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The Dharma Flower Sutra seen through the Oral Transmission of Nichiren Daishōnin: The Twentieth Chapter on the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta)

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The Dharma Flower Sutra
seen through the Oral Transmission of
Nichiren Daishōnin


The first important point with regards to the name of the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta).

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the word “ever” in this bodhisattva’s name refers to the idea of ‘not holding anyone or anything in contempt ever ’ throughout the three periods of past, present and future. The name Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) implies that all sentient beings are endowed with the assurance of the truth that they inherently possess the three fundamental elements that lead to an awareness of their intrinsic Buddha nature (San’in busshō) – 1) the innate true quality of existence, intrinsicality, thusness (shinnyo, tathatā) which enables people to keep away from negative thoughts or deeds; 2) the wisdom that makes it possible to really perceive the true nature of existence (which has all the implications of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō); 3) good deeds that help people to develop their potential for an awareness of their own Buddha nature and thereon to complete enlightenment.

The Buddha nature is the Dharma nature, and the Dharma nature is the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō) (Myōhō Renge Kyō).


Thereupon the Buddha addressed the completely evolved bodhisattva who had refused his own extinction into nirvana for the sake of the Buddha enlightenment of all sentient beings (bosatsu makasatsu, bodhisattva mahāsattva), Acquisition of Vast Authority (Tokudaisei, Mahāsthāmaprāpta), saying . . . .


The second important point on the name of the Bodhisattva Acquisition of Vast Authority (Tokudaisei, Mahāsthāmaprāpta).

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that, regarding the name of Acquisition of Vast Authority (Tokudaisei, Mahāsthāmaprāpta), the word “acquisition” indicates the Tathāgata as he manifests himself for the benefit of unenlightened, sentient beings (ōjin, nirmāna-kāya). The word “vast” in this context stands for the all-embracing quality of the entity of the Dharma (hosshin, Dharma-kāya) (which has a connotation of the entirety of existence). The word “authority” in this same context refers to the entity of wisdom or reward (hōshin, sambhoga-kāya) (which is the wisdom permeates everything that can possibly exist).

Again in this context of this bodhisattva’s name the word “acquisition” implies the impermanent quality of phenomena and the physical aspect of existence (ketai). The word “vast” in this name refers to the middle way of reality as it is normally perceived by ordinary people. The word “authority” indicates noumena and relativity (, shūnyatā) as well as the all-embracing wisdom of the Tathāgata (which in essence has all the implications of Myōhō Renge Kyō, that is the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect in its whereabouts of the ten realms of dharmas and is therefore relativity (, shūnyatā)). Relativity (, shūnyatā) and physicality (ke) as well as the bridge between these two axioms (chū) become an all-inclusive unobstructed accommodation of these two concepts of reality.


. . . . You should know that when a monk, nun, a lay believing man or a female lay believer become people who hold to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), should anyone verbally abuse, speak ill of or slander them, such persons on account of this wrongdoing will receive a heavy retribution as it has been recounted earlier. But those people who do the practices of this sutra will attain the meritorious virtues that were expounded in the previous chapter. Their eyes, ears, noses, tongues, bodies and minds will all be purified.

O Acquisition of Vast Authority (Tokudaisei, Mahāsthāmaprāpta), once a long time ago in the far distant past of boundless and unthinkably unlimited countless kalpas ago, there was a Buddha whose name was the Tathāgata Monarch of the Time-honoured Utterances (I’ onnō, Bhīshmagarjitaghoshasvara-rāja). . . . .


The third important point with regard to the Monarch of the Time-honoured Utterances (I’ onnō, Bhīshmagarjitaghoshasvara-rāja).

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that “Time-honoured” in this name implies the dharmas of form or physicality. “Utterances” stand for the dharmas of the mind, and the wordMonarch” represents the inseparability of physicality from mind. Having entered into the final phase of the Dharma of Shākyamuni, to reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō) is to become a monarch of the time-honoured utterances.

The reason is that here the utterances represent the titles and subject matter of all the provisional teachings, whereas “time-honoured” in this instance stands for the five ideograms of the heading and implications of the Sutra (Kyō) on the White Lotus Flower-like Mechanism (Renge) of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō). The wordmonarch” refers to the practitioners of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō).

To recite the title and theme (daimoku) of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) is like the roar of the sovereign lion. The other sutras are like noises made by the other animals. The Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) is the king of all the sutras. Therefore, it is the monarch. Now when Nichiren and those that follow him reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, they become the Buddha Monarch of the Time-honoured Utterances (I’ onnō, Bhīshmagarjitaghoshasvara-rāja).


. . . . Worthy of Offerings, Correctly and Universally Enlightened, Whose Knowledge and Conduct was Perfect, Completely Free from the Cycles of Living and Dying, Yet with a Complete understanding of the Realms of Existence, Supreme Lord, The Master who brought the Passions and Delusions of Sentient Beings into Harmonious Order, The Teacher of the Deva (ten) and Humankind, The Buddha, The World Honoured One. The name of his kalpa was Exempt from Decline and the name of the dimension upon which he depended for an existence was called All-embracing Realisation.

The Buddha Monarch of Time-honoured Utterances (I’ onnō, Bhīshmagarjitaghoshasvara-rāja), in his existential dimension, expounded the Dharma for the benefit of the deva (ten), humankind, and shura (ashura) (titans or giants) and those who sought to attain the highest stage of the teachings of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) through listening to the Buddha (shōmon, shrāvaka). The Buddha expounded a Dharma adapted to them which was the four noble truths, so as to save them from being born, getting old, the sickness of decline and death and enable them to ultimately arrive at the extinction into nirvana.

For the people who were partially enlightened due to a profound search for the meaning of existence (hyakushibutsu, pratyekabuddha), they were accordingly taught the implications of the twelve causes and karmic circumstances that run through the whole of sentient existence. (The twelve causes are 1) (mumyō) a fundamental unenlightenment, which is caused by 2) (gyō) natural tendencies and inclinations that are inherited from former lives, 3) (shiki) the first consciousness that takes place in the womb after conception, 4) (myōshiki) the body and mind evolving in the womb, 5) (roku nyū) the evolution of the five organs of sense and the functioning of the mind, 6) (shoku) contact with the outside world, 7) (ju) receptivity or budding intelligence and discrimination from six to seven years onwards, 8) (ai) the desire for amorous love at the age of puberty, 9) (shu) the urge for a sensuous existence that forms 10) (yū) the substance of future karma, 11) (shō) the completed karma ready to be born again, that is facing in the direction of 12) (rōshi) old age and death).

For the bodhisattvas, on account of their possibility of attaining the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sambodai, anuttara samyak sambodhi), he expounded the six kinds of practice whereby bodhisattvas can become enlightened (ropparamitsu, sat paramitah). (These are 1) charity as well as bestowing the Buddha teaching on others, 2) holding to the monastic precepts, 3) patience under insult, 4) zeal and progress, 5) perfect absorption into the one object of meditation, 6) wisdom and perception.)

O Acquisition of Vast Authority (Tokudaisei, Mahāsthāmaprāpta), this Buddha Monarch of the Time-honoured Utterances (I’ onnō, Bhīshmagarjitaghoshasvara-rāja) had a lifespan that amounted to as many kalpas as four hundred thousand myriads of myriads of myriads as many as there were grains of sand in the Ganges. The duration of his correct Dharma lasted as long as the number of particles of dust that made up the continent of the dimension of humankind (Enbudai, Jambudvîpa). The length of his Dharma in the form of ritualistic ceremonies and the general way of thinking that would never end in enlightenment went on for as many kalpas as there were particles of dust that made up the four continents that surround Mount Meru. This Buddha, having dispensed various benefits to sentient beings, naturally passed away into extinction of nirvana.

After this Buddha’s Correct Dharma and the stage when his Dharma has degenerated into a ritualistic imitation of the path to enlightenment as well as his extinction into nirvana, there was yet another Buddha who had made his appearance in this dimension upon which we depend for an existence (kokudo) who was called the Tathāgata Monarch of the Time-honoured Utterances (I’ onnō, Bhīshmagarjitaghoshasvara-rāja), who was worthy of offerings, correctly and universally enlightened, whose knowledge and conduct was perfect, completely free from the cycles of living and dying, yet with a complete understanding of the realms of existence, Supreme Lord, the master who brought the passions and delusions into harmonious control, the teacher of the deva (ten) and humankind, World Honoured One, Buddha. He was endowed with the titles just mentioned.

In the same fashion, there were consecutively twenty myriads of myriads of myriads of Buddhas, all with the same name.

After the first Tathāgata Monarch of the Time-honoured Utterances (I’ onnō, Bhīshmagarjitaghoshasvara-rāja) had passed away into the extinction of nirvana and after his correct Dharma had ceased to exist, it was during the phase when this Buddha’s Dharma had degenerated into a teaching that had survived only as a superficial ritualistic semblance of what it should have been. There were arrogant and conceited monks who had great authority and power.

Now at that time there was a bodhisattva who was called Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta).

For what reason, O Acquisition of Vast Authority (Tokudaisei, Mahāsthāmaprāpta), did they name him Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta)?

This monk, no matter whomever he saw, whether it was . . . .


The fourth important point on the half-phrase in the above passage in the sutric text, “no matter whomever he saw, whether it was . . . .”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that this passage indicates the view that now all the sentient beings in the world of humankind have the propensity for the title and theme (daimoku) of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) (so that they can understand the meaning of their lives).


. . . . a monk, a nun, a male lay practitioner or a female lay practitioner, he rendered them all homage saying, “I respect you profoundly. I may safely say I would never deride you in any way, since you are all practising on the bodhisattva path and you will indeed attain the fruition of enlightenment (sabutsu).”


The fifth important point on the above passage, “I respect you profoundly. I may safely say I would never deride you in any way, since you are all practising on the bodhisattva path and you will indeed attain the fruition of enlightenment (sabutsu).”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that these twenty-four ideograms of which this passage is comprised are an alternative for the five ideograms of Myōhō Renge Kyō. However, the meaning of these twenty-four ideograms is an abridgement of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) itself.


Now this monk did not especially read and recite the sutric texts. He simply went about and did the practice of bowing to people and paying homage to them . . . .


The sixth important point on the above lines, “Now this monk did not especially read and recite the sutric texts. He simply went about and did the practice of bowing to people and paying homage to them . . . .”

Among Buddhists in the Far East, bowing to monks or nuns includes putting the palms of one’s hands together in reverence. Putting the palms of one’s hands together entails the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). The Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) infers that every single instant of mental activity latently contains all other possible psychological dimensions (ichinen sanzen). This is why this passage points out that this monk did not especially read and recite the sutric texts and that he simply went about and did the practice of bowing to people and paying homage to them.


. . . . even to the point of when he saw either a monk or nun, a male lay practitioner or a female lay practitioner in the distance.


The seventh important point on the phrase, “. . . . even to the point of when he saw either a monk or nun, a male lay practitioner or a female lay practitioner in the distance”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the part of the phrase quoted earlier in the sutric text, “no matter whomever he saw, whether it was a monk or nun, a male lay practitioner or a female practitioner . . . .” refers to the perception that this monk had realised in his innermost self that those people were all endowed with the Buddha nature. This is the essential element (ri, siddhānta) of his vision.

But the present phrase of this important point where the monk sees “either a monk or a nun, a male lay practitioner or a female lay practitioner in the distance” denotes what he saw in practical terms (ji, artha). As a result, in the above reference, what this monk saw in the distance and what was occurring in his mind became a practical, physical reality.

To see things for what they really are from a Buddhist point of view refers to the four reasons for a Buddha making his appearance into a dimension of existence, as it is understood according to our comprehension of the teaching of the original archetypal state. (These are 1) to open up the store of Buddha wisdom, 2) to point out its various implications, 3) to cause humankind to apprehend and be aware of it and 4) to lead humankind into the wisdom and discernment of the enlightened. This implies existence has always existed.)

To simply have ideas or concepts in our heads is ideational, and this is what the teachings that are derived from the external events of Shākyamuni’s life and work (shakumon) consist of. (The doctrine of the one instant of thought containing three thousand existential spaces (ichinen sanzen), which refers to reality as we live it, was not complete in the first half of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō).) It is also the “four singularities” or the unity that is contained in the Chapter on Expedient Means in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) according to Tendai (T’ien T’ai). (These are 1) the teaching of the single vehicle, 2) only the bodhisattva practice is valid; 3) all practitioners are bodhisattvas; 4) through the bodhisattva practice, people will have proof of the truth of the Buddha teaching).

The words “in the distance” refer to the perfect enlightenment that the Buddha Shākyamuni had acquired in the distant past in the Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). (Since time is immobile – celestial bodies move, clocks move, people age etc., but time itself is motionless – hence, this distant past is understood as the ever-present infinite in time (kuon ganjo).) Therefore, the monk Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) went about and did the practice of bowing to people and paying homage to them.


Among the four kinds of congregations (monks, nuns, male and female devotees), there were those whose minds were impure and infelicitous that became angry at the behaviour of the monk Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) . . . .


The eighth important point concerning the phrase in the above text, “there were those whose minds were impure and infelicitous”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that those who vilify the Dharma are impure and infelicitous both physically and mentally. First, mental impurity and infelicity are what this sutric text refers to in the phrase, “there were those whose minds were impure and infelicitous”. On the other hand, physical uncleanliness is referred to in the Third Chapter on Similes and Parables where it says, “Their bodies will always have a nasty smell and be filthy, dirty and obscene.”

Now, Nichiren and those that follow him who reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō), are both mentally pure and unsullied. In the Chapter on the Meritorious Virtues of the Teacher of the Dharma who Propagates the Dharma Flower Sutra, it says, “Those people who hold to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) will have bodies that are immaculately pure.”

The concept of purity of the mind is also mentioned in the Chapter on Daibadatta (Devadatta) where it specifies (holding faith in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)) “with a pure mind of faith and veneration”. The words “pure and felicitous” imply a mind of faith in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). But the words “impurity and infelicity” denote maligning the Dharma (as the truth in conformity to fact or reality).


. . . . saying, “this know-nothing monk, . . . .


The ninth important point on the above phrase in the sutric text.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that this phrase is a clear stipulation shown in this illustration in which monks, nuns, lay practitioners both male and female (who are the four categories of the congregation) in their arrogant haughtiness abused the ordained monk (bhikshu) Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) by calling him a know-nothing ignorant monk. To say that about the bodhisattva who bowed in reverence to whomever he saw and call him a “know-nothing ignorant monk” is the behaviour of the Demon Sovereign of the Sixth Heaven (who still exists (according to the Brahmanical view of the world) and is also the demoniacal force that dilapidates the efforts of others for its own pleasure).

Having entered into the final phase of the Dharma of Shākyamuni, Nichiren and those that follow him reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō). So this sutric text will act like an unclouded mirror that shows them that they will be reviled by being called “know-nothing ignorant monks”. But it is on account of our fundamental lack of wisdom (to really understand how existence works thus giving us cause for our unhappiness and our sense of incompleteness that brings about the possibility of seeking an inner realisation and individuation through the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō)).


. . . . “where on earth does he come from? This monk who takes the liberty of saying, ‘I may safely say I would never deride you in any way’ and that ‘you will indeed attain the fruition of enlightenment’ as well as conferring upon us the announcement of our future Buddhahood – we have no need of such an empty-headed prediction of our future enlightenment.”

And so, many years passed by in which he was continually insulted without ever giving way to wrath and indignation. Instead, he continued to say these words, “You will indeed attain the fruition of enlightenment.”

Occasionally when he said these words, people from the assembly would hit this monk with sticks and deadwood or throw old tiles and stones at him. Then he would run away from them and standing at a distance he still called out in a loud voice, “I may safely say I would never deride you in any way and you will indeed attain the fruition of enlightenment.”

Because he continually said the same words, the overbearing arrogant monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners gave him the nickname “Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta)”. Then, when the time came for this monk to pass away, he distinctly heard from empty space the twenty thousand myriads of myriads of myriads of the metric hymns from the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) that had been previously expounded by the Buddha Sovereign Sound of Authority, all of which he could keep in mind and hold to. In the same way as it has been recounted earlier on, his six bodily senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and mental functions were all purified as well as his lifespan being increased to two hundred myriads of myriads of myriads of years. So, he was able to expound extensively to humankind the teaching of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō).

The overbearing and arrogant monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners who had shown their contempt for him as well as giving him the nickname “Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta)”, on seeing his ubiquitous supernatural powers and his explanations of what the truth is with the correct meaning and appropriate words as well as listening to what he expounded, all submitted to him with faith and followed his guidance.


The tenth important point of the passage, “as well as listening to what he had expounded, all submitted to him with faith and followed his guidance”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the word “listen” in this context entails the second of the six stages of practice which comes about through hearing the title and theme (Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō) of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), assimilating as well as understanding it. Those that hold faith in it are within the Buddha teaching and are potentially enlightened, as well as are those people upon whom the title and theme (daimoku) were forced whether they liked it or not which was due to their affinity (en) with the drum smeared with highly venomous herbs.

(Affinity with the drum smeared with highly venomous herbs is a concept of inducing sentient beings who vilify the Dharma to listen to it, thereby bringing about a karmic relationship with it. In the sixth fascicle (scroll) in the fourth chapter on the Nature of the Tathāgata in the Sutra on the Buddha’s Passing Over to the All-embracing Extinction of Nirvana (Daihan Nehan Kyō), it says, “Imagine that there were some people who smeared onto a big drum various poisonous herbs. In the middle of a crowd of people, they beat on this drum, in order to make it resound loudly. Those who listened to it were feeble-minded and they all died, except for one single person who did not die this inauspicious death.”)

(This canon of the universal vehicle (daijō, mahāyāna), the Sutra on the Buddha’s Passing Over to the All-embracing Extinction of Nirvana (Daihan Nehan Kyō), functions in exactly the same way in the midst of every assembly everywhere. Because all these practitioners have listened to the sound of this sutra, all their greed, anger and stupidity have been eliminated. Notwithstanding that there were people among these practitioners whose thinking was almost mindless, on account of their karmic relationship that was caused (innen) by this Sutra on the Buddha’s Passing Over to the All-embracing Extinction of Nirvana, their troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha) were all cut away, along with all the thwarting frustrations that had burdened their lives.)

(Even those who have committed the four kinds of prohibition (killing, stealing, carnality, lying) or those who are in any of the worst hells of incessant suffering, on account of having listened to this sutra, such people will have created the causes and affinities for attaining complete enlightenment so that their troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha) will be all cut away. With the exception of those sentient beings that are inherently unreceptive to the Buddha teaching (issendai, icchantika) and will never attain enlightenment, what this passage implies is that even those who do not want to listen to the Buddha teaching or who even oppose it, in the end, may be forced to listen to it and start practising and finally find their way onto the path of Buddhahood.)

The word “all” refers to the monks, nuns, male and female lay believers who make up the four kinds of congregation. The wordfaith” is expressed in the concept, “having no doubts means faith”. The word “submit” means one devotes and submits oneself to this teaching. The word “follow” means to be possessed by the Dharma. The words “comply with”, which in this translation have been replaced with the wording “his guidance” (for the sake of intelligibility), mean to imbue oneself with this sutra.

After all, Nichiren and those that follow him reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō). So these practitioners become the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta).


This bodhisattva also transformed the lives of thousands of myriads of myriads of myriads of sentient beings, to the point where they were stabilised in the state of mind of the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sambodai, anuttara samyak sambodhi). When his life came to an end he was able to encounter two thousand myriads of myriads of myriads of Buddhas who all had the name, “The Clear Lamp of the Sun and the Moon”. During the course of their instruction, this bodhisattva explained the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). Due to such causes and karmic circumstances (innen), he was able to meet a further two thousand myriads of myriads of myriads of Buddhas who all went by the name of the “Totally Independent Sovereign Luminary of the Clouds”.

This Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) accepted, held to, read and recited the whole of this sutric canon that had been expounded to the four categories of devotees in the congregation (that consisted of monks, nuns, along with both male and female lay believers), thereby being able to purify his faculties of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, bodily touch, as well as the workings of the mind, forever. When he explained the Dharma in the midst of the assembly of the four categories of devotees in the congregation, his mind was completely self-assured.


The eleventh important point with regard to the above sentence in the sutric text, “When he explained the Dharma in the midst of the assembly of the four categories of devotees in the congregation, his mind was completely self-assured.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) alludes to the four categories of devotees in the congregation (which consist of monks, nuns along with both male and female lay believers) as all the sentient beings in the world of humankind. The Dharma that was expounded in this text is Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō). The phrase “his mind was completely self-assured” means that Nichiren and those that follow him vociferate Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which in itself becomes the practice of propagating the teachings of enlightenment by refuting other people’s superstitious prejudices in order to lead them into the correct way of seeing the teaching of Nichiren (shakubuku).


O Acquisition of Vast Authority (Tokudaisei, Mahāsthāmaprāpta), this completely evolved bodhisattva who had refused his own entry into the extinction of nirvana for the sake of the Buddha enlightenment of all sentient beings (bosatsu makasatsu, bodhisattva mahāsattva), whose nickname was Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta), in this way made offerings, venerated, honoured, praised, as well as setting down the basic roots for goodness with an indefinite number of Buddhas. After that he encountered a further thousand myriads of Buddhas, as well as explaining this sutric canon which is the quintessence of the Buddha teaching, thereby accumulating meritorious virtues, and finally arrived at the fruition of enlightenment.

O Acquisition of Vast Authority (Tokudaisei, Mahāsthāmaprāpta), what do you think? How could this Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) have been anybody else but my own person?


The twelfth important point on the above question in the sutric text: “How could this Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) have been anyone else but my own person?”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) of past ages is the Shākyamuni of the present-day (in the sense that Nichiren is the fundamental Buddha). This Shākyamuni is the lord of the teaching contained in the Sixteenth Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata. The lords of the teaching of the Sixteenth Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata are we who are the practitioners of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) (which implies that through faith and practice we can open up our inherent Buddha nature, with our persons just as they are (sokushin jōbutsu)). This declaration refers to us who are followers of Nichiren and are the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) (of the present-day).


If throughout all my former existences I had not accepted, held to, read and recited this sutra, as well as expounding it to other people, I would not have been able to attain the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment so quickly. This is because of the guidance of former Buddhas I had received, held to, reading and reciting this sutra as well as explaining it to other people, that I promptly reached the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sambodai, anuttara samyak sambodhi).

O Acquisition of Vast Authority (Tokudaisei, Mahāsthāmaprāpta), because the four categories of the members of the assembly of these times, monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners with their puffed-up angry minds looked down upon me with ridicule, for two hundred myriads of myriads of myriads of kalpas they will not encounter a Buddha, hear the Dharma or even see a member of the clerical community (sō, sangha).


The thirteenth important point with regard to the last part of the sentence in the above sutric text, “for two hundred myriads of myriads of myriads of kalpas they will not encounter a Buddha, hear the Dharma or even see a member of the clerical community (sō, sangha)”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that this part of the sentence from the above sutric text recounts how the four categories of the members of the assembly which consisted of monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners ridiculed the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta). They were never able to encounter a Buddha, hear the Dharma or even see a member of the clerical community (sō, sangha), so that they fell into the dimension of hell and suffered bitterly for a period of two hundred myriads of myriads of myriads of kalpas.

Now that we have entered into the final phase of the Dharma of Shākyamuni, Nichiren and those that follow him reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō).

Those who treat Nichiren and his followers with disdain and contempt are worse than the monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners in the sutra. Those other disparaging members of the clerical community (sō, sangha) only suffered for a thousand kalpas, but present-day depreciators will suffer up to a countless number of kalpas. The Buddha for the final phase of the Dharma of Shākyamuni is an ordinary human being and an ordinary member of the clerical community (sō, sangha). The Dharma is the title and subject matter (daimoku) of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). The members of the clerical community are its practitioners.

The Buddha may also be referred to as an ordinary monk, but because this person is profoundly endowed with the spiritual insight of the principle that takes everything into account (which comprises all the implications of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō and is someone who is completely conscious of and enlightened to what existence is all about), this person is a Buddha. The principle that takes everything into account is the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), that is the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas .


This was a period during which they underwent the afflictions of the hell of incessant suffering. After they had finished paying for their wrongdoing, they were again to encounter the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) who transformed their way of thinking by teaching them what the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment consisted of (anokutara sanmyaku sambodai, anuttara samyak sambodhi).


The fourteenth important point with regard to the passage, “After they had finished paying for their wrongdoing, they were again to encounter the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) who transformed their way of thinking by teaching them what the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment consisted of (anokutara sanmyaku sambodai, anuttara samyak sambodhi).”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that people may make the error of disparaging the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) and then rectify their position by holding faith in it, submitting to and following its teaching completely. But even so, if, at the same time, their faith is superficial (because they have not understood that existence consists of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas ), they will fall into the hell of incessant suffering (which means that they go through various existences with little or no notion of what their lives are about). It is on account of the acrimony of their former disparagement of the Dharma that they will have to fall into the hell of incessant suffering for a thousand kalpas after which they will get their release. Again they will come across Nichiren (or to use the words of the sutra) “they are to encounter Nichiren” (as the reincarnation of Shākyamuni).


O Acquisition of Vast Authority (Tokudaisei, Mahāsthāmaprāpta), what is your opinion? The four categories of the believers in the congregation (that consisted of monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners) of that time who continually despised this bodhisattva, could they be anyone other than Bhadrapāla and his five hundred bodhisattvas, Leonine Moon and the five hundred monks who are similar to him, Thoughts Belonging to Enlightenmemnt and the five hundred lay practitioners who will never regress from their realisation of the correct and all-embracing enlightenment (anokutara sanmyaku sambodai, anuttara samyak sambodhi)?

O Acquisition of Vast Authority (Tokudaisei, Mahāsthāmaprāpta), you should know that the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) has been essential in the making of completely evolved bodhisattvas who have refused their own extinction into nirvana for the sake of the Buddha enlightenment of all sentient beings. It is also the means that caused them to realise the unexcelled, correct, and all-embracing enlightenment (which consists of seeing existence according to all the implications of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō and the principle of each instant of mental activity containing all the possible dimensions of the mind (ichinen sanzen)). This is why these people that have become completely evolved bodhisattvas who have refused their own extinction into nirvana for the sake of the Buddha enlightenment of all sentient beings must continually accept and hold to this sutra, read it, recite it, explain and expound it as well as copying it out after the extinction of the Tathāgata into nirvana.


The fifteenth important point with regard to the final phrase in the above sutric text, “after the extinction of the Tathāgata into nirvana”.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the practices carried out by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) were just as they are described in the sutric text, which are the five aspects of the Sutra on the White Lotus Flower-like Mechanism of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō Renge Kyō). (These consist of 1) accepting and holding to it, which is to accept and hold to the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) as the perfect mandala of the entirety of the Buddha’s understanding in terms of the wisdom of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō); 2) to read it, which entails facing the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) and to read the theme and title (daimoku); 3) to recite it, which means that we repeat it to ourselves in our spare time so that we never forget its significance; 4) to explain and expound it, which involves making this teaching clear to other people, so that they may understand how existence works, and if the occasion arises to give guidance and encourage them to practise; 5) writing and copying it out, which means that to draw up the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) is the special premise of the patriarchs of the various schools.) All these are the requisites of faith after the extinction of the Tathāgata into nirvana.

To be accurate, the whole of the above passage – (in square brackets) and including the sentence “All these are the requisites of faith after the extinction of the Tathāgata into nirvana” – expresses the particular concerns of Nichiren and those that follow him during the final phase of the Dharma of Shākyamuni. What this passage implies is that “after the extinction of the Tathāgata into nirvana” is stated on account of the fact that this chapter is the part of this sutra to be spread abroad everywhere without hindrance (ryūtsū no hon). Generally speaking, this concept of spreading abroad everywhere without hindrance is the part of a sutra for people of the present time and the future.

The Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) as a whole was intended for the period when Shākyamuni was alive (in India three thousand years ago). But, correctly speaking, the essential of this sutra (which is the title and the whole concept embodied in it) is meant for the final period of the Dharma of Shākyamuni which is the present time as well as the future. The reason is that the five ideograms for the title and subject matter of the sutra Myōhō Renge Kyō (which is the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas was acknowledged by all Buddhas of the past, present and future to be understood by the people of the future after the extinction of the Tathāgata into nirvana.

All the chapters in this sutra are all gateways to the Dharma and the functioning of the theme and title, whereas the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) is the entity where the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect takes place. This is to be invoked by the people of the future after the Tathāgata has entered into the extinction of nirvana.

The title and theme, Myōhō Renge Kyō, is to be invoked during the final period of the Dharma of Shākyamuni. How could it not be the same for the way each of the twenty-eight chapters’ function, all of which are similes and parables? This gateway to the Dharma is esoteric and should be kept secret.

The Universal Teacher Tendai (T’ien T’ai), in his Recondite Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke Gengi Shakusen), explains this idea as when a fishing net is dragged along by the rope, there is not a single open space between the strands of this net that is not affected; or when someone pulls the corner of a garment all of its threads follow suit. The Universal Teacher Myōraku (Miao-lo) states, “To be concise, by emphasizing the title of this sutra, the whole of this sutra is supposed to be contained in it.” (Often the title of books in ancient China inferred the whole content.) The people who are not aware of the intention of this teaching are not competent to disseminate it during the final phase of the Dharma of Shākyamuni.


Thereupon the World Honoured One, wishing to reiterate the significance of what he had said, expressed it in the form of a metric hymn.

In ages past, there was a Buddha
whose name was Monarch
of the Time-honoured Utterances (I’ onnō, Bhīshmagarjitaghoshasvara-rāja)
who was endowed
with a spiritual wisdom
which comprehended all things
material and immaterial
and was a guide
for all sentient beings.
deva (ten), humankind, dragons
and other supernatural beings
all made offerings
to the Tathāgata.
After this Buddha’s extinction
into nirvana
at a time when his Dharma
was coming to an end,
there was one special bodhisattva
whose name was Not Holding Anyone
or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta).
This was a time when the four
categories of the congregation (monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners)
argued interminably
over the Dharma.
The Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone
or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta)
went to the place
where these practitioners were
and said to them:
I do not hold any of you in contempt.
You are all practising
on the path of enlightenment
and all of you will reap
the fruition of Buddhahood.
When the four categories
of the assembly heard this
they snubbed him with insults and disdain.
However, the Bodhisattva
Not Holding Anyone
or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta)
was perfectly capable
of accepting and bearing these insults
and was able to get rid of
his negative karma.
Then when his life
was coming to an end
he was able to hear this sutra
so that his six faculties
of perception were made pure.
On account of the reaches of his mind (miraculous powers)
he was able to extend his lifespan.
Again for the benefit of humankind
he spread this sutra far and wide.
All the assemblies
that had a relationship with the Dharma
were gratified
by the bodhisattva’s teaching
that transformed them to fulfillment
and placed them permanently
on the path of enlightenment.
When the life of this Bodhisattva
Not Holding Anyone or Anything
in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta)
came to its end,
he encountered Buddhas without count
and through having explained this sutra
he was able to rapidly arrive
at the path of enlightenment.
The Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone
or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta)
of that time was I Shākyamuni.
The four categories of the congregation (monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners)
and those who were attached to the Dharma
who heard the Bodhisattva
Not Holding Anyone
or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta)
saying, “You will attain
the fruition of Buddhahood”,
because of these causes
and karmic circumstances,
were able to meet
with uncountable Buddhas
along with the bodhisattvas
of this meeting,
the assembly of the five hundred
as well as the pure
and faithful men and women
that make up the four categories
of this congregation (monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners).
These people are now before me
listening to the Dharma.
In my former existences
I persuaded all of them
to listen to and accept
this primordial sutra.
I showed them
by opening up the existence
of their own inherent wisdom
as well as teaching them to exist
in the dimension of nirvana.
From one lifetime to the next
they have accepted and held to
sutras such as this
and from uncountable myriads
of myriads of myriads of kalpas
they have been able to listen to
this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō).
And since inconceivable myriads
of myriads of myriads of kalpas
all the Buddha World Honoured Ones
have explained this sutra in their time.
This is why all the practitioners
after the Buddha’s extinction
into nirvana
should not raise any doubts.
When they hear sutras like this one
they should single-mindedly
broadly spread and explain
this sutra far and wide
and from one existence to the next
encounter a Buddha
and quickly attain
the path of enlightenment.


The sixteenth important point on the subject matter of the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta).

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that, here in this chapter, the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) is used as a metaphor to represent each of the ten psychological dimensions (realms of dharmas) of all sentient beings (since the bodhisattva realm is one of them). Throughout the past, present and future, he continually carries out his practice of bowing and paying reverence (raihai, vandana). (Because one’s Buddha nature is not separate from all the implications of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, it is the eternal bodhisattva practice to teach it to others.) The words that he utters are the speech sounds of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma).

The lictors of hell picking up their staves and taking the wrongdoer to task means to be bowed to in reverence in the most dreadful of physical terms. (This same idea is referred to in Shākyamuni’s text where the four categories of the congregation scold the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) who had made obeisance to their fundamental Buddha nature. For their irreverence, all these monks, nuns, male and female practitioners were forced to spend a certain amount of time in hell. After their release from punishment, they all followed compliantly the Buddha teaching.) They did not dare bear hatred and show resentment for the lictors, as that would amount to the same as showing disdain for the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta).

Again, if the wrongdoers felt that the lictors were simply chastising them unjustly, then such an attitude would be equal to the rebuff of the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta). (Here this implies the method of propagating the Buddha teaching by refuting other people’s attachment to erroneous views as a means to guide other people into the correct Buddha teaching (shakubuku), which also involves a recognition and respect for the inherent nature of other individuals.) This was the selfsame attitude of the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) when he made obeisance to the monks, nuns, male and female practitioners of the clerical community (sō, sangha) of his time.


The seventeenth important point as to what the bows of reverence that were made by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) meant and his attitude towards this.

In addition there are fourteen such attitudes of the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) with which his bows of reverence were carried out.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that fundamentally a bow of reverence is a gesture of veneration towards the ceremony that takes place in the stupa made of precious materials of the Buddha Abundant Treasure (Tahō, Prabhūtaratna). (This bow of reverence is towards the Buddha nature which is present throughout the entirety of existence.) This is because this stupa made of precious materials consists of the five elements.

The five elements are earth, water, fire, wind and relativity (, shūnyatā). These are the constituents of the stupa made of precious materials of the Buddha Abundant Treasure (Tahō, Prabhūtaratna). Even though the realms of dharmas are immense, they consist of nothing more than these five elements. Therefore, this has been traditionally transmitted as a Buddha teaching (sōden) as the reason for making a bow of reverence within the stupa made of precious materials (as existence itself). This is an esoteric teaching and should be kept secret.


The eighteenth important point with regard to the bow of reverence made by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) concerning his attitude towards the passage on “opening the gateway to the wisdom and perception of the Buddha (chiken) to reveal it, to induce sentient beings to be aware of it so as to enter onto its path” in the Second Chapter on Expedient Means.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that this text from the Chapter on Expedient Means also represents the attitude of Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) towards his bows of reverence. The Universal Teacher Tendai (T’ien T’ai) explains this concept (of the Buddha opening up the gateway to his wisdom and compassion (chiken) to reveal it, in order to induce sentient beings to be aware of it, so as to make them enter onto its path) in the Textual Explanation of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke Mongu) is that deep down in our minds we are endowed with the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever’s (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) understanding of it. The wordunderstanding” in the previous sentence implies that all sentient beings are in full possession of the direct cause for opening up their inherent Buddha natures (shō’in busshō). To open up the wisdom and perception of the Buddha is to get people to open up their inherent Buddha nature. This is the reason for the Buddha’s appearance (in our respective dimensions).


The nineteenth important point on the bows of reverence made by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) in relationship to the final sentence of the metric hymn in the Sixteenth Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata, “I continually reflect on this mental object as to how I can induce sentient beings to enter onto the unsurpassed path and quickly realise the individuation of Buddhahood.”

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the word “continually” refers to the three tenses of past, present and future. The phrase “reflect on the mental object” means to consider the fact that all sentient beings have an inherent Buddha nature (life itself and the ability to understand it). As a result, the words “quickly realise the individuation of Buddhahood” have the same meaning as when the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) said “. . . . you will indeed attain the fruition of enlightenment”. This is why this particular phrase is to be understood as an enlightened and individuated transmission.

The Universal Teacher (T’ien T’ai) explains this as “cleaning away the three vehicles to enlightenment of 1) the bodhisattvas, 2) people who are partially enlightened due to a profound search for the meaning of existence (engaku, hyakushibutsu, pratyekabuddha) along with those who exerted themselves to attain the highest stage of the teachings of the individual vehicle (shōjō, hīnayāna) through listening to the Buddha (shōmon, shrāvaka) and to replace those three with the single vehicle to enlightenment of the bodhisattva”. This is an esoteric teaching and should be kept secret.


The twentieth important point with regard to the bow of reverence made by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) and his attitude towards the passage, “since I practised the bodhisattva path in the archetypally original terrain of existence”, in the Sixteenth Chapter on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that here the word “I” indicates the time of the Utterness of the original cause for enlightenment (honnin myō) (of the fundamental Buddhahood of Nichiren (who was previously incarnated as Shākyamuni Buddha, see the Threefold Transmission on the Fundamental Object of Veneration)). The phrase, “since I practised the bodhisattva path”, refers to the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) (who was later incarnated as Shākyamuni Buddha). This is to point out the attitude of the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) when he made his bow of reverence.


The twenty-first important point with regard to the bow of reverence made by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) and his attitude towards the existential, self-evident truth of being born and growing (shō), maturing and old age (rō), sickness and decline (byō) and the apparent finality of death (shi).

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that practically all sentient beings cannot get rid of their obsession with the cycles of being born and growing up, maturing and old age, sickness and decline as well as the seeming finality of death. Sentient beings stray inattentively through the impermanence of the continual change of all things having to come to their end. All this takes place in what we perceive as existence which is comprised of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (tōtai renge). They are incapable of realising that they can attain enlightenment in a following lifetime. But when this possibility is pointed out, it is through the doctrine that troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha) are not separate from and can also lead to our enlightenment and that the cycles of living and dying are not separate from the fundamental relativity (, shūnyatā, Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō) of nirvana, (which is what existence really is). This is the bow of reverence made to the inherent Buddha nature of sentient beings by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta).

When the left and right hands are dangling at our sides as opposed to both palms being placed together in reverence, it has the implication that our troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha) are not separate from and can also lead to enlightenment and that the cycles of living and dying are not separate from the fundamental relativity (, shūnyatā, Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō) of nirvana which is what existence really is. The monks, nuns, male and female practitioners with their superiority complex, along with the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta), are all quite separate events and entities.

At the same time, when both palms are pressed together and we make a bow of reverence this also indicates that our troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha) (which consist of all the unduly persistent neurotic material that goes round and round in our heads) is not separate from and can also lead to enlightenment (in the sense that it is humankind’s privileged karma to be able to ponder out the meaning of our existence) and to realise that the cycles of living and dying are not separate from the fundamental relativity (, shūnyatā) which is Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō and nirvana, which is what existence really is. The bow of reverence made by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) to the arrogant and overbearing four categories of practitioners in the assembly (monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners) was a gesture of veneration to their inherent Buddha nature, which is the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma) and the essence of life itself.


The twenty-second important point with regard to the bow of reverence made by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) along with his attitude towards the Dharma nature.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) establishes his attitude on the three factors that lead to our enlightenment (san’in bussho). 1) The first is our innate sense of the absolute reality of life itself which goes beyond the phenomena and noumena that abound in our actual lives. This is thought of as being identical with the Dharma nature (hosshin) and cannot be expressed in words or contemplated by unenlightened people such as us. In the Arising of Faith in the Universal Vehicle (Daijōkishin ron) by Ashvaghosha, absolute reality (shinnyo, tathatā) is seen as the mind in all sentient beings and is divided into the unchanging absolute reality (fuhen shinnyo) (the fixed principle of the true nature of existence) as it is inscribed on the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) and absolute reality according to karmic circumstances (zuien shinnyo). The former is unchangeable and always pure, whereas the latter is subject to influences by our inherent unenlightenment (mumyō) which gives rise to various phenomena and noumena in our respective lives. 2) This is the wisdom within us that keeps us away from wrongdoing; and 3) the third is the various efforts we make to develop our potential for enlightenment.

In addition, there is our preconscious awareness of the absolute reality of the Dharma nature (hosshō shinnyo), along with Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō which means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam(u)) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō).

(These profound concepts were included in the thoughts of and expressed by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) when he made his bows of reverence.) Then he said, “I respect you profoundly; I may safely say you are all practising.” (This particular passage in the Chinese text of Kumarājîva’s (Kumarajū) Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) consists of twenty-four ideograms.) Thereupon he made his bow to the monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners who in their bold ignorance were high-handed and arrogant. Yet in doing so, he was making a bow of reverence to the inherent Buddha nature in all sentient beings that is usually bogged down by the waterweeds of their own unawareness of it.


The twenty-third important point with regard to the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) bow of reverence and attitude to unenlightenment.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) made no distinction between himself and other people.

In this case, “other people” refers to the high-handed and arrogant monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners.


The twenty-fourth important point on the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) bow of reverence and his attitude towards the two ideograms for (the white) lotus flower.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the two ideograms for (the white) lotus flower represent the two dharmas (of the interdependence of) cause and effect. When there is a bad cause, it will bring about a bad effect. When there is a good cause, we experience its good result.

(The persons to whom the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) spoke) were aware of their inner realisation of the truth that they were endowed with the three inherent causes that lead to enlightenment. (These are 1) our inner nature (bukkai) which transcends the multiplicity of phenomena and noumena (shinnyo, tathatā) that enables us to keep away from wrongdoing; 2) the wisdom which makes us aware of our innate nature (shinnyo, tathatā) and is also our Buddha nature; and 3) all the practice which enables us to develop our potential for the attainment of Buddhahood.) When those three potentials become manifest they become the good effect which is why the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) made his bow of reverence and said, “You will indeed attain the fruition of enlightenment.”


The twenty-fifth important point with regard to the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) bow of reverence and his attitude towards the dimension of the Buddha-reward in reality, which is free from all hindrances and is the realm of the bodhisattva (bosatsu-kai).

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that, when the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas are set up in an order that goes straight upwards, then the dimension of Buddha-reward in reality corresponds to the ninth realm of dharmas, which is the psychological dimension of and also the mental habitat of the bodhisattvas. That being so, then we have to conclude that the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) dwelling place and state of mind (jūsho) was the space where the reward for being bodhisattva actually occurred, because this is where he carried out his practice of making his bows of reverence. The dimension of Buddha-reward in reality is free from hindrances and is the realm of dharmas of the bodhisattva (bosatsu-kai), which is where the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) bows of reverence and his fundamental attitude took place.


The twenty-sixth important point with regard to the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) bow of reverence and his attitude towards the two ideograms that express the ideas of 1) loving-kindness (ji) and 2) sympathy for as well the desire to help another person (hi).

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that since the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) practice of bowing to monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners was based on the concept that they “will indeed attain the fruition of enlightenment”, this was a gesture of loving-kindness (ji) and the desire to help them (hi). Even though “people from the assembly hit this monk with sticks and deadwood or threw old tiles and stones at him”, (he still called out in a loud voice, saying, “I may safely say I would never deride you in any way and that you will indeed attain the fruition of enlightenment”). In this way, he admonished them forcefully in spite of their bitterly resenting it. This behaviour was the result of his loving-kindness and desire to help them. The intention of the Buddha has been expounded as one of loving-kindness and sympathy for as well as a desire to benefit all sentient beings. The attitude behind the bows of reverence made by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) was one of sympathy for and the desire to help other people.


The twenty-seventh important point with regard to the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) practice of bowing to people and his approach as seen through his own ability to discriminate the truth and its progressive experiential proof (bunshin soku), which is the fifth stage of the six stages of practice (roku soku).

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) is seen as having reached the fifth stage of the six stages of practice (roku soku), which is the stage of being able to discriminate the truth and its progressive experiential proof (bunshin soku). From the point of view of his own realisation, this bodhisattva makes a bow of reverence to people who were barely aware of their own Buddha nature but had the inherent potential (ri soku). Because of this, the ordinary people who heard the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) prediction of their future enlightenment refused to accept it. Instead they maligned him as a “know-nothing ignorant monk”.


The twenty-eighth important point with regard to the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) practice of making bows of reverence and his way of looking at things in terms of the sixth and highest stage of practice, in which sentient beings eliminate their fundamental unenlightenment and totally manifest their state of Buddhahood (kukyō-soku).

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that regarding the word (verb) “saw” in the phrase “No matter whomever he saw, whether it was . . . .” this word “saw” has the undertone of the wisdom and perception of the Buddha. It was on account of the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) enlightened wisdom and perception that he made his bows of reverence in particular to monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners. It seems evident that his attitude behind the bows of reverence, was towards the potential for the perfect enlightenment of those various practitioners of the Buddha teaching.


The twenty-ninth important point with regard to the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) bow of reverence and his attitude towards the Dharma realm.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) states that the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) made a bow of reverence within the frame of reference of the Dharma realm (as the entirety of existence). Then the Dharma realm is neither unduly vast, nor is it limited. The Dharma realm itself entails all dharmas (in the sense that “all dharmas” is a concept that contains all the phenomena and noumena in existence).

The wordrealm” (kai) implies any objective dimension that people regard as reality. Each and every single realm of dharmas, from the dimension of hell to that of Buddhahood, conforms to its own particular idiosyncrasies. So the psychological dimension and behaviour of the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) was in complete accord with the wisdom and perception that was present in the workings of his mind, whereas the arrogant and stuck-up monks’, nuns’, male and female lay practitioners’ minds functioned according to their own values as they saw themselves.

In this way, the various realms of dharmas of the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) made their bows of reverence to the Dharma realm of the monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners. This was a bow of reverence that recognised both other people and oneself as a manifestation of life itself. This is why the bodhisattva made his bows of reverence to the Buddha nature inherent in the overbearing and arrogant monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners. It is the same as when one makes a bow of reverence in front of a mirror, the reflection in the glass also makes a bow of reverence to oneself (which is life making a bow of reverence to itself).


The thirtieth important point with regard to the Bodhisattva’s Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) bows of reverence, as well as his attitude towards patience under insult.

The Oral Transmission on the Meaning of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Ongi Kuden) says that, in the text of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō), the overbearing and arrogant monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners both slandered and discredited the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta) as well as getting resentful and angry. Then they abused him even more, by deriding his prediction that they would attain the fruition of enlightenment as an unsubstantiated delusion.

In the same chapter, it is recounted that the bodhisattva did not lose his temper. He maintained a position of forbearance. Out of these fourteen attitudes behind the bows of reverence of the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta), only the first is known to the average teacher, but the remaining thirteen are unknown to the preceptors of the Dharma of our present generation (that is 13th century Japan).

This concludes the above fourteen attitudes that lay behind the bows of reverence that were made by the Bodhisattva Not Holding Anyone or Anything in Contempt Ever (Jōfukyō, Sadapāribbhūta).

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