THE TEN WORLDS - JIKKAI
“I express my sincere devotion to the Dai-Gohonzon, … the eternal coexistence of the Ten Worlds” (Liturgy of Nichiren Shoshu, Second Silent Prayer). The Ten Worlds include Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Humanity, Rapture, Learning, Self-Realization, Bodhisattva, and the supreme life condition of Buddhahood. The Ten Worlds are inherent in all life at all times and each of the Ten Worlds is endowed with all the others. That they are mutually inclusive makes it possible for us to attain the supreme life condition of Buddhahood as we are, in this lifetime, when we chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the Gohonzon.
THE WORLD OF HELL - JIGOKU
“Rage is the World of Hell…” (MW1-p.52). Hell is the lowest life condition and is characterized by uncontrollable suffering, desperation, anger and hopelessness. The cause of suffering may be physical, mental, or spiritual. Nichiren Daishonin teaches us that the internal cause for the suffering of hell resides within our own lives, and He presents to each of us the means to change the poison of hell to the medicine of supreme enlightenment.
THE WORLD OF HUNGER - GAKI
“…Greed is the world of Hunger …” (MW1- p.52). Hunger is characterized by insatiable desire – be it for money, material objects, food, power, or love. This is a state of life controlled by greed without regard to others or the environment. Our faith and practice of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism balances, controls and channels our desires, so that we take full responsibility for our actions and yearn to share the freedom from the World of Hunger with others.
THE WORLD OF ANIMALITY - CHIKUSHO
“It is the nature of beasts to threaten the weak and fear the strong.” (MW1- p. 52). In the World of Animality, instinct and emotion control our life without reason and respect for others. Buddhist practice erases our negative karma that causes us to live in the suffering of the Worlds of Hell, Hunger and Animality, referred to as the Three Evil Paths, and strengthens our lives with the desire to live a life in the pursuit of Buddha-wisdom.
THE WORLD OF ANGER - SHURA
“…Perversity is (the World) of Anger…” (MW1- p 52). The World of Anger arises from our selfish ego, resulting in the need to be better than others - to be “right” in all matters - and to feel superior. This is a state of life controlled by a warped sense of reality, blinding us to the results of one’s actions and blaming others when something goes wrong. Prejudice, jealousy and animosity abound in the World of Anger. To free oneself from the World of Anger and develop compassion for others and a deep understanding of the fundamental equality of all life, we sincerely carry out our Buddhist practice of purifying our lives and erasing negative karma.
THE WORLD OF HUMANITY - NIN
The World of Humanity is characterized by rationality, composure, calmness and tranquility. Though we make ceaseless effort to improve ourselves in this state of life, it is most susceptible to external change. Nichiren Daishonin teaches us to appreciate the rare opportunity to be born as a human being with the potential to attain enlightenment to the ultimate reality of our lives. With His own life, He teaches us to have the determination to practice True Buddhism in the face of any obstacle.
THE WORLD OF RAPTURE - TEN
The World of Rapture is characterized by joy as a result of satisfying our desires, be it for material gain, a long cherished goal, or finding the “perfect” relationship. This state of life is a result of satisfying one’s desires and is, therefore, short-lived and fleeting. The first six worlds, known as the “Six Evil Paths” are largely dependent on external influences and circumstances. None is an indestructible state of life. True Buddhism reveals the joy in seeking indestructible happiness as human beings. As Nichiren Daishonin encourages us to maintain our faith in the face of all hardships, “There is no greater happiness for human beings than chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.” (M.W.1, p 161)
THE WORLD OF LEARNING - SHOMON
The World of Learning describes the life condition in which people derive great satisfaction from intellectual pursuits to gain knowledge, understanding and self-improvement through study. A philosophical approach to life, this state of life is satisfying in a theoretical way only, since it does not include action to eradicate one’s own negative karma and develop a deep compassion for others. Faith practice, and study of Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings makes us realize that we are irrevocably connected to the world around us and that we should move beyond the self-satisfaction of the World of Learning to a compassionate state of life.
THE WORLD OF SELF-REALIZATION - ENGAKU
The World of Self-Realization is characterized by an effort to independently understand and realize a reality beyond the surface of everyday life, be it through art, music, science or other disciplines. This often results in intuitive knowledge that is fulfilling and self-satisfying, but only to a point. Arrogance often impedes gaining a full understanding of our lives. The two Worlds of Learning and Realization are known as the “Two Paths.” Only in the Lotus Sutra were people in the Worlds of Learning and Self-Realization given the assurance that they could realize the state of Buddhahood through faith in Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.
THE WORLD OF BODHISATTVA - BOSATSU
“Even a heartless villain loves his wife and children.” (MW1- p. 53). A sense of love and caring for one another is evident in The World of Bodhisattva. In this world, a person will take action to alleviate the suffering of others. Many people and organizations exist to help others in more need than themselves and find great satisfaction in living life in this manner. However, without the Great Medicine of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, which lessens our karmic retribution, these attempts to relieve people’s suffering and end war, poverty and starvation on our planet will remain futile.
THE WORLD OF BUDDHAHOOD - BUTSU
“Buddhahood is the most difficult to demonstrate. But since you possess the other nine worlds, you should believe that you have Buddhahood as well. … That common mortals born in the Latter Day of the Law can believe in the Lotus Sutra is due to the fact that the world of Buddhahood is present in the world of Humanity.” (MW1- p. 53). The World of Buddhahood is the fundamental life condition and function inherent in our lives that is indestructible and enables us to experience indestructible joy and compassion for others. Nichiren Daishonin embodied His life in the form of the Dai-Gohonzon for mankind to receive the seed of Buddhahood and to attain supreme enlightenment in our present form.
MUTUAL POSSESSION OF THE TEN WORLDS
While one of the Ten Worlds is always manifest in life, the other nine worlds lay dormant with the potential for any one of them to appear at any moment. The possibility of revealing Buddhahood is ever present in each of the Ten Worlds. It is the Mutual Possession of the Ten Worlds that makes it possible for us to attain enlightenment. Nichiren Daishonin compassionately teaches us the only way to actualize the world of Buddhahood in this present age in our present form is to project our own life condition upon the brilliant mirror of the Buddha – The Dai-Gohonzon. He states, “The age of Mappo is the time to propagate the seven characters of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and, as a consequence to receive the merit they generate.” (Gosho p. 1818).