Matsuoka Essay

5. Revelation of the Theoretical Basis for the Teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws in Modern Times

So far, I think we have confirmed the following points, through the observation of Nichikan’s writings: That the heritage of Taiseki-ji that was transmitted orally through the lineage of its successive high priests focussed on the school’s unique teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws, and that the theoretical basis for the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws was disclosed by the 26th high priest, Nichikan. The following theories were also disclosed by Nichikan: the theory of the actual ichinen sanzen hidden in the depths of the “Life Span” chapter, the theory of the entity of the Law in terms of the Three Great Secret Laws, the Nichiren–True Buddha theory, and the theory of the oneness of the Person and the Law in terms of the object of devotion. Also confirmed is the point that the 24th high priest, Nichiei, and the 25th high priest, Nichiyu (before Nichikan substantially engaged himself in establishing the study of Taiseki-ji), involved themselves in advocating the idea of Nichiren being the object of devotion and the theory of the oneness of Person and Law in terms of the object of devotion. It can be said that the ideological environment that was necessary for the revelation of the theoretical basis of the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws (which was transmitted orally through the lineage of the successive high priests) developed at the same time as when Taiseki-ji’s study renaissance movement began to bear fruit under the leadership of Nichiei and Nichiyu. It can also be said that Nichikan gave the finishing touches to this study endeavor on the part of Taiseki-ji.

In retrospect, what I have been saying in this thesis contains nothing new. All I did through this paper is to clarify what has been implicitly understood within the current Taiseki-ji priesthood. To cite an example, The Complete Biography of Nichikan Shonin (Nichikan Shonin Zenden), published in 1975 by the study department of the Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office reads, “We must be deeply appreciative of the fact that Nichikan Shonin established for the sake of posterity the great theoretical system for the Great Law that has been transmitted orally through the Nichiren–Nikko lineage.” In this passage, the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood shares the view that Nichikan expounded the theoretical basis for the organized doctrine of the Great Law that has been transmitted orally through the Nichiren–Nikko lineage. From a modern viewpoint,  the history of study at Taiseki-ji makes it clear that Nichikan’s meritorious accomplishment was his revelation of the theoretical basis for the heritage that was transmitted orally through the lineage of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji.

Yet, what needs to be noted is the fact that Nichikan’s revelation of the theoretical basis for the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws was not a thorough revelation. The problem that confronted Nichikan was environmental, because in those days study documents were not fully available to Buddhist students. In The Six-Volume Writings and “Exegeses on the Gosho (Gosho Mondan),” Nichikan quoted the Fuji school’s various transfer documents and expounded Taiseki-ji’s unique teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws. Nichikan’s minute and detailed contentions could have simply been his self-righteous opinion, if he had not backed it up withample documentary proofs, such as “One Hundred Six Articles,” “On the True Cause,” Nikko’s “Teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws as Transmitted by Bodhisattva Supreme Practices (Jogyo Shoden Sandai Hiho Guketsu)” and Sanmi Nichijun’s “Honnin-myo Kuketsu.” The fact was that these vital documents were known only to a few student priests during the time of Nichikan. In other words, Taiseki-ji school’s priests and lay believers had no way to documentarily validate Nichikan’s theory of the Three Great Secret Laws.

In addition, Nichikan was able to quote in The Six-Volume Writings the documents of the heritage transmitted orally through the lineage of the successive high priests — that is,documents that only the successive high priests could see. As to the transfer documents transmitted orally only through the lineage of the successive high priests, “Exegesis on ‘Taking the Essence of the Lotus Sutra’” reads, “‘The Seven Orally Transmitted Teachings of the Object of Devotion,’ ‘The Threefold Orally Transmitted Teaching,’ and ‘Important Points for Transcribing the Gohonzon’ —these are the transfer documents transmitted orally only through the lineage of the successive high priests. How could we expose them?”(CE, p. 599). “Comment on ‘The Object of Devotion,’” which is the 30th high priest Nitchu’s record of Nichikan’s lecture on “The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind,” reads, “Seven Articles for Transcribing the Gohonzon (Honzon Shichika no kuden),” “Important Points for Transcribing the Gohonzon” (Honzon Hippo),” and so forth, are the writings that we should not refer to openly. These are the documents that only the successive high priests should know” (WSR, vol. 13, p. 589). These documents obviously belong to the category of the transfer documents regarding the object of devotion.

“The Seven Orally Transmitted Teachings of the Object of Devotion,” “Important Points for Transcribing the Gohonzon,” and “How to Transcribe the Object of Devotion” refer to the contents of “Seven Transfer Articles of the Gohonzon” that was included in volume 1 of The Essential Writings of the Fuji School, complied by the 59th high priest Nichiko. Also, “The Threefold Orally Transmitted Teaching” is most likely the same as “The Three Transfer Teachings of the Object of Devotion” that is also included in volume 1 of The Essential Writings of the Fuji School. Nichikan did not allow the revelation of “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon” and “The Three Transfer Teachings of the Object of Devotion,” because he regarded them as secret documents that were transmittable only through the lineage of the successive high priests.

On the other hand, reading The Six-Volume Writings makes us realize that Nichikan quoted “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon” repeatedly to justify the most profound teachings on ichinen sanzen, in view of the comparison of the Buddhism of sowing and the Buddhism of the harvest, and the theory of the oneness of Person and Law in terms of the object of devotion. Each time Nichikan quoted “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon,” however, he did not disclose its name, stating “A transfer document reads …” or “A transfer document that is a secret teaching of this school reads …” This indicates that in those days no one except the high priest who had access to these documents could documentarily and objectively validate Nichikan’s contentions in The Six-Volume Writings. Not only that, Nichikan’s The Six-Volume Writings itself was long regarded as a secret document after his death in the Fuji school. Therefore, after Nichikan’s death, only the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji had access to many of his writings. According to the biography of Nichikan, written by the 48th high priest, Nichiryo, once Nichikan reedited The Six-Volume Writings, he instructed Nissho (the study head who later became the 28th high priest) to keep the writing to himself (EWFS, Vol. 5, pp. 355-356). Since The Six-Volume Writings were a collection of Nichikan’s revelation of the theoretical basis for the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws, it was only natural that Nichikan tried to keep other schools strictly away the contents. However, the influence of Nichikan’s revelation of the theoretical basis for the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws (that was transmitted orally only through the lineage of the successive high priests) was very limited, because Taiseki-ji’s priests and lay believers had no chance to see The Six-Volume Writings.

In the final analysis, we can say that Nichikan’s accomplishment was incomplete, until the time when The Six-Volume Writings and other transfer documents that were quoted therein were made public. In this respect, the fact that the 59th high priest, Nichiko Hori, published all the transfer documents took on the great significance of completing Nichikan’s efforts.

Incidentally, in 1909, the Minobu sect published Data for the Teaching of the Object of Devotion (Honzon Ron Shiryo), which included “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon,” thus making it public for the first time. Later on in 1925, the Minobu sect assisted by Jirin Hori (who later became the 58th high priest of Taiseki-ji, Nichiko), published The Complete Works of Nichiren Shu (Nichiren Shu Shugaku Zensho) — volume two of this publication contained The Six-Volume Writings and “On the True Cause.” It was the first public revelation of the existence of these two writings. In the Showa period, Nichiko Hori began publishing the Taiseki-ji school’s transfer documents, while giving consideration to the doctrinal position of the Taiseki-jischool. In February 1936, Nichiko published The Essential Works of the Fuji School,Transfer Documents and Creed (Fuji Shugaku Yoshu, Soden Shinjo Bu) in a mimeographed version, through which the Fuji school’s main transfer documents such as “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon” “One Hundred Six Articles” and “On the True Cause” were all finally exposed to the public.

As to The Six Volume Writings, copies of it began to be gradually disseminated. In 1904, the 56th high priest, Nichio, published “The Threefold Secret Teaching” under the auspices of Hodokai in Tokyo. Taking this into consideration, Nichiko Hori states in Nichiren Shoshu Koyo, “This [The Six-Volume Writings] and “Exegesis on ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind’” were secret documents that did not go beyond the boundary of this school and only Nichiren Shoshu high priests had direct access to them. But as time went by, copies of them began to gradually spread, to the point where their existence began to be known publically. Whether this situation was good or bad, I personally feel this is the way things would be with the lapse of time.” And finally, in 1925, The Complete Works of Nichiren Shuwas published with Hori’s support, and its volume four contained The Six-Volume Writings, which established the writing’s complete disclosure. Later on, The Six-Volume Writings was contained in The Essential Works of the Fuji School, School’s Teachings, Part III (Fuji Shugaku Yoshu, Shugibu no San), which Nichiko Hori himself compiled.

Likewise, Nichikan’s exegeses on the Gosho were gradually released to the public in modern times. According to Nichiko, just before 1900, it was believed that the originals of Nichikan’s exegeses did not exist. However, through Nichiko’s private investigation, Nichikan’s originals of his exegeses on the Gosho were discovered in the Treasure House (hozo) of Taiseki-ji. Through this discovery, the contents of Nichikan’s original exegeses on the Gosho became available. Thus, Nichiko released the entirety of Nichikan’s “Exegesis on ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind,’” which was once regarded as a secret document within Taiseki-ji, which was only available to the high priests. Nichikan’s other vital exegeses were also published as part of volume four of The Complete Works of Nichiren Shuor The Essential Works of the Fuji School, Interpretations Part II (Fuji Shugaku Yoshu Joshakubu Ni).

In this way, because of the condition of the times or because of Nichiko Hori’s efforts, the Fuji school’s secret documents were openly published one after another, and Nichikan’s The Six-Volume Writings and exegeses on the Gosho became available to the public. The release of these publications signaled the maturity of environmental conditions for the revelation of the theoretical basis of the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws that had been transmitted orally only through the lineage of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji. However, because only a few copies of  The Essential Works of the Fuji School was published by Nichiko before World War II in a mimeograph, its availability was very much limited to some priests and lay believers. Its circulation was very minimal. In those days, those who cherished The Essential Works of the Fuji School and who discussed Nichikan’s study were very few in number within the Fuji school. It was the Soka Gakkai’s enormous postwar efforts in publication and study that enabled The Essential Works of the Fuji School, the Fuji school’s transfer documents, and Nichikan’s theories to permeate public awareness.

During the postwar period, Josei Toda, second president of the Soka Gakkai, lent powerful support to Nichiko’s efforts to reeditThe Essential Works of the Fuji School. He succeeded in publishing eight volumes of it before he died in 1957. The remaining two volumes were successfully published the following year on the occasion of the first anniversary of Nichiko’s death. Before he passed away, Nichiko also took part in the publication of the Soka Gakkai’s The Collected Works of Nichiren Daishonin (Nichiren Daishonin Gosho Zenshu), where he included the Fuji school’s transfer documents such as “One Hundred Six Articles,” “On the True Cause,” “The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings,” and “Transfer Teachings on First Bath (Ubuyu Sojo).” As a result, Nichikan’s The Six-Volume Writings, exegeses on various Gosho, and other transfer documents that had been kept in secret within the Fuji school were all available to ordinary lay believers for the first time. However, Nichikan’s exegeses were only partially covered in The Essential Works of the Fuji School, for it was photographically reproduced. “Exegesis on ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind’” was not included. It was not until the publication in 1980 of The Collection of High Priest Nichikan’s Commentaries (Nichikan Shonin Mondan Shu), under the auspices of the Study Department of the Soka Gakkai, that the entirety of Nichikan’s The Six-Volume Writingswas introduced in modern language, that enabled ordinary people to easily understand its contents.

In reconstructing the Soka Gakkai after World War II, President Toda devoted himself to enhancing the study of Nichiren Buddhism, especially the study of the writings of Nichikan, among the leaders and members of the Soka Gakkai. This was accomplished through conducting both general and advanced lectures and promoting periodic study exams. The 65th high priest, Nichijun Horigome, was very supportive of the Soka Gakkai, to the point where he visited the Gakkai headquarter building almost every month to lecture on Nichiren’s writings for Gakkai leaders. His efforts continued for as long as ten years, until November 1956. This fact is indeed noteworthy. It is through these lectures by Nichijun, who was versed in the study of The Six-Volume Writings, that the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws (which constituted the contents of the heritage transmitted through the sole linage of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji) became known to the membership of the Soka Gakkai. In effect, the essence of the transfer teachings, of which only the successive high priests and a limited number of scholastic priests were aware, came to be studied routinely in daily life by millions of lay believers. Today, Nichikan’s Six Volume Writings and Nichiko’s Essential Works of the Fuji Schoolhave come to be studied, discussed, and lectured upon on a global scale, thanks to the global expansion of the Soka Gakkai’s propagation efforts and the enormous development of information technology.

We have arrived at a time where Nichikan’s revelation of the theoretical basis for the Three Great Secret Laws (that had been transmitted only through the lineage of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji) has now come down to the level of ordinary lay believers. This is thanks to Nichiko’s publication of all the secret and transfer documents, President Toda and Nichijun Horigome’s efforts to educate Gakkai leaders and members about the study of Nichikan’s writings, and the Soka Gakkai’s efforts to propagate Nichiren Buddhism. In this regard, we should say that we are living in the age when the theoretical basis for the Three Great Secret Laws has been clarified in the true sense.

Lastly, to help solidify this reality, I would like to confirm that it is possible today to fully explain through the use of published data what Nichikan indicated as “many vital transfer teachings (jyujyu no sodden)” in his “Exegesis on ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind.’” Coupled with The Six-Volume Writings, “Exegesis on ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind,’” was regarded as the secret document that was only known to the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji. This commentary contains Nichikan’s lecture about on “The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind.” He gave this lecture to forty-some ardent student priests in the summer of 1712, after he resigned from the position of Taiseki-ji’s high priest.

Nichikan seemed well prepared for this lecture series, and it is said that a celebration party was held for Nichikan after his lecture series was done (EWFS, Vol. 8, p. 258). This lecture series was taken very seriously, because Nichikan regarded the “the Gohonzon of the oneness of Person and Law” that is revealed in “The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind” as nothing other than “the purpose of Sage Nichiren’s advent,” “the true entity of the Three Great Secret Laws of the essential teaching,” and “the Buddhism of sowing in the Latter Day of the Law.” After Nichikan resigned as high priest, he entered into the study seminary. There he lectured on the contents of “Exegesis on ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind.’” His lecturing was done as an individual who was involved in the transfer of the heritage of the Taiseki-ji school, on the profound meaning of the object of devotion whose inscription was the purpose of Sage Nichiren’s advent. As such, we can naturally say that “many vital transfer teachings” serve as the basis for the doctrine related to the teaching of the object of devotion that had been transmitted only through the sole lineage of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji.

Nichikan states: “There are many vital transfer teachings. Specifically, they are three kinds and nine perspectives of the Lotus Sutra (sanshu kyubu no hokekyo), two hundred and twenty-nine orally transmitted teachings, one hundred and six articles to distinguish the Buddhism of sowing from the Buddhism of the harvest in view of “essential” and “theoretical,” orally transmitted teachings to Dengyo with regard to seven aspects of T’ien-t’ai’s three major works, comparison between T’ien-t’ai Buddhism and Nichiren Buddhism in terms of twenty-four points, transfer teachings of the tenfold revelations of Great Concentration and Insight (Maka Shikan), fourfold rise and fall (shijyu no kohai) teachings, threefold orally transmitted teachings, five conditions of religion, three points of religious creed, literal and hidden in the depths (monjo montei) teachings, true entity and ephemeral form teachings (honchi suijyaku), practice for oneself and others teachings (jigyo keta), comparison of the Buddhism of sowing and the Buddhism of the harvest in view of the Buddha’s appearance, teaching on the ultimate enlightenment contained in hearing the name and words of the truth, the Buddha who became a Buddha after many Buddhist austerities lifetime after lifetime (obutsu shoshin) teachings, the timewithout beginning (kuon ganjo) teachings, same in name but different in body, different in name but same in body, the actual and theoretical ichinen sanzen, observing one’s mind and the classification of the Buddha’s teachings (kyoso kanjin), orally transmitted teachings of the seven points on the object of devotion, threefold transfer teachings, important points in transcribing the object of devotion, and orally transmitted teaching of the object of devotion reflected in the Bright Star Pond. All these are profound and ultimate transfer teachings in our school. They are known only to us, and no other schools are aware of them” (CE, pp. 443-444).

The aforementioned contents of the “many vital transfer teachings” are all explainable in the present-day times, because the theoretical basis for the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws that had been transmitted only through the lineage of the successive high priests has been completed and revealed. Now you don’t have to be a high priest to know all these transfer teachings.

With regard to the three kinds and nine perspectives of the Lotus Sutra, Nichikan clarifies in his “Personal Comment on ‘The Selection of Time,’” “The Lotus Sutra that is referred to is the ‘core’ of the Lotus Sutra, not the ‘whole’ of the Lotus Sutra nor the ‘outline’ of the Lotus Sutra. Also, it is the ‘intent’ of the Lotus Sutra, not the ‘words’ of the Lotus Sutra, nor the ‘theory’ of the Lotus Sutra. It is also the Lotus Sutra of ‘sowing,’ not the Lotus Sutra of ‘maturing,’ nor the Lotus Sutra of ‘harvesting’” (CE, p. 221). In other words, the three kinds and nine perspectives of the Lotus Sutra refer to these three approaches to the Lotus Sutra and a total of nine perspectives of the Lotus Sutra. The third edition of The Great Dictionary of Buddhist Philosophy published by the Soka Gakkai cites part of Nichikan’s three kinds and nine perspectives of the Lotus Sutra, which also contributes to making this teaching available to the public.

The two hundred and twenty-nine orally transmitted teachings refers to “The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings” (Gosho Zenshu, pp. 708-803). The one hundred and six articles that distinguish the Buddhism of sowing from the Buddhism of the harvest in view of “essential” and “theoretical” are also included in The Collected Writings of Nichiren Daishonin(Gosho Zenshu, pp. 854-869). The Gosho Zenshu also contains, within the article “On the True Cause”: the orally transmitted teachings to Dengyo in regard to seven aspects of T’ien-t’ai’s three major works (GZ, pp. 870-872), the comparison between T’ien-t’ai Buddhism and Nichiren Buddhism in terms of twenty-four points (GZ, pp. 875-876), the transfer teachings of the tenfold revelation of Great Concentration and Insight (GZ, pp. 872-875).

The four fold rise and fall refers to the classification of Shakyamuni’s Buddhism into the four categories of the provisional teachings, the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra, the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra, and the teaching for perceiving one’s mind. This classification is expounded in T’ien-t’ai’s Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra. Nichikan’s reference to the fourfold rise and fall in his “Meaning Hidden in the Depths” indicates that the rise of the Mystic Law of the Three Great Secret Laws denotes the fall of the essential teaching of the “Life Span” chapter. The threefold orally transmitted teaching signifies the threefold secret teaching of the theoretical basis for the Lotus Sutra, the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra, and the teaching hidden in the depths of the “Life Span” chapter.The five conditions of religion signify the five guides for propagation (go ko), that is, the teaching, the people’s capacity, the time, the country and the sequence of propagation. The three points of religious creed denote the Three Great Secret Laws of the object of devotion of the essential teaching, the sanctuary of the essential teaching, and the daimoku of the essential teaching.The terms “literal” and “hidden in the depths” denote two ways of reading the Lotus Sutra. Reading the “Life Span” chapter from the viewpoint of the true effect is a literal way of reading the sutra, while reading the same chapter from the standpoint of the true cause means reading the chapter’s hidden meaning.

The true entity and ephemeral form, the practice for oneself and others, the Buddhism of sowing and Buddhism of the harvest, the Buddha who became a Buddha after many Buddhist austerities lifetime after lifetime, and the time without beginning—all these are concepts that distinguish the True Buddha from the ephemeral Buddhas, which Nichikan discussed in his various writings. For instance, in “The Teaching for the Latter Day,” he writes, “Question: What is the difference between the original Buddha of limitless joy and the Buddha of limitless joy who became the Buddha through his lifetime after lifetime austere practice? There are many differences between them. I will cite several examples: First, the former reveals his true entity while the latter is ephemeral. Second, the former is the Buddha who expounds his teaching based on his own volition while the latter expounds his teaching in accord with the capacity of the listeners of his teaching. Third, the former is an ordinary person at the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth while the latter embellishes himself with many features to attract people’s attention. Fourth, the former is one with the Law while the latter is inferior to the Law. Fifth, the former is the teacher of the Buddhism of sowing while the latter is the teacher of the Buddhism of the harvest” (EWFS, Vol. 3, p. 174). Comparisons between the Buddhism of sowing and Buddhism of the harvest, in view of the Buddha’s appearance, signifies comparing these two forms of Buddhism in terms of the Buddha’s appearance.The ultimate enlightenment contained in hearing the name and words of the truth means that the ultimate stage of enlightenment is included in the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth. “Same in name but different in body” signifies that the same name can denotes different entities. In his “Exegesis on ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind,’” Nichikan refers to six kinds of Shakyamuni, who respectively expounded the teaching of the Tripitaka teaching, the connecting teaching, the specific teaching, the theoretical teaching, and the essential teaching. “Different in name but same in body,” for instance, signifies the case of Shakyamuni and Nichiren, who, although named differently, share the same entity as the teacher of the true cause.

The phrase “actual and theoretical ichinen sanzen” usually refers to the difference between the ichinen sanzen of the theoretical teaching and the ichinen sanzen of the essential teaching. However, on a deeper note, this difference can be taken as the difference between Shakyamuni’s Buddhism and Nichiren’s Buddhism. In other words, both the ichinen sanzen of the theoretical and essential teachings of Shakyamuni can be regarded as theoretical when compared with the ichinen sanzen hidden in the depths of the “Life Span” chapter, as described in “On the True Cause.” In “observing one’s mind and the classification of the Buddha’s teachings,” the classification of the Buddha’s teachings seems to signify Shakyamuni’s Buddhism while the teaching for observing one’s mind indicates Nichiren Buddhism, and the latter is superiority to the former.

The orally transmitted teachings on seven points of the object of devotion, the threefold transfer teaching, and the important points in transcribing the object of devotion respectively seem to point to “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon”(EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 31) and “The Transmission of Three Points on the Gohonzon” (EWFS, Vol. 1, pp. 35-42). The orally transmitted teaching on the object of devotion reflected in the Bright Star Pond is included in “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon.” While regarded as a transfer teaching orally transmitted between Nichiren and Nikko, this teaching is said to have been Nichiren’s revelation that he was the entity of the object of devotion. In closing his discussion about “many vital transfer teachings,” Nichikan stated, “All these are profound and ultimate transfer teachings in our school” (CE, pp. 443-444). In his “Meaning Hidden in the Depths,” Nichikan clearly asserts that nothing is more ultimate and profound in the Taiseki-ji school than the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws. To Nichikan, the ultimate teaching of the Taiseki-ji school was nothing other than the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws.

Explaining all these doctrinal concepts and documents are only possible when you refer to all those Gakkai publications, such as The Collected Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, The Essential Works of the Fuji School, Lecture on the “Six-Volume Writings”, and Great Dictionary of Buddhist Philosophy. This amazing fact may be taken as a matter of course these days, but isn’t it an awesome reality? This is the age where, not only the high priest of Taiseki-ji, but also every individual has an opportunity to have the same level of understanding of the heritage of Taiseki-ji. How has this reality been created? First, because of Nichikan’s theoretical revelation of the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws; second, because of Nichiko’s publication of the Fuji school’s transfer documents; and third, because of the Soka Gakkai’s postwar efforts as an organization of lay believers to grasp the study of Nichikan. The revelation of the theoretical basis of the primary doctrines within the heritage of the Taiseki-ji school had previously been transmitted orally only through the lineage of the successive high priests—the task of widespread dissemination of these teachings has been completed today, 200 some years after Nichikan’s time. It can be said that we have arrived at the stage where the contents of the heritage of the Taiseki-ji school should be exposed to the public. 

In his reference to the manifold transfer, Nichikan cites (in addition to “TheSeven Orally Transmitted Teachings of the Object of Devotion”) “Transfer Teaching of Bright Start Pond (Myojo Chokken no Denju),” which is included in the three added articles within the current  “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon.” From this we can see that Nichikan treated the seven main articles of  “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon” and the added three articles separately. Since this seems to be true, the two articles (other than “Transfer Teaching of Bright Star Pond”) which read in part, “‘After the Buddha’s demise’ should be written down …’” and “‘Nichiren with his signature’ and the ‘signature of the transcriber should be mentioned,’” must have had titles, which correspond to the transfer document of “Important Points for Transcribing Gohonzon” (Hippo no Daiji). Incidentally, in “Reference Materials for the Object of Devotion (Honzon Shiryo Hen),” published by Kuon-ji temple of the Minobu sect, the part that starts with “As to the transcription of the object of devotion,” it can be justifiably considered to have been added later. This part constitutes “Important Points for Transcribing Gohonzon.” As for the threefold transfer teachings, they refer to the threefold transfer teaching regarding the object of devotion. It seems reasonable to consider that they correspond to the “The Transmission of Three Points on the Gohonzon.” Great Dictionary of Buddhist Philosophy, New Edition (Shinpan Bukkyo Tetsugaku—Daijiten, Study Department of the Soka Gakkai, 1985) clearly states that the threefold transfer teaching refers to “The Transmission of Three Points on the Gohonzon.” In those days, the priesthood of Nichiren Shoshu did not oppose this view of the Gakkai’s.

  1. The Biography of High Priest Nichikan (Nichikan Shonin Den, Study Department of the Administrative Office of Nichiren Shoshu, 1975, p. 51).
  2. The Basic Teachings of Nichiren Shoshu (Nichiren Shoshu Koyo, Jirin Hori, Sessen Shobo, 1922, pp. 67-68).
  3. As to the publication matter of the Taiseki-ji school, I referred to “The List of Books and Magazines Published by the Fuji School after the Meiji Period” (Meiji Iko Shunai shoseki Zasshi Somokuroku, Wato Editorial Office, 1971).
  4. “Hearing from Hori Shonin about the History of the Fuji School, Part 1” (Hori Shonin ni Fuji Shumonshi o Kiku, Part 1, Daibaykurenge, #66, November 1956, p. 21).
  5. Mr. Jisai Watanabe’s “Nichiren Shoshu Rokujitsu no Shin’in” (Daisan Bunmei Sha, 2000, pp. 82-90) is a good reference for understanding the environment where Nichiko, with support from the Soka Gakkai, engaged himself to republish The Essential Works of the Fuji School and helped to edit and publish The Collected Writings of Nichiren Daishonin after World War II. Mr. Watanabe was Nichiko’s secretary in those days and lived together with him to assist him.
  6. The Biographies of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda (Nenpu Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, Daisan Bunmei Sha, 1993, p. 370).
  7. Great Dictionary of Buddhist Philosophy (Bukkyo Tetsugaku Daijiten, Soka Gakkai, 2000, p. 573).
  8. In his reference to the manifold transfer, Nichikan cites (in addition to “TheSeven Orally Transmitted Teachings of the Object of Devotion”) “Transfer Teaching of Bright Start Pond (Myojo Chokken no Denju),” which is included in the three added articles within the current  “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon.” From this we can see that Nichikan treated the seven main articles of  “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon” and the added three articles separately. Since this seems to be true, the two articles (other than “Transfer Teaching of Bright Star Pond”) which read in part, “‘After the Buddha’s demise’ should be written down …’” and “‘Nichiren with his signature’ and the ‘signature of the transcriber should be mentioned,’” must have had titles, which correspond to the transfer document of “Important Points for Transcribing Gohonzon” (Hippo no Daiji). Incidentally, in “Reference Materials for the Object of Devotion (Honzon Shiryo Hen),” published by Kuon-ji temple of the Minobu sect, the part that starts with “As to the transcription of the object of devotion,” it can be justifiably considered to have been added later. This part constitutes “Important Points for Transcribing Gohonzon.” As for the threefold transfer teachings, they refer to the threefold transfer teaching regarding the object of devotion. It seems reasonable to consider that they correspond to the “The Transmission of Three Points on the Gohonzon.” Great Dictionary of Buddhist Philosophy, New Edition (Shinpan Bukkyo Tetsugaku—Daijiten, Study Department of the Soka Gakkai, 1985) clearly states that the threefold transfer teaching refers to “The Transmission of Three Points on the Gohonzon.” In those days, the priesthood of Nichiren Shoshu did not oppose this view of the Gakkai’s.