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The Dharma Flower Sutra seen through the Oral Transmission of Nichiren Daishōnin: The Tenth Chapter on The Dharma as a Teacher

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


The first important point, with regard to the expression “the Dharma as a teacher”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the term “Dharma” includes all dharmas. The wordTeacher” points to the fact that all dharmas are literally guides and instructors of what life is all about. All the countless dharmas that take place in the three thousand existential spaces (sanzen seken) that we inhabit can become our direct teachers, and we should become their disciples.

Now Nichiren and those that follow him are people who 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 are among the teachers of the Dharma who can teach the whole of it.

When our minds are open to the awareness of what the real aspect of all dharmas consists of, it becomes apparent that, from the flaming torches and the fierce fires of the hells right up to the fruition of Buddhahood, all ten realms involve our lives as the Dharma as a teacher, in the form of the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces (ichinen sanzen).

Again, The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the Dharma is the theme and title Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō and that the teacher is Nichiren, along with those that follow him.


Then, at that time, the World Honoured One, who was in company with the Bodhisattva Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), said to eighty thousand noble persons: Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), you see in this vast multitude all the innumerable deva (ten) (who are godlike beings something like elves), the Dragon Kings (ryū, nāga) (who are like those in Chinese paintings), yasha (yaksha) (who are earth spirits like gnomes), kendabba (who are celestial musicians), shura (ashura) (who are comparable to the titans in Greco-Roman mythology), karura (garuda) (who are mythical birds that are the traditional enemies of the dragons (ryū, nāga)), kinnara (kimnara) (who are also heavenly musicians, often represented as exotic birds with human torsos), magoraga (mahorāga) (who are the serpents that creep on their chests), as well as human and other beings who are non-human with human intelligence, along with the monks, nuns, and pious lay people who seek the highest realisation of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) through listening to the Buddha (shōmon, shrāvaka), others who seek enlightenment for themselves (engaku, hyakushibutsu, pratyekabuddha), and others who seek the path of Buddhahood (butsudō), do you not? For all these different sorts of beings who are here before the Buddha, who hear either a metric hymn or a single phrase of the Sutra on the White Lotus Flower-like Mechanism of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō Renge Kyō) or even those who, for an instant of their thoughts, rejoice (in the realisation of its profundity), I make the declaration that they will attain the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sanbodai, anuttara-samyak-sambodhi).

The Buddha then said to Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja): Even after the Tathāgata’s passing over to nirvana, if there is a person who hears only a metric hymn or a single sentence of the Sutra on the White Lotus Flower-like Mechanism of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō Renge Kyō) or even those who, for an instant of their minds, rejoice (in the realisation of its profundity), I will also announce their future attainment to the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sanbodai, anuttara-samyak-sambodhi).

If there are other people who can receive and hold to, read and recite, explain and discuss, or copy out even one metric hymn of the Sutra on the White Lotus Flower-like Mechanism of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō Renge Kyō), who can look upon this sutric canon with the same undoubting reverence as though it were the Buddha himself and make various kinds of offerings to it, such as flowers, perfumed unguents, incense, decorative awnings, banners, flags, garments, or music, or even simply putting the palms of their hands together in veneration, then you must know, Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), that such persons have already made offerings to tens of myriads of myriads of Buddhas. Such people will have made to all these Buddhas the solemn vow to propagate the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), because they feel compassion and sympathy for all sentient life. They will strive for their incarnations as human beings.


The second important point that deals with the whole passage that starts with the line, “Such people will have made to all the Buddhas the solemn vow to propagate the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)”, and ends with the text, “ . . . because they feel compassion and sympathy for all sentient life, they will be reborn in this iniquitous age, so that they can extensively broadcast this sutra”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the “solemn vow” entails the broad propagation of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). “Because they feel compassion and sympathy for all sentient life” indicates all the sentient beings of the existential dimension of humankind. Those who “are born in this iniquitous age” are Nichiren and the people who follow him. “Broadly” refers to the world of humankind (Nanenbudai). “This sutra” refers to all the implications of its subject matter and its title (daimoku).

Now Nichiren and those who 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).


Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), if somebody should ask what sort of sentient beings in ages to come will be able to cut off illusion and attain complete enlightenment, accordingly it has to be pointed out why all those people in future ages will, without a doubt, attain the fruition of Buddhahood. It is because any believing and convinced man or woman who will accept and hold to it, read and recite, explain and account for the meaning, or write and copy out even only one line of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) and also make offerings – the perfume of flowers, garlands, fragrant ointments, incense, decorated canopies, flags, banners, and articles of clothing, or music, or even to put the palms of their hands together in reverence – to all the various scrolls that comprise it (the ancient Chinese version of this sutra consisted of eight scrolls which are now referred to as fascicles), such individuals will be looked upon with esteem by all those in the spaces where existence takes place and will receive offerings as though they were a Tathāgata. You should know that these persons are those who not only sought enlightenment for themselves, but have also striven for the universal Buddha-awakening in others (dai bosatsu), and have achieved the state of the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sanbodai, anuttara-samyak-sambodhi).

These people have compassion and sympathy for sentient beings and have made a vow to be born among them, so as to be able to explain on a large scale and to particularise the fine points of the Sutra on the White Lotus Flower-like Mechanism of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō Renge Kyō). It is all the more reason why they should be capable of holding to it, to the furthest extreme, and making all the various kinds of offerings to this sutric canon.

Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), you ought to know that these are the people who have renounced their pure and immaculate karmic reward, so that after my passing over to nirvana and because they feel compassion and sympathy for all sentient life, they will be born in that iniquitous age, in order to extensively propagate this sutra. If there are believing and convinced men and women who, after my extinction into nirvana, are able to teach in private even one phrase of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), you should realise that such a person is an emissary of the Tathāgata who has been dispatched by the Tathāgata to carry out the function of the Tathāgata.


The third important point, which refers to the above phrase in the text of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), “who has been dispatched by the Tathāgata to carry out the function of the Tathāgata”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the practitioner of the Dharma Flower has come as the emissary of the Tathāgata (who is the person who has arrived from the absolute reality (Shinnyo, tathatā), which transcends the multitude of dharmas of the dimensions we inhabit, and who also returns to the entity of the Dharma (hosshin) which is his original abode). The Tathāgata is the Shākyamuni of the original archetypal state, as on the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon).

The function of the Tathāgata 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).The Tathāgata in the sense of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō includes the sentient beings of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (jikkai), which ultimately amount to three thousand existential spaces (sanzen).

Now Nichiren and those that follow him reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō and thus become the emissaries of the truth of what reality is.


It is even more the case of someone who can widely expound this teaching in the midst of a great multitude.

Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), if there is a person who is mean and has a mind devoid of kindness and appears in front of a Buddha for a whole kalpa in order to continually insult him with malice, this person’s misdeed is still relatively trivial. But if somebody, with even only one word, should maliciously try to ruin the reputation of either a lay person or a person in sage-like order who reads and recites the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), then the iniquity of this second person is extremely severe.

Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), if there is a person who reads and recites this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), then you should know that this person is ennobled with the adornments of the Buddha. He will be carried on the shoulders of the Tathāgata, and as a result, wherever this person goes, he will be met with reverence and greeted by people with the palms of their hands placed together. They will venerate this person with offerings, as well as with praise and esteem. People will offer this person flowers, incense, sweet-smelling ointments, coloured pigments (puja powder), fumigating incense, embroidered canopies, flags and banners, articles of clothing, savoury dishes, and music will be played for this person. They will make offerings of what is most esteemed among humankind. They will scatter upon this person the treasures of the deva (ten) and make offerings of clusters of jewels.

What would be the reason for this? It is because, if any individuals listen to this person who joyfully expounds the Dharma, even for an instant, they will, in the end, attain the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sanbodai, anuttara-samyak-sambodhi).

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

If people dedicate themselves
to the path of Buddhahood
and wish to realise
the intuitive wisdom
of the Buddha,
untaught and without a caused connection
whatsoever,
then those people must continually
apply themselves to making offerings
to those who receive and hold
to the teaching
of the Dharma Flower.
All those who quickly wish to attain
the wisdom of the Buddha,
who has a completely enlightened view
of every aspect of all dharmas (issai chie),
should continually endeavour
to make offerings
to those who accept
and hold to this sutra.
If there are persons
who can accept and hold
to this Sutra on the White Lotus
Flower-like Mechanism
of the Utterness of the Dharma,
who have renounced
their immaculately pure terrains
as the dimension whereupon
they should depend for an existence,
instead, because they have sympathy
and compassion for all sentient beings,
they have chosen
to be born in this dimension,
you should know that such people
are free to choose where they are born.
Also they are able to expound
on a large scale
the unsurpassable Dharma,
at the time of this
inauspicious period.
One should make offerings
of perfumes of the deva (ten),
the precious garments of the deva (ten),
and clusters of heavenly jewels
to those persons who expound this Dharma.
After my extinction into nirvana,
people should reverently make obeisance
with the palms of their hands placed together,
just as they would when they make offerings
to the World Honoured One,
to all those who hold to this sutra.
One should make offerings
to disciples of the Buddha
of excellent fine tasting food,
splendid sweets, and various kinds of clothing,
in order to ask these disciples
to be able to listen to them
even only for a short while.
If there is a person who,
in a far distant period
of time from now,
can accept and hold to this sutra,
such a person will be like my envoy
to carry out the task
of the Tathāgata.
If during a whole kalpa
there is an individual
who bears constant malice in his heart,
who makes hateful faces,
as well as insulting the Buddha,
thereby bringing about the karma
of incalculable heavy transgression,
nevertheless,
if there is another person
who can hold to, read and recite
the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)
and then someone vilifies him
even for an instant,
this wrongdoing exceeds the former.
If there is a person
who seeks the Buddha path,
who for a kalpa
puts the palms of his hands together
before me, as well as praising me
with uncountable metric hymns,
in my honour,
on account of these metric hymns
this person will realise
incalculable merit.
But a person who holds to this sutra
and praises it,
this person’s happiness
will even exceed
that of the previous individual.
Anybody who, over a period
of eighty myriads
of myriads of kalpas,
makes an offering
of exquisite sounds and forms,
as well as fragrances,
savours and tactile sensations
to the person who holds to this sutra
and, if he is able to listen to it
even for only a few brief instants,
he will constantly feel great joy,
since this person will have attained
an all-embracing (dai) benefit.
Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), I tell you
that, out of all the sutras
that I have expounded,
the Dharma Flower
is the foremost of all.

The Buddha again said to Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), the bodhisattva with great compassion and energy who brings emancipation to all sentient beings (bosatsu maka satsu, bodhisattva mahāsattva): Among all the incalculable thousands of myriads of myriads of sutric canons that I have expounded in the past, am now expounding in the present, and will expound in time to come, to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) is the most difficult to hold faith in and the most difficult to absorb.

Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), this sutra contains the essential esoteric resource (Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō) of all the Buddhas, which must not be unheedingly distributed. This teaching is particularly safeguarded by all the Buddha World Honoured Ones, since primordiality has never yet been revealed or expounded. Moreover, it is on account of this sutra that, even though the Tathāgata is present in person, he is the object of a lot of jealous envy. So, what will it be like after his extinction into nirvana?

Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), you ought to know that, after the Tathāgata’s passing over to extinction in nirvana, if there are people who are capable of copying out, holding to, reading and reciting and venerating this sutra, as well as expounding its meaning to other people, the Tathāgata will enwrap such people as a garment and they will be borne in mind by all the Buddhas who are at present in all the other directions. Such people will be endowed with a great strength of faith, a great strength of resolve, and the strength for a basis of merit (zengon). You should know that these people will lodge in the same place as the Tathāgata, who will also lay his hand on the tops of their heads (a custom of the masters of the Buddha teaching to show their disciples that they will attain enlightenment in the future).


The fourth important point, concerning the phrase, “such people will lodge in the same place as the Tathāgata”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the people who do the practices of the Dharma Flower, both men and women alike, are all Tathāgatas. Their lives consist of their troublesome worries (bonnō soku bodai), as well as the fact that cycles of their lives and deaths are not separate from nirvana (shoji soku nehan) (in the sense that nirvana is equated with the Buddha entity (hosshin Dharma-kāya) of the Tathāgata, which is the highest aspect of the triple entity (sanjin) of the Buddha and is the absolute nature of the Buddha mind and the unmanifested Utterness (myō) that is relativity (, shūnyatā)).

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). This is to lodge in the same place as the Tathāgata.

Therefore, the Universal Scholar Fu explains that, on account of our faith, we rise every morning with the Buddha, and every evening we go to sleep in the abode of the Buddha. Hour by hour we realise we are on the path of enlightenment, and hour by hour, we manifest our original archetypal state. (This is the awareness that life has always existed as in the Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata or, within the bounds of the concept of the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces (ichinen sanzen), that we cannot be separated from the Dharma realm of the Buddha (bukkai), since the Buddha of the original archetypal state is Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō.)


Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), wherever or in any place whatsoever where someone expounds, reads, recites this sutra or wherever it is written out, or the place where these sutric scrolls are kept, then people should erect a stupa and build it with the seven precious substances (gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, agate, ruby and cornelian). Decidedly it must be as high as it is broad and decorated in a dignified manner. Furthermore, it will not be necessary to place any relics inside it.

What is the reason for this? It is because inside this stupa there will already be a substantiation of the Tathāgata. All these stupas should be reverently honoured with hymns of praise and have offerings made to them with veneration, as well as poems of praise, music, flags and banners, silken awnings, garlands, incense, and flowers. If a person reverently looks upon these stupas, pays homage and makes offerings to them, then you should know that these people are close to the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sanbodai, anuttara-samyak-sambodhi).

Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), there are a number of persons who are lay people and others who are in sage-like orders who would do the practice of the bodhisattva path, but they are unable to either see or hear, read or recite or copy out, or make offerings to, or hold to this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). Then you should know that these people are not yet ready to do the practices of the bodhisattva path. However, those people who do get to hear of this sutric canon are certainly capable of doing the practices of the bodhisattva path. Those sentient beings who are seekers of the Buddha path are able to either see or hear and, after hearing it, are able to hold to it with a faith that will lead to the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sanbodai, anuttara-samyak-sambodhi).

Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), this is comparable to a person who is plagued with thirst and in need of water, who is on a high plain and bores into the ground in search of it, but only sees dry soil. He knows that the water is still further down. Without abandoning his undertaking he gradually comes across earth that is moist. Then, little by little, he arrives at mud. His mind is determined, and he knows that the water is close at hand.

It is the same for the bodhisattvas, if they have not yet heard this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), nor yet understood what it is about, nor have they been able to do its practices. Then the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sanbodai, anuttara-samyak-sambodhi) is still some way away. If such a bodhisattva has been able to hear, take in, ponder over, and do its practices, this bodhisattva knows that he is approaching the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sanbodai, anuttara-samyak-sambodhi).

What is the reason for this? The unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sanbodai, anuttara-samyak-sambodhi) of every bodhisattva is vested in this sutra. This sutra has cleared away the gateways to enlightenment that were simply an expedient means, so that it only reveals the real aspect of what actually is. The source of this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) is profoundly solid, yet indistinct and faraway, so that people can barely reach it.


The fifth important point, concerning the above sentence, “The source of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) is profoundly solid, yet indistinct and faraway, so that people can barely reach it.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the expression “The source of this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)” implies the title and theme of this commitment that we recite. The term “profoundly solid” entails the teaching of the original archetypal state. The expression “yet indistinct and faraway” refers to those teachings that are derived from the external events of the Buddha Shākyamuni’s life and work (shakumon). The phrase “so that people can barely reach it” applies to the sort of people who belittle and disparage the Dharma.

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). Such persons are not among those people who can barely reach the source of the Dharma Flower.


Now, in order to successfully teach and bring to an awareness with regard to the Buddha teaching, the Buddha opens the door to and reveals the source of this sutra.

Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), if there is a bodhisattva who, on hearing this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), is taken aback or has doubts about it, or even hesitates and does not know his own mind, then this bodhisattva must be seen as one who has only recently made up his mind to seek the Buddha path. But if there is one of those persons who are trying to attain the highest stage of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) through listening to the Buddha or an intellectual seeker, who on hearing this sutra, is startled, holds doubts, and becomes irresolute, then you ought to know that this person is arrogant and thinks he has superior knowledge.

Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), if there are any devout men or believing women who, after the extinction of the Buddha into nirvana, that wish to expound the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) to all the four congregations of monks, nuns, and lay people both male and female, then how should they make this teaching understandable?

These devout men and believing women will be in the chamber of the Tathāgata, will wear the garments of the Tathāgata and will be seated on the seat of the Tathāgata. Also, they will expound this sutra to all the four congregations of monks, nuns, and lay people both men and women.

The chamber of the Tathāgata is his mind of universal loving-kindness towards all sentient beings. The garments of the Tathāgata are the gentleness, mildness, patience, and forbearance that are his nature. The seat of the Tathāgata is the inherent relativity (, shūnyatā) of all dharmas. When such people are seated upon it in a composed and serene manner, then afterwards they will with an untiring mind, expound the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) in all its expansibility, to all the bodhisattvas, monks, nuns, lay people both men and women of the four congregations.

Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), I am sending phantasmagoric individuals to other countries in order to assemble those people who wish to listen to the Dharma. I am also sending illusory monks, nuns, and lay people both male and female, so that they can listen to the expositions of this Dharma. All those illusory people will listen to the Dharma, holding to it and complying, without resistance.


The sixth important point, concerning the sentence, “All those illusionary people will listen to the Dharma, holding faith in it, and complying with it, without any contrariness.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the word “listen”, in the sentence quoted above, refers to the stage in our practise when we understand that all sentient beings are potentially endowed with the enlightenment of the Buddha. In the same sentence, the wordDharma” entails the title and theme (daimoku) Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō. Again in the same sentence, the expression “holding faith in it” (shinjū) means to accept and depend on the teaching of Nichiren. The phrase “comply with it without any contrariness” means to follow the two gateways to the enlightenment of the Dharma of the teachings that 1) belong to those of the original archetypal state of existence (honmon), as well as the teachings that are derived from the 2) external events of Shākyamuni’s life and work. (In other words, our teaching involves the entirety of the Buddha teaching.)

Now Nichiren and those that follow him reverently chant Nam Myōhō Renge Kyōwhich 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 seventh important point, concerning the garments, the seat, and the chamber of the Tathāgata, in the following passage which came before the sixth important point of The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden): “. . . These devout men and believing women will be in the chamber of the Tathāgata, will wear the garments of the Tathāgata and will be seated on the seat of the Tathāgata. . . .”


The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the garments, the seat and the chamber represent the triple embodiment of the Buddha which are 1) the embodiment of the Dharma (hosshin, Dharma-kāya) or his universal entity, 2) the embodiment of wisdom (hōshin, sambhoga-kāya) (which comprises all that is inscribed on the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon)) and 3) the embodiment that the Buddha manifests to sentient beings (ōjin, nirmana-kāya).

Also, this triple embodiment of the Buddha represents 1) (, shūnyatā) or relativity, which means that all existence is karmically and causally produced, but its real nature is immaterial and relative. (This is the highest aspect of the triple embodiment of the Buddha; it is Utterness (myō), un-manifested and non-substantial (, shūnyatā)) 2) (ke) Although existence may be immaterial and relative in its essential nature, the dharmas, which are derived from causality that becomes available to our various sense organs, are seemingly real. 3) This is (chū) the middle way of reality as we perceive it.

(Even though the previous two aspects both describe existence from a one-sided point of view, they are both descriptive of the same reality. For example, you see a piece of cheese going mouldy on a plate. We look at the moss-like green mould and the wedge shape of the cheese, in the same way as artists do. This is ke that is its temporary existence. But as soon as we see this mouldy piece of cheese, everything we know about cheese and mould, almost unwittingly comes into our minds. This is . Since both of these actions are simultaneous, then there is the middle way of reality or chū and our normal way of perception.) Furthermore, the garments, the chamber, and the seat of the Tathāgata are here used to designate the three categories of karma, which are 1) thoughts, 2) speech, and 3) concrete actions.

Now Nichiren and those that follow him reverently chant Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, which means to devote our lives to and establish them on (Nam) the Utterness of the Dharma (entirety of existence) (Myōhō) 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), thereby single-mindedly fulfilling these three allusions to the garments, the seat, and the chamber that represent how the Dharma should be expounded.

The garments are the gentleness, mildness, patience, and forbearance, as well as being his armour of fortitude and perseverance. The seat implies that when we do a practise that begrudges neither our persons nor our lives, then it becomes the seat that is the relativity behind all existence, which, in itself is insubstantial. As for the chamber of the Tathāgata, it is due to the fact that the Buddha’s abode is loving kindnes. So, therefore, he disseminates the teaching of his wisdom with the same attitude as the way a mother bears her child in mind.

Does this mean that each instant of our lives is completely endowed with these three allusions to the Tathāgata’s chamber, seat, and garments?


If the person who is able to expound the Dharma is living in the forest or a retired place some distance away from human habitation, or a location that is suitable for the practise of monks, I will send to him numerous deva (ten), dragons (ryū, nāga), demons (that are endowed with various powers (shin)), as well as kendabba (gandharva) (who are heavenly musicians), shura (ashura) (who are similar to the titans in Greco-Roman mythology), so as to make them listen to this person’s explanations of the Dharma. Even though I may be in another country, I will, from time to time, give this person who expounds the Dharma the possibility of seeing me in person. However should this expounder of the Dharma omit or forget one phrase of this sutra, I will again expound this passage to him, so that he will not forget or omit anything in the future.

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

Those who wish to give up
all listless omissions
should indeed take in
the implications of this sutra.


The eighth important point that refers to the lines of the above metric hymn, “Those who wish to give up listless omissions should indeed take in the implications of this sutra.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) explains that the expression “listless omissions” is applicable to the forty years of sutric teaching that were resorted to as an expedient means. Yet all these sutras that are referred to as “listless omissions” are in fact the title and subject matter (daimoku) 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) (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). This refers to the indispensable progress (shōjin) of taking in the implications of this sutra.

One should especially take in the meaning of this sutra as Nichiren expounds it.


It is difficult to realise
what it means,
as well as to accept it
and hold faith in it.
It is as though a person
who is plagued with drought
and is in need of water
decides to drill for it
on a stretch of land on a high plateau.
As long as this person
only sees dry soil,
he knows that water
is still far away.
Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), you should know
that such people are like those
who have not yet assimilated
the implications
of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)
and are far removed
from the wisdom of the Buddha.


The ninth important point, with regard to the last few lines of the above metric hymn: “Sovereign Remedy (Yaku’ ō, Bhaishajya-rāja), you should know that such people are like those who have not yet assimilated the implications of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) and are far removed from the wisdom of the Buddha.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that not to be able to assimilate the implications of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) results in total vilification of the Buddha teaching that will be far removed from the concept of opening up our inherent Buddha nature with our personalities just as they are at present.

Now, Nichiren and those that follow him reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which means to devote our lives to and found them on 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 in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas . In this way, they are able to open up the store of perceptive insight and to become aware of what the wisdom of the Buddha is. Thus, they are extremely close to becoming conscious of their inherent Buddha nature that is not separate from their respective personalities.


Emplaced in the midst of the assembly,
such people will be
completely self-assured
and will expound the Dharma
in all its details.
Their chamber will be
their loving-kindness;
their garments will be
the pliant flexibility
of their patience and forbearance,
and the vacuity
that lies behind all dharmas,
that is comprised of cause,
concomitance and effect (, shūnyatā),
will be the seat
upon which they are placed.
Then they will be able
to expound the Dharma.
If and when such people
should expound this sutra,
there will be people
who speak ill of them
and call them names
or will attack them
with blades, sticks, bricks, and stones.
But because such people
hold the Buddha in mind,
that will be the reason
for their patience.


The tenth important point, with regard to the passage, “If and when such people should expound this sutra, there will be other individuals who will speak ill of them and call them names or even will attack them with blades, sticks, bricks, and stones. But because such people through hold the Buddha in mind, that will be the reason for their patience.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the expression “this sutra” indicates its title and significance (daimoku) and that “speaking ill” is to be construed as an action (go, karma) of the mouth. In this passage the words “blades, sticks” refer to an act of the body. Both of these two kinds of behaviour have their origins in the karma of the mind.

Now, Nichiren and the people who 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). But, because they also bear in mind the Buddha’s intention, they are able to respond to provocation with forbearance.


In myriads of myriads
of myriads of dimensions,
I have manifested my person
that is absolutely pure,
which has always had the function,
throughout innumerable
myriads of kalpas,
to expound the Dharma
to sentient beings.
If, after my passing over
to extinction in nirvana,
there are people
who can explain this sutra,
I will send these individuals,
illusory monks, nuns,
lay believers both male and female,
as well as gentlemen and ladies
whose faith is pure,
so that they all can make offerings
to these teachers of the Dharma.


The eleventh important point, on the lines of the metric hymn, “If, after my passing over to extinction in nirvana, there are people who can explain this sutra, I will send to these individuals illusory monks, nuns, lay believers both male and female, as well as gentlemen and ladies whose faith is pure, so that they can make offerings to these teachers of the Dharma.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) indicates that “gentlemen and ladies” refer to ordinary men and women. These “teachers of the Dharma” are Nichiren and those that follow him who reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which means to devote our lives to and found them on the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the whereabouts of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect that permeates the entirety of existence. This particular text implies that all the deva (ten) and benevolent spirits will appear to the devotees of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), in the form of men and women who will make offerings.


In order to guide sentient beings
towards enlightenment,
I will assemble them together
and induce them to listen to the Dharma.
If there are people with evil intentions
who wish to harm these teachers
with blades, sticks, bricks, and stones,
then I will send illusory entities
who will act as guards to protect them.


The twelfth important point, with regard to the above text, “If there are people with evil intentions who wish to harm these teachers with blades, sticks, bricks, and stones, then I will send illusory entities who will act as guards to protect them.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) points out that the “illusory entities” in the metric hymn above refer to entities such as the protector and guardian, the All-embracing Bodhisattva Hachiman, who became visible at Tatsunokuchi in order to prevent Nichiren from being beheaded. (The protector and guardian the All-embracing Bodhisattva Hachiman is said to be an idolisation of the Emperor Ōjin (270? BCE – 310 BCE). The All-embracing Bodhisattva Hachiman is commonly referred to as the god of war.)

Now Nichiren and those that follow him reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which means to devote our lives to and found them on 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 in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas . This sutric passage implies that such entities will protect those who do the practices of the teachings of Nichiren.


If the persons
who can explain the Dharma
are on their own,
far away from human habitation,
reading and reciting
this fundamental sutric text
silently alone,
where there is not even a human voice,
I will thereupon manifest
my immaculately pure body
that shines brightly.
If they unmindfully
overlooked a sentence,
I will tell them,
so that they may have
a better understanding
of its implications.
If there are such people
who fully possess these merits
and one day should explain this teaching
to the monks, nuns,
and lay followers of both sexes,
or even read and recite this sutra
in a place that is completely deserted,
they will always be able
to see my person.
If such people live in places
far removed
from any human habitation,
I will send deva (ten), Dragon Kings (ryū, nāga), yasha (who are earth spirits like gnomes),
benign (shin, kami) and frightening (ki, oni) spirits,
to form an assembly
that will listen to the Dharma.
Such teachers take pleasure
in explaining the Dharma
and are able to particularise
its various aspects,
without any hindrance
of obstacles whatsoever.
Because all the Buddhas protectively
bear these teachers in mind,
they are able
to make the assemblies happy.
If there are people in these assemblies
who can become inseparably close
to the teachers of the Dharma,
they will soon be set
upon the path of the bodhisattvas.


The thirteenth important point that refers to the following passage in the metric hymn above, “If there are people in these assemblies who can become inseparably close to the teacher of the Dharma, they will soon be set upon the path of the bodhisattvas.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) indicates that the expression “inseparably close to” is another way of saying “faithful acceptance”. The teachers of the Dharma refer to Nichiren and those that follow him. The wordbodhisattva” tends to have the meaning of the stage of practise that comes just before the attainment of the fruition of Buddhahood.

Now, Nichiren and the people who follow him are those who 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).


Also, if there are people
in these assemblies
who can faithfully follow
and learn from these teachers,
these disciples will be able
to reverently look upon
as many Buddhas
as there are grains of sand in the Ganges.


The fourteenth important point that refers to the lines of the above metric hymn, “Also, if there are people in the assemblies who can faithfully follow and learn from their teachers, these disciples will be able to reverently look upon as many Buddhas as there are grains of sand in the Ganges.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) points out that the expression “their teachers” refers to Nichiren and those that follow him. The word “learn” here has the undertone of understanding the significance and implications of 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 fifteenth important point, which is in reality an extension of the fourteenth important point, where it refers in particular to the words “teacher” and “learn”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that Nichiren and the people who follow him surmise that here the verb “to learn” implies the assimilation of the underlying significance of 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)). Both those who teach and those who learn are the teachers and disciples that deal with the three thousand realms of dharmas that constitute the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma), which again is the entirety of existence.

The sixteenth important point, concerning the last lines of the above metric hymn: “These disciples will be able to reverently look upon as many Buddhas as there are grains of sand in the Ganges”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that to see as many Buddhas as there are grains of sand in the Ganges means to see the vision of the stupa made of precious materials. “As many Buddhas as there are grains of sand in the Ganges” alludes to the Tathāgata Tahō whose name means “Abundant Treasure”. The word “abundant” refers to all the realms of dharmas that permeate the whole of existence. The wordtreasure” points to the awakening of a real assimilation and understanding (kaigo) of the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces (ichinen sanzen). To perceive the realms of dharmas as the embodiment of the Tathāgata Abundant Treasure (Tahō Nyorai, Prabhūtaratna) is to be able to see existence in terms of as many Buddhas as there are grains of sand in the Ganges (which is the vision of mature artists, musicians, and writers).

This is the reason why the Chapter on the Dharma as a Teacher, (which has to be understood as all the dharmas we experience having the role of being teachers of the meaning of life), is followed by the Chapter on the Appearance of the Stupa made of Precious Materials. The Teacher of the Dharma is the person who is able to understand all dharmas, does the necessary practices, and is the person that uses the stupa made of precious materials as a means of ascent.

Now, when Nichiren and those who 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), its practices and the ability to testify as to the soundness of these practises are in turn a comprehension that is unthinkably beyond discussion (fushigi), observances that are beyond any discussion and cannot be pondered over (fushigi), and the evidence of the virtues of those practises which again cannot be thought out or even discussed (fushigi). This means that such practitioners have really gained an insight of all mental activity that (according to our teaching) must contain three thousand existential spaces (ichinen sanzen) (in the sense that each nanosecond of mental activity has to include all the varying dimensions in our minds).

The river Ganges here refers to its legendary ability to eradicate evil and bring about good. “As many Buddhas as there are grains of sand in the Ganges” means that each ideogram in the Chinese version of this sutra represents a Buddha entity that is golden in form. If we are to take the ideogram for “seeing” into consideration, then it also refers to the “insight of the Buddha”. “To faithfully follow”, in the line above the passage that we are dealing with in the sutric text, also has the implication of the attainment that is the Buddha insight.

This ideogram for “seeing”, when it is used in the expression “seeing the vision of the stupa made of precious materials”, refers to seeing subjectively our objective environments. Again, the ideogram for “seeing”, in the sense of “seeing as many Buddhas as there are grains of sand in the Ganges”, entails our existences as they are seen subjectively. In contrast, the ideogram for “seeing”, in the phrase of “seeing the stupa made of precious materials”, refers to seeing our respective lives objectively.

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