Nichiren Shonin
Gohonzon Shu

O'Mandalas by St. Nichiren
[1222-1282]




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Hail to the Wondrous Dharma of the Lotus Blossom Scripture!
Early Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren Shonin (1222-1282)
Flanked by the Two Buddhas in the Jeweled Stupa.

Tao-sheng (Circa 360-434 C.E.)
Explaining the Title of the Lotus Sutra

0.1 "The Fine (or Wondrous) Dharma."

The ultimate image is without form; the ultimate music is without sound. Being inaudible and subtle, and in the sphere beyond the reach of trace and speculation, how can [the Dharma] be expressed in terms of form? This is why the sutras are variegated and doctrines are different. Yet, how can li [underlying the sutras and doctrines] be of such nature? It is only because the fundamental ability (or subtle triggering-mechanism) (chi) and receptivity of ordinary people are not equal; there are a myriad of avenues of approach for promoting enlightenment. Hence, the Great Sage showed different styles of speech [for different groups of people] and manifested various teachings [for them].

0.2 From [the time of his enlightenment] under the bodhi tree till [the time of his nirvana, [the Buddha] preached (or turned) altogether four kinds of Dharma [wheels].

First, the good and pure dharma wheel, which begins with the discourse on one goodness, and ends with that on the four immaterial heavens. [Its aim] is to remove the impurities of the three [evil] paths. Hence, we call it pure.

Second, the expedient dharma wheel. This means that one achieves the two kinds of nirvana by means of the constituents of enlightenment with outflows. It [thus] is called expedient device (fang-p'ien).

Third, the true and real dharma wheel. It is meant to destroy the falsehood of the three [vehicles] and thus establish the good ("beauty") of the "the One" [Vehicle]. Hence it is called true and real.

Fourth, the residueless (wu-yu/asesa or anupadisesa) dharma wheel. This refers to the discourse on the [dialectical] merging and returning [of the three Vehicle to the One] and thus to preach the mysterious and eternally abiding meaning. [Hence] it is called without residue.

0.3 The Sutra Recognizes the Greater Vehicle (Mahayana) as Its Source of Origin (tsung).

The Greater Vehicle refers to the universal and great wisdom, and it begins with one goodness and ends with the ultimate wisdom. By universal we mean that li has no different intentions but merges into the one ultimate. Great knowledge refers to just what one obtains at the end [of the process]. Speaking generally of what counts from beginning to end, all the tiny goods accumulated are included there. What the Vehicle (yana) mean? Its li lies in ferrying all beings to the other shore; the implied idea (i) underlying it is to relieve them of suffering (duhkha).

0.4 What is meant by Wondrous? (Sad; Miao; Myo)

If we talk of all sorts of speeches made by the Tathagata and the teaching he promulgated, what sutra would not be wondrous? The reason why this sutra is specifically designated as wondrous is as follows: It is because the expedient three [vehicles] he (the Tathagata) previously taught are not read, and now he declares that the three are nonexistent. As such, the words (of the sutra) match li fully, and the falsity that appeared previously no longer remains. Hence, it is called wondrous.

0.5 What is Dharma? (Fa; Ho)

In essence (t'i) there is nothing that is not Dharma; in truth there is no falsehood.

0.6 Lotus Blossom (Pundarika; Lien-hua; Renge)

This is the term that praises the present sutra. Indeed, of the worldly images none is more wondrous than that of the lotus blossom. The beauty of the lotus budding, sees fill inside and colors, fragrance, and taste become fully mature; then we call it pundarika. [The Buddha's] proclamation that the three are existent no more resembles this. Then empty talk is gone, what remains is the true speech. As the authentic speech spreads, the fruit of [the three] returning to the One becomes manifested in it.

0.7 What is Scripture? (Sutra; Ching; Kyo)

The warp (ching) and woof of the [conventional] world [etymologically] refers to uncolored silk. The warp and woof as refered to here would manifest their true illumination on those who cultivate this scripture.

Tao-Sheng's Commentary on the Lotus Sutra: A Study and Translation by Young-Ho Kim. State University of NY Press: Albany, NY. 1990. pp. 154-155.

Did They Chant the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra in Ancient China?

The phrase "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo," as the title of the Lotus is most frequently chanted, and similar expressions occur in some Chinese T'ien-t'ai texts by or attributed to the T'ien-t'ai patricarchs Chih-i (538-597) and Chan-jan (711-782). On this, see Shimaji Daito, "Shodai shiso ni tsuite," Toyo tetsugaku 29, 5 (May 1922) (reprinted in his Kyori to shiron [Tokyo: Meiji Shoin, 1931]) pp. 495-496); and Asai, Endo, "Hokke shodai no genryu to tenkai," Osaki gakuho 142 (Dec. 1986): 6-7.

"Namu-myoho-renge-kyo" also appears once in a striking tale from the T'ang-dynasty text Fa-hua ch'uan-chi, chuan 9, episode 11. This story tells of a woman who fell into hell for the sin of selling fish. On hearing that she had once performed the good act of listening to a lecture on the Lotus Sutra, the king of hell, agreed to let her return to the human world, but first offered her a view of the tortures that await evildoers in hell. On beholding their sufferings, she cried out, "Namu-myoho-renge-kyo!" (or, in Chinese, "Na-mo miao-fa lien-hua ching!"), whereupon all the evildoers who heard her had their sins instantly eradicated and were at once reborn in the heavens (T.2068.51:90b-c). Chuan 5, episode 19 of the same text also tells of a novice monk who escapes from hell by "reciting the title of the Lotus (70a-b). However, these tales refer to single utterances of the daimoku, not to its repeated chanting as an established practice.

Footnote, "Chanting the August Title of the Lotus Sutra: Daimoku Practices in Classical and Medieval Japan," by Jacqueline I. Stone, from Re-Visioning 'Kamakura' Buddhism, Studies in East Asian Buddhism 11, edited by Richard K. Payne. Kuroda Institute: Univ. of HI: Honolulu. 1998. pg. 155.


Tao-sheng On the Universal Buddha Nature
More on The Daimoku in Classical & Medieval Japan


Explanation from the GohonzonShu below
refers to halographs #60 and #107.
Google
 
Web NichirensCoffeehouse.net
lbis.jp FraughtWithPeril.com
explanatory text explanatory text

Gohonzonsh»u (129 halographs)
Published by Rissho Ankokukai. 1947, 1999.
1 | 2 | 3A | 3B | 3C | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32A | 32B | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68A | 68B | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125

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