Fa-chao (n.d.) A priest of the Pure Land teaching in China in the eighth century. He initiated a new form of reciting the name of Amida Buddha in which Amida’s name is chanted in five distinct tones. This, he claimed, Amida himself had taught him. He successfully propagated the Pure Land teachings and was honored with the title Teacher of the Nation by the emperor.
Fa-ch’üan (n.d.) A priest of the esoteric teachings in T’ang China. He transferred the Esoteric doctrines to Jikaku and Chishō when they journeyed to China in 838 and 853, respectively. He wrote many treatises on esoteric Buddhism.
Fan K’uai (d. 189 b.c.e.) A military leader and strategist who assisted Emperor Kao-tsu in unifying China and establishing the Former Han dynasty. Fan K’uai is known for his courage and loyalty.
Fa-pao (n.d.) A priest of the T’ang dynasty who contributed to the translation of Buddhist scriptures as one of Hsüan-tsang’s major disciples. He also wrote a commentary on The Dharma Analysis Treasury.
Fa-tao (1086–1147) A priest who remonstrated with Emperor Hui-tsung of the Sung dynasty when the emperor supported Taoism and attempted to suppress Buddhism. He was branded on the face and exiled to Tao-chou, south of the Yangtze River.
Fa-tsang (643–712) The third patriarch of the Flower Garland school in China. He learned the teachings from Chih-yen and contributed greatly to the systematization of the Flower Garland doctrine.
Fa-yün (467–529) A priest of Liang-dynasty China, revered as one of the three great teachers of the Liang dynasty, together with Chih-tsang and Seng-min. In 508 he was appointed chief priest of Kuang-che-ssu temple by Emperor Wu. He was often invited by the emperor to lecture at court, and in 525 was appointed general administrator of priests.
fifteen great temples The major temples of the Nara period (710–794) and the Heian period (794–1185), including the seven major temples. See also seven major temples.
fifth five-hundred-year period The last of the five five-hundred-year periods following Shakyamuni’s death. It corresponds to the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law. According to the Great Collection Sutra, this period is one of contention and strife in which Shakyamuni’s teachings will be obscured and lost.
fifth watch The hour of the tiger (3:00–5:00 a.m.).
fiftieth person See continual propagation to the fiftieth person.
fifty-two stages of bodhisattva practice Also, the fifty-two stages of practice. The fifty-two stages through which a bodhisattva progresses toward Buddhahood. They consist of ten stages of faith, ten stages of security, ten stages of practice, ten stages of devotion, ten stages of development, the stage of near-perfect enlightenment, and the stage of perfect enlightenment.
fifty-two stages of practice See fifty-two stages of bodhisattva practice.
Firmly Established Practices One of the four bodhisattvas who are the leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
first four flavors See four flavors.
first stage of development The first of the ten stages of development, which corresponds to the forty-first of the fifty-two stages of bodhisattva practice. This stage is also called the stage of joy.
first stage of security The first of the ten stages of security, which corresponds to the eleventh of the fifty-two stages of bodhisattva practice. This stage is regarded as the point at which bodhisattvas no longer regress in practice.
five aggregates See five components.
five ascetic practices Five rules of conduct for monks mentioned in various Buddhist texts. They are (1) to wear clothing of patched rags, (2) to subsist only on alms, (3) to eat only one meal a day, (4) to remain always outdoors, and (5) to refrain from eating sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, or salty food.
five ascetics The first converts of Shakyamuni Buddha. Their names are generally given as Ājnāta Kaundinya, Ashvajit, Mahānāma, Bhadrika, and Vāshpa, though these differ somewhat according to the source. The Buddha’s Preaching Life Sutra lists Dashabala Kāshyapa as one of the five ascetics in place of Vāshpa. When Shakyamuni renounced secular life, his father, Shuddhodana, anxious about his son’s safety, dispatched these five men to accompany him, and together with Shakyamuni they engaged in ascetic practices. However, when Shakyamuni abandoned asceticism, they thought that he had given up the search for truth altogether and left him, going to Deer Park to continue their austerities. After he attained enlightenment, Shakyamuni went to Deer Park to preach to them, and they became his first followers.
Five Canons The writings of the Five Emperors, or the five legendary sage emperors in China—Shao Hao, Chuan Hsü, Ti Kao, T’ang Yao, and Yü Shun. The Five Canons is mentioned in early Chinese writings but is not extant.
five cardinal sins The five most serious offenses in Buddhism. Explanations vary according to sutras and treatises. The most common version includes (1) killing one’s father, (2) killing one’s mother, (3) killing an arhat, (4) injuring a Buddha, and (5) causing disunity in the Buddhist Order.
five categories of Buddhas Five kinds of references to Buddhas in the “Expedient Means” (second) chapter of the Lotus Sutra: all Buddhas, past Buddhas, present Buddhas, future Buddhas, and Shakyamuni Buddha. According to this chapter, all of these Buddhas preach in a uniform manner. That is, the Buddhas all employ a similar process to lead people to the one Buddha vehicle. With the purpose of enabling people to attain Buddhahood, they first expound various vehicles or teachings as expedient means to develop people’s capacity, after which they reveal the one Buddha vehicle, the direct path to Buddhahood.
five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo The Mystic Law, or Myoho-renge-kyo. The Law, or Myoho-renge-kyo, is so called because it consists of the five Chinese characters of myō, hō, ren, ge, and kyō.
five components Also, the five components of life and the five aggregates. The constituent elements of form, perception, conception, volition, and consciousness that unite temporarily to form an individual living being. The five components also constitute the first of the three realms of existence.
five constant virtues Also, the five great principles of humanity: benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and good faith. They were set forth in Confucianism as the principles by which one should always abide.
five desires The desires resulting from the contact of the five sensory organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body) with their respective objects (form, sound, smell, taste, and texture).
five elements The five constituents of all things in the universe. They are earth, water, fire, wind, and space.
Five Emperors The five legendary sage emperors in China who are said to have reigned after the Three Sovereigns. There are three different sets of Five Emperors in the classics. One of them lists Shao Hao, Chuan Hsü, Ti Kao, T’ang Yao, and Yü Shun.
five five-hundred-year periods Five consecutive periods following Shakyamuni’s death, during which Buddhism is said to spread, prosper, and eventually decline. These five periods are described in the Great Collection Sutra and predict the course of Buddhism in the first twenty-five hundred years following Shakyamuni’s death. In chronological sequence, the five five-hundred-year periods are (1) the age of attaining emancipation, (2) the age of meditation, (3) the age of studying and reciting the sutras and receiving lectures on them, (4) the age of building temples and stupas, and (5) the age of quarrels and disputes in which Shakyamuni’s teachings will be obscured and lost. Periods (1) and (2) constitute the Former Day of the Law; (3) and (4), the Middle Day of the Law; and (5), the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law.
five flavors Also, the five tastes. The flavors of fresh milk, cream, curdled milk, butter, and ghee—the five stages in the process by which milk is made into ghee, the finest clarified butter. These five flavors were used by T’ien-t’ai as a metaphor for the teachings of the five periods. The “five periods” is a classification by T’ien-t’ai of Shakyamuni’s entire body of teachings according to the order in which he believed they were expounded.
fivefold meditation Esoteric practices of meditation consisting of (1) perceiving the mind of enlightenment, (2) arousing the mind of enlightenment, (3) achieving the adamantine mind, (4) obtaining the adamantine body, and (5) obtaining the body of a Buddha.
fivefold view of revelation An analysis of the Buddhist teachings that appears in Nichiren Daishonin’s treatise The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind. Revelation means the truth that Buddhas impart. Chinese Buddhist scholars classified the sutras according to three divisions: preparation, revelation, and transmission. In the above treatise, the Daishonin applies the three divisions to (1) all of Shakyamuni’s teachings, (2) the threefold Lotus Sutra (the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, the eight-volume Lotus Sutra, and the Universal Worthy Sutra), (3) the theoretical teaching (first half) of the Lotus Sutra, (4) the essential teaching (latter half) of the sutra, and (5) the teaching implicit in the “Life Span” (sixteenth) chapter of the sutra. His purpose in this classification is to show that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the very teaching to be practiced and propagated in the Latter Day of the Law. A summary of the fivefold view of revelation is as follows: (1) From the standpoint of all of Shakyamuni’s teachings, preparation is represented by the sutras of the Flower Garland, Āgama, Correct and Equal, and Wisdom periods, that is, the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings; revelation is represented by the threefold Lotus Sutra, and transmission by the Nirvana Sutra. (2) From the standpoint of the threefold Lotus Sutra, preparation consists of the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra and the “Introduction” (first) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, revelation extends from the “Expedient Means” (second) chapter through the first half of the “Distinctions in Benefits” (seventeenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, and transmission includes the second half of the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter through the “Universal Worthy” (twenty-eighth) chapter and includes the Universal Worthy Sutra. (3) In terms of the theoretical teaching, preparation comprises the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra and the “Introduction” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, revelation extends from the “Expedient Means” chapter through the “Prophecies” (ninth) chapter, and transmission, from the “Teacher of the Law” (tenth) chapter through the “Peaceful Practices” (fourteenth) chapter. (4) From the viewpoint of the essential teaching, preparation comprises the first half of the “Emerging from the Earth” (fifteenth) chapter, revelation includes the second half of the “Emerging from the Earth” chapter, the entire “Life Span” chapter, and the first half of the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter (collectively known as “one chapter and two halves”), and transmission extends from the second half of the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter through the “Universal Worthy” chapter and includes the Universal Worthy Sutra. (5) In terms of the teaching implicit in the “Life Span” chapter, that is, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, preparation is represented by the teachings of all the Buddhas of the ten directions throughout the three existences; revelation by Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the Law implicit in the “Life Span” chapter; and transmission by the teachings of all the Buddhas read in the light of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
five hundred precepts Rules of discipline to be observed by fully ordained nuns of Hinayana Buddhism. “Five hundred” is not a literal figure, and the actual number differs from one source to another. The Fourfold Rules of Discipline lists 348 precepts.
five impurities Impurities of the age, of desire, of living beings, of view, and of life itself. They are mentioned in the “Expedient Means” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
five kinds of grain Wheat, rice, beans, and two types of millet. Also a generic term for all grains.
five kinds of sundry practices Also, the five sundry practices. They are (1) to read and recite any sutra other than the three Pure Land scriptures, (2) to meditate on any Buddha other than Amida Buddha, (3) to worship any Buddha other than Amida Buddha, (4) to invoke the name of any Buddha other than Amida Buddha, and (5) to extol and make offerings to any Buddha other than Amida Buddha. Set forth by Shan-tao, a patriarch of the Pure Land school in China, they are contrasted with the “five correct practices,” which are directed toward Amida Buddha.
five kinds of wisdom In the teachings of the True Word school, the five aspects of Mahāvairochana Buddha’s wisdom: (1) the wisdom of the essence of the phenomenal world, (2) the great round mirror wisdom, (3) the non-discriminating wisdom, (4) the wisdom of insight into the particular, and (5) the wisdom of perfect practice.
five major principles The five viewpoints from which T’ien-t’ai interpreted the Lotus Sutra. They are name, essence, quality, function, and teaching. In his Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra, T’ien-t’ai explains that Myoho-renge-kyo, the title of the Lotus Sutra, is not only the name but the essence of the Lotus Sutra, and is endowed with a unique quality, function, and position among all teachings.
five natures Also, the five distinct natures. A doctrine set forth by the Dharma Characteristics school, dividing human beings into five groups according to their inborn religious capacity. The five groups are (1) those predestined to be voice-hearers, (2) those predestined to be cause-awakened ones, (3) those predestined to be bodhisattvas, (4) an indeterminate group, and (5) those without the capacity for enlightenment. Neither of the first two groups can attain Buddhahood. The third group can eventually attain Buddhahood because they possess the seed of enlightenment. These three are called the determinate groups, because the state they will achieve is predetermined. People in the indeterminate group possess two or more of the first three natures, but which nature will develop is not predetermined. Those in the fifth group cannot attain enlightenment but must transmigrate through the six paths for eternity.
five obstacles The limitations that were said to prevent a woman from becoming a Brahmā, a Shakra, a devil king, a wheel-turning king, or a Buddha. Together with the three types of obedience to which women were said to be subject, the five obstacles were often referred to as the five obstacles and three obediences. See also three obediences.
five or seven characters The five characters of myō, hō, ren, ge, and kyō. In Nichiren Daishonin’s writings, Myoho-renge-kyo is often used synonymously with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which consists of seven characters. Nam is a compound of two characters, nan and mu.
five pāramitās Almsgiving, keeping the precepts, forbearance, assiduousness, and meditation—five of the six pāramitās, excepting the obtaining of wisdom.
five paths The realms of hell, hungry spirits, animals, human beings, and heavenly beings. These five paths plus the realm of asuras constitute the six paths.
five periods T’ien-t’ai’s classification of Shakyamuni’s teachings according to the order of preaching as he understood it. They are (1) the Flower Garland period, or period of the Flower Garland Sutra, immediately following Shakyamuni’s enlightenment; (2) the Āgama period, or period of the Āgama sutras, in which the Hinayana teachings were expounded; (3) the Correct and Equal period, when the Amida, Mahāvairochana, Vimalakīrti, and other Mahayana sutras were set forth; (4) the Wisdom period, in which the Wisdom sutras were taught; and (5) the Lotus and Nirvana period, an eight-year interval in which Shakyamuni expounded the Lotus and Nirvana sutras.
five practices Various categories of five practices are set forth in Buddhism. The five practices described in the “Teacher of the Law” chapter of the Lotus Sutra consist of embracing, reading, reciting, expounding, and copying the Lotus Sutra.
five precepts The basic precepts expounded for lay people. They are: not to kill, not to steal, not to engage in sexual misconduct (such as adultery), not to lie, and not to drink intoxicants.
five provinces and seven marches The administrative sectors into which Japan was once divided, and also a general term indicating the whole of Japan. The “five provinces” referred to the provinces surrounding the capital, the site of the imperial court in what is today Kyoto, which were Yamashiro, Yamato, Kawachi, Izumi, and Settsu. The “seven marches” referred to the regions into which the remaining sixty-one provinces were grouped, in accordance with the main roads extending from the capital.
five regions of India A term for all of ancient India, the eastern, western, southern, northern, and central regions.
five sense organs Also, the five sensory organs. The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body.
five stages of practice Practice for believers in the Lotus Sutra to follow after Shakyamuni’s death, formulated by T’ien-t’ai on the basis of the contents of the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter. They are: (1) to rejoice upon hearing the Lotus Sutra, (2) to read and recite the sutra, (3) to expound the sutra to others, (4) to embrace the sutra and practice the six pāramitās, and (5) to perfect one’s practice of the six pāramitās.
five storehouses Five categories into which the Buddhist scriptures can be divided. “Storehouse” here indicates a collection or selection of teachings. The Six Pāramitās Sutra lists the five as sutras (the Buddha’s teachings), vinaya (monastic rules), abhidharma (treatises), prajnā-pāramitā (the teachings of the perfection of wisdom), and dhāranī (mystic formulas), and regards the dhāranī category as foremost among these five. The True Word school adopts the concept of the five storehouses and identifies this highest dhāranī division with the True Word esoteric teaching.
five strong-flavored foods Also referred to as the five spicy foods. Five kinds of pungent vegetables, names of which differ according to the source. One account lists them as garlic, scallions, leeks, rocamboles, and a plant of the dropwort family, and another, as garlic, scallions, leeks, onions, and ginger. In Buddhism, they were forbidden because of their strong odor and their stimulating effect when eaten. The five strong-flavored foods were said to produce irritability and sexual desire.
five teachings A classification of Buddhist sutras set forth by Fa-tsang (643–712), the third patriarch of the Flower Garland school. He classified the sutras into five groups according to his assessment of the level of their teaching. The five teachings are (1) the Hinayana teaching, (2) the elementary Mahayana teaching, (3) the final Mahayana teaching, (4) the sudden teaching, and (5) the perfect teaching. “The sudden teaching” expounds the abrupt realization of the ultimate truth without relying upon verbal explanations or progression through various stages of practice. “The perfect teaching” indicates the Flower Garland and Lotus sutras, which expound the one vehicle. “The perfect teaching” is further divided into two: the one vehicle of the identical doctrine and the one vehicle of the distinct doctrine. The former is the one vehicle that is identical in part to the other teachings, the final Mahayana and the sudden in particular, and corresponds to the Lotus Sutra. The latter is the one vehicle that is entirely distinct or separate from the other teachings, and corresponds to the Flower Garland Sutra. The one vehicle of the distinct doctrine is held to be superior to that of the identical doctrine. Hence the Flower Garland school asserts that the Flower Garland Sutra is superior to all the other sutras.
five thousand or seven thousand volumes of Buddhist scriptures Also, five thousand or seven thousand volumes of sutras. Generally, the entire collection of Buddhist scriptures. These numbers derive from two Buddhist catalogs in China. The K’ai-yüan Era Catalog of the Buddhist Canon, compiled in 730, lists 5,048 volumes of Buddhist works, and The Chen-yüan Era Catalog of the Buddhist Canon, complied in 800, lists 7,388 volumes. These and other similar numbers refer to the entire body of Buddhist works. Though these catalogs contain the sutras, works on the rules of monastic discipline, and treatises, the numbers “five thousand” and “seven thousand” were also employed to indicate the collection of sutras alone.
five transcendental powers Also, the five supernatural powers. The first five of the six transcendental powers: (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, and (5) the power of knowing past lives. The six transcendental powers additionally include the power of eradicating illusions.
five types of edible grain See five kinds of grain.
five types of vision Also, the five types of eyes. Five kinds of perceptive faculty: (1) the eye of ordinary people, also called the physical eye, which distinguishes color and form; (2) the heavenly eye, or the ability of heavenly beings to see beyond the physical limitations of darkness, distance, or obstruction; (3) the wisdom eye, or the ability of those of the two vehicles to perceive that all phenomena are without substance; (4) the Dharma eye, by which bodhisattvas penetrate all teachings in order to save the people; and (5) the Buddha eye, which perceives the true nature of life spanning past, present, and future. The Buddha eye also includes the other four perceptive faculties. That is, the Buddhas possess the five types of vision.
five vehicles The five kinds of teaching expounded in accordance with the people’s capacity. Vehicle means a teaching that brings people to a particular stage of attainment. The five are the vehicles of ordinary mortals, heavenly beings, voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, and bodhisattvas.
five wisdom Thus Come Ones Also, five wisdom Buddhas. In Esoteric Buddhism, the five Buddhas of the Diamond Realm mandala who represent the five aspects of Mahāvairochana Buddha’s wisdom. They are (1) Mahāvairochana Buddha, who represents “the wisdom of the essence of the phenomenal world” that penetrates the nature of the phenomenal world; (2) Akshobhya Buddha, who symbolizes “the great round mirror wisdom” that accurately perceives the world; (3) Jewel Born Buddha, who stands for “the non-discriminating wisdom” that recognizes the fundamental equality of all things; (4) Amida Buddha, who represents “the wisdom of insight into the particulars” that discerns the capacities of all beings; and (5) Infallible Realization Buddha, who symbolizes “the wisdom of perfect practice” that benefits both oneself and others.
Flower Garland school Refers to the Chinese Hua-yen school and to the Japanese Kegon school. Kegon is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word hua-yen, meaning flower garland. A school based on the Flower Garland Sutra. Tu-shun (557–640) was the first patriarch of the school in China, although Fa-tsang who systematized its doctrines can be considered the real founder. The founder of the Flower Garland school in Japan is considered to be Shinjō (d. 742, Kor Simsang), a priest from Korea. Tōdai-ji in Nara is the head temple of the school.
Flower Garland Sutra Also, the Avatamsaka Sutra. A compilation of the teachings Shakyamuni is said to have expounded immediately after his enlightenment. According to T’ien-t’ai’s classification, the Flower Garland doctrines represent a very high level of teaching, second only to the Lotus Sutra. The sutra sets forth many stages of bodhisattva practice and teaches that all things constantly interrelate with and give rise to one another; that one permeates all and all are contained in one, and so on.
Forest of Merits One of the four great bodhisattvas appearing in the Flower Garland Sutra. Forest of Merits put forth the doctrine of the ten stages of practice in the Yāma heaven at the fourth assembly described in the sutra.
Former Day of the Law Also, the period of the Correct Law. The first of the three periods following Shakyamuni’s death, when teaching, practice, and proof are all present and those who practice Buddhism attain enlightenment. Some sources describe the Former Day of the Law of Shakyamuni as one thousand years, and others as five hundred years.
forty-eight vows Vows Amida Buddha is said to have made while still engaged in bodhisattva practice as Bodhisattva Dharma Treasury. Among these vows, the eighteenth one—that all who place their trust in Amida Buddha shall obtain rebirth in the Pure Land—is the one treasured most by the Pure Land school. See also eighteenth vow.
forty-two levels of ignorance (1) Different kinds of illusions associated with the final forty-two stages of bodhisattva practice, from the ten stages of security through the highest stage of perfect enlightenment. (2) The third of the “three categories of illusion,” illusions about the true nature of life that prevent bodhisattvas from attaining enlightenment. The last and most deeply rooted of the forty-two is called fundamental darkness or fundamental ignorance. According to T’ien-t’ai’s teachings, one attains enlightenment by eradicating these successive levels of ignorance and finally freeing oneself from fundamental darkness.
four Āgama sutras The extant Chinese versions of the Āgama sutras. The Long Āgama Sutra, the Medium-Length Āgama Sutra, the Miscellaneous Āgama Sutra, and the Increasing by One Āgama Sutra. Each is actually a collection of individual sutras. The Long Āgama Sutra is a collection of comparatively long sutras. The Medium-Length Āgama Sutra is a collection of medium-length sutras. The Miscellaneous Āgama Sutra is a collection of short sutras grouped by doctrine or theme. The Increasing by One Āgama Sutra is a collection of short sutras categorized in eleven groups, each comprising doctrines with numerical themes matching that group’s order among the eleven.
four basic elements See four elements.
four bodhisattvas Various groups of four bodhisattvas appear in Buddhism. In the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra, this refers to the leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth described in the “Emerging from the Earth” chapter, Superior Practices, Boundless Practices, Pure Practices, and Firmly Established Practices.
four categories of believers See four kinds of believers.
four categories of Buddhists See four kinds of believers.
four continents The continents situated respectively to the east, west, north, and south of Mount Sumeru, according to the ancient Indian worldview. They are Pūrvavideha in the east, Aparagodānīya in the west, Uttarakuru in the north, and Jambudvīpa in the south.
four devils Four evil or debilitating functions described in Buddhist scriptures as afflicting practitioners and obstructing their practice. They are (1) the devil of the five components, or hindrances arising from the five components of life; (2) the devil of earthly desires, hindrances arising from earthly desires; (3) the devil of death, the hindrance arising from the death of oneself or another practitioner; and (4) the heavenly devil, hindrances attributed to the workings of the devil king of the sixth heaven. “Devil” is the translation of the Sanskrit word māra, which means devil, obstacle, killing, death, or pestilence. Together with the three obstacles of earthly desires, karma, and retribution, the four devils are referred to as the “three obstacles and four devils.”
four elements The first four of the five elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and space.
four evil paths Also, four evil realms of existence. The realms of suffering one undergoes because of evil actions, or karma— the realms of hell, hungry spirits, animals, and asuras.
four evil realms of existence See four evil paths.
four flavors Also, the first four flavors, the four preceding flavors, and the four tastes. The first four of the five flavors—fresh milk, cream, curdled milk, butter, and ghee (the finest clarified butter). T’ien-t’ai used the five flavors as a metaphor for the teachings of the five periods of Flower Garland, Āgama, Correct and Equal, Wisdom, and Lotus and Nirvana, comparing the process by which Shakyamuni Buddha led his disciples to the Lotus Sutra to the process whereby milk is converted into ghee. The four flavors indicate all sutras expounded before the Lotus and Nirvana period, that is, the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings. The ghee represents the Lotus Sutra.
four flavors and three teachings Also, the four tastes and three teachings. A term used to indicate the entire body of teachings preached prior to the Lotus Sutra. The four flavors indicate the first four of the five flavors—fresh milk, cream, curdled milk, butter, and ghee. The three teachings are the first three of the four teachings of doctrine—the Tripitaka, connecting, specific, and perfect teachings.
four forms of birth A classification of the ways of coming into existence. They are: (1) birth from the womb; (2) birth from eggs; (3) birth from dampness or moisture—the way worms were thought to be generated; and (4) birth by transformation, that is, spontaneous birth without the womb, eggs, or dampness.
four forms of meditation Also, four kinds of meditation or four kinds of samādhi. Four methods of meditation described in T’ien-t’ai’s Great Concentration and Insight: (1) constant sitting meditation, in which one engages in seated meditation for ninety days; (2) constant active meditation, in which one meditates while walking around a statue of the Buddha in a monastery for ninety days; (3) half-active and half-sitting meditation, in which one engages in the two practices of seated meditation and of walking around a meditation platform (this third form is further divided into two, a seven day practice based upon the Great Correct and Equal Dhāranī Sutra, and a twenty-one day practice based on the Lotus Sutra); and (4) meditation in an unspecified posture for an unspecified period, in which one practices meditation of an unspecified form and time. All meditations not covered in the first three categories are included in the last.
four good roots Also, four roots of goodness, four roots of good, or the stages of the four good roots. Stages of practice defined in the Hinayana teachings. The four good roots are (1) the heat stage, or the stage in which one approaches wisdom without outflows, or earthly desires, and obtains the type of good roots still tainted by outflows, just as one approaches a fire and obtains heat from it; (2) the peak stage, or the stage in which one obtains the highest of the unsettled good roots; though it is possible to regress from the peak stage, even if one should do so and fall into hell, the good roots from this stage cannot be wiped out; (3) the perception stage, or the stage in which one understands the doctrine of the four noble truths and one’s good roots are settled; one who has entered this stage will never fall into the evil paths of existence; and (4) the foremost worldly stage, or the stage in which one obtains the highest of the four good roots, though these good roots are still tainted by outflows. One who has reached this stage in time will enter the way of insight and become a sage. The concept of the four good roots was later applied to the stages of Mahayana practice with some modification.
four grave offenses Also, four major offenses or four grave prohibitions. The offenses of (1) killing a human being, (2) stealing, (3) having sexual relations, and (4) lying (particularly, lying about one’s level of insight or spiritual attainment). These four acts are the gravest of all offenses proscribed by monastic discipline, warranting automatic expulsion from the Buddhist Order.
four grave prohibitions See four grave offenses.
four great seas See four seas.
four great voice-hearers Also, four great voice-hearer disciples. Mahākāshyapa, Subhūti, Maudgalyāyana, and Kātyāyana. Their attainment of Buddhahood is predicted in the “Bestowal of Prophecy” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
four guidelines Four guidelines or standpoints for interpreting the words and phrases of the Lotus Sutra. They are causes and conditions, correlated teachings, the theoretical and essential teachings, and the observation of the mind. T’ien-t’ai employed these four guidelines in The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra. Causes and conditions means to interpret the words and phrases of the sutra in terms of the causes and conditions that prompted the Buddha to expound them, and to grasp them in terms of the four ways of preaching. Correlated teachings means to interpret the sutra’s words and phrases from the standpoint of the four teachings of doctrine and the five periods. The theoretical and essential teachings means to interpret them in light of the theoretical teaching (first half) and the essential teaching (latter half) of the sutra. The observation of the mind means to perceive the truth within one’s own mind through the practice of meditation and also to interpret the words and phrases of the sutra from the standpoint of this perception of the truth.
four heavenly kings The heavenly kings Upholder of the Nation, Wide-Eyed, Vaishravana, and Increase and Growth. They are the lords of the four quarters who serve Shakra as his generals and protect the four continents. They were said to live halfway down the four sides of Mount Sumeru.
four infinite virtues Boundless pity, boundless compassion, boundless joy, and boundless impartiality. Pity here means to give living beings delight or happiness. Compassion means to remove their suffering. Joy means to rejoice at seeing them become free from suffering and gain happiness. And impartiality means to abandon attachments to love and hatred and be impartial toward everyone.
four inverted views Mistaking impermanence for permanence, suffering for happiness, non-self for self, and impurity for purity. They are called inverted because they regard the true nature of a thing as its opposite. These indicate the views of ordinary people who do not recognize the world of delusion for what it is. Conversely, the term also means to mistake permanence for impermanence, happiness for suffering, self for non-self, and purity for impurity. This latter set indicates the inverted views of voice-hearers and cause-awakened ones, who recognize the world of delusion for what it is but do not recognize the world of enlightenment for what it is. Taken together, the above are referred to as the eight inverted views.
four kalpas Four periods of time corresponding to the cycle of four stages a world is said to repeatedly undergo, that of formation, continuance, decline, and disintegration.
four kinds of believers Also, the four types of believers, the four kinds of Buddhists, four kinds of Buddhist believers, the four categories of Buddhists, or the four categories of believers. Monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen.
four kinds of Buddhist believers See four kinds of believers.
four kinds of Buddhists See four kinds of believers.
four kinds of lands A classification by the T’ien-t’ai school of the various types of lands mentioned in the sutras: (1) the Land of Sages and Common Mortals, also called the Land of Enlightened and Unenlightened Beings, where ordinary mortals of the six lower worlds live together with the sages of the four noble worlds (from voice-hearers to a Buddha); (2) the Land of Transition, which is populated by voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, and lower-stage bodhisattvas; (3) the Land of Actual Reward, a realm inhabited by bodhisattvas in the higher stages; and (4) the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light, or simply the Land of Tranqil Light, which is the Buddha land free from impermanence and impurity.
four kinds of wisdom The four kinds of wisdom of a Buddha. They are the great round mirror wisdom, the non-discriminating wisdom, the wisdom of insight into the particulars, and the wisdom of perfect practice.
four-line verse See four-phrase verse.
four major offenses See four grave offenses.
four meditation heavens The four heavens that constitute the world of form. Individually, they are simply called the first meditation heaven, the second meditation heaven, and so on, and this represents an ascending order both in altitude and in quality. The four meditation heavens are further subdivided into eighteen heavens. When, by practicing the four stages of meditation, one frees oneself of the illusions of the world of desire, one can be reborn in these four meditation heavens.
four noble truths A fundamental doctrine of Buddhism clarifying the cause of suffering and the way of emancipation. The truth of suffering, the truth of the origin of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the path to the cessation of suffering. These mean as follows: (1) all existence is suffering; (2) suffering is caused by selfish craving; (3) the eradication of selfish craving brings about the cessation of suffering and enables one to attain nirvana; and (4) there is a path by which this eradication can be achieved, namely, the discipline of the eightfold path. The eightfold path consists of (1) right views, (2) right thinking, (3) right speech, (4) right action, (5) right way of life, (6) right endeavor, (7) right mindfulness, and (8) right meditation.
four noble worlds The highest four of the Ten Worlds—the realms of voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, bodhisattvas, and Buddhas.
Four Peaceful Practices, The A work by Nan-yüeh. The formal title is On the Peaceful Practices of the Lotus Sutra. It explains practices set forth in the Lotus Sutra, particularly those mentioned in the “Peaceful Practices” chapter. The four peaceful practices are those of deeds, words, thoughts, and vows.
four-phrase verse Also, four-line verse. A group of four phrases composing a verse in the Chinese translation of a Buddhist sutra or treatise. A number of four-line or four-phrase verses constitute a complete verse section. The Lotus Sutra mentions the great benefit to be gained by embracing a single four-line verse.
four preceding flavors See four flavors.
four ranks of bodhisattvas Bodhisattvas who embrace and propagate the correct teaching after the Buddha’s death. They thereby serve as Buddhist teachers upon whom people can rely. They are also defined as those bodhisattvas who follow the four standards, which are (1) to rely on the Law and not upon persons; (2) to rely on the meaning of the teaching and not on the words; (3) to rely on wisdom and not on discriminative thinking; and (4) to rely on sutras that are complete and final and not on those that are not complete and final. Expressions such as “bodhisattvas of the four standards” and “sages of the four standards” are also used in reference to bodhisattvas and sages who will appear in the world after the Buddha’s passing and spread his teachings in accordance with the four standards.
four ranks of sages Buddhist teachers upon whom people can rely. Though the four ranks represent four levels of understanding, “the four ranks of sages” is often applied to such Buddhist teachers irrespective of the level of their understanding.
four seas Also, the four great seas. The outermost seas surrounding Mount Sumeru, which is said to stand at the center of the world. Lying in the four directions of north, east, south, and west, they are called the four seas. The “four seas” also refers to an entire country or the whole world.
four stages of faith The stages of faith of those who embrace the Lotus Sutra during Shakyamuni’s lifetime. It is a principle that was formulated by T’ien-t’ai on the basis of the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter of the sutra. The four stages are (1) to produce even a single moment of belief and understanding in the sutra, (2) to generally understand the import of the words of the sutra, (3) to expound the teaching of the sutra widely for others, and (4) with deep faith, to realize the truth expounded by the Buddha.
four stages of Hinayana enlightenment Also, the four stages of enlightenment in Hinayana Buddhism. The four levels of enlightenment that the voice-hearers aim to attain. In ascending order, they are the stage of the stream-winner (Skt srota-āpanna), the stage of the once-returner (sakridāgāmin), the stage of the non-returner (anāgāmin), and the stage of arhat. The stage of the stream-winner indicates one who has entered the stream of the sages, in other words, the river leading to nirvana. At this stage one has eradicated the illusions of thought in the threefold world. At the stage of the once-returner, one has eradicated six of the nine illusions of desire in the world of desire. Due to the remaining illusions, one will be born next in heaven and then once again in the human world before entering nirvana; hence the name once-returner. At the stage of the non-returner, one has eliminated the remaining three illusions of desire and will not be reborn in the world of desire. At the stage of arhat, one has eliminated all the illusions of thought and desire and has freed oneself from transmigration in the threefold world or six paths.
four stages of meditation Four levels of meditation that enable those in the world of desire to throw off illusions and be reborn in the four meditation heavens in the world of form. The first level of meditation leads one to the first heaven, and so on. The four meditation heavens are also regarded as the four levels of consciousness one can attain by practicing the corresponding meditation.
four standards Also, four reliances. Standards concerning what Buddhist practitioners should rely upon. According to the Nirvana Sutra and the Vimalakīrti Sutra, the four standards are (1) to rely on the Law and not upon persons, (2) to rely on the meaning of the teaching and not on the words, (3) to rely on wisdom and not on discriminative thinking, and (4) to rely on sutras that are complete and final and not on those that are not complete and final.
four teachings (1) A reference to the four teachings of doctrine in T’ien-t’ai’s classification of Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings. See four teachings of doctrine; eight teachings. (2) Categorization of the Buddhist teachings formulated by Hui-yüan, a disciple of Fa-tsang, the third patriarch of the Flower Garland school in China. The four teachings of Hui-yüan’s classification are the non-Buddhist teaching, the Hinayana teaching, the partially true and complete teaching (lower Mahayana), and the fully true and complete teaching (higher Mahayana), the last of which contains the Flower Garland Sutra.
four teachings of doctrine Also, the four teachings. T’ien-t’ai’s classification of Shakyamuni’s teachings according to the contents of the teachings. They are the Tripitaka, connecting, specific, and perfect teachings. Together with the four teachings of method, they form a system of classification known as the eight teachings. See also eight teachings.
four teachings of method A classification by T’ien-t’ai of Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings according to how they were expounded. Together with the four teachings of doctrine, it forms the system of classification known as the eight teachings. The four teachings of method are as follows: (1) The sudden teaching, in which the Buddha preached directly from the standpoint of his own enlightenment, independently of his listeners’ capacity, and without giving them preparatory knowledge. This category corresponds to the Flower Garland Sutra. (2) The gradual teaching, which the Buddha expounded progressively to gradually elevate people’s capacity to understand higher teachings. This category includes the teachings of the Āgama, Correct and Equal, and Wisdom periods. (3) The secret teaching (more precisely, the secret indeterminate teaching), in which the Buddha preaches in such a way that his listeners understand according to their individual capacities and thereby each receive different benefits without being aware of the differences. (4) The indeterminate (or non-fixed) teaching (more precisely, the explicit indeterminate teaching), in which the Buddha’s listeners understand his teaching differently and thereby receive different benefits in the same way as above, but are aware of the differences. This teaching is called indeterminate because the benefits that the listeners receive are not fixed but vary with their respective capacities.
fourteen slanders Fourteen attitudes that one should avoid in Buddhist practice: (1) arrogance, (2) negligence, (3) wrong views of the self, (4) shallow understanding, (5) attachment to earthly desires, (6) not understanding, (7) not believing, (8) scowling with knitted brows, (9) harboring doubts, (10) slandering, (11) despising, (12) hating, (13) envying, and (14) bearing grudges.
Four Treatises school An offshoot of the Three Treatises school in China that flourished during the Northern and Southern Dynasties period (439–589). In addition to the three treatises revered by its predecessor—Nāgārjuna’s Treatise on the Middle Way, Treatise on the Twelve Gates, and Āryadeva’s One-Hundred-Verse Treatise—the Four Treatises school also based itself on Nāgārjuna’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom.
four types of believers See four kinds of believers.
four universal vows Also, four great vows, or simply four vows. Four vows that every bodhisattva makes when resolving to embark upon the Buddhist practice. They are (1) to save innumerable living beings, (2) to eradicate countless earthly desires, (3) to master immeasurable Buddhist teachings, and (4) to attain supreme enlightenment.
four ways of preaching Also, four ways of teaching. Four ways in which Buddhas expound their teachings, explained in The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom by Nāgārjuna. They are (1) to teach Buddhism in secular terms, explaining to people that it will fulfill their desires and thus arousing their willingness to take faith; (2) to teach according to people’s respective capacities, thus enabling them to increase their store of good karma; (3) to help people abandon their illusions and free themselves from the three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness; and (4) to reveal the ultimate truth directly, causing people to realize it.
four wheel-turning kings The four types of wheel-turning kings—a gold-wheel-turning king, a silver-wheel-turning king, a copper-wheel-turning king, and an iron-wheel-turning king. It is said that when such a sage ruler ascends the throne the wheel is given to him by Heaven. While turning his own wheel, a wheel-turning king advances freely without obstruction and establishes peace.
Four White-Haired Elders Also, the Four White-Haired Elders of Mount Shang. Tung-yüan, Lu-li, Ch’i Li-chi, and Hsia-huang, recluses who lived on Mount Shang in China in the troubled times at the end of the Ch’in dynasty. They were persuaded by the statesman Chang Liang to leave retirement and come to the court of the newly founded Han dynasty, where they gave their support to the heir apparent, Emperor Kao-tsu’s son by his consort Lü, who later came to the throne as Emperor Hui (r. 194–188 b.c.e.).
fundamental darkness Also, fundamental ignorance. The most deeply rooted illusion inherent in life, which gives rise to all other illusions and earthly desires.
fusion of reality and wisdom The fusion of the ultimate reality or truth and the wisdom to realize that truth, which is the Buddha nature inherent within one’s life. This fusion itself represents the attainment of Buddhahood.