Diamond Chalice Guidance Doesn’t Hold Water
Comments on JN’s lecture, Nichiren Daishonin’s Birthday, posted 2/26/2005.
In recent speeches, Jisei Nagasaka has been speaking often about the Precept of the Diamond Chalice or the Perfect Precept:
Since you have received Gouda Ceremony, you should have a diamond chalice. A diamond chalice never leaks and as long as you are practicing daily, you must definitely have the overflowing passion for shakubuku.
JN makes it sound like a very mysterious process that starts with some type of mystical ceremony. But Nichiren was a direct, blunt, and clear man. There is not much “between the lines” in his writings. JN is taking one important point in Nichiren’s writings and building a mystique around it. Exactly how many references are there about the Diamond Precept in Nichiren’s letters? Answer: One. In comparison, how many references are there about evil or cunning priests? Four hundred. It is quite evident which matter was of greater concern to Nichiren!
JN continues his work of mystifying Buddhism with myths and fairy tales to impress or hypnotize his followers.
- “Sansho-shima can steal your diamond chalice.”
- “If Sansho-shima comes to your bedroom during your sleep, and secretly replaces your diamond chalice with a cracked or broken glass chalice…”
- “Nobody knows if during their sleep, Sansho-shima visited and stole their diamond chalice.”
- “If you mix your egocentric ideas with your pure faith, you will find that your diamond chalice has been replaced with a cracked glass chalice. It is like the devil has secretly mixed a little poison with your medicine.”
Then JN uses the analogy of the diamond chalice to actually browbeat his members into meeting propagation goals:
- “If you have lost your shakubuku spirit, then clearly we know someone stole your diamond chalice.”
In contrast the Diamond Precept is simple, empowering, and removes fear. There is a well-known episode in the life of Shakyamuni that illustrates the simplicity of accepting the Buddhist precepts. When Shakyamuni first started to preach after having attained enlightenment, one priest among those who heard his sermon asked him to bestow the Buddhist precepts upon him, saying, “My teacher, let me be ordained under the World-Honored One and receive the precepts.” To this, Shakyamuni replied, “Come, you, priest. The Law has been preached well. So practice the Law to eradicate your suffering.” In other words, “Let’s try our best and advance together!”
When we take faith in the Mystic Law and strive in our daily practice, we can manifest the Buddha’s life, which is as strong and brilliant as a diamond, no matter what circumstances we face. This is the Diamond Precept. It can’t be broken.
The commitment of Nichiren Buddhists to the Lotus Sutra can be interpreted in contemporary terms as the determination to maintain faith in the ultimately positive possibilities within both ourselves and others and to make consistent efforts toward their realization. From the perspective of Nichiren Buddhism, our highest possibilities–the limitless capacity for wisdom, compassion and courage expressed as Buddhahood–are as indestructible as a diamond chalice. They may be obscured by our own ignorance of them and the self-destructive behavior that grows from that ignorance and consequent despair–but they never disappear. This is the core message of the Lotus Sutra. This is clearly caught in Nichiren’s writing:
“The five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, the heart of the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra, contain all the benefits amassed by the beneficial practices and meritorious deeds of all the Buddhas throughout the past, present and future. Then, how can this phrase not include the benefits obtained by observing all of the Buddha’s precepts? Once the practitioner embraces this perfectly-endowed mystic precept, he cannot break it, even if he should try. It is therefore called the precept of the diamond chalice.” —MW-4, p. 129
In contrast, JN tells his disciples that they must pour “the water of Daimoku into this chalice,” or “there will be a leak and your passion for shakubuku will drain out,” or shakubuku as many people as possible this year “to continually embrace the perfect precept of the diamond chalice.” Nope, he has it all wrong. Relax. Try your sincere best. The power of faith and practice ignites the power of the Buddha and Law. That’s it.