The Lotus Sutra, Nichiren, and the Buddhadhamma
Amata A Hetepunuta
As a student of the Buddhadhamma, who cut Dhamma teeth on the foundation of the Theravada teachings, lately, thanks to some friends who are followers of various Nichiren Sects, for me there is now a greater regard or appreciation for the Lotus Sutra. Yet, I must confess just as great a regard for the Mahayana Vimalakirti and the Srimala Sutras. The special affinity I have for the latter two lay in the fact that they affirm an equal path to Buddhahood status for females as well as males. The Lotus Sutra along with some other Mahayana and Theravada Suttas (sutras) [Theravada is the correct term, Hinayana is derogatory!] reject, and or are “on the fence” in regards to a female attaining “Buddhahood”. Some of these sutras deny females the status of Buddhahood. A number of other sutras reject Buddhahood status for females unless she changes or transforms into a male. This primitive view of females makes it rather difficult for me to accept the claims of some sects that The Lotus Sutra is the “culmination”, or more advanced, perfect teachings of Ra Heru Buto Sut Nahsi commonly known as the Shakayamuni Buddha.
In addition, I think we should always keep in mind that even though the Buddha was well educated and literate; he did not leave any written manuscripts or works. Moreover, he did not command anyone to write down his words before or after he died. During the lifetime of the Buddha, when he learned that people were propagating his Dhamma to others, his only admonishment was that the Dhamma should be taught in the language of the people and that the Dhamma should accord with ones level of understanding. In the Book “Master HSU Yun’s Discourses and Dharma Words”, translated by Lu K’uan Yu, it says:
“Because of his great mercy, the Buddha was compelled to set up 84,000 Dharma doors (to enlightenment) so that living beings of different natural capacities could use them to cure the 84,000 ailments caused by their habitual concupiscence, anger, stupidity and love. In the same way you are taught to use a shovel, brush, water and cloth to wash, brush, polish and scrub the dirty piece of gold. Therefore, the Dharma doors expounded by the Buddha are all excellent Dharmas which enable one to see through birth and death and to attain Buddhahood, the only question being the adaptability or otherwise of individual potentialities.”
Therefore, according to the sutras and other Buddhadhamma historical documents, we can establish that the true intention of Ra Heru Buto Sut Nahsi the Buddha is that all people might come to understand his teachings in order to be a perfect practitioner of them while on the path to complete enlightenment and or the attainment of Buddhahood.
This is a very important point to consider. This writer does not believe The Buddha ever meant his followers to use his words and deeds as points of contention as we now see among certain sects of the Buddhadhamma Sanga. Sadly enough even among the “non-violence veneer of some Buddhist” there are those who claim to follow the teachings of the Buddha, yet who are unfriendly and distant in spirit toward other Buddhist due to what they perceive as differences regarding Dhamma practice. It seems to me there are some “Buddhists” who are using the writings or “The Sutra” in the same manner as many fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and other so-called religious fundamentalist use their various religious texts.
For instance, the very evangelical sect called “Jehovah Witnesses”-(JW’s), even though they ask people outside of their Jehovah Witness sect to take and read their literature, and invite others to visit their temples, the Jehovah Witness will not do the same. Some JW’s have told me, that they are instructed not to read any other religious materials and not to visit the temples of other religious sects. They also believe that “their scripture-the Bible” supports their extreme position.
Unfortunately, some followers of the Buddhadhamma also take this extreme sort of position when dealing with other schools of the Buddhadhamma. Several Fujufuse and Pure-Land Sects also believe this way.
End of Part One