Lecture by President Ikeda
Nyo ze. Ga jo-butsu irai. Jindai ku-on. Jumyo muryo. Asogi ko. Joju fu-metsu. Sho zen-nanshi. Ga hon gyo bosatsu do. Sho jo jumyo. Kon yu mi jin. Bu bai jo shu.
"Thus, since I attained Buddhahood, an extremely long period of time has passed. My life span is an immeasurable number of asamkhya kalpas, and during that time I have constantly abided here without ever entering extinction. Good men, originally I practiced the bodhisattva way, and the life span that I acquired then has yet to come to an end but will last twice the number of years that have already passed." (LS16, 227)

The spirit of the Buddhism of the true cause finds expression in the practice of cultivating respect for the dignity of life.

It is the passage "Originally I practiced the bodhisattva way," here in the "Life Span of the Thus Come One" (16th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, that directly indicates this.

As I mentioned last time, "I" indicates Shakyamuni the ordinary human being --- just like us --- who carried out bodhisattva practices in the remote past. He definitely was not a superhuman being. "Remote past" means the wellspring of life; Shakyamuni the practitioner of the true cause represents the ordinary people of kuon ganjo who base themselves on the wellspring of life.

Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism takes Shakyamuni the practitioner of the true cause as the object of worship.

Shakyamuni in the remote past, who practiced the true cause, is identified with Nichiren Daishonin, the original Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. This is the principle of "the remote past is itself the Latter Day."

This is clear from such statements by the Daishonin as: "The practice that Nichiren now carries out does not differ in the least from the conduct of the [common mortal Shakyamuni at the stage of] myoji-soku in the remote past" (Gosho Zenshu, p. 863); and "There is no difference of superior and inferior between Shakyamuni 's practices in the remote past and Nichiren's practices today" (Gosho Zenshu, p. 864).

In other words, he is saying that there is no difference between his practices now in the Latter Day of the Law and the practices of Shakyamuni the common mortal at the stage of myoji-soku in the remote past.

Myoji-soku is the stage of practice of someone who has embraced faith in the Mystic law. The 26th high priest Nichikan, explains that we identify Shakyamuni the practitioner of the true cause with the Daishonin, and the remote past with the Latter Day, because there is absolutely no difference in the "practices" or "stages" of the two.

In either case, "practice" means the practice of embracing the Mystic Law. And "stage" means the stage of practice of an ordinary person --- of myoji-soku, that is, one who has taken faith in the Mystic Law.

The statement that the Daishonin and Shakyamuni are the same in their practice and stage means that the practice of thoroughly embracing the Mystic Law as a human being is the same, whether in the remote past or in the Latter Day.

The practice of upholding the Mystic Law is mystic and incomprehensible. That's because it contains both the true cause and the true effect of attaining Buddhahood-that is to say, the fundamental principle for becoming happy. This is the "mystic principle of true cause."

In the Latter Day of the Law, therefore, Nichiren Daishonin, who is identical with Shakyamuni the practitioner of the true cause, should be revered as the object of worship.

The Practice of Respecting Others

What is the bodhisattva way that Shakyamuni practiced in the remote past? It is indicated in part by the practice of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging (Fukyo). Bodhisattva Never Disparaging was Shakyamuni 's name in a previous existence, when he carried out bodhisattva practices during a decadent age following the death of the Buddha Awesome Sound King (Ionno). This episode is described in the Lotus Sutra.

The Daishonin says regarding Bodhisattva Never Disparaging: "The word 'I' here refers to the Buddha when he was carrying out the true cause of his original enlightenment. This passage concerning how the Buddha 'originally practiced the bodhisattva way' indicates practices such as those of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging" (Gosho Zenshu, p. 768).

In other words, the practice of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging corresponds to the bodhisattva way of Shakyamuni the practitioner of the true cause.

Whenever he met someone, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging would make a gesture of reverence to the person and exclaim, "I deeply respect you ." This was because he recognized that everyone could become a Buddha. His practice was based on feelings of the most profound sympathy for his fellow human beings.

Respecting others, which is the supreme practice for cultivating an appreciation of life's dignity, was an important part of the bodhisattva way that Shakyamuni practiced in the remote past. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging single-mindedly persevered in putting into practice this belief in the dignity of life.

However, he lived in a corrupt and impure age. People could not understand the nobility of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging's actions. Rather, a defiled age is one in which there are many arrogant people who sneer at a person of true greatness, while shamelessly making a display of their own cunning to appear great themselves. Such foolish people repay a person of justice, who refuses to surrender his convictions, with persecution.

People beat Bodhisattva Never Disparaging with sticks and drove him away with rocks. Under such circumstances, he adopted an interesting strategy. When he was driven off, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging would retreat a little way but would not leave. When he was out of reach of the sticks and rocks he would turn around and return to carrying out his practice of veneration, saying, "I deeply respect you."

Bodhisattva Never Disparaging was very flexible in his actions. He was not submissive; nor did he have a confrontational attitude. He was not in the least cowardly; nor was he zealously heroic or motivated by a kind of tragic spirit.

Within his flexibility, he possessed great strength. No matter how great the persecutions he encountered, he absolutely never wavered in his conviction. He never abandoned the philosophy in which he believed. He never backslid in his faith.

Upholding the Mystic Law in a sense means to put one's conviction into practice. This became the cause for Bodhisattva Never Disparaging to attain Buddhahood, and he was later reborn as Shakyamuni Buddha.

This practice of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging --- lighthearted, persistent and among the people --- is the true cause for attaining Buddhahood. It seems to me, in other words, that his practice must typify Shakyamuni's original practice of the bodhisattva way in the remote past.

The practice of discussing and praising the Mystic Law among people deepens an individual's own faith in the Mystic Law and ultimately enables him or her to attain the true effect of Buddhahood. Practice is itself mystic.

Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, the first Soka Gakkai president, said, "Just as people who don't have daily lives won't understand the principles of daily life, those who lead lives of medium or minor good cannot possibly understand the way of life of great good. Unless people practice, they cannot possibly cherish true faith."

Only when we carry out bodhisattva practice can we understand true faith. Only if we practice can we comprehend the profound significance and manifest the immeasurable benefit of faith.

A way of life based on the principle of true cause is that of those who practice among the people without putting on airs. There is no need whatsoever for such people to "get all dressed up," as it were. Honest and straightforward, they give others peace of mind and plant the seeds of happiness in others' hearts through their unaffected actions. This is the bodhisattva practice of the true cause.

Nichiren Daishonin is the Buddha of the "mystic principle of true cause." Though the original Buddha, he always practiced the bodhisattva way as an ordinary person. From start to finish, he struggled as a common mortal. The ordinary person is supreme. This is the essence of the Daishonin's Buddhism.

Even after he had cast aside his transient role, as Bodhisattva Superior Practices (Jogyo), and revealed his true identity as the original Buddha at the time of the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, Nichiren Daishonin did not manifest any special physical characteristics such as the 32 features. Nonetheless, the Law of kuon ganjo shone brightly in his heart. And he carried out the actions of the original Buddha for the people of the 10,000 years of the Latter Day. The Daishonin manifested ultimate humanity. This was his "casting off the transient and revealing the true."

Our Buddhist practice is not one of revering the true effect. Since embracing the My
Mystic Law is in itself enlightenment, when we embrace the Gohonzon we can immediately manifest the world of Buddhahood in our lives. The bodhisattva practice of the Buddhism of the true cause is to direct ourselves toward the nine worlds while basing ourselves on the life of Buddhahood. It is, it might be said, to dive headlong into the mundane reality of society dominated by the nine worlds, based on the life of Buddhahood.

In other words, our practice entails constantly going back and forth between the practice for oneself of doing gongyo and chanting daimoku and the practice for others of spreading the Mystic Law. The key to manifesting the world of Buddhahood lies in this continuing activity.

Accordingly, the Buddhism of the true cause exists in the way of life, the practice, of ceaselessly striving to improve one's immediate, everyday surroundings and to carry the age and society forward. The principles "faith manifests itself in daily life" and "Buddhism manifests itself in society" are thus central to the Daishonin's Buddhism.

Now Is the Time to Take Action

The 65th high priest, Nichijun, as I have mentioned many times in the past, discussed the spirit of the Buddhism of the true cause as follows:

If people think of it merely as characterizing the Buddha's aspect in teaching others and fail to realize that it is the model for their own lives, then the teaching of the Buddhism of sowing of the true cause is dead.

These are my sentiments exactly. Discussion of Buddhism divorced from real life destroys the spirit of the original Buddha.

Nichijun also remarked, "It could be said that the Buddhism of sowing of the true cause means to always have a forward-looking spirit." This, too, I have said repeatedly. The spirit of the Buddhism of the true cause exists in a heart brimming with hope for the future.

When we have the sense that "Now is the time!" "It's my efforts from now on that count!" we can continually challenge our present circumstances with a forward-looking attitude. This is what it means to live based on the "mystic principle of true cause." I hope all of you will attain such a way of life.

Once the brilliant sun of the "mystic principle of true cause" rises in our hearts, the causality of fate or karma originating in the past rapidly loses its glow, as do the stars and other celestial bodies at daybreak.

Time and again President Toda explained that when we dedicate ourselves to the Mystic Law, the causes and effects created in the interim all disappear and the "common mortal of kuon ganjo" appears.

The common mortal of kuon ganjo is another name for the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. The Bodhisattvas of the Earth are born of their own volition in this corrupt world to lead suffering people to happiness. Of their own free will, they position themselves where they can practice to make good causes, and they are born in the world with a karmic destiny that they themselves have chosen. They do this to enact the drama of transforming destiny and proving the greatness of Buddhism.

Therefore, while we each have a unique destiny, by exerting ourselves for kosen-rufu based on faith, we can use all the circumstances we encounter lessen karmic retribution and transform destiny. The Daishonin says, "The sufferings of hell will vanish instantly" (MW-1, 17). When we embrace the Mystic Law, our karmic impediments cease to be karmic impediments.

When we embrace the Gohonzon, we can acquire in our lives both the Buddha's practices (causes) and benefits (effects). Karmic impediments originating in the past all become the key for us to open the great state of life of Buddhahood. Earthly desires themselves become enlightenment, and we can create comfort and tranquillity in suffering and hardship.

The world of Buddhahood contains the nine worlds of suffering, and the world of Buddhahood can only become manifest in concert with the reality of the nine worlds. Only thus does the true aspect of life of the mutual possession of the ten worlds appear.

The important thing is to not shrink back in the face of hardship. We must not have a weak spirit full of lamentation or doubt. When we have a powerful forward-looking inner resolve, we can change all aspects of our existence and manifest a great state of life of indestructible happiness. This is based on the principle of " 3,000 realms in a single moment of life."

Whether experiencing suffering or joy, we need to continue chanting the Mystic Law with the prayer in our hearts to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. No matter what happens, we need to continue advancing one step at a time toward kosen-rufu, in high spirits and with robust hearts. Those who maintain such a strong mind of faith moment by moment will be embraced in the immense and boundless compassion of the original Buddha. 'This is the wonderful essence of the Buddhism of the "mystic principle of true cause."

Shakyamuni says:
Do not pursue the past
do not idly hold out hopes for the future.
The past is already discarded,
And the future has not yet arrived.
Thoroughly discern the nature of the present
in the midst of reality.
One who, without swaying or moving,
clearly grasps the present
deepens his state of life.
Simply set your heart on doing
what must be done today.

The important thing is right now --- the present moment. Our present inner resolve, our determination, enables us to sever the bonds of karmic causality by the strength arising from within and enter the sure path of happiness.

Faith of the Buddhism of the true cause, which constantly arises from the wellspring of life, enables us to develop a state of eternal happiness and to lead a supreme existence. The spirit of the Buddhism of the true cause is the spirit of limitless hope and eternal advance.

Therefore, each day we return to the point of departure at life's wellspring, and from there we begin to advance anew. Doing gongyo and chanting daimoku is the secret teaching for returning to the world of kuon ganjo. Every day, we set forth from kuon ganjo. Faith to continually set forth from this eternal prime point is faith of the Buddhism of the true cause.

Link http://nichiren.info/buddhism/library/SokaGakkai/Study/LectLS/Lectu...

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Replies to This Discussion

I believe this guidance isbeyond theory. It is designed to penetrate the hearts of us who are deeply searching for how to breakthrough our strongest deadlocks, win, and pass on the methods to others. Enclosed is the reminder that we throught up these wild scenarios to show proof of the Lotus Sutra power to unleash the potency of the universe as a salve and lighthouse

I am determined to chant with the spirit to win, to match the promise of the sun, not just chant as a daily ritual. I am so appreciative of this encouragement. Keep the faith.
Hello Joyce thanks for your deep comment. I am determined to develop the forward-looking attitude and the present inner resolve in my daily life. You take care.

I agree Absolutely Joyce. Blissings!

Shakyamuni says:
Do not pursue the past
do not idly hold out hopes for the future.
The past is already discarded,
And the future has not yet arrived.
Thoroughly discern the nature of the present
in the midst of reality.
One who, without swaying or moving,
clearly grasps the present
deepens his state of life.
Simply set your heart on doing
what must be done today.
great post, need to get it ingrained
Hi Rhonda thank you so much for your kind comment.

Rhonda thanks for your Gosho passage.

:-) YES!!! 

Hi, Jonnie!

I am grateful for your postings here at SGI Buddhism.


Domo arigato!


Forever Sensei!

OMG!!! (AKA OMB / oh my Buddha) This is such an incredibly powerful explanation & support for practice of total Victory - I can hardly express enough gratitude. If I had seen this prior to quitting "Tibetan" practice of the provisional "Dharma" of the 2nd Day of The Law when I. Sensei published this amazing teaching, then surely, i would have joined SGI a year earlier. Inexpressible thanks for this Awesome share


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