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The Dharma Flower Sutra seen through the Oral Transmission of Nichiren Daishōnin:The Nineteenth Chapter on the Meritorious Virtues of the Teacher who Propagates the Dharma Flower Sutra

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The Dharma Flower Sutra
seen through the Oral Transmission of
Nichiren Daishōnin


The first important point, with regard to the meritorious virtues of the teacher who Propagates the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō).

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that “the teacher of the Dharma” refers to the person who carries out the five practices of 1) receiving and holding to, 2) reading, 3) reciting, 4) explaining its meaning, and 5) copying out the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). The term “meritorious virtues” means the reward, along with the fruition of purifying the six bodily senses of 1) seeing, 2) hearing, 3) smelling, 4) tasting, 5) bodily touch, and 6) the mind which perceives dharmas.

The point is that Nichiren and those that follow him reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō), and, in this way, are purifying their six organs of sense.

Therefore, they become the teachers of the Dharma of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō and are happy as individuals. The wordmeritorious” also implies happiness, and good fortune. It also has the connotation of happiness through having got rid of evil so that virtue can take its place. The words “meritorious virtue” denote opening up our inherent Buddha nature, with our persons just as they are, as well as implying the purification of our six organs of sense. You should convince yourselves that, by doing the practice of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) as the text indicates, you purify your six organs of sense.


Then, at that time, the Buddha addressed the completely evolved bodhisattva who had refused his own extinction into nirvana for the sake of the Buddha enlightenment of all sentient beings (bosatsu makasatsu, bodhisattva mahāsattva) Constant Zeal (Jōshōjin, Satatasamitābhiyukta), saying: If a convinced and believing man or woman were to accept and hold to, read, recite, explain its meaning, as well as to copy out this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), such a person would acquire eight hundred meritorious virtues for the eyes, one thousand two hundred meritorious virtues for the nose, one thousand two hundred meritorious virtues for the tongue, and eight hundred meritorious virtues for that person’s mind that perceives dharmas. This person would dignify his six organs of sense and purify them all.


The second important point, with regard to the purification of the six organs of sense.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the meritorious virtue of the eyes is to be able to see that those people who hold no faith in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) will fall into the Hell of Incessant Suffering (i.e., will never be happy or really become individuated). Those who do hold faith in this sutra (i.e., the title and theme (daimoku), as well as all its implications) will open up their inherent Buddha nature with their persons just as they are. These are the meritorious virtues with regard to seeing.

By reverently holding faith in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), one will acquire eight hundred meritorious virtues for the eyes. This wordeye” refers to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). This particular sutric canon of the universal vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna) contains the essential point of all the Buddha teachings.

Now, Nichiren and those that follow him reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō). So they acquire meritorious virtues of being able to look upon things as they really are. Also the same meritorious virtues can be applied to hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, as well as to how the mind perceives dharmas.


Such convinced and believing men and women, with the eyes of flesh that were engendered by their parents, when their vision is purified, will see all the mountains, forests, rivers, and seas on the inside and outside of all the three thousand great thousands of worlds (i.e., the thousand times one thousand times one thousand worlds that constitute the domain of a Buddha, which are centred around a Mount Sumeru in the form of a cross (sanzen daisen sekai)), as well as, as far down as the Hell of Incessant Suffering and upwards as far as the highest of the eighteen heavens in the world of form (Akanita ten, Akanishtha).

These people will also see all the sentient beings in these various dimensions as well as all places where they will be reborn according to the causes, concomitancies, effects and requitals of their karma. These convinced and believing men and women will have a vision and knowledge that are full and complete.

Thereupon the World Honoured One wishing to reiterate the significance of what he had said expressed it in the form of a metric hymn.

If there is anybody
in this vast assembly
who with no doubts whatsoever,
can explain this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō),
then listen to
the meritorious virtues
that will follow as a result.
This person will obtain
eight hundred well-deserved
meritorious virtues for the eyes,
and, because of this enhancement,
this person’s vision will be purified.
The eyes, engendered by his parents,
will see all the three thousands
of great thousands of worlds,
both inside and outside Mount Sumeru,
as well as its surrounding
Iron Enclosure
with all the mountains, forests, great seas,
rivers, watercourses, and other waters,
also down as far
as the Hell of Incessant Suffering,
and upwards as far as the highest
of the eighteen heavens
of the dimensions of form,
along with all the sentient beings.
This person will see them just as they are.
Although such a person has not acquired
the vision of the deva (ten),
this will be the sight
of this person’s mortal eyes.

Furthermore, Constant Zeal (Jōshōjin, Satatasamitābhiyukta), if there are convinced and believing men or women who can receive and hold to this sutra, read it, recite it, explain its implications, as well as copying it out, such persons will obtain one thousand meritorious virtues for their ears, whereby the hearing of these persons will be purified. Such people will hear (all that goes on) in the three thousands of great thousands of worlds (i.e., the thousand times another thousand times of worlds (existential dimensions) that constitute the domain of a Buddha, which is centred around a Mount Sumeru in the form of a cross (sanzen daisen sekai)), as far down as the Hell of Incessant Suffering, and upwards as far as the highest of the eighteen realms in the dimensions that have physical qualities (Akanita ten, Akanishtha).

Such people will hear the sound of the various languages, the sounds of the voices inside and outside those existential dimensions, the trumpeting sound of elephants, the neighing of horses, the lowing of cattle, the sounds of chariots, the sounds of sobbing and crying, the sounds of grief and tears, the sounds of blowing conch shells, the sounds of drums, the sounds of temple bells and handbells, the sounds of laughter, the sounds of talking, the sounds of men, the sounds of women, the voices of young boys, the voices of young girls, the voices of the Dharma and those which are not, the sounds of suffering, the sounds of pleasure, the voices of ordinary people, the voices of the sage-like, the sounds of joy and those of sadness, the voices of the deva (ten) (who are like the gods in Mediterranean and Teutonic mythology), the voices of the dragons (as seen in Far Eastern art), the voices of the yasha (yaksha) (yasha who are like the gnomes in Western folklore), the voices of the kendabba (gandharva) (who are celestial musicians), the voices of the shura (ashura) (who are comparable to the titans or giants in Western folklore), the voices of the karura (garuda) (who are mythical exotic birds), the voices of the kinnara (kimnara) (who are also celestial musicians and described as exotic birds with human torsos), the voices of the magoraga (mahorāga) (who are serpents that crawl on their chests), the noises of fire, the noises of water, the noises of the wind, the noises of hell, the noises of animals, the voices of craving demons (gaki, preta), the voices of monks, the voices of nuns, the voices of intellectual seekers (shōmon, shrāvaka), the voices of those who are partially enlightened (engaku, hyakushibutsu, pratyekabuddha), the voices of bodhisattvas and the voices of the Buddhas.

Coming back to the point, such people who have done the practices of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) will hear all the sounds that are inside and outside the three thousands of great thousands of worlds (i.e., the thousand times a thousand times another thousand times of worlds (existential dimensions) that constitute the domain of a Buddha which is centred around a Mount Sumeru in the form of a cross (sanzen daisen sekai)).

Even though they are not endowed with the ears of the deva (ten), the people who do the practices of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) will hear all these events with the ears of ordinary human beings that were engendered by their parents, but have been purified through their practice. (The implication of this sentence is that, through the practice of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), people will arrive at understanding life as it really is.) Those people will, in this fashion, hear and distinguish sounds and voices in all their varieties. Their faculties of hearing will in no way deteriorate.

Thereupon the World Honoured One, wishing to reiterate the significance of what he had said, expressed it in the form of a metric hymn.

The ears that were engendered by their parents
will be purified and free
from uncleanliness and pollution,
so that with their ordinary ears
they will hear all the sounds
of elephants, horses,
chariots, and cattle,
as well as the sounds
of temple bells, handbells, conch shells, and drums,
lyres, harps, lutes, oboes, and flutes,
along with pure and pleasant singing voices
all of which they will hear
without becoming attached to them.
Likewise, the uncountable variety
of human tongues
will all be heard
with the ability to understand them.
Furthermore, they will hear
the voices of the deva (ten),
along with the subtly marvellous
quality of their melodies,
and also the voices of men and women
as well as those of young boys and girls.
Where the rivers and streams
are enclosed by precipitous valleys,
the voice of the karyōbinga (kalavinka) birds (who are described as birds with exotic voices that are found in the valleys of the Himalayas),
as well as the cries of other birds,
will be heard.
These people who do the practices
of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)
will hear all the bitter painfulness
of the hells,
along with other kinds of venomous sounds,
such as hungry spirits,
tormented with hunger and thirst
in their search for food and drink,
and all the giants and titans
living along the shore of the ocean
who, when they talk to each other,
raise their voices to their loudest.
Persons who expound the Dharma
in the correct manner
can reside among those beings in peace,
as well as hearing the multitude
of voices from afar.
Yet their hearing will not deteriorate.
Throughout the existential spaces (sekai)
of the ten directions,
they will hear the birds and beasts
calling to each other,
as well as the Brahmānic deva (Bonten) above,
or even as far as the highest heaven
where materiality still exists,
the sounds of their voices and conversations
will be heard.
At the same time, the teacher
and practitioner of the Dharma
who dwells here
will be able to hear everything.
All the assemblies of the monks
and also all the nuns
will be able to hear them all.
Again, there are the bodhisattvas
who read and recite this sutric Dharma
or explain its meaning to others
and make choices
as to how they should expound it.
Also, all this will be heard.
All the Buddhas who are wise, good, and upright
in all their respective characters,
whose role is to convert
sentient beings by instruction,
and who, in the midst of vast assemblies,
expound the subtle Dharma of Utterness,
are truly venerable.
Those who hold to this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)
will be able to hear everything
in all the three thousand great thousands
of dimensions of existence,
including all the voices and sounds
on the inside as well as the outside,
down as far
as the Hell of Incessant Suffering,
and upwards as far as the limit
of where form continues to exist.
The practitioners
of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)
will hear all these sounds and voices,
and their faculty of hearing
will not deteriorate.
On account of their acuteness of hearing,
they will be able
to distinguish everything
and know what is going on.
As for the people
who hold to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō),
even though they are not endowed
with the hearing of the deva (ten),
by using the ears they were born with,
they will have the meritorious virtues
such as these.

Among other things, Constant Zeal (Jōshōjin, Satatasamitābhiyukta), if there is a believing and convinced man or woman who receives and holds to this sutra, who reads it, recites it, and explains its meaning to others, as well as copying it out, such persons will have attained eight hundred meritorious virtues (kudoku, guna) for their olfactory capabilities. Through purifying their sense of smell, such persons will be able to perceive all the various kinds of odour in the totality of one thousand times one thousand times one thousand realms of existence all, centred around their respective Mount Sumerus and spread out in the form of a cross (i.e., the whole universe), as well as all that is above and below or inside and outside them.

Such persons will be aware of the fragrance of the great flowered jasmine, marigolds, jasmine, gardenias, begonias, red lotuses, pale blue lotuses, white lotuses, the blossoms on trees as well as their fruits, the odour of sandalwood trees, the scent of tamāla leaves, and the scent of tagara, as well as all the thousands of myriads of kinds of perfume, whether they be in the form of powder or in the shape of tablets or ointments. Those who hold to this sutra, in spite of only living in this space of existence, will be able to distinguish what each particular odour is.

What is more, the practitioners of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) will be able to differentiate the odours of the various kinds of sentient beings, such as the odour of elephants, horses, as well as cattle or sheep. They will be able to distinguish the odours of men, women, young boys and young girls, as well the scent of plants and trees, woodlands and forests. Whether such people are in the vicinity or whether they are far away, they will be able to distinguish all the different kinds of smell, without making any mistakes at all.

All those who hold to this sutra, even though they are living in this dimension, will be able to distinguish the fragrances of the bodies of the deva (ten). They will even be aware of the odours of the twelve Taishaku (Shakra Devānām Indra) (whose role is to protect our dimension of existence), when they are high above in their sublime palaces, enjoying the delights of their five senses, or even the fragrance of all the deva (ten) of the thirty-three heavens, when they are hearing the Dharma being expounded to them, or the perfumes of the gardens that the deva (ten) enjoy. Such people who hold to this sutra will also be able to distinguish the odours of men and women, even if they are a long distance away.

In this way, proceeding from one item to the next, one reaches the heaven of Bonten (Brahmā). Such people will be able to perceive the fragrances of all the deva (ten) incarnations of the dimensions where there exists no materiality whatsoever. The practitioners of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) will also be aware of the scent of the incense that the deva (ten) are burning, as well as that of the intellectual seekers (shōmon, shrāvaka), the people who are partially enlightened (hyakushibutsu, pratyekabuddha), along with the incense burned by the bodhisattvas (bosatsu). Also, such people will perceive the fragrance of the bodies of the Buddhas, and even if these odours are far away, they will recognise where they come from. Naturally, there will be no deterioration or defects in their sense of smell. If they wish to differentiate these odours and tell other people about it, their memories will not fail them.

Thereupon the World Honoured One, wishing to reiterate the significance of what he had said, expressed it in the form of a metric hymn.

Even in the midst
of this dimension of existence,
people’s olfactory sensibilities
will be purified,
where they will sense fragrance
or smell stenches
and will recognise all of them
in their variety –
the fragrance of the great flowered jasmine
or marigolds,
the scent of tamāra
or that of sandalwood,
the incense of aguru,
and the odour of cinnamon,
as well as the scent of various kinds
of flowers and fruits,
or even the odour
of sentient beings.
The practitioners
of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)
will be aware of the odour
of either men or women.
Even if they live far away,
those practitioners will know
their dwelling places.
The sovereigns of great authority
whose chariot wheels
roll everywhere without hindrance (tenrinnō, chakravartin),
and even lesser sovereigns and princes,
ministers and people in the palaces
their whereabouts will be known
on account of their odours,
as well as the rare jewels on their persons,
or even the treasures
they have hidden in the ground.
Also the whereabouts
of the bejewelled women
of the sovereigns whose chariot wheels
roll everywhere without hindrance (tenrinnō, chakravartin)
will be known, due to their perfume.
Even the finery
of the dignitaries,
which includes their clothing
and ornaments
and the different kinds
of cosmetics they use,
will be known,
from their bodily emanations,
or even if the deva (ten)
are walking or sitting
or given over to pleasure
or have changed their form.
The people who hold
to this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)
will recognise everything
according to its scent.
The flowers and fruits of all the trees
and the aroma of storax resin
will all be known
due to their respective odours.
Those who hold to this sutra
and are living in this dimension
will be able to know
where everything is,
on account of all their odours.
All the deep, inaccessible places
in the mountains,
where the sandalwood tree blossoms,
are in full bloom,
and the sentient beings
who inhabit such places
are all known, due to their scent,
also the iron perimeters
of Mount Sumeru and the ocean,
as well as all the sentient beings
that live there.
The person who holds to this sutra
will know where everything is
due to its scent.
When the men and women
of the giants or titans (shura, ashura),
as well as those that follow them,
are either fighting among themselves
or having a good time,
they will be thoroughly understood
by their odour.
Also, in places in the wilds,
or where there are rugged slopes,
the whereabouts of lions,
elephants, tigers, or wolves,
wild cattle, water buffaloes,
as well as other animals,
will all be known, due to their scent.
If any of these animals are pregnant,
then it will be known
if it is either male or female.
Or if it has no sex organs at all,
then it must be something
that is non-human.
with human intelligence.
Anyway, it can be known by its smell.
Because of this olfactory power,
practitioners will know
if it is the beginning
of a pregnancy
also as to whether
the child will be born or not,
or if the mother will give birth
to a healthy child.
On account of this
olfactory capacity,
the practitioners will know
the thoughts of men and women,
whether they are soiled with lust,
or even their inanity,
as well as the thoughts of those
that practise to do good.
Practitioners will know clearly
of people’s hidden treasures in the ground
of gold, silver, or precious materials,
or articles of bronze
that have been ferreted away.
All this will be entirely known
through their odour,
as well as the various kinds
of neck ornaments
girdles, collar bands, or bracelets
whose value cannot really be known.
The practitioners will know by their smell
if such articles are valuable
or worthless,
also from whence they come
or where they are now,
all the flowers,
in the heavens of the deva (ten),
coral tree flowers,
as well as mañjūshaka
or paricitra (which fill the heavens with fragrance),
as well as all the palaces
in the heavens above,
and are able to distinguish
the uppermost, middling, and lower,
along with the flowers
of precious materials
that decorate them.
All this can be perceived
by the fragrances.
The heavenly gardens,
woodlands, and sublime palaces,
as well as the turrets
of the halls for meditating
on the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma),
even the pleasures
that the deva (ten) enjoy
can all be known by their scent.
When the deva (ten) are listening
to the Dharma,
or when they are simply taking part
in the pleasure of their five desires (1) wealth, 2) sex, 3) eating and drinking, 4) fame, 5) sleep),
whether they are coming or going,
walking or sitting or lying down,
all this can be known
through the practitioner’s sense of smell.
The clothes that are worn
by the female deva (tennyo, devi),
as well as the scent of the flowers
of the perfumes
that they adorn themselves with,
or when they are elegantly
enjoying their social lives,
can all be known by their odours.
In this way, going further up
until one reaches
the heavens of the Brahmas (Bonten),
along with those
who enter into deep meditation,
or those who are coming out
of deep meditation,
all of this can be known
due to the practitioner’s sense of smell.
The deva of universal, pure light,
as well as those that inhabit the realms
that are the final limits
where physicality exists,
(when deva (ten)) are first born,
or their descent
into religious backsliding,
can all be known due to their odours.
All the assemblies of monks
who are constantly zealous
in their pursuit of the Dharma,
whether they are sitting,
or whether they are reading
or reciting the sutra of the Dharma,
or whether they are under the trees
of the woodlands and forests,
especially willing in their efforts
to hold a perfect absorption
into the single object
of their meditation (sanmai, samādhi) –
those who hold to this sutra,
by using their olfactory powers,
can know where all these people are.
The bodhisattvas
whose resolution is solidly firm,
whether they are seated,
intently absorbed
into the one object
of their meditation,
or whether they are reading the sutras
or else they are expounding
the Dharma to the people,
can also be known by their odours.
The World Honoured Ones
in every direction of the compass
who are all venerated and esteemed
and explain the Dharma with compassion
to their respective assemblies,
can also be known by their odours.
The sentient beings
in the presence of the Buddha
all listen to this sutra with joy.
Those who practise
according to this Dharma
can also be known by their odours.
Even though their olfactory
sensibilities are not yet
like those of the bodhisattvas
whose sense of smell is not obstructed
by troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha),
yet those who hold to this sutra
will attain a sense of smell
that has the characteristics
thus described.


What is more, Constant Zeal (Jōshōjin, Satatasamitābhiyukta), if there is a believing and convinced man or woman who can accept and hold to this sutra, read it, recite it, as well as explaining its meaning, or even copying it out, then such persons will obtain a thousand two hundred virtuous merits for their tongues. Whether a given taste be either pleasant or disagreeable, either fine tasting or not, or even bitter or pungent, all these tastes, on touching that person’s tastebuds will all become delicious, like the taste of the honey dew of the deva (ten). There is no taste that will be disagreeable.

If these persons should have to make a discourse in the midst of the assembly, they will speak with a sublime and deep voice that will resound in people’s minds, so as to make them happy and at ease. Furthermore, all the children of the deva (ten), female deva (tennyo, devi), all the Indra and Brahma and other deva (ten), on hearing these sublime and deep voices enunciating the words of the dissertations, will all come to listen to them.

Also all the dragons (ryū, nāga) (as depicted in far-eastern art), female dragons, yasha (yaksha) (who are like gnomes or dwarves in northern European folklore and are guardians of the Buddha teaching), female yasha, kendabba (gandharva) (who are the musicians of the heavenly realm of Taishaku (Indra)), female kendabba, shura (ashura) (who are comparable to the titans of Mediterranean mythology or giants and ogres in northern European folklore), female shura (ashura), karura (garuda) (who are mythical birds and are mortal enemies of the dragons), female karura (garuda), kinnara (kimnara) (who are also heavenly musicians and described as exotic birds with human torsos), female kinnara (kimnara), and magoraga (mahorāga) (who are mythical giant serpents from the Brahmanic pantheon who crawl on their chests) along with female magoraga, who in order to listen to the Dharma will come reverently to make offerings, as well as to be in close attendance to these people with sublime and deep voices, also monks, nuns, lay male believers, lay female believers, sovereigns, princes, their ministers and all their following, also lesser sage-like sovereigns whose chariot wheels roll everywhere without hindrance (tenrinnō, chakravartin), major sage-like sovereigns whose chariot wheels roll everywhere without hindrance (tenrinnō, chakravartin), will all come to listen to them.

In addition to bringing their treasures of the seven precious materials (1) gold, 2) silver, 3) lapis lazuli, 4) crystal, 5) agate, 6) ruby, 7) cornelian), they are also accompanied by their thousands of offspring, as well as their respective retinues of either inside their palaces or outside them. They all come concurrently in order to listen to the Dharma. Because these bodhisattvas are all capable of expounding the Dharma extremely well, Brahmins, householders (koji), and people of the kingdoms all vowed to make offerings to the assembly for the rest of their lives.

Again, the people who exert themselves to attain the highest stage of the teachings of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) through listening to the Buddha (shōmon, shrāvaka) (i.e., the intellectual seekers of today), people who are partially enlightened due to their profound search for the meaning of existence (hyakushibutsu, pratyekabuddha), bodhisattvas, as well as the Buddhas, always had pleasure in seeing those people who were so capable of explaining the Dharma. All the Buddhas expounded the Dharma, facing in the direction where these practitioners of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) were situated. These were people who could hold to all the teachings of the Dharma of the Buddha, whose voices also reverberated sublimely and deeply.

Thereupon the World Honoured One, wishing to reiterate the meaning of what he had said, expressed it in the form of a metric hymn.

When the faculty of taste
of such persons is purified,
then they will never know what flavour is.
Everything that these people chew
will all have the taste of honey dew.
With a voice that is made pure,
such people,
in the midst of the vast assembly,
will make clear what the Dharma is.
Through the means of explaining causes,
concomitancies,
and through similes,
they attract and guide
the minds of sentient beings,
so that all those that listen
will be filled with joy
and make offerings
to all these practitioners.
All the deva (ten), dragons (ryū, nāga),
yasha (yaksha) (gnomes), and shura (ashura) (titans)
with a mind of reverence
will come and listen to the Dharma.
Such persons who expound the Dharma
will, if they desire it,
make their sublime voices
reverberate through the totality
of one thousand times one thousand
times one thousand realms of existence,
all centred
around their respective Mount Sumerus
and spread out
in the shape of a cross (sanzen daisen sekai) (i.e., the whole universe),
and will be able
to express their intentions.
Both the greater and the lesser sovereigns
whose chariot wheels
roll everywhere without hindrance (tenrinnō, chakravartin),
as well as their retinues
and thousands of offspring,
will, with their palms pressed together,
and a mind full of reverence,
always come to listen to
and accept the Dharma.
All the deva (ten), dragons (ryū, nāga), yasha (yaksha) (gnomes),
and various cannibal demons,
with minds full of joy,
will always find pleasure
in making offerings,
as well as the sovereigns
of the Brahmanic deva (Bonten)
and the sovereigns of the demons (ma’ō),
the sovereign whose mind
is free of all delusion,
and the universal sovereign
whose mind is entirely free
from delusion (Shiva).
Such multitudes of deva (ten)
will constantly come
to where the practitioners are.
All the Buddhas and their disciples,
on hearing the sounds
of the exposition of the Dharma,
such practitioners
will always be borne in mind,
and at times the Buddhas
will appear to them in physical form.

Furthermore, Constant Zeal (Jōshōjin, Satatasamitābhiyukta), if there are convinced and believing men or women who can accept and hold to this sutra, who read it, recite it, as well as explaining its meaning, or even copying it out, such practitioners will attain eight hundred virtuous merits (kudoku, guna) for their physical bodies. They will have bodies that are pure and immaculate like lapis lazuli. Sentient beings will derive pleasure from seeing them.


The third important point, on the comparison to a pure, bright mirror, which is referred to in the last two sentences in the above passage: “They will have bodies that are pure and immaculate like lapis lazuli. Sentient beings will take delight in looking at them.”

(Lapis lazuli is a blue mineral containing sodium aluminium silicate and sulphur, which is used as a gemstone; also, it was ground down into a bright blue pigment for paint. In Buddhist texts, this mineral is described as one of the seven precious materials.)

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the comparison to a mirror in the text is clearly explained as people who have purified their six organs of sense through practice and will be like a clear mirror of lapis lazuli, in which they will perceive the totality of one thousand times another thousand times one thousand realms of existence all centred around their respective Mount Sumerus and spread out like a cross (sanzen daisen sekai). (All of this entails the whole of existence as each individual understands it. The real benefit of our teaching is to comprehend the whole of reality according to all the implications of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō.)

Now, Nichiren and those that follow him reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō). So they perceive and understand all that exists from their respective standpoints or frames of reference, as though it were reflected in a clear mirror (i.e., each practitioner is able to understand his or her own reality).

This clear mirror is the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) (in the sense that it is all that is written out on the Fundamental object of Veneration), and, in particular, it is the Chapter on the Stupa made of Precious Materials, which Nichiren describes as, “Outside of such a stupa made of precious materials like this, there are no other (five) ideograms for Myōhō Renge Kyō on this stupa made of precious materials. It becomes inseparable (soku) from all sentient beings. All sentient beings are dharmas that are made up of the white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect that runs through the entirety of existence (Myōhō Renge Kyō)” (Gosho Zenshū, pp. 797). Again, it is the clear mirror that reflects the whole of our minds.

In the sentences referred to in the sutric text, there are the two similes of “lapis lazuli” and a “clear mirror”. In this passage, the sense of bodily touch of the practitioner is immaculately pure. Since physicality and mind are not separate from each other (given that even in dreams and in the intermediary state between dying and rebirth, we have at least a body that we have produced from our imaginations, i.e., Tibetan yid kyi lus), then how can this concept of immaculate purity be fractionalised, as it is earlier on in the sutric text?

Purity is explained as standing in contrast to impurity, and clearness is the opposite of unclearness. The mirror in this case represents the single-mindedness of the practitioner. So within the three-fold concept of reality (, ke, chū) of the doctrine of Tendai (T’ien T’ai), the idea of purity (which stands in contrast to impurity, soiled, etc.) indicates the provisional or superficial quality as being purely phenomenal (ke). In this text, Nichiren implies that the clearness of the mirror is its inherent quality, which, in this case, is its “relativity or ”. But the mirror itself is the middle way of reality (chū), in which all forms and images are visible.

The word “all” in this particular phrase refers to the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (jikkai). (These are 1) the sufferings of the hells (jigokukai), 2) the cravings and wanting of hungry ghosts (gakikai), 3) the limited possibilities of intelligence and instinctive qualities of animality (chikushōkai), 4) the extravagant behaviour and anger of the shura or titans (shurakai), 5) the ordinary level of human equanimity (jinkai), 6) passing ecstasies of the deva (ten) and the fleeting quality of our personal joys (tenkai), 7) the various realms of the intellectual seekers (shōmonkai), 8) the psychological dimensions of people who are partially enlightened due to a profound search for the meaning of existence (engakukai, pratyekabuddha), 9) people who seek enlightenment not only for themselves but also for others (bosatsukai), 10) the fully enlightened state of the Buddha who knows the truth of all things (bukkai).)

As a result, the pure, clear mirror represents the two dharmas of materiality and mind. This entails the whole of the composition of the whereabouts of the realms of dharmas whose underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect permeates the entirety of existence (Myōhō Renge Kyō). The pure, clear mirror stands for the mind of faith, as well as the practitioner’s ability to perceive the totality of one thousand times one thousand times one thousand realms of existence, each realm centred around its Mount Sumeru and spread out in the form of a cross (sanzen daisen sekai). This entails our physical bodies (shiki).

All individuals have their own but differing capabilities of perception (ju), which produce fantasies, dreams, thoughts, ideas and concepts (sō) that are also influenced by thoughts and habits acquired from previous lives and deaths (gyō). When all these four previous “aggregates” are put together, this constitutes the totality of an individual’s personality (go’on seken), which is the existential space of the five aggregates that form an individual, as well as what the driving tendencies of each individual are, in terms of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (i.e., whether the behaviour of such a person is that of human equanimity (jinkai), or that of a giant or ogre (shurakai)), which is the existential space of sentient beings (shujō seken), and, finally, where and in what social context this behaviour takes place (kokudo seken). (This entails the idea that with the practice of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) we will be able to understand our own and other people’s lives, in terms of the one instant of mental activity including the totality of all psychological functions (ichinen sanzen).)


Because their bodies are pure, they will be able to see the sentient beings throughout the totality of one thousand times one thousand times a thousand realms of existence all centred around their respective Mount Sumerus and spread out in the form of a cross (sanzen daisen sekami), as to when these sentient beings are born or when they die, or whether they are of interest or unimportant, good-looking or ugly, or whether they are born in good surroundings or in circumstances that are not so good. All of this will be made apparent to those practitioners, as well as all the iron mountain ranges that encircle the various Mount Sumerus, Mount Merus, and the Mount Mahāmerus, along with all the sovereign mountains. All of the sentient beings that inhabit these mountain areas will also be visible.

Those practitioners will see deep down as far as the Hells of Incessant Suffering and upwards as far as the limits of where form continues to exist. All the sentient beings in all these regions will be seen. If there are people who exert themselves to attain the highest stage of the teachings of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) through listening to the Buddhas (shōmon, shrāvaka), people who are partially enlightened due to a profound search for the meaning of existence (engaku, hyakushibutsu, pratyekabuddha), bodhisattvas or Buddhas who are explaining the Dharma, all of them will be reflected on the bodies of these practitioners of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō).

Thereupon the World Honoured One, wishing to reiterate the significance of what he had said, expressed it in the form of a metric hymn.

Those people who hold
to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)
will have bodies
that are immaculately pure,
in the same way as lapis lazuli
is purity itself.
This will give sentient beings
pleasure to see them,
or their bodies will be
like clear, bright mirrors,
in which all forms and images
are reflected
on the purity of the bodies
of bodhisattvas,
who will see everything that there is
in the realms of existence,
which will only be evident
to the practitioners themselves.
Other people will not see a thing.
Throughout the totality
of one thousand times one thousand times
a thousand realms of existence,
all centred around
their respective Mount Sumerus
and spread out
in the form of a cross (sanzen daisen sekai),
practitioners will see
all the abundance of events that occur
among the deva (ten), humankind,
titans or giants (shura, ashura),
as well as demons of hell,
and the uncouthness of humankind (chikushō).
All their shapes and images
will be seen in this fashion.
The deva (ten) in their palaces
and upwards as far as the point
where form ceases to exist,
the iron mountain ranges
that surround the realms of existence,
Mount Meru, Mount Mahāmeru,
as well as all the waters and oceans,
all will become apparent on his person.
The Buddhas,
as well as the intellectual seekers (shōmon, shrāvaka),
faithful followers of the Buddha
and bodhisattvas,
whether they are on their own
or living in communities,
as they explain the Dharma,
they will become manifest.
Even though they are not yet free
from their troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha)
or have attained
the entity of Utterness,
their ordinary physical bodies
by being made immaculately pure,
everything will become
visible to them.

In addition to all this, Constant Zeal (Jōshōjin, Satatasamitābhiyukta), if there are believing and convinced men or women who, after the Tathāgata’s extinction into nirvana, accept and hold to this sutra, either read it, recite it, or explain its meaning, or copy it out, they will effectuate one thousand two hundred meritorious virtues for their minds. With their mental faculties that have become immaculately pure, they will, on hearing a single metric hymn or a single sentence, be able to unravel and penetrate these profound implications. And they will be capable of making dissertations on either this single metric hymn or sentence for a month, four months, or even a year.

The Dharma that these practitioners expound is in conformity to the content of its meaning and is never in contradiction to reality. Even if they discuss texts or classics that belong to the ordinary world, these ideas of government, the way people should behave, and the rules of commerce, are all expressed in terms of the correct Dharma. They will be fully aware of the sentient beings who are born throughout the six directions of incarnation (1) hells, 2) hungry ghosts, 3) animality, 4) shura (ashura) i.e., giants or titans, 5) human equanimity, 6) deva (ten)) that pervade the totality of one thousand times one thousand times one thousand realms of existence all centred around their respective Mount Sumerus and spread out in the shape of a cross (sanzen daisen sekami), the way their minds work, the things that they do on account of their thought processes, and all their thoughts that are futile.

Although these practitioners have not yet attained a wisdom that is entirely free from troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha), their mental faculties will be immaculately pure. Everything that these people are capable of thinking of and expressing will be entirely the Dharma of the Buddha, not lacking in authenticity in any way, and will have already been expounded in previous sutras of the Tathāgata.

Thereupon the World Honoured One, wishing to reiterate the significance of what he had said, expressed it in the form of a metric hymn.

Such people, by having their minds
made immaculately pure,
will be clear and astute,
without any filth or defilement.
On account of their sublime
mental faculties,
they will know the superior,
middling, and inferior teachings (, dharma),
so that on hearing one metric hymn
they will grasp the infinite meanings
contained in it.
They will expound it progressively
according to the Dharma
for a month, four months, or even a year.
All the sentient beings
within or outside
this realm of existence (sekai) of ours,
whether they be deva (ten), or humankind,
or gnomes (yasha, yaksha), or demonic spirits,
who are within the six directions
of incarnation (rokushu),
as well as the way all these beings think
will, on account of the recompense
of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō),
be entirely known
simultaneously.
The uncountable Buddhas
of the ten directions
who are adorned with hundreds
of felicitous bodily marks
explain the Dharma
for the benefit of sentient beings.
The practitioner will hear all of it
and keep it in mind.
Through pondering over
the boundless implications,
their explanations of the Dharma
will be without limits.
From the beginning
to the end of this sutra,
these practitioners
will never forget anything
or make any mistakes,
on account of their holding
to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō).
They will know the aspect of all dharmas (shohō, sarvadharma),
and according to circumstances
they will be aware of their meaning.
By knowing letters and languages,
they will make their expositions
according to their knowledge.
All that these practitioners expound
will be the Dharma
of all the previous Buddhas.
Because they expound this Dharma,
these practitioners will find themselves
full of assurance in the assembly.
Those who hold to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)
will have their mental functions
purified in this manner.
Even though they are not yet free
of their troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha),
they will indeed have these qualities.
The person who holds to this sutra
dwells upon an exceptional ground,
in serenity.


The fourth important point, on the last lines of the above metric hymn, “The person who holds to this sutra dwells upon an exceptional ground, in serenity.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that “the Person” is, out of all the sentient beings of the country of Japan, the practitioner of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). “The exceptional ground” is a reference to his fundamental enlightenment evinced in the original archetypal terrain of the Sixteenth Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata, which has its practical manifestation as the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon), as well as its ruling principle that is Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō. Again, it is in the Eighteenth Chapter on the Joy of the following Meritorious Virtues, where it says, “The Buddha explains an exceptional Dharma.” What is exceptional is Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō in particular.

Now, Nichiren and those that follow him reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō). “The exceptional ground is the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon), which is the bright mirror that is to be broadly diffused during the final phase of the Dharma of Shākyamuni (mappō).”

Generally speaking, the meritorious virtues attained through the purification of the six faculties of sense (which are 1) sense of sight, 2) sense of hearing, 3) sense of smell, 4) sense of taste, 5) sense of touch, and 6) the faculty of the intellect) can be equated to the ten stages of faith of the teaching of the provisional universal vehicle and the semblance of purity in the six stages of Tendai’s (T’ien T’ai) bodhisattva development (rokusoku).

(In the teachings of the provisional vehicle, there are fifty-two stages in the process of becoming a Buddhaten stages of faith (jusshin), ten stages of security (jūjū), ten stages of practice (jūgyō), ten stages of devotion (jūeho), ten stages of development (jūji), the stage of approaching enlightenment (tōgaku), and the stage of complete enlightenment (myōgaku). These ten stages stand in contrast to the six stages of bodhisattva development in Tendai’s (T’ien T’ai) perfect teaching (rokusoku), which are 1) the realisation that all beings have a Buddha nature (risoku), 2) the comprehension of the Buddhist terminology and that those who only hear and believe in the Buddha teaching are themselves potentially enlightened (myōjisoku). 3) This is an advance beyond mere Buddhist terms to undertaking to do the real practice (kangyōsoku). 4) This is the semblance to the perfection in purity (sōjisoku), which is the apparent purification of the six senses, which, in the teachings of the provisional universal vehicle, can be equated with the ten stages of faith (jusshin). 5) Understanding the truth of the Buddha teaching and its progressive experiential proof (bunshinsoku) – in terms of all provisional universal vehicles, this stage would correspond to the ten stages of security, the ten stages of development, and the stage of approaching enlightenment (togaku). All these stages are also referred to as the causes of holiness (shō’in). 6) The sixth stage of Tendai’s (T’ien T’ai) bodhisattva development (kukyōsoku) in other teachings is understood as (myōgaku) utter enlightenment or (shōka) the fruition of holiness.)

The Bodhisattva Constant Zeal (Jōshōjin, Satatasamitābhiyukta) was the person to whom the Buddha was speaking and was the representative of the assembly in this particular chapter. He also symbolises the third of the ten stages of faith in the provisional teachings, which is defined as “a faith full of zeal”. However, it should be understood that, during this final phase of the Dharma of Shākyamuni (mappō), the Bodhisattva Constant Zeal (Jōshōjin, Satatasamitābhiyukta) represents the practitioners of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), because the people who hold to this sutra are earnest and observant.

All sentient beings
will venerate these practitioners with joy
who, with a thousand myriads
of different kinds of skilful modes
of expression,
will in expounding the Dharma
pick out all the details,
because these people hold
to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō).


End of the sixth fascicle

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