IS BUDDHISM PHILOSOPHY OR RELIGION? The book Buddhism by Christmas Humphreys has been widely read in the West. The author, a distinguished English lawyer and also a devout Buddhist, wrote in his preface: "Indeed, by the usual tests, Buddhism is not a religion so much as a spiritual philosophy whose attitude to life is as cool and objective as that of the modern scientist. But it lives, it lives tremendously. . . ." We cannot help admiring the fact that Mr. Humphreys, a Westerner, has grasped the essence of Buddhism with such accuracy. Indeed, he may have been enabled to understand Buddhism in its true and pure state because he was born and bred in England, which has no tradition of Buddhism.
When we reconsider the teaching of the Law of Appearance in the Lotus Sutra, we realize that though Buddhism is indeed a religion in one respect, which will be made clear later in this chapter, at the same time, with Christmas Humphreys, we can say that Buddhism is a great system of philosophy and ethics. Philosophy is the science of the study of this world, human life, and the fundamental principles of things. Ethics is the path of duty. The teaching of the Lotus Sutra that we have studied so far may be tentatively summed up as philosophy and ethics.
However, when we thoroughly investigate the teaching of the Lotus Sutra, the most profound teaching of the Buddha, we realize that it is also the teaching of a religion that enables us to be saved from our mental suffering, something which cannot be accomplished by learning alone, making human life brighter and leading the world toward peace. The profundity of the Lotus Sutra as a religious teaching is first revealed in chapter 16, "Revelation of the [Eternal] Life of the Tathagata." While chapter 2, "Tactfulness," is regarded as the core of the Law of Appearance, chapter 16 is considered as the essence of the Law of Origin and also as the key chapter of the entire Lotus Sutra.
THREE IMPORTANT TEACHINGS. From ancient times, the chapter "Revelation of the [Eternal] Life of the Tathagata" has been held to include three important teachings: "opening up the short and revealing the long" (kaigon kennon), "accepting the historical Buddha as a temporary manifestation of the eternal Shakyamuni Buddha and revealing the eternity of Shakyamuni Buddha" (kaishaku kempon), and "opening up the expedient teaching and revealing the true teaching" (kaigon kenjitsu).
The first teaching, "opening up the short and revealing the long," means that we start from an easily discerned fact, gradually tracing its origin, and discover its ultimate implications. "An easily discerned fact" is that Shakyamuni Buddha appeared in this world, attained enlightenment, and preached to many people to cause them to realize enlightenment. Where did this fact originate? Was Shakyamuni Buddha suddenly awakened to a holy Law having no relationship to past human history? This cannot be. The Law must have existed before the birth of the Buddha and since the origin of human beings - indeed, since the creation of this universe. Because the Law existed, the Buddha perceived it.
Though human beings had been gradually evolving since the origin of human life, they did not know the true Law but lived according to their instincts or by means of a mistaken law. As long as they continued to do so, their true development was impossible. It was only logical that someone should awaken to the correct and true Law, and appear in this world for the purpose of preaching it to other people. The time was ripening for the appearance of such a person, and the culmination was the appearance of the Buddha in this world.
The appearance of the Buddha and his attainment of buddhahood first revealed to people the Law, which no other person had realized, although it had been in existence from time immemorial. This becomes clear in the chapter "Revelation of the [Eternal] Life of the Tathagata." The teaching of "opening up the short and revealing the long" has a very important meaning because through the easily grasped fact of the appearance of the Buddha in this world and his attainment of buddhahood, we can understand the Law that has existed since the eternal past.
The second teaching is "accepting the historical Buddha as a temporary manifestation of the eternal Shakyamuni Buddha and revealing the eternity of Shakyamuni Buddha." In a broad sense, the term "appearing buddha" (shakubutsu) refers to such buddhas as Abundant Treasures and Amitabha, not to mention Shakyamuni Buddha, who appeared as a man in this world. When tracing the principle behind the manifestation of such appearing buddhas, we realize that obviously there must be a buddha as their foundation. Because the truth is only one, it must have a single foundation even if it appears in various different forms. When we thus consider the principle of Shakyamuni Buddha, who was the appearing Buddha in this world, we realize that behind this manifestation is the one Eternal Original Buddha. This is the teaching of "accepting the historical Buddha as a temporary manifestation of the eternal Shakyamuni Buddha and revealing the eternity of Shakyamuni Buddha," which is made clear in this chapter.
The third teaching is "opening up the expedient teaching and revealing the true teaching." The word gon, "expedient," means "provisional" or "temporary," as in the term "provisional appearance" (gongen), which indicates a buddha's appearing provisionally in the form of a god. This word also means "vice" or "assistant" as opposed to "principal" or "original," as in the term "vice-high priest" (gon-no-sojo), a Buddhist high priest of the second highest rank. The expedient teaching here means the temporary or provisional teaching as the means or way of leading all living beings to the truth. The provisional teaching is very sacred, but it is still a "temporary" teaching as a means of preaching the truth and is also a "secondary" teaching.
The faith of all living beings has been raised to a very high level by means of such a temporary teaching, but they have not yet attained the highest state of mind. The chapter "Revelation of the [Eternal] Life of the Tathagata" reveals the true and supreme teaching, thus opening up the expedient teaching and revealing the true teaching.
As chapter 16 includes these three important teachings, we should review the teaching of the Law of Appearance in order to realize clearly the inevitability with which the teaching of the Law of Appearance leads to the teaching of the Law of Origin. It is also most important that we understand the essence of religion before proceeding to the main subject of this chapter.
The main reason that the teaching of Buddhism often seems not to be a religion in the usual sense of the word is that Shakyamuni Buddha did not admit the existence of a transcendent god controlling man's destiny. The Buddha never preached belief in a god who created this world and presides over the workings of nature - an absolute being by whom people are saved if they pray to or worship him.
The Sanskrit word buddha is derived from the word bodhi, indicating the idea of "exercise of reason." The mental state of enlightenment that the Buddha preached can be understood by anyone who has a high enough degree of reason. This enlightenment is not something visionary that only an inspired person can perceive, nor is it something bestowed by an absolute being in whom one simply has faith.
Shakyamuni Buddha did not regard this universe as God's creation or his conquest, but as resulting from the relation of cause and effect by which all phenomena are produced. Causation means a primary cause (in) and a secondary cause (en) combining to produce an effect (ka) and a recompense (ho). In this world, there is nothing unchangeable or fixed in form. All things have a direct cause (primary cause, in). When this comes into contact with an opportunity or condition (secondary cause, en), the result of this conjunction appears as a phenomenon (effect, ka). This effect leaves behind traces (recompense, ho): thus Shakyamuni Buddha interpreted all things in the world.
THE THREE SEALS OF THE LAW. The combination of a primary cause and a secondary cause leads every action to have an effect and a recompense. When a primary cause is annihilated or when, even if it exists, it does not come into contact with a secondary cause, it does not produce an effect and a recompense. Therefore, in this world, there is nothing existing in an eternal, fixed, and unchangeable form. This is the law "All things are impermanent." Is there nothing at all unchangeable in this world? Yes, there is one immutable thing - the truth that presides over the existence, the working, and the changes of all things. Only this truth alone is unchangeable.
Shakyamuni Buddha also taught the truth that nothing in this world has an isolated existence, without any relation to other things, but that all things exist in relationship with one another and are interdependent. This is the law "All things are devoid of self." At first glance, there does not seem to be any relation between the earth on which we stand, the sea stretching to the horizon, and the clouds far above in the sky. But when we consider how clouds are produced, why sea water is salty, and how the earth receives moisture, we soon understand the close relationship of earth, sea, and sky. We know that clouds are produced by water vapor that evaporates from the earth, sea, and rivers; clouds precipitate rain or snow that falls on the earth and moistens it; and seawater is salty because river water dissolves salts contained in the earth and carries them to the sea, where the concentration of salt becomes stronger through the evaporation of water. This is an example of how nothing in the universe has a completely isolated existence.
Of course, Shakyamuni Buddha did not preach the formation of the universe as a science or a philosophy. He preached it to cause all people to understand thoroughly how people should live and what human life should be. His teaching always concerned man and humanism.
How should we put the universal truths that all things are impermanent and that all things are devoid of self to practical use in our daily lives? It was to answer this question that the Buddha preached the law "Nirvana is quiescence."
We undergo various sufferings in life because we are swayed by changing phenomena and are influenced by immediate gain or loss. If we come to have the spirit of perfect freedom, being detached from these temporary and superficial considerations, we will be in a spiritual condition of peace and calm even when we are in a situation that others consider to be very painful. This is the state of "Nirvana is quiescence" in relation to the law "All things are impermanent."
The reason for our inability to succeed in something, for having a conflict or dispute, or for feeling displeasure, often comes from the fact that we lack harmony in our relations with other people and things. The earth revolves around the sun. The moon revolves around the earth. The innumerable stars twinkling in the night sky have the same kinds of relationships. The sun, the earth, the moon, and the stars all move according to the law of gravitation. They move without colliding because the force of gravitation is balanced, creating a harmony among them. If this harmony were destroyed, the sun, the earth, and the moon would collide. If this kind of thing took place with all planets and stars, the universe would be destroyed.
Human life is the same. Each person is a constituent member of the universe; if he maintained harmony in his various relationships with other people and things so that a balance were maintained among them, dispute and trouble in this world would disappear. But such a state cannot be realized in this world. Why? Because each person has his own small "self." People differ in their interests and feelings, and are out of harmony with each other because too many people are self-centered and are concerned only with their personal profit, welfare, and comfort. If all human beings abandoned their own small "selves" and devoted themselves to respecting and helping one another, a great harmony would be generated among them and true peace in their daily lives would come about. This is the state of "Nirvana is quiescence" in relation to the law "All things are devoid of self."
These three laws - "All things are impermanent," "All things are devoid of self," and "Nirvana is quiescence" - are the fundamental principles of Buddhism and as such are called the Three Seals of the Law (sambo-in). It is no exaggeration to say that all the teachings of Buddhism are derived from these three laws.
How should we practice the Three Seals of the Law in our daily lives? The answer to this question is found in the doctrines of the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the Law of the Twelve Causes and Conditions, and the Six Perfections.
In the doctrine of the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha taught first that man must realize that his existence is characterized by suffering and must recognize this actual condition of suffering (the Truth of Suffering), not evade or deny it. However, man cannot alleviate his suffering just by recognizing it. So the Buddha taught that he must go further and investigate the cause of suffering, reflecting on it and clearly discerning it (the Truth of Cause). The original cause of suffering is ignorance, as shown in the doctrine of the Law of the Twelve Causes and Conditions.
Once one has been able to discern the cause of his sufferings, the Buddha taught, if he can remove his ignorance as the original cause of suffering his suffering will be extinguished (the Truth of Extinction). Lastly, the Buddha showed that the way enabling man to be led to the Truth of Extinction is the practice of the Eightfold Path and the Six Perfections (the Truth of the Path).
Here let us review the doctrine of the Eightfold Path, the eight ways of daily life, consisting of right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
First we must thoroughly analyze the word "right" because this word may be misunderstood if it is considered according to the index of today's morality. Briefly, the word "right" means "in accord with the truth." For example, if man looks at things from a narrow egoistic viewpoint, he cannot possibly discern the real state of things and his judgment of them will not be well balanced. When he gets rid of his egoistic viewpoint and prejudice and looks at things with a clear mind, he can see the real state of things. This way of looking rightly at things is based on the wisdom of the Buddha.
When thinking about things with a self-centered mind or with a selfish aim, we are liable to fall into mistaken ideas that are not in accord with truth or are even directly opposed to truth. For instance, suppose that someone has the following idea: "To increase the prosperity of our own country, it is all right to sacrifice the people of other countries," or "You must make allowances for our deceiving or injuring others for the sake of our personal welfare." It is obvious that these ideas are wrong when applied to other people. But when a person thinks about things on the basis of his own country, or himself and his family, he adopts such selfish ideas without compunction. There have been many instances of this way of thinking throughout history; in fact, there are innumerable examples today.
When man looks at things not from a selfish standpoint but from a much greater standpoint - from the same standpoint as the Buddha - he can view and evaluate all things on their own merits. The word "right" applies to this way of looking at things. When man views things according to a partial viewpoint, he cannot see the truth. If he puts on red-lensed glasses, the whole world appears red. If he puts on green-tinted spectacles, everything looks green. He cannot have a right view till he looks at things without colored spectacles.
When man perceives the things of this world through his five sense organs or thinks about them with his mind, they seem to be differentiated. To look only at the differentiated state of things (temporality, ke) appearing externally and not the equal state (emptiness, ku) existing originally is the superficial way of looking at things of ordinary people. That all things in this world are originally equal (emptiness, ku) is the important core of the Buddha's teachings, but to view only the original equal state of things and to disregard the differentiated state appearing in external forms is also a one-sided way of looking at things. A philosopher who studies the fundamental principle of things may well be unhappy in his personal life and a failure socially. This may be the result of his lopsided view of things.
To take a right view of things in the true sense, it is necessary to refrain from viewing things exclusively as either temporality (ke) or emptiness (ku) but to combine these two viewpoints. This third way of looking at things is called chutai, or the "truth of the middle"1 - a truth that is almost the same as that of the Middle Path (chudo). The Middle Path means not to be one-sided, but it does not imply to take the middle position on every issue, leaning neither right nor left. The Middle Path preached by Shakyamuni Buddha does not mean a rigid path existing exactly in the middle between two extremes. Because it is one of the most important teachings of the Buddha, the truth of the Middle Path will be discussed here.
At the time that Shakyamuni Buddha lived, there were numerous religious teachings in India. One religion insisted that because man's various desires are natural to him, to seek to satisfy them is the way of emancipation from the bonds of delusion and suffering. Another religion preached that an ascetic life strictly suppressing all desires is the only way to lead man to freedom from the bonds of delusion and suffering.
Asceticism was very rigorous at that time in India. An ascetic tried to suppress completely his carnal appetites and his desire for comfort. There was even a school of naked ascetics who regarded wearing clothes as forbidden. Other ascetics mortified their bodies by all kinds of painful practices, including living in a tree for days at a time, burning the skin with fire, slashing themselves with knives, or sitting on sharp stakes driven into the earth. The most extreme group insisted that a person who is free from the bonds of delusion and suffering must eat nothing, and considered death by starvation as the supreme joy.
Shakyamuni Buddha, who was not attracted to the hedonistic extreme, first tried to pursue enlightenment by means of asceticism. He visited two famous ascetics in succession, and after practicing their teachings under their guidance, he completely mastered them. Though he was earnestly asked to remain by each of these two ascetics, he found their teachings insufficient to enable him to attain true enlightenment, and turned away. Next Shakyamuni tried ascetic practices by himself. He underwent such extreme austerities as eating only one grain of rice and sesame seed a day.
Such ascetic experience may not have been useless, but when Shakyamuni eventually realized that asceticism was not the right way to lead him to enlightenment, he abruptly gave up such practices. He then went to the Nairanjana River and cleansed his body. Then he drank a bowl of milk gruel that a village girl gave him, and gradually regained his strength. He proceeded to a place near the village of Bodhgaya by way of Mount Pragbodhi, and sat down under the Bodhi tree. There, sitting quietly alone, he entered into deep meditation and finally attained enlightenment.
After that, he went to the Deer Park near Varanasi (Benares), where were gathered the five ascetics who had accompanied him in his austerities. The teaching that he preached to these five ascetics in his first sermon included the doctrines of the Four Noble Truths, the Middle Path, and the Eightfold Path.
Shakyamuni Buddha said to the five men: "Monks! In this world there are two extremes that you must avoid." The two extremes are those of hedonism and of asceticism. The Buddha, who rejected these two extremes as unreasonable, proclaimed the following: "By avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata has attained full enlightenment - the Middle Path." It is significant indeed that the Buddha preached the Middle Path in the very first of as many as eighty-four thousand sermons.
Then Shakyamuni preached the following: "What is the foundation of the Middle Path? It is the Eightfold Path: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. This is the Middle Path, which the Tathagata has realized. It opens man's eyes, gives rise to right wisdom, and leads him to mental peace and quiet and, further, to nirvana."
As shown plainly here, the Middle Path realized by the Buddha has the following meaning: To lead a life of extreme hedonism or to practice extreme asceticism is just like looking at the world through red- or green-colored glasses; it is not the way of looking rightly at all things in the world. It is, so to speak, the way of a viewpoint covered with the clouds of delusion. This is not the way to reach nirvana. Man must not take such a biased and fixed position but must view things, and act, according to the truth.
The word "right" that is prefixed to every word in the doctrine of the Eightfold Path has the same meaning as "middle" in the doctrine of the Middle Path. "Right" means to be in accord with the truth, as mentioned above, and also indicates the idea of being in harmony with the truth. Following is a parable related by the Buddha to explain this idea.
THE TEACHING OF THE HARP. This is a story from the time that Shakyamuni Buddha was staying on Vulture Peak near Rajagriha (Rajgir). In the nearby forest was an ascetic called Sona, who devoted himself to rigorous spiritual disciplines. His austerities were so severe that he was said to be supreme in asceticism among the many disciples of the Buddha. But he was not able to free himself from the bonds of delusion and suffering, because his austerities were too exaggerated.
Finally Sona succumbed to the following delusion: I am so wonderful that I am known as the foremost disciple in assiduous disciplines. Nevertheless I cannot attain enlightenment. I cannot go any further than this in assiduous discipline. Had I not better give it up and go home? I have enough property to live comfortably for the rest of my life. Should I take this way rather than lead a life of religious disciplines? Sona was tormented by this mental dilemma. Perceiving that his disciple was going through a great spiritual crisis, Shakyamuni Buddha called on Sona in the forest and asked him about his mental state in an ordinary, everyday tone of voice full of benevolence. Sona told the Buddha what he was thinking, concealing nothing.
Then the Buddha said, "Sona! I hear that you were very good at playing the harp before becoming a monk. Is that true?" Sona replied that it was as the Buddha had said. Then the Buddha continued: "You know the harp well. Does it produce good music if the strings are stretched too tight?" Sona answered, "No." Then the Buddha asked, "Well, does the harp make music if the strings are too loose?" Sona again answered, "No." The Buddha asked once more, "How about when the strings are stretched just right? Can it produce good music?" Sona answered, "Yes, it can."
The Buddha then instructed Sona: "Sona! Training for enlightenment is just like adjusting the strings of a harp. If you are inclined toward extreme assiduity, the strings of your mind will be stretched too tight, and the mind will not be in a state of peace. If you are not assiduous enough, the strings of your mind will be loose, and this will lead to idleness. Sona! Remain in a moderate assiduity and maintain equality among your senses. Try to maintain moderation in yourself, without inclining toward the extreme of assiduity."
Thus the Buddha taught Sona, carefully and affectionately. From this short story, we can feel keenly how unfathomably great a personality Shakyamuni Buddha had. In the Sutra of the Forty-two Chapters, the Buddha taught:
"A harp emits no sound
If the strings are stretched too much.
It also sounds nothing
If they are stretched too little.
Only when the strings are stretched just right,
All music is in tune."
With a superficial understanding of these words of the Buddha, we can take them to mean: "Just maintain a middle position, being neither too strict nor too lax." When we apply this interpretation to the practice of religious discipline, we find that it means the middle way between extreme hedonism and extreme asceticism, and the result is our acknowledgment of these two extremes. This implies that the extreme of hedonism should be admitted to some extent, and also the extreme of asceticism. The most moderate way exists between these two extremes. To speak in much plainer language, if extreme hedonism is zero and extreme asceticism is ten, the moderate state would exist at about five.
However, this is a mistaken interpretation. When we play a harp, the strings cannot sound sweetly if they are either too loose or too tight; both indicate, so to speak, a state of zero. The harp will produce its best sound when its strings are stretched moderately. But the optimum tautness of the strings is a matter of great delicacy. The harp will produce a discordant sound with the strings at any state of tension except this exact degree, also indicating a state of zero. But if the tautness of the strings is just right, the harp will be in tune, producing a sweet sound. This implies a change from zero to ten. Such a state is that of being in harmony. The exact tension of the strings resulting in good harmony means that this particular degree of tautness suits perfectly the tune that the harp is intended to produce. In short, such a condition perfectly fits its purpose. Therefore, the idea of being in accord with the truth expresses that of being fit for the purpose.
The same thing can be said of human life. The person who has really attained enlightenment is one who attains a way of life that is in accord with the truth. His thought and conduct are naturally fit for the purpose. He can also choose a way of life that is always in harmony with everything in the world. Thus it is impossible for us to find the "right" or "middle" path simply by choosing the midpoint between two extremes. Each extreme represents a fundamental difference. If we conduct ourselves based on the truth of dependent origination without adhering to fixed ideas, we can always lead a life that is perfectly fit for its purpose, and one that is in harmony with the truth. This is the teaching of the Middle Path.
How can we attain such a mental state? The teaching in which the Buddha shows us concretely how to attain this in our daily life is none other than the doctrine of the Eightfold Path. Following is a brief explanation of this doctrine: Look at things rightly (right view), think about things rightly (right thought), speak the right words (right speech), perform right conduct (right action), lead a right human life (right livelihood), endeavor to live rightly (right effort), constantly aim the mind in the right direction (right mindfulness), and consistently keep the right mind and never be agitated by anything (right concentration). As mentioned above, the word "right" has the same meaning as "middle" in the doctrine of the Middle Path.
Next we shall briefly discuss the doctrine of the Six Perfections. This teaching shows us the six kinds of bodhisattva practices for the benefit of society and other people, while the doctrine of the Eightfold Path is chiefly the way of individual practice by which we are able to free ourselves from delusion. The Six Perfections include donation, keeping the precepts, forbearance, effort, meditation, and wisdom.
To render service to others in all spheres - spiritual, material, and physical - is donation. To remove delusion from one's own mind in accordance with the precepts taught by the Buddha, leading a right life and gaining the power to save others by endeavoring to perfect oneself, is keeping the precepts. Always to assume a generous attitude toward others, enduring any difficulty and maintaining a tranquil mind without arrogance even at the height of prosperity, is forbearance. To proceed straight toward an important goal without being sidetracked by trivial things is effort. To maintain a cool and unagitated mind under all circumstances is meditation. And to have the power of discerning the real aspect of all things is wisdom. The doctrine of the Six Perfections teaches us the right way to practice in order to save other people and society through these six practices.
TRUE MEDITATION. A full explanation has not yet been given of meditation as one of the Six Perfections. Indeed, this word has such a profound meaning that we cannot generalize concerning it.
From the standpoint of its result, "meditation" means to maintain a cool and unagitated mind under all circumstances. But it also means the practice necessary in order to attain this result. In other words, it indicates the idea of contemplation, or concentration of the mind on a single object while sitting quietly alone.
On what should we concentrate? That is the important question. And this indeed is the point at which religion differs from philosophy and morality.
However hard we may concentrate on something, we cannot become absolutely free from our sufferings as long as we are absorbed only in immediate phenomena with a self-centered attitude. For example, if we devote ourselves to thinking of such a selfish matter as wishing to be rid of uneasiness and irritation concerning the management of our business, or wishing to recover from illness, it is obvious that we cannot be freed from such trouble for a moment, because our mind is swayed by our business or our illness. This kind of mental absorption is not meditation but a mere struggling with delusion.
To reflect on our past conduct, criticizing ourselves for what we think to be wrong and determining to correct it, is a kind of meditation. It can be said to be meditation from a moral point of view. This is a very fine practice that is useful for improving our character.
To think still more deeply than this about a subject is meditation without a self-centered idea. To probe deeply into such matters as the formation of the world, the way of human life, and the ideal society - this is meditation from the philosophical point of view. This kind of meditation is also a fine practice that enhances our character, adding depth to our ideas and in turn benefiting society.
However, regrettably, we cannot obtain a true state of mental peace (nirvana) through the forms of meditation mentioned above. This is because we can go only as far as the range of human knowledge permits, however sternly we may reflect on ourselves and however deeply we may probe philosophically into the ideal way of the world and human life. If we say that man cannot lead himself to nirvana even though he reflects on his conduct, repents of wrong conduct, and determines to practice good conduct, the following question will naturally arise: "That must be so when reflecting on morality and society and making resolutions on the basis of that reflection. But is it not the way to nirvana to reflect on oneself in the light of the Buddha's teachings and to determine one's actions according to them?" Indeed, this is one process by which we progress toward nirvana, but the way to attain nirvana is not as easy as that. If it were only a matter of understanding and controlling one's superficial, conscious mind, the problem would be relatively simple. Most people can control their conscious mind by means of the Buddha's teachings through practice of religious disciplines. But man also has a mind of which he is not aware. He cannot grasp it because he is unconscious of it. He cannot control it because of being unable to grasp it. This kind of mind is called alaya or manas in Sanskrit and corresponds to the subconscious mind in scientific terminology.
All that one has experienced, thought, and felt in the past remains in the depths of one's subconscious mind. Psychologists recognize that the subconscious mind not only exerts a great influence on man's character and his mental functions but even causes various disorders. Because it is normally beyond our reach, we cannot control the subconscious mind by mere reflection and meditation.
Here let us recall the problem of karma (go), mentioned in chapter 7. The karma that we have now is very deep-rooted and complex, and includes the "former karma" (shuku-go) that human beings have accumulated since their beginning. We also possess the "former karma" that we have produced ourselves in former lives and to some extent the "former karma" that our ancestors have produced. And of course we possess the "present karma" (gen-go) that we have produced ourselves in this life. Is it possible for an ordinary person to become free from these karmas and enter the mental state of perfect freedom (escape from the world of delusion) by means of his own wisdom? This is clearly out of the question. What then, if anything, can we do about it?
Here let us recall the doctrine of the Three Thousand Realms in One Thought, also discussed in chapter 7. This doctrine teaches us that the three thousand realms with all their relationships are included in a single random thought, and that the mental states leading us to the realms both of hell and of the buddha are included in that one thought. Practically speaking, how can we control such random thoughts? This is not a question that can be answered by human knowledge. One random thought arising out of innumerable thoughts - no scholar, however learned, can teach us to cope with each thought that we hit upon. How should we cope with each one of these thoughts that occur?
This kind of problem is beyond the sphere of philosophy and cannot be answered in terms of morality, either. What can solve this kind of problem? Only religion can do so. There is nothing else that can do this. Confronting a problem of this scope and profundity, we can grasp clearly the true value of religion. We realize that our true salvation must be brought about ultimately by religion.
A religion, especially an advanced religion like Buddhism, includes philosophy, morality, and ethics. Indeed, Buddhism can be said to consist almost entirely of the teaching of philosophy and morality. However, when we make a profound study of the teaching, we find there is something beyond this that touches our hearts directly. It is like a light that envelops us warmly and shines brightly, illuminating our way. It is something that enlivens us and allows us to develop fully according to our true potential. This "something" is nothing other than faith. Christmas Humphreys points this out plainly in the preface of his book Buddhism: "But it lives, it lives tremendously. . . ."
WHAT RELIGION SHOULD BE. What in fact is religion? We must consider religion from its very origin. In all periods men have felt fear of things more powerful than they. In the course of time, their fears changed to feelings of worship and awe.
Primitive man feared the moon and stars, not to mention the sun. They had the same feeling toward the snow-capped mountains soaring above them, the great rivers that sometimes flow quietly and at other times overflow their banks and cause heavy floods that ravage the land, and the boundless ocean stretching to the horizon. They revered birds because of their wonderful ability to fly, and stood in awe of powerful beasts like elephants and lions. Man's fear of natural things changed gradually to the feeling of awe and finally to that of worship of such forces and beings as gods. This kind of faith is called nature worship or animism.
Next, people came to believe that in the heavens and in the air there were spirits that had such supernatural power that human beings could not control them. These spirits were not characterized by love and compassion but only by the possession of power. Therefore people were afraid of being cursed by these forces unless they worshiped and propitiated them. They believed these spirits could both cause and prevent such calamities as diseases, bad harvests, storms, and rough seas. They trembled in fear of these spirits and worshiped them, praying to be spared misfortune and granted blessings. This kind of faith is called spirit worship.
Primitive man believed that such spirits dwelt within physical things either temporarily or permanently. This abode might be a nonliving thing, such as a stone, a feather, or an implement, or it might be a great tree, an animal or bird, or even a human being. They regarded these things as protecting them, their families, and their villages from harm, and they worshiped them earnestly. This kind of faith is called fetishism. Some primitive men considered a specific animal, plant, or nonliving thing as their ancestor. They worshiped it to be spared harm and to obtain happiness. Such a faith is called totemism.
A more advanced form of religion than the above is primitive pantheism, whose believers regard everything in the universe as god. There is also a primitive monotheism, which proclaims that one and only one god exists in this world and presides over all things, including good and evil, in this world.
These religions remain at so low a stage of spiritual development that modern people consider them mere superstitious beliefs. This is because they establish something as an absolute, to be worshiped and prayed to, although religion should be originally related to man. It is odd to worship such an animal, plant, or nonliving thing and to pray to it. Such things should not be worshiped and prayed to but should be freely put to practical use by people for the promotion of their happiness.
For example, the sun is an absolute necessity for man's existence, but it is only a thing, not a god. When in the future human knowledge has advanced much further than at present, there is a fair chance of his being able to produce a substitute for the sun. The moon is a mere thing, too, although it was worshiped as a god in ancient times. But now manned spacecraft have landed several times on the moon. This lunar exploration will culminate in practical application of its findings to human life. Rivers, seas, and mountains are nothing but things whose power should be put to practical use by human knowledge to enrich human life. The same can be said of the various animals and plants. If the words "put to practical use" seem to be too anthropocentric, they can be replaced by the expression "be coexistent and coprosperous" by making the best use of the life of natural things.
These matters belong to the sphere of science (human knowledge) in a broad sense and should never become the object of religion, although such primitive religion is popular even today. From the preceding brief survey of the origin and development of religion, we can understand why this kind of religion is mistaken and superstitious.
Problems that can be solved by human knowledge should be so solved to the last. This is not a new idea but is an unchangeable truth. From this viewpoint, it is no wonder that a religious organization should have a general hospital that uses the most highly advanced modern medical techniques and equipment to treat its patients.
Shakyamuni Buddha has taught this truth in various sutras. For instance, in the Singalovadasuttanta (Shikara-otsu-ropporai-kyo), the Buddha instructed a young man in Rajagriha as to how he should be filial to his parents, saying, "If your parents suffer from disease, you must soon place them under a doctor's care and must nurse them."
In chapter 17 of the Lotus Sutra, "Discrimination of Merits," the Buddha preaches as follows: "Ajita! If anyone, after my extinction, hears this sutra, and is able either to receive and keep, or himself copy or cause others to copy it, he has already erected monasteries and built red sandalwood temples of thirty-two shrines, tall as eight tala trees, lofty, spacious, splendid, in which abide hundreds, thousands of bhikshus; adorned also with gardens, groves, and bathing pools, promenades and meditation cells; with clothing, victuals, bedding, medicaments, and all aids to pleasure provided to the full therein." From the use of the word "medicaments" in the sutra we can judge that it was natural even for monks to take medicine, not to rely on prayers, when they fell ill.
This attitude is not confined to illness and medicine. In the case of economics, for example, the Buddha never teaches us to worship something in order to escape from poverty. In the Samyukta-agama-sutra (Grouped Discourses) he spoke to the following effect: "First study hard at a technical skill and then earn an income by using it as a right means. Having gained an income, without wasting it, you divide it into four parts, of which one-fourth is allowed for living expenses, two-fourths for business expenses, and the remaining one-fourth for savings as a safeguard against loss of income. . . . If you work rightly and seek money with right wisdom, money will accumulate about you day by day. However, from such money, you must give some to public welfare and must accommodate your friends and relatives in need."
What a pragmatic and moral teaching this is! Thus Shakyamuni teaches us to try to solve our problems by human knowledge whenever this is possible.
Plants, animals, and stones are not objects of worship to which one prays to be healed of illness. They are natural things to be used appropriately for their medical properties through human knowledge and endeavor. Nearly all physical suffering can be eliminated not by the force of the spirit of such an animal as a fox or a snake but by human knowledge, technology, and endeavor.
THE SUFFERING OF DEATH AND LIFE. There is one problem of human life that cannot be solved through human knowledge and endeavor. This is the problem of death. Man's life expectancy has increased considerably with the development of medical science and undoubtedly will be further prolonged in the future. Nevertheless, death invariably comes to us all. We instinctively feel death to be undesirable and frightening. Young people do not feel so horrified by death because they are so full of vitality and strong feelings that they do not think of death as it really is. They are not afraid of death because they do not think about it. If they gave it serious consideration, they would probably tremble with fear.
A friend of mine said to his twelve-year-old daughter, "There is a chance that hydrogen bombs will be dropped upon us in Japan." His daughter innocently asked him, "If that happened, what would become of us?" He answered her half-jokingly, "Well, we would all die. We would all die in an instant. Probably we would die an easy, gentle death." The girl suddenly turned pale and cried, "I hate death! I hate it!" He told me that he had never seen her face filled with such horror.
Even a twelve-year-old girl reacts this way when she thinks seriously of death. How seriously must people past middle age think of it! However healthy a person may be, he sometimes thinks of death when he reaches middle age. The dark shade of death occasionally flits through his mind. At such moments, he feels an indescribable thrill of horror, as though an icy wind were blowing on his neck.
How much more fear must a person who is seriously ill feel! His heart must almost burst with horror and loneliness when he thinks of death, which may come upon him at any moment. Moreover, the pain of his illness will torment him. The thought of death will double his pain during his remaining days.
Someone may say that he is not especially afraid of death. But he says this when he is not confronted by death. He will surely not be able to keep his composure when the moment of death actually approaches. Sometimes, though, the suffering of pain actually makes us forget the true pangs of death. When we feel extreme pain our minds are so filled with the desire for freedom from pain that often we are able to forget our terror of death.
When we think of a condemned criminal who is in good health, we can easily imagine how keenly he must feel the pangs of death. A condemned criminal who is healthy does not have either sufficient suffering or sufficient pleasure to make him forget death. He constantly sits within the walls of his solitary cell and waits quietly for the coming of death. He is truly confronted by death; his suffering must be great beyond comparison.
In a sense, however, all people are just like criminals sentenced to death. The time will come when they will all surely die. When medical science makes further progress, their physical suffering at the time of death may be alleviated. But even so, they will not be free from the terror, anxiety, and suffering of death itself.
There is only one way to be free from the threat of death. This is a religion through which we can believe in eternal life - that we do not die, our lives only change in form. When we can perfect our consciousness through religion, we will be truly free from the terror and suffering of death.
We are shadowed not only by the pangs of death but also by the suffering of life. We are assaulted day and night by material, physical, spiritual, and other sufferings. Among these many sufferings, two, material and physical sufferings, should be alleviated through human knowledge and endeavor. Although these two forms of suffering cannot be entirely abolished in our present state of knowledge, they are being lessened bit by bit with the development and elevation of human knowledge. In fact, these kinds of suffering may almost disappear in time.
Spiritual suffering whose cause we can perceive with our conscious mind may be abolished through the eradication of its cause or through moral cultivation. However, there remains the spiritual suffering that we cannot control by our own power however hard we may strive for moral improvement. As mentioned earlier, when the subconscious mind erupts in violence, one cannot control it with the conscious mind however hard one may try.
Thinking earnestly that we do not hate some person, our hatred for him is growing in our minds. Warning ourselves sternly that we must not get angry, we suddenly burn with rage. Realizing that we do not have to be afraid of something, we cannot free ourselves from a feeling of terror or anxiety. We ordinary people often experience such conflicts. We cannot control even such sufferings of life, much less the terror and anxiety of death.
When people encounter a serious suffering that they cannot resolve however hard they may try, they feel as if they must depend upon something more powerful than themselves, something absolute, and they ask for help. They entrust themselves body and mind to this absolute power, as if to say, "Do as you please. I leave everything up to you."
What should we depend upon? To what should we entrust our body and mind? As mentioned before, primitive people prostrated themselves before the sun, mountains, animals, plants, or other human beings and the spirits dwelling within them. But such behavior is out of the question now. Believers in a more advanced form of religion depend on its "absolute power," on a god that is considered to be the almighty being who creates and governs everything in heaven and on earth. They manage to obtain a certain degree of mental peace by praying to this god and asking his help.
But even this peace of mind is limited. We cannot obtain absolute assurance and peace from such a god because this god exists externally, in some transcendental sphere like heaven. A god who majestically looks down on the world from heaven, a god who mercilessly punishes evil and rewards good - the more absolute the power this god possesses, the more dependent we become and at the same time, the more fear we feel because we do not know when we may be forsaken by the god or when we may be punished by him. For this reason, we live in great fear of the god, although we depend upon him with our whole heart. With such mental dependence on an external force, we cannot attain true mental peace (nirvana).
Can we depend upon anything inside ourselves? No, this is also unreliable because our mind is always subject to delusion. Our body is also unreliable, being destined to disintegrate eventually. If we could depend wholly upon something within us, we would have no need of religion and should be able to save ourselves by our own efforts.
What then should we depend upon for our salvation? We must here remember the Buddha's teaching "Make the self your light, make the Law your light" (Ji-tomyo, ho-tomyo), the words Shakyamuni spoke to Ananda, one of his ten great disciples, before dying. Ananda felt anxious, reflecting, "When the World-honored One, who is an unparalleled leader and teacher, dies, who on earth should we depend upon in our practice and life?" In response to Ananda's anxiety, the Buddha taught him as follows: "Ananda! In the future, you should make yourself your light and depend upon your own self. You must not depend upon other people. You should also make the Law your light and depend upon the Law. You must not depend upon others."
There is no better teaching than this to sum up the essence of a right religion in a few words. The Buddha first taught, "You can depend upon your own self." When we depend upon other people, we do not know what to do if we are forsaken by them or if they disappear. Therefore, the Buddha admonished us to depend upon ourselves and walk the Way through our own efforts. But what should we depend upon in living our lives? The Buddha taught that this is nothing other than the Law, namely, the truth, and that we must not depend absolutely upon others. Here the word "others" means "gods," beings who are considered to exist outside ourselves and to be our masters. The Buddha taught emphatically that we must not depend upon such gods but only upon the Law, the truth.
Indeed, his words carry great weight. A single word of the teaching "Make the self your light, make the Law your light" is more valuable than all the innumerable teachings concerning human life and religion that have been promulgated by the many great men of past ages.
Through this teaching, we understand that what we depend on, the Law, exists both within and outside us. It is the truth that permeates the entire universe, not establishing a distinction between inside and outside. Our body is produced by this truth and is caused to live by it. Our mind is also produced by it and caused to work by it. All things, including society, heaven, earth, plants, birds, and beasts, are produced by this truth and are caused to live by it.
A person who feels the word "truth" to be somewhat cold and abstract can replace it with the term "the great life," which makes everything in this world exist and live. When we are firmly aware in the depths of our mind that we are given life by this great life that permeates the universe, we can obtain the true mental peace that is not disturbed by anything.
In what way can we gain such consciousness? Needless to say, the way is to study the teachings of the Buddha repeatedly and to root them deeply in our minds by meditating on them. We must keep firmly in mind the realization that our lives should be unified with the universal life (the Buddha). This indeed is meditation from the religious point of view. Through this kind of meditation, we can purify even the mind of which we cannot be conscious ourselves, that is, our subconscious mind, and we can make our thought and conduct harmonize spontaneously with our surroundings. If our thought and conduct are in harmony with our surroundings, sufferings and worries cannot trouble us. This mental state is true peace of mind; it is the stage of "Nirvana is quiescence," the absolutely quiet stage in which we cling to nothing. This state of mind is not limited to a passive mental peace. Our consciousness of being enlivened by this great universal life gives us great hope and courage. Energy springs form this consciousness so that we advance to carry out our daily lives, our work, and our bodhisattva way for the benefit of others in this world.
Our awareness of being caused to live is our true salvation. Our absolute devotion to the truth that imparts life to us, so that we utter "Namu" in our hearts, must be said to be the highest reach of faith. Namu comes from the Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit word namas, and means to take refuge in the Law wholeheartedly, with utter faith and trust. The state of religious exaltation in which we feel inexpressible gratitude to and joy in the Law is also included in the word namu. We do not worship a thing, a person, a spirit, or a god existing outside ourselves, but devote ourselves to the Law, which causes us to live and unites us with it - this is the purest and the supreme faith. Uttering the sacred title Namu Myoho Renge-kyo is the expression of our practice of taking refuge in the Law with our entire heart and mind. No form of religion is purer than this; this is the highest form of religion.
It is natural that understanding of the Law is different in each period and according to the capacity of each person. As most people today receive a scientific education, they have a tendency to believe only that which is clearly visible or which has been scientifically proved. They are apt to doubt such concepts as the Law and "that which causes everything to live" as mere ideas produced by religious leaders. But they should think of the composition of all physical substances as elucidated by nuclear physics: all substances in this universe are composed of electrons, protons, neutrons, and other subatomic particles, and the differences between various substances are caused by different combinations of these basic particles.
Granted that subatomic particles are regarded as the minimum units of matter, so long as such particles exist as matter, as things, they should be still further divisible. However, modern science cannot do this, so scientists say that these elemental particles are produced by "energy."
Energy is generally considered as "the force through which matter functions." But before matter can function, there must already exist the energy that produces matter. This is the theory advanced by the engineer Dr. Yoichi Yamamoto.
We cannot see energy with our naked eyes or otherwise discern it as a physical entity. Energy seems at first to be "nothingness," but it does exist and it is a kind of matter. The accumulation of this "kind of matter" produces such particles as electrons, protons, and neutrons. The accumulation of these particles produces various kinds of atoms. The accumulation of these atoms produces such elements as hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. The accumulation of these elements produces air, water, minerals, plants, and the human body. Thus, matter is originally produced from a kind of energy or force.
Scientists in the Soviet Union have propounded the theory that time is also energy. They assert that the sun and other stars will never stop burning because they use time as energy. This is the very limit that modern science has been able to ascertain. It is considered impossible to trace the origin of matter beyond that.
Shakyamuni Buddha, however, taught about matter correctly more than two thousand years ago. He proclaimed it as shiki soku zeku and ku soku zeshiki.2 Ku, or sunyata, literally "emptiness" or "void," does not mean "nothingness" but "equality." Shiki implies "phenomena." Shiki soku zeku indicates the idea that all things, including matter, the human mind, and events, originate from the same foundation. Though these things seem to be different from one another in the eyes of man, their real state is equal. When analyzed to the utmost possible limit, all things are equal because they are energy (force) of some kind. Similarly, ku soku zeshiki means that all things, including matter, mind, and events, are produced by ku, and therefore ku is identical with shiki. In short, all phenomena are produced from an equal kind of energy or force.
Ku (energy) accumulates through conditions (secondary causes, en) and produces a substance. Differences in the conditions lead to the production of water, air, stone, or the human body. When the conditions change, the substances produced change and take another form. When water comes into contact with a high temperature as a condition, it evaporates. When vapor comes into contact with cold air as a condition, it condenses and forms a cloud. Events and the function of the mind are similar; there is nothing that does not follow this basic rule.
Shakyamuni Buddha expounded this rule through the doctrine of pratitya-samutpada (engi), or dependent origination, meaning that all phenomena are produced and annihilated by causes and conditions. This term indicates the following: a thing arises from or is produced through the agency of a condition (a secondary cause, en). A thing does not take form unless there is an appropriate condition. This truth applies to all existence and phenomena in the universe. The Buddha intuitively perceived this so profoundly that even modern science cannot probe further.
Thinking thus, our lives may seem to be capricious. That ku is produced by a secondary cause (en) seems to indicate that all things are the products of mere chance. But this is not so. When we look carefully at things around us, we find that water, stone, and human beings are produced each according to a certain pattern with its own individual character. Through what power or direction are the conditions generated that produce various things in perfect order from such an amorphous energy as ku? When we consider this regularity and order, we cannot help admitting that some rule exists. It is the rule that causes all things to exist. This indeed is the Law taught by the Buddha.
We do not exist accidentally, but exist and live by means of this Law. As soon as we realize this fact, we become aware of our firm foundation and can set our minds at ease. Far from being capricious, this foundation rests on the Law, with which nothing can compare in firmness. This assurance is the source of the great peace of mind that is not agitated by anything. It is the Law that imparts life to all of us. The Law is not something cold but is full of vigor and vivid with life.
Just consider that billions of years ago, the earth had no life; volcanoes poured forth torrents of lava, and vapor and gas filled the sky. However, when the earth cooled about two billion years ago, microscopic one-celled living beings were produced. It goes without saying that they were produced through the working of the Law. They were born when the energy (ku) forming the foundation of lava, gas, and vapor came into contact with appropriate conditions (a secondary cause, en). It is the Law that provided the conditions for the generation of life. Therefore, we realize that the Law is not cold, a mere abstract rule, but is full of vivid power causing everything to exist and live.
Conversely, everything has the power of desiring to exist and to live. Two billion years ago, even lava, gas, and vapor possessed the urge to live. That is why one-celled living beings were generated from them when the conditions were right. These infinitesimal living beings endured all kinds of trials, including extreme heat and cold, tremendous floods, and torrential rains, for about two billion years, and continued to live. Moreover, they gradually evolved into more sophisticated forms, culminating in man. This evolution was caused by the urge to live of these first microscopic living beings. Life had mind, through which it desired to live, from the time even before it existed on earth. Such a will exists in everything in the universe. This will exists in man today. From the scientific point of view, man is formed by a combination of elementary particles; and if we analyze this still more deeply, we see that man is an accumulation of energy. Therefore, the mind desiring to live must surely exist in man.
However, this is a mind so deep that we cannot grasp, isolate, or control it. It is the mind existing in the origin of life, even deeper than the subconscious mind. What is this mind that desires to live, and what is the origin enabling us to live? We cannot isolate it by means of science or explain it by some theory. Even the most eminent scientists regard it as a problem beyond human knowledge. Philosophers have attempted to explain it as "the blind will toward life." We can call it "the universal will" or "universal life." We can also describe it as "the power that makes everything live" or "the rule that makes everything exist." Shakyamuni Buddha taught this point in the following way: all things in the universe are ku, and they are produced and annihilated by en. Nothing exists in a fixed eternal form; only the Law permeating them is an existence that never changes.
It is difficult, however, for an ordinary person to perceive clearly the Law, which is invisible and intangible. For those who lived during the Buddha's lifetime, it must have been extremely difficult for anyone but a person of very superior intellect to grasp it theoretically. Therefore Shakyamuni Buddha manifested the Law or truth in the form of the Buddha, whom man can view directly. He preached that the Buddha has absolute power and is an immortal existence that is present in all things and causes them to live. This Buddha is, of course, the Eternal Original Buddha.
The Original Buddha is the power that makes everything live and is omnipresent in the universe. There is no place where the Buddha does not exist. It is natural that the Original Buddha appears in a form appropriate to the object that he causes to live, because he is the power that makes everything live. When he appears in the world of man, he takes a shape suited to it.
If we superficially interpret the words "the Original Buddha appears," we may wonder why, then, everybody cannot see him when he makes his appearance. But this doubt is unfounded. It means replacing the realization of his existence with the words "he appears," nothing more. As long as the Original Buddha is the truth and the power that makes all men live, he always exists in each of us. We can all realize his existence in some way. To do this is to see the Buddha.
Lord Shakyamuni was the first human being who clearly realized the truth that makes all things live. An ordinary person cannot understand it even when it is explained to him as "the Law" or "truth." But when we think of the truth in the form of the Buddha, who perceives our minds and gives all of us life, we can realize the loving power of the Buddha that enables our minds to unite with his mind, and which causes us to live. The Buddha's power causing us to live is his benevolence.
The Lotus Sutra often mentions that the Buddha exists everywhere and appears in various forms in order to save people - that is, to cause them to live. The sutra also teaches indirectly that the Buddha has existed since the eternal past. However, in the Lotus Sutra so far, the Buddha has not explicitly preached this truth in its full depth. In order to guide his disciples to understand the truth in its utmost profundity, he tried to alter their minds little by little and to make them change their direction. If he had not done so but had suddenly preached the profound and real state of all things, his disciples could not have understood or believed what he said but would have been thrown into confusion.
When he judged the time to be ripe, the Buddha finally began to preach this most important teaching. This is the substance of chapter 16, "Revelation of the [Eternal] Life of the Tathagata," in which the Buddha's entity and life are manifested. He proclaimed that the entity of the Buddha is not the Shakyamuni seen by his disciples but the Eternal Original Buddha. He also revealed that the Original Buddha always exists, from the infinite past to the infinite future, and is omnipresent in the universe. In other words, he taught that the power that causes all things to live exists constantly in all places and at all times.
That the Buddha's life is infinite means that our lives, too, are infinite. By realizing the infinity of the Buddha's life we can obtain limitless hope and courage. Therefore chapter 16 is not only the core of the Law of Origin but is also regarded as the living spirit of the entire Lotus Sutra.
This chapter contains such a profound teaching that we cannot possibly grasp its essence if we interpret it literally. Therefore I have tried to introduce the chapter by reviewing the teaching of the Law of Appearance and then defining the essence of religion. I have also tried to explain the meaning of the Original Buddha in terms that modern people can understand. Now let us proceed to the content of chapter 16 itself.
In chapter 15, "Springing Up out of the Earth," the host of bodhisattvas entertained doubts when they heard that the innumerable great bodhisattvas who issued from the earth had all been instructed by Shakyamuni Buddha since his enlightenment. Then on behalf of these bodhisattvas the Bodhisattva Maitreya asked the Buddha to resolve their doubts. Chapter 16 of the Lotus Sutra begins at this point.
- Kutai, ketai, and chutai - the truth of the emptiness, truth of temporality, and truth of the middle - are the three kinds of truth (santai) in the Tendai teaching.
- Two famous sentences in the Prajnaparamita-hridaya-sutra (Hannya-haramitta Shin-gyo), or Heart Sutra. They indicate that form or matter is identical with emptiness (shiki soku zeku) and that the emptiness, or sunyata, is identical with matter (ku soku zeshiki).
Copyright © 2009 by Rissho Kosei-kai. All rights reserved.