Eagle Peak (Skt Gridhrakūta) Also, Vulture Peak. A mountain located to the northeast of Rājagriha, the capital of Magadha in ancient India, where Shakyamuni is said to have expounded the Lotus Sutra. Eagle Peak also symbolizes the Buddha land or the state of Buddhahood. In this sense, the “pure land of Eagle Peak” is often used.
Earnest Donor Also, Prince Earnest Donor. The name of Shakyamuni in a past existence. Born to a royal family, he felt pity for the poor and suffering people and entreated his father to give his treasures to them. When his father had exhausted his treasures, he entered the sea and, despite many obstacles, found a wish-granting jewel and caused treasures to rain down upon his people.
earthly desires A generic term for all the negative workings of life, including desires and illusions in the general sense, which cause one spiritual and physical suffering and impede the quest for enlightenment.
Earth Repository A bodhisattva entrusted by Shakyamuni Buddha with the task of saving living beings during the period from Shakyamuni’s death until the advent of Bodhisattva Maitreya, 5,670 million years later, as the next Buddha.
easy-to-practice way One of the two categories of Buddhist practice mentioned by Nāgārjuna in his Commentary on the Ten Stages Sutra. The easy-to-practice way means calling upon the names of Buddhas and bodhisattvas, relying upon their power of salvation, while the other, or the difficult-to-practice way, means the exertion of strenuous effort in austere practices for countless kalpas in order to attain enlightenment. In the Pure Land school, the easy-to-practice way is interpreted as the practice of calling upon the name of Amida Buddha.
eight cold hells Eight hells said to lie under the continent of Jambudvīpa next to the eight hot hells. Those who reside there are tormented by unbearable cold.
eighteen kinds of non-substantiality A concept expounded in the Larger Wisdom Sutra, suggesting that all things are by nature non-substantial.
eighteen major scriptures The eighteen Brahmanic classics—the four Vedas, six works, and eight works. The six works are regarded as auxiliary to the Vedas, and each deals with a particular subject, such as Vedic phonetics, grammar, ceremonial rules, and astronomy. Each of the eight works deals with a particular branch of learning, such as tradition, music, medicine, and the science of archery.
eighteenth vow Also called the original vow. The eighteenth of forty-eight vows made by Bodhisattva Dharma Treasury before he attained enlightenment as Amida Buddha. In the eighteenth vow, Dharma Treasury pledged that if he attains Buddhahood, all people who place their trust in him will obtain rebirth in his pure land, except those who commit the five cardinal sins and those who slander the correct teaching.
eight errors The opposite of the eightfold path. They are: wrong views, wrong thinking, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong way of life, wrong endeavor, wrong mindfulness, and wrong meditation.
eight kinds of nonhuman beings Beings that protect Buddhism. They are: gods, dragons, a kind of demon called yaksha, gods of music called gandharva, belligerent demons called asura, garuda (birds that prey on dragons), kimnara (gods with beautiful voices), and mahoraga (gods shaped like snakes).
eight major offenses Also known as the eight grave offenses. (1) The most grave offenses as defined for nuns. These offenses were punishable by expulsion from the Buddhist Order. They are: killing, stealing, sexual intercourse, lying, touching a male, improper association with a male, concealing the misbehavior of another, and following a monk whose behavior goes against monastic rules. (2) Violations of prohibitions for bodhisattvas. They consist of the above-mentioned first four offenses plus those of praising oneself and disparaging others, begrudging offerings or sparing one’s efforts to expound the teachings, giving way to anger and refusing to accept apology, and speaking ill of the correct teaching.
eight negations Also, the middle path of eight negations. Eight expressions of negation that appear in the opening of Nāgārjuna’s Treatise on the Middle Way: “Neither birth nor extinction, neither cessation nor permanence, neither uniformity nor diversity, neither coming nor going.” The teaching of the eight negations is intended to demonstrate that the true nature of phenomena can be defined neither as existence nor as nonexistence, nor, for that matter, as any other fixed concept one might choose to impose upon it. Rather, the nature of phenomena is non-substantiality, the Middle Way that transcends all duality.
eight offenses Eight serious crimes as defined by Japan’s Taihō code (effective 701) and the Yōrō code (effective 757). They are: (1) rebellion against the emperor, (2) damage to imperial palaces or tombs, (3) treason against the nation, (4) killing of one’s relatives, (5) killing of one’s wife or more than three people belonging to another family, (6) theft or damage of imperial or religious property, (7) unfilial conduct toward one’s parents or senior relatives, and (8) killing of one’s teacher or other superior.
eight phases of a Buddha’s existence Successive phases that a Buddha manifests in the world to save the people. They are: (1) descending from heaven, (2) entering the mother’s body, (3) emerging from the mother’s body, (4) renouncing the world, (5) conquering devils, (6) attaining enlightenment, (7) turning the wheel of the Law, and (8) entering nirvana.
eight precepts Precepts observed by lay believers on specific days of the month. Although they vary somewhat depending on the source, they can be summarized as follows: (1) not to take life, (2) not to steal, (3) to refrain from all sexual activity, (4) not to lie, (5) not to drink intoxicants, (6) not to wear cosmetics or ornaments or to watch dancing or listen to singing, (7) not to sleep on a wide or elevated bed, and (8) not to eat after the noon hour.
eight schools The eight major schools of Buddhism in Japan before the Kamakura period (1185–1333). They are: the Dharma Analysis Treasury, Establishment of Truth, Precepts, Dharma Characteristics, Three Treatises, Flower Garland, Tendai, and True Word schools. The first six schools flourished in the Nara period (710–794), while the Tendai and True Word schools rose to prominence during the Heian period (794–1185).
eight teachings One system by which T’ien-t’ai classified Shakyamuni’s sutras. The eight teachings are divided into two groups: the four teachings of doctrine and the four teachings of method. The first is a division by content, and the second, by method of teaching. The four teachings of doctrine are: (1) the Tripitaka teaching, which corresponds to the Hinayana teachings; (2) the connecting teaching, or introductory Mahayana teachings; (3) the specific teaching, a higher level of provisional Mahayana; and (4) the perfect teaching, or true Mahayana. The four teachings of method are: (1) the sudden teaching, or those teachings that Shakyamuni expounded directly from his enlightenment; (2) the gradual teaching, or teachings expounded to gradually elevate people’s capacities to an understanding of higher doctrines; (3) the secret teaching, teachings that listeners understand according to their respective individual capacities and from which they each receive a different benefit without knowing it; and (4) the indeterminate teaching, teachings that listeners understand and benefit in the same way as above but are aware of the difference.
eight winds Eight conditions that prevent people from advancing along the right path to enlightenment. They are: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. People are often swayed either by their attachment to prosperity, honor, praise, and pleasure, or by their aversion to decline, disgrace, censure, and suffering.
eighty characteristics Remarkable qualities of Buddhas and bodhisattvas.
eighty thousand sacred teachings See eighty thousand teachings.
eighty thousand teachings Also, the eighty thousand sacred teachings and the eighty-four thousand teachings. The entire body of teachings expounded by Shakyamuni Buddha during his lifetime. The figure is frequently given as eighty-four thousand. These figures are not intended to be literal but are used to simply indicate a large number.
Ema The lord of Shijō Kingo. Ema refers to either Ema Mitsutoki (Hōjō Mitsutoki) or his son Ema Chikatoki (Hōjō Chikatoki). A retainer of the Ema family, Shijō Kingo served these two lords. Ema Mitsutoki was a grandson of Hōjō Yoshitoki, the second regent of the Kamakura government. In 1246 he fell under suspicion of treason against the regent Hōjō Tokiyori and was banished to a place called Ema in Izu. At that time his retainer Nakatsukasa Yorikazu, Shijō Kingo’s father, accompanied him into exile. Later he was permitted to return to Kamakura.
emanation Buddhas See emanations of the Buddha.
emanations of the Buddha Also called emanation Buddhas, or simply emanations. Buddhas who are separate manifestations of a true Buddha. According to Mahayana belief, a true Buddha can divide his body an infinite number of times and appear in innumerable worlds at once in order to save the people there. Hence “the emanation Buddhas of the ten directions” and other similar expressions. In the “Treasure Tower” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni summons the Buddhas who are his emanations from the ten directions.
emptiness A fundamental Buddhist concept, also expressed as non-substantiality, void, latency, or relativity, which teaches that things and phenomena have no fixed or independent nature. This idea is closely linked to that of dependent origination, which states that because phenomena arise and continue to exist only by virtue of their relationship with other phenomena, they have no fixed substance. The concept of emptiness thus teaches that nothing exists independently. However, implications of the concept of emptiness differ among the Buddhist schools and their doctrines.
Enchin See Chishō.
Enchō (772–837) Also, the Great Teacher Jakkō. The second chief priest of Enryaku-ji temple.
“Encouraging Devotion” chapter The thirteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, in which countless bodhisattvas vow to spread the sutra in the frightful evil age after the Buddha’s passing, even in the face of harsh persecution. The words of their vow enumerate the types of persecutions that will be met in propagating the Lotus Sutra in the fearful latter age. These persecutions were later summarized as the “three powerful enemies.”
Enryaku-ji The head temple of the Tendai school, located on Mount Hiei. It was founded by Dengyō in 788.
eranda (Skt) A castor-oil plant or a relative of the castor-oil plant. In Buddhist scriptures the eranda is depicted as a plant emitting a very foul odor and often contrasted with the fragrant sandalwood tree. The odor of the eranda plant is compared to that of a rotting corpse and is described as reaching a distance of forty yojanas (one yojana measures about seven kilometers). The fragrant sandalwood tree was believed to dispel the stench of the eranda.
Eshin See Genshin.
esoteric teachings Teachings that are revealed secretly or exclusively, that is, intended for the specially initiated alone, in contrast to exoteric, or explicit, teachings, which can be understood and shared by all. Nichiren Daishonin uses the term esoteric (or secret) teachings in the following ways. (1) The “secret teachings” in T’ien-t’ai’s classification of the four teachings of method: sudden, gradual, secret, and indeterminate. See also eight teachings. (2) The esoteric teachings of the True Word school. This school attributes them to Mahāvairochana Buddha and holds that they contain the enlightenment of this Buddha, said to be beyond the understanding or ordinary people. The line of transmission is held to be from Mahāvairochana Buddha to Vajrasattva, Nāgārjuna, Nāgabodhi, and to Shan-wu-wei (Skt Shubhakarasimha), Chin-kang-chih (Vajrabodhi), and Pu-k’ung (Amoghavajra). The last three introduced the esoteric teachings from India to China. Kōbō brought them from China to Japan and systematized them as the Japanese True Word school. Later the esoteric teachings were also incorporated into the Tendai school by Jikaku, Chishō, and others. (See also True Word school.) Nichiren Daishonin refuted the esoteric teachings of both the True Word and Tendai schools.
Essentials of Rebirth in the Pure Land, The A work by the Tendai priest Genshin completed in 985, compiling passages from more than 160 sutras and treatises regarding the subject of rebirth in the land of Amida Buddha. In this work Genshin strove to inspire fear of the sufferings of transmigration through the six paths and longing for the bliss of the Pure Land, stressing the Nembutsu as the practice for attaining rebirth there. His work became extremely popular and lent tremendous impetus to the rise of Pure Land practices in Japan.
Essentials of the One Vehicle Teaching, The A treatise written around 1006 by Genshin, a Japanese Tendai priest. Based on the Tendai doctrine, it stresses the one vehicle teaching of the Lotus Sutra and asserts that all people possess the Buddha nature. It attacks the “five natures” doctrine of the Dharma Characteristics school that sentient beings are divided by their inborn capacity into five groups, some of which can never attain Buddhahood.
essential teaching (1) The teaching expounded by Shakyamuni from the perspective of his true identity as the Buddha who attained enlightenment numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago. T’ien-t’ai classifies the last fourteen chapters of the Lotus Sutra as the essential teaching. (2) The essential teaching of the Latter Day of the Law, that is, the teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Establishment of Truth School A reference to the Chinese Ch’eng-shih school and the Japanese Jōjitsu school (jōjitsu being the Japanese pronunciation of ch’eng-shih). A school based on The Treatise on the Establishment of Truth authored by Harivarman and translated into Chinese by Kumārajīva. It was introduced to Japan along with the Three Treatises school.
Ever Wailing A bodhisattva who appears in the Wisdom sutras. He was called Ever Wailing because he wept when he could not find a teacher from whom he would seek the teaching of the perfection of wisdom. He is described as being devoted to the pursuit of the perfection of wisdom, heedless of worldly fame or fortune. Finally Bodhisattva Ever Wailing sought the teaching from Bodhisattva Dharmodgata. Having nothing to offer him, Bodhisattva Ever Wailing attempted to sell his body in the marketplace to obtain money for alms. The god Shakra decided to test his resolve. Assuming the form of a Brahman, he told Bodhisattva Ever Wailing that he needed a heart, human blood, and marrow in order to perform a certain ritual. Bodhisattva Ever Wailing agreed to provide them, and voluntarily drew blood from his arm with a knife. Just as he had cut into his thigh and was about to obtain the marrow, he was interrupted by the daughter of a wealthy householder nearby. At this, Shakra revealed his true form and praised Bodhisattva Ever Wailing for his devotion.
evil friend (Jpn akuchishiki) Also, evil companion, evil teacher, and evil influence. One who deceives and causes others to fall into the evil paths, into suffering. An evil friend deludes others with false doctrines in order to obstruct their Buddhist practice. The Nirvana Sutra teaches that one should fear not a mad elephant but an evil friend. The term refers to those who approach others and befriend them with the intention of leading them away from correct Buddhist practice and to an erroneous teaching. See also good friend.
evil paths Also, evil paths of existence. The realm of suffering into which one who has committed evil acts descends; also the suffering that such a person undergoes. “Path” here means a state or realm of existence, or specifically, any of the Ten Worlds. The worlds of hell, hungry spirits, and animals are called the three evil paths, and these three plus the realm of asuras are called the four evil paths.
exoteric teachings Teachings that were revealed openly or explicitly, in contrast to the esoteric teachings, which were taught secretly or exclusively. The True Word school defines Shakyamuni’s teachings as exoteric teachings expounded in accord with the people’s capacity, and the teachings of Mahāvairochana Buddha as esoteric teachings. See also esoteric teachings.
“Expedient Means” chapter The second chapter of the Lotus Sutra and the key chapter of the theoretical teaching. In this chapter Shakyamuni declares that Buddhas appear in the world solely for the purpose of leading all people to enlightenment. And he shows that all people have the potential for Buddhahood, namely, that Buddhahood is not separate from ordinary people but is inherent in their lives.
eye-opening ceremony A ceremony performed to consecrate a Buddha image, in the belief that the image can thereby be endowed with spiritual properties.
Ezo people Indigenous inhabitants of northern Japan. Sources from the Nara (710–794) and Heian (794–1185) periods refer to them as barbaric tribes who had once occupied northern Japan and resisted military pressure from a centralized Yamato state. The Ainu people who now reside on Japan’s northernmost major island, Hokkaido, are thought to be descendants of the Ezo mentioned in ancient documents, though the association is not certain.