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Switch to Forum Live View Gongyo Chant Transcript, does anyone have one?
4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 9:22AM #11
Posts: 3

If you read the Writings of Nichiren (172 chapters in the first volume about 28 chapters that mostly praise the sutra itself) he does little to enlighten you unless you ask a Japanese scholar or someone who has been around a while to explain. I have heard it said that the rest of the sutra is like the branches and leaves of the sutra while chapters 2 and 16 are the tree. I hope this helps. Gene Reves, Leon Hurvitz, Burton Watson, and more are all translators who all come up with difficult language but when I read the English version and ask, "What is this?", about any certain portion, I get a whole lot of people telling me that there are NOT words in English to describe this accurately. Unlike what some members (shallow practice) would have you believe, when they say that some of his previous teachings were provisional, NO ONE, including Nichiren, said they were worthless. Also, when all of them say that all Buddhas are equal, then they start in about Nichiren being the Supreme Buddha, be careful with that. That is EGO that Nichiren or any other Buddha did NOT have. Nichiren said, "Just remember me as Nam Myoho Renge Kyo."

May 19, 2009 -- 10:25PM, Joybringer wrote:

Hi I just wanted to say by far the finest translation of the Lotus Sutra is "A Contemporary Translation of a Buddhist Classic, The Lotus Sutra" by Gene Reeves.  I have read all three major versions of the english translations including obviously the Watson version and find Reeves version an improvement in that he uses english words that a reader should be familiar while maintaing the integrity of the Lotus Sutra.

I also believe that you can not fully appreciate what Nichiren is telling us unless we study the Sutras and that includes reading it.  Nichiren never did not comprehend what he was chanting, nor did he ever advocate that reading or copying the Lotus Sutra did not confer benefit to a follower.  Each and every chapter and verse of the Lotus Sutra is sacred and is worthy of our devotion and praise.

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 5:26PM #12
Posts: 138

Hi, AzMM -

Chapters 2 and 16 are important because those two chapters of the Lotus Sutra contain the basis for Nichiren's expansion of the Tendai teachings he learned as a novice monk in Seicho-ji Temple.  That is why most all Nichiren Buddhists chant at least sections of those two chapters when they do daily practice.

I personally find it helps me to read several different translations of the Lotus Sutra side-by-side.  When I come to something I can't quite figure out in one version, often one or more of the others will state the same thing in a way I can understand more clearly.

I will look and see if I can find the passages, but Nichiren often claimed to be doing the work of Bodhisattva Superior Practices (Bodhisattva Jogyo) (one of the leaders of the Bodhisattvas from Underground).  In one or two letters he claimed to be the votary of that Bodhisattva.  Nichiren (as far as I am aware) never claimed to be a Buddha in writing, or at least not in any writing surviving today.

I hope this is helpful, and namaste, Engyo

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 03, 2010 - 7:36PM #13
Posts: 167

Each and every chapter and verse of the Lotus Sutra is sacred and is  worthy of our devotion and praise.

That looks like you are seeking Buddha Wisdom outside yourself. The human effort to deify and/or make super-natural claims to impress and manipulate less experienced and less sophisticated followers is all too natural, and to be avoided. Nichiren's teachings were meant to help us find the Buddha within each one of us and encourage that Buddha Nature. The importance of the Buddha's appearance in this Saha world was his activities as a human being.

Study in Nichiren's day also meant something other than what Western thought applies to the term. Most of his followers were illiterate and could not study by reading any sutras. They could, however, study by practicing the teachings and proving in their daily life how their life condition was elevated by such practices. A Buddha, to Nichiren, was not some Guru who had attained Nirvana and a stage on non-regression. Human desires ARE enlighentment, when applied to your daily life in a manner that makes you happy and those around you happy. A Buddha is a common mortal who becomes enlightened to the Buddha Nature within and applies compassion to help others attain that same enlightenment. Reading the Sutras may help you to understand how Nichiren came to understand this kind of enlightenment, but it probably will not help you to apply the same to your contemporary life. Application, i.e., study by practice, is the key to that kind of enlightenment.



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3 years ago  ::  Aug 08, 2011 - 2:36AM #14
Posts: 3,458

The best translation I have found is in a very rare book, "Lecture on the Sutra" by Josei Toda.  Each phrase is translated in the back as an appendix, I prefer it over others I've seen.

Unfortunately this book is VERY rare, and in the sequels "Lectures on the Sutra", it is no longer there.  You can keep an eye out for this book, but very hard to find.

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