Quotes from the Writings of Nichiren

Daily quotes from the Writings of Nichiren Vol. 1 & 2

Archive for the tag “Buddha”

from The Swords of Good and Evil, pp. 451-453, Writings of Nichiren

Various samurai swords. Photo taken at the Vic...

Various samurai swords. Photo taken at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have received the two swords—a long one and a short one—that you sent as an offering for prayers. The long sword must have been made by a renowned swordsmith. It is fully equal to the celebrated swordsAmakuni, Onikiri, and Yatsurugi,1 or to those famous Chinese swords Kan-chiang and Moyeh.2You have offered this sword to the Lotus Sutra. While you wore it at your side, it was an evil sword, but now that it has been offered to the Buddha, it has become a sword for good, just like a demon who conceives a desire to attain the Buddha way. How wondrous, how wondrous!

In the next life you should use this sword as your staff. The Lotus Sutra is the staff that helps all the Buddhas of the three existences as they set their minds on enlightenment. However, you should rely on Nichiren as your staff and pillar. When one uses a staff, one will not fall on treacherous mountain paths or rough roads, and when led by the hand, one will never stumble. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will be your staff to take you safely over the mountains of death. The Buddhas Shakyamuni and Many Treasures, as well as the four bodhisattvas headed by Superior Practices, will lead you by the hand on your journey. If I, Nichiren, precede you in death, I will come to meet you at your last moment.  If you should precede me, I will be sure to tell King Yama all about you. Everything that I tell you is true. According to the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren is the guide who knows the passes and gorges along the way. Devote yourself singlemindedly to faith with the aim of reaching Eagle Peak.

Money serves various purposes according to our needs. The same is true of the Lotus Sutra. It is a lantern in the dark or a boat at a crossing. At times it is water and, at times, fire. This being so, the Lotus Sutra assures us of “peace and security in our present existence and good circumstances in future existences.”3

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Reply to the Mother of Ueno, p. 1074-1075

The seeds of one kind of plant are all the same; they are different from the seeds of other plants. If all of you nurture the same seeds of Myoho-renge- kyo in your hearts, then you all will be reborn together in the same land of Myoho-renge-kyo. When the three of you are reunited there face to face, how great your joy will be!

Now when we open the Lotus Sutra and read what it says, we find these words “The Thus Come One will cover them with his robe, and they will also be protected and kept in mind by the Buddhas who are now present in other regions.”8

The meaning of this passage is that the Buddhas of the ten directions will all assemble in throngs and fill in the lands to the east, west, north, and south, in the eight directions, the major world system, and all the four hundred ten thousand million nayutas of lands. They will be seated side by side like the stars in the heavens, or the rows of rice and hemp plants on the earth, and will guard and protect the votaries of the Lotus Sutra just as the various ministers and subjects guard and protect the heir of a great ruler.

To be guarded by the four heavenly kings and their retainers is a great honor. But with the protection of all the four heavenly kings, all the stars and constellations, all the deities of the sun and moon, all the Shakras and Brahmas, one can be completely confident. Moreover, all the persons of the two vehicles, all the bodhisattvas, Bodhisattva Maitreya in the inner court of the Tushita heaven, Bodhisattva Earth Repository on Mount Kharadiya, Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds on Mount Potalaka, and Bodhisattva Manjushri on Mount Clear and Cool, each together with all their followers, will guard and protect the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, so one may indeed rest assured. And furthermore, Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions will come of their own accord and watch over one through all the hours of the day and night, which is an honor beyond the power of words to express.

It was this splendid sutra that the late Shichiro Goro put his faith in and through which he attained Buddhahood. And today, on the forty-ninth day following his passing, all the Buddhas have surely gathered about him in the pure land of Eagle Peak, seating him on their palms, patting his head, embracing him, and rejoicing, welcoming him with affection as one would welcome a moon that has just risen, or blossoms that have just burst into bloom.

When we consider why the Buddhas of the ten directions throughout the three existences should so firmly protect the Lotus Sutra, we come to understand that it is only natural. For the Lotus Sutra is the father and mother of the Buddhas of the three existences and the ten directions; it is their wet nurse and their lord.

Frogs feed on the sound of their mother’s voice, and if they cannot hear their mother’s voice, they will not grow. The insect called kalakula feeds on wind, and if the wind does not blow, it will not grow. Fish must have water, and birds depend upon trees to build their nests in. In the same way, for the Buddhas, the Lotus Sutra is their source of life, their sustenance, and their dwelling. As fish live in water, so the Buddhas live in this sutra. As birds dwell in trees, so the Buddhas dwell in this sutra. As the moon’s reflection lodges in the water, so the Buddhas lodge in this sutra. You shouldunderstand that, in a land where this sutra does not exist, there can be no Buddhas.

In ancient times there lived a sovereign named King Rinda who ruled over the southern continent of Jambudvipa. What was it that this king required for sustenance? He listened to the neighing of white horses, and this became his food. As long as the white horses neighed, he grew more youthful, his complexion glowed, his spirit was vigorous, his physical strength remained undiminished, and he was able to conduct the affairs of state justly. Therefore, a great many white horses were gathered and cared for in his country. In this respect, he was like the ruler of Wei,9 who gathered a great many cranes, or Emperor Te-tsung, who loved fireflies. The white horses would neigh only if there were white swans who were singing, and accordingly, a number of white swans had also been gathered.

One time for some reason all the white swans disappeared, and as a result, the white horses no longer neighed. So the king’s sustenance came to an end, and he was like full-blown blossoms that wilt under the dew, or a round moon that becomes shrouded in clouds. When it became apparent that the king was about to expire, his consort, his heir, the high ministers, and all the people throughout the kingdom turned pale, like a child who has just been separated from its mother, and wet their sleeves with tears, crying, “What shall we do? What shall we do?”

The Pure and Far-Reaching Voice, WND Vol. 1, pp. 332-333

The foremost among the Buddha’s thirty-two features is his pure and far- reaching voice.22 Lesser kings, great kings, and wheel-turning kings all possess this feature in some degree. Therefore, a single word from one of these kings can destroy the kingdom or insure order within it. The edicts handed down by rulers represent a type of pure and far-reaching voice. Ten thousand words spoken by ten thousand ordinary subjects cannot equal one word spoken by a king. The works known as the Three Records and the Five Canons represent the words of lesser kings.

What brings order to this small kingdom of Japan, what enables the heavenly king Brahma to command the inhabitants of the threefold world, and what enables the Buddha to command Brahma, Shakra, and the other deities, is none other than this pure and far-reaching voice. The Buddha’s utterances have become the works that compose the entire body of sutras and bring benefit to all living beings. And among the sutras, the Lotus Sutra is a manifestation in writing of the Thus Come One Shakyamuni’s intent; it is his voice set down in written words. Thus the Buddha’s heart is embodied in these written words. To illustrate, it is like seeds that sprout, grow into plants, and produce rice. Though the form of the rice changes, its essence remains the same.

Shakyamuni Buddha and the written words of the Lotus Sutra are two different things, but their heart is one.

A Sage and an Enlightened Man (1), WND, p. 109

“The Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai states, ‘That which accords with the sutras is to be written down and made available. But put no faith in anything that in word or meaning fails to do so.’40 Here we see that one should accept what is clearly stated in the text of the sutras, but discard anything that cannot be supported by the text. The Great Teacher Dengyo says, ‘Depend upon the preachings of the Buddha, and do not put faith in traditions handed down orally,’41 which expresses the same idea as the passage from T’ien-t’ai’s commentary. And Bodhisattva Nagarjuna says that one should rely on treatises that are faithful to the sutras, but not rely on those that distort the sutras.42 This passage may be understood to mean that, even among the various sutras, one should discard the provisional teachings put forth prior to the Lotus Sutra and put one’s faith in this sutra, the Lotus. Thus both sutras and treatises make it perfectly clear that one should discard all scriptures other than the Lotus.

Wisdom for Modern Life, p. 186

“Every child is precious. The Lotus Sutra tells the parable of the three kinds of medicinal herbs and two kinds of trees. There are many different kinds of plants: their shape, size and nature come in myriad varieties. Some plants grow fast while others take time to mature. In this parable, however, the heavens rain upon all the plants equally, nurturing their growth. And the plants blossom and bear fruits according to their own unique character. This parable symbolizes the Buddha‘s vast compassion to nurture all living beings despite their differences. All children are different; each possesses his or he wonderful unique quality. We must pour upon all children our great love and compassion so that each child can blossom, true to his or her unique quality.”

Wisdom for Modern Life – Daisaku Ikeda (p. 186)

Encouragement to a Sick Person, WND, p. 81

Consequently, since their teachings are no match for mine, they resort to sheer force of numbers in trying to fight against me. Nembutsu believers number in the thousands or ten thousands, and their supporters are many. I, Nichiren, am alone, without a single ally. It is amazing that I should have survived until now. This year, too, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, between the hours of the monkey and the cock (around 5:00 P.M.) on the highway called Matsubara in Tojo in the province of Awa, I was ambushed by several hundred Nembutsu believers and others. I was alone except for about ten men accompanying me, only three or four of whom were capable of offering any resistance at all. Arrows fell on us like rain, and swords descended like lightning. One of my disciples was slain in a matter of a moment, and two others were gravely wounded. I myself sustained cuts and blows, and it seemed that I was doomed. Yet, for some reason, my attackers failed to kill me; thus I have survived until now.

This has only strengthened my faith in the Lotus Sutra. The fourth volume of the sutra says, “Since hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the Thus Come One is in the world, how much more will this be so after his passing?” The fifth volume states, “It [the Lotus Sutra] will face much hostility in the world and be difficult to believe.”1 In Japan there are many who read and study the Lotus Sutra. There are also many who are beaten in punishment for attempting to seduce other men’s wives or for theft or other offenses. Yet not one person has ever suffered injury on account of the Lotus Sutra.

Questions and Answers about Embracing the Lotus Sutra, WND p. 55

Now, if you wish to attain Buddhahood, you have only to lower the banner of your arrogance, cast aside the staff of your anger, and devote yourself exclusively to the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra. Worldly fame and profit are mere baubles of your present existence, and arrogance and prejudice are ties that will fetter you in the next one. Ah, you should be ashamed of them! And you should fear them, too!

Dec. 14 – The Izu Exile, WND p. 36

Living beings like ourselves have dwelt in the sea of the sufferings of birth and death since time without beginning. But they become votaries of the Lotus Sutra, and realize that their bodies and minds, which have existed since the beginningless past, are inherently endowed with the eternally unchanging nature; awaken to their mystic reality with their mystic wisdom; and attain the Buddha’s body, which is as indestructible as a diamond. How then could they be different from that Buddha?? Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, who said numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago, “I am the only person [who can rescue and protect others],” refers to living beings like ourselves. This is the Lotus Sutra’s teaching of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, and the action of “I am always here, preaching the Law.”

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