Nichiren Buddhist Association of America

Nichiren Buddhist Association of America
Discovering the unknown within through a revolution in religious thinking

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Introduction to Buddhism
 
Nichiren and Actual Proof
Chapter 8
  The Three Proofs   Bodhisattva Practice  
 

When it comes to religion, all three proofs must be in place, just as they must be in place in daily life. Everyone believes in many things that mere men have put forth. Everything from brushing your teeth to driving a car to whether we can survive on Mars are all theories put forth by mere men. And we put our lives on the line every day testing the actual proof of these theories. If it's true, it's true, regardless of where it comes from. Likewise, this profound truth of life was discovered by a mere man.

During the middle ages in Japan, there was a priest named Nichiren. Nichiren had a theory that if you practice in exact accord with the Law contained within the teachings of the Lotus Sutra (his documentary proof), you will attain enlightenment (his actual proof). He did it himself, putting it to the test. After a few years of practicing according to this Law of Life he exhibited enlightenment as described in the Lotus Sutra itself. Moreover, he said he felt immense joy, even when he was in the midst of an external hell of cold, lack of food, social disapproval, loneliness and other things due to exile by his government for propagating his teachings. That is enlightenment. Enlightenment is happiness and incredible (almost superhuman) vitality no matter what the relative circumstances. We (the writers) have experienced this feeling, which is further evidence that it is possible to feel this way and that Nichiren wasn't lying. He wrote down exactly how he attained enlightenment and how others could do it. Now, it is up to his followers to prove or disprove his theoretical and documentary proof...in other words, to show actual proof. Should you believe him or us? That is up to you. If you practice exactly as he taught, you will attain enlightenment. See for yourself.

During his lifetime, Nichiren and those who followed his teachings and example were the only people who were practicing according to the Lotus Sutra. Most other forms of Buddhism ignore the existence of this sutra. One reason that no one else practiced according to the Lotus Sutra is that it is very difficult to understand the teaching. When reading it directly, it seems to have a circular kind of logic and content that can only be found by living the sutra yourself. Nichiren became significant in history by taking the teaching of the Lotus Sutra and applying it to his life and by creating a practice out of it that anyone can do. Therefore we recommend that you read the writings of Nichiren. Some books that contain his writings are:

Nichiren. The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin. Trans. The Gosho Translation Committee. Tokyo, Japan: Soka Gakkai, 1999.

Nichiren. Letters of Nichiren. Trans. Burton Watson, et al. Ed. Philip B. Yampolsky. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

Nichiren. Selected Writings of Nichiren. Trans. Burton Watson, et al. Ed. Philip B. Yampolsky. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

To buy any of these books, please contact us at nbaa@nbaa.tv


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