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Nichiren Daishonin
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ICHINEN SANZEN

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Buddhism has a conception called Ichinen Sanzen. This is a principle that every life moment [Ichinen] possesses all 3, 000 possible worlds. 'Ichinen' indicates life essence and 'sanzen', the phenomena it manifests. This principle which is contained in the Lotus Sutra was developed by T'ien Tai, the Chinese Buddhist Master, based on the Lotus Sutra. At each moment life experiences one of ten life states called ten worlds. Each of these worlds possesses the potential for all ten within itself making 100 possible worlds. Each of these 100 worlds possesses ten factors. The ten factors are a principle of clarifying life's entity and function and consists of appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, internal cause relation, latent effect, manifest effect, and the consistency from beginning to end. Finally, each being is different from all others as expressed through the three realms of existence which include the individual, society and the environment. The individual consists of five aggregates, namely perception, conception, volition, consciousness and form. What is significant is entity. Entity is neither existence nor non-existence and has direct contact with the true entity.

 

 

THE TEN WORLDS

 

In Buddhism, perception is geared to the total phenomenal reality expressed through the life states of the ten worlds. These are life states and not psychological states and are an expression of the total fusion of mind, body and environment that a person is in. Thus it is said that the environment mirrors the life of a person just as a shadow mirrors a body. Buddhism also says that when we change our life state we change the total phenomenal reality around us like a fisherman drawing in his net takes in all the catch with him at the same time.

 

As we change our reality, we change the observable phenomena around us as we are changing our belief fields.

 

As this happens we construct memory and meaning transducers which add on to our current ones and also enfold our total experience to give a greater understanding of our place in the universe.

 

Key terms:

 

Ten Worlds - (Jikkai) Ten life conditions that a single entity of life manifests in the course of the flow of time. Originally the Ten Worlds were viewed as distinct physical places each with its own particular inhabitants. In light of the Lotus Sutra, however they are interpreted as potential conditions of life inherent in each individual. They are Hell (jogoku), Hunger (gaki), Animality (chikusho), Anger (shura), Humanity or Tranquillity (nin), Heaven or Rapture (ten), Learning (shomon), Realisation (engaku), Bodhisattva (bosatsu) and Buddahood (butsu). The Ten Worlds is a component principle of ichinen sanzen.

 

The prevailing world order is the result of the existence of different levels of reality and the inevitable patterns of movement up and down the ever changing nature of life and life states (ichinen Sanzen).