The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings (Ongi kuden) says: Namu or nam is a Sanskrit word. Here it means to dedicate one’s life, that is, to the Person and to the Law. In terms of the Person, one dedicates one’s life to Shakyamuni Buddha; in terms of the Law, one dedicates one’s life to the Lotus Sutra. “Dedication” means dedication to the principle of eternal and unchanging truth of the theoretical teaching, and “life” means that one’s life dedicated to that principle bases itself on the wisdom of the truth of the essential teaching that functions in accordance with changing circumstances. In essence, one dedicates one’s life to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
A commentary [by Dengyō] says, “That which accords with changing circumstances, that which is unchanging, these are tranquil and shining in a single moment of life.”
Again, “dedication” refers to the element of physical form as it pertains to us, while “life” refers to the element of mind as it pertains to us. But the ultimate teaching tells us that form and mind are not two things. As a commentary [The Annotations on “The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra,” volume one] says, “Because [the Lotus Sutra] leads us to the ultimate truth, it is called the Buddha vehicle.”
We may also note that the nam[u] of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a Sanskrit word, while myōhō, renge, and kyō are Chinese words.1 4Sanskrit and Chinese join in a single moment to form Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. If we express the title in Sanskrit, it will be Saddharma-pundarīka-sūtram. This is Myoho-renge-kyo in Sanskrit. Sad (the phonetic change of sat) means myō, or wonderful. Dharma means hō, Law or phenomena. Pundarīka means renge, or lotus blossom. Sūtram means kyō, or sutra. The nine characters [that represent the Sanskrit title] are the Buddha bodies of the nine honored ones. This expresses the idea that the nine worlds are inseparable from the Buddha world.
Myō stands for the Dharma nature or enlightenment, while hō represents darkness or ignorance. Together myōhō expresses the idea that ignorance and the Dharma nature are a single entity. Renge stands for the two elements of cause and effect. Cause and effect are also a single entity.
Kyō represents the words and voices of all living beings. A commentary [On “The Profound Meaning,” volume one] says, “The voice carries out the work of the Buddha, and this is called kyō, or sutra.” Kyō may also be defined as that which is constant and unchanging in the three existences of past, present, and future. The Dharma-realm is myōhō, the Wonderful Law; the Dharma-realm is renge, the lotus blossom; the Dharma-realm is kyō, the sutra.
Renge, the lotus blossom, is the Buddha bodies of the nine honored ones seated on the eight-petaled lotus. Think all this over very carefully.
The Record says:
In the “Introduction” chapter, seven important points
In the “Expedient Means” chapter, eight important points
In the “Simile and Parable” chapter, nine important points
In the “Belief and Understanding” chapter, six important points
In “The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs” chapter, five important points
In the “Bestowal of Prophecy” chapter, four important points
5In “The Parable of the Phantom City” chapter, seven important points
In the “Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples” chapter, three important points
In the “Prophecies Conferred on Learners and Adepts” chapter, two important points
In “The Teacher of the Law” chapter, sixteen important points
In “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower” chapter, twenty important points
In the “Devadatta” chapter, eight important points
In the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter, thirteen important points
In the “Peaceful Practices” chapter, five important points
In the “Emerging from the Earth” chapter, one important point
In “The Life Span of the Thus Come One” chapter, twenty-seven important points
In the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter, three important points
In “The Benefits of Responding with Joy” chapter, two important points
In the “Benefits of the Teacher of the Law” chapter, four important points
In “The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging” chapter, thirty important points
In the “Supernatural Powers of the Thus Come One” chapter, eight important points
In the “Entrustment” chapter, three important points
In the “Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King” chapter, six important points
In “The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound” chapter, three important points
In “The Universal Gateway of the Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds” chapter, five important points
In the “Dhāranī” chapter, six important points
In the “Former Affairs of King Wonderful Adornment” chapter, three important points
In the “Encouragements of the Bodhisattva Universal Worthy” chapter, six important points
6In the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, six important points
In the Universal Worthy Sutra, five important points
This comes to a total of 231 items. In addition, there is the separate transmission. All these have been recorded in full.