Glossary

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The following are common terms used in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism:


Bodhisattvas of the Earth (jiyu no bosatsu): The bodhisattvas who, as a means of assisting the preaching of Shakyamuni Buddha, pledge to propagate the Lotus Sutra after the passing of the Buddha. They make their appearance in the Emerging from the Earth (Yujutsu; fifteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra.

Buddha: One who is enlightened to the eternal truth of life and is able to lead others to attain the same enlightenment. One who possesses the three virtues of sovereign, teacher, and parent.

Buddha of Intrinsically Perfect Wisdom (jijuyu hoshin nyorai): Also translated “Buddha of Limitless Joy” or “Buddha of Absolute Freedom.” Ultimately, this means the originally existing, non-engendered three bodies (enlightened properties) of the Buddha that are not mere principles but exist in reality. From the viewpoint of the meaning hidden in the depths of the Juryo chapter, this is the eternal Buddha from kuon-ganjo, who appeared in the present as Nichiren Daishonin.

butsudan: The altar in which the Gohonzon is enshrined.

butsugu: A general term for the Buddhist accessories used to make offerings to the Gohonzon in front of the Butsudan. They include the candlesticks, evergreen vases, incense burner, water cup, bell, rice cup, etc.

Common-mortal priest (bonpu-so): The True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin, appeared in the Latter Day of the Law in the form of a common mortal, rather than in the form of a resplendent figure with the thirty-two features and eighty characteristics of the Buddha.

Dai-Gohonzon: The fundamental object of worship in Nichiren Shoshu. It was inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin on October 12, 1279. It was the purpose of his advent into this world as the True Buddha. All Gohonzons of Nichiren Shoshu are derived from the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching.

daimoku: Supreme Invocation or Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō. This expression also indicates the chanting of Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō.

Daishonin: Literally, “Great Sage.” It is the title given to Nichiren. It indicates the True Buddha.

Direct attainment of enlightenment: A term with the same significance as “attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form.” The merit received through the practice of the Daishonin’s Buddhism of the Three Great Secret Laws in the Latter Day of the Law.

Entity of the Law (hottai): The fundamental entity of all phenomena, Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō; the very essence of the Daishonin’s teachings; in particular, the Dai-Gohonzon.

Entrusted to a single person (yuiju ichinin): For a master to transmit and entrust the teachings and doctrines to only one person from amongst all his disciples. In Nichiren Shoshu, the Heritage of the Law is entrusted and transmitted to only one person at any given time; that person is the High Priest of the time.

Essential teaching (honmon): The term honmon literally means the teaching that reveals the original, or true, identity (original state) of the Buddha (honchi). This refers to the last fourteen chapters of the Lotus Sutra. In the sixteenth chapter, Shakyamuni Buddha reveals his original identity in the remote past of Five Hundred [myriad] Dust-particle Kalpas (gohyaku-jindengo) ago.

External function: The Term used in conjunction with “inner realization.” This indicates the form the Buddha exhibits externally. The form the Buddha adopts to teach the people, while the Buddha’s inner realization remains concealed.

Five Hundred Dust-particle Kalpas (gohyaku-jindengo): A simile given in the Life Span (Juryo; sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra to express the length of time since Shakyamuni Buddha actually attained Buddhahood. According to this simile, five hundred, thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand, nayuta, asamkhya (an innumerable quantity) great world systems are ground into dust. Then, after traveling five hundred, thousand, ten thousand, hundred thousand, nayuta, asamkhya lands to the east, one particle of dust is dropped. Continuing eastward, all the particles are dropped after traversing the same number of lands for each one. Then all the lands that have been traversed, whether a particle of dust was dropped or not, are ground into dust. If each particle of dust represents one kalpa (aeon), this is the length of time expressed in the simile “five hundred dust particle kalpas.”

According to the Juryo Chapter, the length of time that has passed since Shakyamuni actually attained Buddhahood exceeds even this length of time. Thus, this expresses a period of time unimaginably longer than the period expressed in the simile “three thousand dust particle kalpas,” in which only one great world system was initially ground into dust, and only one thousand lands were traversed before dropping each particle.

Five periods and eight teachings: The classification of Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings by the Great Teacher Tiantai.

I. Five Periods
In this classification, Shakyamuni Buddha’s fifty years of teaching are divided into five time periods:

1. Flower Garland Period (Kegon): During the first twenty-one days after Shakyamuni attained enlightenment at Gaya, he preached the Flower Garland Sutra, the provisional Mahayana sutra that ranks next after the Lotus Sutra. This period corresponds to the flavor of milk. Shakyamuni used this period to judge the capacity of the people. The method of teaching was “sudden.”

2. Agama period (Agon): During the next twelve years, he taught the Agama (Hinayana) sutras at the Deer Park in Varanasi (thus this is also called the Deer Park period). This period corresponds to the flavor of cream. The method of teaching was “gradual.”

3. Expansion period (Hodo): During the following sixteen years, he taught the Expansion (Vaipulya) sutras, which are provisional Mahayana sutras. This period corresponds to the flavor of curdled milk. This was a gradual teaching to lead the people to the Mahayana teachings (Great Vehicle). This period is said to have been taught at a great, bejeweled monastery manifested through the power of Shakyamuni’s samadhi (meditation) in the interval between the world of desire and the word of form (the first two realms of the threefold world).

4. Wisdom period (Hannya): For the next fourteen years, Shakyamuni taught principles of emptiness (ku) and the perfection of wisdom, in the Wisdom (prajna paramita) sutras, which are also provisional Mahayana sutras. This period corresponds to the flavor of butter. The methods of teaching were “secret” and “indeterminate.” This period is said to have been taught in sixteen meetings in four places, including Eagle Peak and the White Heron pond in the Bamboo Grove monastery.

5. Lotus-Nirvana period (Hokke-Nehan): For the last eight years of his life, Shakyamuni taught the Lotus Sutra, the ultimate purpose of his appearance in the world. The Lotus Sutra corresponds to the flavor of ghee. It teaches that all people can attain Buddhahood and reveals that Shakyamuni Buddha actually attained Buddhahood in the remote past. It is the perfect teaching, the highest Mahayana sutra. Therefore, it is called the true Mahayana sutra. It was preached at three meetings in two places—at Eagle Peak and the Ceremony in the Air. The Nirvana sutra was taught on the last day of Shakyamuni’s life to save all his disciples who had not yet been able to attain enlightenment.

II. Eight teachings
The content of Shakyamuni’s teachings and the methods of teaching are classified into four teachings of doctrine and four teachings of method. “Teachings of doctrine” are the various teachings and doctrines the Buddha uses for the sake of teaching and converting the people. “Teachings of method” are the forms the Buddha uses to guide the people, or the methods of the Buddha’s teachings. If the Buddha’s teachings are compared to medicines, the teachings of doctrine would be the medicines classified according to their composition, while the teachings of method would be the ways of prescribing the medicines.

Briefly, the teachings of doctrine are:
(1) the Tripitaka, or Hinayana, teachings; (2) the shared teaching, which connects Hinayana to Mahayana and may be viewed as the entrance to Mahayana; (3) the distinct teaching, which is a teaching for Mahayana bodhisattvas only; and (4) the perfect (round) teaching, the essence of the Buddha’s enlightenment.

The four teachings of method are: (a.) sudden; (b.) gradual; (c.) secret; and (d.) indeterminate.

gohonzon: The object of worship in Nichiren Shoshu. Go is an honorific prefix in Japanese. Honzon means object of worship. All Gohonzons in Nichiren Shoshu are transcriptions of the Dai-Gohonzon made by the successive High Priests of Nichiren Shoshu. The Gohonzon is the manifestation of the eternally enlightened life of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin (the person), and Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō of actual ichinen sanzen (the Law) to which the True Buddha is eternally enlightened, the oneness of the person and the Law.

gokaihi: The audience with the Dai-Gohonzon. The ceremony to worship the Dai-Gohonzon in the Hoando at Head Temple Taisekiji.

gongyo: Literally “assiduous practice.” Recitation of a portion of the second (Hoben) and all of the 16th (Juryo) chapters of the Lotus Sutra with silent prayers. Performed twice daily.

gosho: The writings of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. They take the form of treatises, the letters he wrote to his disciples, and oral lectures written down by his successor, Second High Priest Nikko Shonin.

Hoando Enshrinement Hall: The temple building at Head Temple, Taisekiji where the Dai-Gohonzon of the True High Sanctuary is enshrined and where the Gokaihi Ceremony is conducted.

Heritage of the Law (kechimyaku): The lifeblood transmission of true Buddhism. The Heritage of the Entity of the Law is the face to face transmission to a single person of the lifeblood and entrustment of Nichiren Daishonin’s true Buddhism from Nichiren Daishonin, to Nikko Shonin (Second High Priest) to Nichimoku Shonin (Third High Priest) down to the present High Priest in an unbroken succession. All those who uphold this Heritage and sincerely follow the High Priest, who has inherited the Heritage of the Law, will thereby be within the heritage of faith.

hokkeko: Translated as “Lotus Group.” The community of lay believers of Nichiren Shoshu. The name “Hokkeko” was given to the lay believers by Nichiren Daishonin himself.

ichinen sanzen: “Three thousand realms in a single life moment.” The theory explaining that all existence possesses the Buddha nature along with all the other conditions of life. This is elucidated by teaching that there are ten states of life or mind, called the “ten worlds.” Furthermore, the principle of the mutual possession of the ten worlds makes this 100 worlds. They are manifested through the principle of the ten factors and the three realms of existence, which make 3,000 worlds.

Inner realization (naisho): Term used in conjunction with “External Function.” The Buddha’s own enlightenment; or the Buddha’s fundamental entity.

Kalpa (ko): A Sanskrit term indicating an unimaginably long period of time, or aeon. Various metaphors are used to describe its length, such as the time needed to empty out a city full of poppy seeds by taking only one seed out every three years.

Karma: Internal causes residing in the depths of life that manifest themselves as conspicuous effects when external causes or conditions are encountered. All people possess both positive and negative karma. The practice of true Buddhism implants tremendous good karma (fortune) in one’s life, and lessens one’s retribution for negative karma from causes made in this and previous lifetimes.

kōsen-rufu: Means to widely declare and spread true Buddhism. There are two aspects of kōsen-rufu. “Kōsen-rufu of the entity of the Law” signifies the establishment of the Dai-Gohonzon by the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. His will to us was to accomplish the “kōsen-rufu of substantiation” which signifies the time when all the people of the world embrace the Daishonin’s Buddhism and revere the Dai-Gohonzon. At this time, there will be true world peace and the masses of people around the world will attain Buddhahood.

kuon-ganjo: The origin of the True Buddha’s enlightenment in the infinite past. This term indicates the eternity of the enlightenment of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin.

Lotus Sutra: Shakyamuni’s highest teaching. It was his final teaching, preached during the last eight years of his life together with the Sutra of Infinite Meaning, an introduction to the Lotus Sutra, and the Nirvana Sutra, the teaching for the sake of propagating the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. In it, Shakyamuni expounded the ultimate truth of his enlightenment. However, in the Latter Day of the Law, we can only benefit from the Lotus Sutra when it is viewed through the life of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. Therefore, as Nichiren Shoshu believers, we practice and study the Lotus Sutra based exclusively on the interpretations and teachings of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin, and the successive High Priests of Nichiren Shoshu. In his writings, Nichiren Daishonin sometimes uses the term Lotus Sutra to indicate Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō, or the Gohonzon.

Nichikan Shonin: (1665–1726) The Twenty-sixth High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu. He wrote many important doctrinal treatises including exegeses on the five major writings of Nichiren Daishonin and the Six Volume Writings (Rokkan-sho).

Nichimoku Shonin: (1260–1333) The Third High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu. He became a disciple of Nikko Shonin in 1274, and in 1276 went to Mt. Minobu where he was ordained by Nichiren Daishonin. He served the Daishonin for the remainder of the Daishonin’s life, and also served Second High Priest Nikko Shonin. He succeeded Nikko Shonin as the Third High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu. He is remembered as a great and courageous debater who remonstrated with the Kamakura Government and the Imperial court many times.

Nichiren Daishonin: The True Buddha of kuon-ganjo. The founder of true Buddhism, Nichiren Shoshu. He is the True Buddha who is eternally endowed with the three enlightened properties, and who eternally possesses the three virtues of sovereign, teacher, and parent. He fulfilled the purpose of his advent into this world by inscribing the Dai-Gohonzon of the True High Sanctuary on October 12, 1279 so that all the people of the Latter Day of the Law (mappo) can eradicate their evil karma and attain Buddhahood. He was born on February 16, 1222 and physically passed away on October 13, 1282.

Nichiren Shoshu: Orthodox Denomination of Nichiren. The only denomination that has inherited and propagates the complete true teachings of Nichiren Daishonin.

Nichiu Shonin: (1409–1482) The Ninth High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu. During his tenure as High Priest there was widespread warfare in Japan. Despite this, he traveled extensively for the sake of propagation and converted many people to Nichiren Shoshu. He authored the very significant writing, On Formalities (Kegi-sho) which delineates the observances of Nichiren Shoshu.

Nikko Shonin: (1246–1333) The direct successor to Nichiren Daishonin and the Second High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu. From 1258 when he first met the Daishonin until the Daishonin’s passing, he was constantly at his master’s side, serving the True Buddha. He founded the Head Temple, Taisekiji, in October of 1290.

Oneness of the person and the Law (ninpo ikka): A term used in contrast to the idea of “superiority or inferiority of the person and Law.” In the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, although the different names “Object of Worship in terms of the person” and “Object of Worship in terms of the Law” are used to refer to the Gohonzon, their entity is the same.

Realm of the ultimate reality (hokai): All things as the object of consciousness. All existence, all phenomena, extending both to the sentient and insentient.

shakubuku: Propagation of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. The process of introducing people to true Buddhism, and helping them overcome their attachment to provisional teachings by refuting incorrect views and heretical religions.

Shakyamuni: The historical founder of Buddhism who lived approximately 3,000 years ago. Chinese and Japanese tradition set the date of his birth on April 8, 1029 BCE and his death on February 15, 949 BCE. He was born in what is present day Nepal as a prince, the son of King Shuddhodana of the Shakya tribe. According to Buddhist tradition, at the age of 19 he renounced his princely life, and started his journey as a religious ascetic seeking the truth. At the age of 30, having realized that the severe austerities of ascetic life in India did not lead to an awakening to the ultimate truth, he sat under a pipal tree (also known as the “Bodhi Tree”) and meditated. He attained enlightenment and embarked on a lifelong career of traveling through India, preaching to many disciples and believers to lead them to the same enlightenment.

During the last eight years of his life he expounded the teachings of the “Lotus-Nirvana Period,” in which he taught the principles of the Lotus Sutra, his highest teaching, and instructions for its transmission. Shakyamuni’s teachings in the Lotus Sutra ultimately reveal in the depths of the passages that his status was provisional, and that the True Buddha of kuon-ganjo would appear in the Latter Day of the Law (mappo) to reveal the Buddhism of the true cause that would lead all humankind to enlightenment.

shodai: “Chanting Daimoku.” A Japanese term, which means the practice of chanting Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō.

shoten zenjin: Guardian Deities, or “Buddhist Gods,” which function to protect those who embrace the Gohonzon and uphold the teachings of true Buddhism.

Six stages of practice (roku-soku): These are, according to Tiantai Buddhism, the six stages of practice for bodhisattvas practicing the Lotus Sutra: 1) Stage of not yet hearing the Law (ri-soku) – in theory having the potential for Buddhahood but not being aware of it); 2) Stage of first hearing the name of the Law (myoji-soku)– having heard the name of the truth and understanding that one has the potential for Buddhahood; 3) Stage of observation and practice (kangyo-soku) – perceiving the truth within and having no contradiction between perception and action; 4) Stage of having purified the six sense organs (soji-soku) – outwardly resembling a Buddha); 5) Stage of eradicating fundamental darkness (funjin-soku) – partial awakening to the truth; and 6) Stage of perfect enlightenment (kukyo-soku, or the ultimate level). In his original identity as the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin became enlightened to the mystic Law (Myōhō) in kuon-ganjo as a common mortal at the stage of first hearing the name of the Law (myoji-soku) (the level where one first hears the true Law and understands that all phenomena are the Law of Buddhism).

Taisekiji: The Head Temple of Nichiren Shoshu. It is located in Japan at the foot of Mt. Fuji in Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture. In the “Document for Entrusting the Law that Nichiren Propagated throughout His Life” (“Nichiren ichigo guho fuzoku-sho”), Nichiren Daishonin directed that the High Sanctuary of True Buddhism be erected at the foot of Mt. Fuji. In 1290, Nikko Shonin, the Daishonin’s direct successor, founded Taisekiji. The land was donated by Nanjo Tokimitsu, a great lay patron of Nichiren Shoshu. Taisekiji is where the Dai-Gohonzon is enshrined, and where the High Priest lives. Nichiren Shoshu believers from all over the world come on pilgrimage to Taisekiji to pray to the Dai-Gohonzon and to participate in Ushitora Gongyo with the High Priest.

Ten Worlds: Ten life-conditions in which a single entity of life manifests.  Originally the worlds were viewed as distinct physical places each with its own particular inhabitants.  In light of the Lotus Sutra, they are interpreted as potential conditions of life inherent in each individual.  The Ten Worlds is a component principle of ichinen sanzen in which Tiantai set forth in the Maka shikan.  The ten worlds are:

(1) The state of Hell (jigoku).  Nichiren Daishonin’s the “True Object of Worship” (“Kanjin no Honzon Sho”) states, “Rage is the world of Hell.”  Hell indicates a condition in which one is dominated by the impulse of rage to destroy oneself and everything else.  In this state one is utterly devoid of freedom and undergoes extreme and indescribable suffering.

(2) The state of Hunger (gaki).  The “True Object of Worship” states, “Greed is the world of Hunger.”  Hunger is a condition characterized by insatiable desire for food, clothes, wealth, pleaser, fame, power and so forth.  One in this state is tormented by relentless craving and by his inability to assuage it.

(3) The state of Animality (chikusho).  The “True Object of Worship” (“Kanjin no Honzon Sho”) states, “Foolishness is the world af Animality.”  It is a condition governed by instinct, in which one has no sense of reason or morality.  “On the Sovereign, Teacher and Parent” (“Shushishin Gosho”) describes the state of Animality as follows:  “The short are swallowed by the long, and the small are eaten by the large, feeding upon each other without pause.”  One in the state of Animality stands in fear of the strong but despises and preys upon those weaker than himself.  Hell, Hunger and Animality are collectively called the three evil paths (san’akudo).

(4) The state of Anger (shura).  The “True Object of Worship” (“Kanjin no Honzon Sho”) states, “Perversity is the world af Anger.”  It is a condition dominated by a selfish ego.  One in this stage is compelled by the need to be superior to others in all things, despising them and valuing one’s self alone.  Nichiren Daishonin’s “Causality within the Ten States of Life” (“Jippokai Myoinga Sho”) states as follows:  “The first volume of the Maka Shikan reads, ‘He who is in the world of Anger, motivated by the warped desire to be better than everyone else, is forever belittling others and exalting himself.  He is like a hawk sweeping the sky in search of pray.  He may outwardly display benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and good faith, and even possess a rudimentary moral sense, but his heart remains in shura.'”  Hell, Hunger, Animality and Anger are collectively called the four evil paths (shiakushu).

(5) The state of Humanity or Tranquillity (nin).  The “True Object of Worship” (“Kanjin no Honzon Sho”) states, “Calmness is the world of Humanity.”  In this state, one can make judge fairly, control his instinctive desires with reason and act in harmony with his environment.

(6) The state of Heaven or Rapture (ten).  The “True Object of Worship” (“Kanjin no Honzon Sho”) states, “Joy is the world of Rapture.”  This state indicates the sense of pleasure which one experiences when his desire is fulfilled.  However, the joy in the state of Heaven is temporary, and disappears with the passage of time or with even a slight change in circumstances.  The six states from Hell through Heaven are called the six paths (rokudo).  The majority of people spend most of their time transmigrating, or moving back and forth among the six paths.  In these states one is governed totally by his reactions to external influences and is therefore extremely vulnerable to changing circumstances.

Those states in which one transcends the uncertainty of the six paths are called the four noble worlds.

(7) The state of Learning (shomon), a condition in which one awakens to the impermanence of all things and the instability of the six paths, and seeks some lasting truth and aims at self-reformation through the teachings of others.  Men of Learning (Skt shravaka) originally meant those who listen to the Buddha preach the four noble truths and practice the eightfold path in order to acquire emancipation from earthly desires.

(8) The state of Realization (engaku) is a condition in which one perceives the impermanence of all phenomena and strives to free one’s self from the sufferings of the six paths, by seeking some lasting truth through one’s own observations and effort.  Men of Realizatoin (Skt. pratyekabuddha) originally meant those who attain a form of emancipation by perceiving the twelve-linked chain of causation or by observing natural phenomena.  Learning and Realization are called the two vehicles (Jap nijo).  The defect of the two vehicles lies in the fact the persons in these states seek only their own salvation.

(9) The state of Bodhisattva (bosatsu).  In this state, one not only aspires for enlightenment himself but also devotes one’s self to compassionate actions.  The characteristic of Bodhisattva lies in this dedication to altruism.  The “Causality within the Ten States of Life” (“Jippokai Myoinga Sho”) states, “Those in the state of Bodhisattva dwell among the common mortals of the six paths and humble themselves while respecting others.  They draw evil to themselves and give benefit to others.”

(10) The state of Buddhahood (butsu).  This is a condition of perfect and absolute freedom, in which one enjoys boundless wisdom and compassion, and is filled with the courage and power to surmount all hardships.  A Buddha understands all phenomena and realizes the Middle Way.  The ten honorable titles of the Buddha represent the great power, wisdom and virtue of the Buddha.

Theoretical teaching (shakumon): The term shakumon means the teaching taught by the Buddha from the viewpoint of his transient identity. This refers to the first fourteen chapters of the Lotus Sutra, in which, as in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings, Shakyamuni’s disciples still think Shakyamuni Buddha first attained Buddhahood in his lifetime in India.

Three Great Secret Laws: The principles that constitute the core and foundation of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. They are the Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching, the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, and the Daimoku of the Essential Teaching.

The True Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching is the Dai-Gohonzon, inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin on October 12, 1279. Within the Dai-Gohonzon are the person and the Law. The person is the eternally enlightened life of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. The Law is Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō to which the Daishonin is eternally enlightened.

The High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching is the place where the Dai-Gohonzon will be enshrined at the time of kōsen-rufu so that all the people in the world can eradicate their negative karma and attain enlightenment. At the present time it is enshrined in the Hoando Enshrinement Hall at the Nichiren Shoshu Head Temple, Taisekiji. In a general sense, it also signifies the place where the Gohonzon is enshrined in local temples and believers’ homes.

The Daimoku of the Essential Teaching is Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō. Nichiren Daishonin established the Daimoku by chanting Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō for the first time on April 28, 1253. The Daimoku of the Essential Teaching carries the significance of both faith and practice.

Three periods of propagation: The three time periods following the passing of Shakyamuni. The first 1000 year period after Shakyamuni’s passing is called the Former Day of the Law (shobo). The second 1000 year period is called the Middle Day of the Law (zobo). The final period, starting thereafter, is called the Latter Day of the Law (mappo). Shakyamuni taught that the Latter Day of the Law would last 10,000 years and more, into the future. He taught that at this time, because the people would have no connection to Shakyamuni, they could no longer gain any benefit from his teachings. The True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin, appeared at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law and established the Buddhism of the Three Great Secret Laws so that all people could attain enlightenment now and on into the future.

Three Thousand Dust-particle kalpas (sanzen-jindengo): This is a simile used in the Phantom City (Kejoyu; seventh) chapter of the Lotus Sutra to describe the length of time that has passed since the passing of Daitsu-chisho Buddha.

The number “three thousand” refers to the size of a great world system. One great world system consists of one thousand medium world systems; a medium world system in turn consists of one thousand small world systems; and a small world system in turn consists of one thousand worlds. In other words, the “three thousand” refers to this triple multiplication by one thousand. In this simile, all the worlds in a great world system are ground up into ink powder. After traveling 1,000 lands to the east, one grain of powder is dropped. Then after traveling 1,000 lands to the east another grain is dropped, and so forth until all the grains are dropped. Then all the lands that have been traversed, whether a grain was dropped on it or not, are ground up into dust. If each particle of dust represents one kalpa (an immeasurably long time, or aeon), this represents the period of time known as “three thousand dust particle kalpas.”

According to the Phantom City chapter, the length of time since the passing of Daitsu Buddha exceeds even this length of time.

Three treasures: The three treasures are what all Buddhists revere as the most precious treasures in the universe. They are (1) the Buddha, (2) the Law, and (3) the priesthood. The Buddha is one who is enlightened to the eternal truth of life and the universe and possesses the three virtues of sovereign, teacher, and parent. The Law is the teaching that the Buddha teaches through his own enlightenment. The priesthood signifies the disciples of the Buddha who inherit, protect, and transmit the teachings to future generations. In Nichiren Shoshu the Buddha is Nichiren Daishonin, the eternal True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. The Law is the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, and the priesthood is Nikko Shonin, the Second High Priest, who directly received the transmission of true Buddhism, and all of the successive High Priests of Nichiren Shoshu who have received this face-to-face transmission in an unbroken succession for over 750 years.

Thus Come One: (Sanskrit: Tathagata, Japanese: Nyorai) One of the ten honorable titles of the Buddha.

tozan: The pilgrimage to Nichiren Shoshu Head Temple, Taisekiji, to have an audience with the Dai-Gohonzon. Literally translates as “to climb the mountain.”

Transmission of the Heritage (kechimyaku sojo): Also called “transmission from master to disciple.” The secret transmission from the Great Master to only one disciple.

True Buddhism: The Buddhism of Nichiren Shoshu, the one and only true denomination of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.

True entity of all phenomena (shoho jisso): This has also been translated as “ultimate entity of all phenomena,” “reality of all existence,” “reality of all things,” “all phenomena are themselves the ultimate reality,” and so on. The true, ultimate entity of all existence. All existence as phenomena is a manifestation of the ultimate truth; all existences are in and of themselves an aspect of the ultimate truth.

ushitora gongyo: The Gongyo conducted by the successive High Priests of Nichiren Shoshu for the sake of attaining kōsen-rufu. It is conducted around 2:30 AM each morning in the Reception Hall, and has been a tradition of Taisekiji since its founding.

Votary of the Lotus Sutra: A person who practices Buddhism according to what is taught in the Lotus Sutra. A person who propagates the Lotus Sutra. Today, in the Latter Day of the Law (mappo), in a general sense this means all people who accept faith in and practice the Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō of the Three Great Secret Laws (the Lotus Sutra for the age of mappo). In the specific sense, this means Nichiren Daishonin, as he indicated in “The Selection of Time”: “I, Nichiren, am the foremost Votary of the Lotus Sutra for the entire world.” (MW-3, p. 111)

Yohaijo: The place in the Reception Hall from which the High Priest offers his prayers to the Dai Gohonzon for kōsen-rufu during Ushitora Gongyo. It is located to the left of the main altar of the Reception Hall and has the complete offerings of candles, evergreens, and incense.

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