Paekche One of three ancient kingdoms on the Korean Peninsula. In the fourth century, Paekche allied itself with Japan to obtain military support against the neighboring kingdoms of Silla and Koguryŏ. As Paekche was in close contact with Liang-dynasty China, it played an important role in the introduction of Chinese culture to Japan.
Painfully Acquired A follower of the non-Buddhist teacher Nirgrantha Jnātaputra (Nigantha Nātaputta in Pali), founder of Jainism, who sought liberation through rigorous asceticism.
Pao Ssu The royal consort of King Yu (r. 782–771 b.c.e.) of China’s Chou dynasty, the last ruler of the Western Chou period. Pao Ssu is said to have eventually led him astray into misrule. King Yu acquired her as his concubine, fell deeply in love with her, and went to great lengths to please her. Eventually, he demoted his wife along with her son who was crown prince, made Pao-Ssu his royal consort, and installed her son by him as crown prince. This so enraged the marquis of Shen, the father of the king’s former wife, that with the support of various non-Chinese peoples he rose up in revolt and attacked the Chou capital. Eventually, King Yu died in battle, and Pao Ssu was taken prisoner. King P’ing, a son of King Yu, became the new Chou ruler, and the capital was moved east to the city of Lo-yang. This began the period known as the Eastern Chou.
Pāpīyas A Sanskrit name for the devil king.
parable of the wealthy man and his impoverished son One of the seven parables in the Lotus Sutra. It appears in the “Belief and Understanding” (fourth) chapter. The four great voice-hearers—Subhūti, Kātyāyana, Maudgalyāyana, and Mahākāshyapa—relate this parable to show that they have understood the teaching of replacing the three vehicles with the one vehicle. It tells of a wealthy man’s son who runs away from his father in childhood. For some fifty years he wanders in poverty. One day he chances upon his father’s mansion. The rich old man, overjoyed to see his son again, wants to bequeath to him all his possessions. The son, however, does not recognize the father and runs off. A messenger sent by the father fails to convince the frightened son to return, and so the father sends two servants dressed in dirty clothes to offer the son a job clearing away excrement. The impoverished son accepts this employment on the estate, still unaware the owner is his father. As time passes, the father approaches his son, disguising himself in filthy clothes. He tells him that he can always work there, and that he will treat him like his own son. For twenty years the son works at clearing away excrement and gradually gains self-confidence. The rich man promotes him, charging him with the administration of his property, and the son gradually comes to understand all the rich man’s affairs. Eventually the rich man senses death approaching. He declares that his employee is actually his son, and then transfers to him the whole of his estate. The rich man in this parable represents the Buddha, whose sole desire is to let all people enjoy the same sublime state as his own, just as the rich man wishes to bequeath all his wealth to his son. The impoverished son represents ordinary people, who “wander about” transmigrating in the threefold world without encountering the one Buddha vehicle. To lead them to enlightenment, the Buddha first employs expedient means and preaches what is appropriate to their capacities, just as the rich man gradually trains his son. Thus the Buddha leads them to higher teachings and ultimately reveals the one Buddha vehicle of the Lotus Sutra.
Paramārtha (499–569) A translator of Buddhist scriptures and the founder of the Summary of the Mahayana school in China. Originally from western India, he was welcomed by Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty and traveled to various parts of China to teach Buddhism. His Chinese translations of Buddhist scriptures are said to have amounted to either 64 texts in 278 volumes or 49 texts in 142 volumes. They include The Summary of the Mahayana, The Treatise on the Buddha Nature, and The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana. Paramārtha is counted as one of the four great translators of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese, the others being Kumārajīva, Hsüan-tsang, and Pu-k’ung.
pāramitā (Skt) Practice, that Mahayana bodhisattvas must undertake in order to attain enlightenment. Generally, pāramitā is interpreted as “perfection” or “having reached the opposite shore.” These practices were called so because, by perfecting them, one was said to be able to cross from the shore of delusion and suffering to the shore of enlightenment. They are usually divided into six or ten.
Pārshva (n.d.) The tenth of Shakyamuni’s twenty-four successors. He received the precepts under the guidance of Buddhamitra, the ninth successor. Under the patronage of King Kanishka, together with Vasumitra he summoned some five hundred monks and held the Fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir to compile the Buddhist scriptures.
Perceiver of the World’s Sounds A bodhisattva described in various sutras who strives to save people out of profound compassion. The bodhisattva assumes different forms and appears anywhere in the world in order to save people from danger or suffering and is the protagonist of the “Perceiver of the World’s Sounds” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, which describes thirty-three such forms.
Perfect Bliss The name of the land of Amida Buddha, said to be located in a western region of the universe. It is also called the Pure Land, the Land of Perfect Bliss, the Pure Land of Perfect Bliss, and the Western Paradise. Sukhāvatī, the Sanskrit name of this land, was translated in China as Perfect Bliss, Peace and Delight, or Peace and Sustenance.
perfect meditation One of the three types of learning based on the teaching for perfect and immediate enlightenment, or the Lotus Sutra, along with perfect wisdom and perfect precepts. According to T’ien-t’ai, perfect meditation means meditation on the true nature of life or the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life that derives from the Lotus Sutra.
perfect teaching The last of the four teachings of doctrine. The perfect teaching is divided into two categories: that expounded in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings and that taught in the Lotus Sutra. The term “perfect teaching” is often used synonymously with the Lotus Sutra.
perfect wisdom The wisdom that dispels illusions and enables one to realize the truth of the Lotus Sutra. Perfect wisdom is also one of the three types of learning based on the Lotus Sutra, along with perfect precepts and perfect meditation.
phoenix Chinese phoenix. A reference to a mythical bird in China whose rare appearance was said to presage some great event or attest to the worthiness of a ruler. It was said to be a magnificent five-colored bird with a song of extraordinary beauty and profound meaning.
Pi Kan An uncle of Chou, the last ruler of the Yin (Shang) dynasty in China. He is regarded as a model minister who attempted to correct his lord’s faults even at the risk of his own life. When Chou became increasingly decadent and disorderly, Pi Kan remonstrated with him. Responding that he had heard that a sage’s heart had seven apertures, Chou then cut out Pi Kan’s heart.
poison-drum relationship Another term for the reverse relationship, that is, a bond formed with the Lotus Sutra by opposing or slandering it. The expression “poison drum” comes from the Nirvana Sutra, which gives the analogy of a drum daubed with poison. When the poison drum is beaten, says the sutra, all who hears it will die, even those not of a mind to listen. Similarly, when the Lotus Sutra is preached, both those who embrace it and those who oppose it will equally receive the seeds of Buddhahood.
Possessor of Virtue The name of Shakyamuni in a previous lifetime, when he was a king in Kushinagara. According to the Nirvana Sutra, at a time long after the death of the Buddha Joy Increasing, when that Buddha’s teaching was destined to perish in forty years, there were many evil monks who violated the Buddhist precepts. These monks armed themselves to attack the monk Realization of Virtue, who embraced the Buddha’s teaching. King Possessor of Virtue rushed to his protection, enabling Realization of Virtue to escape unharmed, but the king received wounds all over his body and died. As a result of giving his life for the Law, he was born in the land of Akshobhya Buddha and became that Buddha’s chief disciple, while Realization of Virtue became Akshobhya’s second disciple. Later King Possessor of Virtue was reborn as Shakyamuni Buddha, and Realization of Virtue, as Kāshyapa Buddha.
Potalaka A mountain regarded as the home of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds and said to be located on the southern coast of India.
prajnā-pāramitā teachings The teachings of the perfection of wisdom. Prajnā-pāramitā is one of the six pāramitās. Prajnā means wisdom that penetrates the essential nature of all things, and pāramitā means perfection.
Prasenajit The king of Kosala and a follower of Shakyamuni Buddha. Under his rule Kosala rose to prominence as one of the two most powerful kingdoms in India, together with Magadha.
pratyekabuddha (Skt) Also, cause-awakened ones or self-awakened ones. Those who perceive the twelve-linked chain of causation, or the truth of causal relationship. Pratyekabuddha also means one who lives in an age without any Buddha and awakens to the truth of impermanence through personal effort and by observing natural phenomena.
precepts of perfect and immediate enlightenment Also, perfect precepts. One of the three types of learning based on the teaching for perfect and immediate enlightenment, or the Lotus Sutra. Dengyō adopted Mahayana precepts for Buddhist practice—specifically the ten major precepts and forty-eight minor precepts as set forth in the Brahmā Net Sutra—basing them on the Lotus Sutra. He thus laid the foundation for the establishment of an ordination platform for administering the precepts of perfect and immediate enlightenment.
Precepts school A reference to the Chinese Lü school and the Japanese Ritsu school. Ritsu is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word lü. A school based on the rules of monastic discipline.
Precious Key to the Secret Treasury, The A condensed version by Kōbō of his Treatise on the Ten Stages of the Mind. In this work, which sets forth the essential doctrines of the esoteric True Word school, Kōbō recapitulates the ten stages of the mind and asserts the superiority of esoteric over exoteric teachings.
pre-Lotus sutras Those sutras expounded by Shakyamuni Buddha prior to the Lotus Sutra, according to T’ien-t’ai’s categorization of the Buddha’s teachings. Such sutras are identified as provisional teachings, expedient means intended by the Buddha to lead people to and prepare them for his ultimate teaching, revealed in the Lotus Sutra.
pre-Lotus Sutra teachings The teachings Shakyamuni expounded before the Lotus Sutra. According to T’ien-t’ai’s classification of the Buddha’s teachings into five periods, the teachings of the Flower Garland, Āgama, Correct and Equal, and Wisdom periods constitute the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings, all of which he identified as provisional teachings.
Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra, The One of T’ien-t’ai’s three major works. It gives a detailed explanation of the meaning of the title of the Lotus Sutra.
Profound Secrets Sutra Also, the Revelation of the Profound Secrets Sutra. A sutra that deals with such topics as the characteristics of the dharmas and ālaya-consciousness. It is the basic text of the Dharma Characteristics school.
Protection Sutra A sutra that expounds a dhāranī, or a mysterious spell, for protecting the sovereign, and the benefit coming from this dhāranī. This sutra was valued by esoteric schools in Japan.
provisional Buddha (1) A Buddha who does not reveal his true identity but assumes a transient role or aspect in order to save the people. The term is used in contrast to the true Buddha who has revealed his true identity. (2) A Buddha of the provisional teachings such as Amida and Mahāvairochana.
provisional Mahayana Mahayana teachings expounded as a means to lead people to the true Mahayana teaching, or the Lotus Sutra. Provisional Mahayana teachings reveal only partial aspects of the truth to which the Buddha was awakened.
provisional teachings All the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings expounded during the first forty-two years following Shakyamuni’s enlightenment. T’ien-t’ai divided Shakyamuni’s teachings into two categories: provisional and true. The provisional teachings, which include Hinayana and provisional Mahayana, were set forth according to the people’s capacity, as a means to lead them to the true teaching of the Lotus Sutra.
P’u-kuang (n.d.) A priest of seventh-century China, a translator of Buddhist scriptures, and major disciple of Hsüan-tsang. During the period from 645 through 664, he assisted Hsüan-tsang in his translation of Buddhist texts into Chinese. When Hsüan-tsang translated The Dharma Analysis Treasury, P’u-kuang wrote the thirty-volume Commentary on “The Dharma Analysis Treasury,” considered one of the three major commentaries on this treatise. Fa-pao and Shen-t’ai, also Hsüan-tsang’s major disciples, produced the other two. With Fa-pao and others, P’u-kuang promoted the study of the Sarvāstivāda doctrine and helped establish the Dharma Analysis Treasury school in China.
Pu-k’ung (705–774) (Skt Amoghavajra) The sixth patriarch of the esoteric Buddhist teachings. When young, he journeyed from India to China. He won the patronage of Hsüan-tsung and other T’ang emperors, and is said to have conducted the esoteric rituals for the protection of the nation. He translated many esoteric scriptures.
Punyayashas (n.d.) The eleventh of Shakyamuni’s twenty-four successors. A native of Pātaliputra in Magadha, he was entrusted with the teachings by Pārshva and transferred them to Ashvaghosha.
pure and far-reaching voice Also, the brahma sound. The voice of a Buddha. One of his thirty-two features. The voice of a Buddha is pure and reaches all the worlds in the ten directions. It delights those who hear it; it deeply touches people’s hearts and inspires reverence.
Pure Eye One of the two sons of the king Wonderful Adornment who appear in the “King Wonderful Adornment” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. At the request of his mother, Pure Virtue, he joined with his brother, Pure Storehouse, and converted their father to Buddhism.
pure land A land that is blissful and free from impurity. A Buddha’s land. The term is used in contrast to “impure land,” meaning this sahā world, which is defiled by suffering and desire. Buddhism sets forth two views concerning the relationship of the sahā world and the pure land. The first is that the pure land is another realm entirely, physically removed from the sahā world. One of the examples of this view is Amida Buddha’s Pure Land of Perfect Bliss in the west. The second view as represented in the Lotus and Vimalakīrti sutras is that there can be no pure land apart from the sahā world. The difference lies in the state of life of the people living there. When people purify their hearts, the world they live in becomes a pure land. The term “Pure Land” in capitals indicates Amida’s land.
Pure Land school A school that teaches the attainment of rebirth in the pure land of Amida Buddha by means of the chanting of Amida’s name. Hōnen is the founder of the Japanese Pure Land school. In Japan, the Pure Land school is also called the Nembutsu school. “Nembutsu” refers to the invocation of Amida’s name—the words “Namu-Amida-butsu”—chanted by this school.
Pure Land teachings The teachings that define this world as a defiled world and assert that by relying on the power of Amida Buddha, one can attain rebirth in his land, or the Pure Land of Perfect Bliss.
Pure Practices One of the four leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth who appear in the “Emerging from the Earth” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
Pure Storehouse One of the two sons of the king Wonderful Adornment described in the “King Wonderful Adornment” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. In cooperation with his brother, Pure Eye, he persuaded the king, a follower of Brahmanism, to take faith in Buddhism.
Pure Virtue The wife of the king Wonderful Adornment, who appears in the “King Wonderful Adornment” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. She exhorted her two sons, Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye, to convince the king, a follower of Brahmanism, of the correctness of Buddhism.
Pūrna One of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples. He was noted as the foremost in preaching the Law. Born to a rich Brahman family, he practiced austerities in the mountains and achieved a kind of enlightenment. Thereafter, when he heard that Shakyamuni had attained Buddhahood, he became the Buddha’s disciple.
Pushyamitra (n.d.) A king in India around the second century b.c.e. who became an enemy of Buddhism. A descendant of Ashoka, he originally served as chief military commander under Brihadratha, the last king of the Maurya dynasty, but he murdered Brihadratha and founded the Shunga dynasty, ruling northern India from his capital at Pātaliputra. He is said to have opposed Buddhism, killed many monks, and destroyed Kukkutārāma Monastery, a major center of Buddhism built by Ashoka.