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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2022年 12月 12日

法華初心成仏抄 その四 How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood. Part 4.

 Question: If ignorant persons put faith in the Lotus Sutra, can even they attain Buddhahood in their present form? And in what pure land will they be reborn?

 Answer: In upholding the Lotus Sutra, of those who profoundly grasp the sutra’s meaning, practice the seated meditation described in Great Concentration and Insight, and concentrate on the meditative disciplines pertaining to the three thousand realms in a single moment of life, the ten objects, and the ten meditations, there may be some who indeed attain Buddhahood in their present form and achieve enlightenment. As for other types of people, even if they do not understand the meaning of the Lotus Sutra and are ignorant but have earnest faith, then they will invariably be reborn in a pure land. For it says in the Lotus Sutra, “They will be born in the presence of the Buddhas of the ten directions,” and “She will immediately go to the World of Peace and Delight.” These passages give clear proof that one who has faith in the Lotus Sutra will be reborn in a pure land.

 Someone may raise objections, saying: “Since I am only one person, I do not understand how I can be reborn in the presence of the Buddhas of the ten directions. Surely I am limited to one direction. Therefore, in which direction should I trust and be reborn?”

 To reply, there is a very good reason why the sutra speaks of ten directions and does not specify which one. This is because, when the life of one who believes in the Lotus Sutra comes to an end, among all the worlds of the ten directions, that person will be reborn in the land of a Buddha who is preaching the Lotus Sutra, and will never be reborn in a pure land where the other sutras, such as the Kegon, Agon, Correct and Equal, and Wisdom sutras, are being preached.

 There are many pure lands in the ten directions. There are pure lands where the way of the voice-hearers is preached, pure lands where the way of the pratyekabuddhas is preached, and pure lands where the way of the bodhisattvas is preached. Those who believe in the Lotus Sutra will never be reborn in any of these, but will at once be reborn in a pure land where the Lotus Sutra is being preached. They will take their seats among the assembly, listen to the Lotus Sutra, and as a result become Buddhas.

 Yet in spite of this, there are those who urge others to set aside the Lotus Sutra in this lifetime, saying that it is not suited to their capacity, and that they will master its teachings when they are reborn in the western pure land. It is obvious, however, that such people will never master the Lotus Sutra even in Amida’s Pure Land, nor will they be reborn in any of the other pure lands of the ten directions. Rather, because the offense of turning one’s back upon the Lotus Sutra is grave, they will fall into hell and remain there for a long time. The sutra is referring to such a person when it says, “When his life comes to an end he will enter the Avīchi hell.”


 Question: The sutra states, “She will immediately go to the World of Peace and Delight where the Buddha Amida dwells.” The meaning of this passage is that a woman who embraces the Lotus Sutra will be reborn in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha. It is also said that by reciting the Nembutsu one will be reborn in Amida’s Pure Land. Since one is reborn in the Pure Land in either case, may we not assume that the Nembutsu and the Lotus Sutra are equivalent?

 Answer: The Meditation Sutra belongs to the provisional teachings, while the Lotus Sutra represents the true teaching. In no way are they equivalent. The reason is that when the Buddha appeared in the world, though he spent forty years and more preaching various doctrines, he had a great aversion to persons of the two vehicles, to evil persons, and to women, and said not a single word about the possibility of their attaining Buddhahood. In this one [Lotus] sutra, however, he stated that even those of the two vehicles, for whom the seeds of Buddhahood had rotted; Devadatta, who had committed three cardinal sins; and women, who are ordinarily hindered by the five obstacles, could all become Buddhas. This is clearly stated in the text of the sutra.

 The Kegon Sutra states, “Women are messengers of hell who can destroy the seeds of Buddhahood. They may look like bodhisattvas, but at heart they are like yaksha demons.” The Silver-Colored Woman Sutra says that, even though the eyes of the Buddhas of the three existences should come out and fall to the ground, no woman in the entire realm of phenomena could ever attain Buddhahood. Another sutra says, “Women are great evil spirits who devour all people.” Bodhisattva Nāgārjuna’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom says that just looking upon a woman once forms the karma to fall into hell for a long time. Thus, although I do not know if it is true or not, it is said that the Reverend Zendo, though he was a slanderer of the Law, spent his entire lifetime without ever looking at a woman. And Narihira was comparing women to demons in his poem: The grass is overgrown and desolate / Such is our home / But there is something that depresses me more / Because demons gather here.

 Moreover, women are burdened with the five obstacles and the three obediences, and so their sins are said to be profound. The five obstacles mean that, first, a woman cannot become a King Brahmā Heaven; second, she cannot become a Teishaku; third, she cannot become a devil king; fourth, she cannot become a wheel-turning king, and fifth, she cannot become a Buddha. The three obediences mean that, when a woman is young, she cannot follow her own mind, but must obey her parents. When she reaches maturity, she cannot do as she desires, but must obey her husband. And when she is old, she cannot do as she desires, but must obey her sons. Thus, from the time she is a child until she becomes an old woman, she cannot do as she pleases, but must obey these three categories of persons. She cannot say what she thinks, she cannot see what she wants to see, she cannot hear what she wants to hear. This is what is meant by the three obediences.

 For this reason, Jung Ch’i-ch’i numbered among his three pleasures, the fact that he had not been born a woman. Women are thus despised in both the Buddhist and non-Buddhist scriptures. And yet, in the case of the Lotus Sutra, even though they neither read nor copy the text, women who receive and uphold it in body, mouth, and mind, and in particular chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with their mouths, will be able to attain Buddhahood readily, as did the dragon king’s daughter, Gautamī, and Yashodharā, who lived at the same time as the Buddha. This is the meaning of the passage you have cited from the sutra.

 Moreover, concerning the phrase “the World of Peace and Delight,” all the various pure lands are indicated by the words “Peace and Delight.” And again, the Amida Buddha spoken of here is not the Amida Buddha of the Meditation Sutra. The Amida Buddha of the Meditation Sutra was originally a monk named Dharma Treasury, the master of forty-eight vows and a Buddha who attained ten kalpas in the past. In the Lotus Sutra, the Amida mentioned in the theoretical teaching was the ninth son among the sixteen princes who were sons of the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, an Amida Buddha who made a great vow to propagate the Lotus Sutra. The Amida who appears in the essential teaching is an emanation of Shakyamuni Buddha. Therefore, a commentary says, “One should understand that this does not refer to the Amida of the Meditation and other sutras.”


 Question: The Lotus Sutra says, “The door to this wisdom is difficult to understand and difficult to enter.” The persons of our time cite this passage to argue that the Lotus Sutra is not fitted to the capacities of the people, and this seems to me very reasonable. What is your opinion?

 Answer: Such an assertion is quite unfounded. The reason is because it is put forward by persons who have not grasped the true meaning of this sutra.

 The sutras that were preached prior to the Lotus Sutra were indeed difficult to understand and difficult to enter. But when we come to the assembly where the Lotus Sutra was preached, then we can say that the Buddha’s teaching became easy to understand and easy to enter. For this reason, the Great Teacher Myoraku says in his commentary, “The sutras preached prior to the Lotus Sutra are incomplete teachings, and therefore it is said that they are difficult to understand. But in this present teaching, it is indicated that all persons whosoever can in fact enter the realm of truth. Hence the teaching is easy to understand.”

 This passage means that in the case of the sutras preached before the Lotus Sutra, because the people’s capacity was inferior, these sutras were difficult to understand and difficult to enter. But by the time the Buddha preached the present sutra [the Lotus], the people’s capacity had become sharper, and therefore the teaching was easy to understand and easy to enter.

 In addition, if those sutras that declare themselves to be difficult to understand and difficult to enter do not fit the people’s capacity, then you ought first of all to abandon the Nembutsu teaching. I say this because in the Two-Volumed Sutra we read, “To embrace this sutra is the most difficult of difficult things. Nothing is more difficult than this.” And the Amida Sutra speaks of itself as a doctrine that is “difficult to believe.” The meaning of these passages is that to accept and uphold these sutras is the most difficult of difficult things, that nothing could in fact be more difficult, and that their doctrines are difficult to believe.


 Question: The sutra reads, “In these more than forty years, I have not yet revealed the truth.” It also reads, “As for those living beings who are unable to hear this sutra . . . though immeasurable, boundless, inconceivable asamkhya kalpas may pass, they will in the end fail to gain unsurpassed enlightenment.” Just what are these passages saying?

 Answer: The meaning of these passages is that, among the various doctrines that Shakyamuni Buddha expounded in the fifty years of his preaching life, he did not expound the truth in the Kegon Sutra, which represents his first teaching, nor did he expound the truth in the Correct and Equal and the Wisdom sutras, which he preached later on. For this reason, people who carry out the practice taught by the Zen and Nembutsu schools or who uphold the precepts will never attain Buddhahood, even though immeasurable and boundless kalpas may pass.

 After the Buddha had spent forty-two years preaching, he then expounded the Lotus Sutra, and in that sutra he said, “The World-Honored One has long expounded his doctrines and now must reveal the truth.” When they heard and understood these words of the Buddha, Shāriputra and the others of the twelve hundred arhats; the twelve thousand voice-hearers; Maitreya and the others of the eighty thousand bodhisattvas; Brahmā, Teishaku, and the others of the ten thousands of millions of heavenly beings; and King Ajātashatru and the countless and innumerable other rulers said, “Since times past often we have heard the World-Honored One’s preaching, but we have never heard this kind of profound, wonderful, and superior Law.” Thus they declared that, although they had constantly attended the Buddha and heard him preach various doctrines over forty-two years, they had never heard anything like this precious Lotus Sutra.

 How can the people of the world so misunderstand such clear passages as to think that the Lotus Sutra and the other sutras are equal? Not only that, but they say that the Lotus Sutra, because it does not suit the people’s capacity, is like brocade worn in the dark of night, or like last year’s calendar. When they happen to encounter someone who upholds the sutra, they look on that person with scorn and contempt, hate and envy, and purse their lips in disapproval. This is nothing less than slander of the Law. How, then, could they be reborn in the pure land or attain Buddhahood? Such people surely fall into the hell of incessant suffering.



Continued





by johsei1129 | 2022-12-12 15:59 | WRITING OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)


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