Sacred Way See Sacred Way teachings.
Sacred Way teachings The teachings that assert that attaining enlightenment depends upon one’s own power. The term “Sacred Way teachings” is used in contrast to the Pure Land teachings, which profess that enlightenment depends upon the power of Amida Buddha. The classification of the Buddhist sutras into the two categories of Pure Land teachings and Sacred Way teachings was formulated by Tao-ch’o of the T’ang dynasty in China.
Sadatō (1019–1062) Abe no Sadatō, the head of a powerful family in northeastern Japan. He sought independence from imperial rule but was defeated and killed in a battle with the imperial forces.
Sagami, the lord of Governor of Sagami Province, where Kamakura, the seat of government, was located. This post was held by the regent of the Kamakura government or an official subordinate to the regent.
sahā world This world, which is full of sufferings. In the Chinese version of Buddhist scriptures, the Sanskrit sahā is translated as “endurance.” The term “sahā world” suggests that the people who live in this world must endure sufferings. It is also identified as an impure land, in contrast to a pure land. The sahā world is the land where Shakyamuni Buddha makes his appearance and, enduring various hardships, instructs living beings. Some Buddhist scriptures, including the Lotus Sutra, hold that the sahā world can be transformed into the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light, or that the sahā world is in itself the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light.
Saichō See Dengyō.
Saimyō-ji, the lay priest of Hōjō Tokiyori (1227–1263), the fifth regent of the Kamakura government. He was called the lay priest of Saimyō-ji because he was ordained at Saimyō-ji temple after retiring from office. But as the head of the Hōjō clan he remained the most influential leader.
samādhi (Skt) A state of intense concentration of mind, or meditation, said to produce a sense of inner serenity. The word “samādhi” is translated as meditation, contemplation, or concentration.
samaya (Skt) Objects and mudras (hand gestures) displayed by Buddhas and bodhisattvas that represent their vows to lead all people to enlightenment. Buddhas and bodhisattvas are sometimes depicted holding various objects such as a bow, an arrow, a pagoda, a jewel, or a sword. Esoteric Buddhism interprets samaya either as the vows made by Buddhas and bodhisattvas or as the symbols of their vows.
Same Birth and Same Name Two gods that are said to dwell on one’s shoulders from the time of one’s birth and to report one’s actions to Heaven. They symbolize the workings of the law of cause and effect in life expounded by Buddhism. Same Birth means “born at the same time,” and Same Name, “bearing the same name.”
Sammi-bō (n.d.) One of Nichiren Daishonin’s earliest disciples. He was highly esteemed among the Daishonin’s followers for his great learning and debating skill, exemplified in his victory over the priest Ryūzō-bō in the Kuwagayatsu Debate. He tended, however, to be unduly proud of his knowledge and to seek worldly fame. During the Atsuhara Persecution, he discarded his faith and turned against the Daishonin. He is said to have died tragically.
San-chieh (540–594) Also known as Hsin-hsing. A priest of the Sui dynasty who founded the Three Stages school (Chin San-chieh-chiao). He asserted that, during the third stage in the propagation of Buddhism, or the Latter Day of the Law (which he held had begun in 550), people should not adhere to any particular sutra but revere all teachings without discrimination. This school spread widely, but was proscribed in 600 by imperial decree because its doctrine contradicted those of the earlier schools and ran counter to government policy. It was again suppressed in 725 by imperial decree during the T’ang dynasty, and this led to its rapid decline.
sandalwood The heartwood of an aromatic tree found in India. The tree grows to be ten meters in height, and its fragrant heartwood is used for making incense. Also, the tree that yields this wood.
Sāramati (n.d.) A Mahayana scholar in India who lived from the fourth century through the fifth century. He wrote The Treatise on the Treasure Vehicle of Buddhahood.
Sarvāstivāda school The most influential of the twenty early Buddhist schools classified as Hinayana. The Sarvāstivāda school held that living beings, as temporary unions of the five components, possess no real or permanent self; but the dharmas, or elements of existence that compose living beings, are real and have their own abiding existence. It contributed more than any other school to developing the abhidharma, the section of the Buddhist canon consisting of doctrinal commentaries.
Sasshō (n.d.) A priest of the Pure Land school who lived in Kamakura, Japan, in the thirteenth century. Originally of the Tendai school, he later practiced the Pure Land teachings under Hōnen’s disciple Jōkaku and studied the doctrine of one-time recitation of the Nembutsu (a phrase hailing the name of Amida Buddha), which states that even one such recitation made with single-minded faith in Amida’s grace is sufficient to attain rebirth in the Pure Land. Later he became a student of Shōkū of the Seizan branch of the Pure Land school. In 1227, when the imperial court prohibited the practice of the Nembutsu, Sasshō was banished from Kyoto. He moved to Kamakura and eventually founded his own school, which upheld a doctrine of meditation on Amida Buddha. The details of his teachings are unknown.
sea of the sufferings of birth and death Also, sea of suffering. The sufferings of transmigration in the six paths of existence, which are said to be as endless and difficult to overcome as the ocean is vast and difficult to cross.
Secret Solemnity Sutra A sutra that depicts the Pure Land of Secret Solemnity, a world of bodhisattvas who have overcome the illusions of the threefold world. The sutra teaches that all phenomena originate from the ālaya-consciousness, which is equated in this sutra with the matrix of the Thus Come One, or potential for Buddhahood. It also asserts that one must awaken to the ālaya-consciousness in order to be reborn in the Pure Land of Secret Solemnity.
Seichō-ji temple A temple located on Mount Kiyosumi (Seichō is another reading of the characters for Kiyosumi) in Awa Province (in present-day Chiba Prefecture), where Nichiren Daishonin studied Buddhism in his boyhood. On the twenty-eighth day of the fourth month in 1253, he declared the teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo at this temple.
Seng-chao (384–414) A priest of the Later Ch’in dynasty and one of Kumārajīva’s main disciples.
Seng-ts’an (d. 606) The third patriarch in the lineage of Zen Buddhism in China. He studied the Zen teachings under the second patriarch, Hui-k’o. When Buddhism was suppressed by Emperor Wu (r. 560–578) of the Northern Chou dynasty, he hid himself on a mountain where he continued his Zen practice. Seng-ts’an transferred the Zen teachings to Tao-hsin.
Sen’yo The name of Shakyamuni in a previous existence. According to the Nirvana Sutra, the king Sen’yo was the ruler of a great kingdom and a believer in the Mahayana sutras. When five hundred Brahmans slandered the Mahayana teachings, he had them put to death. Because of this act, he was never thereafter in danger of falling into hell. This story is not meant to condone killing of slanderers but rather to demonstrate the gravity of slander and the importance of protecting the Law. Sen’yo is the Japanese rendering of his name; his Sanskrit name is unknown.
separate transmission outside the sutras A doctrine of the Zen school that the Buddha’s enlightenment and his true teaching have been transmitted apart from the sutras. The Zen school asserts that the Buddha’s enlightenment has been wordlessly transmitted from mind to mind and thus handed down from one Zen patriarch to another. This tenet is also referred to by the phrase “special transmission outside the sutras.”
seven Buddhas of the past Shakyamuni and six Buddhas said to have preceded him. The six Buddhas are Vipashyin, Shikhin, Vishvabhū, Krakucchanda, Kanakamuni, and Kāshyapa. The first three appeared in the past Glorious Kalpa, while the other four including Shakyamuni appeared in the present Wise Kalpa.
seven cardinal sins The seven gravest offenses in Buddhism. Their descriptions and order vary slightly among the Buddhist sutras and commentaries; according to the Brahmā Net Sutra, they are (1) injuring a Buddha, (2) killing one’s father, (3) killing one’s mother, (4) killing a monk of high virtue, (5) killing an āchārya (a Buddhist teacher), (6) causing disunity in the Buddhist Order, and (7) killing a sage.
seven disasters Disasters said to be caused by slander of the correct teaching. In the Benevolent Kings Sutra, they are listed as: (1) extraordinary changes in the sun and moon, (2) extraordinary changes in the stars and planets, (3) fires, (4) unseasonable floods, (5) storms, (6) drought, and (7) war, including enemy attacks from without and rebellion from within. The Medicine Master Sutra defines the seven disasters as: (1) pestilence, (2) foreign invasion, (3) internal strife, (4) extraordinary changes in the heavens, (5) solar and lunar eclipses, (6) unseasonable storms, and (7) unseasonable drought. The seven disasters are often referred to along with the three calamities in the phrase “three calamities and seven disasters.”
seven expedient means Also, the seven expedients. A principle set forth by the T’ien-t’ai school. There are two different types. One is the seven vehicles, or teachings, preached prior to the perfect teaching of the Lotus Sutra. These are teachings for (1) human beings, (2) heavenly beings, (3) voice-hearers, (4) cause-awakened ones, (5) bodhisattvas of the Tripitaka teaching, (6) bodhisattvas of the connecting teaching, and (7) bodhisattvas of the specific teaching. The seven expedient means also refer to the seven stages or levels attained by practitioners of these teachings. The other of the two types refers to the practitioners, who are (1) voice-hearers and (2) cause-awakened ones of the Tripitaka teaching; (3) voice-hearers, (4) cause-awakened ones, and (5) bodhisattvas of the connecting teaching; (6) bodhisattvas of the specific teaching; and (7) bodhisattvas of the perfect teaching.
seven kinds of gems See seven kinds of treasures.
seven kinds of treasures Also, seven treasures or seven kinds of gems. The list differs among Buddhist scriptures. In the Lotus Sutra, they are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, pearl, and carnelian.
seven luminaries The seven heavenly bodies: the sun, the moon, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, and Saturn.
seven major temples See seven major temples of Nara.
seven major temples of Nara Also, the seven great temples of Nara. Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Gangō-ji, Daian-ji, Yakushi-ji, Saidai-ji, and Hōryū-ji—the principal Buddhist temples located in Nara, the capital of Japan during the Nara period (710–794).
seven marches See five provinces and seven marches.
seven reigns of heavenly deities and five reigns of earthly deities See seven reigns of heavenly gods and five reigns of earthly gods.
seven reigns of heavenly gods and five reigns of earthly gods A reference to native deities said to have ruled Japan before the time of the legendary first human emperor Jimmu. “Deities” is often used in place of “gods.” The seven generations of heavenly gods are said to have ruled Japan first, followed by the five generations of earthly deities. The first of the earthly deities was the Sun Goddess, who was revered as the progenitor of the imperial line.
seven schools of the north and three schools of the south See three schools of southern China and seven schools of northern China.
seven stages of sagehood The second grouping of seven stages of development set forth in the Hinayana teachings. The first grouping, the seven stages of worthiness or seven expedient means, covers stages of practice undertaken by those still at the stage of ordinary persons, that is, practitioners who have yet to attain the way of insight, which is the first of the three ways and the stage at which one beholds the four noble truths and is liberated from the characteristics and limitations of ordinary persons. The seven stages of sagehood are the stages of practice undertaken by persons who have entered the three ways that lead to nirvana—the way of insight, the way of practice, and the way of the arhat. The first two of the seven stages of sagehood correspond to the way of insight, the next three to the way of practice, and the remaining two to the way of the arhat.
seven stages of worthiness Seven stages of practice in the Hinayana teachings. Stages of practice undertaken by ordinary practitioners, persons who are still subject to earthly desires and illusions. They prepare one to enter the way of insight, the first of the three ways leading to nirvana. The seven stages of worthiness are divided into two groups, respectively called the three stages of worthiness and the four good roots. See also seven stages of sagehood.
seven treasures See seven kinds of treasures.
seven types of living beings in the Ganges River Seven types of living beings listed in the Nirvana Sutra in a parable pertaining to the Ganges River. (1) Icchantikas who, on entering the water, immediately drown. Once they have entered the water of the sufferings of birth and death, they never emerge again; (2) those described as emerging but drowning again. They are like persons who have the strength to emerge, but as they have never learned how to float, even if they can emerge from the water, they sink into it again; (3) those who, once having emerged from the water, do not drown. That is, having emerged from the river of the sufferings of birth and death, thereafter they never sink into it again; (4) those who emerge from the water and then remain where they are. These are voice-hearers; (5) those who, having emerged, merely observe those who are drowning without endeavoring to save them. These are cause-awakened ones; (6) those who, having emerged, stay in a shallow place. These are bodhisattvas; and (7) those who reach the other shore. These are Buddhas.
Shakra Also known as Indra and Shakra Devānām Indra. Together with Brahmā, one of the two principal tutelary gods of Buddhism. He resides in the heaven of the thirty-three gods located on the summit of Mount Sumeru.
Shakra Devānām Indra See Shakra.
shakubuku (Jpn) A method of expounding Buddhism by refuting another’s attachment to erroneous teachings and thus leading that person to the correct teaching. The term “shakubuku” is used in contrast to shōju, which means to lead another gradually to the correct teaching in accord with that person’s capacity. These two kinds of practice are described in the Shrīmālā Sutra, Great Concentration and Insight, and other works.
Shakyamuni The founder of Buddhism. Opinions vary as to when he lived. Buddhist tradition in China and Japan has him living between the years 1029 b.c.e. and 949 b.c.e., while recent Western studies have placed him nearly five hundred years later. Born as the son of the king of the Shākyas, a tribe whose kingdom was located in the foothills of the Himalayas, he renounced his princely status and set off in search of a resolution to the questions of birth, aging, sickness, and death. He studied influential philosophies and practiced various austerities, but realized that they would not lead to the awakening he sought. Near the city of Gayā, he is said to have sat under a bodhi tree, entered meditation, and attained enlightenment. In order to lead others to the same state of enlightenment, during the succeeding fifty years he expounded numerous teachings, which were later compiled in the form of Buddhist sutras.
Shan-tao (613–681) The third patriarch of the Pure Land school in China. Shan-tao classified Buddhist practices into the categories of correct and sundry. He defined the correct practices to be those directed toward Amida Buddha and regarded all other practices as sundry practices.
Shan-wu-wei (637–735) The Indian monk Shubhakarasimha who first introduced the esoteric teachings to China. He also translated numerous esoteric sutras, including the Mahāvairochana Sutra. Shan-wu-wei is his Chinese name.
Shao-k’ang (d. 805) A priest of the Pure Land school in the T’ang dynasty; the fifth of the five patriarchs of the Chinese Pure Land school. Having studied various forms of Buddhism, in 785 he came across the teaching of the late Shan-tao, and thereafter devoted himself to the Pure Land teachings.
Shāriputra One of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples, known as the foremost in wisdom. Originally a follower of Sanjaya Belatthiputta, one of the six non-Buddhist teachers, he met with Ashvajit, a disciple of Shakyamuni, heard from him about the law of causation, and became Shakyamuni’s disciple.
Shashānka (n.d.) A king of Karnasuvarna, a state in western India, in the early seventh century. A devotee of a non-Buddhist teaching, he destroyed many of the Buddhist monasteries and even cut down the bodhi tree at Buddhagayā. He was killed by the powerful king Harsha. See also Shīlāditya.
Shen Nung Legendary sage ruler of ancient China, honored as the originator of agriculture and medicine. His name, “Shen Nung,” means “Divine Agriculture.” Shen Nung is counted as the second of the Three Sovereigns, legendary sage rulers.
Shibi The name of Shakyamuni in a past existence when he was a king carrying out the practice of almsgiving. According to The Garland of Birth Stories, the god Vishvakarman disguised himself as a dove and the god Shakra changed into a hawk in order to test King Shibi. The hawk pursued the dove, which flew into the king’s robes for protection. In order to save the dove, King Shibi offered his own flesh to the hungry hawk.
Shijūku-in temple A temple of the Tendai school in Suruga Province, where Nikkō, Nichiren Daishonin’s eventual successor, entered the priesthood and spent his childhood. Later, when Nikkō used the temple as a center for propagation activities in the Fuji area, Gon’yo, the temple’s administrator, became antagonistic toward Nikkō and other followers of the Daishonin including Nichiji, Shōken, and Kenshū, and expelled them from the temple, claiming that their teachings were false. Nikkō sent a joint petition to the Kamakura government condemning the expulsion as unreasonable and requesting an official religious debate with Gon’yo.
Shīlāditya (r. 606–647) Also known as Harsha or Harshavardhana. A king who eventually reigned over most of northern India. A believer in Buddhism, he built many temples and stupas and governed with the Buddhist spirit of compassion.
Shinjō (n.d.) (Kor Simsang). A native of Silla on the Korean Peninsula and the founder of the Japanese Flower Garland school. He journeyed from Silla to T’ang China, where he studied the Flower Garland doctrine under Fa-tsang. Later, he went to Japan and propagated the Flower Garland teaching.
Shinzei (800–860) A priest of the True Word school in Japan, a disciple of Kōbō, the founder of the school. After Kōbō’s death, he became superintendent of Jingo-ji temple, and later was appointed administrator of priests.
Shishin-den Palace The structure on the grounds of the imperial palace in Kyoto that was used for state ceremonies including the coronation of the emperor and the installation of the crown prince as well as New Year’s observances.
Shitennō-ji The oldest existing Japanese Buddhist temple, founded by Prince Shōtoku in 587. It is said that Shōtoku built it in gratitude for the victory he had won with Soga no Umako over Mononobe no Moriya, the leader of the anti-Buddhist faction at court, and that he enshrined statues of the four heavenly kings (Jpn shitennō) therein. It is located in the city of Osaka.
shō (Jpn) A unit of volume equivalent to about 1.8 liters.
Shōgaku-bō See Kakuban.
Shōichi (1202–1280) Also known as Enni or Bennen. A priest of the Rinzai school of Zen in Japan. He studied Zen in China and, after returning to Japan, propagated its teachings at court and obtained the patronage of the nobility, becoming the first chief priest of Tōfuku-ji temple in Kyoto.
shōju (Jpn) A method of teaching Buddhism in which one gradually leads another to the correct teaching in accord with that person’s capacity. The term is used in contrast to shakubuku, or directly awakening people to the correct teaching by refuting their attachment to inferior teachings.
Shōka era The period in Japan from 1257 to 1259. In the first year of the Shōka era (1257), a great earthquake struck Kamakura, the seat of government, and this disaster inspired Nichiren Daishonin to write On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, which he submitted to Hōjō Tokiyori, the retired regent and de facto leader of the government.
Shōkō (1162–1238) Also known as Benchō. The founder of the Chinzei branch of the Pure Land school in Japan. Though he studied at Mount Hiei, the center of the Tendai school, he was inspired to pursue the Pure Land teachings when he encountered Hōnen, founder of the Pure Land school in Japan. In 1204 he went to Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost major island, to propagate the Pure Land teachings.
Shōkō-bō See Shōkō.
Shōmu (701–756) The forty-fifth emperor of Japan who had deep faith in the power of Buddhism to safeguard the nation. He established a temple and a nunnery in each province throughout the country. Moreover, he built Tōdai-ji temple in Nara as the center of all provincial temples and erected a great image of Vairochana Buddha there.
Shore of Suffering A monk said to have lived in the remote past after the passing of the Buddha Great Adornment. According to the Buddha Treasury Sutra, the followers of the Buddha Great Adornment had split into five schools, but only one, led by the monk Universal Practice, maintained the Buddha’s teachings correctly. The monk Shore of Suffering was the leader of one of the other four schools that denounced the monk Universal Practice.
Shōtoku (574–622) Prince Shōtoku. Also known as Prince Jōgū. The second son of Emperor Yōmei of Japan, Shōtoku was famous for his support of Buddhism and his application of its principles to government. As regent under the reign of Empress Suiko, he carried out numerous reforms. He promulgated the Seventeen-Article Constitution in 604 and initiated diplomatic relations with the Sui dynasty in China. He revered the Lotus, Shrīmālā, and Vimalakīrti sutras and is credited with having written commentaries on them.
shramana (Skt) A seeker of the way. In India the word originally referred to any ascetic, recluse, mendicant, or religious practitioner who left home and renounced secular life to seek the way to awakening. Later it came to mean chiefly one who renounces the world to practice Buddhism.
shrāmanera (Skt) A male novice in the Buddhist Order. Shrāmanera refers to a novice from age seven to nineteen who has vowed to observe the ten precepts, before he has received all the precepts and become a full-fledged monk, or to one who remains a novice after that age.
Shrāvastī The capital of the kingdom of Kosala in ancient India. Shrāvastī was one of the most prosperous cities in India during the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, along with Rājagriha in Magadha. Shakyamuni is said to have made Shrāvastī his center of activities and to have stayed there for twenty-five years, converting many local people, including King Prasenajit. Shrāvastī was properly the name of the capital, but it was also used as the name of the kingdom.
Shrīmālā Sutra A sutra that takes the form of preaching by Shrīmālā, the daughter of King Prasenajit of Kosala, with the help of Shakyamuni’s power. It expounds the one vehicle doctrine and makes clear that the Buddha nature is inherent in all sentient beings. Along with the Vimalakīrti Sutra, it is valued as a scripture for lay Buddhists.
Shuddhodana A king of Kapilavastu in northern India and the father of Shakyamuni Buddha. He originally opposed his son’s desire to renounce the world, but when Shakyamuni returned to Kapilavastu after his awakening, Shuddhodana converted to his teaching.
Shun, Emperor One of the Five Emperors—legendary sage emperors in ancient China—who were highly respected by the people.
Shun-hsiao (n.d.) A priest of Esoteric Buddhism in T’ang China. He studied the esoteric teaching under I-hsing and Pu-k’ung. Shun-hsiao imparted the esoteric teaching to Dengyō when the latter went to China from Japan in 804.
Shūramgama Sutra (1) A sutra translated into Chinese by Kumārajīva in the early fifth century. Its full title is the Shūramgama Meditation Sutra. It teaches the shūramgama-samādhi, or resolute meditation, and explains its power, describing this as the source of all types of meditation. (2) A sutra traditionally thought to have been translated into Chinese by Pan-la-mi-ti in the early eighth century. Also known as the Great Crown of the Buddha’s Head Sutra or the Great Crown of the Buddha’s Head Shūramgama Meditation Sutra, the sutra explains the power accruing from meditation and dhāranī (mystic formulas).
Shūryasoma (n.d.) A prince of Yarkand in Central Asia in the fourth century and the teacher of Kumārajīva. Shūryasoma was well versed in the Mahayana sutras and bequeathed the Lotus Sutra to Kumārajīva.
Siddhārtha Another name for Shakyamuni, possibly his childhood or given name. Siddhārtha means “Goal Achieved.” Some scholars believe that this is a title bestowed on him by later Buddhists in honor of the enlightenment he attained.
Silver-Colored Woman Sutra A sutra that expounds the benefits of the practice of almsgiving. According to this sutra, in a past existence Shakyamuni was a woman called Silver-Colored Woman. She carried out the practice of almsgiving, and as a result, she changed into a man and was chosen to be king. In the next life, he was born as the son of a wealthy man and offered his flesh to feed starving birds and beasts. He was then reborn to a Brahman family and again offered his body to a starving tiger. The sutra says that he never once regretted his acts of almsgiving.
Simhahanu A king of Kapilavastu and the Shākya tribe in ancient India, the father of Shuddhodana, Shakyamuni’s father, and grandfather of Shakyamuni. Simhahanu was also the grandfather of Ānanda, Aniruddha, and Devadatta.
single vehicle See one vehicle.
six difficult and nine easy acts Comparisons expounded in the “Treasure Tower” chapter of the Lotus Sutra to teach how difficult it would be to embrace and propagate the sutra in the Latter Day of the Law. The six difficult acts are to propagate the Lotus Sutra widely, to copy it or cause someone else to copy it, to recite it even for a short while, to teach it even to one person, to hear of and accept the Lotus Sutra and inquire about its meaning, and to maintain faith in it. The nine easy acts include such feats as teaching innumerable sutras other than the Lotus Sutra, walking across a burning prairie carrying a bundle of hay on one’s back without being burned, and kicking a major world system into a different quarter.
six directions North, south, east, west, up, and down.
six heavens of the world of desire Heavens located in the world of desire and situated between the earth and the Brahma heaven. They are the heaven of the four heavenly kings, the heaven of the thirty-three gods, the Yāma heaven, the Tushita heaven, the Heaven of Enjoying the Conjured, and the Heaven of Freely Enjoying Things Conjured by Others. The Heaven of Freely Enjoying Things Conjured by Others, often called the sixth heaven, is known as the abode of the devil king.
six lower paths See six paths.
six lower worlds See six paths.
six non-Buddhist teachers Influential thinkers in India during Shakyamuni’s lifetime who openly broke with the old Vedic tradition and challenged Brahman authority in the Indian social order. They were Pūrana Kassapa, who denied causality and rejected all concepts of morality; Makkhali Gosāla, who espoused an absolute fatalism; Sanjaya Belatthiputta, a skeptic who denied the possibility of certain knowledge in the metaphysical realm; Ajita Kesakambala, a materialist who maintained that life ends when the body dies; Pakudha Kacchāyana, who asserted that human beings were composed of seven unchangeable elements: earth, water, fire, wind, suffering, pleasure, and soul; and Nigantha Nātaputta, the founder of Jainism, who taught a rigorous asceticism.
six objects Also, six sense objects. Color and form, sound, odor, taste, texture, and phenomena. That perceived by the six sense organs—eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind, respectively. “Phenomena” is a translation of dharmas, which means all things physical and spiritual of the past, present, and future. Contact between the six sense organs and their respective objects gives rise to the six consciousnesses—sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and thought.
six pāramitās Six practices for Mahayana bodhisattvas in their progress toward Buddhahood—almsgiving, keeping the precepts, forbearance, assiduousness, meditation, and the obtaining of wisdom.
six paths Also, the six paths of existence, six lower paths, or six lower worlds. The realms or worlds in which unenlightened beings dwell and transmigrate. They are the realms of hell, hungry spirits, animals, asuras, human beings, and heavenly beings.
six patriarchs of China The first six successive leaders of the Zen school in China. They are Bodhidharma, who is credited with bringing the Zen teaching to China from India, his disciple and second patriarch, Hui-k’o, the third, Seng-ts’an, the fourth, Tao-hsin, the fifth, Hung-jen, and the sixth, Hui-neng.
six realms of existence See six paths.
six schools Also, the six schools of Nara. The major Buddhist schools in Japan during the Nara period (710–794): the Dharma Analysis Treasury, Establishment of Truth, Precepts, Dharma Characteristics, Three Treatises, and Flower Garland schools.
six sense fields A reference to the six sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind) and also to the realm where the six sense organs perceive their respective objects of color and form, sound, odor, taste, texture, and phenomena, and as a result the six consciousnesses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and thought emerge.
six sense organs Also, the six sensory organs. The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind.
six stages of practice Stages in the practice of the Lotus Sutra formulated by T’ien-t’ai: (1) the stage of being a Buddha in theory; (2) the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth; (3) the stage of perception and action; (4) the stage of resemblance to enlightenment; (5) the stage of progressive awakening; and (6) the stage of ultimate enlightenment.
sixteen great states Also, the sixteen major states or the sixteen great countries. The countries of ancient India—Anga, Magadha, Kāshī, Kosala, Vriji, Malla, Chedi, Vatsa, Kuru, Panchāla, Ashvaka, Avanti, Matsya, Shūrasena, Gandhāra, and Kamboja.
sixteen princes The sixteen sons of the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, who appeared in the remote past as described in the “Parable of the Phantom City” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. According to the chapter, when that Buddha, who was originally a king, renounced secular life and attained enlightenment, his sons also renounced secular life to follow their father. They heard the Lotus Sutra from him, took faith in it, and preached it for the people. The chapter states that these sixteen sons presently live as Buddhas in their respective lands in the ten directions where they preach the Law and it lists their names and the directions in which they dwell. Shakyamuni Buddha is identified as one of those sons, now the Buddha of this sahā world.
sixth heaven The highest of the six heavens in the world of desire, where the devil king resides.
six transcendental powers Also, six supernatural powers. Powers that Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and arhats are said to possess. They are (1) the power of being anywhere at will, (2) the power of seeing anything anywhere, (3) the power of hearing any sound anywhere, (4) the power of knowing the thoughts of all other minds, (5) the power of knowing past lives, and (6) the power of eradicating illusions.
small kalpa According to The Treatise on the Rise of the World, any of the twenty kalpas that constitute each of the four kalpas of formation, continuance, decline, and disintegration. A small kalpa is said to equal 15,998,000 years. According to The Dharma Analysis Treasury, however, this period of time corresponds to a medium kalpa. See also kalpa of continuance.
Snow Mountains, the boy The name of Shakyamuni Buddha in a previous lifetime when he was practicing austerities in the Snow Mountains. His story appears in the Nirvana Sutra. The god Shakra decided to test the boy Snow Mountains’ resolve. Disguised as a demon, he recited half a verse from a Buddhist teaching. Hearing this, the boy begged the demon to teach him the second half, but the demon demanded his flesh and blood in payment. After the boy received the latter half of the verse, he jumped from a tree into the demon’s mouth, but the demon at that moment changed back into Shakra and caught him.
Soga no Umako (d. 626) An imperial court official and head of the pro-Buddhist faction at court. He was a leading official under Emperor Bidatsu, Yōmei, and Sushun, and Empress Suiko. His father was Soga no Iname. Umako defeated Mononobe no Moriya, another leading court official and the head of the anti-Buddhist faction. Later he had Emperor Sushun assassinated.
Sō’ō (831–918) A priest of the Tendai school in Japan. He studied under Jikaku, the third chief priest of Enryaku-ji, the head temple of the Tendai school on Mount Hiei. He is said to have excelled in the performance of the esoteric prayer rituals. In 866 he petitioned Emperor Seiwa to posthumously grant the title “Great Teacher” to the school’s founder, Dengyō, and to the third chief priest, Jikaku. This was the first instance of the title “Great Teacher” being bestowed in Japan.
Sovereign Kings Sutra An abbreviated title for the Sovereign Kings of the Golden Light Sutra. Translated by I-ching of the T’ang dynasty in China, it dwells on the protection afforded by the four heavenly kings and other benevolent deities.
sowing, maturing, and harvesting The three phases of the process by which a Buddha leads people to Buddhahood, corresponding to the growth and development of a plant. First the Buddha plants the seed of Buddhahood in people’s lives, then he nurtures it by helping them practice the teaching, and finally he enables them to reap the fruit of Buddhahood.
specific teaching One of the four teachings of doctrine. A higher level of provisional Mahayana taught specifically for bodhisattvas.
Spotted Feet Also known as Deer Feet. A king described in the Benevolent Kings Sutra, the Sutra on the Wise and the Foolish, and The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom. According to the Sutra on the Wise and the Foolish, he was a prince born of the king of a country and a lioness. Though human in form, he had spotted feet. According to the Benevolent Kings Sutra, when he was crown prince and about to become king, a non-Buddhist teacher suggested to him that he take the heads of a thousand kings and dedicate them to a certain deity. Prince Spotted Feet responded by capturing and imprisoning 999 kings. He then captured the thousandth and last king, named Universal Brightness. King Universal Brightness begged Spotted Feet for a day’s grace before being killed so that he could return to his country and make offerings to Buddhist monks. After making generous offerings and listening to the monks preach the teaching of the perfection of wisdom, he returned the next day as promised. He proceeded to share what the monks had taught him with the other imprisoned kings and Spotted Feet. The latter was so delighted that he admitted having been led astray by a non-Buddhist teacher, released the kings, and became a monk himself, striving thereafter in Buddhist practice.
stage of being a Buddha in theory The first of the six stages of practice. At this stage one has not yet heard the correct teaching and is ignorant of Buddhism. Nevertheless, one’s life still possesses the Buddha nature; in other words, one is a potential Buddha. See also six stages of practice.
stage of hearing the name and words of the truth The second of the six stages of practice. The stage at which one hears the name of the truth (that is, a Buddhist term for ultimate reality such as “the true aspect of all phenomena”) or reads the words of the sutras and thereby understands intellectually that one has the Buddha nature and that all phenomena are manifestations of the universal Law. See also six stages of practice.
stage of near-perfect enlightenment See near-perfect enlightenment.
stage of perception and action The third of the six stages of practice. The stage at which one perceives the truth of the Buddha nature within oneself through practice, that truth and the wisdom to perceive it are in accord with each other, and where one’s words match one’s actions. See also six stages of practice.
stage of progressive awakening The fifth of the six stages of practice. This is the stage at which one eradicates all illusions except fundamental darkness and awakens progressively to the truth of one’s Buddha nature. See also six stages of practice.
stage of resemblance to enlightenment The fourth of the six stages of practice. The stage at which one eliminates the first two of the three categories of illusion and attains purification of the six sense organs. Having advanced this far, one’s wisdom resembles that of a Buddha. See also six stages of practice.
stage of ultimate enlightenment The last of the six stages of practice. At this highest stage of Buddhist practice, one finally eliminates fundamental darkness and fully manifests the Buddha nature. See also six stages of practice.
string of coins Coins bound together by a string. In Japan in Nichiren Daishonin’s time, coins had a square hole in the center and were strung together one hundred or one thousand to a string.
Subhūti One of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples. He was regarded as the foremost in understanding the doctrine of non-substantiality.
Sudatta A merchant of Shrāvastī in India and the Buddha’s patron. He is said to have been one of the wealthiest men in the kingdom of Kosala. Since he often made donations to the poor and friendless, he was also called Anāthapindada (Supplier of the Needy). Jetavana Monastery, which he donated to Shakyamuni, became an important center for the Buddha’s preaching activity.
sudden teaching Those teachings that the Buddha expounded directly from the standpoint of his own enlightenment without giving his disciples preparatory knowledge. In T’ien-t’ai’s system of classification, the sudden teaching constitutes one of the four teachings of method and is represented by the Flower Garland Sutra. The term “sudden teaching,” however, was adopted by various schools, and its meaning differs according to their doctrines.
Sumeru The mountain that stands in the center of the world, according to ancient Indian cosmology. It is said to rise eighty-four thousand yojanas high (one yojana is approximately seven kilometers). The god Shakra resides on the summit, while the four heavenly kings live halfway down its four sides. In the outermost seas surrounding Sumeru lie four continents, the southern of which is Jambudvīpa. See also Sumeru world.
Sumeru world A world with Mount Sumeru at its center. According to the ancient Indian worldview, a Sumeru world consists of a Mount Sumeru, its surrounding seas and mountain ranges, four continents, a sun, and a moon. Mount Sumeru is located at the center of the world and surrounded concentrically by eight mountain ranges and eight seas. In the outermost sea exist four continents. A sun and a moon move around Mount Sumeru. According to ancient Indian cosmology, the universe is composed of countless Sumeru worlds.
Sumitomo (d. 941) Fujiwara no Sumitomo, a military commander of the Fujiwara clan who subdued a gang of pirates in 936. He later became a pirate chief himself, however, and rebelled against the government. He was finally defeated and killed in 941.
Summary of the Mahayana school The She-lun school, one of the thirteen Buddhist schools in China. A school based upon Asanga’s Summary of the Mahayana. It prospered in the Ch’en, Sui, and early T’ang dynasties, but was later absorbed by the Dharma Characteristics school.
Sunakshatra One of Shakyamuni’s disciples, said to be a son Shakyamuni had fathered before renouncing the world. He entered the Buddhist Order, but, overcome by distorted views, lost his mastery of the four stages of meditation and became attached to the view that there is no Buddha, no Law, and no attainment of nirvana. He is said to have eventually fallen into hell alive.
sundry practices One of two kinds of practices set forth by Shan-tao, a patriarch of the Pure Land school in China. The other kind is called correct practices. “Sundry practices” means all Buddhist practices not directed toward Amida Buddha. “Correct practices” are those directed toward Amida Buddha, such as reading and reciting the sutras centering on Amida, worshiping Amida, and invoking Amida’s name.
Sung dynasty (1) Also, the Liu Sung dynasty. A Chinese dynasty that existed from 420 through 479. The capital was Chien-k’ang. The Sung was replaced by the Ch’i dynasty. (2) A Chinese dynasty that existed from 960 through 1279. China was under the rule of this dynasty during Nichiren Daishonin’s time. The capital had originally been K’ai-feng, but in 1127 that city was conquered by the Chin, a kingdom that ruled northern China. Driven from K’ai-feng, the Sung fled to the south and established its capital at Lin-an in southern China. For this reason, the Sung dynasty before 1127 is called the Northern Sung dynasty, and thereafter, the Southern Sung dynasty. Finally it was replaced by the Yüan dynasty established by the Mongols.
Sun Goddess The central deity in Japanese mythology and, according to the oldest extant Japanese histories, also the progenitor of the imperial clan. The Sun Goddess was later adopted as a protective deity in Buddhism. Her Japanese name is Tenshō Daijin or Amaterasu Ōmikami.
Superior Intent A monk said to have lived in the latter age after the passing of the Buddha Lion Sound King. According to the Non-substantiality of All Phenomena Sutra, he slandered the monk Root of Joy who taught the correct doctrine, and fell into hell.
superior manifested body One of the two types of manifested body, the other being the inferior manifested body. The manifested body is one of the three bodies, and the physical form in which a Buddha appears in the world in order to save the people. The Buddha of the superior manifested body is the Buddha who appears for the sake of bodhisattvas at or above the first stage of development, the forty-first of the fifty-two stages of bodhisattva practice. The Buddha of the inferior manifested body is the Buddha who appears for the sake of ordinary people, persons of the two vehicles, and bodhisattvas below the first stage of development.
Superior Practices One of the four bodhisattvas and the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. In the “Supernatural Powers” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha transfers the essence of the sutra to him. Several of Nichiren Daishonin’s writings refer to his own propagation efforts as the work of Bodhisattva Superior Practices.
supervisor of priests One of the official positions conferred by the government on distinguished priests. Under the direction of the administrator of priests, the supervisor of priests was in charge of the priests and nuns. Later “supervisor of priests” became simply an honorary position or title with no associated function.
Supplement to “The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra,” The A commentary by Tao-hsien, a priest of the T’ien-t’ai school in China in the eighth century.
surplice A religious robe worn by Buddhist priests. In Japan, Buddhist priests traditionally wore black, blue, or red surplices made from five, seven, or nine to twenty-five pieces of ordinary cloth. In later times, priests came to wear surplices of silk, brocade, or other fine fabrics, with those of higher rank wearing more expensive and elaborate surplices.
Susiddhikara Sutra One of the three basic scriptures of the esoteric teachings, especially revered in Tendai Esotericism.
Su Wu (140–60 b.c.e.) A minister to Emperor Wu of the Former Han dynasty in China. In 100 b.c.e., Emperor Wu sent Su Wu to the land of the northern barbarians to procure their allegiance. The barbarian chieftain rejected the demand, however, and took Su Wu captive. Kept prisoner in a cave, for a time Su Wu had no choice but to eat snow to survive and endured many other hardships. It was nineteen years before he was able to return home.
Suzudan The name of Shakyamuni when he was a king in a past life. He renounced the throne to seek the correct teaching and devoted himself to austerities under the seer Asita for a thousand years in order to learn the Lotus Sutra. This king was later reborn as Shakyamuni, and the seer, as Devadatta. The “Devadatta” chapter of the Lotus Sutra recounts this story, though the name Suzudan is not mentioned there or in any other extant Sanskrit or Chinese text. Suzudan is the name by which the king was referred to in Japan, but the source of this name is unknown.