(SGI President Ikeda, My Dear Friends in America, p. ). The importance of the mentor–disciple relationship is clearly stated in To chant Myoho-renge-kyo with this realization is to inherit the ultimate Law of life and death. SGI President Ikeda's poem commemorating November 18th, the As the Soka spirit of mentor and disciple. Up to the moment of his death. During February's monthly leaders meeting, Mr. Ikeda described Mr. Toda as. after his release from prison at the end of the war until his death in , Mr. of justice," which is at the heart of the mentor-disciple relationship.
It further clarifies that the Law is transmitted to disciples who make that vow their own and strive in the same spirit. This paves the way for conveying the life-state of the Buddha to living beings even in the age after his passing. Nichiren set forth Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as the means for manifesting our innate Buddhahood.
He revealed that the great vow for kosen-rufu and selfless dedication are the keys to Buddhist practice in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law. By doing so, he secured the transmission of the heritage for attaining Buddhahood.
Everything rests on the fundamental power inherent in the mentor-disciple relationship. If one veers from the path of mentor and disciple, then even if one upholds the Lotus Sutra, one will fall into the hell of incessant suffering. Because the mentors and disciples of Soka have been victorious, we have made worldwide kosen-rufu, the decree of the Lotus Sutra and the wish of Nichiren, a reality.
But when mentor and disciple are united, they can achieve even the loftiest goals. The mentor-disciple bond is an unparalleled force for victory. Do not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life. This is what I have taught my disciples morning and evening, and yet they begin to harbor doubts and abandon their faith.
Faith as conceived by Nichiren precludes doubt [toward the power of the Mystic Law]. Therefore, it is only natural that our Buddhist practice includes actively battling the devilish nature inherent in life as well as external obstacles and devilish functions that act as negative influences. And he assures us that if we join him in this struggle, we will realize the fruit, or effect, of attaining Buddhahood without fail. LB Nov 04, p 30 Ultimately, unless we undertake the same resolve as our mentor in faith, we will be defeated by devilish functions.
This is why the Daishonin called his disciples to rise into action with a vow equal to his. He proved there is nothing to fear, not even amid the most terrible persecution or hardship caused by devilish functions. The spirit to battle powerful enemies is the heart of the lion king.
Differing Views on the Mentor/Disciple Relationship
As long as we possess the readiness and courage to confront these negative forces, we can manifest our inherent Buddhahood and bring forth the necessary fighting spirit, wisdom and life force to achieve victory.
The beneficent Law manifests in the conduct of the votary of the Lotus Sutra. It is extremely rare, however, to encounter a votary who struggles against and triumphs over the three powerful enemies. It is difficult to encounter a genuine leader of Buddhism. LB Nov 05, p 39 Ready to brave all consequences, Nichiren declares his resolve: Let the gods forsake me.
Let all persecutions assail me. I will be the eyes of Japan. I will be the great ship of Japan. This is my vow, and I will never forsake it!
Here, he reveals the core of his own spirit. While these passages constitute declarations of his personal resolve and commitment, he is also underscoring the importance of cultivating faith that responds to the spirit of the mentor.
It is as if he were saying: Cast aside your doubts and laments as befits cubs of the lion king! LB Mar 06, p 72 The essence of this ultimate teaching of the Buddhas is to help everyone actualize the same great enlightenment that they have achieved. That is why Buddhism is at all times concerned with raising disciples who will exert themselves in faith and practice with the same spirit as the mentor.
Buddhism is none other than a philosophy of mentor and disciple. LB Mar 06, p 76 From the Lotus Sutra, Chapter 2, Expedient Means Shariputra, you should know that at the start I took a vow, hoping to make all persons equal to me, without any distinction between us, and what I long ago hoped for has now been fulfilled. I have converted all living beings and caused them all to enter the Buddha way. They do not seek the Buddha, with his great might, or the Law that can end their sufferings, … For the sake of these living beings I summon up a mind of great compassion.
With persons such as this, what can I say, how can I save them? And because they rejected the Law and failed to believe it, they would fall into the three evil paths. But following the example of all other Buddhas, you will employ the power of expedient means. If our enlightenment is not the equal of the priests, it is certainly much different from the enlightenment of the High Priest who is the Master who possesses the Bestowal of the Living Essence of the Law.
What does that mean? In what way are we different? Therefore when the latter wake from their empty dreams of birth and death and return to their waking state of original enlightenment, they are said to attain Buddhahood in their present form, to gain the great wisdom of equality, the Law that is without distinctions, and to understand that all are able to achieve the Buddha way, for there is only this one doctrine.
Seeking / strengthening the relationship of mentor and disciple « Academic Division
Nikko Shonin, which Nichiren Shoshu professes to follow, was clear about this point. In sharp contrast, we should look at what Josei Toda experienced in prison after pondering a passage from the Lotus Sutra that confused him; and had confused Buddhist scholars for more than years. The Buddha, the Law and the ordinary person, Josei Toda, are in no way different or separate, but one and the same.
This realization revitalized Buddhism in the modern world. Toda realized the oneness of Buddha and ordinary people. And as a result, members of the SGI can chant to the Gohonzon with this realization and inherit the ultimate Law of life and death for ourselves, as we are, in our present form—exactly as the Daishonin intended. SGI President Ikeda writes: Then, though some of the original ideals may linger, the movement no longer has the vibrant power to realize them.
But, according to the Buddhist teachings, this should not be the case. The Buddhist philosophy that all are equally worthy of respect is no abstract doctrine.