Glossary of Buddhist Terminology
as Applied to the Teachings of
Actual Fundamental Substance, the
– Japanese: Tōtai
The actual fundamental substance is what the fundamental nature really is; it is what all dharmas (things) actually are. [See: Thesis on the Significance of the Actual Fundamental Substance]
Ajase – Sanskrit: Ajātashatru
The son of King Bimbisāra of Magadha an ancient kingdom in Central India. Urged on by Daibadatta (Devadatta), he killed his father, a devout follower of Shākyamuni, and ascended to the throne to become one of the most influential rulers of his time. Later he contracted a terrible disease and in remorse for his acts became a follower of the Buddha teaching and supported the First Buddhist Council.
Amida Buddha – Japanese: Amida Butsu – Sanskrit: Amitāyus Buddha.
The Buddha of Infinite Life or Amitābha Buddha the Buddha of Infinite Light. According to the Sutra on Universally Incalculable Longevity the gist of the teaching of the Immaculate Terrain is that many kalpas ago there was a king who renounced his throne in order to become a monk by the name of Hōzō. At this time there was a Buddha called Sejizai-ō from whom Hōzō sought guidance in order to attain to enlightenment. He made a series of forty-eight vows and avowed to establish his own Buddha terrain. In his eighteenth vow Hōzō promised to bring all sentient beings to his Immaculate Terrain which he called Ultimate Bliss [Gokuraku] on the invocation of his name. After innumerable kalpas of austerities he finally became enlightened as the Buddha Amida. In accordance with his eighteenth vow all those people who bear in mind the Buddha Amida's formula with sincerity can be reborn in his Immaculate Terrain. In the esoteric doctrine the Buddha Amida is the Buddha of the western region.
Anan – Japanese: Anan – Sanskrit: Ānanda
One of Shākyamuni's ten major disciples, he was also one of Shākyamuni's cousins. He is said to have accompanied the Buddha wherever he went and therefore heard more of his teachings than any other disciple or bodhisattva. Anan was also said to have a perfect memory and played a central role in compiling the Sutras at the First Buddhist Council.
arhat – Japanese: Arakan
The highest attainment in the teaching of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) in which all delusions and attachments are eradicated and a state is reached where one is worthy of offering.
Arrive at the Path, to – Japanese:
Jōdō [See: Becoming
Ashura or Shura – Sanskrit: Ashūra
This category of mythological being is in many ways comparable to the Titans in Greek mythology or to the mythological giants of Northern Europe. The shura are always fighting with the deva for supremacy; in one account they stand in the midst of the ocean with the water coming up to their knees. There is no clear iconography and they are seen as one of the dimensions of our mind. [See: shura in Ten realms of the dharmas]
Asōgi – Sanskrit: Asankhya
This word is often understood as meaning countless or innumerable. It is said to be a number that is represented by a digit and fifty-one zeros.
Attain to the Path, to – Japanese:
Tokutō [See: Becoming
Becoming a Buddha,
on – Japanese: Jōbutsu
This term is also used to refer to ‘attaining to the Path', ‘to arrive at the Path', ‘the Buddha harvest', and ‘to become universally and correctly awakened'. Broadly stated ‘to become a Buddha' indicates the result of the bodhisattvas' practise over a long period of kalpas in order to bring about a final severance and conclusion to his troublesome worries and finally to attain enlightenment. The individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) propounds attainment to the path by cutting off and resolving thirty-four misleading views. The universal vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna) shows the gradual progressive ascent through a sequence of forty-one or fifty-two stages. Nevertheless in these teachings that came before the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) it was clearly shown that people of an evil disposition, women and people of the two vehicles could never become universally and correctly awakened. The contrary view comes with the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) in its exposition of all beings and all things being endowed with the Buddha nature and that it is possible to open one's Buddha nature with one's person being as it is. The technical term for this is ‘one's person is not separate from becoming a Buddha' and when reference is made to the inanimate it is called ‘plants and trees becoming Buddhas'. The concept of becoming a Buddha differs according to the various schools. The Flower Garland School [Kegonshū] claims that one becomes a Buddha by being totally immersed in one's faith. The school of Watchful Attention [Zenshū] directly points to the mind of the individual and states that enlightenment is reached when the fundamental nature of things is perceived. The school of the Immaculate Terrain [Jōdoshū] asserts that being reborn in the immaculate terrain of Amida Buddha amounts to the Buddha harvest. Other schools have different notions but none of them are the equivalent of the notion that one's person is not separate from becoming a Buddha. The significance of this concept is expounded in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). In the temporary doctrine of that sutra it is the substantiation of the intrinsicality of the real aspect of all dharmas (things) and the teaching of the original gateway reveals that one becomes a Buddha with an ordinary body of flesh and blood in the midst of the harsh practicalities of our respective societies. This means that by holding faith in the Buddha teachings of the seeds planted within the text of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) of Nichiren Daishōnin it is possible to arrive at a correct and individuated vision of society. Becoming a Buddha, which is none other than opening up our inherent Buddha nature does not imply that we are awakened to something that goes beyond ordinary human beings, but to become fully aware of the Buddha as the final, unchanging superlative that fundamentally exists independent of all action and is the actual fundamental substance.
Becoming universally and correctly awakened – Japanese: Jōtōshōgaku [See: Becoming a Buddha]
Birushana – Sanskrit: Vairocana
The name of this Buddha means belonging to, or coming from the sun, i.e., light. According to some Buddhist schools he represents the real Buddha entity.
Bodhisattvas who swarm up from the earth – Japanese: Jiyu no bosatsu
The innumerable bodhisattvas who appeared out of the earth in the Fifteenth Chapter on Bodhisattvas Swarm up from the Earth of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), are the disciples of the eternal Shākyamuni the original Buddha who is identified with Nichiren Daishōnin. In this chapter of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) these bodhisattvas pledged to spread abroad the teachings of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) during the final phase of the Dharma of the historical Shākyamuni. These bodhisattvas alone are entrusted with this assignment. In the strictest sense only Nichiren Dis the incarnation of the bodhisattvas who sprang from the earth but this term also implies the people who practise and do what they can to propagate this teaching. [See: Thesis on the Real Aspect of All Dharmas]
Body and Terrain – Japanese: Shindo
All sentient beings possess a body that needs a terrain on which to depend for an existence. [See: Subjectivity and its dependent environment]
Bonten – Sanskrit:
According to some Hindu teachings Bonten is the highest god and
even the creator of the universe. In the Nichiren Kōmon school
he is, with Taishaku, one of the principal deva who protect the dharma.
[See: deva and benevolent
Buddha – Japanese: Butsu , hotoke
From the Sanskrit Budh, to be aware of, to observe or
be awakened. Buddha – completely conscious or enlightened,
has come to take on the meaning of one who enlightens. One endowed with
perfect wisdom, boundless compassion and the purpose of whose advent
in the world is to set all beings on the Buddha Path. This is defined
in detail in the Second Chapter on Expedient Means of the Dharma Flower
Sutra. There is an original Buddha, discussed in the Sixteenth Chapter
on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō),
who is the Buddha of the primordially infinite, original beginning and
stands in contrast to the temporary Buddhas of the temporary gateways.
He is also the oneness of the person and the Dharma of the Nichiren
Daishōnin and whose other attributes are defined as the actual
fundamental substance of the self received reward body that is used
by the Tathāgata. There are many other Buddhas who are considered
as emanations of the Indian Shākyamuni [c.sixth-fifth century
BCE]. [See: Shākyamuni]
Buddha harvest – Japanese: Sabutsu [See: Becoming a Buddha]
Buddha's own practise, the – Japanese:
The Buddha's own practise implies the Buddha's own conduct. His practise for others means his guidance for other people.
Ceremony in the Spaceless Void, the
– Japanese: Kokūe no gishiki
One of the three assemblies contained in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō),
it extends from the end of the Chapter on Beholding the Precious Stupa to the middle of the Chapter on Entrustment and Implication. In the
Chapter on Springing from the Earth, the Bodhisattvas who spring from
the earth make their appearance; this is the moment where the original
gateway begins. In the Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata,
the Buddha Shākyamuni reveals his original enlightenment in the distant
past of five hundred kalpas of grains of dust, but in the teaching that
is esoterically submerged within the text this concept of a distant
past becomes the ever-present infinite in time (kuon ganjo). In the Chapter on the
Extent of the Mind of the Tathāgata the Buddha transfers the essential
of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) which can only be Nam myōhō
renge kyō to the Bodhisattvas who spring from the earth led
by the Bodhisattva Jōgyō entrusting them with the assignment
of broadly propagating it during the final phase of the dharma of Shākyamuni.
In the teaching of Nichiren the Ceremony in the Spaceless
Void implies the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) of the three universal
Chain of the twelve causes and karmic circumstances
that run through the whole of sentient existence – Japanese:
1. mumyō, a fundamental unenlightenment which leads
2. gyō, disposition that are inherited from former lives.
3. shiki, the first consciousness that takes place in the womb
4. myō, shiki, body and mind evolving in the
5. rokunyū, the five organs of sense and the functioning
of the mind.
6. shoku, contact with the outside world.
7. ju, receptivity or budding intelligence and discrimination
from six to seven years onwards.
8. ai, thirst, desire or love at the age of puberty.
9. shu, the urge for sensuous existence that forms the following.
10. yū, the substance of future karma.
11. shō, the completed karma ready to be born again.
12. rō, shi, karma facing in the direction of
old age and death.
Cognition of conscious mental activity, the Japanese:
Ishiki – Sanskrit: Mano-vijnaña
This is the consciousness of what we perceive and feel with regard to
what is going on around us or inside us. The first five cognitions (shiki
– vijñāna) have their own organs to detect
whatever they are supposed to sense, such as eyes to see with or ears
to hear, whereas the cognition of conscious mental activity (ishiki
– mano-vijnaña) is totally dependent on the mind
as the faculty of thought (i, manas). It is due to
the cognition of conscious mental activity that makes us aware of our
Cognition of Pure Mind, the - Japanese:
Amarashiki - Sanskrit: Amala-vijñāna
In Japanese there are various definitions of this cognition, the cognition
free from defilement (mukushiki) the immaculately pure cognition
(shōjōshiki) the cognition of real suchness (shinnyoshiki).
The word cognition is used to indicate a way of knowing dharmas (or
whatever that may have an effect on any of our five aggregates)
that may have an effect on any of our five aggregates whether they are
inside our heads or not. The nine cognitions are as follows.
1) The cognition of the eyes - seeing
2) The cognition of the ears - hearing
3) The cognition of the nose - smelling
4) The cognition of the tongue - taste
5) The cognition of the body - touch
6) The cognition of mental activity without precise thought, just seeing,
hearing etc. as well as instinctive reactions.
7) The cognition of mind as the faculty of thought
8) The storehouse cognition
9) The cognition of pure mind
Tendai (T’ien T’ai) refers to the ninth cognition (daikushiki, amarashiki, amala-vijñāna) as the sovereign of the mind and
the fundamental source of all the dharmas (or whatever that may
have an effect on any of our five aggregates) as well as being
the central axis on which they revolve. In other words it is everything
that is inscribed on the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) or the very
essence of life itself. In the Buddha teaching of Shākyamuni this cognition
is sometimes described as have got rid of the taints of delusion that
are associated with the storehouse cognition arayashiki, alaya-vijñāna.
Tendai (T’ien T’ai) also writes in his Recondite Significance of the Sutra on the
Illumination of the Golden Light, “The ninth is the cognition
of the Buddha”. However in the Buddha teaching of Nichiren
Daishōnin it is understood that the Buddha realm bukkai
is not separate from the other nine realms of dharmas kyukai.
Hence through the continual practise of the Nichiren Kōmon school
and by developing a faith in the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon)
we can open up our inherent Buddha nature with our respective persons
just as they are soku shin jō Butsu.
Consecrate one's life on, to
Corresponding body – Japanese: ōjin
[See: Three bodies]
Corresponding body independent of all karma,
the Japanese: Musa no ōjin
This corresponding body is the entity of materiality (shiki shin)
of the three bodies independent of all karma. In the same way as appearance
sō in the ten such qualities nyoze the term
also refers to the Buddha’s compassionate behaviour. In this sense
it is the self received entity of the Tathāgata whose freedom
pervades the whole of existence and whose original source lies in the
ever-present infinite in time (kuon ganjo). This is the physical body (shiki
shin) and the conduct of Nichiren Daishōnin, the original
Buddha (Honbutsu) and the Buddha for the present age which
is the final phase of the dharma (things or whatever that may have
an effect on any of our five aggregates) of Shākyamuni. In Concerning
the Practice of the Present School by the former Patriarch Nichikan
(1665-1726) he states, “When the objective realm of the Whole
of Existence combines with the Buddha wisdom that is able to understand
it. This understanding would certainly be endowed with an all embracing
compassion as well as the arousal and motivation of universal loving-kindness. The result of this arousal becomes the corresponding body
independent of all karma that is also the freedom from living and dying.
It is the practical application of Utterness (Myō). The
sacred title of the corresponding body independent of all karma is Nam
Myōhō Renge Kyō which is the consecration and
founding of one’s life on the Lotus Flower (simultaneity of
cause and effect) of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) (the whole
Daibadatta – Sanskrit: Devadatta
A cousin of Shākyamuni but later opposed him out of jealousy, at one point he attempted to kill the Buddha by sending a fierce elephant against him. Nevertheless it was pacified by the Buddha's all-embracing compassion. Daibadatta (Devadatta) committed three of the five cardinal wrongdoings. Firstly by causing a rift in the order by enticing five hundred of the disciples away from it; secondly, by trying to kill Shākyamuni by dropping a boulder on him and thirdly, he beat a nun to death because she criticised him for his wrongdoing. On account of these actions he fell into hell alive. In the Chapter on Daibadatta (Devadatta) of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) Shākyamuni revealed that in a former life he had practised under a certain hermit called Ashi who was now Daibadatta (Devadatta). The Buddha [Shākyamuni] then predicted that Daibadatta (Devadatta) would become the Buddha Tennō. The importance of Daibadatta (Devadatta) is that the Buddha teaching reveals that a totally evil individual can become a Buddha.
Daishōnin – Japanese: Daishōnin
The Universal sage-like Man. The title given to Nichiren the Buddha for the period of the final phase of the Dharma of Shākyamuni. Dai means all embracing or universal, shōnin means sage, wise and good, upright and correct in all his character. A word with the same feeling as ‘sage-like ' in English which implies completeness. The Shōnin is the opposite of the common or unenlightened individual. Daishōnin carries the connotation of Buddha and in the case of Nichiren that of the original Buddha.
Daitsū Buddha [also
known as The Victorious Buddha of Universal Penetrating Wisdom]
– Japanese: Daitsūchisho Butsu – Sanskrit: Mahābhijnajnanabhibhu
According to the Chapter on the Metaphor of the Imaginary City of
the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), Daitsū Buddha was a king who attained
to Buddhahood in the distant past of three thousand kalpas of grains
of dust. At the request of his sixteen sons he expounded the Dharma
Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). All the sons of The Victorious Buddha of Universal Penetrating
Wisdom propagated the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) as bodhisattvas. The sixteenth
son was reincarnated as Shākyamuni Buddha.
Dengyō – Japanese: Dengyō
Referred to as the Universal Teacher Dengyō (Dengyō Daishi) and was the founder
of the Japanese Tendai School. He was born in the Shiga district in
ōmi, the present-day Shiga Prefecture in 767 CE and died in 822
CE. He entered into sage-like orders at the age of twelve and studied under
Gyōhyō in the Kokubunji at ōmi. He was fully ordained
in 785 CE in the Todaiji temple. Some time afterwards he returned to
his native village and later built a hermitage on Mount Hiei where he
combed through in depth all the commentaries of the sutras. In 788 CE
he named his hermitage Hieiji temple and in 793 CE it was renamed ‘The
Setting the Mind at Rest in the Single Vehicle' [Ichijō Shikan-in].
In 804 CE he went to China where he studied the Tendai (T’ien T’ai) doctrine under
Dōsui, Gyōman and others. On returning to his native Japan
he founded the Japanese Tendai School in 806 CE. Towards the end of
his life he received various honours from the Imperial Court.
deva and benevolent spirits,
all the – Japanese: Shoten Zenjin
In traditional Buddhist teaching a deva is a heavenly being, a
protective divinity. According to some accounts the deva are divinities
of Indian origin and the benevolent spirits are traditional Japanese
gods. Although these forces are personalised, given names and called
divinities, the problem that arises is how these deva and benevolent
spirits are understood in any ‘western' way of thinking. However, the
deva and benevolent spirits could be seen to be both outside and within
us, the forces on the outside, for example, are such as those that maintain
the planet earth on a proper course and the right distance from the
sun. These are also the forces of nature that maintain the necessary
conditions to support life and the subtle universal ecology. The forces
within us are more to do with archetypes and agencies that give added
strength. The deva and benevolent spirits are more than that for those
who follow the full practise of the Nichiren Kōmon school for
they will testify that although life is full of problems and obstacles,
there is little doubt that those who have faith in this teaching believe
it will overcome their hindrances better than those who do not.
Dhāranî – Japanese: Darani
A syllabic invocation for bringing out the good and repressing
evil in the teachings that came prior to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). Very
often dhāranîs are regarded as the quintessence of a teaching,
either tantric or sutric. It is thought that strong spiritual powers
are embodied in these syllables which rarely have any linguistic meaning
in contrast to the theme and title of the daimoku which is
composed of words with a precise and all embracing significance. [See:
Nam myōhō renge kyō]
Dharma body – Japanese: Hosshin
[See: Three bodies]
Dharma body independent of all karma,
the Japanese: Musa hosshin
This is one of the three bodies independent of all karma whose origin
is in the ever-present infinity in time kuon ganjo. This is
the real embodiment of the whole of life which in practise is the self-received
body i.e., the Gohonzon that is not separate from the lord of
the teaching Nichiren Daishōnin who is for the people of the final
period of the dharma of Shākyamuni mappo the lord of the teaching
of the seeds sown in the Utterness of original cause honnin Myō.
The actual reality is the consecration and founding of our lives on
the Lotus Flower that is the simultaneity of cause and effect of the
Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) which is the whole of existence, i.e., Nam
Myōhō Renge Kyō.
Nichikan Shonin (1666-1726) who was a former patriarch of the Nichiren
Kōmon School states in his Thesis on the Practice of the Present
School the three bodies independent of all karma are the virtue
and power of the self-received wisdom body of the Tathagāta whose
one entity is not separate from the three ... ... our persons are the
objective environment Kyō when our inherent Buddha nature
is opened up. This in itself is not separate from the Dharma body independent
of all karma. In the sixth fascile of the Universal Desistance from
Troublesome Worries in order to see Clearly, it says ‘when
we perceive the objective environment as enlightenment Kyō,
it then becomes the dharma body, i.e., the whole of existence and when
this body manifests its own wisdom it then becomes the wisdom body independent
of all karma. The effects or the actions that this wisdom brings about
then become the compassion of the corresponding body.’ Again these
three bodies become the three powers or virtues of the Buddha as sovereign,
teacher and parent, as well as his essential nature of being the dharma,
wisdom and his own complete liberation. This is said to be the dharma
body independent of all karma as the initial building block of the whole
of existence past, present and future as well as being the embodiment
of Utterness (Myōtai) ... ... The sacred title of this
entity is Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō. This is the
fundamental part that enables all sentient beings to open up their inherent
Buddha nature with their persons just as they are, as well as being
the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) of the three universal esoteric
dharmas (doctrines) both within us and outside us.
One of the many obstacles in the practice of the teaching of Nichiren
Daishōnin is that like so many other studies such as linguistics
or mathematics it has its own particular language. The unfamiliarity
of these specialised terms is highly related to the whole problem of
translating Buddhist texts.
The origins of existence is in the twists, turns and workings of the
whole of existence itself. So if we are to talk of an original state
then it is something that potentially lives in the profoundest depths
of our own minds. In other words, the existential realm of the Dharma
(bukkai). In the teaching of Nichiren Daishōnin, the
Buddha nature inherent in all of us is understood as the three bodies
independent of all karma. Apart from the fundamental Object of Veneration
(gohonzon) t0he position of any concept of a pure corresponding
body (ōjin), a pure wisdom to fully comprehend it (hōshin)
or a combination of the two (hosshin), suspended in an apparent
origin of time is highly hypothetical. In this present kalpa it took
the whole of evolution from the big bang right through to the arrival
of living beings, through all the Buddhas from Shākyamuni, Nagarjuna,
Tendai (T’ien T’ai), Dengyō (Dengyō Daishi) and many others right on up to Nichiren
before we could get a grasp of how we should conceive these three bodies
independent of all karma. The contents of the Fundamental Object of
Veneration (gohonzon) are the whole of life in their purest form. Earlier representations
of the whole of life are Shākyamuni’s Sutra on the Dharma Flower and the exposition of Tendai (T’ien T’ai) and the commentaries of Myōraku (Miao-lo) and
others of the Universal Desistance of Troublesome Worries in order
to see Clearly (Maka Shikan). But it is only Nichiren’s
Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) that brings us face to face with the
three bodies independent of all karma all at the same time.
In the Buddhist view of the world at the time of Nichiren Daishōnin,
the realms of humankind were confined to China, Japan, Korea, Central
Asia and India. So that the principal languages for Buddhists was either
Chinese or Sanskrit. Since the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) is written
out in Chinese with two germ syllables written in the Siddham alphabet
of Sanskrit, I personally am in favour of the Fundamental Object of
Veneration (gohonzon) for the twenty-first century being written out in either
Latin, Greek or Cyrillic script for the benefit of those who cannot
read the Chinese 0ideograms. However this is not for me and others to
decide. Coming back to the point, we have to be very careful not to
confuse knowledge with wisdom. Although Nichiren was not
aware of the worlds beyond the traditions of his time when there was
no real understanding of the whys and hows of present-day science which
is only knowledge, the inherent Buddha wisdom of the Daishōnin
was able to penetrate the mind of each and every individual as well
as the whole of the oneness of mind. All we need to know about mind
is inscribed on the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) which is also the
means that can make us understand why we live and die.
Dharma Flower School, the – Japanese:
This is another name for the Tendai School whose teaching was founded on the literal understanding of the Sutra on the Lotus Flower of the Utterness of the Dharma. This sutra teaches that the Buddha was enlightened in a distant past of uncountable aeons ago. This sutra also points out that all sentient beings, as well as everything else that is non-sentient, has an inherent Buddha nature which is clearly defined in the concept of the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces (ichinen sanzen). This same teaching also emphasizes that women, people of the two vehicles and people of evil disposition, can open their inherent Buddha nature. No other sutra even suggests this. What this school did not teach was the interdependence of cause and effect and that origin is not an inconceivable distant time, but the ever-present in the infinitive in time.
(The essence of the) Dharma or Dharma nature – Sankrit Dharmatā, Japanese Hosshō
If we are to understand the teaching of Nichiren Daishōnin
by taking what he wrote into deep consideration then one existence is
made up of all space, all time past, present and future of all the kalpas
and without effort. This is what is so difficult to believe and understand.
In the Daishōnin's Thesis on the Eighteen Perfect Circles,
we have, ‘On enquiring into the self-nature of all dharmas,
we should abandon all notion of a dharma nature and replace it with
the triple body independent of all karmas [i.e., phenomena (ke), relativity (kū)
and the middle way of reality (chū)
of the dharma realm of the utterly enlightened]. If there are
dharmas, then not one of them is not the triple body
independent of all karma.'
The essence of the Dharma is:
1) The fundamental quality of all life and all dharmas.
2) The fundamental quality of life which is explained as the enlightenment to the essence of the Dharma when it is perceived as shining through both defiled and pure dharma. In this case the essence of the Dharma is enlightenment as opposed to the unclearness of unenlightenment. Generally speaking this essence is the eternal, unchanging and originally endowed disposition of all dharmas. Both the real suchness (shinnyo) and the real aspect (jissō) are the same as the essence of the Dharma. This means to say that it is the real aspect and fundamental nature of all existence.
In the third Chapter on the eighteen essences in the second fascicle of the Sutra on Controlling Existence it says, “When we break up the characteristics of anything at any given moment or any particular item or items that may touch upon our senses or mental faculties either consciously or unconsciously (ho, dharmas), they are referred to as the essence of dharmas which are explained as all existence or the essence of the Dharma. The essence of the Dharma implies that nothing has an independent nature of its own. Why is that so? Because the essence of the Dharma has no past, no future and no present. It is because of all the inherent karmic relations and the combination of various affinities that the essence of the Dharma can be named and explained for what it is. It is on account of ordinary peoples’ understanding of things that the wise can conceive them that the nonexistence of any independent nature is the essence of the Dharma which is the essence of the whole of existence. The essence of the Dharma cannot be combined with anything nor can it be dispersed. In the middle of the essence of the dharmas the essence of the Dharma is without characteristics. There is neither so much nor is there so little. This essence is expounded as an expedient means. When we put a name to the essence of the Dharma we refer to it as its inherent quality shō (as in nyoze shō).”
It is said that the essence of the Dharma stems from the innermost origins of life itself (seimei) and manifests itself in the every day activities of our lives (seikatsu), the essence of the Dharma is the one instant of mind (that comprises the whole of existence).
Dharma realm, the – Japanese: Hokkai
[See: Realm of the
Dharmas, all –
The whole of existence, everything that exists either in the mind
or physically. The sum total of the momentary configuration of events.
Dharmas and dharma – Japanese: Hō
Generally speaking this word in most western dictionaries is defined
as something that maintains a certain character always and thus becomes
a standard. In order to understand this term more clearly, we should
begin with dharmas in the plural. Dharmas are anything
we perceive whether it be with our minds or any other organ of perception.
This implies the farthest meanderings of the mind as we drop off to
sleep to the stark realities of what is in front of us. It might be
said that dharmas could be equated with our word existence or life.
Since our existences are subjective we could think of dharmas as being
all that comprise our lives. Sometimes the word Dharma is used as a
term for a teaching and in this book in particular for the doctrines
that Shākyamuni expounded prior to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). For us common
mortals existence is a plurality of all the things that make up our
lives that encumber our perception of what is their real components
which are all the single instant of mind containing three thousand existential
spaces (ichinen sanzen). However to the enlightened the universe we inhabit becomes a
unity, just as Nichiren states in his Thesis on the Eighteen
Perfect Circles (Goshō Shimpen, p.1514),
‘The fourth is the perfect circle of the ocean of fruition. On seeking
the self-nature of all dharmas, we should put aside the notion of a
self-nature and replace it with the triple body independent of all karma
(i.e., the Original Buddha). There is no dharma that is not the triple
body. Therefore they are referred to as the fruition and reality of
the lotus.' Also the word Dharma refers to the teachings that are derived
from the perception of oneness. Some translators use a capital D for
this concept of the Dharma. Although there is only one word in Japanese
which is hō, in these translations I render the difference
between those two concepts with a singular and a plural.
Japanese: Zenna or Zenjō
Meditation or contemplation. Sometimes this word is understood
as an ultra mundane experience. It is also thought of as an especially
profound abstract religious contemplation. Another interpretation is
to be immersed unwaveringly and solely on the object of meditation.
Religious ecstasy has also been suggested. Although we may come across
this word in the Writings of Nichiren Daishōnin, there is no such
meditational practise in the Nichiren Kōmon School .
Dragon – Japanese: Ryū
In China and Japan these beings are mostly seen as benevolent divinities that live in watery places such as the sea, rivers, lakes, ponds and also in the clouds. In some cults dragons are invoked to produce rain. They are also said to be the holders of the Hoshu [Sanskrit: Chintamani], the magic jewel that dispenses treasures and wisdom. They are usually represented as having long scaly bodies with four clawed reptile-like feet and a lion-like head with antlers.
Dragon King's daughter, the – Japanese:
In the Chapter on Daibadatta (Devadatta), the daughter of one of the great Dragon Kings, aged eight, sought to become a Buddha after hearing Mañjushrī (Monjushiri) preach in her father's palace under the sea. At a later date, on hearing Shākyamuni's exposition on Vulture's Peak, her body was transformed into that of a boy and immediately attained enlightenment and became a Buddha. In the teachings prior to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) women were said not to be able to attain to enlightenment and only men could attain after many kalpas of austerities. Such notions are refuted by the example of the Dragon King's daughter becoming a Buddha. There is also the implication that our animality is endowed with the Buddha nature and that it is possible to attain to the path. [See: Ten realms of the dharmas]
Eight classifications of Shākyamuni's teaching – Japanese: shikyō, shi kegi
These eight Tendai (T’ien T’ai) classifications of Shākyamuni's doctrine are again divided into the four kinds of teaching and the four modes of instruction. The four kinds of teaching are a progressive guidance according to the propensities of his disciples to enable them to fully understand the original gateway of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). Firstly, the teaching of the three receptacles which imply all the doctrines of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna). Secondly, the interrelated teachings which act as an intermediate step between the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) and the universal vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna). Thirdly, the Particular Teaching that was particularly for people who were bodhisattvas. Fourthly, the All-inclusive Teaching which is the perfect doctrine of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) and the real intention of Shākyamuni. The four modes of instruction are firstly, the Direct Teaching without holding any of the truth back. The Flower Garland Sutra and the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) fall into this category. Secondly, the Graded Teachings which include most of the teachings of the three receptacles, the interrelated teachings and the Wisdom Sutras. Thirdly, the Esoteric and Secret Doctrines only understood by special members of the assembly. Fourthly, the Indeterminate Teachings from which each hearer obtains growth and wisdom according to their individual propensities.
Emma – Sanskrit: Yama-rāja
Often thought of as the King of Hell, he is said to try and punish all those who fall into his domain. He is the symbol of the severity of karma.
Esoterically inaccessible – Japanese: Himitsu
Within the bounds of the Buddha teaching this expression is used for something that is difficult to know or understand. An esoteric [Hi] gateway to the Dharma is one that is far reaching, deep and subtly all embracing as such it cannot be fully thought out or conclusively deliberated upon. In the Textual Explanation of the Dharma Flower Sutra it says, "The one body being inseparable from the three is said to be esoteric and the three bodies being inseparable from the one are said to be inaccessible. It is also referred to as that which has not been revealed since primeval times and only being known to the Buddha, it is said to be inaccessible."
Extent of the esoteric and almost inaccessible reaches of the mind [of the Tathāgata], the – Japanese: Nyorai himitsu shinzu shi riki
In the provisional Buddha teachings this term refers to the Tathāgata's ten ubiquitous supernatural powers including the power to shake the earth, issue light from his pores, extend his tongue to the heavens of the Bonten effulgent with light, cause divine flowers and suchlike to rain down from the sky, be omnipresent and other supernatural powers of the eye, ear, body and mind. In the teachings of Nichiren, the implications are that as there is not a single being, plant, tree or dharma whatsoever that is not endowed with the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces, the Buddha nature is everywhere and its reaches are the totality of Utterness. [See: Thesis on the Real Aspect of All Dharmas, Nam myōhō renge kyō, One instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces]
Fifty-two bodhisattva stages in the process
of becoming a Buddha, the – Japanese: Gojuni.i
Fifty-one of these stages are those of the bodhisattvas who practised
the teachings that came before the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). Nichiren
in the Collation of the Layers of the Various Teachings mentions
these doctrines as being like the good and evil in a dream. It was also
a period when the practitioners of these doctrines advance upwards through
the fifty-one of these stages like the rungs of a ladder. The fifty-second
stage is the ultimate and utter awakening. Also the notion of time in
all the provisional teachings is like that of a long piece of string
as opposed to the simultaneity of cause and effect in the teachings
of Nichiren, in which time is understood as the ever-present now in the infinity in time. These fifty-two stages are:
– The ten stages of developing faith. [Jusshin]
– The ten stages of abiding in the teaching. [Juju]
– The ten necessary activities of a bodhisattva. [Jugyo]
– The ten stages of bestowing merit on others. [Ju.eko]
– The ten stages of firm ground. [Juji]
– The stage of the overall awakening. [tōgaku]
– The stage of being utterly awakened. [myōgaku]
Although these fifty-two stages are mentioned in various writings of
Nichiren Daishōnin they have no role in the practice of the Nichiren
Kōmon School whatsoever.
Five aggregates, the Japanese: go’on
What the five aggregates are about is how our minds and bodies react
to our surroundings and the various circumstances of being alive. These
five aggregates are the components of all intelligent beings 1) Shiki,
bodily form which involves all our organs of sense 2) ju, reception,
taking things in, feeling and the workings of mind in relation to whatever
is happening to us 3) sō, thought in the sense being
able to make out what is happening and what things are 4) gyō,
choice which is the function of mind with regard to picking and choosing
between like, dislike, good and bad etc. 5) shiki, cognition
which means we have perception of what is going on. This cognition is
associated with the sixth of the nine cognitions. That is to say, the
cognition of mental activity i which implies awareness without
actually thinking things out.
Five ideograms for Myōhō Renge Kyō – Japanese: Myōhō no goji
In Sino-Japanese the title of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) is written with five ideograms for Myō, hō, ren, ge, kyō and is almost invariably used for Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō [See: Nam myōhō renge kyō]
the – Japanese: Goji
Theses five periods are a classification that the Universal Teacher Tendai (T’ien T’ai) used to indicate the gradation of the lifetime of the Buddha teachings of Shākyamuni. These doctrines were set in an order of five periods according to their contents. What Shākyamuni preached during the first four periods, were various expedient means with which he could entice his followers to listen and have faith in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), which was the reason for his appearance in the world. These periods are:
1. The Flower Garland Period, which was taught in three divisions of seven days each, following his enlightenment.
2. The twelve years of his expounding the individual teachings, in the Deer Park of Lumbini.
3. The equally broad (hōdō, vaipulya) period, made up of the teaching of the universal teaching, preached over a period of twelve years.
4. The wisdom (hannya, prajña) period consisting of twenty years of teaching the wisdom sutras.
5. The eight years of teaching the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) and in a day and one night, the Nirvana Sutra.
Flower Garland School – Japanese: Kegonshū
The Flower Garland School teaches that all sentient beings have the Buddha nature and that all events in the universe are interdependent. Where the teachings of this school fall short is clearly indicated in many writings of Nichiren Daishōnin.
Flower Garland Sutra – Japanese: Kegon Kyō – Sanskrit: Avatāmsaka Sutra
This is said to be the first of all the Five Periods as defined
by Tendai (T’ien T’ai), according to whom, Shākyamuni expounded this sutra immediately
after he became a Buddha, but accounts vary as to whether it was on
the second, third or seventh day. The whole title of this sutra is Sutra
on Universally Spacious Flower Garland of the Buddha. Its context is
that Birushana [Vairocana] expounded to the bodhisattvas who
had greater propensities, stating everything that exists is bound to
the rest of existence through circumstances and mutually interdependent
roles. This is explained by the formula, ‘The boundlessness of karmic
synchronicities give rise to the realms of dharmas'.
He also explained, in spite of the appearance that our individual minds
are separate, existence is the oneness of mind, stating that, ‘All dharmas
are only mind and the three realms of form, formlessness and desire
are only knowledge'. But the people who were to do the practices of
this teaching had to follow the fifty-two grades of the bodhisattva
in order to become a Buddha. To do this, the practitioner would have
to practise these austerities over a period of twenty universal asōgi
and hundreds of ten of thousands of kalpas.
Formal era of the dharma of Shākyamuni,
the – Japanese: Zōhō or Zōbō
This is the second millenium after the extinction [Paranirvana] of Shākyamuni. The word Zōhō has something of the sense of ‘being like the Dharma'. By this time the Buddha Teaching had spread to China, Korea and Japan. During this period many temples, monasteries and convents were built under the patronage of each countries rulers, which gave the abbots and patriarchs enormous power. In spite of this apparently prosperous period when practises and rites became formalized, the number of believers able to derive benefit from the Buddha Teaching, were few.
Four Great Bodhisattvas , the – Japanese: Shi Dai Bosatsu
Jōgyō, Muhengyō, Jyōgyō and Anryūgyō are the leaders of the countless bodhisattvas who sprang from the earth in the fifteenth chapter of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) In the translation of their names Jōgyō is Supreme Practice, Muhengyō is Boundless Practice, Jyōgyō is Pure Practice and Anryūgyō the Practice that Establishes Peace. These bodhisattvas are often referred to as the leaders of the chant Nam myōhō renge kyō . Nichiren is seen as the reincarnation of these Four Bodhisattvas. In the Threefold Transmission Concerning the Fundamental Object of Veneration Nichiren gives Jōgyō the quality of fire, Muhengyō that of earth, Jyōgyō water and Anryūgyō wind and the Nam myōhō renge kyō in the center of the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon), relativity. This same transmission also states that ‘these five archetypes are our basic composition'.
Fundamental Object of Veneration,
the – Japanese: gohonzon
Not feeling competent to write this definition myself, I have made
a translation of the entry in the Goshō Jiten : The Fundamental
Object of Veneration (gohonzon) is what we have as basis for
our deepest respect and veneration. In Nichikan Shōnin's Remarks
on the Gohonzon for Contemplating the Mind, we have, ‘Only that
which becomes fundamental is venerated and honoured, this is why it
is called the gohonzon'. With regards to correctly choosing and deciding
what should be the gohonzon, it says in the Thesis on Questions
and Answers concerning the Gohonzon, ‘You must practise in front
of the Gohonzon that stands above all others'. The object that is honoured
and venerated by the Nichiren Kōmon School is ‘the gohonzon of
the original gateway'. This gohonzon includes both the person and his
dharma. The person means that he is the incarnation of the benefit of
the self-received wisdom body whose original beginning is in the primordial
infinity. He is the Lord, Teacher and Parent whose seeds of enlightenment,
sown in the primordial infinity, ripen during the final era of the dharma
of Shākyamuni; he is also Lord of the teaching of the utterness of original
Cause as revealed in Nichiren's thesis on the ‘Clearing of
the Eyes'. He is the universally compassionate and universally merciful
Nichiren to whom we consecrate and dedicate our lives.
The gohonzon of the dharma is the pragmatic one instant of thought containing
three thousand existential spaces. The intrinsicality of existence,
that is devoid of all action and explained in the Thesis on the
Fundamental Object of Veneration for Contemplating the Mind, is
also the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) of Nam myōhō
renge kyō . The gohonzon of the person and his dharma is
a single entity. Hence the relationship of the person not being separate
from the dharma and the dharma not being separate from the person.
[See: Thesis on the Fundamental Object of
Veneration for Contemplating the Mind, Thesis
on Questions and Answers Concerning the Fundamental Object of Veneration]
Fundamental Substance of the Dharma – Japanese: Hottai
The essential unchanging nature that underlies all phenomena and noumena that are always subject to change. In the first fascicle of the Oral Transmission the fundamental substance of the Dharma is Nam myōhō renge kyō .
Gateway to the Dharma – Japanese: Hōmon
The Doctrines of Wisdom of the Buddha or Nichiren which are seen as gateways to enlightenment. [See: Dharmas, Realms of the dharma]
General Teachings of the Individual Vehicle – Japanese: Agon Kyō – Sanskrit: āgama Sutra
With regards to the five periods of the teachings of Shākyamuni that were stipulated by Tendai (T’ien T’ai), this is the second. This period is referred to as the Agon Period in some Nichiren Schools. It is also called the teaching of the three receptacles, or the imperishable doctrine. It is said that this period constitutes the first twelve years of the teaching of Shākyamuni immediately after the six days period after his under the bodhi tree when he expounded the Flower Garland Sutra. [See: Five periods]
Great Demon King of the Sixth Heaven,
the – Japanese: Dai Roku Ten no Ma' ō
He is also known as the Deva King Independent of Those who are Converted by Another [in this case the Daishōnin]. In the ninth fascicle of the Discourse that Carries Beings over to Nirvana it says, ‘This Deva snatches away those who have been converted by another, however since this is for his own amusement he is called “Independent of Those who are Converted by Another”. This deva dwells in the highest of the six heavens of desire. He strives to prevent those who have faith in the Buddha teaching from practising or even those who seek the truth or any form of realisation. Nichiren describes this Demon as the fundamental lack of clarity or bewilderment that is inherent in all existence.
Hell of incessant suffering – Japanese: Abijigoku – Sanskrit: Avici
The last and deepest of the eight hot hells where those who fall into it suffer, die and are instantly reborn to suffering without interruption.
Hossō school, the – Japanese:
One of the ten schools mentioned in the Thesis on Questions
and Answers Concerning the Fundamental Object of Veneration. This
school is sometimes called the consciousness only school. This means
that the dharma of the Buddha is a perfect oneness as opposed to the
vision of common mortals who live in a world of countless different
dharmas (things) that make up the whole of existence. Therefore,
in order to arrive at enlightenment it is important to understand the
real nature of all dharmas. This school also teaches that everything
that is perceived, either physical or mental, stems from the cognizance
of the mind's storehouse of all dharmas [Japanese:
Zōshiki, Sanskrit: Alāya-vijñāna].
Human-like non-humans – Japanese: Ninpinin
A classification of eight different kinds of sentient beings that
were with the Buddha, bodhisattvas and other sage-like individuals when Shākyamuni
expounded the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) on Spirit Vulture's Peak. The eight
are the deva, dragons, yasha, kendatsuba, ashura,
karura, kinnara and mahoraga.
[See: under individual headings for the humanlike non-humans]
Implanted Seeds – Japanese: Geshū
This means planting the seeds for becoming a Buddha in the fields
of the minds of sentient beings. It is one of the three benefits [The
benefit of the planted seeds, the benefit of their maturation and the
benefit of their liberation]. In the Buddha teaching of Shākyamuni the
seeds were implanted in entient beings in a distant past by the Buddha
himself. These sentient beings after doing various practises and cultivating
themselves for a long sequence of kalpas, they themselves were able
to become enlightened. In the process of becoming Buddhas, the seeds
that were sown in a distant past had to have their propensities nourished
so as to become mature and attain their liberation. The temporary gateway
of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) refers to this distant past as being three
thousand kalpas of grains of dust ago. In the original gateway it clearly
defines the Buddha seeds as being implanted in a past of five hundred
kalpas of grains of dust. However these two instances refer to the people
who, due to their karmic relationship to Shākyamuni, were able to open
their inherent Buddha nature and are referred to by the technical expression
as already being in possession of good from the beginning. When these
sentient beings reached the level of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) they were
to become emancipated. Those sentient beings who attended the assembly
of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) who allowed no leakage from the truth as
well as the people who had an affinity with the provisional universal
vehicle during the thousand-year period of the correct Dharma, were
able to attain to liberation. During the thousand year period of the
formal Dharma there were people who were able to become emancipated
through the Universal Desistance from Troublesome Worries in Order
to See Clearly of Tendai (T’ien T’ai). When we look at the implanted seeds of
Nichiren, the sentient beings of the final phase of
the Dharma of Shākyamuni had neither a relationship with him nor were
they furnished with good roots. These people are described as fundamentally
not yet being in possession of goodness. Because the seeds of Nam
Myōhō Renge Kyō had been implanted in the primordially
infinite original beginning as well as their acceptance of the Nam
Myōhō Renge Kyō of Nichiren, they
are able to directly attain to the correct view of realising that one's
person is not separate from becoming a Buddha. [See:
Becoming a Buddha]
Individual Vehicle – Japanese: Shojō – also known as the hīnayāna or Theravāda School.
One of the two major streams of the Buddha teaching. Believers in this vehicle hold that the persons who practise this teaching work out their salvation by holding to the way demonstrated by the Buddha Shākyamuni at the outset of his teaching. There are many adherents to this teaching in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma and other parts of South East Asia.
Intrinsicality of the fundamental substance,
the – Japanese: Tairi
In the Thesis on the Whole being Contained in the One Instant of Thought Nichiren writes, ‘The intrinsicality of the substance which is the three thousand existential spaces, the three axioms of relativity, phenomena and the middle way as well the three bodies are not the doing of mankind but are originally existent.'
Intrinsicality of the real suchness that is
immutable in essence and which belongs to the temporary gateway,
the – Japanese: Shakumon fuhen shinnyō no ri .
This concept becomes apparent in the temporary gateway of the Dharma
Flower Sutra. The real suchness that is immutable in essence implies
the eternal unchanging reality that is the intrinsicality of all existence.
The real aspect of dharmas (things) that was expounded in the
temporary gateway of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) reveals the theoretical
principle of the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential
spaces which enables all sentient beings everywhere to open their inherent
Buddha nature. [See: Thesis
on the Real Aspect of All Dharmas, Oral
Transmission on the Significance of the Dharma Flower Sutra]
Jōgyō, the Bodhisattva
– Japanese: Jōgyō Bosatsu [See:
Four Great Bodhisattvas]
Jōjitsu school, the – Japanese:
The Jōjitsu school is one of the ten mentioned in Nichiren's Thesis on Questions and Answers Concerning the Fundamental Object of Veneration. Jōjitsu translated literally means ‘attaining reality'. This school taught that existence was relativity [kū] and took a negative standpoint with regard to everything, denying the existence of anything whatsoever. This teaching is said to be the highest point of the doctrines of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) and is thought of as the first step towards the universal vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna).
Karma – Japanese: Go – Sanskrit: Karman
In most Chinese and Japanese dictionaries this word has a meaning of business, trade, undertaking, conduct and achievement. However, within the context of the Buddha teaching, all our ‘doings', ‘deeds' or workings of some kind, have an effect on our minds and bodies. For example, a bright child full of life becomes a shrewd young boy and later on turns into a bad tempered old man. Our lives are always influenced by our past and present thoughts and deeds, which we carry beyond our intermediate existence between dying and being born into future lives.
Karmic Requital on Subjectivity – Japanese: Shōhō
Requital is a translation of the Japanese word hō, which is also understood as recompense, retribution, reward or punishment. In order to take a neutral stance between reward and punishment I prefer to use the word requital. Karmic requital on our subjectivity is how we feel in relation to any given experience at the instant it occurs. Since all sentient existence is subjective even if we think we are being objective about it, there is no situation that is not influenced by karma. Karma should be understood as ‘the goings on' of the totality of existence past, present and future.
Karmic Requital on the Environment – Japanese: Ehō
Karmic requital on the environment is how our surroundings appear to us according to our karmic relationships. A grey day can be a nasty soggy wet morning or a romantic Bruges peeping through the mist. A hamburger can be delicious or it is simply fast food. Whatever circumstances we may find ourselves in, is a karmic requital on our environment, but it takes a long time and a lot of practise before we genuinely understand that the participation in the terror of an air raid is only mind and the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma). Personally I am not capable of this.
Karura – Sanskrit: Garuda
These birds originally come out of the Brahmanic pantheon, they were also mortal enemies of the dragons. Only the dragons who possess a Buddhist talisman or who are converted to the Buddhist teaching can escape from them. In Japanese painting they are represented as large ornate birds with human heads treading on serpents. In South East Asia the walls of temples are often decorated with Karura as at Angkor or in Java.
Kendabba – Sanskrit: Gandharva
These are the musicians of the heaven of Taishaku and the protectors of the Buddha teaching. In paintings they are depicted as sitting in the position of royal ease. They also have a halo and are said to nourish themselves on scents.
Kinnara – Sanskrit: Kimnara
The Kinnara are heavenly musicians serving the court of Kuvera. They are also represented in the shape of an exotic bird with a human torso holding a musical instrument and are reputed to have marvellous voices.
Kusha School, the – Japanese: Kushashū
The text upon w0hich this school is based is the discourses on
the Store of Doctrinal Studies of the Dharma [Japanese: Kusharon].
This school teaches that the self is insubstantial whereas the dharma
(things) and time really exist. Although Nichiren
mentions this as one of the ten schools in Japan in his Thesis on
Questions and Answers Concerning the Fundamental Object of Veneration,
this school never really established itself, however its teachings were
studied by all serious schools of the Buddha dharma.
Lesser Vehicle [See: Individual Vehicle]
Life, life and destiny –
Japanese: Myō, Inochi
This is the totality of one's existence including karma. There are other meanings of this ideogram which are beyond the scope of this glossary.
Magoraka – Sanskrit: Mahorāga
Of all the humanlike non-humans the Magoraka are the most vague. In some Chinese dictionaries they are defined as ‘serpents who walk on their breasts'. They originally belonged to the Brahmanic pantheon and in Buddhism they have been partly assimilated by the dragons.
Mantra – Japanese: Shingon
This already exists in the Oxford Dictionary. On the whole, mantras
are syllabic formulas and abbreviated Sanskrit words usually used as
an aid to recollect the content of a teaching. This word has a relationship
to the Sanskrit word man, to think, recollect or suppose. With
regard to the teaching of Nichiren Daishōnin, Nam myōhō
renge kyō is not a mantra, it is the theme and title made
up of seven ideograms, each of which has a profound meaning.
Memyō – Sanskrit: Ashvaghosha
A second century Buddhist thinker from the Kingdom of Shravasti in India. He brought many people to the Buddha teaching due to the quality of his literary style.
Middle way, the – Japanese: Chūdō
There are many explanations of the middle way but that which is
relevant here is that of the Tendai School based on the Thesis on
the Median by Nāgārjuna (Ryūju) which
is founded in the axiom of relativity, phenomena and the median or middle
way which inevitably are seen as fused together and all dharmas
can be understood from these three aspects. The phenomenal view of a
cup for example, would be, as it appears its physical properties of
shape, colour, texture, weight and volume. From the view of relativity
it would be the cup in relation to its surroundings and all one associates
with the word ‘cup', the history of cups or even ceramics. In other
words it's spatial and noumenal qualities. However neither noumenal
nor the phenomenal aspects are the reality, its reality is a fusion
of both. Tendai's (T’ien T’ai) vision goes further to that which he calls the unthinkably
unutterable triple axiom of existence; relativity, phenomenon and the median.
The unthinkably unutterable is the same as utterness [myō],
which gives rise to the teaching that the three ways of seeing are contained
in the oneness and instant of mind. [See: Thesis
on the Real Aspect of All Dharmas, Such a final superlative
that is equally present from the first to the last of the nine such
Mind – Japanese: kokoro, shin,
i - Sanskrit: citta
Nichiren Daishōnin begins his “Thesis on the Fundamental
Object of Veneration (gohonzon) for Contemplating the Mind” Kanjin no
Honzon Shō by intimating through a quote from Tendai (T’ien T’ai) which
summarily goes over the concept of the one instant of thought containing
three thousand existential spaces, Nichiren goes on to say,
“If there is no mind then that is the end of it. But even the
minutest existence of mind is endowed with the three thousand.”
Further on there is another quote “Because it becomes what is
called the unthinkably inexplicable realm of objectivity Fushigikyō
i.e., the whole of existence irrespective as to whether it is inside
or outside our heads it is here where the meaning lies.”
However if we are to talk about existence it is not too difficult to
think of it as the whole of existence. I am here in Flanders which is
part of Belgium, which again is a part of the European Union that is
on the old continent of the planet Earth which is part of the solar
system that is part of the Milky Way and so forth. Also the inner space
inside my head is just as vast. Sometimes we randomly use the word “water”
which may have the nuance of water in the tap but also all the water
in the sea. Life and mind are almost synonymous.
When I was in Hong Kong during the 1970’s, my Chinese Teacher
Xin Guang made me repeat at the beginning of each session “All
dharmas i.e., anything that the mind or body can be conscious of
is only mind and the three realms where 1) sentient beings have appetites
and desires, 2) where they are incarnated in physical bodies in physical
surroundings and 3) where they are endowed with a realm of thoughts,
dreams, fantasies and concepts, sangai are only three ways
of perception shiki.
Myōraku (Miao-lo) firmly states that the whole of mind can be divided into
materiality and mind. This seems to suggest that all the contents of
the physical world exist and follow their own laws of 1) coming into
being, 2) lasting as long as they should, 3) degenerating and falling
apart, 4) then ceasing to exist altogether shō, ju,
i, metsu. This concept would indicate that time is
a one way direction. But if there is no mind to be aware of it, it doesn’t
The experience of being confronted with the experience of the physical
and material worlds is the storehouse cognition arayashiki.
The day we are born everything is just there waiting for us to explore
and resist and it is in this way we build up our karma.
The Buddha teaching of Nichiren helps us to understand
that life or rather living and dying is a continual experience, but
if we endeavour to open up our inherent Buddha nature with our persons
just as they are then everything we undergo becomes richer and more
meaningful. The teaching of the Daishōnin is not particularly
concerned with how big or how small the universe is or what it is made
of. This is a problem for physicists. However mind (kokoro,
shin, i) is limited to all that is inscribed on the
Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) which is held in
place by the four universal deva kings. Needless to say that all this
is as big as life. Mind is both our conscious world as well as having
all the implications of the unconscious depths as described by the various
trends in psychology. Although we may be governed by the archetypes
in our respective psyches they are nevertheless distorted by our karma.
The cognition of pure mind is in no way separate from the Gohonzon and
is the real driving force of life.
This fact is celebrated by the recitation of the title and theme (daimoku); Nam myōhō renge kyō. A rough translation would be “To devote one’s life and to found it on Nam, the place and time (kyō) where the interdependence of cause and effect (renge) of the whole of existence (myōhō) occurs. Our mind is always where it is focused on whether we are conscious or not. But at the same time it is the oneness of mind.
In modern Japanese the word kokoro for mind has acquired many
nuances like the same word in modern English [Kenkyusha’s
New Japanese English Dictionary, page 897 to 901]
Mind, the ideogram for (Japanese:
Shin – Sanskrit: Hrdaya) can also refer to the
heart as the seat of thought or intelligence. In both cases the mind
or heart is conceived as an eight petalled lotus. Both sentient beings
and the non-sentient objective world possess heart and mind. Since mind
is the whole of mind it is also its own storehouse. This is the storehouse
cognition (Japanese: Zōshiki – Sanskrit: Alaya
vijnaña) which is the source of all mental activity and
the storehouse of all dharmas (things).
Nichiren Daishōnin in his Thesis on The Opposing
Views of the Eight Schools [Gosho Shimpen pages 520 & 521] quotes
from the fifth fascicle (scroll) of the Desistance from Troublesome
Worries in Order to See Clearly. It says, “The mind is a
skilful artist who creates the five aggregates [which are 1) Materiality,
physical form and all that is perceived through the five organs of sense
2) Sensation, feeling and the functioning of the mind in the way we
perceive the world within us and around us, 3) Concepts, the power to
discern, discriminate and reason, 4) Volition and the ability to make
informed decisions and the choice of action. 5) Cognition and ways of
knowing associated with the nature of mind which is the cognition of
all the mental powers.] Out of everything that is to be found in each
and every realm of existence, there is nothing that is not created by
mind itself. All the variations of the five aggregates that are inherent
in our own realms of dharmas (things).” Again Nichiren
quotes towards the end of this thesis, “Should someone ask what
does it say in the Flower Garland Sutra? Then again you must point out
that it shows what our inner and outer environment really consists of.
As previously mentioned the mind creates, but what is created is already
there in the mind. Therefore by quoting the text of the mind creating
would imply that the mind already contains what it creates. In the middle
of the eighteenth fascicle (scroll) of the Sutra, the Bodhisattva Kotokurin
says something like this in his metric hymn. As the mind is a skilful
artist who creates the five aggregates, there is not a single dharma
in all the existential and dharma realms that is not created by mind.
The mind is also the Buddha and sentient beings are just the same. The
mind, the Buddha as well as sentient beings are not separate entities.
If somebody were to aspire to know all the Buddhas of the past, present
and future, this person should see this aspiration in the following
manner. It is the mind that creates all the Tathāgatas.”
So from the Buddhist viewpoint mind and existence are the same. In the
Setsumon Geji the ideogram for mind, shin or kokoro
is defined as “The human heart is in the middle of the body.”
Mind as the faculty of thought –
Japanese: I, Mano, Kokoro – Sanskrit:
This is the faculty that makes us think we are who
we are. At first sight this term also corresponds to mind in its widest
sense but biased towards the intellect, intelligence, understanding
with also an undertone of will and intention. It is also the individual
will to go on living due to its inherent addiction to the television
screen of life. It could be the cataloque of all human experience. Animals
do learn words but do not possess language to the extent of human beings.
What mind as the faculty of thought cannot really understand is that
the television screen of life is only a reflection of mind as it is
according to our karmic circumstances. Although the impressions are
funneled in through the first six cognitions [1) the cognition of sight,
2) the cognition of hearing 3) the cognition of smell 4) the cognition
of taste 5) the cognition of touch and 6) the cognition of being aware
of and conscious of these former five cognitions and also what goes
on in the mind.]
What this really amounts to is that what is perceived
by these first six cognitions as well as mind as the faculty of thought
is all that goes on in our lives. This faculty of thought is all that
goes on in our lives. This faculty has a strong power of attaching itself
to the result of its own thinking. It is constantly being aware of images,
sounds, tasks and so forth, even if they are only imagined. All of which
induce the mind as the faculty of thought to presume to be the controller
of the body as well as being the part of us that makes decisions. This
faculty also sees itself as independent by nature.
Mind as the faculty of thought is like one of those
two-faced monsters from the realms of mythology. One face looks towards
the six cognitions and the other looks toward the cognition that is
the storehouse of mind. [Japanese: Zōshiki – Sanskrit:
Alaya] The faculty of thought does not know that the cognition
that is the storehouse of mind is none other than mind, but we can always
find some kind of faith to want to practise – a practise to dissipate
our bewilderment and open our inherent Buddha nature and realise who
In the Setsumon Geji, one of the oldest Chinese dictionaries,
the ideogram i or kokoro is defined as “The
mind understands words and knows their intention.”
Muhengyō, the Bodhisattva –
Japanese: Muhengyō Bosatsu [See:
Four Great Bodhisattvas]
Myōraku – Japanese: Myōraku Daishi – Chinese: Miao-lo dashi
Referred to as the Universal Teacher Myōraku (Miao-lo), he was born in China in 711 CE and died in 782 CE and was the ninth patriarch of the Chinese Tendai School. When he was twenty years of age he studied the teachings of the Tendai School under Genrō the eighth patriarch. At thirty-eight he took sage-like orders and fully studied the teachings of the Zen, Kegon, Shingon and Hossō Schools of that period. When the Tendai School was on the verge of collapse, he refuted all the arguments of each and every school and established the view that the single vehicle of the Dharma Flower was the truth.
Nam myōhō renge kyō
The consecration and founding of one's life on the Sutra on
the Lotus Flower of the Utterness of the Dharma. Nam myōhō
renge kyō is the basic chant of Nichiren Shōshū
and is often referred to as daimoku or the title and theme.
It is also one of the three universal esoteric dharmas.
Nichiren says the following about Nam Myōhō
Renge Kyō in The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden), ‘Nam is a Sanskrit word which,
translated into classical Chinese means “to consecrate and found one's
life on”. In the confines of the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) in
which we consecrate and found our lives, there is both the person and
the Dharma. The person is Nichiren who is the Shākyamuni
submerged within the text. The Dharma is the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) for
the final phase of the Dharma of Shākyamuni which is Nam Myōhō
Renge Kyō and is the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon). This
means that we consecrate and found our lives on the Universal Fundamental
Object of Veneration (gohonzon) of the oneness of the person and the Dharma. Furthermore
“to consecrate” implies that we turn our lives towards the intrinsicality
of the real suchness that is immutable in essence and which belongs
to the temporary gateway. “Our lives” refers to a life founded in the
wisdom of the real suchness as it is according to the circumstances
and is a concept that belongs to the original gateway. This consecration
and making it a foundation of our lives is Nam Myōhō
Renge Kyō [the consecration and founding of our lives on
the Sutra on the White Lotus Flower-like Mechanism of the Utterness of the Dharma]. This
is explained as the intrinsicality of the real suchness that is immutable
in essence and the real suchness as it is according to the circumstance,
are, in the shortest instant of mind, a manifestation of the whole of
existence. Again, “to consecrate” has the meaning of our physical existence
and “our lives” implies all that goes on in our minds. The inseparability
of mind and materiality is the single superlative that is the utterly
imponderable underlying principle. This is also explained as “turning
towards this single superlative because it is what is called the Buddha
vehicle”. Furthermore “Nam” [Namas] of Nam myōhō
renge kyō is Sanskrit, myōhō renge kyō
is classical Chinese. It is said that Nam myōhō
renge kyō is at the same time both Sanskrit and Chinese.
In Sanskrit it is Saddharma Pundarîka Sūtram. Sat
is Utterness [myō], Dharma is the same
in English and hō in Japanese, Pundarîka is
the lotus flower [renge] and Sūtram [kyō]
means sutra. The nine syllables of Saddharma Pundarîka Sūtram
are the Buddha entity that is made up of nine World Honoured Ones
which symbolise the nine dharma realms not being separate from the Buddha
realm. Utterness [myō] is the essence of the Dharma and
dharmas [hō] are its unenlightenment. The single
entity of unenlightenment and the Dharma essence is called the Utterness
of the Dharma. The lotus flower [renge] is the two dharmas
(things) of cause and effect and is understood as cause and effect being
a single simultaneous entity. Sutra [kyō] is said to
be all the speech, words, utterances and voices of all sentient beings.
This is explained as “when the voice becomes the transmission of the
Buddha Dharma it is called a sutra”. By being constant throughout the
past, present and future it is called a sutra. The realm of the dharmas
or the Dharma realm is the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma). The realm
of the dharmas is the lotus flower. The realm of the dharmas is the sutra. The Lotus Flower is the Buddha entity of the
Nine World Honoured Ones in the eight petalled lotus. You must ponder
over this thoroughly.' [See: Oral
Transmission on the Significance of the Dharma Flower Sutra]
[This translation has been slightly simplified by the author in the
interests of accessibility.]
Namu – Japanese: Nam ' – Sanskrit: Namas
This is a Sino-Japanese phonetic rendering of the original Sanskrit word which has a number of meanings:
1. To consecrate one's life and found it on.
2. To take refuge in and worship.
3. To venerate and worship.
4. To respect and venerate.
5. To commit oneself to the meaning.
6. Save me.
7. Carry me over to the shores of Nirvana.
To serve and hold in veneration, to faithfully follow and to commit oneself to the meaning, refer to mental karma. To take refuge in and worship, and to bow one's head to the floor and worship, represents bodily karma. Save me and carry me to the shores of Nirvana, refer to oral karma, where as to consecrate one's life and found it on, refers to the three karmas of mind, body and mouth. However, when Nichiren Shōshū Buddhists recite this word before myōhō renge kyō it is always pronounced Nam, except when reciting the drawn out title and theme when it is pronounced naaaamuu. [See: Nam myōhō renge kyō]
Nevertheless, how the Daishōnin used and understood this word has deeper implications that go far beyond these meanings. In his Letter Concerning a Sack of White Rice he writes, ‘Nam is an Indian word, in China and Japan it means to consecrate and make something the foundation of one's life, what we consecrate and found our lives on is the commitment of our lives and destinies to the Buddha.' In The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) he extends his argument further, ‘Nam is a Sanskrit word which, translated into classical Chinese means “to consecrate and found one's life on”. In the confines of the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) in which we consecrate and found our lives, there is both the person and the Dharma. The person is Nichiren who is the Shākyamuni submerged within the text. The Dharma is the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) which is Nam myōhō renge kyō and is the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon). This means that we consecrate and found our lives on the Universal Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) of the oneness of the person and the dharma. Furthermore “to consecrate” implies that we turn our lives towards the intrinsicality of the real suchness that is immutable in essence and which belongs to the temporary gateway. “Our lives” refer to a life founded in the wisdom of the real suchness as it is according to the circumstances and is a concept that belongs to the original gateway. This consecration and making it a foundation of our lives is Nam myōhō renge kyō.'
Nichiren Daishōnin [1222-82 CE] [See: Introduction]
Nichiren Shōshū (Nichiren Kōmon
The orthodox teaching of Nichiren Daishōnin also known
as the Fuji school. The Taisekiji temple in Fujinomiya in the Shizuoka
prefecture is the main temple and has maintained the purity of the doctrine
of Nichiren Daishōnin for more than seven hundred years.
Non-existence of self-nature, the
– Japanese: mujishō
Each and every dharma (things) comes into being through
cause, karmic circumstances and affinity. There is no such thing as
an inherent essence or an original nature.
One Buddha Vehicle, the – Japanese:
This vehicle is the only vehicle which is the dharma that really
leads people to become enlightened. In the Second Chapter on Expedient
Means, in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), it says, ‘That is why the Tathāgata
uses only the one Buddha vehicle to expound the dharma for sentient
beings.' This term could also be paraphrased as the instructive dharma
that is the vehicle that transports people to the Buddha's own environment.
In the Chapter on Expedient Means, Shākyamuni cleared away the teachings
for the three vehicles (those of the bodhisattvas, the people who are
awakened by karmic circumstances and the hearers of the voice, all of
them who were at the time doing separate practises) so as to reveal
to them the real truth of the Buddha enlightenment.
[See: Vehicle, Two vehicles,
Three vehicles, ten [psychological] realms of dharmas]
One instant of thought containing
three thousand existential spaces, the – Japanese: Ichinen
The whole of existence, the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma). In every instant
of life or mind of all non-sentiency and sentient life there is the
whole of both subjective and objective existence. The three thousand,
which originally was a concept of Indian origin is a term used by the
Tendai (T’ien T’ai) and Nichiren teachings to express the totality of life. To arrive
at this number one begins with the ten dharma realms which refer to
an environment, determined by karma, which consists of ten categories
of sentient being: hell; hungry demons; animals; shura; human beings;
deva; hearers of the voice; those awakened by affinities; bodhisattvas;
Buddhas. Each one of these ten realms contains the other nine in itself
so that there are a hundred realms in total. These hundred realms are
conditioned by the ten such qualities: appearance; nature; substance;
strength; action; cause; karmic relation; fruition; requital and the
final superlative that is equally present in the other nine such qualities.
Multiplied by these ten such qualities the total becomes one thousand.
All these various subjective mental states and their various conditions
due to the ten such qualities, take place in three kinds of existential
space. Firstly, the existential space of sentient beings: according
to the fifth fascicle of Tendai's (T’ien T’ai) Universal Desistance from Troublesome
Worries in order to See Clearly, an existential space implies that
there are other existential spaces which reveal the differences between
each of the ten realms from the Buddha realm to that of hell. Secondly,
the existential space of the five aggregates which are the reciprocal
differences between our physical appearance, our perceptions, thoughts,
volition and ways of knowing. Thirdly, the existential space of abode
and terrain, which may be understood as that whilst hellish beings live
in hell, human beings inhabit the world of mankind. With these three
kinds of existential space, the thousand subjective mental states become
three thousand life conditions and their respective environments. Since
existence cannot be separated from mind this one instant of thought
containing three thousand existential spaces is understood as being
the utterness of both animate and inanimate existence: it follows that
nothing can exist outside it. [See: Ten
realms, Ten such qualities, Three
kinds of existential space]
Original Gateway, the – Japanese:
The Dharma gateway that reveals the original terrain of the Buddha. The opposite to the expression temporary gateway. The traditional metaphor explains the temporary gateway as being the reflection of the moon in the pond whereas the original gateway is the moon itself. Tendai (T’ien T’ai) in the first fascicle of his Textual Explanation of the Dharma Flower divided the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) into the temporary gateway and the original gateway. The original gateway is the last fourteen chapters of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) beginning with the Fifteenth Chapter on Springing from the Earth to the Twenty-Eighth Chapter on the Persuasiveness and Quest [for Buddhahood] of the Bodhisattva Universally Worthy (Fugen, Samantabhadra). The main characteristic of the temporary gateway is its approximation to the one instant of thought containing three thousand kinds of existential space which can only amount to the theoretical possibility of becoming a Buddha. On the other hand the original gateway clearly defines the original terrain of the Buddha which is his original attainment in the primordial infinity. This implies that the Buddha realm is inherent in the ever-present infinite in time (kuon ganjo). The Sixteenth Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata becomes the very essence of the original gateway by destroying the notion of the temporary gateway and other provisional teachings that the Buddha was first enlightened in his historical lifetime. The original gateway indicates the cause, fruition and abode of his attainment to the way in the primordial distance of five hundred kalpas of grains of dust and thus establishes the grounds for the pragmatic one instant of thought containing three thousand kinds of existential space. In the teaching of Nichiren this astronomical figure of the primordial distance is the primordially infinite original beginning which in present-day language is the ever-present infinite in time (kuon ganjo). This concept is inherent in Nichiren's Thesis on the Utterness of the Original Cause as the one and only original gateway. The teachings that are called the benefit of liberation, which are based on a literal understanding of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) as well as the temporary and original gateways, are taken to be the temporary gateway but the teaching of the Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata of the doctrine of the Buddha seeds being implanted in the primordial infinity is the one and only original gateway.
Primordial infinity – Japanese: Ku.on [See: Primordially infinite original beginning]
Primordially infinite original beginning, the – Japanese: ku.on ganjō
The ever-present infinite in time (kuon ganjo).
Pure Land School, the – Japanese:
The name of this school has also been translated as the Immaculate Terrain school. Essentially the teaching of this school is based on Nāgārjuna's (Ryūju) principle of the easy road to Nirvana. This school was established by Hōnen, who first taught its doctrine in 1175 CE. He underlined the need for faith and the continual repetition of the incantation: Namu Amida Butsu. This formula is often referred to as the Nembutsu. At the time of Nichiren this school had become very popular and its teaching still survives today in a somewhat folkloric state.
Real aspect, the – Japanese: Jissō
The actuality of something – its Dharma nature, its suchness, its essential truth or unchangeable intrinsicality. The real aspect of all dharmas (things) is revealed in the Second Chapter on Expedient Means of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). In the eighth fascicle of the Recondite Significance of the Dharma Flower it is written, ‘whatever is done by thought, word or deed is transient, all dharmas are devoid of ego and are the silent stillness of nirvana.' These three definitions are seen as the three tokens of proof of the universal vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna). However in the teaching of Nichiren everything that exists has only one fundamental ‘isness' which is Nam myōhō renge kyō. [See: Nam myōhō renge kyō] This of course implies the mutual possession of the three thousand existential spaces that make up an instant of thought. [See: One instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces]
Realm of the dharmas,
the – Japanese: Hokkai
The name for everything in general – noumenal or phenomenal and bridging the whole of existence. [See: Nam myōhō renge kyō]
Relativity – Japanese: Kū – Sanskrit: Shūnyatā
This concept is often translated as ‘the void' or ‘nothingness' but perhaps the definition of ‘relativity' which quite a number of Japanese dictionaries use is nearer to the mark. In the teaching of Nichiren relativity is the underlying nature of the whole of existence. On the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) it is represented by the Nam myōhō renge kyō in the centre. Essentially it is the implication of the one instant of mind containing three thousand existential spaces. In terms of the ten such qualities it is the underlying nature. In practical terms it is all that can be reached by the mind with regard to the universe both within us or outside us.
Ritsu School, the – Japanese: Risshū
This is one of the ten schools mentioned in the Thesis on Questions and Answers Concerning the Fundamental Object of Veneration. The doctrine of this school is based upon the rules and disciplines for monks and nuns of the universal vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna). The concept was that if the practitioners followed these rules they would be on the way to enlightenment. This school was founded by Dōsen of the Tang dynasty and brought to Japan by Ganjin in 754 CE.
Samādhi – Japanese: Sanmai
This word is in the Oxford Dictionary and its meaning is less difficult than it appears. Until now this word has in the Nichiren Daishōnin Reader been translated as: ‘the perfect absorption of the mind into the one object of meditation'. There is no difference whatsoever between this periphrastic definition and the word samādhi. Some Chinese dictionaries explain this term as: ‘When we are giving our whole hearted attention to something we are doing, it is a samādhi, but not necessarily a dhyana.' [See: Dhyāna]
Sanron school, the – Japanese: Sanronshū
Sanron literally means the three discourses, which are fundamental to this school. These teachings were brought to China by the great translator Kumārajīva. Essentially its doctrine is the middle way. While denying the reality of phenomenal and noumenal existence it aimed at the reality of a Buddha awakening that is beyond our conception and thus nearly avoided the pitfall of nihilism.
Self-nature – Japanese: Jishō
The unchangeable and inherent quality in all life and all dharmas
(things). It is also translated as the essential or inherent
property or the inner nature. However, in the first fascicle of the
Discourse on the Insight of the Middle Way, Nāgārjuna (Ryūju) explains,
‘All causes and affinities do not arise out of self-nature but from
the non-existence of self-nature.' [See: Thesis
on the Whole being Contained in the One Instant of Thought,
Non-existence of self-nature]
Shākyamuni – Japanese: Shakason
The historical Buddha. Shakason literally means the honoured one of the family of Shakyas and Shākyamuni means the sage of the Shakyas. After five hundred or five hundred and fifty previous incarnations Shākyamuni finally attained to becoming a bodhisattva and was born in the Tusita heaven, he descended as a white elephant through the right side of his mother Queen Maya. Simpler statements say that he was born the son of King Suddhodana. Later he was married to Yashodhara who bore him a son Rahula. He left the royal palace at the age of nineteen to search for the truth and at the age of thirty or thirty-five he realised that the way of release from the suffering of the endless cycle of birth and death lay, not in asceticism, but by purifying oneself morally and thereby erasing past karmas. He became known as the Buddha. He is said to have died in 486 BCE. The sutras mention many Buddhas and all are considered as emanations of Shākyamuni. However in the writings of Nichiren Daishōnin the name Shākyamuni often refers to the original Buddha of the Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata. Nichiren is the manifestation of this Buddha in particular.
Shōan – Chinese: Zhang An
The legitimate successor to Tendai (T’ien T’ai), he committed Tendai's (T’ien T’ai) lectures and sermons to writing which were later put together as the Recondite Significance of the Dharma Flower, the Textual Explanations of the Dharma Flower and the Universal Desistance from Troublesome Worries in order to See Clearly. He also wrote commentaries on the Nirvana Sutra.
Six Inseparabilities – Japanese: Rokusoku
These are, according to the Tendai School, six stages of bodhisattva development :
1. The inseparability of the Buddha nature from reasoning. This is the logical concept of the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces and therefore all beings and all things can open their inherent Buddha realm.
2. The inseparability of the Buddha nature from the title and theme and their ideograms. This implies that the apprehension of Buddhist terms and those who have faith in them are on their way to becoming Buddhas.
3. The inseparability of the Buddha nature from contemplation and practise. This is an advance beyond terminology to earnest study and doing the corresponding practises.
4. The inseparability of the Buddha nature from similitude. This is the stage of semblance to purity and also that of experiencing the benefits of practise.
5. The inseparability of the Buddha nature from the discrimination of the truth. This is the ability to perceive all beings, all events and all things in the light of the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces.
6. The inseparability of the Buddha nature from the final superlative. This is the stage of having become utterly awakened. The Daishōnin defines the six inseparabilities in the first article of the second part of The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) as follows, ‘When it comes to setting up the allocations for the six inseparabilities then the Tathāgata of this chapter is the common mortal of the inseparability of reasoning.' The respectful acceptance of Nam myōhō renge kyō in our minds becomes the inseparability of the name and ideograms. This is because it is when we first begin to hear the title and theme. Hearing and reciting it is the inseparability of contemplation and practise. This inseparability of contemplation and practise is to contemplate the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) of the pragmatic one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces. Therefore the restraint of delusive thinking that brings about delusions is said to be the inseparability of similitude. Setting out to convert others is seen as the inseparability of discrimination of the truth. By becoming a Buddha of the triple body independent of all action is said to be the inseparability of the final superlative. Broadly speaking the repression of delusions is not the highest point of the Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata but the ultimate principle of this chapter is to be able to know the fundamentally existing actual fundamental substance of the common mortal just as it is.
Spaceless Void – Japanese: Kokū
The vacuity that contains the whole of existence, space and time.
Spirit Vulture's Peak, the – Japanese:
Ryōjusen – Sanskrit: Grdhrakūta
The present-day Giddore, a mountain located in the north east of Rajagriha the capital of Maghadha in ancient India. As far as the teachings of Nichiren Daishōnin are concerned this is where Shākyamuni expounded the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). The Spirit Vulture's Peak is often used as an analogy for the Buddha realm and also the Buddha enlightenment.
Stupa – Japanese: Tō
A stupa was originally a tumulus or a mound for the remains of the dead. Later with the advent of the Buddha Teaching a stupa was thought of more as a reliquary for the remains of a Buddha or relics of his mind such as sutras, etc. Since our own bodies are supposed to be made up of 84,000 particles, King Ashoka is said to have built 84,000 stupas for the preservation of remains of Shākyamuni. In a later development, the stupa became known as a pagoda in China, Korea and Japan. However, as far as the teachings of the universal vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna) are concerned, a stupa is seen as a representation of the Buddha and his dharma realm. The proportions of this development correspond to those of the halos of the Buddha images but put into three dimensions. In the esoteric schools this is the concept of a stupa being a schematic representation of the elements of the universe in terms of a sequence of geometric symbols. Starting at the bottom there is a yellow square, which stands for earth, this is surmounted by a black circular disc, which symbolises water that again has a red triangle on top of it representing fire. On top of this triangle is a white cross with its corners pointing upwards like horns, representing wind, and on top and in the centre of this moon there is a pale blue pear shape that represents relativity [kū]. However, in the teachings of Nichiren a stupa is also conceived as being the dharma realm in the sense of being its utterness [myō]. This is not separate from Nichiren's vision of the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon). [see: Letter to the Religious Abutsu, Thesis on the Fundamental Object of Veneration for Contemplating the Mind]
Stupa made of Precious Materials – Japanese: Hōtō
This stupa is recounted in the Eleventh Chapter on Beholding the Stupa made of precious materials of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) as being adorned with the seven treasures of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, coral, agate, pearl and ruby. Nichiren in The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) describes these precious substances as seven kinds of essential dharmic wealth needed for practising the Buddha Path. In the Eleventh Chapter of the Dharma Flower (Hokke-kyō) this stupa surged up from the earth and its enormous size was five hundred yojanas high and two hundred and fifty yojanas wide. A yojana is thought to be one day's march for the army, there is some suggestion that the distance covered before unyoking the oxen may have limited this. No doubt the enormity of this stupa has the significance of being as large as life itself. The inside of the stupa contained the whole of the Buddha Tahō and his Precious and Pure Realm of Dharmas. The Buddha Tahō is understood as the objective realm of the Buddha Shākyamuni and when these two Buddhas are seen seated side by side in the stupa made of precious materials this immediately becomes the concept of the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon). Nichiren says that, ‘What is precious are the five aggregates and the stupa is to put them together harmoniously. When the five aggregates are put together harmoniously they become a precious stupa and the five aggregates harmoniously compiled are said to be seen as the five ideograms of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma).' In his Letter to the Venerable Abutsu he writes, ‘Having entered into the final phase of the Dharma there is no stupa made of precious materials apart from the aspect of the men and women who hold to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō).' [See: Five aggregates, Thesis on the Real Aspect of All Dharmas].
Subjectivity and its dependent environment – Japanese: Eshō
What we see ourselves to be is subjective and for this subjectivity to exist it requires a dependent environment.
Subjectivity and its dependent environment are not two – Japanese: Eshō funi
Buddhism teaches that oneself, or rather what we think we are, and our environment is inseparable since both are the Sutra on the Lotus Flower of the Utterness of the Dharma. [See: Nam myōhō renge kyō].
Sutra – Japanese: Kyō
Scriptures which convey the Buddha teaching. Every sutra begins
with the words, ‘Thus I did hear'. The Chinese ideogram kyō
which is used to translate sutra also has the meaning
of a warp that runs lengthways, to pass through or by, and canons or
classics thus inferring the concept of an eternal doctrine.
[See: Oral Transmission on the Significance
of the Dharma Flower Sutra , Nam myōhō
Tahō, the Buddha – Japanese: Tahō Nyorai – Sanskrit: Prabhūtaratna
Translated this means ‘abundant treasure' or ‘many jewels'. The ancient Buddha who, after a long period in Nirvana, appeared inside the Stupa made of Precious Materials at the ceremony in the Spaceless Void in order to testify to the truth of the teachings of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). Due to his presence he reveals, among other things, that nirvana is not annihilation and that the teaching of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) is the highest order of understanding. In the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) the Buddha Tahō represents the totally enlightened objective realm, materiality and the function of dying of the original Buddha whereas Shākyamuni represents the totally enlightened wisdom, mind and being alive. [See: Stupa made of Precious Materials, Thesis on the Real Aspect of All Dharmas].
Tathāgata – Japanese: Nyorai
One who has gone; one who has followed the Path and arrived at the real suchness; one of the ten titles of a Buddha.
Tathāgata of Universal Sunlight, the – Japanese: Dainichi Nyorai – Sanskrit: Mahāvairocana-Tathāgata
The Buddha who expounded the esoteric doctrine of the Buddha teaching. According to the teachings of the Mantra or Shingon School all other Buddhas and bodhisattvas are born of the Tathāgata of Universal Sunlight and he is also seen as an idealisation of the truth.
Temporary Buddha – Japanese: Shakubutsu
A Buddha who is suspended in time and space as opposed to the original Buddha.
Temporary Gateway, the – Japanese:
This gateway to the Dharma is the first half of the twenty-eight
chapters of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). It consists of the fourteen chapters
from the Introductory Chapter to the Chapter on the Practice of Peace
and Joy. The opposite of this technical term is the original gateway.
The Chinese ideogram that is used for ‘temporary' has a flavour of transience
as opposed to the concept of an original substance. In Buddhist teachings
there is the traditional metaphor of the moon being the fundamental
substance and the actual reality and therefore belongs to the original
gateway but its reflection in the pond is only a reflected likeness
which is suspended in space and time and is similar to the temporary
gateway. The Buddha who became enlightened for the first time under
the bodhi tree in India is not the original Buddha but one who is suspended
in temporariness. All the teachings and sutras he expounded are defined
as the temporary gateway. The first part of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) is understood as being the temporary gateway because in the Second Chapter
on Expedient Means, Shākyamuni expounded the real aspect of all dharmas as the ten realms of the dharmas. Each one of these
ten realms contains the other nine in itself so that there are one hundred
realms of dharmas in total. These in turn are qualified by the ten such
qualities but without any indication whatsoever as to where these oscillations
of the mind occur. These thousand such qualities are groundless, incomplete,
subjective and therefore theoretical. It is when we come to The Sixteenth
Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata that we have an account
for the three kinds of existential space which give a ground on which
the thousand such qualities can happen in reality. This concept of the
one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces
also includes the idea of subjectivity and its dependent environments
not being two which is the reality of life as we live it. [See:
Ten realms of the dharmas, Ten
such qualities, Thesis on the
Real Aspect of All Dharmas, Thesis
on the Instigator's Fundamental Object of Veneration for Contemplating
Ten realms, the – Japanese: Jikkai
[See: Ten realms of the
Ten realms of the dharmas,
the – Japanese: Jippōkai
In the Buddha teaching prior to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) the ten
realms of the dharmas were thought of as the environment,
determined by karma of ten kinds of sentient being who, in some cases,
shared the same terrain as human beings did with animals, although each
was set apart from the other. In the doctrines of the Dharma Flower
Sutra (Hokke-kyō) and Nichiren we ourselves are furnished with each of the ten realms
as ten archetypal states of mind. The ten realms are:
1. Hell, which includes every possible kind of suffering and is a realm
of the mind from which no sentient being is spared.
2. Hungry demons, in many teachings hungry demons are conceived as ghosts
who dwell in a purgatorial state hankering after sex, food, drink and
other such things that are coveted. In traditional Buddhist iconography
these beings are depicted as having long thin necks and crawling on
the ground, they are always hungry and seek a hardly attainable desire.
In the teaching of the Daishōnin these beings symbolise our own
hunger, thirst and all our other wants and needs. From a positive viewpoint
the perpetual nature of such a desire enables one to defend and protect
the life within us. It is acceptable to express a need for food, money
and all the other necessities for human existence but when this realm
becomes distorted the baser elements become apparent.
3. Animality in some Buddhist teachings means being born as an animal
with functions entirely guided by instinct. In the teachings of Nichiren this realm is part of the human condition that is the
‘naked ape' – our animal qualities, defects and tendencies.
4. The shura, originally in Brahmanism and Hinduism, were titan-like
beings continually vying with the deva for superiority. In the teaching
of Nichiren this dharma realm corresponds to wanting to have power over
someone or anger which might be seen as a demonstration of ferocity
in order to have power over the person with whom we are at odds. From
a more positive standpoint this Ashura realm is the mental and physical
space that we need in order to ‘breathe', infringement of that space
results in anger. In the Thesis on the Fundamental Object of Veneration
for Contemplating the Mind, the Ashura realm has the connotation
of wheedling, cajoling or using persuasive means.
5. Humanity, in spite of troubles and inner torments there is a part
of us that reassures us that things are not as bad as they appear and
that one is ‘all right'. It is a human mechanism to find tranquillity
or an ability to be calm in spite of all. In the teachings prior to
the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) the realm of humanity meant being born as a
6. deva, in Brahmanism and Hinduism deva are the gods. They are often
described as living in heaven and in palaces, are said to have golden
bodies, superhuman powers and to have extremely long lives filled with
joy and ecstasy but, like all other beings, all life-spans must come
to an end. From the Buddhist point of view however, many deva are seen
as the protectors of the Buddha teaching. Nevertheless in the teaching
of Nichiren the deva is an archetype, inherent in the
mind that corresponds to our ecstasy, our greatest raptures and supreme
delights. However wonderful those raptures may be, sooner or later there
is a compulsion to return to our respective realities. The deva realm
points to the transience of our joys as opposed to real happiness.
7. The hearers of the voice is a literal translation of the Sino-Japanese
Buddhist term which means those who listen to, or have heard, the voice
of the Buddha; it also has an undertone of those who seek meaning in
their lives. Seen as a state of mind this is the realm of learning and
wanting to find out. This process starts in early childhood with continual
questions in the form of ‘what is...?' and ‘why?' This attitude can
continue into old age as a life-long search for truth.
8. Being awakened by affinities. In contrast to the desire for wisdom
and knowledge there is a part of us that knows the leaves will fall
in autumn that there is a body of knowledge upon which one can build.
This realm encompasses those who have understood something of the essence
of life but not all of its secrets. In the teachings prior to the Dharma
Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) the people who were awakened by affinities had become partially
enlightened by personal endeavour and consequently rather more for themselves
than for the benefit of others.
9. Bodhisattva. In the teachings that came before the Dharma Flower
Sutra (Hokke-kyō) this realm indicated persons who seek enlightenment not only for
themselves but also for the salvation of others. In the teaching of
Nichiren bodhisattvas, especially in the sense of the bodhisattvas
who spring from the earth, are seen as people who not only practise
for themselves but seek to set others on the Path of the Buddha teaching.
At another level the bodhisattva realm is that part of us which wants
to do something for the benefit of others; essentially it is our altruistic
10. The Buddha realm differs from the previous nine realms, which are
all within the bounds of our own experiences, in that it is more elusive,
less tangible. From the Buddha teaching of Nichiren
however, if one steadfastly pursues fully the practise of the Nichiren
Kōmon School it is possible to attain a depth of perception and
In the concept of the one instant of thought containing three thousand
existential spaces each one of these realms is furnished with the other
nine so that in fact there are one hundred dharma realms which in turn
are modified by the ten such qualities. [See: Buddha,
One instant of thought containing three thousand
existential spaces, Thesis
on the Fundamental Object of Veneration for Contemplating the Mind,
Thesis on the Real Aspect of All Dharmas,
Bodhisattvas who spring from the earth].
Ten qualities of suchness, the –
The ten qualities of suchness are, according to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō),
the essential qualities that are present in everything that exists –
a lateral and objective view of all dharmas as well as playing a vital
role in the teaching of the one instant of thought containing three
thousand existential spaces.
The ten qualities of suchness are:
1. Such an appearance – sentient beings, objects and things in
the mind made manifest
2. Such a nature – the inner quality of the Buddha and sentient
3. Such a substance – the fundamental substance or reality
4. Such a strength – intensity or potential
5. Such an action – functioning, the outward manifestation of
the strength or potential
6. Such a cause – the direct cause that brings about the fruition
7. Such a karmic relationship – the concomitance, complementary
causes and circumstances that accompany the direct cause
8. Such a fruition – the result which is brought about by the
9. Such a requital – the total outcome of that which is brought
about by such a fruition
10. Such a final superlative which is equally present from the first
to the last of these nine qualities of suchness – the real aspect
of the middle way.
These ten qualities of suchness are present in the hundred dharma realms
which in the doctrine of the one instant of thought containing three
thousand existential spaces bring the number to one thousand which are
seen as a theory that covers all possible combinations of sentient existence.
This teaching was first revealed in the Second Chapter on Expedient
Means of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) and is referred to as ‘roughly
clearing away the three vehicles in order to reveal one'. [See: Such
a final superlative that is equally present from the first to the last
of the nine qualities of suchness].
Tendai – Japanese: Tendai Daishi
– Chinese: Tiantai dashi (T’ien T’ai)
Usually referred to as the Universal Teacher Tendai (T’ien T’ai), he founded
the Tendai School; he is also known as Chigi. He was born in Hunan,
China in about 538 CE and died in 597 CE at sixty years of age. He became
a neophyte at seven years old and was fully ordained when he was twenty.
In 575 he went to the Tendai Mountain in Jejiang where he established
his famous school based on the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) as being the summit
of Shākyamuni's teaching.
Then from such an appearance to such a requital,
all these nine such qualities (nyoze) are
from the first to the last equally the ultimate dimension of the real
aspect of all dharmas (things) – Japanese: Honmatsu kūkyōtō
In the Second Chapter on Expedient Means of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) when the Buddha Shākyamuni expounded the real aspect of all dharmas he summed it up with a lateral and objective view
of all dharmas. This is referred to as the ten such qualities: appearance,
nature, substance, strength, action, cause, affinity, fruition, requital
and a final superlative that is equally present from the first to the
last of the nine such qualities. The first is such an appearance, and
the last such a requital then, from such an appearance to such a requital,
all these nine such qualities (nyoze) are equally the ultimate
dimension of the real aspect of all the dharmas. The ultimate dimension
of the real aspect of all dharmas is in no way separate from the one
instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces. In
whatever way we may conceive this idea, any concept of existence must
imply the whole of it.
[See: Ten such qualities,
One instant of thought containing three thousand
existential spaces, Thesis on the Real
Aspect of All Dharmas].
Three bodies, the
– Japanese: Sanjin
Three properties of a Buddha – the Dharma body, reward or wisdom
body and the corresponding body. The reward body or wisdom body is the
reward or wisdom of being entirely enlightened to the one instant of
thought containing three thousand existential spaces which is the Utterness
of the Dharma. The Dharma body of a Buddha is the fact that his existence
occupies all time, all space simultaneously and effortlessly as is the
single thought containing three thousand existential spaces. The corresponding
body is the manifestation that a Buddha uses in order to propagate his
teaching and to liberate sentient beings from the painful cycles of
living and dying. In the teachings prior to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) these three bodies were expounded as being three separate Buddhas but
in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) they are seen as three separate qualities
of a single Buddha. In The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) he says, ‘The Tathāgata is Shākyamuni which generally speaking
implies all the Buddhas of the ten directions of the past, present and
future, in particular it means the three bodies that are independent
of all action and belong to the original terrain.'
Three bodies independent of all karma,
the – Japanese: Musa no sanjin
The term independent of all karma is what there is beyond all concept
of time or existence. It is the fundamental essence of all being and
completely unsoiled by any activity or karma whatsoever. The three bodies
refer to the dharma (here it implies the whole of existence),
wisdom and corresponding bodies of the Buddha. Because the one instant
of thought containing three thousand existential spaces (ichinen
sanzen) comprises the whole of existence and also because the Buddha
realm of dharmas (things or whatever that may have an effect on
any of our five aggregates) is not separate from the nine other
realms of dharmas. The three bodies independent of
all karma are also the self received entity of the Tathāgata that
is used with absolute freedom whose original source lies in the ever-present infinite in time (kuon ganjo) and is not separate from Nichiren
or the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon).
Three kinds of existential space,
the – Japanese: San seken
From the Buddhist point of view everything and all affairs that
emerge from the past into the present and on to the future through various
causes, concomitance and circumstance are called existence. The intervals
between these affairs and things are called space. The three kinds of
existential space mean that all the different kinds of dharma which
are brought about by various causes and karmic relationships are divided
into three categories although they do not entirely stand apart from
each other. In the Universal Discourse on the Wisdom that Carries
Beings over to the Shores of Nirvana the three kinds of existential
space are described as the existential space of the five aggregates,
the existential space of sentient beings and the existential space of
abode and terrain. The five aggregates are materiality or form, sensation,
concepts, volition and cognition that reveal the differences in sentient
beings. The existential space of sentient beings means that since all
sentient beings are made up of the five aggregates, their lives are
characterised by the ten realms. The existential space of abode and
terrain clarifies the differentiated dwelling places of the ten realms.
Shākyamuni by making clear the whereabouts of his abode and terrain
in the Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata, the three kinds
of existential space become perfectly adjusted to the thousand such
qualities and the principle of the one instant of thought containing
three thousand existential spaces is fully established. [See:
One instant of thought containing three thousand
existential spaces, Ten realms,
Ten such qualities, Five aggregates].
Three vehicles – Japanese: sanjō
These three vehicles are the two vehicles and the bodhisattva vehicle, which were cleared away in order to reveal the one Buddha Vehicle in the Chapter on Expedient Means. [See: One Buddha vehicle, Vehicle].
Title and Theme – Japanese: daimoku
The title of books within the bounds of the Buddha teaching are
usually precise as to the meaning of the content, it is particularly
so with the titles of the sutras. In Nichiren Shōshū the
title and theme invariably refers to the Sutra on the Lotus Flower of
the Utterness of the Dharma and to the chanting of Nam myōhō
renge kyō which is one of the three universal esoteric dharmas
(things). [See: Nam
myōhō renge kyō, Actual fundamental
substance, Dharmas and dharma, Sutra].
Triple body – Japanese: Sanjin [See: Three bodies]
Troublesome worries – Japanese: bonnō
Temptations of passions and of ignorance, which disturb and distress the mind, are divided into six fundamental and derivative types. The fundamental types are covetousness or indulgence, anger or hatred, being misled by appearances or delusions, pride, doubt and false views such as that of a personal ego or that we only live one life. The derivative types of troublesome worries are (i) indulgence, (ii) anger, (iii) hatred, (iv) delusion, (v) pride, (vi) moral affliction, (vii) distress, (viii) trials, (ix) temptations and (x) wrongdoing. All this may seem complicated and analytical. However in a practical sense troublesome worries refer to practically every kind of mental or emotional activity. Apart from those persons who can attain a perfect absorption of thought into the one object of meditation, which is the perfect samādhi , such mental acrobatics are of little or no importance in the teaching of Nichiren Shōshū. There is very little one can do about the continual rolling of the wheels of the mind. The denizen of hell is only concerned about his release from such a place whereas the bodhisattva is fully preoccupied with the salvation of others. What can be done is that we can change the quality of our troublesome worries by changing the quality of our lives through study and practise.
the – Japanese: Nijō
These two vehicles are made up of the hearers of the voice and
the people who are awakened by karmic relationships. The two vehicles
have already been defined in this Glossary in the ten [psychological] realms of dharmas. However, during the time when Shākyamuni
Buddha was teaching, many of the people who belonged to these two realms
of dharmas came from the Brahman caste, and considering
themselves to be superior were unable to find enough faith to comply
with what the Buddha said. Hence, in the teachings that came before
the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), there was an underlying feeling that the people
of the two vehicles could not open their inherent Buddha nature on account
of psychological problems. Nevertheless, in the Chapter on Expedient
Means, from the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), the sutric evidence of Sharihotsu
[Shariputra], being able to reveal his own Buddha nature, becomes
manifestly clear. [See: One
Buddha Vehicle, Vehicle, Three
Universal – Japanese: Dai – Sanskrit: Mahā
This Chinese translation of Mahā is based on the definition in the Chinese dictionary The Exposition on Writing and the Explanation of Ideograms [Shuowen jiezi] compiled about 100 CE , where it states, ‘Heaven is all embracing, earth is all embracing and humanity is also all embracing...' Although this ideogram is used nowadays to express size or greatness, in the Buddha teaching it has the meaning of all pervading or omnipresence.
Universal Discourse on the Wisdom that Carries Beings over to the Shores of Nirvana – Japanese: Daichidōron
Attributed to Nāgārjuna (Ryūju) [Sanskrit: Nāgārjuna], it was translated into Chinese by Kumaraju [Sanskrit: Kumārajîva]; it is a hundred-volume commentary on the Sutra on the Universal Wisdom that enables beings to reach the other shore of enlightenment.
Universal Teacher, the – Japanese:
A title that is given to those such as Shākyamuni and various bodhisattvas who teach living beings the highest values. It is also an honourary title awarded to the monks of special merit by the Imperial court. The Tendai monk Saichō was given the title The Universal Teacher Dengyō (Dengyō Daishi) and Kūkai that of The Universal Teacher Kōbō. These are the first instances of the use of this title in Japan.
Universal Vehicle –
Japanese: Daijō – Sanskrit: Mahāyāna
One of the two major tendencies of the Buddha teaching. Vehicle
is a means or type of teaching that will bring enlightenment. As opposed
to the Individual Vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) the teachings of the Universal Vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna) are
not only concerned with personal salvation but stress the importance
of setting all beings on the road to Buddhahood. The Nichiren Kōmon
School is, from the viewpoint of its own teaching, the summit of the
Universal Vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna).
Utterly awakened – Japanese: Myōgaku
The imponderably inexpressible supreme and correct awakening to the Buddha fruition in which all troublesome worries are entirely cut off. In the teachings of Tendai (T’ien T’ai) it is the highest of the fifty-two stages in the process of becoming a Buddha. In terms of the six inseparabilities from the Buddha nature that refer to the cultivation and practise of the all inclusive teaching, it is the superlative not being separate from the Buddha nature. [See: Fifty-two bodhisattava stages in the process of becoming a Buddha, Six Inseparabilities].
Vajra – Japanese: Kongō – Sanskrit: Vajra
This word is vicariously translated as ‘diamond', ‘thunderbolt', ‘diamond club', etc. One Chinese definition is the ‘hardest of metals'. Anthropologists have often thought of the vajra as being a sun symbol. The references to its hardness and diamond-like qualities are synonymous with indestructibility and power. It seems also to have been a weapon of Indian soldiers in ancient times. However, we think of it as a diamond-like light that comes from somewhere deep inside us, such as seen by visionaries or by people who have had near death experiences. It is the part of us that is indestructible.
Vehicle – Japanese: Jō – Sanskrit: Yāna
A means or a type of teaching whereby the Buddha imparts his enlightenment according to the propensities of his hearers. In the Buddha teaching, this ordinary word for a cart, conveyance or vehicle, is a word for the various teachings that carry people toward enlightenment. The Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) refers to the one Buddha vehicle, the two vehicles and the three vehicles. In the teaching of Nichiren there is only one vehicle. [See: Two vehicles, Three vehicles, One Buddha Vehicle, Universal Vehicle].
Victorious Buddha of Universal Penetrating
Wisdom, the – Japanese: Daitsūchisho Butsu –
Sanskrit: Mahābhijnajnanabhibhu Buddha [See:
Wisdom body, the – Japanese: Hōshin
[See: Three bodies]
Wisdom body independent of all karma,
the – Japanese: Musa hōshin
This entity is one of the three bodies independent of all karma whose
origin is in the ever-present infinite in time (kuon ganjo).
Its function is the wisdom and understanding of total enlightenment.
In other words, it is the wisdom and understanding of Nichiren Daishōnin
the original Buddha as well as being the Buddha for the present period
which is the final phase of the dharma teaching of Shākyamuni mappō.
By holding a genuine and devout faith in the Buddha teaching of Nichiren
Daishōnin as well persevering in the recitation of the title and
theme daimoku, the strength of the Buddha and the strength
of the dharma (things or whatever that may have an effect on any
of our five aggregates) will make themselves apparent in the lives
of those who practise. They may even open up their inherent Buddha nature
with their persons just as they are soku shin jō Butsu.
Wisdom of the real suchness as it is according
to circumstances that belongs to the original gateway , the
– Japanese: Honmon zui.en shinnyō no chi
The wisdom of the real suchness according to circumstances that
the Buddha expounded in the original gateway of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) is his perceptive understanding that the real principle of concrete
reality is the consequence of an infinity of circumstance and karmic
circumstances. The fact that the original Buddha of the original gateway
revealed that his original terrain is the primordial infinity implies
that every conceivable dharma must be included in his wisdom and understanding.
This wisdom is essentially the fundamentally existing mutual possession
of the ten realms. The actual fundamental substance of the pragmatic
one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces
and the three universal esoteric dharmas (things). [See:
Oral Transmission, Thesis
on the Actual Fundamental Substance, Thesis
on the Real Aspect of All Dharmas].
Yasha – Japanese: Yasha – Sanskrit: Yaksha
These protectors of the Buddha teaching are often seen as the guardian spirits of nature. There seems to be no definite representation; in Java they are portrayed as sturdy, smallish human beings with unusually large canine teeth. Yashas are mentioned in various sutras but most of the material concerning them is in the realm of folklore. [See: Humanlike non-humans].
Zen School, the – Japanese: Zenshū
Probably this Buddhist school is the best known in the West due to the enormous quantity of excellent translations by Suzuki Daisetz and many other scholars. This school teaches that the true nature of one's mind can be realised through meditation and various other techniques such as, questions and answers, riddles and parables. Like all other schools it does border on the truth but lacks an all embracing theory such as the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces, This school is also harshly criticized by Nichiren in a number of his writings.
Martin Bradley, The Buddha Writings
of Nichiren Daishonin, ISBN: 2-913122-19-1, 2005, Glossary, p. 379 Copyright