Sacred Way teachings The teachings that assert that attaining enlightenment depends upon one’s own power. The term Sacred Way teachings is used in contrast to the Pure Land teachings, which profess that enlightenment depends upon the power of Amida Buddha. The classification of the Buddhist sutras into the two categories of Pure Land teachings and Sacred Way teachings was formulated by Tao-ch’o of the T’ang dynasty in China.
Sadatō (1019–1062) Abe no Sadatō, the head of a powerful family in northeastern Japan. He sought independence from imperial rule but was defeated and killed in a battle with the imperial forces.
Sagami, the lord of Governor of Sagami Province, where Kamakura, the seat of the Kamakura government, was located. This post was held by the regent of the Kamakura government or an official subordinate to the regent. In the text, the lord of Sagami refers to Hōjō Tokimune (1251–1284), the eighth regent of the Kamakura government.
sahā world This world, which is full of sufferings. In the Chinese version of Buddhist scriptures, the Sanskrit sahā is translated as “endurance.” The term “sahā world” suggests that the people who live in this world must endure sufferings. It is also identified as an impure land, in contrast to a pure land. The sahā world is the land where Shakyamuni Buddha makes his appearance and, enduring various hardships, instructs living beings. Some Buddhist scriptures, including the Lotus Sutra, hold that the sahā world can be transformed into the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light, or that the sahā world is in itself the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light.
Saichō See Dengyō.
Saimyō-ji, the lay priest of Hōjō Tokiyori (1227–1263), the fifth regent of the Kamakura government. He was called the lay priest of Saimyō-ji because he had been ordained at Saimyō-ji after formally retiring from office. But as the head of the Hōjō clan he remained the most influential leader.
samādhi (Skt) A state of intense concentration of mind, or meditation, said to produce a sense of inner serenity. The word samādhi is rendered as meditation, contemplation, and concentration.
Same Birth and Same Name Two gods that are said to dwell on one’s shoulders from the time of one’s birth and to report one’s actions to heaven. They symbolize the workings of the law of cause and effect in life expounded by Buddhism. Same Birth means “born at the same time,” and Same Name, “bearing the same name.”
Sammi-bō (n.d.) One of Nichiren Daishonin’s earliest disciples. He was highly esteemed among the Daishonin’s followers for his great learning and debating skill. His victory over Ryūzō-bō in the Kuwagayatsu Debate is an example of his skill in discussion. However, he tended to be arrogant about his knowledge and to seek worldly status. During the Atsuhara Persecution, he discarded his faith and is said to have died a tragic death.
San-chieh (540–594) Also known as Hsin-hsing. A priest of the Sui dynasty who founded the Three Stages school (Chin San-chieh-chiao). He asserted that, during the third stage in the propagation of Buddhism, or the Latter Day of the Law (that he held had begun in 550), people should not adhere to any particular sutra but revere all teachings without discrimination. This school spread widely, but was proscribed in 600 by imperial decree because its doctrine contradicted those of the earlier schools and ran counter to government policy. It was again suppressed in 725 by imperial decree during the T’ang dynasty. This dealt the school a fatal bow, resulting in its rapid decline.
sandalwood The heartwood of an aromatic tree found in India. The tree grows to be ten meters in height, and its fragrant heartwood is used for making incense. Also, the tree that yields this wood.
Sāramati (n.d.) A Mahayana scholar in India who lived during the period from the fourth century through the fifth century c.e. He wrote The Treatise on the Treasure Vehicle of Buddhahood. Tibetan tradition attributes this work to Maitreya.
Sattva Also, Mahāsattva. The name of Shakyamuni in a previous existence when he was the third son of King Mahāratha. According to the Golden Light Sutra, Prince Sattva came upon a tigress that was too weak with hunger to feed her cubs and, in pity, gave his body to save them.
sea of the sufferings of birth and death Also, sea of suffering. The sufferings of transmigration in the six paths of existence, which are said to be as endless and difficult to overcome as the ocean is vast and difficult to cross.
Secret Solemnity Sutra A sutra that depicts the Pure Land of Secret Solemnity, a world of bodhisattvas who have overcome the illusions of the threefold world. The sutra teaches that all phenomena originate from the ālaya-consciousness, which is equated in this sutra with the matrix of the Thus Come One, or potential for Buddhahood. It also asserts that one must awaken to the ālaya-consciousness in order to be reborn in the Pure Land of Secret Solemnity.
Seichō-ji temple A temple located on Mount Kiyosumi in Awa Province (in present-day Chiba Prefecture), where Nichiren Daishonin studied Buddhism in his boyhood. On the twenty-eighth day of the fourth month in 1253, he declared the teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo at this temple.
Seng-chao (384–414) A priest of the Later Ch’in dynasty and one of Kumārajīva’s main disciples.
Sen’yo The name of Shakyamuni in a previous existence. According to the Nirvana Sutra, the king Sen’yo was the ruler of a great kingdom and a believer in the Mahayana sutras. When five hundred Brahmans slandered the Mahayana teachings, he had them put to death. Because of this act, he was never thereafter in danger of falling into hell. This story is not meant to condone killing of slanderers but rather to demonstrate the gravity of slander and the importance of protecting the Law. Sen’yo is the Japanese rendering of his name; his Sanskrit name is unknown.
separate transmission outside the sutras A doctrine of the Zen school that the Buddha’s enlightenment and his true teaching have been transmitted apart from the sutras. The Zen school asserts that the Buddha’s enlightenment has been wordlessly transmitted from mind to mind and thus handed down from one Zen patriarch to another. This tenet is also referred to by other expressions such as a “special transmission apart from the sutras” and a “separate transmission outside the scriptures.”
seven Buddhas of the past Shakyamuni and six Buddhas said to have preceded him. The six Buddhas are Vipashyin, Shikhin, Vishvabhū, Krakucchanda, Kanakamuni, and Kāshyapa. The first three appeared in the past Glorious Kalpa, while the other four including Shakyamuni appeared in the present Wise Kalpa.
seven disasters Disasters said to be caused by slander of the correct teaching. In the Benevolent Kings Sutra, they are listed as: (1) extraordinary changes of the sun and moon, (2) extraordinary changes of the stars and planets, (3) fires, (4) unseasonable floods, (5) storms, (6) drought, and (7) war, including enemy attacks from without and rebellion from within. The Medicine Master Sutra defines the seven disasters as: (1) pestilence, (2) foreign invasion, (3) internal strife, (4) extraordinary changes in the heavens, (5) solar and lunar eclipses, (6) unseasonable storms, and (7) unseasonable drought. Together with the three calamities, the seven disasters are often referred to as the “three calamities and seven disasters.”
seven expedient means Also, the seven expedients. A principle set forth by the T’ien-t’ai school. There are two different types. One is the seven vehicles, or teachings, preached prior to the perfect teaching of the Lotus Sutra. These are: teachings for (1) human beings, (2) heavenly beings, (3) voice-hearers, (4) cause-awakened ones, (5) bodhisattvas of the Tripitaka teaching, (6) bodhisattvas of the connecting teaching, and (7) bodhisattvas of the specific teaching. In this context, the seven expedient means also refer to the seven stages or levels attained by practitioners of these teachings. The other of the two types refers to the practitioners, who are: (1) voice-hearers and (2) cause-awakened ones of the Tripitaka teaching; (3) voice-hearers, (4) cause-awakened ones, and (5) bodhisattvas of the connecting teaching; (6) bodhisattvas of the specific teaching; and (7) bodhisattvas of the perfect teaching.
seven expedients See seven expedient means.
seven kinds of treasures Also, the seven treasures. Seven precious substances. The list differs among the Buddhist scriptures. In the Lotus Sutra, the seven are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, pearl, and carnelian.
seven major temples See seven major temples of Nara.
seven major temples of Nara Also, the seven great temples of Nara. Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Gangō-ji, Daian-ji, Yakushi-ji, Saidai-ji, and Hōryū-ji—the principal Buddhist temples in Nara, the capital of Japan during the Nara period (710–794).
seven marches See five provinces and seven marches.
seven parables Seven parables that are recounted in the Lotus Sutra. They are the parables of: (1) the three carts and the burning house, (2) the wealthy man and his poor son, (3) the three kinds of medicinal herbs and two kinds of trees, (4) the phantom city and the treasure land, (5) the gem in the robe, (6) the priceless gem in the topknot, and (7) the skilled physician and his sick children.
seven reigns of heavenly gods and the five reigns of earthly gods A reference to native deities said to have ruled Japan before the time of the legendary first human emperor Jimmu. “Deities” is often used in place of “gods.” The seven generations of heavenly gods are said to have ruled Japan first, followed by the five generations of earthly deities. The first of the earthly deities was the Sun Goddess, who was revered as the progenitor of the imperial line.
seven schools of the north and the three schools of the south See three schools of southern China and seven schools of northern China.
seven treasures See seven kinds of treasures.
Shakra Also known as Indra. Together with Brahmā, one of the two principal tutelary gods of Buddhism. He resides in the heaven of the thirty-three gods located on the summit of Mount Sumeru.
shakubuku (Jpn) A method of expounding Buddhism by refuting another’s attachment to erroneous teachings and thus leading that person to the correct teaching. Shakubuku also means to conquer the evil in one’s mind and bring forth the good. In the deepest sense, evil here means life’s fundamental darkness or ignorance, and good, the Buddha nature or the nature of enlightenment. This self-reformation becomes possible through faith in the correct teaching. The term shakubuku is used in contrast to shōju, which means to lead another gradually to the correct teaching in accord with that person’s capacity. These two kinds of practice are described in the Shrīmālā Sutra, Great Concentration and Insight, and other works.
Shakyamuni The founder of Buddhism. Opinions differ as to when he lived. Buddhist tradition in China and Japan has him living between the years 1029 b.c.e. and 949 b.c.e., while some Western studies have placed him nearly five hundred years later. Born as the son of the king of the Shākyas, a tribe whose kingdom was located in the foothills of the Himalayas, he renounced his princely status and set off in search of a resolution to the questions of birth, aging, sickness, and death. He studied influential philosophies and practiced various austerities, but realized that they would not lead to the awakening he sought. Near the city of Gayā, he is said to have sat under a bodhi tree, entered meditation, and attained enlightenment. In order to lead others to the same state of enlightenment, during the succeeding fifty years he expounded numerous teachings, which were later compiled in the form of Buddhist sutras.
Shan-tao (613–681) The third patriarch of the Pure Land school in China. Shan-tao classified Buddhist practices into the categories of correct and sundry. He defined the correct practices to be those directed toward Amida Buddha and regarded all other practices as sundry practices.
Shan-wu-wei (637–735) (Skt Shubhakarasimha) An Indian monk who first introduced the esoteric teachings to China. He also translated numerous esoteric sutras, including the Mahāvairochana Sutra. Shan-wu-wei is his Chinese name.
Shāriputra One of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples, known as the foremost in wisdom. Originally a follower of Sanjaya Belatthiputta, one of the six non-Buddhist teachers, he met with Ashvajit, a disciple of Shakyamuni, who taught him about the law of causation, and became Shakyamuni’s disciple.
Shibi The name of Shakyamuni in a past existence when he was a king carrying out the practice of almsgiving. According to The Garland of Birth Stories, the god Vishvakarman disguised himself as a dove and the god Shakra changed into a hawk in order to test King Shibi. The hawk pursued the dove, which flew into the king’s robes for protection. In order to save the dove, King Shibi offered his flesh to the hungry hawk.
Shiiji Shirō (n.d.) A follower of Nichiren Daishonin who lived in Suruga Province. He is the recipient of the Daishonin’s letter A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering.
Shīlāditya (r. 606–647) Also known as Harsha. A king in central India, who eventually reigned over all of India except the southern part. A believer in Buddhism, he built many temples and stupas and governed with the Buddhist spirit of compassion.
Shinjō (d. 742) (Kor Simsang). A native of Silla on the Korean Peninsula and the founder of the Japanese Flower Garland school. He journeyed from Silla to T’ang China, where he studied the Flower Garland doctrine under Fa-tsang. Later, he went to Japan where he propagated the Flower Garland teaching.
Shitennō-ji The oldest extant Japanese Buddhist temple, founded by Prince Shōtoku in 587. It is said that Shōtoku built it in gratitude for his victory together with Soga no Umako over Mononobe no Moriya, the leader of the anti-Buddhist faction at court, and that he enshrined statues of the four heavenly kings therein. It is located in the city of Osaka.
shō (Jpn) A unit of volume equivalent to about 1.8 liters.
Shōgaku-bō (1095–1143) Another name for Kakuban, a Japanese priest of the True Word school. In 1134, he became the chief priest of Kongōbu-ji temple on Mount Kōya, but his attempts at rapid reform won him the enmity of the priests of Mount Kōya. He and his followers were forced to flee to Mount Negoro, where he founded Emmyō-ji temple. His followers founded the New Doctrine (Jpn Shingi) school, a branch of the True Word school, in opposition to the traditional teachings of Mount Kōya and Tō-ji temple.
Shōhei era The period in Japan from 931 to 938.
Shōichi (1202–1280) Also known as Enni or Bennen. A priest of the Rinzai school of Zen in Japan. He studied Zen in China and, after returning to Japan, propagated its teachings at court and obtained the patronage of the nobility, becoming the first chief priest of Tōfuku-ji temple in Kyoto.
shōju (Jpn) A method of expounding Buddhism in which one gradually leads another to the correct teaching in accord with that person’s capacity. The term is used in contrast to shakubuku, or directly awakening people to the correct teaching by refuting their attachment to inferior teachings. The term shōju is also used to refer to the practice of seeking one’s personal enlightenment, in contrast to propagating the Buddhist teachings.
Shōka era The period in Japan from 1257 to 1259. In the first year of the Shōka era (1257), a great earthquake struck Kamakura, the seat of the government, and this disaster inspired Nichiren Daishonin to write On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, which he submitted in remonstration to the de facto leader of the government, Hōjō Tokiyori.
Shōmu (701–756) The forty-fifth emperor of Japan who had deep faith in the power of Buddhism to safeguard the nation. He established a temple and a nunnery in each province throughout the country. Moreover, he built Tōdai-ji temple in Nara as the center of all provincial temples and erected a great image of Vairochana Buddha there.
Shore of Suffering A monk said to have lived in the remote past after the passing of the Buddha Great Adornment. The followers of the Buddha Great Adornment had split into five schools, but only one, led by the monk Universal Practice, maintained the Buddha’s teachings correctly. The monk Shore of Suffering was the leader of one of the other four schools that denounced the monk Universal Practice.
Shōtoku (574–622) Prince Shōtoku. Also known as Prince Jōgū. The second son of Emperor Yōmei of Japan, Shōtoku was famous for his application of the spirit of Buddhism to government. As the regent under the reign of Empress Suiko, he carried out numerous reforms. He promulgated the Seventeen-Article Constitution in 604 and entered into diplomatic relations with the Sui dynasty in China, dispatching Ono no Imoko there as an envoy. He revered the Lotus, Shrīmālā, and Vimalakīrti sutras and is credited with having written commentaries on them.
shramana (Skt) A seeker of the way. In India the word originally referred to any ascetic, recluse, mendicant, or religious practitioner who left home and renounced secular life to seek the way. Later it came to mean chiefly one who renounces the world to practice Buddhism.
Shrāvastī The capital of the kingdom of Kosala in ancient India. Shrāvastī was one of the most prosperous cities in India during the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, along with Rājagriha in Magadha. Shakyamuni is said to have made Shrāvastī his center of activities and to have stayed there for twenty-five years, converting many local people, including King Prasenajit. Shrāvastī was properly the name of the capital, but it was also used as the name of the kingdom.
Shrīmālā Sutra A sutra that takes the form of preaching by Shrīmālā, the daughter of King Prasenajit of Kosala, with the help of Shakyamuni’s power. It expounds the one vehicle doctrine and makes clear that the Buddha nature is inherent in all sentient beings. Along with the Vimalakīrti Sutra, it is valued as a scripture for lay Buddhists.
Shubin (n.d.) A ninth-century priest of the True Word school in Japan. In 823 he was given Sai-ji (West Temple) by Emperor Saga, while Kōbō was given Tō-ji (East Temple). In 824, during a drought, Shubin competed with Kōbō in praying for rain. It is said that Shubin succeeded in making rain fall but that Kōbō failed.
Shu Ch’i See Po I and Shu Ch’i.
Shuddhodana A king of Kapilavastu in northern India and the father of Shakyamuni Buddha. He originally opposed his son’s desire to renounce the world, but when Shakyamuni returned to Kapilavastu after his awakening, Shuddhodana converted to his teaching.
Shūen (771–835) A priest of the Japanese Dharma Characteristics school. He lived at Kōfuku-ji temple and was famed as its most learned priest. He protested Dengyō’s request to construct a Mahayana ordination platform on Mount Hiei.
Shun One of the Five Emperors—legendary sage emperors in ancient China—who were highly respected by the people for their excellent rule.
Shun-hsiao (n.d.) A priest of esoteric Buddhism in T’ang China. He studied the esoteric teaching under I-hsing and Pu-k’ung. Shun-hsiao imparted the esoteric teaching to Dengyō when the latter went to China from Japan in 804.
Shūryasoma (n.d.) A prince of Yarkand in Central Asia and the teacher of Kumārajīva. Shūryasoma was well versed in the Mahayana sutras and bequeathed the Lotus Sutra to Kumārajīva.
Siddhārtha Another name for Shakyamuni, possibly his childhood or given name. Siddhārtha, or “Goal Achieved,” implies someone who has achieved a great goal. Some scholars believe that this is a title bestowed on him by later Buddhists in honor of the enlightenment he attained.
Silver-Colored Woman Sutra A sutra that expounds the benefits of the practice of almsgiving. According to this sutra, in a past existence Shakyamuni was a woman called Silver-Colored Woman. She carried out the practice of almsgiving, and as a result, she changed into a man and was chosen to be king. In the next life, he was born as the son of a wealthy man and offered his flesh to feed starving birds and beasts. He was then reborn to a Brahman family and again offered his body to a starving tiger. The sutra says that he never once regretted his acts of almsgiving.
single vehicle See one vehicle.
six auspicious happenings Occurrences that herald the preaching of the Lotus Sutra, depicted in the “Introduction” chapter of the sutra. They are: (1) the Buddha preaches the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, an introductory teaching to the Lotus Sutra; (2) he enters into profound meditation; (3) four kinds of exquisite flowers rain down from the heavens; (4) the earth trembles in six different ways; (5) seeing these portents, the people rejoice and, placing their palms together, single-mindedly behold the Buddha; and (6) the Buddha emits a beam of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows, illuminating eighteen thousand worlds to the east. The “Introduction” chapter goes on to describe six signs occurring in other worlds that differ from the above-mentioned six portents. The six auspicious happenings are also called the six portents and the six omens.
six difficult and nine easy acts Comparisons expounded in the “Treasure Tower” chapter of the Lotus Sutra to teach people how difficult it would be to embrace and propagate the sutra in the Latter Day of the Law. The six difficult acts are to propagate the Lotus Sutra widely, to copy it or cause someone else to copy it, to recite it even for a short while, to teach it even to one person, to hear of and accept the Lotus Sutra and inquire about its meaning, and to maintain faith in it. The nine easy acts include such feats as teaching innumerable sutras other than the Lotus Sutra, walking across a burning prairie carrying a bundle of hay on one’s back without being burned, and kicking a major world system into a different quarter.
six forms A doctrine of the Flower Garland school that, together with that of the ten mysteries, analyzes the phenomenal world from the standpoints of both difference and identity. The six forms are: (1) universality—the whole that is composed of parts; (2) particularity—the separate parts that comprise the whole; (3) similarity—the separate parts are all related to the whole; (4) diversity—though similar in that they all help constitute the whole, each part’s relation to the whole is unique; (5) formation—through the harmonization of the unique parts, the whole is constituted; and (6) differentiation—while uniting to form the whole, each part still retains its own peculiar characteristics.
six heavens of the world of desire Heavens located in the world of desire and situated between the earth and the Brahma heaven. They are the heaven of the four heavenly kings, the heaven of the thirty-three gods, the Yāma heaven, the Tushita heaven, the Heaven of Enjoying the Conjured, and the Heaven of Freely Enjoying Things Conjured by Others. The Heaven of Freely Enjoying Things Conjured by Others, often called the sixth heaven, is known as the abode of the devil king.
six major offenses Violations of the six precepts. They are the offenses of killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, talking about the misdeeds of other Buddhists, and selling liquor.
six metaphors of the theoretical and essential teachings Metaphors used by T’ien-t’ai in interpreting the word renge (lotus flower) of Myoho-renge-kyo, the title of the Chinese version of the Lotus Sutra. The three metaphors of the theoretical teaching illustrate the relationship between the Lotus Sutra (true teaching) and the provisional teachings. The three metaphors of the essential teaching show the relationship between the essential teaching and the theoretical teaching.
six ministers Also, six royal ministers. The ministers of King Ajātashatru. When Ajātashatru broke out in virulent sores because of his offense of having killed his father, Bimbisāra, a patron of Shakyamuni Buddha, these six ministers exhorted him to consult the six non-Buddhist teachers. However, another minister Jīvaka, who was also a noted physician, exhorted the king to go and see the Buddha and receive his instruction.
six non-Buddhist teachers Influential thinkers in India during Shakyamuni’s lifetime who openly broke with the old Vedic tradition and challenged Brahman authority in the Indian social order. They were: Pūrana Kassapa, who denied causality and rejected all concepts of morality; Makkhali Gosāla, who espoused an absolute fatalism; Sanjaya Belatthiputta, a skeptic who denied the possibility of certain knowledge in the metaphysical realm; Ajita Kesakambala, a materialist who maintained that life ends when the body dies; Pakudha Kacchāyana, who asserted that human beings were composed of seven unchangeable elements: earth, water, fire, wind, suffering, pleasure, and soul; and Nigantha Nātaputta, the founder of Jainism, who taught a rigorous asceticism.
six omens See six auspicious happenings.
six pāramitās Six practices for Mahayana bodhisattvas in their progress toward Buddhahood—almsgiving, keeping the precepts, forbearance, assiduousness, meditation, and the obtaining of wisdom.
six paths Also, the six paths of existence. The realms or worlds in which unenlightened beings transmigrate. They are hell and the realms of hungry spirits, animals, asuras, human beings, and heavenly beings.
six portents See six auspicious happenings.
six royal ministers See six ministers.
six schools Also, the six schools of Nara. The Dharma Analysis Treasury, Establishment of Truth, Precepts, Dharma Characteristics, Three Treatises, and Flower Garland schools, which were the major Buddhist schools in Japan during the Nara period (710–794).
six sense organs Also, the six sensory organs. The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind.
six stages of practice Stages in the practice of the Lotus Sutra formulated by T’ien-t’ai. They are: (1) the stage of being a Buddha in theory; (2) the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth; (3) the stage of perception and action; (4) the stage of resemblance to enlightenment; (5) the stage of progressive awakening; and (6) the stage of ultimate enlightenment.
six teachers of the non-Buddhist doctrines See six non-Buddhist teachers.
sixteen great states Also, the sixteen major states or the sixteen great countries. The countries of ancient India—Anga, Magadha, Kāshī, Kosala, Vriji, Malla, Chedi, Vatsa, Kuru, Panchāla, Ashvaka, Avanti, Matsya, Shūrasena, Gandhāra, and Kamboja.
sixth heaven The highest of the six heavens in the world of desire, where the devil king resides.
six transcendental powers Also, the six supernatural powers. Powers that Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and arhats are said to possess. They are: (1) the power of being anywhere at will, (2) the power of seeing anything anywhere, (3) the power of hearing any sound anywhere, (4) the power of knowing the thoughts of all other minds, (5) the power of knowing past lives, and (6) the power of eradicating illusions.
small kalpa Any of the twenty kalpas that constitute each of the four kalpas of formation, continuance, decline, and disintegration. A small kalpa equals 15,998,000 years. However, there are several varying explanations of the length of a small kalpa. See also kalpa of continuance.
Snow Mountains A reference to various snow-covered mountains. In Buddhist scriptures this name often refers to the Himalayas. The Snow Mountains that appear in The Dharma Analysis Treasury are located in the northern part of Jambudvīpa. To the north of the Snow Mountains is Heat-Free Lake, which gives rise to the four rivers nurturing the soil in the four quarters of Jambudvīpa.
Snow Mountains, the boy The name of Shakyamuni Buddha in a previous lifetime when he was practicing austerities in the Snow Mountains. His story appears in the Nirvana Sutra. The god Shakra decided to test the boy Snow Mountains’ resolve. Disguised as a demon, he recited half a verse from a Buddhist teaching. Hearing this, the boy begged the demon to teach him the second half, but the demon demanded his flesh and blood in payment. After the boy received the latter half of the verse, he jumped from a tree into the demon’s mouth. In that moment the demon changed back into Shakra and caught him.
Soga no Iname (d. 570) A chief minister of the emperors Senka and Kimmei, and the father of Soga no Umako. He engaged in a struggle for power with Mononobe no Okoshi, the leader of the anti-Buddhist faction at court. His daughters became consorts of Emperor Kimmei, and through this relationship the foundation of the Soga family’s prosperity was secured.
Soga no Umako (d. 626) An imperial court official and head of the Pro-Buddhist faction at court. He was a leading official under the emperors Bidatsu, Yōmei, and Sushun, and Empress Suiko. His father was Soga no Iname. Umako destroyed Mononobe no Moriya, another leading court official and the head of the anti-Buddhist faction. Later he had Emperor Sushun assassinated.
Soto’ori Hime (n.d.) A woman of great beauty appearing in The Chronicles of Japan and The Records of Ancient Matters. According to Chronicles of Japan, she was a younger sister of the wife of the nineteenth emperor Ingyō in the fifth century and, according to Records of Ancient Matters, a daughter of the emperor. It is said that her beauty was peerless, and that brilliant light shone out through her clothes.
Sovereign Kings Sutra An abbreviation of the Sovereign Kings of the Golden Light Sutra. Translated by I-ching of the T’ang dynasty in China, it dwells on the protection of the four heavenly kings and other benevolent deities.
sowing, maturing, and harvesting The three phases of the process by which a Buddha leads people to Buddhahood, corresponding to the growth and development of a plant. First the Buddha plants the seed of Buddhahood in people’s lives, then he nurtures it by helping them practice the teaching, and finally he enables them to reap the fruit of Buddhahood.
specific teaching One of the four teachings of doctrine. A higher level of provisional Mahayana taught exclusively for bodhisattvas.
stage of hearing the name and words of the truth The second of the six stages of practice, stages in the practice of the Lotus Sutra formulated by T’ien-t’ai. The stage at which one hears the name of the truth (that is, a Buddhist term for ultimate reality such as “the true aspect of all phenomena”) and/or reads the words of the sutras and thereby understands intellectually that he has the Buddha nature and that all phenomena are manifestations of the universal Law.
string of coins Coins bound together by a string. In Japan in Nichiren Daishonin’s time, coins had a square hole in the center and were usually strung together one hundred at a time.
Subhūti One of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples. He was regarded as the foremost in understanding the doctrine of non-substantiality.
Sudatta A merchant of Shrāvastī in India and the Buddha’s lay patron. He is said to have been one of the wealthiest men in the kingdom of Kosala. Since he often made donations to the poor and friendless, he was also called Anāthapindada (Supplier of the Needy). Jetavana Monastery, which he donated to Shakyamuni, became an important center for the Buddha’s preaching activity.
Sudāya A Brahman master who taught Devadatta the way to acquire supernatural powers.
sudden teaching Those teachings that the Buddha expounded directly from the standpoint of his own enlightenment without giving his disciples preparatory knowledge. In T’ien-t’ai’s system of classification, the sudden teaching constitutes one of the four teachings of method and is represented by the Flower Garland Sutra. However, the term sudden teaching was adopted by various schools, and its meaning differs according to their doctrines.
Sumeru The mountain that stands in the center of the world, according to ancient Indian cosmology. It is said to rise a height of eighty-four thousand yojanas (one yojana is approximately seven kilometers). The god Shakra resides on the summit, while the four heavenly kings live halfway down its four sides. In the outermost sea surrounding Sumeru lie four continents, the southern of which is Jambudvīpa. See also Sumeru world.
Sumeru world A world with Mount Sumeru at its center. According to the ancient Indian worldview, a Sumeru world consists of a Mount Sumeru, its surrounding seas and mountain ranges, four continents, a sun, and a moon. Mount Sumeru is located at the center of the world and surrounded concentrically by eight mountain ranges and eight seas. In the outermost sea exist four continents. A sun and a moon move around Mount Sumeru. According to ancient Indian cosmology, the universe is composed of countless Sumeru worlds.
Sumitomo (d. 941) Fujiwara no Sumitomo, a military commander of the Fujiwara clan who subdued a gang of pirates in 936. However, he later became a pirate chief himself and rebelled against the government. He was finally defeated and killed in 941.
Summary of the Mahayana school The She-lun school, one of the thirteen schools in China. A school based upon Asanga’s Summary of the Mahayana. It prospered in the Ch’en, Sui, and early T’ang dynasties, but was later absorbed by the Dharma Characteristics school.
Summit of Being heaven Another name of the Akanishtha heaven, or the highest heaven in the world of form.
Sunakshatra One of Shakyamuni’s disciples. He is said to be a son of Shakyamuni fathered before he renounced the world. He entered the Buddhist Order, but, overcome by distorted views, he lost his mastery of the four stages of meditation and became attached to the mistaken view that there is no Buddha, no Law, and no attainment of nirvana. He is said to have eventually fallen into hell alive.
sundry practices One of two kinds of practices set forth by Shan-tao, a patriarch of the Pure Land school in China. The other is called correct practices. “Sundry practices” means all Buddhist practices not directed toward Amida Buddha, that is, practices directed toward any being other than Amida Buddha. “Correct practices” are those directed toward Amida Buddha, such as reading and reciting the sutras centering on Amida Buddha, worshiping Amida Buddha, and invoking Amida Buddha’s name.
Sung dynasty (1) Also, the Liu Sung dynasty. A Chinese dynasty that existed from 420 through 479. The capital was Chien-k’ang. The dynasty was replaced by the Ch’i dynasty. (2) A Chinese dynasty that existed from 960 through 1279. China was under the rule of this dynasty during Nichiren Daishonin’s time. Thought the capital had been K’ai-feng, in 1127 that city was conquered by the Chin, the kingdom that ruled northern China. Driven from the capital, the Sung fled to the south and established its capital at Lin-an in southern China. For this reason, the Sung dynasty before 1127 is called the Northern Sung dynasty, and thereafter, the Southern Sung dynasty. Finally it was replaced by the Yüan dynasty.
Sun Goddess The central deity in Japanese mythology and, according to the oldest extant Japanese histories, also the progenitor of the imperial clan. The Sun Goddess was later adopted as a protective deity in Buddhism. In many of his writings, Nichiren Daishonin views the Sun Goddess as a personification of the workings that protect the prosperity of those who have faith in the correct teaching. Her Japanese name is Tenshō Daijin or Amaterasu Ōmikami.
Superior Intent A monk who lived in the latter age after the passing of the Buddha Lion Sound King. According to the Non-substantiality of All Phenomena Sutra, he slandered the monk Root of Joy who taught the correct doctrine, and therefore fell into hell.
superior manifested body One of the two types of manifested body, the other being the inferior manifested body. The manifested body is one of the three bodies, and the physical form in which a Buddha appears in the world in order to save the people. The Buddha of the superior manifested body is the Buddha who appears for the sake of bodhisattvas at or above the first stage of development, the forty-first of the fifty-two stages of bodhisattva practice. The Buddha of the inferior manifested body is the Buddha who appears for the sake of ordinary people, persons of the two vehicles, and bodhisattvas below the first stage of development.
Superior Practices One of the four bodhisattvas and the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. In the “Supernatural Powers” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni transfers the essentials of the sutra to Bodhisattva Superior Practices. Several of Nichiren Daishonin’s writings refer to his own propagation efforts as the work of Bodhisattva Superior Practices.
supervisor of priests One of the official positions conferred by the government on distinguished priests. Under the direction of the administrator of priests, the supervisor of priests was in charge of the priests and nuns. Later “supervisor of priests” became an honorary position and lost its original significance, as was the case with the other ranks. Eventually it became simply a title of respect.
Supplement to “The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra,” The A commentary by Tao-hsien, a priest of the T’ien-t’ai school in T’ang China.
Supplement to T’ien-t’ai’s Three Major Works, The A commentary by Ts’ung-i (1042–1091) on T’ien-t’ai’s three major works (Great Concentration and Insight, The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra, and The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra), as well as on Miao-lo’s commentaries on them.
Susiddhikara Sutra One of the three basic scriptures of esoteric Buddhism. This sutra is especially revered in Tendai esotericism.
Su Wu (140–60 b.c.e.) A minister to Emperor Wu of the Former Han dynasty in China. In 100 b.c.e., Emperor Wu sent Su Wu to the land of the northern barbarians to procure their allegiance. The barbarian chieftain rejected the demand, however, and took Su Wu captive. Kept prisoner in a cave, for a time Su Wu had no choice but to eat snow to survive and endured many other hardships. It was nineteen years before he was able to return home.
Suzudan The name of Shakyamuni when he was a king in a past life. He renounced the throne to seek the correct teaching and devoted himself to austerities under the seer Asita for a thousand years in order to learn the Lotus Sutra. This king was later reborn as Shakyamuni, and the seer, as Devadatta. The “Devadatta” chapter of the Lotus Sutra recounts this story, though the name Suzudan is not mentioned. Suzudan is the Japanese rendering of his name; his Sanskrit name is unknown.