Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": NICHIREN

'ADORATION TO THE LOTUS OF THE PERFECT TRUTH'


Nichiren (1222-82) held that the Lotus Sutra represents the final and supreme teaching of the Buddha Shakyamuni, revealing the one and only way of salvation. While the prevailing schools of Japanese Buddhism emphasize one form of Buddha at the expense of the others, the Lotus Sutra alone upholds the truth of the triune Buddha (i.e., Dharmakdya, Sambhogakdya, and Nirmanakaya). For Nichiren, only in this trinity is the salvation of all assured. So it is the name of the Lotus Sutra, not the name of Amida Buddha, which should be on the lips of every Buddhist.

If you desire to attain Buddhahood immediately, lay down the banner of pride, cast away the club of resentment, and trust yourselves to the unique,Truth. Fame and profit are nothing more than vanity of this life; pride and obstinacy are simply fetters to the coming life.......

When you fall into an abyss and some one has lowered a rope to pull you out, should you hesitate to grasp the rope because you doubt the power of the helper? Has not Buddha declared, 'I alone am the protector and saviour'? There is the power ! Is it not taught that faith is the only entrance [to salvation] ? There is the rope ! One who hesitates to seize it, and will not utter the Sacred Truth, will never be able to climb the precipice of Bodhi (Enlightenment). . . . Our hearts ache and our sleeves are wet [with tears], until we see face to face the tender figure of the One, who says to us, 'I -am thy Father.' At this thought our hearts beat, even as when we behold the brilliant clouds in the evening sky or the pale moonlight of the fast-falling night. . . . Should any season be passed without thinking of the compassionate promise, 'Constantly I am thinking of you'? Should any month or day be spent without revering the teaching that there is none who cannot attain Buddhahood? . . . Devote yourself wholeheartedly to the 'Adoration to the Lotus of the Perfect Truth,' and utter it yourself_ as well as admonish others to do the same. Such is your task in this human life.


Masaharu Anesaki, Nichiren, the Buddhist Prophet (Cambridge, Mass., 1916), PP. 46-7; as quoted in Wm. Theodore de Bary (ed.), Sources of Japanese Tradition (New York: Columbia University Press, 1958), pp 222-23.

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