The Venerable Yamane’s Discourse on
Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō as seen
from the Point of View of Faith as well as the Observation of Our Own Minds



In the Buddha teaching we have a technical term “soku”, which is interpreted as “united together”, “not separate”, in the sense that two elements are identical. The SGI uses the word identity, that is to say, A is identical with B. “Soku” resembles implication in that our troublesome worries are not separate from enlightenment.

The cycles of living and dying are or imply nirvana as the workings of existence. This word “soku” indicates that one is contained in and can lead to the other. Tendai has three definitions – the union of two elements, “troublesome worries and enlightenment are the same, in that they are both existence” – the former being phenomenal () and the latter being its essence (shō), which are two “inseparables”.

In other words, one must have a grasp of the profound implications of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) [entirety of existence, enlightenment and unenlightenment] permeated by the white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of every conceivable state of mind (Kyō). This is the way in which existence functions. Back and front are two inseparables; also substance and quality, for example, wave and water.

Now we come to a diagram which is a representation of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Lotus Sutra). In the centre is the word “soku”, which implies “not separate from”. In the horizontal transverse is the concept, “the cycles of living and dying are not separate (soku) from nirvana”. The word nirvana originally meant “extinction”. This is the state of enlightenment attained by Buddha Shākyamuni. Nirvana is said to be good in nature and eternal. According to the universal vehicle (mahāyāna), it denotes non-production and non-destruction and is equated with the wisdom of the entity of the Dharma (hosshin).

At the top of this cruciform there are the words troublesome worries, which is all the neurotic material that goes round and round in our heads. Then we have the concept of “soku” in the centre and on going further down on the perpendicular transverse is the word bodhi (bodai), i.e., bonnō soku bodai, which in English is “Troublesome worries are not separate from enlightenment.”

The cycles of living and dying lead to various troublesome worries, which in turn lead to enlightenment, which all practitioners aspire to in one way or another. All this amounts to the essence (shō) of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Lotus Sutra).

On coming to the way the lotus plant appears to us common mortals, we have a calyx full of seeds which represents our past karma, which is a factor that accompanies all our existences. Next to it we have a lotus flower in full bloom, which is what we practitioners are at the present moment. Then we have a lotus bud on the side of the lotus in full bloom; this is the merits for our future existences.

Going from top to bottom of the lotus plant which is the lotus plant of the actual substance, these are the causes, concomitancies and effects of the whole of existence. The substance of the lotus plant is a combination of its aspect and its essence, nyoze sō, nyoze shō; in this case it is nyoze tai which is the substance of the lotus plant. This is a lotus plant surrounded by the words at the top, which are troublesome worries (bonnō). And at the bottom there is the concept of enlightenment. Horizontally, which refers to a lotus plant in the water, refers to cycles of living and dying not being separate from nirvana or the workings of the whole of existence.

February 15, 2016


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