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The Dharma Flower Sutra seen through the Oral Transmission of Nichiren Daishōnin: The Twenty-first Chapter on the Reaches of the Mind of the Tathāgata

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


The first important point with regard to the reaches of the mind of the Buddha who has come from and arrived at the true form of reality (tathāgata, nyorai) which is the whereabouts of the realms of dharmas whose underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of cause, concomitancy and effect permeates the entirety of existence (Myōhō Renge Kyō).

In the tenth volume of the Textual Explanation of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke Mongu) it says that the ideogram for “mind” is referred to as something that is inexhaustible and the “reaches” designate its essential function. That which cannot be exhausted is the profoundness of the triple entity that entails the inclusion of suchness (shinnyo, tathatā), the wisdom to understand all its workings as well as its manifestations for the benefit of unenlightened beings; all three come into existence free from any conditioning whatsoever. (Existence has always been and will continue to exist into eternity.)

Whereas the “reaches” imply the all-embracing influence that brings about the continuity of changes in existence, in the meanwhile the profoundest reaches of the mind of the Tathāgata that consist of ten special reaches have all been transmitted to the Bodhisattva Superior Practice (Jōgyō, Vishishtachāritra).

(The ten special reaches are the following: 1) The Buddha’s tongue can reach upwards as far as the heavens of the Brahmanic deva (Bonten) to show that what he expounds is the absolute truth. 2) The Buddha has the ability to emit light from all the pores of his body that shines into all ten directions. The implications of these particular “reach of the mind” are to show that the Buddha wisdom can penetrate all matters, all beings and all things. 3) The pitch of the Buddha’s voice is loud and soft. He clears his throat in order to expound the Dharma, so as to open up the store of his all-embracing wisdom. 4) The Buddha snaps his fingers which is a gesture that he is about to reveal the Dharma according to his way of understanding it. 5) The Buddha on certain occasions produces six kinds of earthquake – i. the east rises and the west sinks; ii. the west rises and the east sinks; iii. the north rises and the borders sink; iv. the south rises and the north sinks; v. the middle rises and the borders sink; vi. the borders rise and the middle sinks. 6) The Buddha has the power to reveal the vast assembly on Spirit Vulture Peak (Ryōjusen, Gridhrakūta) to all sentient beings of the ten directions of the universe, in order to show that the path of enlightenment of all the Buddhas is the same. 7) The Buddha’s voice resounds into empty space, in order that all the deva (ten) of the ten directions are able to hear it. 8) All sentient beings, on hearing the Buddha expound the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), devote themselves to it and found their existences upon it. 9) The Buddha has the power to disperse all the offerings made to him into all the distant existential realms of Buddhahood, as an indication that the Dharma will be practised far into the future. 10) The Buddha can induce all the ten directions to become a single dimension, which means that all ten directions will become a single Buddha terrain.)

It is on account of these ten special reaches of the mind that this chapter has the title, “The Chapter on the Reaches of the Mind of the Tathāgata”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the Sutra on the White Lotus Flower-like Mechanism of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō Renge Kyō) is not particularly the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) of Shākyamuni Buddha, because already by the time of this Twenty-first Chapter on the Reaches of the Mind of the Tathāgata, the essence of this chapter had been entrusted to the Bodhisattva Superior Practice (Jōgyō, Vishishtachāritra).

Generally speaking, the Sutra on the White Lotus Flower-like Mechanism of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō Renge Kyō) was entrusted to the Bodhisattva Superior Practice (Jōgyō, Vishishtachāritra). However, the beginning of this ceremony took place at the time of the Eleventh Chapter on the Vision of the Stupa Made of Precious Materials. At the time of the Sixteenth Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata, it becomes apparent what the substance of the Dharma is that was being entrusted to the Bodhisattva Superior Practice (Jōgyō, Vishishtachāritra). It is in the Twenty-first Chapter on the Reaches of the Mind of the Tathāgata and the Twenty-second Chapter on the Assignment of the Mission where the ceremony comes to an end.

The Tathāgata (Nyorai) is the fundamental and eternal Buddhahood, which is the subject of the Sixteenth Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata mentioned earlier, and the reaches of the mind are the ten reaches of the mind of the Buddha. The essential point of this teaching is that the five ideograms for Myōhō Renge Kyō Kyō (which means the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect in its whereabouts of the realms of dharmas) are both the infinity of life and the “reaches”, which make life go forward.

(All that exists comes into being, lasts as long as it should, falls apart at the seams and finally ceases to exist (shō, jū, i, metsu). And, in terms of sentient existence, this process is described as being born and growing up, maturing and old age, sickness, decline and the finality of death (shō, rō, byō, shi). These two formulas of existence are the axiom of the forward-moving transformations of all that exists including life.)

The reaches of the mind are the same as those referred to in this phrase of the Sixteenth Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathagata, “the esoterically hidden reaches of the mind of the Tathāgata” (Nyorai himitsu shinzū shi riki). 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, Saddharma) (the 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 realms of dharmas, which is also the theme and title of this sutra (daimoku) as well as the esoterically hidden reaches of the mind of the Tathāgata.

These ten reaches of the mind of the Tathāgata cover both the time when the Buddha Shākyamuni was in the world along with the period after his extinction into nirvana. Nevertheless, it should be realised that essentially all these ten reaches of the mind are intended for the time that comes after the Buddha’s extinction into nirvana. Again, The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that it is to be understood that this chapter on the Reaches of the Mind of the Tathāgata who has come from and arrived at the true essence of reality (tathāgata, nyorai) that is the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of cause, concomitancy and effect in its whereabouts of the realms of dharmas (Myōhō Renge Kyō) is the chapter in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) that deals with both the mind of the Tathāgata as well as its reaches. (These are things which we ordinary people cannot do, since our minds are incapable of reaching that far to be able to do them.)

The Tathāgata is the Buddha who has come from and arrived at a perfect comprehension of the true essence of reality (shinnyo, tathatā), as well as being the infinity of life of all sentient beings, all of which has been pointed out in the Sixteenth Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata. This concept has already been explained in The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden). (The ideogram for mind (shin, kami) may also be understood as the archetypal entities that in the depths of our minds we perceive as “guardian deities and the spirits of good” (shoten zenjin). This ideogram for mind also stands for the seven Shinto shrines of the Sovereign of mountains, Mount Hiei.) It suggests that you should ponder over the significance of what this means.


Then, at that time, the completely evolved bodhisattvas who had refused their own extinction into nirvana for the sake of the Buddha enlightenment of all sentient beings (bosatsu makasatsu, bodhisattva mahāsattva) who had swarmed up out of the earth, whose number was equal to the particles of dust that would go into the making of a thousand realms of existence (sekai), all unanimously placed the palms of their hands together, looked up towards the face of the World Honoured One and said to him: “World Honoured One, after the Buddha’s extinction into nirvana, we will expound this sutra far and wide throughout the realms and terrains whereupon the emanations of the World Honoured One resided and have now passed into extinction of nirvana. Why is it so? We also wish to attain this authentic and pure Dharma, so as to accept and hold to it, read and recite it as well as explaining it, copying it out along with making offerings to it.”

Then, the World Honoured One, in front of the assembly – Monjūshiri (Mañjushrî) and the innumerable hundreds and thousands of myriads of myriads of myriads of completely evolved bodhisattvas who had refused their extinction into nirvana for the sake of the Buddha enlightenment of all sentient beings (bosatsu makasatsu, bodhisattva mahāsattva) who had lived for a long time in the Dimension of existence that has to be Endured (shaba sekai, sahā-lokadhātu) (which is our world), along with all the monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners, deva (ten), dragons (ryū, nāga), yasha (yaksha) (who are like gnomes and are protectors of the Buddha teaching), kendabba (gandharva) (who are the musicians of the paradise of Indra), shura (ashura) (who are like the titans of Greek mythology or the giants in Northern European folklore), karura (garuda) (who are mythical birds from the Brahmanic pantheon), kinnara (kimnara) (who are celestial musicians at the court of Kuvera, a god of wealth and described as exotic birds with human torsos), magoraka (mahorāga) (who are huge serpents that crawl on their chests), along with other humanlike non-humans (nin-pi-nin) who were all in front of the World Honoured One – manifested the immensity of the reaches of his mind by protruding his long broad tongue which stretched upwards as far as the world of Brahmanic deva (Bonten).


The second important point with regard to the phrase, “. . . . manifested the immensity of the reaches of his mind by protruding his long broad tongue which stretched as far as the world of the Brahmanic deva (Bonten)”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the adjective “broad” in the above quotation refers to the teachings derived from the external events of Shākyamuni’s life and work, whereas the attributive term “long” refers to the teachings founded on the original archetypal state. The noun “tongue” in the same phrase refers to the middle way of reality or the inherent nature of dharmas.

Because the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (which are all the possible dimensions of the mind) are the meritorious virtues of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) (that is the entirety of existence as well as being the fact of living out our respective lives and deaths), the Buddha’s tongue, as an image to represent the entirety of existence, is said to be immense (and since existence has always existed, it will go on forever). The Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) by being the psychological depth that was expressed at the time of the Buddha (in terms of all possible dimensions of our minds) has existed since a period of time that would be as impossible to calculate as the particles of dust that would result from three thousand universes being ground up into powder. Also, since existence always exists, it is said to be a concept in the depths of our minds which in the India of Shākyamuni was expressed as the uncountable number of grains of dust that would be left over should someone grind five hundred universes from their inception to their termination into atoms. This mental image is perpetuity itself, which we experience in our daily lives as the ever-present infinite in time (kuon ganjo). Both of these concepts are the same as the long broad tongue of the Buddha in the sutric text.


Thereupon the Buddha emitted from all the pores of his skin boundlessly innumerable rays of coloured light, which penetrated everywhere throughout all the existential dimensions of the ten directions. All the Buddhas who were seated on their lion thrones under the multitude of trees of precious materials again did likewise.


The third important point regarding the passage, “Thereupon the Buddha emitted from all the pores of his skin boundlessly innumerable rays of coloured light, which penetrated everywhere throughout all the existential dimensions of the ten directions. All the Buddhas who were seated on their lion thrones under the multitude of trees of precious materials again did likewise.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the existential dimensions of the ten directions refer to the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas. The word “under” in this particular passage is a clear indication that plants, trees and the environment have the capacity to manifest their inherent Buddha nature. Regarding the two ideograms that are used for the Japanese wordlion” (shishi), the first ideogram and syllable (shi) can be understood as “a teacher” and the meaning of the second ideogram and syllable can be understood as “a disciple” (shi). In the expression “upon their lion thrones”, from the passage, is a concept that entails “the terrain of eternal silence and illumination”, which means that the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas are not separate from the fundamental perpetually existing terrain of eternal silence and illumination (that corresponds to the idea of extinction into nirvana as the state of enlightenment attained by Shākyamuni).

This means a state which can be reached by extinguishing all the illusions and delusions that go on in our heads and the annihilation of all karma. According to the teachings of the universal vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna), nirvana denotes neither coming into existence nor ceasing to exist; hence the use of the wordsilence”. Nirvana is also equated with the wisdom and discernment of Buddhahood (chie, prajñā), which is illumination.


They protruded their long broad tongues and emitted innumerable rays of light. Shākyamuni and all the other Buddhas under the trees of precious materials revealed the reaches of their minds for a full hundred thousand years.


The fourth important point on the above phrase in the sutric text, “for a full hundred thousand years”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the word “full” refers to the Dharma realm which consists of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas. The word “hundred” means (ten times ten) realms where dharmas become manifest. The word “thousand” refers to the hundred realms of dharmas multiplied by the ten ways in which dharmas make themselves present to any of our six organs of senseeyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. This passage means that a single instant of mental activity that contains all the ramifications of what can go on in our heads (ichinen sanzen) as an experience can apparently last a full hundred thousand years.

Even one brief moment in which an instant of mental activity takes place, lasting for a full hundred thousand years becomes the manifestation of the ten kinds of reaches of the mind of the Buddhas. These reaches of the mind mean that each instant of life is the revelation of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas . Again, each of these ten (psychological) realms of dharmas are all characteristic of the singularity 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).


After that the Buddhas withdrew their tongues. Then for a few seconds they cleared their throats and thereupon they all snapped their fingers together. The sound of these two gestures reached as far as the Dharma realm of all the Buddhas of the ten directions. Everywhere, the ground shook with the six kinds of earthquake. (These are i. the east rises and the west sinks; ii. the west rises and the east sinks; iii. the north rises and the borders sink; iv. the south rises and the north sinks; v. the middle rises and the borders sink; vi. the borders rise and the middle sinks.)

All the sentient beings in their midst – the deva (ten) (who are like the gods and angels in Pagan or Christian mythology), yasha (yaksha) (who are Earth spirits comparable to the gnomes and dwarves in European folklore), kendabba (gandharva) (who are the musicians of the paradise of Taishaku (Indra)), shura (ashura) (who are like the titans in Mediterranean mythology or the giants and ogres in Northern European folklore), karura (garuda) (who are mythical birds from the Brahmanic pantheon and mortal enemies of dragons, except those who possess a Buddhist relic or those who are ostensibly converted to Buddhism, since these birds are seen as protectors of the Buddha teaching), dragons (whose appearance is as they are represented in Far Eastern art whose function is similar to elementals whose role is to govern rain, sea, winds etc.), kinnara (kimnara) (who are the celestial musicians described as exotic birds with human torsos), magoraga (mahorāga) (who are enormous serpents that crawl on their chests), along with other non-humans with human intelligence – on account of the reaches of the mind of the Buddhas, saw all the innumerably boundless hundreds of thousands of myriads of myriads of myriads of Buddhas seated on their lion thrones under the multitude of trees of precious materials in this Dimension which we have to Endure (shaba sekai, sahā-lokadhātu).


The fifth important point on the above passage, “Everywhere, the ground shook with the six kinds of earthquake. (These are i. the east rises and the west sinks; ii. the west rises and the east sinks; iii. the north rises and the borders sink; iv. the south rises and the north sinks; v. the middle rises and the borders sink; vi. the borders rise and the middle sinks.)

“All the sentient beings in their midst – the deva (ten) (who are like the gods and angels in Pagan or Christian mythology), yasha (yaksha) (who are Earth spirits comparable to the gnomes and dwarves in European folklore), kendabba (gandharva) (who are the musicians of the paradise of Taishaku (Indra)), shura (ashura) (who are like the titans in Mediterranean mythology or the giants and ogres in Northern European folklore), karura (garuda) (who are mythical birds from the Brahmanic pantheon and mortal enemies of dragons, except those who possess a Buddhist relic or those who are ostensibly converted to Buddhism, these birds are seen as protectors of the Buddha teaching), dragons (ryū, nāga) (whose appearance is as they are represented in Far Eastern art whose function is similar to elementals whose role is to govern rain, sea, winds etc.), kinnara (kimnara) (who are the celestial musicians at the court of Kuvera who is a Brahmanic divinity of wealth and described as exotic birds with human torsos), magoraga (mahorāga) (who are enormous serpents that crawl on their chests), along with other non-humans with human intelligence – on account of the reaches of the mind of the Buddhas, saw all the innumerably boundless hundreds of thousands of myriads of myriads of myriads of Buddhas seated on their lion thrones under the multitude of trees of precious materials in this Dimension which we have to Endure (shaba sekai, sahā-lokadhātu).”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the wordearth” indicates the spatial dimensions whereupon we depend for an existence (kokudo seken). The sentient beings that live in it are referred to as the existential dimension of sentient life (shujō seken).

The “multitude of trees of precious materials” stands for the five aggregates that inhibit the intrinsic enlightenment of intelligent sentient beings (goun pañcha skandāh). (These are 1) the physical form related to the five organs of senseeyes, ears, nose, tongue, and bodily touch – (shiki, rūpa); 2) the way these organs can be aware of apparent external dimensions (ju, vedanā); 3) the functioning of the mind in distinguishing the contents of physical dimensions as well as fantasy thinking (sō, samjñā); 4) the functioning of the mind with regard to likes and dislikes, right and wrong which are also conditioned to a certain degree by former existences (gyō, samskāra). 5) All of these four already mentioned aggregates compound the way sentient beings think and their various attitudes (shiki, vijñāna).) This sutric passage clearly refers to the single instant of mental activity that unconsciously contains all the possible dimensions of our minds (ichinen sanzen).


Along with Shākyamuni Buddha and the Tathāgata Abundant Treasure (Tahō nyorai) who were also seated on their lion throne in the stupa of precious materials, again they saw the infinitely innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of myriads of myriads of completely evolved bodhisattvas who had refused their own extinction into nirvana for the sake of the Buddha enlightenment of all sentient beings (bosatsu makasatsu, bodhisattva mahāsattva) including the four classes of members of the congregation (monks, nuns, male and female lay believers) all of whom were respectfully seated around Shākyamuni Buddha. Ever since this event, all the spectators had been overcome with such a joy they had never experienced before.

At that same moment, all the deva (ten) in empty space expressed their praise in a loud voice: “Beyond boundlessly incalculable and infinite hundreds of thousands of myriads of myriads of myriads of existential dimensions, there is a realm called ‘that which has to be forborne’ (shaba, sahā) in which there is a Buddha named Shākyamuni.”


The sixth important point on the above sutric passage, “Beyond boundlessly incalculable and infinite hundreds of thousands of myriads of myriads of myriads of existential spaces, there is a realm that goes by the name of ‘that which has to be forborne’ (shaba, sahā) in which there is a Buddha called Shākyamuni.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the bodhisattvas who were converted in the dimension of the original archetypal state will make a great effort of forbearance (during the final period of the Dharma of Shākyamuni (mappō)) to spread abroad and propagate Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō (which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) 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 be understood as patiently enduring (shaba, sahā). Patience and forbearance is where the terrain of silence and illumination comes into being. This mind of patience and forbearance is called Shākyamuni Buddha (in the sense of the original Buddha enlightenment as defined in the Sixteenth Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata). The word “shaba” (sahā) implies an existential dimension where patient endurance is needed (i.e., this dimension of ours).


At this moment, he is explaining the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) which is a canonical text of the universal vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna) of the Buddha teaching that is a doctrine for bodhisattvas and is also what is always kept in mind by the Buddhas for the benefit of those completely evolved bodhisattvas who had refused their own extinction into nirvana for the sake of the Buddha enlightenment of all sentient beings (bosatsu makasatsu, bodhisattva mahāsattva). On this account, you should be rejoicing with all your hearts. Furthermore, you should pay homage to and make offerings to the Buddha Shākyamuni.

The sentient beings, on hearing these voices from the depths of empty space, put the palms of their hands together and, turning towards the Dimension that has to be Endured (shaba sekai, sahā-lokadhātu), they made oaths, such as, “I devote my life to and found it on the Buddha Shākyamuni.”

From afar, they all scattered onto the Dimension that has to be Endured (shaba sekai, sahā-lokadhātu) various kinds of flowers, perfumes, garlands, tubular banners (hongai) as well as all sorts of bodily ornaments, rare treasures and exquisite objects. All these items that were distributed rained down from all ten directions, rather like a gathering of clouds or a curtain of wonders that spread over all the Buddhas from every direction. At that particular moment, the realms of existence were in perfect contact and understanding with each other, free from any obstacles, as though they were all a single Buddha realm.

Thereupon the Buddha addressed the Bodhisattva Superior Practice (Jōgyō, Vishishtachāritra) along with the vast multitude of bodhisattvas and said: “All the reaches of the mind of the Buddhas are as boundless and infinite as they are imponderably beyond any dimension (fushigi). If I were by means of these reaches of the mind to explain, over a period of unlimited and infinitely boundless hundreds of thousands of myriads of myriads of myriads of kalpas, the meritorious virtues of this sutra and the reason for passing it on, I would never be able to come to the end.

“But if I should state the essentials, then all the dharmas in the possession of the Tathāgata, all the reaches of the mind at the will of the Tathāgata, the whole of the esoteric and quintessential ingredient (of the enlightenment) of the Tathāgata (Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō) as well as all the other extremely profound matters of the Tathāgata, are all proclaimed, revealed, disclosed and made clear in this sutra. This is why after the Tathāgata’s extinction into nirvana you must single-mindedly hold to this sutra as well as reading, reciting, explaining its meaning and copying it out, not to mention carrying out the practice as I have told you.

“Wherever anybody may be, whatever terrain such persons depend on for an existence (kokudo), if there is anyone who is able to hold to, read, recite and explain the meaning of this sutra as well as practising as they have been taught, wherever the scrolls of this sutra are kept, whether they are in a garden, in the midst of a forest, at the base of a tree or in the living quarters of a monastery or in the cottage of a white cotton-clothed lay believer or in the chambers of a palace or in the valley of a mountain or even in the wilderness, everybody should build a stupa and make offerings to it.

“Why should this be? You should know that such a place is the same as where the Buddha became enlightened and is equal to the site where he attained the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sambodai, anuttara samyaku sambodhi) or the location where he set the wheel of the Dharma in motion or is equal to the sites where all the Buddhas have entered into the total extinction of nirvana.”

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

All the Buddhas are the saviours
of the realms of existence
whose life is always
within all the reaches of their minds.
In order to make
sentient beings happy
they manifest
the innumerable reaches of their minds.
As physiological
and characteristic marks of the Buddhas
their tongues reach
as far as the Brahmanic heavens.
Also their bodies emit
uncountable rays of light.
For those who are seekers
of the path of Buddhahood
the Buddhas make the sound
of clearing their throats
and the snapping of their fingers
which are heard in all the dimensions
upon which sentient beings
depend for an existence
in all the ten directions.
They also cause the ground to shake
in six different ways (see the prose text of this chapter).
After the Buddha’s extinction
into nirvana
the manifestations
of these rare happenings
become the reason why sentient beings
should hold to this sutra.
All the Buddhas with joy
exhibit the innumerable reaches
of their minds
so as to guarantee the entrustment
and passing on of this text.
The Buddhas also praise and hold dear
those who can hold to this sutra.
Yet, even throughout kalpas beyond count
without ever coming to an end
the meritorious virtues (kudoku, guna)
of such people
are infinite and have no bounds,
in the same way
as the ten directions of empty space
cannot be circumscribed.
Those who can hold to this sutra
already know how I look
as well as the Tathāgata
Abundant Treasure (Tahō Nyorai, Prabhūtaratna)
along with all
my other Buddha emanations.
Furthermore, sentient beings
see me this day
resolving the doubts
of all the bodhisattvas.
The people who can
really hold to this sutra
give pleasure
to all my emanations and myself
along with the Tathāgata
Abundant Treasure (Tahō Nyorai, Prabhūtaratna)
who has passed over to extinction
into nirvana.
Throughout the ten directions,
the Buddhas of the present
along with those of the past and future
are seen by sentient beings
who are making offerings to them
which also gives them pleasure.
The essential esoteric Dharma
will be attained by all the ascetics
who are seated
in their places of enlightenment
and are people
who can hold to this sutra
and before long they will reach
the path of Buddhahood.
The people who can
really hold to this sutra
will understand the meaning of all Dharmas
as well as the doctrinal terms
and how to express them.
These they will enjoy explaining
without any obstacles whatsoever
in the same way
as the wind blows through the sky.
After the extinction
of the Tathāgata into nirvana
they will know the sutras
expounded by the Buddha
as well as their causes, concomitancies
and the order in which they came.
They will expound them
according to their meaning
and what their contents really are.
Just as the light of the sun and the moon
can clear away all the darkness
and obscurity,
such people as they pass through
the dimensions where existence takes place
will be able to extinguish
the darkness in sentient beings . . . .


The seventh important point on the above four lines of the sutric text, “such people as they pass through the dimensions where existence takes place will be able to extinguish the darkness in sentient beings . . . .”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that, in the sutric text, the term “such people” (who are those people that can hold to this sutra) especially refers to the person of the Bodhisattva Superior Practice (Jōgyō, Vishishtachāritra). The dimensions where existence takes place are the vast existential spaces inhabited by humankind. The darkness in sentient beings is the serious illness of disparaging the Dharma. The substance of what can eliminate this distorting sickness is the recitation 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). Now what Nichiren and those who follow him do is to recite this theme and title (daimoku).


. . . . in this way inducing
endless numbers of bodhisattvas
to finally continue their practice
in the single vehicle.
Therefore, persons endowed with wisdom,
on hearing how
the meritorious virtues
are keenly felt,
when I have passed
into the extinction of nirvana,
and the people who hold to this sutra
will decidedly
and with no doubts whatsoever
realise what the path
of Buddhahood consists of.


The eighth important point on the final lines of the above metric hymn: “. . . . in this way inducing endless numbers of bodhisattvas to finally continue their practice in the single vehicle. Therefore, persons endowed with wisdom, on hearing how the meritorious virtues are keenly felt, when I have passed into the extinction of nirvana, and the people who hold to this sutra will decidedly and with no doubts whatsoever realise what the path of Buddhahood consists of.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the word “finally” in this metric hymn refers to the broad propagation and making this teaching available to everybody (kosen rufu). “To continue their practice in the single vehicle” entails the single vehicle of reciting 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 expression “people who hold to this sutra” refers to ordinary individuals who have learned the theme and title (daimoku) Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō and that those who only hear and hold faith in it are within the bounds of the Buddha teaching and are potentially enlightened (myōji soku). The concept of realising what the path of Buddhahood consists of is the sixth of the six stages of practice (roku soku) that is utter enlightenment (Myōgaku), which is also described as the fruition of holiness. The worddoubts” refers to our fundamental doubt and bewilderment, which is our basic not wanting to know what life is all about, but rather preferring to live in fantasy.

Now at the present time of the final period of the Dharma of Shākyamuni, people should accept and hold to this sutra, by carrying out this single practice of reciting the theme and title of this sutra (daimoku), so that they will have the certainty of attaining Buddhahood.

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