Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby rory » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:55 am

FYI the Avalokitesvara chapter and the dharanis were added later to the Lotus Sutra. In my school, Kempon Hokke, we're similar to Nichiren Shu but stricter. That means though I visualize the deities, Kannon included, and believe they protect us I don't pray to them. In the Lotus Sutra all the Buddhas are emanations of the Eternal Buddha so I only pray to the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni. That doesn't mean you couldn't chant other chapters of the Lotus Sutra as extra practice.

I used to practice Tendai and practice Pure Land and lots of mantras, chanting to Kannon-sama. But stopped due to my present practice. Certainly in Asia, it's degenerated to basically asking a goddess for good things and I've certainly done that.
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby Seishin » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:51 am

Just for clarities sake, when you said "the Avalokitesvara chapter and the dharanis were added later to the Lotus Sutra", do you mean the understanding as below?

According to Dr. Kogaku Fuse, the Sanskrit text used by Kumara­
jiva was composed of four parts: the oldest part and three additions
to it. He holds that the oldest part of this sutra consisted of the
verses contained in Chapters I, II III, IV V VI VII VIII IX,and
XVIII of the popular edition of this sutra, which was composed in
the first century B.C. The first addition to this was the prose sec­
tions of the abovementioned ten chapters, which were made in the
first century a.D. The second addition was Chapters X XI, XIII XIV,
XV XVI, XVII, XIX XX, and XXI of the popular edition of this
sutra, which were composed about 100 A.D. The third addition, which
covers the remaining chapters, was made about 150 a.D.6
Before going into the outline of this sutra, it is absolutely neces­
sary to understand that it is composed in the form of a drama con­
sisting of six scenes http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/3178


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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby emulations » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:50 pm

markatex wrote:Avalokiteshvara is not on the Mandala Gohonzon (and no one knows exactly why), but considering that Samantabhadra and Manjushri are depicted, the absence is conspicuous, IMO.

Some have speculated that Nichiren Shonin didn't include Avalokiteshvara because of his/her close association with Pure Land Buddhism; others think Nichiren intended for Hariti/Kishimojin to stand in for that bodhisattva on the Mandala.


I just came across an article that mentions this issue: http://www.buddhastate.com/2012/09/was- ... alai-lama/
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby emulations » Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:10 pm

dude wrote:
You're right, the four bodhisattvas of the lotus sutra are the ones on the gohonzon.
We're all new to Buddhisom here in the Americas and nobody studies enough, including me, and I study a lot.

To venture an answer to your question : I'm not qualified to say, but from my reading of the Gosho, Nichiren said that reciting the sutra in its entirety is the "comprehensive practice" and reading the two chapters is the shorter version of practice, to be done as an auxiliary to chanting nam myoho ren ge kyo.

So I can't see anything wrong with reading and reciting the chapter if you want to.
That chapter was instrumental to me at least once in a breakthrough of understanding, and I know what you mean about Feeling something when you read a particular passage. As if the words speak directly to a wisdom deep within my mind.


I definitely agree that Buddhism is new to this continent and there's a lot of difficulty when it comes to studying but my parents are SGI Buddhists who know their bit about ichinen sanzen, the Three Treasures, etc, etc. Recently an older member who received her Gohonzon two years ago was asking my father about the fact she doesn't know anything about the Three Treasures and a lot of other stuff and she wishes the district leaders would encourage more study of these things because she's very much confused and doesn't even know what she's chanting about while doing the gongyo. It's all these factors that have led me to ask here on this forum, hoping to see different points of views and I have gleaned a lot of information thanks to everyone who posted.

I think I will definitely recite the Avalokitesvara chapter but I'm not sure how to approach it really. Also I am still curious about the mantra Om mani padme hum and whether or not it's correct to recite it considering I follow Nichiren Buddhism.
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby dude » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:04 pm

I see that in this school of Buddhism, there isn't any praying or chanting to any of the bodhisattvas. Did Nichiren ever said anything about this? I remember reading that once he went to the temple, he would pray to Akasagarbha (Kokuzo) to become a wise man but this was when he was 11 or 12.


Thank you![/quote]

Nichiren studied as an acolyte in a Pure Land temple from an early age, and observed the Pure Land practices he learned from his teacher, which includes worshipping statues of buddhas and bodhisattvas.at,
He says in his writings that he was praying to Kokuzo when he first made the vow to become the wisest man in the world.
After that, he studied all the sutras and all the commentaries of all the schools
before stating his conclusions.
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby rory » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:56 am

Nichiren was a Tendai monk, praying to Kozuko was to attain a good memory.

As for chanting Om mani padme hum, that's the Tibetan tradition. If you want to chant to Kannon, chant 'namu Kannon-bosatsu' or chant her mantra, it's done all the time in Tendai, Shingon, Kegon, Hosso traditions. Maybe even in Nichiren Shu, they're pretty anything goes so ask a priest. Study and get initiated. Mixing and mingling different tradtions when you have no idea what they are is a very bad idea.
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby markatex » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:07 am

rory wrote:Maybe even in Nichiren Shu, they're pretty anything goes so ask a priest.


That simply isn't true. I don't know any Nichiren Shu priest who would advocate chanting Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu, or anything besides the Odaimoku.
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby rory » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:07 am

Okay my apologies Mark;

anyway for those who want to venture out a bit from SGI actually learn about the Lotus Sutra and why it's so great. This is a wonderful article in Tricycle;
http://www.tricycle.com/special-section ... g?page=0,0

"Those familiar with secondary literature about Buddhism are likely to have the impression that the Mahayana emerged as a liberalizing movement within the Buddhist community, one that made the practice of Buddhism, and the attainment of awakening, available to a wider group than had previously been the case. Seen in this light, the Mahayana is often perceived as pro-laity, pro-family, even pro-women, and thus as a form of Buddhism particularly well adapted to the presumably more egalitarian societies of the world today. But it is becoming increasingly clear to scholars that this vision of the character of Mahayana Buddhism has been shaped by a very atypical text, namely, the Lotus Sutra ."

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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby emulations » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:11 pm

Just wanted to thank everyone for the information and opinions given. It's definitely given me a lot to mull over and of course, study and reflect on a lot of things. I still feel an "attraction" to Avalokitesvara but the Kanzeon chapter in the Lotus Sutra is probably the best for my practice as of now.
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby dude » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:27 am

[quote="rory"]Okay my apologies Mark;

anyway for those who want to venture out a bit from SGI actually learn about the Lotus Sutra and why it's so great. This is a wonderful article in Tricycle;
http://www.tricycle.com/special-section ... g?page=0,0

"Those familiar with secondary literature about Buddhism are likely to have the impression that the Mahayana emerged as a liberalizing movement within the Buddhist community, one that made the practice of Buddhism, and the attainment of awakening, available to a wider group than had previously been the case. Seen in this light, the Mahayana is often perceived as pro-laity, pro-family, even pro-women, and thus as a form of Buddhism particularly well adapted to the presumably more egalitarian societies of the world today. But it is becoming increasingly clear to scholars that this vision of the character of Mahayana Buddhism has been shaped by a very atypical text, namely, the Lotus Sutra ."

gassho


Thank you very much for this quote. It's a supremely important observation.
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby Anders » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:56 am

rory wrote:As for chanting Om mani padme hum, that's the Tibetan tradition.


No it's not. Chanting Om Mani Padme Hum is a very widespread practise across all of east-asia.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby rory » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:03 pm

Om mani padme hum is indeed fashionable all over Asia due to Tibetan Buddhism being fashionable; please ask Ven. Huifeng or Ven. Indrajala both scholars in this forum if this mantra had been practiced in either Chinese or Japanese Buddhist traditions. There are many mantras to Kannon in the Japanese tradition to practice.
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby jmlee369 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:50 am

rory wrote:Om mani padme hum is indeed fashionable all over Asia due to Tibetan Buddhism being fashionable; please ask Ven. Huifeng or Ven. Indrajala both scholars in this forum if this mantra had been practiced in either Chinese or Japanese Buddhist traditions. There are many mantras to Kannon in the Japanese tradition to practice.
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I wouldn't necessarily attribute the Six Syllable Mantra practice to Tibetan Buddhism's modern popularity. One of the most commonly recited liturgical practices in Korean Buddhism, Cheon Su Gyeong (Thousand Arm 'Sutra') in its current form dates back to the 17th century at the latest, and includes the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM under the name Gwanseum Bodhisattva's Six Syllable Great Brilliance King Mantra. The Yoga of Flaming Mouths in the Chinese tradition also features the recitation of the mantra 108 times, in addition to inserting the mantra into various praises such as the Praise of the Five Directions' Buddhas. Granted, that particular text definitely shows Tibetan, if not a common Indian influence, but it would be hard to attribute the mantra's popularity solely to Tibetan Buddhist influences. The mantra is from the Karandavyuha Sutra after all.
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby smcj » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:05 am

...if this mantra had been practiced in either Chinese or Japanese Buddhist traditions.

In China the female deity Kwan Yin's mantra is the mani. That is why she is said to be the same deity as Chenrezig instead of the feminine Tara.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby dude » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:46 pm

emulations wrote:So I'm investigating Nichiren Buddhism (I'm someone who comes from a household of SGI members so I know a lot about NMRK but didn't start my own practice until recently) but I see that in this school of Buddhism, there isn't any praying or chanting to any of the bodhisattvas. Did Nichiren ever said anything about this? I remember reading that once he went to the temple, he would pray to Akasagarbha (Kokuzo) to become a wise man but this was when he was 11 or 12.

I could be totally wrong since the whole sangha where I live is the SGI and not a peep is mentioned about the bodhisattvas. I'm curious though, since I've been thinking a lot about Avalokiteśvara while chanting NMRK and have been listening to the Om mani padme hum and last night, I was thinking about Avalokiteśvara's great compassion and I just felt something. I'm pretty much confused if including Avalokiteśvara as part of my practice would be wrong considering I'd have to study more in-depth, chant the mantra perhaps (I know many recommend a teacher for these types of things) and if it would somehow be conflicting with my chanting of NMRK.

Thank you!


Yes it would. Chant only nam myoho renge kyo.
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby emulations » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:50 pm

dude wrote:
Yes it would. Chant only nam myoho renge kyo.


I came to the same conclusion after sitting on the issue. Thanks for all the commentary from everyone!
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby DiamondSutra » Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:04 pm

I do not know japanese.

but.... this website says that Avalokitishvara is represented in the Gohanzon

http://www.reu.com/GohonzonInfo/Reading ... honzon.pdf

It says that she is there on the right side of namyohorengekyo, next to samatabhadra and medicine buddha.

This other website from sokagakkai does not list her

http://www.sgi-usa.org/memberresources/ ... honzon.php

As far as what is inscribed on the gohanzon are they quite different between the different schools?
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby illarraza » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:50 am

DiamondSutra wrote:I do not know japanese.

but.... this website says that Avalokitishvara is represented in the Gohanzon

http://www.reu.com/GohonzonInfo/Reading ... honzon.pdf

It says that she is there on the right side of namyohorengekyo, next to samatabhadra and medicine buddha.

This other website from sokagakkai does not list her

http://www.sgi-usa.org/memberresources/ ... honzon.php

As far as what is inscribed on the gohanzon are they quite different between the different schools?


There are many Gohonzons that Nichiren inscribed with specific additions and subtractions. Here is an overview of Gohonzon:

The Object of Worship of the Original Doctrine

by Rev. Tetsujo Kubota
(from the Tradition of Nichiren Doctrine)

"The Three Great Secret Dharma" refers to:
(1) Object of Worship of the Original Doctrine (Hommon no Honzon),
(2) the Title of the Original Doctrine (Hommon no Daimoku), and
(3) Precept (Ordination) Platform of the Original Doctrine (Hommon no Kaidan).

"Object of Worship" (honzon: "the Principal Revered or Holy One") means the Object of Faith or Belief. Incidentally for a disciple of Nichiren an explanation concerning the "Object of Worship" which goes beyond the Patriarch's teaching is not allowed. The teaching of Nichiren Shonin is absolute.

After founding his sect at age thirty-two Nichiren Shonin spread the teaching in Kamakura. At this time it seems that he worshiped the Title "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" alone with the Hokekyo placed in front of it. After he received the standing image of Lord Shakya at Ito at age forty, that is, after the Ito Persecution for the Dharma, according to the "Letter on the Kings of the Country of the Gods", he installed the image of Lord Shakya and the ten fascicles of the Hokekyo.

According to the "Letter to the Great Assembly of Seichoji" written about this time, he says, "Having written an oath of the utmost sincerity, I, Nichiren, prayed with hands joined, to the Object of Worship..." And the fact that he prayed joined to the hands of the Object of Worship is proof that he was worshiping the statue of Lord Shakya. (It is presumed that behind the statue of Lord Shakya he worshiped the single Title "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" but there is no evidence for this.) Moreover, as he says in his letter to the wife of Daigaku Saburo, "You worship the Seven Characters three times a day" (291), the believers at this time were worshiping the Single Title ("Namu Myoho Renge Kyo"
alone).

In the tenth month of the eighth year of Bun'ei (1271) after the Persecution at Tatsunokuchi Nichiren Shonin was kept in custody at the residence of the local chief (jito) of Echi (the modern Atsugi City), Homma Shigetsura. On the ninth, the day before they said he was to be exiled to Sado, he recorded an Object of Worship (gohonzon) with a willow twig. A single Title ("Namu Myoho renge kyo") (with Fudo to the right and Aizen to the left represented by Sanskrit characters, as we face it) and the side inscription "Written at the village of Echi in Homma in the Province of Sagami" with the year, month, and day of its revelation. It is said to have been written using a twig broken from a willow tree.

Throughout the first period after he had gone over to Sado, the Objects of Worship that he wrote had the Title, the Two Buddhas Shakya and Taho and also Fudo and Aizen written symbolically in Sanskrit characters, the side inscription "Drawn in the Province of Sado" and the year, month, and day of revelation. There are many examples of this form and it is called the "Hundred-copy Object of Worship of Sado".

In the second month of the ninth year of Bun'ei (1272) with the great motive that "they will put an end to the inconceivability of Nichiren" he composed "On Opening the Eyes (Kaimoku Sho)" and implied that in terms of his Original State (honji) he was the manifestation of the Bodhisattva Jogyo.

In the fourth month of the next year he composed On the Object Worship of Contemplation (Kanjin Honzon sho ). In this work, which he called "my own great matter", explained in doctrinal terms the substance of the Object of Worship of the Original Doctrine. On the eighth day of the seventh month in that same year he revealed and drew an Object of Worship called the "Mandala First Revealed on Sado" (Sado Shiken Mandara), but regrettably the original autograph has not come down to us. But fortunately a copy still exists, so from this we can understand its arrangement. There is one at the Head Temple Myomanji which the disciple Temmoku received and was given in the sixth month of the following year. (A version on silk) There is a side inscription, "The Shramana Temmoku received and was given [it]. For some reason it does not say, "Bestowed and given [to the Shramana Temmoku"]. The arrangement of this is closest to "Mandala First Revealed on Sado".

On Sado the Saint himself kept the image of Lord Shakya enshrined:

"When I was in the Province of Sado between mountains and wilds far away from a village was a samadhi place (gosammaisho: a cremation ground or graveyard) called Tsukahara. There was a hall with a single room and four walls in that place. In the roof the boards did not meet and four walls were ruined. In the rain it was like being outside and the snow Piled up inside. There was no Buddha [image]. Neither was there a single reed tatami mat. However, I set up [the statue of] the Master of Teachings Lord Shakya which I have kept from the beginning and grasped the Hokekyo in my hand, put on a straw raincoat and held up an umbrella, yet for four years no person appeared and they gave me no food." ("Reply to the Bhikshuni Myoho", STN, v. 2, 15)

He kept and guarded this image of Lord Shakya after he entered Minobu as well. ("On the Matter of Forgetting the Sutra Which He Kept") Furthermore, he bestowed mandalas on believers.

"Although this mandala in terms of its written characters is five characters or seven characters, it is the Teacher of the Buddhas of the Three Ages; it the certifying text of the attainment of Buddhahood by all women. It becomes a torch on the paths of the underworld; it becomes an excellent horse on the Mountain of Going Forth in Death. It is like the sun and the moon in the heavens. It is like Mount Sumeru on earth. It is the ship for the Sea of Birth-and-Death. It is the Guiding Teacher for the Attainment of Buddhahood." (On Offering to the Mandala of the Sublime Dharma, STN, v. 1, 698)

The Saint, himself an exile and, what is more, in the countryside on an isolated island, was not able simply to obtain Buddha images and perform the "Eye-opening" dedication. In this respect a mandala could be drawn as soon as paper, ink, and writing brush were to be had and also was easy to transport. Moreover, there was nothing more welcome for lay donors than the mandala, which was in the Saint's very own hand.

In the eleventh year of Bun'ei (1274) Nichiren Shonin entered Minobu and the laudatory text of the Mandala which he wrote out in the twelfth month of the same year is as follows:

"Since the Extinction of the Great Enlightened World Honored One there have passed in succession more than two thousand two hundred and twenty years. Even so among the Three Countries of India, Han [China] and Japan, there has not yet been this Great Obiect of Worship (dai honzon). Either they have known but not yet spread it or they have not known it. Our Compassionate Father, by means of the Buddha Wisdom, has hidden and retained it, leaving it for the Latter Age. At the time of the last five hundred years, the Bodhisattva Jyogyo come forth in the world and for the first time spreads and proclaims it."

What we should note on this Mandala is:

(1) The fact that the mandala is called the Object of Worship (honzon). There are those among one group of scholars who "say that the Mandala is not the object of Worship but assert as the Object of Worship the statue of the Buddha. However, the Saint himself said "the Mandala is the Object of Worship (honzon)".
(2) "Namu Tensho Hachiman to sho butsu" (Adoration to the Buddhas, Amaterasuomi-kami, Hachiman and so on) means he reveals the Original State (honji) of the national gods of Japan.
(3) He calls himself "the Bodhisattva Jogyo". The Saint was a person of humility and had only implied this in On Opening the Eyes (Kaimoku sho), the letter of the Revelation of the Person. It is on this Object of Worship that he first says this. The one other place he refers to this is only when he says through the mouth of Shijo Yorimoto, "His Reverence Nichiren Shonin is the Bodhisattva Jogyo, Messenger of the Lord of the Three Worlds, the Father and Mother of All Beings, the Tathagata Shakya." (The Deposition of Yorimoto, STN,v.2, 1358)

With the passage of time in the Bun'ei (1263-1274), Kenji (12751277), and Koan (1278-1288) periods the Saint wrote the Mandalas at various times in all sorts of forms, the Abbreviated Style, the Quintessential Style and the Expanded Style. The Abbreviated Style consists of the Title ("Namu Myoho renge kyo"), the Two Buddhas Shakya and Taho with the Two Spell Kings (Myoo), Fudo and Aizen, in Sanskrit characters. The Quintessential Style means he added the Four Bodhisattvas Converted by the Original Buddha. The Expanded Style means the whole of the Ten Realms are included.

When we view the more than one hundred twenty extant autograph specimens of the Mandala, there are various sorts, those of the first part of the Bun'ei period all having "Namu" affixed to the various deities and those of the Koan period having it affixed only to the Four Holy Ones (the Two Buddhas Shakya and Taho, the Four Bodhisattvas, Jogyo and the others, Shariputra and so on), those where there are the Branch Body Buddhas (Bun'ei) and those where there are not (Koan) and so on. Former Teachers have divided them into the Unrevised (Bun'ei and Kenji periods) and the Revised" (Koan period), separated them into those Following Others' Intentions (zui ta I) (Bun'ei and Kenji periods) and those Following His Own Intentions (zui ji I) (Koan Period), and classified the Bun'ei era as the Practice Period, the Kenji era as the Adjustment Period, and the Koan era as the Perfection (or Completion) Period. (Note)* "Revised": the word "Revised" means to "redo something incomplete". And so there are scholars who say we must not use the word "Revised", viewing Nichiren Shonin in the same way as a unenlightened worlding. However, is not the fact that the Saint studied and thought these out something superlative?
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Re: Mantras/praying to bodhisattvas

Postby Rokushu » Thu May 08, 2014 2:31 pm

Just curious, by what authority did Nichiren Shonin establish his own sect? And where did Shakyamuni Buddha mention "objects of worship"? Is this just a form of "popular Buddhism" to appeal to the masses? Just curious, I am new to Buddhism so I'll be fascinated by your response.
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