Hi David &Shannon,
[The following comments are referring to our web site. (This bracketed
part is not part of the original letter.)] Yes a really great composition.
All the nuts & bolts of the broad spectrum of Buddhism, plus
the pure distinction between all other sects and the LOTUS SUTRA,and
many other insights w/regards to shoju & shakubuku.
Now would it not follow that THE DAISHONIN was himself a great
scholar,as well as the Buddha for the latter day, and isn't it a
bit ironic that, MASTERS MAKAGUCHI, TODA, & IKEDA, ALL fall
into the category of educational teachers????? and all very fit
to be called BODHISATTVAS OF THE EARTH, IN A LEADERS ROLE !!!!!!
I myself don't doubt their display's of actual proof and especially
the works of DAISAKU IKEDA, which speak for themselves. He has more
than delivered on HIS vows to his master, and to the world wide
propagation of THE ONE VEHICLE, and I think that this is un-debatable.
Being a bodhisattva myself of the (see'er variety) I have to put
him in a peerless position in Japan, and also on the world stage.
Now let me ask you about faith, i.e.. can a beginner's faith be
as strong and/or mature as a master's or some one who is learned
in the scriptures???? How can an immature follower know if he or
she is practicing correctly without an overseer or a guide???? Strange
how N.D. paid reverent respect to his mentor DOZEN-BO, even though
he didn't convert him to the true teachings, and knowing that his
teacher was wrong ????? It is easy to be misled and/or to mislead
oneself, as did the five senior priests!!!!!!! (no humble gratitude
here huh????) The 4 debts of gratitude (me thinks) should be uppermost
in ones mind while performing gongyo. WHAT SAY YOU!!!!!!!!??
Here are some questions that I think, when you answer them, will clarify
the answer to your questions:
Is the correct practice of Buddhism based on finding the correct mentor
Is there a difference between the person who first teaches you Buddhism
and a mentor to whom you owe allegiance and continually return for
guidance throughout your life? Which kind of relationship did Nichiren
have with Dozen-Bo?
Is it possible for a person to just follow the Law by themselves?
That is, can you just practice and propagate Myoho-Renge-Kyo with
compassion and thereby attain enlightenment, or does the Mystic Law
need some help from a mentor? (Careful, this one is a slander trap.)
Who was Shakyamuni's mentor? Nichiren's mentor? (knowing that he did
not go to Dozen-Bo for guidance or to learn about the correct practice
What do you think Nichiren meant when he wrote repeatedly the admonition
to "rely on the Law and not upon persons"? Did he mean to
develop a mentor/disciple relationship?
I have never heard of anyone, not Shakyamuni, not Nichiren, no one
who ever became a Buddha by following a mentor. Unless, of course,
you twist the definition of mentor to mean the Law is your mentor.
Then, I would have to agree ...the Law itself is the ONLY mentor you
can ever use if you are to attain enlightenment. Why do you suppose
all the scriptures describe how difficult it is to attain Buddhahood
in the Latter Day? In the very act of following someone, you give
up responsibility for your own enlightenment and at the same time
slander the Buddha within. It's like saying "without someone
else, someone wiser than me, I cannot attain enlightenment".
Do you realize how this is slander of the Buddha within when people
say or think that?
So for President Ikeda or anyone for that matter to say or even imply
that you can't attain enlightenment without a mentor or without an
organization is slanderous of Myoho-Renge-Kyo. It's saying, yes, Myoho-Renge-Kyo
is powerful, but not powerful enough without someone to keep you on
track. Both Nichiren and Shakyamuni revealed their own enlightenment
as a process, a process that was difficult and uncertain throughout
their lives. Yes, uncertain. They learned "on the job" so
to speak. And so must we. As we perform the function of a Buddha,
we become a Buddha. What is the function of a Buddha? It is to make
all others Buddhas. That's it. That's all a Buddha does or is. We
too discover our own Buddhahood by teaching others the Law and how
to follow it instead of us! Let me make this perfectly clear, J, You
do NOT need anything or anyone else for YOU, JC to attain enlightenment.
You can speed your way on the path to enlightenment by developing
your compassion and your seeking mind to discover how to lead all
others to enlightenment. This is not static information, J. I mean
by that that it is a continual challenge to wrack YOUR brain to discover
how to get through to others about how they can become Buddhas. And
as you do this, you naturally find the Buddha within your own life.
You cannot be a part of this process if you follow a person. Not Nichiren,
not Shakyamuni...not Ikeda, not Nikken, not David Heimburg, no one!
You must attain enlightenment by yourself. There's no easy way, no
shortcuts. Your mission of discovery starts with a great vow...the
vow of the Buddha JC...to attain Buddhahood and lead all others to
do the same. Without that serious vow, how can you muster the resolve
to ever accomplish this task?
Just so I'm perfectly clear about this, J, I am not saying that you
or I shouldn't (or don't) appreciate our teachers. But if a teacher
insists that you must continue to follow (them or an organization
for instance) that is a clear sign that you must leave and stand on
your own two feet! Nichiren was concerned for his teacher Dozen-Bo
and wrote letters in that regard. We, too, are concerned for Daisaku
Ikeda, our teacher, and have written letters to him about it. These
are posted on our website. You should read them if you have not already.
And also please read my poem My Mentor. I wrote it about President
Ikeda. The Buddha Myoho-Renge-Kyo that shows through Ikeda words of
the past or present are a part of the Law...the other words actually
slander the Law. My mentor is the right side of the poem...the Law
revealed by Ikeda. It is up to us to bring benefit to him by discerning
the difference: what will lead us to enlightenment and what will not...and
follow only those teachings that are based entirely upon Myoho-Renge-Kyo.
And this goes for the Gohonzon as well. If we look upon the Gohonzon
as the Person to follow...as if it's not within our own lives...we
thereby slander Myoho-Renge-Kyo within ourselves. We then are no better
than the other deity-based religions out there. Yet people do it all
the time. Go to a meeting and bring up that people shouldn't look
at the Gohonzon as an external power and see what kind of response
you get. They know this point theoretically, yet they cannot apply
it to their own practice.
About gratitude...as you asked: the only way to truly repay one's
debt of gratitude to the Buddhas that ever have or ever will exist
is by your own actions as a Buddha. What does that mean? Please read
Nichiren about this to understand the point...more deeply. Nichiren
says, "Those who make offerings to the Lotus Sutra will receive
the same benefit as they would by making offerings to all the Buddhas
and bodhisattvas in the ten directions, because all the Buddhas of
the ten directions originate from the single character myo."
(WND 949) and "Concerning the debt owed to the Law, the Law is
the teacher of all Buddhas. It is because of the Law that the Buddhas
are worthy of respect. Therefore, those who wish to repay their debt
to the Buddha must first repay the debt they owe to the Law."
(WND pg 44) Simply put we can only repay our gratitude for attaining
enlightenment by vowing, then fulfilling that vow, to make all others
Buddhas. No offerings, no false humility, no organizational achievements...just
person by person having the courage to confront people who continually
belittle and slander their own Buddha Nature (and thereby slander
Myoho-Renge-Kyo) by looking outside themselves for the answer. This
is the practice of courage, the practice of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging,
and we must find our own way to do it. We must become Teachers of
the Law. We must become Buddhas who teach others to follow ONLY the
Law of Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Within your life you have the wisdom, Buddha
Wisdom, to attain enlightenment by leading others to attain Buddhahood.
How do you bring it out? By first of all vowing to do it, then throwing
your whole self into the task...halfway measures won't do. Daimoku
with purpose, the purpose of bringing another person to enlightenment,
is the most powerful thing a human can do with their life. It's also
the most difficult. And it's the only way for that person to attain
enlightenment themselves. So if you want to repay your debt of gratitude
to Daisaku Ikeda, George Williams, or anyone else the only way to
do it is to become a Buddha...nothing short of that. And then you
will be able to repay all Buddhas at the same time and even lead those
lives you feel indebted to to Buddhahood.
Another thing, the common understanding of faith equals daily life
goes something like this: You should live your life so that others
respect you and thereby cause them to listen to you and follow your
example of faith. Is that your definition too? My understanding of
faith equals daily life goes slightly differently: Your actions to
lead others to attain enlightenment reveal your faith in Myoho-Renge-Kyo
within yourself...and they do this within the present moment. So what
does that mean in reality? Well, lets see, in the Life Span Chapter
of the Lotus Sutra Shakyamuni tells the parable of the Excellent Physician
who told his sons he was dead in order to get them to take the medicine.
So lying is ok if it leads others to enlightenment? What about other
acts of social misconduct? Are they allowed too? While we're at it,
what are the relevant commandments we Buddhists should honor? Do you
recall the Diamond Precept? So what I'm saying, J is that Bodhisattvas
of the Earth in their true identity are majestic, but as viewed by
non-enlightened beings are crude, and socially unacceptable. Nichiren
himself, to this very day, is referred to as a renegade priest by
all others than us Nichiren Buddhists. In fact Nichiren himself said
that he was: "...as gold is wrapped in a filthy bag." (WND
pg303) I maintain that a Buddha's daily life is difficult to discern
without yourself having a Buddha-Eye to see the gold inside clearly.
And the trap set up by negligent discernment is that people who follow
mentors, leaders, organizations, or anything or anyone other than
the Law itself, will find fault with you no matter what you do in
your daily life and then use that perception to slander the power
of Myoho-Renge-Kyo within themselves and you. We must teach people
to look for and at the gold within their own lives, not to us as examples.
We need to encourage them to have a powerful seeking mind to see the
About your question about a new person's faith and whether or not
they need a teacher: Of course we teach others to practice Buddhism.
I have proof that the very act of trying to teach Buddhism causes
you to thereby learn how to practice yourself. Learn by teaching.
It's a true principle. But not if you don't teach with compassion
and try your very best to teach the other person to follow the Law
and not you. Over and over again those who fail to follow Nichiren's
admonition to follow the Law and not the Person wind up slandering
Myoho-Renge-Kyo. They praise it with their mouths but slander it with
their intent. They themselves just don't believe that chanting Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo
and teaching others can do it, can make Buddhas. They have lost faith
in Myoho-Renge-Kyo, in reality. We have already seen what happens
to people we teach to follow the Law instead of us or any other Person.
They immediately grow in faith so fast that WE'RE encouraged just
to see them. And they can be a brand new person to Buddhism, too.
In less than one year's practice we've seen people be able to stand
alone in faith and practice Buddhism correctly. So J, yes teach...become
a teacher...now...today...but become a correct teacher who never knowingly
leads others to follow you, but instead constantly teaches others
to only use the Law as their compass and their guidance in faith.
And yes, even new people can get guidance from chanting and studying
and teaching. You can understand this when you realize that guidance
in Buddhism is ONLY and ALWAYS guidance in FAITH. Guidance in faith
answers the question, "How can I become a Buddha and How can
I lead this other person to become a Buddha?" All other matters
evaporate like dew on the grass in the morning sun. They are no longer
obstacles. Do you understand what I'm saying here? The ONE VEHICLE
is not, and never could ever be, Ikeda, Nichiren or Shakyamuni. It
always has been and always will be ONLY the Law itself (the one within
your life) and both you and brand new believers have equal access
to that Law. Equal access. Once again, I refer you to read what Nichiren
says about the difference between when a sage chants the daimoku and
when an ignorant person chants it. "But how great is the difference
between the blessings received when a sage chants the daimoku and
the blessings received when we chant it? To reply, one is in no way
superior to the other." (WND pg 756)
Now, J, let me broach another subject with you that you briefly touched
on in your letter to me. Gongyo. Let me ask you this: Is it effective
to recite gongyo in your native language? Did Nichiren's disciples
understand gongyo in their own language? Is there proof of this? You
know where I'm leading with this so I'll just tell you: we do gongyo
in English. And guess what? It works! It is an effective auxiliary
practice to chanting daimoku, just the way Nichiren said it should
be. And guess what else? Understanding gongyo by reciting it in English
reveals "Ah-Ha" after "Ah-Ha" of recognition and
encouragement in faith...and it does it in a way that over twenty
years of reciting it in the Sanskrit/Chinese/Japanese version never
did. It is not "forbidden" for you to do, is it? Then I
highly recommend it. But remember, it's an auxiliary practice to chanting
Well, I've gone on and on here in this letter. I hope I've encouraged
your courageous faith and to stand alone in faith...in the midst of
all others...and teach the Law to the best of your ability. J, the
practice of Buddhism I'm talking about in this letter is not the same
practice as when we knew each other in Florida. A single day's practice
in this way is worth a lifetime of the practice of following organizations
With deep respect for the Buddha JC,