Buddha of beginningless time ［久遠元初の自受用身］ ( kuonganjo-no-jijuyūshin): Also, eternal Buddha, original Buddha, or true Buddha. The Buddha who has been eternally endowed with the three bodies—the Dharma body, the reward body, and the manifested body, thereby embodying the eternal Law or the ultimate truth of life and the universe. This term appears in Nichiren’s (1222–1282) writing given to his successor Nikkō. Titled On the Mystic Principle of the True Cause, it refers to “the Mystic Law, uncreated and eternal, of the Buddha of beginningless time,” and states that the Mystic Law lies in the depths of the “Life Span” (sixteenth) chapter of the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra. Nichikan (1665–1726), the twenty-sixth chief priest of Taiseki-ji temple, identified Nichiren as that Buddha, based on the fact that Nichiren was the first to spread the Mystic Law. According to Nichiren, the Japanese term jijuyūshin literally means the “body that is freely received and used.” The Buddha of beginningless time is also called the Buddha of limitless joy—indicating the Buddha who freely derives boundless joy from the Law while enjoying absolute freedom, and who directly expounds the Law that he realized within his own life. In the “Life Span” chapter, Shakyamuni revealed his attainment of Buddhahood numberless major world system dust particle kalpas in the past. No matter how far in the past, however, it occurred at a fixed point in time and therefore is not eternal. Moreover, he did not clarify the Law or cause that enabled him to attain enlightenment at that time.
In contrast, the Buddha of beginningless time is eternal and also represents eternal life endowed with both the nine worlds and Buddhahood. In The Opening of the Eyes, Nichiren states: “This is the doctrine of original cause and original effect. It reveals that the nine worlds are all present in beginningless Buddhahood and that Buddhahood is inherent in the beginningless nine worlds. This is the true mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, the true hundred worlds and thousand factors, the true three thousand realms in a single moment of life” (235). Here “original cause” refers to the “beginningless nine worlds,” and “original effect” to “beginningless Buddhahood.” What Nichiren defined as “the true three thousand realms in a single moment of life” is the original state of life. To manifest this state of life is the attainment of Buddhahood for all people. Nichiren established the practice that enables everyone to achieve this by inscribing the Gohonzon, or the object of devotion that embodies this original state of life, and prescribing the invocation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. See also Buddha of limitless joy; true Buddha.