Goju no Sotai (五重相対)

Goju no Sotai is a part of the Kyoso Hanjaku (a guide for evaluation of sutras and others) established by Nichiren. It is a way to compare and examine any ideas or religions, and determines whether it is high or low, shallow or deep, and better or worse.


Nichiren compared and examined all ideas and religions, of course including the lifetime teaching of Shaka, and evaluated whether the religious principles are high or low, shallow or deep, and better or worse by five steps. There are five evaluation to Goju, and they are Naige, Daisho, Jitsugon, Honjaku, and Kyokan (or Shudatsu). It regards Myoho goji (the five characters of Myo, Ho, Ren, Ge, Kyo) which represents Ichinen sanzen (religious principle meaning that there are each and every phenomena of the universe included in one's mind), which is said to have appeared in Nyoraijuryo-hon of "Hokekyo" (Lotus Sutra), as the ultimate religious principle in Mappo (Age of the Final Dharma).

Naige sotai

Nai means Naido. Naido means Buddhism.

Ge means Gedo. Gedo is any religious teaching other than that of Buddhism.

Ideas, philosophies, and religions are distinguished into Naido and Gedo. Teaching other than Buddhism, or Gedo, seek the principle of Inga (cause and effect) of life by submitting to god's teaching and will (or outside), and doesn't preach the principle itself. In opposition, in Buddhism, the principle of Inga is preached from the past, the present, and through to the future, and seeks it inside.

Daisho sotai

Dai is the teaching of Mahayana Buddhism.

Sho is the teaching of Hinayana Buddhism.

In Buddhism, or Naido, it is further distinguished into Mahayana and Hinayana. In Hinayana Buddhism, its object is the Gedatsu (liberation from desires) and the Satori (enlightenment) of the believer only. Against that, in Mahayana Buddhism, the object is the Gedatsu and the Satori of oneself and the others.

Jitsugon sotai

It is also called Gonjitsu sotai.

Jitsu means the actual teaching.

Gon means the Gonkyo (provisional Mahayana). It means that the teaching is temporary.

Mahayana Buddhism is further distinguished into Gonkyo and Jitsukyo. Like seen in "Muryogi-kyo," which is the Kaikyo (sutra read before the main sutra) right before Hokekyo, Shaka said that '四十余年未顕真実' (the truth can't be seen in 40 years or so). In other words, it means that the sutras which were preached before Hokekyo are all temporary teachings, or Gonkyo. Opposing to that, like seen in Hobenbon of "Hokekyo" that '要当説真実' (the truth will be surely be preached), Hokekyo is the actual teaching of the truth, or Jitsukyo.

Honjaku sotai

Hon means the Honmon (latter 14 chapters of the 28 chapters of Hokekyo) of Hokekyo.

Shaku (jaku) means the Shakumon (first 14 chapters of the 28 chapters of Hokekyo) of Hokekyo. It means suijaku (temporary appearance).

28 chapters of Hokekyo are further divided into Honmon and Shakumon. In the first 14 chapters of Hokekyo, Shoho-jisso (true aspect of all phenomena), Junyoze (Buddhism Ten Factors of Life), and Jobutsu (becoming Buddha) of Nijo (believer of Hinayana) are being preached. However, they are still only preachings by Shaka as Shijo Shogaku, or one who was born in India and earned enlightenment below the Bodhi Tree, with Buddha in temporary appearance. In other words, it is the Shakumon. Opposing to that in the latter 14 chapters of Hokekyo, especially in Nyorai Juryo Hon, it is preached that Shaka didn't earn enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, but really, he was Kuon Jitsujo, or a Buddha who already earned enlightenment a very long time ago, in eternal past. It means that Shaka as Shijo Shogaku in Shakumon was a Buddha having only a temporary appearance, but Shaka as Kuon Jitsujo in Honmon was the Buddha with true appearance and body, preaching Ichinen sanzen of the phenomena in this world.

In addition, a dispute over the interpretation of this Honmon arose among the disciples of Nichiren after his death, and they were divided into Icchi school, which advocated that neither Honmon or Shakumon is better than the other, and into Shoretsu school, which advocated that Honmon is better than Shakumon (Honsho Jakuretsu).

Kyokan sotai

In Nichiren sect, this Kyokan sotai is regarded as the last of Goju no Sotai.

Kyo means the written kyoso (doctrine). When it says written, it means that it is clearly written on Hokekyo in words.

Kan means the kanjin (to look inside oneself to see the nature), under the words of sutra. It is not written on Hokekyo as the words, but the teaching is sank below the words of sutra.

Factors of Nyorai Juryo Hon of Hokekyo are also distinguished into a written kyoso and a kanjin under the words.

Nichiren said in "Kaimokusho" (Liberation from Blindness) that 'the doctrine of Ichinen sanzen sunk under the words of Hokekyo Honmon Juryo Hon, and even though Ryuju and Tenjin knew about it, they couldn't reach the doctrine, and only the men who earned enlightenment in my Tendai can get a hold of it.'
This is called Montei Hichin (sinking of the secrets under the words).

The written doctrine is a logic and theory written on the sutras of Hokekyo, in other words, Monsho (the logic of Buddhism clearly written on a sutra) and Risho (Monsho having convincing logics).

However, they won't have meaning if they aren't actually being practiced (Gensho). As a result, Gensho is regarded as the reciting of Myo, Ho, Ren, Ge, and Kyo with one's body, mouth, and will, which is the Naisho (inner realization) sunk under Hokekyo.

Once again, a dispute over the interpretation of this arose among the disciple of Nichiren after his death, and they were divided into general schools of Nichiren sect such as ones in Mt. Minobu, which advocated that Ichinen sanzen is the doctrine which is sunk under the words, and into Fujimon school, which advocated that the Sandaihiho (Three Great Secret Dharmas) or Nanmyohorengekyo is sunk under the words.

Shudatsu sotai

In Fujimon school, Nichiren Shoshu sect, and others, this Shudatsu sotai, not the Kyokan sotai, is regarded as the last of Goju no Sotai.

Shu means Geshu (planting of seeds of belief into people).

Datsu means Gedatsu (liberation from desires).

The words written on the Honmon of Hokekyo, which was preached by Shaka, is a teaching which can save people in the period of Shobo (the phase lasting 1,000 years following the death of the Historical Buddha) through Zobo (the period of false law, lasting for 1,000 years after Shobo), since those people have received Geshu in their past lives, or are Hon-i Uzen (having qualification as Buddha). In opposition, as for the people in the period of Mappo (the phase of decadent after Zoho), or who are Hon-mi Uzen (having no qualification as Buddha) since they didn't receive Geshu in their past life, there is no value in Hokekyo which was preached by Shaka, and it is useless like a calendar from past years. Because of that, if people don't believe and receive Nanmyohorengekyo, which is Honinmyo, or a Geshu sunk under the words of Honmon of Hokekyo, they can't become like a Buddha and earn Gedatsu.

In the Nichiren Shoshu sect, Gonjitsu, Honjaku, and Shudatsu are called as the Sanju Hiden (three secrets), and is believed that Nichiren Daishonin (the Great Saint Nichiren) has accomplished his lifetime wish of revealing Ichinen sanzen, which was sunk under the words of Honmon, with Shudatsu sotai, especially. Since this Shudatsu sotai is the doctrine which was handed down only in the Nichiren Shoshu sect and no other sects and schools know about it, it is called a secret.

[Original Japanese]