Point One, concerning the supernatural powers (jinriki) of the Thus Come One Myoho-renge-kyo
Words and Phrases, volume ten, says, “[The Thus Come One has already been explained.] The word jin, or ‘supernatural,’ means that which is unfathomable; the word riki, or ‘powers,’ refers to vital or essential activity. That which is unfathomable is the profoundness of the eternal or inherent entity, while vital activity is the magnitude of the power that causes the changes in the phenomenal world. In this chapter, because the profound doctrines of the Buddha are entrusted to others, he displays his ten types of great powers beforehand. That is why the chapter is entitled ‘Supernatural Powers.’”
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: This 167Myoho-renge-kyo is not the Wonderful Law of Shakyamuni Buddha, because when the action of this chapter takes place, the essence of the sutra has already been transmitted or entrusted to the bodhisattva Superior Practices. Generally speaking, regarding this entrustment of Myoho-renge-kyo to the bodhisattva, the ceremony for entrustment begins in the “Treasure Tower” chapter (chapter eleven), the entity to be entrusted becomes apparent in the “Life Span” chapter (chapter sixteen), and the ceremony comes to an end in the “Supernatural Powers” and “Entrustment” chapters (chapters twenty-one and twenty-two).
The Thus Come One is the Thus Come One of the “Life Span” chapter, and the supernatural powers are the ten supernatural powers possessed by a Buddha. Essentially, the five characters that make up Myoho-renge-kyo are the “supernatural” (jin) entity that is unfathomable and the “powers” (riki) that cause the changes. These supernatural powers are the same as those referred to in the passage in the “Life Span” chapter that speaks of “the Thus Come One’s secret and his transcendental powers.” They are the daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, that Nichiren and his followers are now chanting.
These ten supernatural powers apply both to the time when the Buddha is in the world and after his extinction. But in a deeper sense you should understand that all ten powers are in fact limited to the time after his extinction.
Again we may say that this chapter deals with the powers (riki) of the Thus Come One Myoho-renge-kyo and the deities (jin). The Thus Come One refers to all living beings, as has already been explained in the section on the “Life Span” chapter. Hence [T’ien-t’ai in his] commentary says that he has already explained the meaning of the term “Thus Come One.” The deities are the seven shrines of the Mountain King of Mount Hiei. You should reflect carefully on what this means.
Point Two, concerning the long broad tongue of the Buddha in the passage “He extended his long broad tongue upward till it reached the Brahma heaven.”
168The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “broad” refers to the theoretical teaching, and the word “long” refers to the essential teaching. The word “tongue” refers to the Middle Way or the Dharma nature.
Because the Wonderful Law brings [enduring] benefits to all [living beings] of the Ten Worlds, it is characterized as spatially “broad” and temporally “long.”
Again, “broad” may be taken to refer to the Wonderful Law as it has existed since major world system dust particle kalpas ago, while “long” may be taken to refer to the Wonderful Law as it has existed since numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago.
All these ways of looking at the matter refer alike to the Buddha’s long broad tongue.
Point Three, regarding the passage “And from all his pores he emitted immeasurable, countless beams of light that illuminated all the worlds in the ten directions. The other Buddhas, seated on lion seats underneath the numerous jeweled trees, did likewise.”
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “ten directions” refer to the Ten Worlds. The passage makes clear that plants and trees too are able to attain Buddhahood.
The word shishi, or “lion,” is made up of two elements, the first shi, which can be taken to mean a teacher, and the second shi, which can be taken to mean a disciple. These lion seats represent the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light. That is, [the lands of] the Ten Worlds in their original states are none other than land of Eternally Tranquil Light.
Point Four, on the words “When Shakyamuni Buddha and the other Buddhas beneath the jeweled trees thus displayed their supernatural powers, they did so for fully a hundred thousand years.”
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word 169“fully” or “to fill” refers to the Dharma-realm. “Hundred” means the hundred worlds, and “thousand” means the thousand factors. The passage is stating that “fully a hundred thousand years” means the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
One instant, one moment of life, too, lasts for fully a hundred thousand years, and in this way the ten types of supernatural powers become manifest. The ten types of supernatural powers are the supernatural powers of the Ten Worlds. The supernatural powers of each one of the Ten Worlds originate from the single Law Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Point Five, regarding the passage that describes how the earth in all these worlds quaked and trembled in six different ways, and the living beings in their midst all saw in this sahā world the innumerable Buddhas who were seated on lion seats under the numerous jeweled trees
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “earth” represents the realm of the environment. The living beings there represent the realm of living beings. And the numerous jeweled trees that the Buddhas are seated under represent the realm of the five components. The passage illustrates the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
Point Six, regarding the passage “Beyond these immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of asamkhya worlds there is a land named sahā, and in it a Buddha named Shakyamuni.”
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The bodhisattvas of the essential teaching employing the power of great forbearance to proclaim and propagate Myoho-renge-kyo is known as sahā. Forbearance is the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light. This mind of forbearance is called Shakyamuni Buddha. Sahā means a world in which one must exercise forbearance and learn to endure.
170Point Seven, regarding the passage “As the light of the sun and moon / can banish all obscurity and gloom, / so this person as he passes through the world / can wipe out the darkness of living beings.”
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “This person” refers to Bodhisattva Superior Practices, “the world” refers to the great country of Japan. “The darkness of living beings” refers to the grave malady of slandering the Law. That which “can wipe out” this malady is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Now Nichiren and his followers are the ones referred to here.
Point Eight, regarding the passage “So this person as he passes through the world / can wipe out the darkness of living beings, / causing immeasurable numbers of bodhisattvas / in the end to dwell in the single vehicle. / Therefore a person of wisdom, / hearing how keen are the benefits to be gained, / after I have passed into extinction / should accept and uphold this sutra. / Such a person assuredly and without doubt / will attain the Buddha way.”
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The expression “in the end” or “ultimately” refers to widely declaring and propagating the teachings. “To dwell in the single vehicle” means that one should dwell in the single Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. “Such a person” refers to an ordinary mortal who has reached the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth, the second of the six stages of practice. “The Buddha way” refers to the stage of ultimate enlightenment, the sixth and highest stage of practice.
The word “doubt” here indicates darkness, or ignorance, as fundamental doubt and perplexity. The passage makes clear that now, in the Latter Day of the Law, one should carry out only this single practice, that of accepting and upholding “this sutra,” in order to attain Buddhahood.