Writings of Nichiren Shōnin Doctrine 2, pp. 133-137

Two Nichiren Texts, pp. 71-76

The Writings of Nichiren Daishōnin I, pp. 357-359

In question 14 the interlocutor asks, quite sensibly, how can we believe that all ten worlds exist within ourselves since we only see human features when we look at each other or ourselves in the mirror? In other words, what does it really mean to claim that within the depths of our lives we can discern hell-dwellers, hungry ghosts, animals, fighting demons, gods, śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas, and even buddhas? Nichiren responds that it is indeed difficulty to believing in this teaching of the mutual possession of the ten worlds. He points out that in the Lotus Sūtra the Buddha says that of all the sūtras he has expounded in the past present or future, “This Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma is the most difficult to believe and the most difficult to understand.” (Ibid, p. 180) He also cites the Buddha’s simile of the six difficult and nine easy acts to contrast how difficult it will be to teach the Lotus Sūtra in the Latter Age of the Dharma compared to teaching any of the other sūtras. The six difficult acts consist of doing the following things in the evil world after the Buddha’s passing:

1. Expounding the Lotus Sūtra.

2. Copying and keeping the Lotus Sūtra.

3. Reading the Lotus Sūtra even for a while.

4. Keeping the Lotus Sūtra and expounding it to even one person.

5. Hearing and receiving the Lotus Sūtra and asking about its meaning.

6. Keeping the Lotus Sūtra after the Buddha’s passing.

(Ibid, pp. 195-197)

By contrast the nine easy acts consist of teaching any of the other sūtras or any of a variety of astoundingly impossible superhuman feats. The implication being that teaching the other sūtras may be as difficult as the Herculean acts listed, but nowhere near as difficult as teaching the Lotus Sūtra. The nine easy acts are:

1. Expounding all other sūtras.

2. Grasping and hurling Mr. Sumeru.

3. Hurling a thousand million worlds with the tip of one’s toe.

4. Expounding innumerable sūtras in the highest heaven of the realm of form.

5. Grasping the sky and wandering about with it.

6. Putting the great earth on one’s toenail and going up to the Brahma Heaven.

7. Bearing a load of hay unscathed in an apocalyptic fire.

8. Keeping all the other sūtras and expounding them to the śrāvakas so they are able to attain the six supernatural powers.

9. Expound the Dharma to thousands and billions of people so that they are able to become arhats and attain the six supernatural powers.

(Ibid, pp. 195-197)

Nichiren also quotes Chang-an Kuan-ting (561-632), the second patriarch of the T’ien-t’ai school, who says, “The doctrine of the mutual possession of the ten worlds is the very reason why the Buddha appeared in the world. How can we ordinary people be expected to put faith in the Lotus Sūtra and comprehend it easily?” (Hori 2002, p. 134) He also cites Saichō (767-822), known posthumously as the Great Master Dengyō, who founded the Tendai School. Saichō said, “This Lotus Sūtra is most difficult to believe in and comprehend, because the sūtra preaches the true intent of the Buddha.” (Ibid, p. 134) Here Nichiren uses the testimony of the T’ien-t’ai patriarchs to show that the mutual possession of the ten worlds is difficult to believe precisely because it is the doctrinal formulation of the “one great purpose for which the buddhas appear in the worlds” spoken of in the second chapter of the Lotus Sūtra and the true intent of the teachings of Śākyamuni Buddha.

 

Nichiren then points out that even according to the Lotus Sūtra itself this teaching was difficult to believe even when the Buddha himself was teaching it. He cites two cases in the Lotus Sūtra when those who were present either removed themselves or were removed because of their disbelief. In the first case, there were the 5,000 arrogant monastics and laypeople that left the assembly just after the Buddha announced that he would expound the Dharma.

When he had said this, five thousand people among the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen of this congregation rose from their seats, bowed to the Buddha, and retired because they were so sinful and arrogant that they thought that they had already obtained what they had not yet, and that they had already understood what they had not yet. Because of these faults, they did not stay. The World Honored One kept silence and did not check them. (Murano 2012, p. 32 adapted)

In chapter 11 of the Lotus Sūtra, when the Buddha purifies the Sahā world, this world where sufferings must be endured, itself composed of millions of worlds, the beings of the six worlds who had not already joined the assembly at Vulture Peak were magically removed.

The hells, the world of hungry ghosts, the world of animals, and the world of fighting demons [within those worlds] were eliminated; and the gods and humans [of those worlds] were removed to other worlds. (Ibid, p. 189 adapted)

In his response to the interlocutors persistent questioning, in particular the 17th, Nichiren asks how anyone in the present can be convinced of this teaching if they do not believe in the Buddha’s statements in the Lotus Sūtra. Why would they take the word of any of the “four ranks of bodhisattva-teachers” or those in the present Latter Age of the Dharma who are only at the first stage of identity if they will not take the Buddha’s word for it? Nevertheless he concedes that it may be possible because even in the days and years after the Buddha’s passing there were those who did not awaken when the Buddha was alive but who attained awakening through the guidance of Ānanda and other disciples of the Buddha. Likewise, there are those who attain awakening by hearing the Lotus Sūtra directly from the Buddha and those who hear the Lotus Sūtra taught by others. Nichiren then introduces the idea of the seed of buddhahood sown in remote ages and coming to ripen under the influence of provisional Buddhist teachings or even non-Buddhist teachings, while those without such seeds instead cling to provisional teachings. He introduces these ideas to make it clear why the teaching of the mutual possession of the ten worlds may be so hard to accept and many of these ideas and themes are referred to and developed throughout Kanjin Honzon-shō. The concept of the “seed of buddhahood” in particular becomes a major theme that I will discuss separately. For now, however, I would like to briefly explain what Nichiren means by the ages of the Dharma, who the four ranks of bodhisattva-teachers are, and what the seed of buddhahood is about in relation to Buddhist and non-Buddhist teachings.

Three Ages of the Dharma

I will begin with the concept of the three ages of the Dharma. This is the idea that the first thousand years after the Buddha’s passing will be the Former or True Age of the True Dharma when Buddhism will be taught correctly and people can attain awakening in this life; the second thousand years will be the Middle Age of the Semblance Dharma when false counterfeit teachings will appear; and the 10,000 years after that will be the Latter Age of the Degeneration of Dharma when Buddhism’s true spirit will be totally lost and it will gradually disappear. Nichiren says, “How much more difficult is it to believe in the Lotus Sūtra in the ages of the True Dharma and Semblance Dharma after the death of Śākyamuni Buddha, not to say in the beginning of the Latter Age of Degeneration! (Hori 2002, p. 134) Nichiren refers to these three ages and particularly to the Latter Age of Degeneration throughout Kanjin Honzon-shō. Nichiren’s remark that I just quoted is based on passages in the Lotus Sūtra wherein the Buddha seems to make prophetic remarks about the kinds of troubles that will be faced by those who try to uphold the Lotus Sūtra in the dark times of the Latter Age.

In my lifetime or after my extinction some will slander this sūtra, and despise the person who reads or recites or copies or keeps this sūtra. They will hate him, look at him with jealousy, and harbor enmity against him. (Murano 2012, p. 83)

Many people hate it with jealousy even in my lifetime, Needless to say, more people will do so after my extinction. (Ibid, pp. 180)

A few remarks need to be made about the sūtra passages. These certainly do sound as though they are prophecies. However, they should not be understood to be predictions of the future made by an omniscient Buddha, though that is how Nichiren and others in past ages understood them. The three ages of the Dharma in particular are often taken either too literally or too easily dismissed out of hand. So I think it is important to understand the nature of these “prophecies.”

There are two reasons these prophecies appear in the sūtras. The first is that Śākyamuni Buddha had a keen understanding of human nature and he also seemed to accept (at least to a certain extent) the cyclic nature of the Vedic worldview. Śākyamuni Buddha understood that while the Dharma itself is incorruptible and in a sense eternal (having no beginning or end but simply being the way things actually are) its historical expressions and the institutions set up to uphold and pass them along are not. Eventually, these constructed phenomena will themselves come to an end after a period of corruption and decline. The teachings will be obscured, misunderstood, and fought over. People will lose the true spirit of the teachings and either follow the empty form or twist the forms to suit their own ends once the actual Dharma is forgotten. The Sangha as an institution will either fade away, or face oppression as social and political circumstances change, or it will rot from within due to the actions of those who use religion for their own aggrandizement. The Buddha did not need to see the future to make such a “prediction.” His own deep understanding of human weakness and the impermanent and contingent nature of all phenomena caused him to realize that even his own teachings and the Sangha he was creating were not immune to the process of change and loss.

The other reason these prophecies appear is because the Mahāyāna sūtras themselves were the artistic and inspired creation of monks living many generations after the time of the Buddha. Putting their own insights and observations into the mouth of the historical Buddha or a glorified Buddha or disciple or bodhisattva or god in imaginary discourses, these monks described the circumstances of corruption and persecution that they themselves were facing in the form of “prophecies” given by the Buddha, his contemporaries, and mythic figures who were supposedly present to hear the Buddha’s teaching many centuries before.

The three ages of the Dharma appear in the Pāli Canon and in the Mahāyāna sūtras as a way of summarizing the teaching that even the Dharma itself (as a conceptual teaching and historical phenomena) will decline. It fits in very well with the common Vedic motif of the cycle of creation, maintenance, decline, and destruction. According to the teaching of the three ages, the Former Age of the True Dharma begins with the first rolling of the Wheel of the Dharma by the Buddha at the Deer Park. It will continue for a thousand years to be followed by the Middle Age of the Semblance of Dharma. After a thousand years of the Middle Age of Semblance the 10,000 years of the Latter Age of the Degeneration of Dharma will begin. During the first age, those with a strong affinity for the Buddha and the Dharma will be born during the lifetime of the Buddha or soon enough afterwards to be able to benefit from the True Dharma and thereby attain awakening. Those with a weaker karmic affinity will be born in the Semblance Age when the true spirit of Buddhism has been lost and only the outwards forms remain more or less intact. But even they are able to make some progress, and according to Mahāyāna teachings they can be reborn in the pure lands of the celestial buddhas and bodhisattvas after their deaths and thereby attain awakening in those happier circumstances. Those born in the Latter Age of Degeneration, however, have no good roots or genuine karmic affinity for the Dharma, so they are born into an age when even the outward forms are disappearing and rather than practice the Dharma people will only fight over it. It is also taught that the Latter Age will be the time of the five defilements. The five defilements are: 1) the decay of the age due to famine, plagues, and war; 2) the decay of views as people take up wrong views; 3) the decay of evil passions as people’s greed, hatred, and ignorance increase; 4) the decay of living beings as their physical and spiritual strength ebbs; and 5) the decay of lifespan as people live shorter lives.

When the teaching of the three ages is taken too literally, people start trying to affix dates so they can definitively state when one age has ended or begun. In East Asia, it was believed that the Buddha lived from 1029 to 949 B.C.E. due to the attempts of Chinese Buddhists to show that the Buddha predated Lao-tzu and the Taoist teachings. Assuming these dates for the life of the Buddha they, and Nichiren, believed that the Latter Age had begun in 1052 C.E. However, modern scholars believe the Buddha’s actual dates were 500 years or more later than that. The Japanese Buddhist scholar Hajime Nakamura set the dates as late as 463-383 B.C.E. What all this means is that if the dates of the three ages are taken literally, then Nichiren’s belief that he was living in the Latter Age is completely off the mark since the Latter Age would not actually begin until the 16th or 17th century. In addition, the idea that the world suddenly shifts gears spiritually like clockwork when a particular calendar date comes around should strike us as naive and entirely too arbitrary.

The three ages of the Dharma should not be dismissed however. It is a teaching that shows an awareness of the contingent and corruptible nature of the historical manifestations of the Dharma. It is a recognition that existentially, if not historically and geographically, we are indeed alienated from the true spirit of the Buddha’s teachings and that we should listen to the Dharma as if hearing it for the first time (which many of us are) and not take it for granted. It is a recognition that Buddhism as a historical phenomena cannot remain static but must meet new challenges in every age. Furthermore, the three ages teaches us to never be complacent about the Three Treasures – the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This teaching challenges us to try to renew the Dharma in the face of all corruption, deceit, oppression, and misunderstanding. It should not be taken in a way that causes us to be cynical or to despair that we are living in an age too corrupt to practice Buddhism. Nichiren did not take it in a pessimistic way – rather he saw the Latter Age as an opportunity to spread the Dharma in a new way through the Odaimoku. Other Buddhists might point to Nichiren’s way as just a further symptom, or even cause, of the corruption and loss of the true spirit and original form of the Dharma. Nichiren Buddhists, however, should have confidence that Nichiren did not misinterpret the true intent of the many sūtra passages he marshaled to show the correct way to practice in the Latter Age. He may have taken these passages more literally than we might, but I do believe he saw the actual intent of these teachings – to spur us out of our complacency and despair and to renew our commitment to the Dharma and its efficacy in new ways for a new age. This is an argument that Nichiren will make in more detail in his later more mature writings on the subject (particularly the Senji-shō, the Selection of the Time) but for now he simply wants to show that the conditions which these sūtras speak of are the conditions that he and his contemporaries were facing.

The Four Ranks of Bodhisattva-Teachers

The four ranks of bodhisattva-teachers is a teaching derived from chapter 8 of the Nirvāna Sūtra. In that chapter the Buddha speaks to a bodhisattva named Kāśyapa about the “four dependables” who are four ranks of enlightened teachers who will appear in the world as a refuge to other beings (presumably because they will compose the refuge of the Sangha among the Three Treasures).

O good man! In this all-wonderful Mahāparinirvāna Sūtra, there emerge four kinds of people. These well protect, establish, and think about the True Dharma. They well benefit others and have love and compassion for the world. They become the refuges of the world and give peace and bliss to humans and gods. What are the four? A person emerges in the world possessed of illusions. This is the first category. Those who are stream-enterers and once-returners are of the second. Those of who are non-returners are of the third. Those who are arhats are of the fourth. Such four ranks of people emerge, benefit, and have love and compassion for the world. They become the refuges of the world and give peace and bliss to humans and gods. (Yamamoto, p. 135)

The idea is that these four ranks of dependables will appear in the various ages of the Dharma as teachers that can be depended upon to teach and uphold the Dharma correctly. The first rank consists of those people who have taken refuge themselves in the Three Treasures and are practicing the teachings but who have not yet overcome any of the ten fetters that keep sentient beings trapped in the cycle of birth and death among the six lower worlds. The second rank consists of stream-enterers and once returners. The stream-enterers are those who have entered the stream of the Dharma by eliminating the first three fetters of belief in a substantial self, skepticism regarding the Three Treasures, and the false belief that rites and rituals of themselves can bring about liberation. Once returners have weakened the fetters of sensual craving and ill-will and so they will only be reborn once more among humans or in the heavens of the desire realm before attaining liberation from the six worlds. The third rank consists of non-returners who will not be reborn among humans or in any heaven besides those in the form realm called the pure abodes because they have eliminated sensual craving and ill-will. The fourth ranks consists of arhats who have also eliminated the more subtle fetters of craving for continued existence in the heavens of the realm of form, craving for continued existence in the heavens of the realm of formlessness, conceit, restlessness, and ignorance. Stream-enterers are supposed to be able to attain arhatship within seven more lifetimes among humans or gods, while once-returners will only have to undergo at most once more lifetime, and non-returners will attain arhatship in the pure abodes. Arhats are supposed to be able to leave forever the six worlds. However, as explained in a previous chapter, the arhats actually enter the Land of Transition and eventually return as bodhisattvas.

The Buddha goes on to describe each of these ranks in more detail and also points out that these ranks can also be considered to include bodhisattvas. The first includes beginner bodhisattvas who have newly aroused the “awakening mind” (S. bodhicitta). The second rank includes those bodhisattvas who have received the prophecy of buddhahood, just as the bodhisattva Learned Youth received the prophecy from Burning Light Buddha that he would attain buddhahood and be known as Śākyamuni Buddha. The third rank includes bodhisattvas who have achieved the stage of non-retrogression, meaning that they will not fall away from their path. The fourth rank includes those bodhisattvas who are on the very verge of buddhahood such as Maitreya Bodhisattva who resides in the Heaven of Contentment awaiting the time to make his appearance as the next buddha of this world after Śākyamuni Buddha.

The various renowned teachers of Buddhism after the passing of Śākyamuni Buddha such as Mahākāśyapa, Ānanda, and other patriarchs who primarily taught and transmitted Hīnayāna teachings, or Nāgārjuna (late second to early third century) and Vasubandhu (c. fourth or fifth century), who primarily taught and transmitted Mahāyāna teachings, are considered to be the appearance of these four ranks during the Former and Middle ages of the Dharma. Now, however, these dependable teachers are few and far between or even entirely absent because the Latter Age of Degeneration is when those with good roots no longer appear in the world. Nichiren states that those of us in the Latter Age are among those who should be ranked among those in the first degree of “identity in principle” of the six degrees of identity I have discussed previously. Those in this degree of identity have the buddha-nature but do not realize it. In other words, they may not care about Buddhism at all or they have mistaken beliefs that interfere with their realization or, like the interlocutor, they despairingly believe that they might be icchantika, the incorrigible who “have no buddha-nature.”  In T’ien-t’ai and Nichiren Buddhism there is really no such thing as someone with no buddha-nature, though certainly there are those who don’t know it or believe it. The point here is that the interlocutor does not seem to believe it and so can’t bring himself to believe in the mutual possession of the ten worlds. For Nichiren’s part, in responding to the interlocutor he seems to be assuming that he is not among the four ranks of bodhisattva-teachers and instead is also one of those who do not realize their own buddha-nature, so how can he be expected to convincingly teach the mutual possession of the ten worlds?

The Seed of Buddhahood

Here I have to introduce the idea of the “seed of buddhahood” though I am also going to devote a whole chapter to it. Nichiren mentions it when he discusses those who have seemingly attained awakening through means other than the Lotus Sūtra. As examples he mentions that there were some in India and China who attained the right views of Buddhism through non-Buddhist teachings found in the Vedas or Confucian or Taoist teachings. He mentions the pratyekabuddhas who awakened to the truth of emptiness by watching flower petals falling in spring or leaves falling in autumn. He says that there were many bodhisattvas and ordinary people of superior capacity whose seed of buddhahood bloomed when they heard the teachings of the Flower Garland Sūtra, the Expanded sūtras, or the Perfection of Wisdom sūtras. On the other hand, those who never received the seed of buddhahood in the past are unable to awaken even if they should encounter the Lotus Sūtra, and instead they cling to provisional or Hīnayāna teachings and become inferior to even those non-Buddhists attained the right view of the Buddha through non-Buddhist teachings. The idea is that if the seed of buddhahood is already within our lives then even a non-Buddhist or provisional Buddhist teaching can inspire us and we can awaken to the right view of the Buddha, including the view of the Lotus Sūtra that all ten worlds mutually embrace one another. Presumably such a person will respond positively to the Lotus Sūtra once they are able to hear it, for they will recognize what they knew in their heart all along even if they had not been able to fully articulate it. Those without the seed of buddhahood, however, will not be able to grasp such a profound view, will cling to lesser teachings, and reject the Lotus Sūtra even if they should hear it.

What is this seed of buddhahood? Nichiren mentions two instances in the Lotus Sūtra when people are said to have received it. The first instance is in chapter seven of the Lotus Sūtra when the Buddha described his past life as one of the sixteen sons of Great Universal Wisdom Excellence Buddha who taught the Lotus Sūtra. This was said to have occurred 3,000 dust-particle kalpa in the past. What does “3,000 dust-particle kalpa” mean? A kalpa is a Sanskrit word for an immense unit of time that could perhaps be translated as “eon.” The 3,000 dust-particles is a way of referring to an analogy given at the beginning of chapter 7 that is actually meant to convey a much larger, even uncountable, number of kalpas. The analogy involves reducing a thousand million worlds into dust particles and then distributing all the dust on every thousandth world until all the particles were gone and then repeating the procedure twice more. The number of kalpas in the past that the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence Buddha supposedly taught the Lotus Sūtra is said to be greater than the number of dust-particles produced. So the teaching of the Lotus Sūtra in that remote age is considered the sowing of the seed of buddhahood in those beings who were present, including the bodhisattva who became Śākyamuni Buddha.

The second instance of sowing the seeds of buddhahood occurs in the 16th chapter of the Lotus Sūtra. This is the chapter wherein Śākyamuni Buddha reveals that he actually attained buddhahood and has been teaching the Dharma since the remote past. This is an even remoter past than that spoken of in chapter seven. The Buddha gives a similar analogy about dust particles and it begins with the smashing of “five hundred thousand billion anyuta asamkhya worlds, which were each composed of one thousand million Sumeru-worlds” (Murano 2012, p. 247). The analogy continues from there and is obviously much more astounding than the one in chapter seven, though the time period is misleadingly referred to as the 500 dust-particle kalpa which sounds like a smaller number than the previous analogy. The point is that the Buddha’s awakening and the time that he began teaching the Lotus Sūtra and sowing the seed of buddhahood in sentient beings extends into a past so remote that it is practically unquantifiable.

The seed of buddhahood is to hear the teaching of the Lotus Sūtra and in particular to hear that the world of buddhahood and the worlds of ignorant sentient beings mutually contain one another. Whether or not one understands or accepts that teaching it will still reside in the minds of the hearers until the conditions are right for it to unfold into faith and understanding. In Kaimoku-shō, Nichiren wondered, on behalf of himself and his followers, if he (and they) were excluded from these groups who heard the Lotus Sūtra in 3,000 or 500 dust-particle kalpas in the past. In other words, he wonders if in their past lives he and his followers were either not present during these past occasions when the Lotus Sūtra was taught or if they had been there but had rejected the sūtra, thus failing to sow the seed of buddhahood. Similarly he wonders if he had heard the Lotus Sūtra in the remote past 500 dust-particle kalpas ago and had sown the seed of buddhahood but had continually fallen away from that initial moment of taking faith in the Lotus Sūtra ever since. In Kanjin Honzon-shō, Nichiren seems to be bringing all this up by way of telling the interlocutor that being able to believe in the mutual possession of the ten worlds is so difficult that it requires this seed of buddhahood within our lives and that those of us who have been born in this Latter Age of the Dharma may be among those who have either never had that seed sown or who may have subsequently rejected it. I will have more to say about the seed of buddhahood further on in this commentary.

All of this talk of the three ages of the Dharma, the four ranks of bodhisattva-teachers and six identities, and whether or not one has received the seed of buddhahood in a distant page age may seem very abstract and remote. I think we should view all this as different metaphors for coming to terms with our present situation. We are living in a time and in circumstances far removed from the supposed spiritual golden age when the Buddha lived and taught in ancient India. It is questionable, of course, whether even that age was really as ideal as presented in myth and legend. Nevertheless, in our present age and circumstances it is difficult to dedicate oneself wholeheartedly to spiritual pursuits and much easier to get lost in work or play or more frivolous distractions like surfing the internet. All-pervasive advertising and sensationalistic news media also make it all too easy to give in to feelings of greed and ill-will, ensuring that we will participate in the market as eager consumers or thoughtlessly go along with various political agendas that play to our fears. In this sense we are indeed living in the Latter Age wherein we can more easily read about the Dharma but find it almost impossible to bring ourselves to practice it or even to find good teachers and fellow practitioners among those lost in more shallow or even unwholesome preoccupations. Where are the four ranks of bodhisattva-teachers outside of sūtras and old commentaries and stories? Aren’t we and the people around us more like those who may have the nature of buddhas but never do anything to express that nature? Finally, do we feel like we have an inner affinity for Buddhism? Is there something within us that responds joyfully to Buddhist teachings? Maybe the people who are reading this may say yes, though there are many who have not ever had a chance to hear or read Buddhist teachings let alone practice Buddhism and many who would show no interest even if given a chance. This feeling is of joyful interest what I think the seed of buddhahood is about, but it is not something we should take for granted or be complacent about. The seed can be neglected or even rejected, so what needs to be done is to nurture and cultivate the seed and that is done through Buddhist practice. If we really do feel that it is possible for ordinary people to become buddhas, then we have that seed; so what happens next is that we must let the seed bloom. This is of course very difficult. As Nichiren says, “The mutual possession of the ten worlds doctrine is as difficult to maintain as it is to see fire in a rock and flowers in wood. However, it is not totally impossible because flint sparks when struck and a tree blooms in spring.” (Hori 2002, p. 136)

Sources

Gosho Translation Committee, editor-translator. The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin. Tokyo: Soka Gakkai, 1999.

Hori, Kyotsu, comp. Writings of Nichiren Shonin: Doctrine Volume 2. Tokyo: Nichiren Shu Overseas Propagation Promotion Association, 2002.

Murano, Senchu, trans. Two Nichiren Texts. Berkeley: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, 2003.

______________, trans. The Lotus Sutra. Tokyo: Nichiren Shu Headquarters, 2012.

Yamamoto, Kosho, trans. Mahaparinirvana-Sutra: A Complete Translation from the Classical Chinese Language in 3 Volumes. Tokyo: Karinbunko, 1973.