The teachings of the Lotus Sutra as expressed by Tien Tai of China

(The Buddha’s enlightenment)

Ten Worlds (10) 1. Hell, Hunger, 2. Anger, 3. Animality, 4. Tranquility, 5. Rapture, 6. Learning, 7. Hunger, 8. Realization, 9. Boddhisattva, 10. Enlightenment X Ten Worlds (10) 1. Hell, Hunger, 2. Anger, 3. Animality, 4. Tranquility, 5. Rapture, 6. Learning, 7. Hunger, 8. Realization, 9. Boddhisattva, 10. Enlightenment X Ten Factors (10) 1. Appearance, 2. Nature, 3. Entity, 4. Power, 5. Influence, 6. Internal Cause, 7. External Cause, 8. Latent Effect, 9. Manifest Effect, 10. Consistency from Beginning to End X 3 Realms (3) 1. The Self, 2. the Society, 3. the Environment = 3000 possible moments of existence (fluctuating from one moment to the next) Utilising the concept of ‘ichinen sanzen’, the term (1) ‘appearance’ thus corresponds to ‘beginning’ and the term (9) ‘manifest effect’ corresponds to ‘end’ (i.e. outcome or the results of one’s karma/action in life). Nichiren Daishonin explained this concept by explaining how the body (appearance) relates to its shadow (manifest effect). Writing about the oneness of the body and mind (shiki shin funi) he explains that when the body is crooked, the shadow is also crooked. In other words, if a person’s mind is distorted, his actions too will be distorted and consequently his life will also take on that distortion in the form of suffering (shadow)-i.e. manifested effect. In the words of Billups (2010) “This ultimately means that all suffering that manifest in one’s environment is directly related to the individual’s mind or the collective mind’s of all the people in that environment. This is the principle of Esho funi, the oneness of life (body) and its environment (shadow). The illusion that most people follow is to try to make the shadow stand up by focusing on it externally (trying to manipulate the environment and other people). The source of the shadow is from the self (spiritual disorder from within), the inherent cause (karma) that produces the manifest effect in the environment. This is the most difficult illusion for a common mortal to perceive (but not for a Buddha).    The 3 poisons of a people’s minds (greed, anger and stupidity) are said to manifest as the conditions of famine, war and pestilence. So, this shows how important and practical it is to be responsible for purifying one’s heart and mind through the practice of Buddhism (Hendoku Iyaku – Changing poison into medicine through chanting NMHRGK), which extinguishes the source of all the sufferings which originate from within each and every individual”. Nichiren Daishonin states “Even more so our past slanders of the Law, which stain the depth of one’s heart.  A sutra states that both the crow’s Blackness and the heron’s Whiteness are actually the deep stains of their past Karma.” (Major writings Volume one page 39). “There are no mistakes in the perfect manifestation of the law of cause and effect, only suffering as one’s mind moves away (illusions or ignorance) from the awareness of this constant truth in life” Billups (2010) For the purpose of illustrating the concept of ichinen sanzen once again, let’s assume you have caused another person some distress (knowingly or unknowingly) which has turned into anger to the point where that person decides to get revenge to get even. This person thus decides to scratch the paintwork of your beloved car and does some damage to its tyres to make sure it really hurts (the decision to do so equals ‘inherent cause’ which has not yet progressed to ‘manifest effect’). However, that person follows through with the plan (manifest effect) while you are peacefully asleep in your bed. In the morning you get a phone call from your boss who tells you that you have just been nominated as employee of the month something that besides recognition of your efforts is also connected to a bonus payment of $1000. You are dancing with joy (rapture) but as you open the door you become aware of the rather sorry sight of your car (external cause) which almost immediately overshadows your rapturous life condition to one of severe anger or even hell. Your anger is evident in your demeanour, your facial expression and of course the physiological changes that take place in your body (adrenalin is pumping, cortisol levels increasing, your stomach churning, etc.) and subsequently the actions you take there and then (manifested effect) as well as the action you are planning to take (latent effect – i.e. creation of new karma) in response to it all.   You think that whoever has done this to you will get a hiding (animality) when you come across that person. And so acting like this you stay in the lower paths of existence and there you’ll stay until you decide to apply a deeper level of wisdom to the situation (the stages of realisation, Boddhisattva, Buddhahood). This example shows how the 3 realms of the 1. individual interrelates with the other two realms of 2. sentient beings (i.e. people/society) and 3. the environment. Billups (2010) states “As the dynamic aspects of each of the 10 worlds, 10 factors and the 3 realms interplay with each other, these realities intermingle to give life to the objective appearance it has as it manifest in each and every phenomena (shoho jisso). Every person sees life exactly the way they see it as true (subjective truth or belief), whether in the condition of hell, rapture or learning. Each experience is unique to that individual’s condition of life and perceptions relative to that condition Nichiren Daishonin states that beings in the state of hell see the Ganges river as fire, people in the world of rapture see the ganges river as water and the beings in the worlds of bodhisatva and Buddhahood see the Ganges river as the eternal unchanging law. The same objective reality is seen a different way by each individual based on their life condition (one of the 10 worlds) and their inherent cause (karma)”.

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