2 ‘Icchantika’ – Incorrigible Disbelievers from “Challenge of Enlightenment” 2

In my view, however, everyone has the innate nature of a child of Buddha, no matter who they may be. Everyone smiles when they see a small child, or feels happy when they meet someone they like. So I believe that everyone has Buddha-nature, and possesses qualities such as love and compassion. But just as when a cocoon becomes too hard it does not allow the silkworm to come out, if the mind (cocoon) becomes too hard, and gets covered over with thick clouds of worldly desires (threads), a person’s Buddha-nature will not be able to shine. This is the real interpretation of the word icchantika. Thick clouds of worldly desires or delusions created while living on earth can be obstacles to the manifestation of Buddha-nature.

Possession by stray spirits can also be an obstacle. People who are possessed by as many as four or five stray spirits can no longer make correct judgements, cannot think of Buddha or God at all, and in some cases are totally controlled by spirits from hell when they criticize the teachings.

Yet I still believe that people who do not believe in the teachings – due to beliefs that have influenced them as a result of their education or occupation, or because they are possessed by stray spirits – have a Buddha-nature deep within.

In our institute, I teach that no one living in this world is born from hell. Souls in hell must return to heaven before they can be born. In many other religions, however, they seem to think that some people come from heaven while others come from hell. If we believed this, we would tend to judge others simply according to whether they were ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and this would be a problem from the viewpoint of salvation.

Babies and small children are all beautiful and innocent. Although some may later go astray and become criminals, no one baby is bad.

So although sometimes you may meet people who could be called icchantika, you need to regard them with compassion, and know that they too have a Buddha-nature at the core of their soul.

2 ‘Icchantika’ – Incorrigible Disbelievers from “Challenge of Enlightenment”

2 ‘Icchantika’ – Incorrigible Disbelievers

The idea of Buddha-nature is indeed wonderful, but there is one problem with it: there are still people in this world who do not seem to be able to achieve spiritual awakening no matter how hard they try.

The reality is that we sometimes meet people who do not seem to have a Buddha-nature. For example, there are those who persecute authentic religions and interfere with their activities. Do these people have a Buddha-nature too? Can they be considered potential Tathagatas? There are also people who cannot understand the teachings at all, although they listen. Then, there are others who have absolutely no interest in religion. These people exist in every age, a fact that has long been a great problem for Buddhists.

Buddhist scholars feared that the idea of Buddha-nature could be interpreted to mean that even those who criticized the teachings of Buddhism, or persecuted believers, even criminals and villains, ought to be considered equal to everyone else. To solve this problem they stated that although everyone had a Buddha-nature within and possessed the potential for buddhahood, there were some whose original good nature was completely destroyed, and who had no belief at all in God or Buddha. They called these people ‘icchantika’ in Sanskrit, which literally means a person who can never become awakened.

We sometimes see people who cause us to feel it is almost impossible to do anything to awaken them to the Truth. So although the Nirvana Sutra claimed that everyone has a Buddha-nature, the Buddhist scholars said there are exceptions to the rule, the exception being icchantika.

Historically, the word icchantika was used to refer to those who criticized Mahayana Buddhism. To those who criticized them, Buddhists said, ‘Although we say that you too have Buddha-nature, you do not understand. Criticizing such a great teaching is out of the question. There is no hope for you.’ They regarded these people as having no chance of attaining enlightenment.

Buddha nature dwells in the human mind from “The Laws of Future”

Buddha nature dwells in the human mind

Happy Science teaches that all people have a Buddha nature. We also teach that human beings are children of Buddha. What is the meaning of these teachings?

Zen Buddhism includes the teaching that you can become Buddha if you practice zazen, or seated meditation, but this way of thinking is quite close to a scam. It is rather naïve to think that you can become Buddha just as you are, simply by sitting. It is going a little too far to teach that simply by copying Buddha’s seated pose, you too can become Buddha. In a sense, such teachings are based on materialism.

While spiritual training requires content, Happy Science teaches that human beings are given the same nature as Buddha. That is to say, if they acquire the habit of thinking and acting in the same way as Buddha, and make an effort, the possibility of becoming like Buddha is open to everyone. This is what is meant by the teachings, “human beings have Buddha nature” and “the mind emits light when polished.”

Humankind essentially possesses the same sacred nature as Buddha. The only difference is the amount of light emitted, which varies according to the degree to which the soul is polished. Sometimes the polish may be patchy and there may be some surface grime. When properly polished, however, it is possible to emit the same kind of light as Buddha.

Of course, the light that is emitted may vary according to the tendencies of a person’s soul. Just as the colors of gemstones vary, souls can give off a yellow, white, red or green glow. The form of that light may also vary according to a person’s attributes.

For example, an educator may shine differently from an artist, and a politician may shine in yet another way. Someone who has been successful in business may shine differently, as well. While the color may differ according to the person, the principle of Buddha nature says that everyone possesses the quality that will become a glowing orb if polished.

When viewed from that perspective, we have to say that people who are easily disheartened perceive themselves as very weak beings, and try to elicit sympathy from others. We need to teach such people that the true nature of human beings is much stronger and of far more potential than they think.

The Buddha Nature from “On Mission”

i. Human Beings Are Children of Buddha

You have learned that human beings are the children of Buddha and that Buddha-nature dwells within each person. You also learned that the true nature of people is light and that people are essentially good. The fact that human nature is light and is fundamentally good means that human beings can understand the mind of Buddha.

If you have the prejudice that other people will not understand even if you convey the Truth to them, it means that you do not believe that human beings are the children of Buddha. It means that you do not believe that the true nature of people is light and that they are essentially good. Rather, it means that you believe that there are some people whose true nature is good and other people whose true nature is bad. You would be believing that there are some people whose true nature is light and other people whose true nature is darkness.

However, the teachings of Happy Science are clear. Those of you who have taken refuge in the Three Jewels are daily reciting Words of Truth: The Dharma of the Right Mind, which is in the basic sutra of Happy Science, Buddha’s Teaching: The Dharma of the Right Mind. There is a part in this sutra which expresses that human beings are ultimately good and are beings of light. Not only should you know the words, you also need to deeply understand the meaning.

We are all Bosatsu* of Light

Who convey this message

Light is the only true existence

Love is the only true existence

Truth is the only true existence

This is what is written, and it is the substance of what is known as positive thinking.

3. Ways to Attain Enlightenment from “The Laws of the Sun” 3

3. Ways to Attain Enlightenment from “The Laws of the Sun” 3

For first-timers, it will probably take at least five to ten years to be able to practice Right View and Right Speech properly. Once you feel confident practicing them, the next step is to concentrate on practicing Right Action and Right Livelihood every day. If you can practice these four paths correctly, you will be able to achieve the level of enlightenment required to enter the world of Light in the sixth dimension.

When you start practicing Right Thought and Right Effort, you are entering an authentic religious life. If you can keep an unshakable mind no matter what hardships you face, you have achieved the state of arhat, which is what you need to move up from the world of Light in the sixth dimension to the world of Bodhisattvas of the seventh dimension. Reaching this level means that you have completed basic spiritual training. However, you have not yet achieved the state of arhat if you become upset by people’s remarks, fly into a rage over trifling matters, or feel driven by the desire for social status or fame in this world.

Take a good look at the minds and deeds of contemporary religious leaders around the world. Some concentrate only on gaining psychic powers, while others take advantage of others’ weaknesses and deceive them. Some even extort money from their followers by threatening them with Hell or other cursed states. Such people have a long way to go before reaching the state of arhat, which is the step before becoming a bodhisattva, or an angel. True religious leaders sent from Heaven are not swayed by lust for power, fame, money, or sex; nor do they fall prey to anger, hatred, or discontent.

3. Ways to Attain Enlightenment from “The Laws of the Sun” 2

3. Ways to Attain Enlightenment from “The Laws of the Sun” 2

Ways of attaining enlightenment are, in short, ways of attuning your mind to the mind of Buddha. To seek enlightenment is to explore how you can live with the His will as your own. It is to search for the way to live in accord with the Truths. One way to do this is to practice the Eightfold Path, and another is to practice the developmental stages of love. If you wish to seek the Buddhist path to enlightenment, I recommend that you practice the Eightfold Path daily and use it as a guide for your life. You will discover universal Truths in the Eightfold Path, and you will find an eternal path to human perfection. The Eightfold Path is a practical method for attaining the state of enlightenment, which you will need more than a lifetime to reach. You will be able to master the essence of the Truths only when you can see, think, speak, act, and live in the right way; make the right effort; have the right will; and practice right meditation. But it will not be easy, and for some it may not even be possible to master the Eightfold Path.

3. Ways to Attain Enlightenment from “The Laws of the Sun”

3. Ways to Attain Enlightenment

As we’ve now seen, enlightenment is a process of developing your spirituality and manifesting your divine nature through the system of reincarnation. When you search for the best way to improve your soul, you find that numerous paths open before you, each with its own method of spiritual training. Different religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Confucianism, Shintoism, and Taoism, have their own specific forms of spiritual discipline. Indeed, this is why people in search of the path to Buddha often become lost in the maze of faith. They get caught up in determining which religion is correct, instead of which practice is right for their spiritual training.

All major world religions are in some way or other manifestations of Buddha’s light. These religions have inspired people for thousands of years and have gained the respect of countless people. The founders of such religions have been revered for so long because their lives emit the brilliant light of Buddha’s energy. Although all religions originate from the same light source, each takes on a unique color because of differences in the time, ethnicity, culture, and even climate of the region in which the teachings were given. In any case, the teachings of the past are past; what we urgently need now are new teachings for the coming age. We must find new ways of training our souls on Earth in the current era.

2. The Benefits of Enlightenment from “The Laws of the Sun”

2. The Benefits of Enlightenment

What is the purpose of humankind’s search for enlightenment? What could be gained from attaining an enlightened state? To answer these questions, we must first consider our true purpose and mission in life, beginning with the reason human beings are born into this world to dwell in physical bodies.

Before you were born, you were a spirit in Heaven with the freedom to live as you pleased. In Heaven, you don’t need food or drink. You don’t have to earn a living. You don’t need to spend nine months in a mother’s womb, or weep with hunger and frustration as an infant and child. You don’t have to fight with your parents or be distressed by the sexual issues of adolescence. You don’t have to struggle financially or have the disheartening experience of working for someone you don’t like or respect. You don’t have to suffer from separation from your loved ones, or from illness, or from the indignities, aches, and pains of growing old. You don’t have to experience being abandoned by your children or grandchildren. You don’t have to go through the grief of losing your spouse or the fear of your own death. In Heaven, you don’t have to endure any of the suffering that is inescapable here on Earth.

Heaven is a world where we can see into one another’s minds as if they were the clearest glass. Those whose thoughts do not promote harmony cannot stay in that world, which means that in Heaven, you only meet people who deeply understand and care for you, and about whom you feel the same way. Heaven is a utopia where every resident has achieved at least a basic level of enlightenment: they realize that they should love and help each other.

What is Enlightenment? From “The Laws of the Sun” 2

Of all the religious leaders and great masters in human history, Shakyamuni Buddha (Gautama Siddhartha), who preached the Laws more than 2,500 years ago in India, pursued the most intensive exploration of enlightenment. From the time he attained great enlightenment under the Bodhi tree and became the Buddha, his level of enlightenment continued to rise until he entered Nirvana at the age of eighty under the sal trees outside Kushinagar Palace. While Shakyamuni’s life story appears in many popular books and scholarly publications, most of these texts capture only fragments of his philosophy and fail to convey the state of ultimate enlightenment that he was able to attain.

Within the mind exists a wondrous world. I opened the window of my mind several decades ago and began communing with my subconscious in the spirit world. Since then, I have been able to gain access to the memories of past spiritual masters and to directly experience how they felt, what they thought, what they did, and what part of the Truths they grasped. I know exactly what Shakyamuni Buddha was thinking as he meditated under the Bodhi tree and attained enlightenment. Although it happened more than 2,500 years ago, I can feel it as if it were happening this very moment.

This chapter will provide a new perspective on enlightenment in today’s world, while focusing on the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha. My goal is to pass on to future generations the wisdom that will help them achieve enlightenment. This method to attain enlightenment is both our legacy from the past and our hope for the future.

What Is Enlightenment? from “The Laws of the Sun”

1. What Is Enlightenment?

Throughout the ages, human beings have always sought enlightenment. Some of us may not know exactly what enlightenment is, but we all have an undeniable desire to develop our souls. It’s woven into the very fabric of our humanity. Enlightenment is generally associated with religion, but it also holds a central place in the field of philosophy, which reflects both our philosophical desire to pursue the Truths and our yearning for an intellectual understanding of the mysteries and workings of the world. Whether or not Confucianism is a religion is open to discussion, but there’s no doubt that Confucius also tried to enlighten people by teaching them his particular path to the state of moral perfection.

In this chapter, I would like to focus on religious enlightenment, which encompasses a philosophical desire to attain the Truths and pursue human perfection. The heart of religious enlightenment is our connection to Buddha. We strengthen that connection and grow closer to Him by exploring the principles of the world that He created. In this respect, there is no end to the path of enlightenment. To put it another way, we can never attain complete enlightenment, no matter how much effort we put forth. It’s almost impossible to gain a complete understanding of the entire spirit world or to attain the ultimate state. Fortunately, however, there are different levels of enlightenment. In other words, it’s possible for all people to attain a certain level of enlightenment, in keeping with their own spiritual awareness. There is also an ultimate level of enlightenment for human beings dwelling in physical bodies on Earth. In this chapter, I would like to describe the different stages leading to this highest level of enlightenment attainable for human beings.