching is in the forefront and the theoretical teaching is in the background.

Be that as it may, this chapter does not represent the teaching that is essential for the Latter Day of the Law. The reason is that this chapter embodies the Buddhism of the harvest suitable for the time when the Buddha was in the world. But only the five characters of the daimoku [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo][15] constitute the Buddhism of sowing that is suitable for the present time. Thus, the Buddhism of the harvest is for the time when the Buddha was in the world, and the Buddhism of sowing is for the time after his passing. Hence it is the Buddhism of sowing that is needed in the Latter Day of the Law. (OTT, 125–27)

In terms of the literal meaning of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni, who taught that all living beings can attain Buddhahood, is the “original lord of teachings of the ‘Life Span’ chapter.” The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, however, states that Nichiren and his followers who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are “the original lords of teachings of the ‘Life Span’ chapter.” This is because the teaching essential for the present age of the Latter Day of the Law is the teaching of the Buddhism of sowing, the heart of the “Life Span” chapter—namely, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 

As far as who is qualified to convey this teaching, the bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching—those taught and instructed by the Buddha of the theoretical teaching before he revealed his attainment of enlightenment in the remote past—“employ an approach in which the theoretical teaching is on the surface and the essential teaching is in the background” (OTT, 126). Therefore, they cannot be responsible for propagating this all-important teaching. 

On the other hand, the original disciples taught and instructed by Shakyamuni who attained enlightenment in the remote past are “the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, disciples of the Buddha in his true identity” (“The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life,” WND-1, 218). These bodhisattvas adopt “an approach in which the essential teaching is in the forefront and the theoretical teaching is in the background” (OTT, 126). It is clear, therefore, that the Bodhisattvas of the Earth will play the central role in spreading the teaching of the “Life Span,” the heart of the essential teaching, as the ones entrusted with the sutra’s propagation after the Buddha’s passing. 

The Daishonin stresses that “only the five characters of the daimoku [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo],” which are spread after Shakyamuni’s death by these bodhisattvas, the Buddha’s true disciples, constitute the teaching of the Buddhism of sowing. In other words, the ultimate purpose of the “Life Span” chapter is for the propagation of the
Buddhism of sowing in the Latter Day of the Law. 

Next, the Buddhism of harvest and the Buddhism of sowing are discussed. The stages of the Buddha’s process of leading people to enlightenment are likened to the three agricultural stages of sowing, maturing and harvesting.[16] Shakyamuni’s Buddhism is the Buddhism of harvest—in other words, a teaching that enables those in whom the seeds of Buddhahood have been planted and nurtured by the Buddha in past existences to reap the fruit of enlightenment. 

But the people of the Latter Day of the Law have never formed a connection with the Buddha in their past existences, so they need the teaching of the stage of sowing. That is the great teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The Bodhisattvas of the Earth are the protagonists who, in Shakyamuni’s stead, directly sow the seed of Buddhahood, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, in people’s hearts in this latter age. They are none other than the “original lords of teachings of the ‘Life Span’ chapter.” And Nichiren, who “took the lead in carrying out the task of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth” (“The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” WND-1, 385), waged a momentous selfless struggle to spread the Mystic Law. Nichiren Buddhism is the Buddhism of sowing. By sowing the seeds of the Mystic Law, we can activate people’s inherent Buddha nature.

As evident in his use of the phrase “Nichiren and his followers,” the Daishonin indicates that his disciples are also the “original lords of the teachings of the ‘Life Span’ chapter.” In doing so, he declares that they have the noble mission of protagonists in spreading the Mystic Law. Because of that, only when the Bodhisattvas of the Earth emerge in ever-growing numbers to sow the seeds of the Mystic Law—“forming their ranks and following him” in his role as forerunner (see “The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 765)—are the words of The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings borne out.

The Soka Gakkai, committed to worldwide kosen-rufu, emerged as a gathering of Bodhisattvas of the Earth who have vowed to enable all people to become truly happy in accord with Nichiren’s wish and to fulfill their mission from time without beginning.

At this very moment, our honorable members the world over are engaging in pleasant and lively conversations to sow the seeds of the Mystic Law. Those seeds are sprouting, and the age is coming when the flowers of happiness and hope that grow from them will bloom across our planet in beautiful profusion. Our efforts to sow the seeds of Buddhahood constitute a great dialogue movement for peace that will shine brilliantly in human history.

What is the present significance of our dialogue movement?

First, sowing the seeds of Buddhahood is a way to create connections. It is the sacred task of bringing people in touch with the Mystic Law and opening the way to happiness for all.

The Lotus Sutra mentions the sowing of seeds of enlightenment in past ages, but these were directed at those who actively sought the teaching. In the Latter Day of the Law, however, when self-interest and the pursuit of momentary pleasures prevail, there may seem to be very few who seek a profound teaching of their own volition. 

That’s why our efforts to sow the seeds of the Mystic Law are a magnificent endeavor to forge connections with Buddhism that only the Bodhisattvas of the Earth can achieve. The more we help one person after another form such connections and plant seeds that can lead all to enlightenment in the rich earth of their hearts, the more surely and steadily our philosophy of respect for life will spread throughout society. 

Second, sowing seeds of Buddhahood means not discriminating; it is a noble undertaking to bridge divisions and bring people together. 

The Buddhism of sowing embraces people of all capacities or levels of understanding, transcending all differences, including race, nationality and gender. It is the polar opposite of any tendency to discriminate against or denigrate others. 

That is what makes our efforts to sow the seeds of the Mystic Law a far-reaching journey to create harmony and cooperation for the global human family. The Buddha’s all-embracing compassion, free of discrimination, vanquishes the ignorance of humanity that causes division. 

Third, sowing seeds of Buddhahood means having faith; it is the admirable cause of promoting a way of life based on respect for others.

We don’t know when the seeds we have sown in people’s lives will sprout and blossom, but we respect the Buddha nature of each person and pray, wait for and believe that these seeds will flower. 

Mistrust and suspicion of others is at the root of the serious divisions that plague our world today. That’s why our efforts to sow the seeds of the Mystic Law are an endless journey of respecting others’ humanity. By believing in people’s inherent goodness as we sow these seeds, we can conquer the doubt and suspicion darkening our world.

This year [2023] marks the 30th anniversary of my starting to write my serialized novel The New Human Revolution, on August 6, 1993. On that day, three decades ago, I also met and enjoyed a memorable dialogue with Dr. N. Radhakrishnan, an Indian scholar and philosopher who has carried on Mahatma Gandhi’s spirit of non-violence. In an interview marking the anniversary, he voiced his respect and high hopes for our movement: 

The Soka Gakkai is taking great initiatives for world peace. People of all ages and backgrounds around the world are creating value, transforming hatred and grief into life force, praying for global peace, and sharing a hopeful vision as responsible members of society. While these value creators pray for world peace, they also continue to take on challenges at the grassroots level.[17]

As disciples of Nichiren Daishonin, we know that the method for drawing out the limitless power for value creation from people’s lives is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting daimoku ourselves and teaching others to do the same causes the colossal power of the Buddha to well forth from our own and others’ lives.

As Soka Gakkai members, we are directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, who devoted his life to the epic struggle of sowing the seeds of Buddhahood, declaring: “But still I am not discouraged. The Lotus Sutra is like the seed, the Buddha like the sower, and the people like the field” (“The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood,” WND-1, 748). 

Brimming with the great life force and compassion of the Buddha and committed to our lofty vow as Bodhisattvas of the Earth, let us confidently continue our efforts in dialogue to sow the seeds of the Mystic Law so that we create a global society blooming with beautiful flowers of happiness.

From the July 2024 Living Buddhism

References

  1. As part of his efforts to rebuild the Soka Gakkai after World War II, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda gave a series of lectures on the Lotus Sutra. The young Daisaku Ikeda attended the seventh series of these lectures. ↩︎
  2. Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons: In this declaration, delivered on September 8, 1957, at a youth division sports meet held at Yokohama’s Mitsuzawa Stadium, Mr. Toda called for an end to the testing and deployment of nuclear weapons. It is regarded as the starting point of the Soka Gakkai’s activities for peace. ↩︎
  3. The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, Part 2, pp. 278–79. ↩︎
  4. In response to a question by the bodhisattva Maitreya in “Emerging from the Earth,” the 15th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni begins the following “Life Span,” the 16th chapter by calling out to the assembled bodhisattvas, “You must believe and understand the truthful words of the Thus Come One” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 265). He continues to address the bodhisattvas who are eagerly seeking the way, “You must listen carefully and hear of the Thus Come One’s secret and his transcendental powers” (LSOC, 265). That secret, he declares, is the teaching that he has attained enlightenment in the remote past, “It has been immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas since I in fact attained Buddhahood” (LSOC, 265–66). He goes on to reveal the truth that he has continuously been striving to enable all living beings in the real world to attain enlightenment: “I have been constantly in this saha world, preaching the Law, teaching, and converting” (LSOC, 266). ↩︎
  5. Ten honorable titles: Ten epithets for a Buddha, expressing such qualities as power, wisdom, virtue and compassion. Among the several versions of the ten honorable titles, one lists them as follows: 1) Thus Come One, 2) Worthy of Offerings, 3) Right and Universal Knowledge, 4) Perfect Clarity and Conduct, 5) Well Attained (also Well Gone), 6) Understanding the World, 7) Unexcelled Worthy, 8) Trainer of People, 9) Teacher of Heavenly and Human Beings and 10) Buddha, the World-Honored One. ↩︎
  6. See The Sutta-Nipata, translated by H. Saddhatissa (Surrey, UK: Curzon Press, 1994), p. 16. ↩︎
  7. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is written with seven Chinese characters (nam, or namu, being comprised of two characters) and represents the supreme essence of the entire 28-chapter Lotus Sutra. ↩︎
  8. T’ien-t’ai (538–597): Also known as Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai or Chih-i. The founder of the T’ien-t’ai school in China. His disciple Chang-an (561–632) compiled what are regarded as T’ien-t’ai’s three major works: Great Concentration and Insight, The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra and The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra. ↩︎
  9. “Original state” refers to Shakyamuni in his true identity as having attained enlightenment in the remote past, and the three bodies he possesses—the Dharma body, the reward body and the manifested body. ↩︎
  10. In contrast to the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings that required eons of arduous practice over many lifetimes before one could attain Buddhahood, the Lotus Sutra teaches that people can attain Buddhahood in their present form in this lifetime. According to the principles of the “mutual possession of the Ten Worlds” and the “three thousand realms in a single moment of life,” the life state of Buddhahood is inherent in all people and can be immediately activated, allowing them to attain Buddhahood just as they are. ↩︎
  11. In the pre-Lotus Sutra scriptures, Buddhas were frequently depicted as magnificent and resplendent beings with extraordinary, superhuman attributes. Their portrayal in this way was to inspire people’s adoration and worship as a means to lead them to eventual enlightenment. ↩︎
  12. The thirty-two features are remarkable physical characteristics attributed to Buddhas, bodhisattvas, Brahma, Shakra and wheel-turning kings, symbolizing their superiority over ordinary people. The eighty characteristics, meanwhile, are extraordinary features that only Buddhas and bodhisattvas are said to have. Descriptions of the eighty characteristics vary. These and the thirty-two features partly overlap. ↩︎
  13. Translated from Japanese. See Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 3 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1983), pp. 393–94. ↩︎
  14. Casting off the transient and revealing the true: This term, originated by Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai, refers to the revealing of a Buddha’s true identity, and the setting aside of that Buddha’s provisional or transient identity. In “Life Span,” the 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni discards his provisional identity as the Buddha who first attained enlightenment under the bodhi tree in India and reveals his true identity as the Buddha who attained enlightenment in the remote past. ↩︎
  15. Five characters of the daimoku: Myoho-renge-kyo is written with five Chinese characters. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, meanwhile, is written with seven (nam, or namu, being comprised of two characters). Nichiren Daishonin, however, often uses Myoho-renge-kyo synonymously with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in his writings. ↩︎
  16. Sowing, maturing and harvesting the seeds of Buddhahood, also known as the three benefits. Sowing refers to teaching living beings that they possess the seed of Buddhahood inherent within them and encouraging them to have faith in it. Maturing refers to offering various teachings that gradually foster their capacities and understanding of Buddhism. Harvesting refers to enabling them to eventually liberate themselves from suffering and attain enlightenment. ↩︎
  17. From an interview article in the August 5, 2023, Seikyo Shimbun. The English is from the interview transcript. ↩︎