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Turning poison into medicine

The concept of turning poison into medicine (Jpn hendoku-iyaku) through one’s Bodhisattva practice is a strong thread that runs throughout many Gosho. It is common material for discussion amongst Nichiren Buddhists, and is one of the primary doctrines of the SGI, forming a major part of the SGI’s contemporary definition of one’s Human Revolution. For the sake of clarity the poison/medicine metaphor relates life’s challenges, or rather one’s unenlightened attitude towards them, to poison – and the function of the […]

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What is the Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra?

The Entity of the Mystic Law gosho begins thus: QUESTION: What is the entity of Myoho-renge-kyo? Answer: All beings and their environments in any of the Ten Worlds are themselves entities of Myoho-renge-kyo. As Elwood says in the Blues Brothers… And remember people, that no matter who you are, and what you do to live, thrive and survive, there’re still some things that make us all the same. You, me… them… everybody! everybody! This first passage from the Gosho reveals […]

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The Emptiness of the Vase

When is a door not a door? When it’s a jar… Get it? a jar… ajar – oh never mind. I think that joke could have been written by Chih-i. Emptiness is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to get my head around. Even at the most mundane level, trying to grasp its ramifications in our daily life is a struggle to comprehend, let alone explain to anyone. While working the other day I came across a customer’s […]

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Ichinen Sanzen - Revealing the Ultimate Reality

Ichinen Sanzen Pt4

The picture I have chosen to introduce this article is a three dimensional fractal. Hopefully it can demonstrate how a simple universal truth (in this case, a mathematical construct) can give rise to all the beauty and complexity we perceive as reality. Ichinen Sanzen is the Buddhist theory that describes that reality. Despite having written at length regarding the Ten Worlds, the Ten Factors and Three Realms, it is almost inevitable that my words alone will only have provided the […]

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The Three Realms – Ichinen Sanzen Pt 3

In Part 1 of this series of essays on the Buddhist concept of Ichinen Sanzen we looked at the Ten Worlds, and in Part 2 we studied the concept of the Ten Factors. So, in this penultimate study of Ichinen Sanzen, we are going to turn our attention to the concept of the Three Realms. As covered previously, the Ten Worlds do not relate to places in the three dimensional sense, but to life states that constantly change from moment […]

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The Ten Factors – Ichinen Sanzen Pt 2

Read the other parts of this series – Part 1 – Part 3 – Part 4 Ichinen Sanzen – Part 2 Previously, in the Ten Worlds article, we introduced the concept of Ichinen Sanzen (3000 realms in a single moment of life), and how it is comprised of the Ten Worlds, the Ten Factors, and the Three Realms. In this article I’m going to tackle the Ten Factors, which collectively describe: our interface with the universe, in terms of our […]

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The Ten Worlds and their mutual possession – Ichinen Sanzen Pt 1

Read the other parts of this series – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 Ichinen Sanzen – Part 1 The mutual possession of the Ten Worlds is one of the foundations in understanding the broader concept of Ichinen Sanzen. So what is Ichinen Sanzen? What does mutual possession mean, and what are the Ten Worlds that Nichiren Buddhists so often speak about? Ichinen Sanzen was a system of thought put forth by the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai in 6th century […]

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Why Nichiren Buddhism is growing in the UK

The decline of religion in the West The precise etymology of the word religion is debatable, but most definitions indicate a common belief system of sorts, or a binding force between humanity and an ideal, or mystic, element. Religion brings people together under a common viewpoint of how we should live and interact. It could be argued that since the collapse of Christianity’s power and authority in the West, that science, futurism, and even atheism have become religions in their own […]

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Happiness, Compassion and the Mystic Law

As explained in On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime Happiness in buddhism differs from the common understanding. One of the most powerful teachings of Nichiren Daishonin lies in the short Gosho (teaching) On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime. In this lecture I would like to discuss how this Gosho can be applied to the question of happiness. Or, more accurately, how happiness is inextricably contingent upon compassion, and how compassion is contingent upon our grasping the Mystic Law. I’m not […]

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Two kinds of faith

In February 1278, The Daishonin wrote a short letter to Nanjo Tokimitsu entitled Two Kinds of Faith. Nanjo Tokimitsu was the steward of Ueno village in Suruga Province. The Daishonin’s relationship with Nanjo Tokimitsu began in 1265 when, upon the death of Nanjo’s father, Nanjo Hyoe Shichiro, the Daishonin had dropped everything to travel from Kamakura to Ueno in the Fuji area so that he could pray over Hyoe Shichiro’s grave. Nanjo Tokimitsu, at the time aged just 7, was […]

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