Nichiren Shonin


I am writing my term essay commentaries on Nichiren Shonin writings.

First of all, based on my readings, Nichiren was a well versed scholar monk studied under Nembutsu, Tientai and Shingon schools

In his writings On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime, The Object of Devotion for Observing The Mind, The Daimoku of The Lotus Sutra;

Nichiren explained that master Dengyo (founder of Tientai) mentioned in his commentaries of the outstanding principles of the Lotus Sutra that neither teacher nor disciples need undergo countless kalpas or austere practice in order to attain Buddhahood. Through the power of the Lotus Sutra, they can do so in their present form.

Nichiren advocate the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. When deluded, one is called an ordinary being, but when enlightened, one is called a Buddha. A mind clouded by the illusions is like a tarnished mirror, but when polished, it is sure to become like a clear mirror, reflecting the essential nature of phenomena and true aspect of reality. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. By chanting this mantra with deep faith in this principle, one is certain to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. Nichiren revealed the concrete practice for attaining Buddhahood- namely, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, that is missing in Tientai’s theoretical framework.
Nichiren explained the object of devotion and declared that the Gohonzon (mandala) embodies the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the object of devotion for observing the mind in the Latter Day of the Law.

In my opinion, this is meditative samadhi. When the mind is still and clear during the chanting, Buddhahood is manifested.

Please comment

Antonio Perasso's picture

Nichiren Shonin

In my opinion , the complete purification of the mind`s consciuos and unconscious traits , seeds (Bija) and corresponding latencies (Anusaya) , cannot be reached through cognitive wisdom alone .
Verbalization through mantra recitation and chanting , narrow views , blind faith and devotion are hindrances and the products of cognitive wisdom .
The meditative absorption state , is a state of no-production and mere observation , piercing the mind-matter reality and understanding the mind's activities as a kind of current and undercurrent reality . At this stage , mind is watching rather than seeing , depersonalized , the Ego is deactivated and doing nothing , only observing the mind- body relationship , without manipulate it . In such equanimous condition , the mind starts to liberate the accumulated impurities (saṃskāra , anusaya , vāsanā, klieśa ) which are dissolved and evaporated through the no-cognitive wisdom achieved perceiving the reality directly (pratyakṣa).
As the Buddha says in the Alagaddupama Sutta MN 22 , using the raft parable , ¨Monks , I will teach you the Dhamma compared to a raft , for the purpose of crossing over , not for the purpose of holding onto . Understanding the Dhamma as taught compared to a raft , you should let go even of Dhammas , to say nothing of non-Dhammas ¨

Earl Hardie Karges's picture

Nichiren, samadhi, etc.

For me 'meditative samadhi' is something much more specific and minimalistic--one-pointedness and one point only, whether a mantra, simple awareness or the counting of breaths. So I try to avoid any and all narrative, and re-boot if I lapse into it.

Re: Nichiren, that's a little too limited for me. I understand the benefits of simple devotion, but that's too strict, especially when it dismisses all other paths as false, in my opinion...

Pei Wan's picture

Agree with you

I also think that meditative samadhi is specifically mean the intense state of concentration and awareness that can be achieved through disciplined meditation. Samadhi is the mind in its most concentrated state where the awareness of the meditator, the process of meditation and the object of the meditation have now all merged into one. In the other hand, the teaching is Nichiren is more general and common.

Sergio Leon Candia's picture

agreed. I understand that

I understand that after the 2nd jhana there is no more discursive thought. there is a sutta ...i think MN 82 prnce bodhi...where the buddha "says" that he only thinks what and when he wants (not literrally and not sure if thats the sutta). i think ending unwanted discursive thought is a fruit of jhana and a feature of a healthier mind