- Issho Jobutsu
If you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death
you have endured through eternity and attain supreme enlightenment
in this lifetime, you must awaken to the mystic truth which has
always been within your life. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting
Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth
within you. Myoho-renge-kyo is the king of sutras, flawless in both
letter and principle. Its words are the reality of life, and the
reality of life is the Mystic Law (Myoho). It is called the Mystic
Law because it explains the mutually inclusive relationship of life
and all phenomena. That is why this sutra is the wisdom of all Buddhas.
Life at each moment encompasses both body and spirit and both self
and environment of all sentient beings in every condition of life,
as well as insentient beings -- plants, sky and earth, on down to
the most minute particles of dust. Life at each moment permeates
the universe and is revealed in all phenomena. One awakened to this
truth himself embodies this relationship. However, even though you
chant and believe in Myoho-renge-kyo, if you think the Law is outside
yourself, you are embracing not the Mystic Law but some inferior
teaching. "Inferior teachings" means those other than this sutra,
which are all provisional and transient. No provisional teaching
leads directly to enlightenment, and without the direct path to
enlightenment you cannot attain Buddhahood, even if you practice
lifetime after lifetime for countless aeons. Attaining Buddhahood
in this lifetime is then impossible. Therefore, when you chant the
Mystic Law and recite the Lotus Sutra, you must summon up deep conviction
that Myoho-renge-kyo is your life itself.
You must never seek any of Shakyamuni's teachings or the Buddhas
and bodhisattvas of the universe outside yourself. Your mastery
of the Buddhist teachings will not relieve you of mortal sufferings
in the least unless you perceive the nature of your own life. If
you seek enlightenment outside yourself, any discipline or good
deed will be meaningless. For example, a poor man cannot earn a
penny just by counting his neighbor's wealth, even if he does so
night and day. That is why Miao-lo states, "Unless one perceives
the nature of his life, he cannot eradicate his evil karma."He
means here that unless one perceives the nature of his life, his
practice will become an endless, painful austerity. Miao-lo therefore
condemns such students of Buddhism as non-Buddhist. He refers to
the passage in the Maka Shikan, "Although they study Buddhism, their
views revert to those of non-Buddhists."
Whether you chant the Buddha's name, recite the sutra or merely
offer flowers and incense, all your virtuous acts will implant benefits
in your life. With this conviction you should put your faith into
practice. For example, the Jomyo Sutra says the Buddha's enlightenment
is to be found in human life, thus showing that common mortals can
attain Buddhahood and that the sufferings of birth and death can
be transformed into nirvana. It further states that if the minds
of the people are impure, their land is also impure, but if their
minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two lands, pure
or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good
or evil of our minds.
It is the same with a Buddha and a common mortal. While deluded,
one is called a common mortal, but once enlightened, he is called
a Buddha. Even a tarnished mirror will shine like a jewel if it
is polished. A mind which presently is clouded by illusions originating
from the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but
once it is polished it will become clear, reflecting the enlightenment
of immutable truth. Arouse deep faith and polish your mirror night
and day. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
What then does myo signify? It is simply the mysterious nature of
our lives from moment to moment, which the mind cannot comprehend
nor words express. When you look into your own mind at any moment,
you perceive neither color nor form to verify that it exists. Yet
you still cannot say it does not exist, for many differing thoughts
continually occur to you. Life is indeed an elusive reality that
transcends both the words and concepts of existence and nonexistence.
It is neither existence nor nonexistence, yet exhibits the qualities
of both. It is the mystic entity of the Middle Way that is the reality
of all things. Myo is the name given to the mystic nature of life,
and ho to its manifestations.
Renge, the lotus flower, symbolizes the wonder of this Law. Once
you realize that your own life is the Mystic Law, you will realize
that so are the lives of all others. That realization is the mystic
kyo, or sutra. It is the king of sutras, the direct path to enlightenment,
for it explains that the entity of our minds, from which spring
both good and evil, is in fact the entity of the Mystic Law. If
you have deep faith in this truth and chant Myoho-renge-kyo, you
are certain to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. That is why the
sutra states, "After my death, you must embrace this sutra. Those
who do so shall travel the straight road to Buddhahood."Never
doubt in the slightest, but keep your faith and attain enlightenment
in this lifetime. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
In every condition of life: In any of the Ten Worlds, or ichinen
Maka Shikan Bugyoden Guketsu, vol. 4.
Buddha's name: As used here, it denotes Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Lotus Sutra, Chap. 21.
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 1, pg. 3-5.
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