The Lotus Sutra, Nichiren and The Buddhadhamma-Pt. 2

Posted on July 19, 2008. Filed under: religion |

Secondly, I have come to know that the one commonly called “Shakyamuni”, [Shakyamuni was not his true or birth name] was a human male who did indeed achieve enlightenment and became or realized the “Buddha Nature”. Buddhahood or Buddha Nature can be brought to fruition in all beings that strive toward this goal. The Shakyamuni, who became the Buddha, was not the “first nor last” Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha is too many, living proof that all human beings can cultivate this Buddhahood or Buddha nature.

Thus, the man “Shakyamuni” the Buddha was not eternal. Neither is Buddha Nature eternal in the sense that a person must strive or cultivate it in order to bring it to fruition. Simply stated, Buddha nature and it’s arising, is dependent upon the arising of certain conditions, brought about primarily as a result of ones strivings and cultivation efforts throughout one or count-less lifetimes. [“In this case, the striving and cultivation efforts of the one called “Shakyamuni”]. Through his efforts and striving, he went on to realize Buddhahood. Yet, because the man Shakayamuni, who later became known as the Buddha, by virtue of his achieving Nibbana or Nirvana, which is perfect enlightenment, broke the cycle of birth and death, that is, defeating his craving and attachment to transitory self and objects: In his so doing, he is an example for all time for all humanity. It is in this regard that Shakayamuni may be considered “Buddha for all time”.


Now, Nichiren like Shakyamuni was a human male. However, Nichiren, the great reformer that he was, according to reliable Dhamma or Dharma historical sources, never realized Buddhahood. It seems there are no historical documents that point to Nichiren claiming Buddhahood for himself, or early historical documents where others ascribe this position to Nichiren.

However, from available historical documents, primarily authentic Nichiren goshos, we can ascertain: Due to the arising of certain conditions, brought on primarily by his strivings and cultivation efforts, Nichiren, in his writings, is said to have realized to the level of “Bodhisattva” and is called by some “Bodhisattva Jogyo”. Moreover, one must keep in mind that Nichiren is said to have taught the Buddhadhamma sutras primarily from the “Lotus School” point of view, which is based mainly on the teachings of Chih-I or the Tendai sect and the Lotus Sutra. Now in the writings of Chih-I, Tendai, and the Lotus Sutra and in the other Buddhadhamma Sutras, from which Nichiren studied, there certainly no mention made of Nichiren as being a Buddha or even Bodhisattva Jogyo.

Likewise, in my studies and searching of the sutras, I have not found any evidence that I can accept, which supports the claim that Nichiren is a “Buddha” or “The Original Buddha”. All this suggest to me, that the acceptance of Nichiren as one who strove to the level of Buddhahood and or a Bodhisattva, even Bodhisattva Jogyo is purely a “personal faith belief”, that is not supported by classical Buddhadhamma sutras {Theravada or Mahayana}. Rather, like the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha it is a belief one can choose or choose not to believe in after considering evidence regarding his claims and the claims of his followers. In the case of Nichiren, his followers point to documents, i.e., the writings or Goshos of Nichiren, which are outside of the writings of the traditional Theravada or Mahayana sutras. Again, authentic Buddhadhamma sutras Palli and Mahayana Cannon, which are said to be the recorded teachings of the Buddha, teachings which Nichiren himself studied and taught to others, make no specific reference to Nichiren by name as to him being a Buddha or The Original Buddha.

End of Part Two

Amata A Hetepunuta



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