Shujukudatsu (種熟脱)

"Shujukudatsu" is also known as "Sanyaku" (The Three Stages of Benefit). This is a doctrine of the Tendai Sect which divides into three stages the process from the sowing of the seeds of Buddhahood in people's field of the mind by Buddha to Gedatsu (being liberated from earthly desires and the woes of man). The Tendai doctrine uses this perception to analyze the Hoke-kyo Sutra (the Lotus Sutra). Nichiren also passed on this doctrine.

The term refers to geshu yaku (the benefit receivedfrom sowing the seed of Buddhahood). This describes the sowing of the seeds of Buddhahood and salvation in people's field of the mind and to let them take root. This also describes the initial connection with Buddhism.

The term refers to chojuku yaku (the benefitreceived from the seed ripening) or seijuku yaku (the benefit received from the seed maturing). This describes the ripening of the sown seed and the preparation of it. This also says that only after many steps are taken will the efficacy of ascetic practices become apparent.

The term refers to gedatsu yaku (the benefit received from the seed being harvested). From the ripe seed of Buddhahood, a stem will grow, the plant will ripen, and a flower will bloom. This describes attaining Buddhahood through obtaining harmony and perfection by fully practicing asceticism.

The seed of Daitsuchisho-butsu, a Buddha in the past life of sanzen-jin-tengo who was mentioned in Kejoyubon of the Lotus Sutra, was sown in the field of the mind of his sixteenth son, Shaka. This is the first stage. The seed then gradually ripened. And Shaka practiced asceticism as a Bosatsu (Bodhisattva). After experiencing Gedatsu, he became a Shaka Nyorai (Shakyamuni).

In Zhiyi's explanation of the Three Teachings (the Three Characteristic Teachings in the Lotus Sutra) in "Hokke Gengi" (Essentials of the Lotus Sutra), his second point mentioned the procedure of guiding sentient beings to the other shore of liberation through the Three Stages of Benefit, i.e., geshu yaku, chojuku yaku and gedatsu yaku, spanning sanzen-jin-tengo (an immensely long period of time). He also selected kuon geshu (receiving the seed of Buddhahood from the eternal Buddha), chukan juku (literally, "ripening in the middle"), kinsei datsu (literally, "liberation in recent times") (also known as kyo datsu (literally, "liberation of today")), chukan geshu (literally, "receiving the seed of Buddhahood in the middle"), takyo juku (literally, "ripening by another sutra"), hokke datsu (literally, "liberation by the Lotus Sutra"), konse geshu (literally, "receiving the seed of Buddhahood in this world"), jise juku (literally, "ripening in the next world") and mirai tokudatsu (literally, "attaining enlightenment in the future") from san yaku in three world, that is, the past, present and future, so as to explain them in Hokke mongu (Commentary on the Lotus Sutra).

While Nichiren passed on this Tendai doctrine, he also gave consideration to the opinion of Jofukyo bosatsuhon (The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging). He believed that Mappo (Age of the Final Dharma) was, in fact, the opportune moment to sow the seed of Buddhahood. He believed that it is essential for ordinary people in Mappo, who do not have the seed of Buddhahood, to sow the seed of Buddhahood through Shakubuku (a method of propagating Buddhism which was practiced by Nichiren Daishonin) and make a connection with a future enlightenment.

[Original Japanese]