Heritage of the Law
heritage of the Law
血脈 (Jpn kechimyaku or ketsumyaku )
Originally blood vessel, lifeblood, or lineage. In Buddhism,
(1) the lineage of a teaching passed on from teacher to disciple. It is transmitted either in written form, orally, or from mind to mind. This tradition was valued in various Buddhist schools such as Zen, Pure Land, and Nichiren.
(2) The transmission or transfer of the Law from teacher to disciple. In addition, the heritage of the Law refers to the Law or teaching that is transmitted.
The Minobu Transfer Document, which Nichiren wrote at Minobu in 1282, reads in part, "Order of the heritage: from Nichiren to Nikko." This is the transmission of the heritage of the Law from Nichiren to Nikko, his disciple and designated successor.
(3) In Nichiren's teachings, the heritage of the Law is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. In The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life, Nichiren describes three conditions that enable one to receive the heritage of the Law as follows:
(a) "Shakyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment countless kalpas ago, the Lotus Sutra that leads all people to Buddhahood, and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from one another. To chant Myoho-renge-kyo with this realization is to inherit the ultimate Law of life and death" (216).
(b) "The heritage of the Lotus Sutra flows within the lives of those who never forsake it in any lifetime whatsoever" (217).
(c) That practitioners should "chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, transcending all differences among themselves to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim. This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death" (217).