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The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin

The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin - Page 63

EMBRACING THE LOTUS SUTRA

ing. Therefore, you must be guided by the intent of [the Lotus Sutra, which is] the immediate attainment of enlightenment, and never give yourself up to the mistaken views that stem from doubts or attachments.

How long does a lifetime last? If one stops to consider, it is like a single night’s lodging at a wayside inn. Should one forget that fact and seek some measure of worldly fame and profit? Though you may gain them, they will be mere prosperity in a dream, a delight scarcely to be prized. You would do better simply to leave such matters to the karma formed in your previous existences.

Once you awaken to the uncertainty and transience of this world, you will find endless examples confronting your eyes and filling your ears. Vanished like clouds or rain, the people of past ages have left nothing but their names. Fading away like dew, drifting far off like smoke, our friends of today too disappear from sight. Should you suppose that you alone can somehow remain forever like the clouds over Mount Mikasa?34

The spring blossoms depart with the wind; maple leaves turn red in autumn showers. All are proof that no living thing can stay for long in this world. Therefore, the Lotus Sutra counsels us, “Nothing in this world is lasting or firm but all are like bubbles, foam, heat shimmer.”35

“[At all times I think to myself ]: How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way?” These words express the Buddha’s deepest wish to enable both those who accept the Lotus Sutra and those who oppose it to attain Buddhahood. Because this is his ultimate purpose, those who embrace the Lotus Sutra for even a short while are acting in accordance with his will. And if they act in accordance with the Buddha’s will, they will be repaying the debt of gratitude they owe

to the Buddha. The words of the sutra, which are as full of compassion as a mother’s love, will then find solace, and the cares of the Buddha, who said, “I am the only person who can rescue and protect others,” will likewise be eased. Not only will Shakyamuni Buddha rejoice, but because the Lotus Sutra is the ultimate purpose for which all Buddhas appear in the world, the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three existences will likewise rejoice. As Shakyamuni said, “[If one can uphold it even for a short while] I will surely rejoice and so will the other Buddhas.”36 Not only will the Buddhas rejoice, but the gods also will join in their delight. Thus, when the Great Teacher Dengyo lectured on the Lotus Sutra, Great Bodhisattva Hachiman presented him with a purple surplice,37 and when the Honorable Kuya38 recited the Lotus Sutra, the great deity of Matsuo Shrine was able to gain protection from the cold wind.

For this reason, when praying that “the seven disasters will instantly vanish, and the seven blessings will instantly appear,”39 this sutra is the most effective of all. That is because it promises that its votaries “will enjoy peace and security in their present existence.”40 And when offering prayers to avert the disasters of foreign invasion and internal revolt, nothing can surpass this wonderful sutra, because it makes certain that persons who embrace it will “suffer no decline or harm within the area of a hundred yojanas.”41

Nonetheless, the way that prayers are offered in our present age is the exact opposite of what it ought to be. Prayers today are based upon the provisional teachings, which were intended for propagation in previous ages, rather than upon the secret Law of the highest truth, which is intended for propagation in the latter age. To proceed in this way is like trying to make use of last year’s calendar, or to employ a crow