Nichiren shu

Nichiren shu

Postby shaunc » Wed May 28, 2014 10:29 am

Just a few questions regarding nichiren shu.
1). Is it correct that they regard shakyumani Buddha as their main teacher & nichiren as a bodhisattva/arahat/saint.
2). Sitting meditation is also practised but only as a secondary practise to chanting nam myo ho renge kyo.
3). When reciting chapter 2 & 16 of the lotus sutra it is recited in English rather than Japanese.
Thanks.
Shaun.
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Re: Nichiren shu

Postby markatex » Thu May 29, 2014 12:59 am

shaunc wrote:Just a few questions regarding nichiren shu.
1). Is it correct that they regard shakyumani Buddha as their main teacher & nichiren as a bodhisattva/arahat/saint.
2). Sitting meditation is also practised but only as a secondary practise to chanting nam myo ho renge kyo.
3). When reciting chapter 2 & 16 of the lotus sutra it is recited in English rather than Japanese.
Thanks.
Shaun.


1. Nichiren is a bodhisattva, specifically Superior Practice Bodhisattva from the Lotus Sutra.

2. Yes, but sitting meditation is very, very secondary. Very.

3. Not necessarily. In my experience, it is usually chanted in shindoku, and only sometimes in English.
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Re: Nichiren shu

Postby shaunc » Thu May 29, 2014 7:04 am

Thanks for that information.
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Re: Nichiren shu

Postby Queequeg » Thu May 29, 2014 7:54 pm

shaunc wrote:Just a few questions regarding nichiren shu.
1). Is it correct that they regard shakyumani Buddha as their main teacher & nichiren as a bodhisattva/arahat/saint.
2). Sitting meditation is also practised but only as a secondary practise to chanting nam myo ho renge kyo.
3). When reciting chapter 2 & 16 of the lotus sutra it is recited in English rather than Japanese.


Not a Nichiren Shu practitioner, but just offering some general comments -

In Nichiren's writings, the Shakyamuni Buddha he worships as parent, teacher and sovereign of the threefold world is the Triple Bodied Primordial Buddha revealed in full in the 16th Chapter of the Lotus Sutra. It is not the limited understanding of Shakyamuni Buddha who was born in Lumbini, attained awakening under the Pipal tree near Gaya, began turning the wheel at Sarnath, and entered Parinirvana at Kushinagar. The Shakyamuni we are talking about attained awakening in the infinitely remote past, is endowed with not only the eternal dharma body, but eternal sambhoga and nirmana bodies as well, and is always in the Saha world, teaching and converting beings.

Nichiren has the title Shonin (聖人) which has been translated as "saint". I recently re-read Bhiku Dharmamitra's translation of the Six Dharma Gates to the Sublime and in a footnote he explains his aversion to rendering 聖 as "saint", preferring the sanskrit term, "Arya" which has been translated to English as "Noble".Here is the footnote in full:

"I have preferred to reconstruct rather than translate the character used by Sino-Buddhist tradition to translate the Sanskrit arya (sheng - 聖). Why? I find the two default English renderings and a more recent and slightly innovative rendering all to be untenable:
"The first default translation, "sage," merely implies worldly wisdom. Much of what has been written by the so-called "sages" of both Eastern and Western philosophical history is, in Buddhist terms, classic "wrong view." There is almost no possibility that any of the identified "sages" of those traditions ever succeeded in realizing "the path of seeing" wherein one directly perceives the emptiness of inherent existence of all phenomena. Hence, by definition, none of these sages could likely have been an arya.
"The second default translation, "saint," has already been long assigned to states of extreme "holiness" as defined by Christian culture. Such "saints," although often noteworthy for consistently "selfless" behavior, are not particularly noted for the deep supramundane gnosis and wisdom which comes with the path of seeing defining an arya.
"Recently, some have chosen "superior" as a translation. As a standard term of reference for senior clerics in Catholic monasteries and convents, it seems to fall far short of the transcendent connotations of arya."

In primitive Buddhism, people who had attained at least the stage of "Stream Winner" (Skt. srotapanna) were apparently called "arya puggala" or "Noble Person". The character 人 in 聖人 (shonin) means "person", so shonin could literally be reconstructed in sanskrit as "arya puggala" or "Noble Person." Maybe it might be most appropriate to render Nichiren Shonin in English as "The Noble One Nichiren".

Nichiren is not considered and arhat in any sense of that term. Certainly not in the primitive Buddhism sense, meaning a person who has exhausted all karma and attained nirvana as described in the Tripitaka teachings.

Nichiren did however suggest he may be an avatar of Visistacaritra Bodhisattva (Jogyo Bosatsu; Superior Conduct Bodhisattva), one of the four leaders of the multitude of Bodhisattvas who emerge from beneath the Earth in the 15th Chapter of the Lotus Sutra. He also compared himself to Sadaparibhuta Bodhisattva (Fukyo Bosatsu, Never Disparaging Bodhisattva).
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Re: Nichiren shu

Postby markatex » Thu May 29, 2014 10:50 pm

The point about the Primordial Buddha is a very important distinction. Queequeg always has such lovely answers. :smile:
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Re: Nichiren shu

Postby Queequeg » Fri May 30, 2014 6:08 pm

Thanks, Mark. :)

A follow up comment on the distinction of the Primordial Buddha and the conception of Shakyamuni as having been born, lived and died in this world, who I'll call the Historical Shakyamuni.

The Primordial Buddha Shakyamuni is not exclusive of the Historical Shakyamuni - they are one and the same. The distinction is that the Historical Shakyamuni is an emanation of the Primordial Shakyamuni who appeared in North India in response to the conditions of that time and is perceived to be limited to the characteristics described in the Pre-Lotus teachings. The doctrines the Historical Shakyamuni taught for the first 40 years of his life generally accorded to the needs and capacities of the people of his time and what we now identify as the Former and Middle days of the law. The Primordial Shakyamuni is constantly present, even when he does not appear in a form recognizable as a Buddha by ordinary living beings. The Primordial Shakyamuni appears everywhere in response to the needs of beings throughout the threefold world. As the Lotus Sutra reveals, the Buddha's purpose is always to lead all beings to share in the Buddha's awakening and practice. Even as the Buddha's teaching appear to be directed to goals other than the Primordial Buddha's awakening and practice (such as the awakening of Arhats and Provisional Buddhas), these are intermediate and expedient goals on the actual path, and everything he teaches is for the sake of the unparalleled awakening.

Regarding the substance of the Primordial Buddha's awakening it is to the True Aspect of All Phenomena. All of his teachings are intended to lead to the awakening to the True Aspect of All Phenomena and flow from this awakening.

In more practical terms, what is this?

The Lotus Sutra is about waking up to the reality of your life. The Buddha is constantly pointing this reality out to you. The only question is your receptivity to these teachings which is entirely within your own control.
EDIT* Even this is not in the plainest English.
The True Reality of your life is constantly unadorned and readily apparent to you. However, because of your myriad delusions, it is covered by your projections. If you want to cut through your myriad delusions, you must start with the resolution to be receptive to this True Reality. The goal of cutting through the delusions inevitably follows from this resolution.

Namu Myohorengekyo is a literal statement affirming your receptivity. Extended and sustained cultivation of this receptivity, even in the face of tremendous obstacles and difficulties, is the path that Nichiren taught.

As the Lotus Sutra teaches, all who singlemindedly wish to see the Buddha without begrudging even their lives, will see the Buddha in this life and awaken to the True Aspect of all Phenomena.

Sorry for bringing the weight, but there's no time for dilly-dallying in this life, this short opportunity.
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Re: Nichiren shu

Postby nichirenista » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:56 am

shaunc wrote:Just a few questions regarding nichiren shu.
1). Is it correct that they regard shakyumani Buddha as their main teacher & nichiren as a bodhisattva/arahat/saint.
2). Sitting meditation is also practised but only as a secondary practise to chanting nam myo ho renge kyo.
3). When reciting chapter 2 & 16 of the lotus sutra it is recited in English rather than Japanese.
Thanks.
Shaun.


Been going to Nichiren Shu for a few years, and I think you are right on all points -- except for English. We chant in shindoku.
I do not engage in pointless criticism of people. As a published writer and a student of psychology, analysis and description of human behavior and interaction is what my life is about. And I naturally consider my posts to be positive contributions…. viewtopic.php?f=59&t=17045
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