planting the seeds of Buddhahood ［下種］ ( geshu): Also, sowing the seeds of Buddhahood. One of the three benefits described in T’ien-t’ai’s teachings based on the Lotus Sutra: the benefits of sowing, maturing, and reaping. The process of attaining Buddhahood is compared to that of cultivating plants. In this regard, Nichiren (1222–1282) states, “The Lotus Sutra is like the seed, the Buddha like the sower, and the people like the field” (748). In teaching people, the Buddha begins by sowing the seeds of Buddhahood in their lives. The phase of sowing is divided into two stages: First, the Buddha causes the people to hear his teaching, and second, he leads them to take faith in it. These are termed respectively “sowing the seeds by letting one hear the teaching” ( mompō-geshu) and “sowing the seeds by leading one to arouse faith in the teaching” (hosshin-geshu).
There are cases in which a person takes faith immediately upon hearing the teaching. There are also cases in which someone hears the teaching and later takes faith. In either case, the Buddha’s teaching has the power to influence one’s life, whether or not one takes faith in it immediately. In The Annotations on “The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra,” Miao-lo (711–782) states: “Whether one accepts or rejects the teaching, it enters one’s ears and one thus establishes a bond with it. And then, though one may comply with or go against it, in the end one will be able to achieve liberation because of this bond.” “Sowing the seeds by letting one hear the teaching” in this sense means that simply by hearing the Law one forms the cause, or seed, for attaining Buddhahood eventually, even if one should reject it initially. See also sowing, maturing, and harvesting.