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The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin

The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin - Page 887

THOSE INITIALLY ASPIRING TO THE WAY

Shakyamuni Buddha, and all people revere them as though they were Buddhas. When these men see the monks who read and uphold the Lotus Sutra in accordance with its teachings, they hate and envy them, calling them great fools or holders of grave erroneous views, claiming that they are completely lacking in compassion, and that they preach non-Buddhist doctrines. And because the ruler looks up to such men and believes what they say, everyone down to the common people gives alms to them as though they were Buddhas. Thus the Buddha taught that persons who read and uphold the Lotus Sutra in accordance with its teachings will invariably be hated by these three types of enemies.

Question: Is there any evidence to indicate that one should embrace in particular the name of the Lotus Sutra in the same way that people embrace the name of a particular Buddha?

Answer: The sutra states, “The Buddha said to the demon daughters, ‘Excellent, excellent! If you can shield and guard those who accept and uphold the mere name of the Lotus Sutra, your merit will be immeasurable.’ ”58 The meaning of this passage is that, when the ten demon daughters made a vow to protect those who embrace the title of the Lotus Sutra, the World-Honored One of Great Enlightenment praised them, saying, “Excellent! Excellent! The blessings you will enjoy for protecting those who accept and uphold Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will be impossible to fathom! They will be splendid blessings! Truly wonderful!” This passage implies that we ordinary people, whether we are walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

As for the meaning of Myoho-renge-kyo: The Buddha nature inherent in us, ordinary people; the Buddha nature of Brahma, Shakra, and the other deities; the Buddha nature of

Shariputra, Maudgalyayana, and the other voice-hearers; the Buddha nature of Manjushri, Maitreya, and the other bodhisattvas; and the Mystic Law that is the enlightenment of the Buddhas of the three existences, are one and identical. This principle is called Myoho-renge-kyo. Therefore, when once we chant Myoho-renge-kyo, with just that single sound we summon forth and manifest the Buddha nature of all Buddhas; all existences; all bodhisattvas; all voice-hearers; all the deities such as Brahma, Shakra, and King Yama; the sun and moon, and the myriad stars; the heavenly gods and earthly deities, on down to hell-dwellers, hungry spirits, animals, asuras, human and heavenly beings, and all other living beings. This blessing is immeasurable and boundless.

When we revere Myoho-renge-kyo inherent in our own life as the object of devotion, the Buddha nature within us is summoned forth and manifested by our chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This is what is meant by “Buddha.” To illustrate, when a caged bird sings, birds who are flying in the sky are thereby summoned and gather around, and when the birds flying in the sky gather around, the bird in the cage strives to get out. When with our mouths we chant the Mystic Law, our Buddha nature, being summoned, will invariably emerge. The Buddha nature of Brahma and Shakra, being called, will protect us, and the Buddha nature of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, being summoned, will rejoice. This is what the Buddha meant when he said, “If one can uphold it [the Mystic Law] even for a short while I will surely rejoice and so will the other Buddhas.”59

All Buddhas of the three existences, too, attain Buddhahood by virtue of the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. These five characters are the reason why the Buddhas of the three existences appear in the world; they