When human life first came into existence on this
earth it was the search for truth which lead to the
development of civilization. Throughout recorded
history different races and nations have given birth
to a wide variety of cultures and beliefs. At first, it
was the philosophy of these various cultuers, which
explained the value and significance of life. Soon
after, philosophy was transcended by religion. The
motivating force behind human civilization is both
material and spiritual. But it was through philosophy
and religion, with the search for an understanding of
realilty by individual philosophers and saints, that
religious doctrines came to exist. Regardless of
whether it was inferior or superior, shallow or deep,
a doctrine had been formed in search of the truth.
Hence, doctrine is the first of Nichiren Daishonin's
five principles of religion.*
Buddhism is known as the Inner Way, while other
religions are referred to as the Outer Way. It is with these
distinctions that the superiority or inferiority of Buddhism
may be judged. The determining factor for making this
decision is the Law of cause and effect and whether it is
recognized or denied. Also, if the Law of cause and
effect is accepted is it in a form which is eternal or
transient? This is the main point in deciding the
superiority of a faith.
Within the doctrine of materialism, which denies the existence of faith and spiritual values,
is it possible to justifiably explain the internal force and external influence which is present
in all life and phenomena? Also, if the supremacy of materialism is to be recognized, how
is it possible that mankind, if governed by this doctrine, is capable of attaining salvation?
The materialists have yet to produce an explanation which is acceptable to people of
religious faith. Materialism is clearly something which at the most only covers one aspect
of our existence, while the people who advocate this way of thinking can find neither
physical nor spiritual salvation.
In religions such as Christianity with their teachings of one god as an absolute creator, the
existence of cause and effect is something which is not clearly shown. Other religions as
well do not explain the links of causation and disregard the law of cause and effect.
Because of this they cannot describe or logically explain the reason for mankind needing to
live in the way of righteousness. They are also unable to demonstrate the real meaning of
our existence. Such questions are all covered in the teachings of Buddhism. Although it
may be reasonable to believe in a god as a creator, this belief does little to impart security
or peace of mind.
In the theories of philosophers of Europe and the Orient (those scholars who had dedicated
themselves to the accumulation of knowledge in the search for the true form of existence),
it seems that some conclusions have been reached which come very near to the truth; even
to the stage of revealing the path to enlightenment and explaining the reason behind cause
and effect. But this is merely a glimpse of one moment in the present, they cannot explain
the law of cause and effect as it occurs in the world of the past and the world of the future.
In contrast with these religions and philosophies which represent the Outer Way, Buddhism
teaches the law of causality as it occurs in the three existence of past, present and future,
explaining the true form of phenomena and the existence of all things which both can and
cannot be perceived. This forms one of the basic doctrines of Buddhism. It can be easily
understood by studying the three concepts of : 1) all things being transient; 2) all
phenomena being illusory; and 3) Nirvana** being quiescent. Since the faith of the Inner
Way teaches the logic of cause and effect, through which the existence of Buddha is
proven and the existence of God, an external diety, can be disproven, its superiority is
established over all other religions and philosophies.
|THE CASE FOR
BUDDHISM AS A RELIGIOIN
(Excerpted from a Treatise)
By Reverend Kendo Ohyama
|Edited by Udumbara Foundation staff.
|This is NOT an official site of
the Nichiren Shoshu Shoshin-kai
*Five principles of a religion - ( goko) Teaching, Understanding, Time, Country and Method of transmission
**Nirvana - In True Buddhism nirvana means an enlightened condition of life in the present world, based on faith in the
Gohonzon. Nichiren Daishonin explained that by chanting Namu-myoho-renge-kyo one can manifest his inherent
Buddhahood and attain the state of nrivana without escaping the cycle of brith and death.