The Door To This Wisdom is Difficult to Enter

The Door To This Wisdom is Difficult to Enter

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Gongyo Style (독경 스타일)


Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is only one phrase or verse, but it is no ordinary phrase, for it is the essence of the entire sutra. ... Included within the title, or daimoku, of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the entire sutra … without the omission of a single character.  …  The heart of the Lotus Sutra is its title. …  Truly, if you chant this in the morning and evening, you are correctly reading the entire Lotus Sutra.  Chanting daimoku twice is the same as reading the entire sutra twice, one hundred daimoku equal one hundred readings of the sutra, and one thousand daimoku, one thousand readings of the sutra.  Thus, if you ceaselessly chant daimoku, you will be continually reading the Lotus Sutra.”                      (“The One Essential Phrase”, WND-1, p922-923)

“Question: Why do you say that all teachings are contained within the daimoku?
Answer: Chang-an writes: “Hence [T’ien-t’ai’s explanation of the title in] the preface conveys the profound meaning of the sutra. The profound meaning indicates the heart of the text, and the heart of the text encompasses the whole of the theoretical and essential teachings.”  
(“On The Four Stages of Faith”, WND-1, p788)

“Question: Is it possible, without understanding the meaning of the Lotus Sutra, but merely by chanting the five or seven characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo once a day, once a month, or simply once a year, once a decade, or once in a lifetime, to avoid being drawn into trivial or serious acts of evil, to escape falling into the four evil paths, and instead to eventually reach the stage of non-regression?
Answer: Yes, it is.” 
(“The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra”, WND-1, p141)

When plants and trees receive the rainfall, they can hardly be aware of what they are doing, and yet do they not proceed to put forth blossoms?  The five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo do not represent the sutra text, nor are they its meaning. They are nothing other than the intent of the entire sutra. So, even though the beginners in Buddhist practice may not understand their significance, by practicing these five characters, they will naturally conform to the sutra’s intent.”
(“On The Four Stages of Faith”, WND-1, p788)

“The Lotus Sutra of the Correct Law says that, if one hears this sutra and proclaims and embraces its title, one will enjoy merit beyond measure. And the Supplemented Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law says that one who accepts and upholds the name of the Lotus Sutra will enjoy immeasurable good fortune. These statements indicate that the good fortune one receives from simply chanting the daimoku is beyond measure.”
(“The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra”, WND-1, p143)

“Only the ship of Myoho-renge-kyo enables one to cross the sea of the sufferings of birth and death.”
(“A Ship To Cross The Sea of Suffering”, WND-1, p 33)


In 1264, Nichiren Daishonin replied to a question from the wife of Daigaku Saburō concerning how to perform gongyo.  It’s clear from this reply – “The Recitation of the “Expedient Means” and “Life Spans” Chapters" - that the Daishonin had already established the daily practice of reciting extracts from these two chapters of the Lotus Sutra…

“You say that you used to recite one chapter of the Lotus Sutra every day, completing the entire sutra in the space of twenty-eight days, but that now you read the “Medicine King” chapter once a day. You ask if you should simply read each chapter in turn, as you were originally doing.” (WND-1, p68)

“First of all, when it comes to the Lotus Sutra, you should understand that, whether one recites all eight volumes, or only one volume, one chapter, one verse, one phrase, or simply the daimoku, or title, the blessings are the same. It is like the water of the great ocean, a single drop of which contains water from all the countless streams and rivers… A single character of the Lotus Sutra is like such a drop of water. …

On the other hand, a single character of the other sutras, or the name of any of the various Buddhas, is like one drop of the water of a particular stream or river. …  One such drop does not contain the water of countless other streams and rivers.  Therefore, when it comes to the Lotus Sutra, it is praiseworthy to recite any chapter you have placed your trust in, whichever chapter that may be.”  (WND-1, p69)

“Though no chapter of the Lotus Sutra is negligible, among the entire twenty-eight chapters, the “Expedient Means” chapter and the “Life Span” chapter are particularly outstanding. The remaining chapters are all in a sense the branches and leaves of these two chapters. Therefore, for your regular recitation, I recommend that you practice reading the prose sections of the “Expedient Means” and “Life Span” chapters.  … As for the remaining chapters, you may turn to them from time to time when you have a moment of leisure.”  (WND-1, p71)

“Also in your letter, you say that three times each day you bow in reverence to [the Gohonzon]  and that each day you repeat the words “Namu-ichijo-myoten” [“devotion to the wonderful sutra of the one vehicle”] ten thousand times.”  (WND-1, p71)

“Though reciting the words ”Namu-ichijo-myoten” amounts to the same thing, it would be better if you just chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, as Bodhisattva Vasubandhu and the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai did.”  (WND-1, p72)


“To accept, uphold, read, recite, take delight in, and protect all the eight volumes and twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra is called the comprehensive practice.  

To accept, uphold, and protect the “Expedient Means” chapter and the “Life Span” chapter is called the abbreviated practice.

And simply to chant one four-phrase verse or the daimoku, and to protect those who do so, is called the essential practice.

Hence, among these three kinds of practice, comprehensive, abbreviated, and essential, the daimoku is defined as the essential practice.  
 (“The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra”, WND-1, p141)


In your letter you [lay priest Matsuno] write: “Since I took faith in [the Lotus] sutra , I have continued to recite the ten factors of life [from the “Expedient Means” chapter] and the verse section of the ‘Life Span’ chapter and chant the daimoku without the slightest neglect.  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. The gold that a fool possesses is no different from the gold that a wise man possesses; a fire made by a fool is the same as a fire made by a wise man.   However, there is a difference if one chants the daimoku while acting against the intent of this sutra.
 (“The Fourteen Slanders”, WND-1, p755-756)

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