QUESTION: Why does Nichiren Shoshu view Nichiren as the true Buddha? Why don't they recognize
Shakyamuni as the true Buddha?  At the end of Gongyo - from ga yaku i se bu / ku so kugen sha   to  Mai ji sa ze
/ i ga ryo shu jo / toku nyu mujo do / soku jo ju bushin doesn't this passage prove that Shakyamuni is the true
Buddha?  That he is the father of the world and not
ANSWER: Shakyamuni expounded the Lotus Sutra but he did not put it into practice. What he put forth with the
Lotus Sutra is comparable to a blueprint, but it is not the actual thing, or entity.  It is theory not proof.
Nichiren Daishonin was not satisfied with understanding the Lotus Sutra for himself alone, his thought was to
establish a way for all people to practice and reach enlightenment. Shakyamuni could only preach the Lotus Sutra,
he could not practice it. Nichiren Daishonin not only preached it, he practiced it - he lived it - and put it into a
practical form whereby all people could attain enlightenment. That is why Shakyamuni is a temporary or
provisional Buddha and Nichiren Daishonin is the true Buddha. The last paragraph of the 16th chapter of the Lotus
Sutra reads:

Mai ji sa ze nen        Ever making this my thought:
I ga ryo shu jo         'How shall I cause all the living
Toku nyu mujo do    To enter the Way supreme
Soku jo ju bushin     And speedily accomplish their buddhahood?'
Shakyamuni could not find the way.  Nichiren Daishonin did!
The central point of the above passage is the Law of Namu-myoho-renge-kyo
and not the Buddha. Namu-myoho-renge-kyo is also in the center of the
Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin. Having Namu-myoho-renge-kyo as
the center of
Gohonzon means that the source of our lives, the source of other
living things, the source of all life is Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. Even the lives
existing in the worlds of Hell, Hunger, Animality and Anger have
Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. No matter what kind of life it is, for any life, no matter
what world or what condition of life, to be able to realize
Namu-myoho-renge-kyo is enlightenment.
As disciples of the Lotus Sutra it is the Daishonin who shows us how to become enlightened, not Shakyamuni.
Unlike the extraordinary figure of Shakyamuni, Nichiren Daishonin's life was the life of the Everyman. He felt the
emotion of sadness; he endured suffering, pain, poverty, hunger and cold. And while he experienced what we
ordinary people experience he still attained enlightenment. It is only the Daishonin who demonstrated how to attain
enlightenment, not Shakyamuni. That is why the Daishonin is the true Buddha.
In the order of things, first there was the Law - Myoho-renge-kyo. Later the Buddha came along and awakened to
the Law, then he transmitted what he had realized to the people. The Buddha did not create this world, nor does
the Buddha, unlike God, ever say that he created the world. The Law is equal to the Buddha and to the people.
QUESTION: Why isn't Nichiren Shoshu in the mainstream of Buddhism? All other Buddhist sects have similar
beliefs, including Nichiren Shu.
ANSWER: Many people have the misconception about Buddhism that Buddhism is the teachings or words of the
Buddha; that the Buddha created these teachings. But that is not so. Buddhism is the teachings of the Law, which
teaches us how to attain enlightenment and become Buddha. Buddhas, bodhisattvas and common mortals attain
enlightenment when you place the Law - Namu-myoho-renge-kyo - in the center.
There are many Buddhas that are recognized, such as Shakyamuni, Dainichi Tathagata , Amida Tathagata, Kannon
and Miroku (Maitreya) to name a few. If we ask these Buddhas to save us then we are not practicing Buddhism.
Even though other so-called Buddhisms are called Buddhisms they really are not Buddhism at all.
By Reverend Raido Hirota
June, 2002
Translated and edited by Udumbara Foundation staff.
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