Śāriputra! The Tathāgatas divide [the Dharma] into various teachings, and expound those teachings to all living beings so skillfully and with such gentle voices that living beings are delighted. Śāriputra! In short, the Buddhas attained the innumerable teachings which you have never heard before. No more, Śāriputra, will I say, because the Dharma attained by the Buddhas is the highest Truth, rare [to hear] and difficult to understand. Only the Buddhas attained [the highest Truth, that is,] the reality of all things in regard to their appearances as such, their natures as such, their entities as such, their powers as such, their activities as such, their primary causes as such, their environmental causes as such, their effects as such, their rewards and retributions as such, and their equality as such [despite these differences]. (The Lotus Sūtra pp. 23-24)

Ichinen Sanzen, the three thousand worlds in a single thought-moment, is the key principle of Nichiren Buddhism. The word ichinen means a single moment of conscious awareness. Sanzen literally means “three thousand,” in reference to the three thousand worlds. In this sense, the word “worlds” does not literally refer to different worlds. The meaning might better be translated as “modes of existence.” Ichinen sanzen is the theoretical formulation of the key insight of the Lotus Sūtra. Chih-i, the founder of the T’ien-t’ai school, coined this term to indicate what he saw as the central insight of Buddhism that is revealed through the practice of introspection into the essence of mind. Nichiren recognized the importance of ichinen sanzen and made it a central part of his own teaching and he mentions it many times in his major treatises and other writings.

“Conversation Between A Sage and an Unenlightened Man” states:

Therefore, Myōhō Renge Kyō enables us to obtain the present Buddha’s gate of insight into a single thought-moment. [It is the realization of] the unity of mind, body, and environment throughout all the ten worlds that is the three thousand worlds. (Shogu Mondo-shō, Shōwa Teihon p.370. Listed in the Rokuge. )

Further on, the same essay refers to Chih-i’s magnum opus, the Great Concentration and Insight. It is here that Chih-i taught the principle of ichinen sanzen:

Next, in Great Concentration and Insight, [Chih-i] expounds on the supreme understanding: the existence of the three thousand worlds in a single thought-moment [which is realized through the] meditation on the region of the inconceivable. This is the correct practice of original enlightenment and the principle mind of original wholeness. (Ibid, p.390 )

From these two passages, we can see the high regard and the great importance Nichiren placed on ichinen sanzen. We can also sense a certain hesitancy to actually discuss it because of the complexity and profundity of this principle. Nevertheless, in his own magnum opus, the Kanjin Honzon-shō, Nichiren does go into detail; indeed, he begins with a lengthy citation from Chih-i’s Great Concentration and Insight:

A mind by nature contains ten worlds of living beings. Since these ten worlds contain one another, there exist one hundred worlds in one mind. Each of these hundred worlds consists of “three realms,” that is to say, living beings, the land on which they live, and the five aggregates of living beings. They also possesses “ten factors.” Thus, thirty modes of existence are in one world and three thousand worlds are in one hundred worlds. In short, three thousand worlds are contained in the mind at any given moment. When there is mind, even for a momentary flash, three thousand worlds are in it… Thus a mind is unfathomable. (Adapted from p. 127 in WNS: D2)

In order to follow what Chih-i and Nichiren are talking about in this passage, it is necessary to review the different component parts that together make up the three thousand worlds, the “sanzen” in ichinen sanzen. The idea of the three thousand worlds refers to the Buddhist world view, in which all phenomena of life are seen from the point of view of the Buddha’s enlightenment. The first step in deriving the three thousand are the “ten worlds,” which consist of the six worlds depicted on the wheel of becoming in addition to the “four higher worlds” of the disciples, solitary contemplatives, bodhisattvas, and the buddhas. Each of these contains the other ten due to their mutual participation in each other, which results in one hundred worlds.

Life can be understood in terms of “ten factors,” or aspects that reveal the law of cause and effect at work in all phenomena. Each of these ten factors in turn manifests in our lives in three different realms: the realm of the individual, the realm of all beings, and the realm of the supporting environment. The thirty modes of existence that Chih-i refers to in the above passage indicates that these three realms each have the ten factors, or aspects, of life. The final step in deriving the three thousand realms is achieved when we understand that each of the one hundred worlds contains these thirty modes. The important thing to keep in mind is not the number crunching or the scholastic analysis, but the insight that every single moment of conscious experience contains and manifests all the principles and phenomena that make life what it is.

The Ten Worlds And Their Mutual Possession

Let’s begin our detailed discussion of the three thousand worlds with the ten worlds that describe the various states of life depicted on the wheel of becoming. In chapter two, the first six of the ten worlds appearing on the wheel of becoming were described in detail. These six worlds are alike in that those who are in these states are driven by the three poisons of greed, anger and ignorance to varying degrees. All of them strive to make the world they live in conform to their expectations and desires so that they can find security and lasting self-satisfaction. According to Buddhism, however, life is literally what we make of it. This means that those who live within the six worlds are actually suffering or temporarily enjoying the consequences of their own actions, even though they may not be aware of it. Despite their self-centered desires, fears or wishful thinking, they will still only reap what they have sown. Those who have stolen or exploited others out of greed will eventually find themselves the victims of poverty and exploitation. On the other hand, those who contribute to charity or donate their time to assist others will likewise receive good fortune in proportion to the merits of their actions and intentions. This cycle is self-perpetuating: we are constantly making new causes based upon our reactions to the effects of our previous causes in an effort to find a stable place of comfort and security. Unfortunately, there is no final resting place or lasting fulfillment within the six worlds because they are all in a constant state of changing and interacting with one another. One cannot even count on the heavenly states because they too are impermanent and subject to change.

The only real escape from the vicissitudes and uncertainty of the six worlds is to move into the four higher realms through the cultivation of the Buddha Dharma. These four worlds are not actually different worlds or forms of rebirth like the first six. Instead, they indicate different ways of relating to and living within the first six. These four higher worlds consist of the disciples of the Buddha and the solitary contemplatives who make up the Hīnayāna path of individual liberation, the bodhisattvas who strive for the awakening of all beings by following the Mahāyāna teachings, and the buddhas who have perfect and unsurpassed wisdom and infinite compassion. The four higher worlds, however, can also indicate levels of insight or compassionate activities that are associated with these various types of Buddhist practitioners. This broader interpretation of the four higher worlds can be applied to anyone and everyone, even those who may not know about Buddhism or identify themselves as Buddhists.

The first of the four higher worlds is that of the disciples of the Buddha . This is the world as viewed from the perspective of the four noble truths: suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the way to end suffering. Those who live in this state of mind look to others for insight and guidance and strive to free themselves from the six lower worlds. They are depicted within the wheel of becoming as monks in the world of humanity.

The second is the world of the solitary contemplatives. This is the world viewed from the perspective of dependent origination. Those who abide in this state of mind are able to realize the impermanence, suffering, and selflessness of the world for themselves through their own observations. They are also found within the world of humanity, where they are depicted as hermits.

The third is the world of the bodhisattvas. This is the world viewed as the field of compassionate endeavor, specifically the cultivation of the six perfections. Those who view the world in this way are not seeking to flee the world of birth and death, but stay within it in order to assist and teach others. The Bodhisattva Regarder of the Cries of the World appears within each of the six worlds on the wheel of becoming as a representative of all the bodhisattvas who appear throughout the universe in order to help the various beings who are suffering.

The highest of the ten worlds is the world of the buddhas. This is the world viewed from the perspective of perfect unsurpassed awakening. From this perspective, one can see that the world of birth and death is itself the Pure Land of Tranquil Light. According to the Lotus Sūtra, Śākyamuni Buddha is the historical manifestation of the Eternal Buddha who is the origin of all the buddhas who appear throughout time and space. As the Eternal Buddha, the Buddha stands outside the wheel of becoming altogether, where he points to the wheel of the Dharma. The world of the Buddha also represents the buddha-nature, which is our own capacity for perfect and unsurpassed enlightenment. As the buddha-nature, all the beings within the wheel of becoming have the capacity to awaken to the Wonderful Dharma — they are all potential buddhas. In actuality, these two aspects cannot be separated. The world of buddhahood transcends all the other states of becoming, but is also imminent within them.

As discussed in the second chapter, the six worlds are different states of mind that we experience over the course of a life or lifetimes, in the course of a single day, or even in a single moment. Though one or two states tend to predominate, they are all mutually implicated in one another: and the transformations between them are governed by the law of cause and effect. This is known as the principle of the mutual possession of the ten worlds. The principle of the mutual possession of the ten worlds is based upon the fact that these worlds are not actually separate. They are simply different ways of experiencing life depending upon the prevailing causes and conditions that are in operation at any given moment. As such, they all flow into one another. Each one contains aspects of the others within itself. The lower worlds tend to contain the higher worlds as potentials or ideals, whereas the higher worlds contain the lower worlds in the form of capacities or experiences that have been subsumed into a higher order.

The most important point to remember, however, is that since each of us contains all of the ten worlds within ourselves, we also carry the world of buddhahood. Therefore, we all have the capacity to bring out the world of the buddha from within as soon as we meet up with the right causes and conditions. The teaching of the mutual possession of the ten worlds is a very difficult teaching to understand, however; the idea that all beings are potential buddhas is even more difficult to believe or understand. Some sections of the following passage from Kanjin Honzon-shō have already been cited in the second chapter in relation to the six lower worlds. Now, let’s look at a larger part of that treatise to see how Nichiren explained all of the ten worlds and their mutual possession:

Question (15): I do not dare question what the Lotus Sūtra says and how T’ien-t’ai and his disciple Chang-an interpreted it regarding the “mutual possession of ten realms.” However, they sound as though they are calling fire, “water”, and black, “white.” It is hard to understand, although I believe this is what the Buddha preached. Now, no matter how many times we look at each other’s faces, we see only a human being, not anything of other worlds. It is the same with our own face. How is it possible to believe in the “mutual possession of the ten worlds” doctrine?

Answer: As we often look at each other’s faces, we notice our facial expression changes from time to time. It is full of delight, anger, or calm sometimes; but other times it changes to greed, ignorance, or flattery. Anger represents the hells, greed – hungry ghosts, ignorance – beasts, flattery – fighting demons, delight – gods, and calm – humanity. Thus we see in the countenance of people six worlds of illusion, from the hells to the worlds of the gods. We cannot see the four worlds of the holy ones, which are hidden from our eyes. Nevertheless, we might be able to see them too, if we look for them carefully.

Question(16): It is not entirely clear that the six worlds of illusion exist in the realm of human beings, but I am beginning to think they seem to as I listen to you. Nevertheless, I cannot see the four realms of holy ones at all. What do you say about this?

Answer: You doubted the existence of the six worlds of illusion in the world of human beings, but I tried hard to explain it until you said you seemed to understand it. The same might happen with the four worlds of holy ones. Therefore, I shall try to explain as much as possible what the sūtras state, supplemented with reason. We see the so-called principle of impermanence everywhere in front of our eyes. We humans understand this principle, through which two groups of Hīnayāna sages called śrāvaka and pratyekabuddha try to obtain awakening. How can we say then that the worlds of the two Hīnayāna sage groups are not included in the world of humanity? A man, no matter how inconsiderate he may be, loves his wife and children. It shows that he is partly in the bodhisattva world.

The only world contained in the human world and yet hard to see is that of buddhas. However, since we see nine other worlds included in the world of human beings, we can conjecture that the world of buddhas, too, is contained therein. You should firmly believe this and have no doubt about it. On the existence of the world of buddhas contained in the human world, the Lotus Sūtra states in the second chapter “Expedients” that the purpose of buddhas appearing in the world was “to cause all living beings to open the gate to the insight of the buddha.” And in the Nirvana Sūtra, we come across a passage which states: “Though having only human eyes, those who study Mahāyāna Buddhism are regarded the same as having buddha-eyes because they see the truth of Buddhism.” The reason why we, ordinary people, born in the latter age, can put our faith in the Lotus Sūtra is that the world of buddhas is included in the world of human beings. (Ibid, pp. 134-135.)

Further on Nichiren wrote:

The “mutual possession of ten worlds” doctrine is as difficult to maintain as it is to see fire in a rock or flowers in wood. However, it is not totally impossible because rocks spark when struck together and a tree blooms in spring. It is most difficult to believe that the world of buddhas is contained in the human world because it is just like saying that fire is in water or water is in fire. However, it is said that dragon fire comes out of water and dragon water comes out of fire. This is difficult to believe, but we cannot help but believe in it because of evidence of this. You have come to believe that each of the eight worlds are contained in the human realm. Why can you not believe that the realm of buddhas, too, is contained in it?

Ancient Chinese rulers, sages such as Yao and Shun, treated all people equally with compassion, proving the existence of the world of buddhas, at least a portion of it, within the human world. Never-Despising Bodhisattva, described in the twentieth chapter on “Never-Despising Bodhisattva” of the Lotus Sūtra, pressed his hands together in respect and bowed to anyone he met because whenever the bodhisattva saw someone, he saw a buddha in them. Born to the human world, Prince Siddhārtha, young Śākyamuni, became the Buddha. These examples should be enough to convince you to believe that the world of buddhas exists in the human world. (Ibid, pp. 136-137.)

The Ten Factors And Three Realms

As mentioned above, “the mutual possession of the ten worlds” means that each of the ten worlds contains all ten within itself, bringing the total to one hundred worlds. These one hundred worlds are one hundred different perspectives on life. Each possesses the ten factors of life, which brings the total up to one thousand. The mutual possession of the ten worlds is possible because the ten worlds each possess the ten factors in common. These ten factors illustrate the various ways in which one can analyze the common properties of life in all of the one hundred worlds. Fundamentally, the ten factors show that the one hundred worlds are all simply manifestations of the process of dependent origination and therefore are empty of any fixed or independent existence. The ten factors of life can be found in the second chapter of the Lotus Sūtra; the passage that contains them is recited as a part of the daily practice of Nichiren Buddhism. They are appearance, nature, entity, power, activity, causes, conditions, effects, consequences, and the unity of all phenomena.

Appearance is the external or objective aspects of phenomena. That which is seen, heard, smelled, touched, or tasted is included in this factor. This factor involves the way things relate to each other as externally differentiated subjects and objects. Appearance is closely associated with the truth of temporary existence, one of the three truths. It is also associated with the transformation or historical body of the Buddha, because it is by his appearance as a human being in the everyday world that the Buddha was able to transmit the Wonderful Dharma to us.

Nature is the internal or subjective aspect of phenomena. This factor involves the way in which any given phenomenon is not simply what it appears to be. All phenomena arise as an expression of the interdependent process of life that involves all other phenomena. In this sense, any given thing can be viewed as a particular momentary gestalt that includes all of life within itself. Nature, therefore, is the particular nature of the internal relations that make a thing what it is. These internal relations encompass the way the entire universal process of dependent origination comes together at that moment as that particular phenomenon. Putting this more simply, since each individual thing contains all things, “nature” refers to the way that all things interact to give the individual the attributes that make it what it is. This also indicates the inner life of the subject which is constituted by feelings and thoughts regarding the environment which influences and shapes its life. This factor is closely associated with the truth of emptiness, because just like emptiness, an examination of the nature of things reveals that nothing has a fixed or independent existence but relies upon the causes and conditions that bring about its temporary existence as a manifestation of dependent origination. Nature is also associated with the enjoyment or ideal body of the Buddha, because the enjoyment-body expresses the way in which the Buddha and all beings are both empty and therefore interrelated to their mutual enjoyment. In this case, “mutual enjoyment” refers to the Buddha’s enjoyment of the perfect and complete awakening he shares through the fulfillment of his vows to liberate all beings. Mutually, it is the enjoyment of liberation by the beings who are grasped by the Buddha’s compassion and enabled to realize perfect and complete awakening for themselves.

Entity is the integration of the spiritual and material aspects in phenomena. Phenomena can not be understood one-sidedly, either from the viewpoint of their external appearances or their internal natures. The factor of entity is a recognition that nothing can be understood without both its objective and its subjective sides. Entity is closely associated with the truth of the Middle Way; both point out that anything that exists interdependently is also empty of substantial existence. This is what allows life to be a dynamic process of mutual participation. Entity is also associated with the Dharma-body or universal body of the Buddha, because both terms are pointing to the non-dual and non-conceptual true nature of reality transcending all one sided views.

Power is the ability of phenomena to effect and undergo change. Whereas the first three factors analyze phenomena from the perspective of their external and internal relations, this factor and the next point out that all things are involved in a constant process of mutual influence and transformation. In other words, things do not merely bring each other into being and support each others’ existence, they are actually mutually transformative. The Buddha, for instance, has the power to help us realize our own potential for buddhahood. At the same time, by accepting his assistance and actually attaining buddhahood, we have the power to enable the Buddha to fulfill the vows which enable him to become the Buddha.

Activity is the actual change brought about through power. It should be pointed out that things will not necessarily be done just because someone or something has the power to do them. Nothing exists by itself and nothing happens in a vacuum. In order to have an actual affect on the world, the right circumstances must exist. These circumstances, based upon the power of the beings involved, call forth the appropriate activity or response to produce the actual effect. A match will not light itself, for instance. It must be struck against a wall or a match box first. Likewise, even the Buddha had to wait until the disciples were ready before he could fulfill his true intention by preaching the Lotus Sūtra. For our part, we can not attain buddhahood until we meet with the right teaching and practice, such as the practice of Odaimoku.

Causes are those actions that contribute directly to the present. This factor and the next three directly refer to the law of cause and effect. Cause, in this context, refers to all of our thoughts, words, and deeds that become seeds in the storehouse consciousness. The accumulation of these seeds are the habit-patterns that determine the ways in which our life will unfold. In fact, the dominant world or state of mind that is our usual state of being is the fruition of these very seeds. Therefore, it is very important that we plant as many good seeds in our life as possible. The chanting of Odaimoku, as the verbal expression of our intention to realize buddhahood for ourselves and others, is one of the best causes we can make. Accordingly, Nichiren called it “planting of the seed of buddhahood.”

Conditions are the secondary or environmental causes that allow the primary causes to bear fruit. The seeds we have planted in our life through our own actions require the proper circumstances before they come to fruition. Even when they do come to fruition, the exact ways in which they manifest can be influenced by the conditions that surround them. The causes we have made can be inhibited, distorted, modified, or even amplified depending upon the other causes that we have planted. This is why the chanting of Odaimoku can help us by creating and maintaining a connection with our own buddha-nature. This connection creates a positive, healthy environment which greatly diminishes the power of any negative causes we might have made and enhances our ability to deal with those difficulties that do arise. In the same respect, we should provide a positive and supportive environment for our primary practice of chanting Odaimoku by setting up a home altar and regularly reciting key passages from the Lotus Sūtra, offering prayers and the four bodhisattva vows.

Effects are the immediate consequences of present activity. Whenever we act, speak, or even think about something, there is an immediate effect upon our lives. That effect might be so minimal as to be hardly noticeable. However, the primary effect to which this refers is the planting of a new seed in the storehouse consciousness, not just the immediate change in our conscious lives. The importance of this is that everything that we do has an affect upon our day-to-day life and even more importantly upon our inner life. For instance, we might tell someone about Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō, and that person might simply say, “That’s interesting,” then change the topic; and that will seem to be the end of it. On an internal level, however, that person will have a connection, however slight, with the Lotus Sūtra. Within ourselves, we will have planted another seed of bodhisattva conduct by sharing the Dharma with others. This will eventually come to fruition by allowing us to meet with other bodhisattvas and enabling us to become more accomplished bodhisattvas ourselves.

Consequences are the future results of our present actions. This simply refers to the perhaps unforeseen long term effects of our present actions. It also refers to the eventual fruition, in one manner or another, of the karmic seeds that we have planted in the depths of our lives. In regards to the effects of Odaimoku, “consequences” refers to our future attainment of buddhahood, which Śākyamuni Buddha guaranteed in the Lotus Sūtra.

Unity refers to the non-duality of all phenomena despite their differing aspects. Even though all phenomena can be distinguished due to the differences between them in the other nine factors, they are all united and equal in that they are all empty and temporary manifestations of dependent origination. Again, this means that even though each of the ten worlds from hell to buddhahood seems radically different from one another, in actuality they are all a part of the same life process and can not actually be separated from one another. Because of this unity, the ten worlds mutually possess one another. Because of the mutual possession of the ten worlds, all beings are embraced by the Buddha and the buddha-nature can reside within all beings.

The ten factors bring a dynamic element into the portrait of life revealed by the ten worlds and their mutual possession. In addition, the ten factors show that this dynamism brings about great diversity. This diversity is revealed without overshadowing the essential unity of all phenomena. This unity is the suchness or emptiness of dependent origination.

The one thousand elements that result are made universal by the three realms. The three realms consist of the individual, who is composed of the five aggregates of form, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness; the community of all beings, who are transmigrating through the ten worlds; and the lands in which they all live. These three realms show that the one thousand elements are present in and manifest themselves through all things without exception. That is, the possibilities that they point to are possessed by individuals, societies and even non-human and inanimate phenomena.

Nichiren addressed this very point in the Kanjin Honzon-shō:

Question (9): How does the term “one thousand factors contained in one hundred worlds” differ from “three thousand worlds contained in one thought-moment”?

Answer: Speaking of a mind having “one thousand factors contained in one hundred worlds,” we consider sentient beings only. When we talk about “three thousand worlds contained in one thought-moment,” we consider both sentient as well as insentient beings.

Question (10): If even insentient beings possess “ten factors,” does it mean that even grass and trees possess senses so that they can obtain buddhahood just like sentient beings?

Answer: This is difficult to comprehend and difficult to believe. In fact, T’ien-t’ai is hard to understand and hard to believe in two respects: one is his doctrine, and the other his spiritual contemplation. What is difficult in his doctrine are the seemingly contradictory statements found in Buddhist scriptures preceding the Lotus Sūtra and in the Lotus Sūtra itself, which were preached by one person, the Buddha. The pre-Lotus Sūtra teachings hold that the two groups of Hīnayāna sages called śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas and the icchantika will never reach buddhahood, and that the Lord Śākyamuni achieved buddhahood for the first time in this life. However, this seems to be contradicted in the Lotus Sūtra’s essential and theoretical sections. They state that even [those of] the Two Vehicles and icchantika can become buddhas in the future and that the Lord Śākyamuni is in fact the Eternal Buddha. Thus one Buddha claimed two views, as far apart as fire and water. How could anyone believe him? This is the most difficult doctrine to understand and to put faith in.

The second difficulty in the T’ien-t’ai teaching is his spiritual contemplation regarding his doctrine of “one thousand factors contained in one hundred worlds” and “three thousand worlds contained in one though-moment.” It is founded on the concept of “ten factors,” maintaining that insentient beings such as grass, trees, and land possess ten factors, that is to say, even insentient beings have mind as well as body. This is hard to believe. However, worshiping wooden icons and portraits has been allowed in Buddhism, as well as other religions. This is acceptable only through the T’ien-t’ai doctrine. Unless grass and trees possess both matter and spirit and the principle of cause and effect, it does not make sense at all to worship icons and portraits. (Ibid, pp. 130-131)

Chih-i taught that these three thousand worlds were always present in every thought-moment. The true nature of reality, of which the three thousand worlds are merely aspects, can only be realized in a single moment of clear awareness. This is the simultaneous realization of the three truths of emptiness or unity, temporary existence or the three thousand worlds, and the Middle Way or the unity of the three thousand worlds in every single moment of dependent origination. It is also the transformation of the eight consciousnesses, which experience the three thousand worlds as the four wisdoms, that function in accord with the wisdom of the pure consciousness. Every thought-moment unfolds the fullness of reality when penetrated with deep spiritual insight. This insight into the true nature of consciousness in the present moment is called kanjin in T’ien-t’ai Buddhism.

Nichiren explains what it means in the following passage from the Kanjin Honzon-shō:

Question (12): I have learned that the “three thousand worlds contained in one thought-moment” doctrine was first expounded in the fifth fascicle of the Great Concentration and Insight, one of the three major works of Grand Master T’ien-t’ai. Now I would like to know the meaning of spiritual contemplation (kanjin).

Answer: Spiritual contemplation means for one to meditate on his own mind, observing through it ten worlds, from the hells up to the world of buddhas, all of which are by nature contained in every mind. For instance, one can see the six sense-organs of other people, but one cannot see and know one’s own six sense-organs unless one sees one’s reflection in a clear mirror. Despite the fact that various sūtras often preach six worlds of illusion and four worlds of holy beings, we do not see how our mind contains ten worlds, one hundred worlds, one thousand factors, and three thousand worlds, unless we see our reflection in the clear mirror of the Lotus Sūtra and the writings of Grand Master T’ien-t’ai, such as the Great Concentration and Insight. (Ibid, pp. 131-132)

Whereas Chih-i taught this theoretically and urged his disciples to try to actualize it through meditation, Nichiren taught that ichinen sanzen could be realized through faith in the Odaimoku. At the very end of the Kanjin Honzon-shō he wrote:

For those who are incapable of understanding the truth of the “three thousand worlds contained in one though-moment,” Lord Śākyamuni Buddha, with his great compassion, wraps this jewel with the five characters of myō, , ren, ge, and kyō and hangs it around the necks of the ignorant in the Latter Age of Degeneration. (Ibid, p. 164.)

Ichinen sanzen is really the pinnacle of T’ien-t’ai Buddhism and the theoretical cornerstone of Nichiren Buddhism. Far from being a dry relic of Chinese Buddhist scholasticism, it is a way to see life as rich, dynamic, and meaningful. This is a world view that embraces the non-duality of body and mind and the non-duality of life and its environment. These two teachings point out that reality is interdependent, and the things that happen to and around us are not just meaningless mechanistic events or mere happenstance. With ichinen sanzen in mind, we can see life as inherently meaningful and infused with the ten worlds, operating according to the causes and conditions that we all set in motion. This world-view is not barren materialism or dogmatic theism; it is a dynamic non-dualism. This living breathing cosmology can be entered through the activity of chanting Odaimoku. Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō is the way to put this view into practice with our whole being and not just with our intellect. By bringing about a fuller realization of ichinen sanzen through the practice of Odaimoku, we can change the way we relate to ourselves, to others, and to the world.