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The Dharma Flower Sutra seen through the Oral Transmission of Nichiren Daishōnin: The Sixth Chapter on The Disclosure of the Future Record Of those who will attain Enlightenment

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


The first important point: the disclosure of the future record.

In the seventh volume of the Textual Explanation of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke Mongu), it says that the significance of a disclosure is to give something out.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that “the Future Record of those who will attain Enlightenment” designates Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which is to give back our lives and devote them to (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). Here the word “disclose” indicates all the sentient beings of the dimension of humankind. But it is not to be disclosed to those people who will not hold faith in this teaching, since they will not accept it.

Now, Nichiren and those that follow him receive the future record of those who will attain enlightenment, on account of their reciting Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō. Again, The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the disclosure of the future records of those who will attain enlightenment means to disclose to someone the workings of the realms of dharmas or the Dharma realm (hokkai, dharmadātu), of which the entirety is the underlying dynamism of all existence wherein the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect is operative.

The disclosure of the future record of falling into hell is due to causes of transgression. This is on account of the karma produced by such transgressions, and that there are people who have it disclosed to them that they will fall into the realms of suffering (jigokai). You must be aware that the same principle also applies to each one of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (jikkai). If one discloses the future record of a life that is to be, then that life will come to its end in dying. If one is to disclose the future record of somebody’s death, then, after that person has passed through the intermediate phase between dying and living (chu’on, antarabhava), that person will be reborn again. Disclosure such as this of the future records is valid for the perpetuity of the past, present, and future.

What this all alludes to is that the four disciples, 1) Makakashō (Mahākāshyapa), 2) Kasennen (Kātyāyana), 3) Mokuren (Maudgalyāna), and 4) Shubodai (Subhuti), who exerted themselves to attain the highest stage of the teaching of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) through listening to the discourses of the Buddha and who were also of average propensities, can be taken as representatives of the four phases of the lifetime of sentient beings – 1) being born and growing (shō), 2) maturing and aging, 3) getting sick and becoming feeble, and 4) the finality of death.

Makakashō (Mahākāshyapa) represents the phase of our lives which is our birth and growing up. Makakashō (Mahākāshyapa) was one of the ten most important disciples of Shākyamuni, as well as being the foremost practitioner of all the ascetic precepts to purify one’s body, along with shaking off attachments to clothes, food, and dwelling. Also, he is thought of as being the most dedicated and diligent of the Buddha’s disciples, the one whose deep faith and spiritual accomplishments make him the archetype for being alive.

Kasennen (Kātyāyana) represents the phase in our lives of maturing and aging. This disciple’s personality was forged through intensive study. He was considered the principal debater of the Buddha teachings and made enormous efforts to propagate them. Perhaps we can see, in the maturity and learning of this great disciple, a reflection of the maturity and aging that lies within us.

Mokuren (Maudgalyāna) stands for the phase in our own lives of sickness and decline. He was said to have had the most outstanding psychic abilities among the disciples of Shākyamuni. It is recorded that, when his mother died, she fell into one of the dimensions of hungry demons. However, through his psychic powers, he was able to save her through the teachings of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). It is also recorded that Mokuren (Maudgalyāna) was killed by Brahman heretics because of his ability to discern that the past karma of these Brahmans was negative. But, all the same, he was able to remove that karma and save his assassins.

When it comes to Shubodai (Subhuti), do we see something in the demeanour of this wise individual – the dignity that lies behind the unavoidable decline in our own existences? Out of all the major disciples of Shākyamuni, he had the deepest understanding of the immateriality of the relativity of noumena or the emptiness of nirvana (, shūnyatā). Thus, he was able to fully understand the fundamental principle that living and dying are not separate from each other (shōji funi) and all the implications of a necessary death.

When we reach the level of understanding something of the content of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), then these four phases of our existence – which are 1) being born and growing up, 2) maturing and aging, 3) sickness and decline, and 4) the finality of death – become apparent in our minds, in the form of those four great intellectual seekers (shōmon, shrāvaka). None of this is separate from the eight features of the life of a Buddha, which consist of; 1) the descent from the heavenly realms, 2) entering the womb, 3) leaving the womb, 4) leaving home for the ascetic life, 5) subduing all manner of negativism, 6) the attainment to the path, 7) turning the wheel of the Dharma, and 8) entering into the extinction of nirvana.

However, to receive the disclosure of the future record of understanding the real aspect of all dharmas (shohō jissō) is a disclosure of what the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) entails and also a concept of what the Dharma realm or the realms of dharmas really are. A disclosure of the future record with regard to the Lotus Flower (Renge) implies that the Dharma realm is utterly untainted, immaculate, and devoid of volition.

Again, to receive the disclosure of the record of the implication of the word sutra (Kyō) is that the words, expressions, sounds, and voices of all life will perpetuate throughout eternity. There is only one expression for disclosing all future records and that is 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).


Then, after the World Honoured One had finished declaiming the metric hymn in the previous chapter, he addressed the great assembly and said: “The Dharma is just as it has been described in this metric hymn. This disciple of mine Makakashō (Mahākāshyapa), will in ages to come, after having reverently had audiences with three hundred myriads of myriads of Buddha World Honoured Ones and having respectfully made offerings to them and solemnly rendered honour to them, as well as broadly communicating the unlimited, all-embracing Dharma of all the Buddhas, will, in his final incarnation, attain the realisation of Buddhahood.

His name will be the Tathāgata Radiant Splendour (Kōmyō, Rashmiprabhāsa) worthy of offerings, correctly and universally enlightened, whose wisdom and conduct are perfect, completely free from the cycles of living and dying yet with a complete understanding of the realms of existence, lord supreme, the master who brings the passions and delusions of sentient beings into harmonious control, the teacher of humankind and deva (ten), the Buddha World Honoured One. Also the terrain whereupon he depends for an existence will be called Light and Merit (Kōtokukoku, Avabhāsa). His kalpa will be named ‘All-embracing Adornment’ (Daishōgon, Mahālamkaraka). This Buddha’s lifespan will be twelve minor kalpas. The period when his Dharma will be correctly flawless, whereby sentient beings can become fully enlightened, will continue for twenty minor kalpas. The period in which his Dharma will degenerate into mere formalities and ritual (zōbō) will again last for another twenty minor kalpas.”


The second important point, concerning Makakashō (Mahākāshyapa) and the Tathāgata Radiant Splendour in the passage of the sutra that begins with “This disciple of mine Makakashō (Mahākāshyapa) . . .”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the radiant splendour which is Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō refers to the way all sentient beings look. The word “radiant” involves the concept of the blazing torches, and the fierce fires of the hellish sufferings in our minds are in fact none other than the luminosity of the wisdom, which is received from and applied by the fundamental enlightenment that is eternally within us. The same is appropriate to the other nine realms of dharmas, which are always a reflection of our own respective states of mind, including the fruition of enlightenment.

Now, Nichiren and those that follow him beam the radiant splendour of the psychological equation of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō into the unenlightened darkness of that which detracts from the truth (hōbō). This is the role of Makakashō (Mahākāshyapa), who was to become the Tathāgata Radiant Splendour.

Makakashō (Mahākāshyapa) considered the ascetic practice to purify the body and mind and shake off one’s attachments to clothes, food, and a place to live as the basis of his faith and vocation for Buddhahood (zuda, dhūta). Here the word “zuda” means to shake off or do away with something. Now that we have entered the final phase of the Dharma of Shākyamuni (mappō), people who follow the teaching of Nichiren do away with all other practices and dedicate themselves entirely to observing that of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō.

This alludes to, “The difficulty of holding to this sutra and those that can are people who do the ascetic practise of purifying their bodies and minds, which is ‘zuda’.”

The whole area of the kingdom of Radiant Splendour will be richly adorned. It is devoid of filth and dirt or tiles and gravel, thorns or brambles, faeces or other impurities. The whole terrain will be equally level. It is devoid of high or low places, potholes or trenches, or even squalid and slummy settlements. The ground itself is lapis lazuli. There are rows of trees that are formed out of precious substances and golden ropes are strung along the edges of the roads. Here and there are scattered clusters of flowers of precious materials. Everywhere it will be immaculately pure.

In this kingdom there will be boundless thousands of bodhisattvas, and the assembly of people who strive to attain the highest stage of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) through listening to the Buddha (shōmon, shrāvaka) will be again without number. Even though the Evil One (Mara) is present in that kingdom, he and all his following protect the Dharma of the Buddha.

Then, the World Honoured One, wishing to reiterate this concept, repeated it in the form of a metric hymn.

This I have to say to the monks
that, through my eyes of enlightenment,
I see this person Makakashō (Mahākāshyapa),
who in ages to come,
after uncountable kalpas
have gone by,
will indeed attain
the fruition of Buddhahood (sabutsu).
In his future existences,
he will make offerings to
and be admitted into the presence
of three hundred, ten thousand of myriads
of Buddha World Honoured Ones,
and, for the sake of attaining
the wisdom and discernment
of the Buddhas,
he will practise with the purest
of religious devotion (bongyō).
After having made offerings
to the highest beings on two legs
who are the World Honoured Ones,
Makakashō (Mahākāshyapa) will do all the practices
to attain the highest wisdom.
In his last incarnation,
he will become a Buddha.
His Buddha terrain
will be immaculate.
The ground will be
of lapis lazuli,
and many trees
of precious materials
will line the sides of the roads,
which will be cordoned off
with golden ropes,
for the pleasure of those
that see them.
There will be
the finest of fragrances
constantly in the air,
and all sorts of delicate flowers
will be strewn along the way.
All sorts of rarities
will be the adornment
of this terrain.
The ground
will be equally flat all over,
without any hills or ditches,
and the multitudes of bodhisattvas
will never really be counted.
Their minds will be
harmoniously open
and whose reaches of the mind
will go far.
They will hold to all the sutras
of the universal vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna)
of all the Buddhas.
All the people in the assembly,
who exert themselves to attain
the highest realisation
of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna)
through listening to the Buddha (shōmon, shrāvaka),
will be pure and undefiled
and, also without troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha),
will be abiding
in their final incarnations.
As royal sons
of the sovereign of the Dharma,
it will be impossible
to count them.
Even by the means
of the vision of the deva (ten),
their number cannot be counted.
This Buddha’s lifespan
will amount to twelve minor kalpas.
The period when this Buddha’s teaching
will turn into mere
ritualistic formalities (zōbō)
will last for another
twenty minor kalpas.
Everything which concerns
this World Honoured One Radiant Splendour
will be just as I have said.

Thereupon Mokuren (Maudgalyāna), Shubodai (Subhuti), Kasennen (Kātyāyana), and all the others, who were shaking and trembling, unanimously put the palms of their hands together and looked up to the World Honoured One, without taking their eyes off him even for an instant.

Then all together they recited in unison the following metric hymn:

Ferocious Hero,
Subduer of Demons,
and at the same time
the World Honoured One
who is the sovereign of the Dharma
of all the Shakya clan,
for the sake of taking pity on us,
please bestow upon us
the sound of your voice.
If, by knowing
what is in the depths of our minds,
you can find a way to foresee
our attainment to Buddhahood,
it would be like a besprinkling
of honey dew (kanro, amrta),
which would cause anyone who drank it
to become immortal,
so as to disperse the frenzy
of our troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha),
in order that we might be able
to become invigorated again.
It is as though somebody
who comes from a country
where the people are starving
is suddenly presented
with a feast fit for a great king.
Yet, still with doubts and fears
in that person’s mind,
he does not dare to eat.
It is only after the king
has bidden him to do so
that he will have the courage
to enjoy the feast.
It is also the same situation
for us, who always worry
about the errors
of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hinayāna),
yet we really do not know
how we shall arrive
at the unsurpassed wisdom
of the Buddha.
If only we were able to hear
the voice of the Buddha say
that we will attain
the fruition of Buddhahood,
though we still have in our minds
the fear and the anxiety
of the person who does not dare to eat,
if the Buddha could only
make the announcement
as to who will become enlightened,
then we would be filled
with joy and relief.
Ferocious Hero,
Subduer of Demons,
and at the same time
the World Honoured One
who always wishes to give comfort
to the realms of existence,
we beg you to announce
who will become a Buddha,
in the same way as
a hungry person
is bidden to eat.


Then, at that moment, the World Honoured One, knowing what was going on in the minds of his greater disciples, said to the assembly of monks: This Shubodai (Subhuti), in ages to come, after having been admitted to the presence of three hundred myriads of myriads of further immense numbers of Buddhas and having made offerings to them, as well as venerating them, praising them, and exalting them, will constantly practise the conduct of purity which is the way to nirvana, along with completing the path of bodhisattva practice. He will then, in his last incarnation reach the state of Buddhahood.”

This Buddha will be called the Tathāgata Token of Eminence, who will be worthy of offerings, correctly and universally enlightened, whose knowledge and conduct are perfect, completely free from the cycles of living and dying, yet with a thorough understanding of the realms of existence, lord supreme, the master who brings the passions and delusions of sentient beings into harmonious control, the teacher of humankind and the deva (ten), the Buddha, and the World Honoured One. His kalpa will be called Endowed with Jewels, and his terrain will be called Born Out of Jewels, where the land will be level all around and the ground will be of crystal. It will be stately adorned with trees consisting of precious substances. It will be devoid of hills and ditches, with no sand nor gravel, nor brambles nor thorns, nor excrement nor filth. Flowers of precious substances will cover the ground, and the environment will be totally pure. The people who live in that country will live in pavilions built with precious materials or will dwell in pagodas built of rare substances.

The disciples of the Tathāgata Token of Eminence, who will be 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), will be of a boundlessly uncountable number which cannot be estimated. The assembly of bodhisattvas will be made up of numberless and infinite thousands of myriads of persons. The lifespan of this Buddha will be twenty minor kalpas. The period when the Dharma of this Buddha will be correctly practised and understood, so that it will bring about enlightenment (shohō), will perpetuate for twenty minor kalpas. Also, the age when the Dharma of this Buddha has fallen into the routinisation of so many ritualistic formalities (zōbō) will last for another twenty minor kalpas.

This Buddha Token of Eminence will continually be present in empty space (kokū), where he will explain the Dharma for the benefit of the boundless multitude of bodhisattvas, as well as giving release from the wheel of transmigration and unenlightenment to the assembly of the people who will exert themselves to attain the highest stage of the teaching of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) through listening to the Buddha (shōmon, shrāvaka).

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

Now listen, all you assembled monks,
to what I am telling you.
You must unanimously heed
what I am about to say.
This great disciple of mine Shubodai (Subhuti)
will, in future ages,
attain the fruition of Buddhahood,
and his name will be Token of Eminence.
He will indeed make offerings
to uncountable myriads
of myriads of Buddhas.
According to the practices
of the enlightened,
he will gradually complete
the all-embracing path of Buddhahood
and, in his final incarnation,
he will effectuate
the thirty-two distinguishing marks
of the Buddhas.
He will be tall, upright,
and exquisitely handsome,
like a mountain of precious stones.
The terrain of his Buddha land
will be the first
in magnificence and purity.
The people who see this terrain
will not be able to help themselves
but be delighted.
The Buddha Token of Eminence
will give release from the cycles
of transmigration and unenlightenment
to boundless multitudes
of sentient beings.
The pith or the important point
of the Dharma of that Buddha
will make all the bodhisattvas,
who without exception will be endowed
with the sharpest of propensities,
rotate the wheel of no regression
to bewilderment.
This Buddha terrain will always
be adorned with bodhisattvas,
along with the assembly
whose number cannot be counted
of all those who listen to the Buddha (shōmon, shrāvaka),
and will all arrive at the three insights (sanmyō).
(These are 1) the insight into the mortal conditions of themselves and others in their previous lives, 2) the penetration of their minds into future mortal conditions, and 3) the insight into the painfulness of their present existences so as to overcome all passions and desires.)
Also, they will be in possession
of the six reaches of the mind
of those who have realised
the highest degree
of the teachings
of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna).
(They are 1) the sight of the deva (ten), 2) the hearing of the deva (ten), 3) the ability to penetrate the minds of other beings, 4) the ability to understand the karma of sentient beings, 5) the ability to manifest themselves according to the propensities of other people and to mentally be able to travel elsewhere, 6) the ability to cut off all troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha).)
Again, all those people
who listen to the Buddha
will dwell in the dimension
of the awe-inspiring effectiveness
of the eight kinds of emancipation.
(They are 1) emancipation from when subjective desire arises, and the realisation of what things are in reality, 2) liberation when no subjective desire arises, by still meditating on the fundamental reality of all existence, 3) liberation through concentrating on the sublime, so as to realise a permanent state of freedom from all desire, 4) liberation in the realisation of the boundlessness of noumena, relativity, and empty space (, shūnyatā), 5) liberation in the realisation of the infinite knowledge of understanding what existence is all about, 6) liberation in the realisation of the illusoriness and unreality of existence, 7) liberation in the state of mind in which there is neither thought nor the absence of thought, 8) liberation through a state of mind in which there is, without question, the final extinction of nirvana.)
While this Buddha expounds the Dharma,
he will manifest
the boundless reaches of his mind,
along with transformations
and changes of phenomena
that cannot be pondered over
or discussed.
Deva (ten) and humankind,
as many as the grains of sand
of the Ganges,
will all put the palms of their hands together,
as they take in the words of the Buddha.
The lifespan of this Buddha
will be as long as twelve minor kalpas.
The length of time
in which his Dharma remains correct,
so that other people
can become enlightened through it,
will be twenty minor kalpas,
and, when his Dharma becomes
a simulated
and a routinised parody
of what such a teaching really is,
it will linger on again
for another twenty kalpas.

There and then the World Honoured One said to the assembly of monks (biku, bikshu, shrāmanera): I will now tell you that this Kasennen (Kātyāyana), in ages to come, after reverently having made offerings to eighty thousand myriads of Buddhas, venerating and paying homage to them, after all these Buddhas have entered into the extinction of nirvana, will build a stupa dedicated to each Buddha, which will be of an equal height and width of a thousand yojanas and each covering an area of five thousand yojanas. These stupas will be made of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, agate, pearl, and coral, which all together are the seven precious materials. Afterwards, all these stupas will be adorned with a profusion of flowers, strings of precious beads, perfume, ointments, sweet-smelling and variously coloured powders, incense, painted canopies, and large tubular banners, which will all serve as further reverence to these monuments.

Having achieved all this, he will then make further offerings to another twenty thousand Buddhas, and, at the same time, having completed all the practices of the bodhisattva path, he will indeed attain the fruition of Buddhahood. His name will be the Tathāgata the Rich Golden Shine of the Sands of the Jambu River, who will be worthy of offerings and universally enlightened, whose knowledge and conduct are perfect, completely free from the cycle of living and dying, yet still with a complete understanding of the realms of existence, lord supreme, the master who brings the passions and delusions of sentient beings into harmonious control, teacher of humankind and the deva (ten), the Buddha who is the World Honoured One.

The terrain, upon which the Tathāgata the Rich Golden Shine of the Sands of the Jambu River will depend for an existence, will be equally level in all directions, and the ground will be of crystal. It will be adorned with trees of precious substances, and golden cords will be set up along the sides of the roads. Wonderfully beautiful flowers will cover the ground. All the surroundings will be absolutely pure, and the people who see this terrain will be filled with gladness.

In this Buddha terrain, it will be free of the four of the most unfortunate paths of rebirth, which are 1) the sufferings of the various types of hells, 2) the realms of the hankerings and cravings of the hungry ghosts, 3) the instinctive qualities and the lack of spiritual prowess of animality, and 4) the dimension of anger, arrogance, and showing off of the shura (ashura). But there will be many human beings and deva (ten). Also, the assembly of the intellectual seekers (shōmon, shrāvaka) and bodhisattvas will be of boundless myriads of myriads of myriads. This will be the real adornment of this Buddha terrain.

The lifespan of the Tathāgata the Rich Golden Shine of the Sands of the Jambu River will be twenty minor kalpas. The length of time in which his Dharma will remain correct, so that other people can become enlightened through it, will be twenty minor kalpas, and, when his Dharma becomes a simulated and routinised parody of what such a teaching is, it will linger on for another twenty minor kalpas.

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

Now then all you monks (biku),
listen single-mindedly.
What I have said just now
is the real truth
and in no way different from it.
This disciple of mine Kasennen (Kātyāyana),
on account of all sorts
of wonderful gifts
that he will offer to the Buddhas
after their extinction
into nirvana,
will erect stupas
made of the seven precious materials
and adorn them with flowers and incense,
as offerings to these Buddha relics.
Then, in his final incarnation,
he will come to realise
the Buddha wisdom
and attain the unexcelled,
correct, and all-embracing enlightenment.
His Buddha terrain will be pure,
where he will emancipate
boundless myriads of myriads
of myriads of sentient beings
from the cycles of living and dying.
Also, people from the ten directions
will make offerings to him.
There will be nothing brighter
than the radiance of this Buddha,
since this Buddha will be called
the Rich Golden Shine
of the Sands of the Jambu River,
as well as the Golden Light of the World of Humankind.
The bodhisattvas
and the intellectual seekers (shōmon, shrāvaka),
who will have freed themselves
of all concepts
of the illusion of existence,
will be boundless without number,
which will be the real adornment
of this Buddha land.

Thereupon the World Honoured One again addressed the great assembly and said: I will now tell you that Mokuren (Maudgalyāna), through all kinds of offerings to eight thousand Buddhas, after having rendered homage and venerating them, subsequently when all these Buddhas have passed into the extinction of nirvana, will indeed build stupas for each, which will be equally a thousand yojanas tall and a thousand yojanas wide that will occupy an area of five thousand yojanas. These stupas will be made of the seven precious substances, which are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, agate, pearl, and coral. There will be an abundance of flowers, garlands, fragrant ointments, fragrant coloured powders, incense, canopies, and tubular banners, as further offerings to these reliquary monuments.

After having achieved such feats, once again he will make offerings to two hundred myriads of myriads of myriads of Buddhas, in exactly the same way as before. Then he will definitely attain Buddhahood. His name will be Tathāgata of the Perfumes of Tamāla and Sandalwood, who will be worthy of offerings, correctly and universally enlightened, whose knowledge and conduct will be perfect, completely free from cycles of living and dying, yet with a complete understanding of the realms of existence, lord supreme, the master who will bring the passions and delusions of sentient beings into harmonious control, the teacher of humankind and the deva (ten), and the Buddha who is the World Honoured One.

The kalpa in which he lives will be called Joyous Fulfilment and his terrain or Buddha land will be called Joy of the Mind. It will be equally level in all directions and the ground will consist of crystal. It will be adorned with trees of precious substances, and flowers of pearl will be scattered all around. The whole environment will be purity itself, and the people who look upon it will be filled with joy. There will be many deva (ten) and human beings, and the bodhisattvas and the intellectual seekers (shōmon, shrāvaka) will be without number.

This Buddha’s lifespan will be twenty-four minor kalpas. The period in which his Dharma will be correct, so that other people can become enlightened through it, will endure for forty minor kalpas, and the length of time in which this Dharma will be an imitation and routinisation of what such a teaching should be (zōbō) will also perpetuate for forty minor kalpas.

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

This disciple of mine Mokuren (Maudgalyāna)
when he gets rid of his present body
as being beyond use,
will then be able to see
eight thousand two hundred
of myriads of myriads
of Buddha World Honoured Ones.


The third important point, concerning the previous lines in the sutric text: “This disciple of mine Mokuren (Maudgalyāna), when he gets rid of his present body as being beyond use, will then be able to see eight thousand two hundred of myriads of myriads of Buddha World Honoured Ones.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the question arises from this particular passage as to whether we let go of our present bodies when they are beyond use and whether transmigrating from one body to another does not mean that we let go of our bodies permanently. Letting go of our bodies when they are beyond use and transmigration from one body to another are concepts that belong to the original archetypal state (honmon), whereas relinquishing our bodies permanently refers to the teachings that are derived from the external events of the Buddha’s life and work (shakumon). (This also points to other teachings that would like to insinuate that we only have one life.)

However, to suggest that one must let go of one’s body and person when it is beyond use is contradictory to the notion of our troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha) not being separate from our enlightenment and that the cycles of living and dying are not separate from nirvana, since nirvana is equated with the universal entity of the Dharma (hosshin), which is what our existence consists of. Coming to the point, Nichiren and his followers reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, which implies that they have already let go of their own bodies and person (shin), by letting them go wholeheartedly into the practices of our school.

Again, The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that, when we read the Chinese ideogram “to let go” with its extended meaning of “giving a donation without any attachments”, then it takes on the significance of making an offering of the five elements – 1) earth, 2) water, 3) fire, 4) wind, and 5) the relativity of noumena (, shūnyatā). These we donate to the Dharma realm or the realms of dharmas (which again is life itself). But this ideogram is not used with the implication of throwing our bodies or persons away. The assertion that we must let go of our bodies and persons before we can attain Buddhahood is a concept that belongs to the provisional teachings. The real meaning of letting one’s body go is to relinquish our feelings of attachment to such makeshift doctrines.

The sutric text that deals with the concept of letting go of our bodies and persons also implies the Dharma gateway of the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces (ichinen sanzen). To let go of one’s body and person means that we return home to the dimension to which we always belong that is the underlying principle of the original archetypical state, which, in itself, is the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces.

This is what Myōraku (Miao-lo) means, in his Broad Elucidations of Tendai’s Textual Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra, (Maka Shikan Guketsu), where he asserts: “You should know that our bodies and persons and the environment upon which they depend for an existence are the same as each instant of mental activity that includes every possible ramification of existence or, as the Buddhist formula puts it, ‘one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces (ichinen sanzen)’. So when we arrive at the Buddha path (which in the teaching of Nichiren means opening our inherent Buddha nature with our persons just as they are), then this is becoming at one with the underlying principle, which is explained as intuitively understanding and harmonising with the oneness of mind, in which each instant of mental activity pervades everywhere throughout the realms of dharmas or the Dharma realm.”


For the sake of the path of the Buddhas,
he will render homage to them
and make offerings.
Wherever all these Buddhas are,
my disciple Mokuren (Maudgalyāna)
will always continue
to do the practices of purity.
For a period
of innumerable kalpas,
he will hold to the Dharma
of these Buddhas,
and, after their extinction
into nirvana,
he will erect stupas
made of the seven precious materials.
The way to these monuments
will be indicated
by golden flagpoles.
With flowers, perfumes, and music,
he will make donations
to all the stupas and temples
of all these Buddhas.
Having gradually completed
the path of bodhisattva,
he will come to enjoy
the fruition of Buddhahood,
in his Buddha terrain Joy of the Mind.
His Buddha’s name will be
the Tathāgata of the Perfumes
of Tamāla and Sandalwood.
His lifespan will be
twenty-four kalpas,
during which he will
continually expound
the Dharma of the Buddha,
for the benefit of the deva (ten)
and humankind.
There will be
as many intellectual seekers (shōmon, shrāvaka)
as the sands of the Ganges.
They will all be endowed
with the three insights (1) the insight into the mortal conditions of oneself and others in previous lives, 2) the insight of the deva (ten) who can see into future mortal conditions, and 3) the insight of being able to overcome all passions and temptations, so as to be capable of attaining enlightenment),
along with the six extensions
of ordinary mental proficiencies.
(These are 1) the supernatural ability to manifest oneself to any being in any place wherever desired, 2) the supernatural power to see anything anywhere, whether it be big or small, 3) the power to hear anything anywhere at will, 4) the ability to understand the karma and life conditions of other people, 5) the power to look into the past lives and understand the present circumstances of sentient beings, and 6) the ability to completely cut off all troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha).)
Also, these intellectual seekers (shōmon, shrāvaka)
will be imposing in their dignity.
As for the bodhisattvas,
with determination
to make energetic progress
in their Buddha wisdom,
they will never regress
from their endeavours.
When the Tathāgata of the Perfumes
of Tamāla and Sandalwood
passes into the extinction
of nirvana,
the period in which his Dharma
will remain correct,
so that other people
will be able to be enlightened through it (shohō),
will go on for forty kalpas,
and the period in which his Dharma
will become a ceremonial semblance
and a routinisation
will perpetuate
for another forty kalpas.
All my disciples
whose virtue inspires respect,
who are five hundred in number,
will receive the announcement
of their future attainment of Buddhahood,
which will be in ages to come.
All of you will become enlightened,
just as the cause
and karmic circumstances
are embedded in your lives and mine.
This I must explain further,
so you must listen carefully.


The fourth important point, with regard to the last few lines of the sixth chapter of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō): “All of you will become enlightened, just as the cause and karmic circumstances are embedded in your lives and mine. This I must explain further.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) points out that the cause and karmic circumstances that are embedded in our lives refer to a psychological depth, which, in the Buddha teaching of Shākyamuni, was expressed in terms of a period of time in the far distant past that would be as impossible to calculate as the number of particles of dust that would be left if one were to grind into powder three thousand universes. (Would this allude to the origins of some kind of life incarnate in the cosmos?)

Here Shākyamuni describes this profundity of cause and concomitancy that is internalised in our existences, for the benefit of those in the assembly who had lesser propensities.

In the term “cause and karmic circumstances”, the wordcause” which permits us to open up our inherent Buddha nature is likened to the seeds of a plant. The “karmic circumstances” refer to a psychological depth that is defined as being the inaccessible remote past. Thus, the idea of cause and its karmic circumstances implies the mythological parable of the sowing of the seeds of enlightenment by the Buddha Universally Pervading Superlative Wisdom (Daitsū Chishō, Mahābhijñā Jñānābhibhū), in the seventh chapter of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-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, Saddharma) (that is in this case is the ever-present infinite in time (kuon ganjo)) 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).

This is why the Universal Teacher Myōraku (Miao-lo) said, in his Annotations on the Textual Explanation of the Dharma Flower Sutra, “You should know that, in this present age of the final period of the Dharma of Shākyamuni, after hearing the Dharma only a single time, one can accept it as being the truth.” This is certainly due to the seeds of enlightenment being embedded in our lives.

“Are embedded” could be applied to the parable of the Buddha Universally Pervading Superlative Wisdom (Daitsū Chishō, Mahābhijñā Jñānābhibhū) who lived in the age of the unimaginably distant past. The seeds of enlightenment are Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō. “The cause and karmic circumstances” are the intrinsicality of the seeds of enlightenment and psychologically stimulating them.

The intention of the teaching of the original archetypal state refers to the intrinsicality of the seeds of enlightenment. This is a depth in our own minds, which, in the India of Shākyamuni, was expressed as the unbelievably uncountable grains of dust that would amount to the granules that would be left over if someone were to grind five hundred universes from their respective inception to their cessation. This refers to the ever-present infinite in time (kuon ganjo) and the quintessence of life itself. This means that, through the psychological stimulation of this cause, which is the real concept of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma), we are able to attain to the path of the Buddha.

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