Sunday, August 12, 2012

Getting rid of fear...a study of the TEN WORLDS

A reader sent me an email asking how to get rid of fear, and how to stop being insulted by her friends.

I know many of you have probably overcome some of these things in your own life. Feel free to write me or post a comment and I will share your insights with the other readers

Here's my answer, based on raising our LIFE CONDITION and knowing about the ten worlds:

Ultimately, I think fear and being injured by what people say are all symptoms of the same thing - a low life condition.

What is the term LIFE CONDITION?

It all goes back to the concept of the ten worlds. Here are the ten world from the lowest to the highest:

The Ten Worlds are: 
the world of hell; 
the world of hungry spirits (also called hunger); 
the world of animals (animality); 
the world of asuras (anger); 
the world of human beings (humanity or tranquillity); 
the world of heavenly beings (heaven or rapture); 
the world of voice-hearers (learning); 
the world of cause-awakened ones (realization); 
the world of bodhisattvas; 
and the world of Buddhas (Buddhahood).

These worlds are worlds that each of us experiences every single day. 
Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism explains that each one of these worlds possesses each of the other ten worlds. 
Meaning....that the world of Hunger also possesses the world of Buddhahood. 
What does this mean? It means that there is an enlightened state of the world of Hunger...such as hunger for helping others. There is an enlightened state of Anger...such as righteous anger to make the world a better place. Take a look at these definitions with the thought in mind that YOU can raise your life condition to the highest state of Buddhahood. In fact, raising our life condition is the main reason we practice. When we are in the highest life condition nothing anyone says can bother fact, those people are not even usually IN our lives. Our lives have become so strong and magnetic to good, that only people of high life conditions are around us. In a higher life condition we have NO FEAR. 

You can chant every single day to raise your life condition. This is a very powerful prayer. Chant to experience life as the BUDDHA YOU ARE!

Remember that the purpose of our practice is HUMAN REVOLUTION. That means changing our lives, fortifying our lives with the vibration of chanting nam Myoho Renge Kyo. When we chant we go up the life condition ladder to the world of Buddhahood. 

What is Buddhahood? 

It is living life with endless energy and vitality, where one greets each problem with appreciation and uses every challenge to deepen understanding and experience life with appreciation and compassion and a deep desire to help others. Buddhahood is a state of knowing your mission in life and advancing confidently along the chosen path of your dreams...having absolute faith in the power of your prayers, and a burning desire to use your life as an example so that you can inspire those around you to attain a state of absolute happiness along with you! In this state you have no FEAR! No one can INSULT you! You are a Buddha. We are in a constant state of revealing our Buddhahood!

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Neither the pure land nor hell exists outside oneself; both lie only within one’s own heart. Awakened to this, one is called a Buddha; deluded about it, one is called an ordinary person."

What does this mean for us?  In one moment we may experience the misery characterized by the world of hell, in that same moment, through Buddhist practice, we can begin transforming our lives so that we can savor the deep, inexhaustible joy of the world of Buddhahood.

The World of Hell
Hell is a state of life in which one feels that living itself is suffering and that whatever one sees or encounters causes more suffering. In the world of hell we are controlled by destructive impulses. Violence and war are tangible expressions of the world of hell. It's a state where one is so unhappy that he doesn't care who he hurts. It is a world completely lacking in HOPE. When one begins to chant...and hope starts to dawn and one lift their life to a higher state. 

The World of Hunger
The world of hungry spirits, or hunger, is characterized by suffering over overwhelming unfulfilled desires. The world of hunger is a condition in which our mind and body burn with constant intense craving. Sound familiar? Each of us has a world we return to most frequently...a world where we "live". This is my world... constant unfulfilled desire and also a lack of hope. I am grateful to have been born into the world of HUNGER. If it weren't for this, I would not be practicing Buddhism! When I chant I raise myself out of this state. 

As I say over and over in this blog: desire in itself is neither good nor bad. Without a sense of hunger we would starve to death. Desires and wants lead us to self-improvement. In the world of hunger in hell, however, we are unable to use desires creatively. We become slaves to them and suffer as a result. When we raise our life condition we can experience the world of Buddhahood in Hunger and long for a world of happiness for others! 

The World of Animals (Animality)
From the SGI study guide of 2012:
The world of animals, or animality, is characterized by motivation based on immediate gain or loss rather than on reason or logic. Nichiren Daishonin says, “Foolishness is [the world] of animals” (“The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind,” WND-1, 358). When in the state of animality, one acts based on instinct or impulse, unable to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil.
Nichiren also writes, “It is the nature of beasts to threaten the weak and fear the strong” (“Letter from Sado,” WND-1, 302). In the world of animality, people lack reason and conscience, seeing life as a struggle for survival in which they are willing to harm others to protect themselves. Unable to look beyond the immediate, they cannot plan for the future. Such a state of ignorance ultimately leads to suffering and self-destruction.
When one raises one's life condition the world of animality can also be elevated: animals can be wonderful beings, displaying loyalty and selflessness and exhilaration. Many animals live in a world of appreciation and love! 

The World of Asuras/Anger
I've always thought of this world as the world in which one HAS to be in control of everyone and everything. And because, of course, this is impossible, a person in the world of anger is always expressing anger at someone or somebody. I also see it as the world of blame. I find it very tedious to be with people in the world of anger. They have a hard time taking responsibility for anything. This world brings to mind an ex-friend of mine who could not drive two blocks without being angry at every other driver on the road and expressing extreme contempt for them. This is not the world I gravitate to. But many people live in this world! 
The study guide for 2012 says:
People in this world compare themselves to others constantly.
When they see themselves as superior to others, they become consumed with arrogance and contempt. If, on the other hand, they encounter a person who seems clearly their superior, they become obsequious and given over to flattery.
On the surface, those in this world may appear well-intentioned and civil, even humble. Inwardly, however, they harbor jealousy or resentment toward those they sense as better than them. This conflict between outward appearance and behavior and inner feelings and orientation makes those in the world of asuras prone to hypocrisy and an abiding sense of contention or predisposition toward conflict arising from self-centered ambition.

The World of Human Beings (or Humanity)
The world of human beings, or humanity, is a condition of composure and tranquillity. Nichiren Daishonin says, “Calmness is [the world] of human beings” (“The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind,” WND- 1, 358).
One aspect of the world of humanity is the quality of reason that enables us to distinguish right from wrong and to make decisions based on that distinction. In this condition, a person also has a fair degree of self-control.
To remain in this state of humanity requires effort. In a world rampant with negative influences, it is not easy to continue to live in a truly human manner. This is why we chant. This is an aspect of 'raising our life condition"  based on consistent effort to improve oneself. Moving up from the lower four of the Ten Worlds, the world of human beings is the first in which improving one’s condition becomes a possibility.
Furthermore, those in the world of humanity, while vulnerable to negative influences, are also capable of exerting themselves in Buddhist practice and advancing to the four noble worlds.
The World of Heavenly Beings (Heaven)
In Buddhist philosophy, the world of heavenly beings, or heaven, refers to a condition of life in which one experiences the joy of having one’s desires fulfilled. 
But the joy associated with the world of heaven is not lasting; it eventually weakens and disappears. The world of heaven, therefore, is not the condition of genuine happiness that Buddhism aims to achieve.
From the Six Paths to the Four Noble Paths
The six worlds discussed above, together referred to as the six paths, describe states of life easily influenced by external circumstances. Those who remain in them cannot enjoy true freedom or independence. We chant to raise our life condition to the higher worlds described below.
The aim of Buddhist practice is to transcend these six paths and build a self-determined happiness that is uncontrolled by the environment. The conditions of life a person develops through Buddhist practice are known as the four noble worlds, the worlds of voice-hearers (learning), cause-awakened ones (realization), bodhisattvas and Buddhas.

The World of Voice-Hearers and Cause-Awakened Ones - also known as the world of LEARNING

 People in these states are inquisitive, intellectual and creative. The world of learning is one where the learner is striving for understanding and acquiring the world of Budhahood. 

The World of Bodhisattvas

Bodhisattvas are beings who relentlessly exert themselves to gain the enlightenment of a Buddha for themselves and for others! Boddhisatvas realize that the state of Buddhahood is within them, and chant for the attainment of that state...and they long to share that state with others! Here one has compassion for others and feels loving kindness. 

The World of Buddhahood

YOU are a Buddha. You intellectually know this if you chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. The challenge of us ALL is to realize it with our lives, not with our minds. This is what I mean by chanting to elevate our LIFE CONDITION! The more we EXPERIENCE life as a BUDDHA, the happier we are, and the less likelihood there is that anyone or anything can sway us from our happiness. Here, HAPPINESS comes from within. It is the state of our lives regardless of our circumstances!  We are enlightened to the power of chanting the name of the Mystic Law! 
From the 2012 SGI study guide:
Nichiren Daishonin appeared in the Latter Day of the Law, the age in which Shakyamuni’s teachings had been predicted to fall into decline and become ineffective in leading people to enlightenment. To save all people in the Latter Day from suffering, Nichiren manifested the world of Buddhahood in his own life as proof that an ordinary human being can do so. Because he established the way by which all people can attain Buddha- hood, he is respected as the true Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law.
The world of Buddhahood is a life condition rich in noble virtue and good fortune. It emerges when individuals awaken to the reality that the source and foundation of their very lives is the Mystic Law. A Buddha is someone who opens this state of life within and thus embodies unsurpassed compassion and wisdom. And, fueled by that compassion and wisdom, a Buddha works constantly to enable all people to manifest the same world of Buddhahood.

It is not easy to realize this state every day. This is why Nichiren Daishonin enshrined the Gohonzon for us all!  He did this to provide a means for all to bring forth Buddhahood in their own lives.
The world of Buddhahood, the state that Nichiren manifested, is the law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. When we believe in the Gohonzon (the power of our own lives) and  chant for our own happiness and that of others, we can tap the world of Buddhahood inherent within us and embody it in our lives.
The Lotus Sutra reveals that all people are Buddhas; we human beings can believe in that teaching precisely because our lives fundamentally possess the world of Buddhahood.
Based on Nichiren’s statement above, Nichikan, the great scholar of Nichiren Buddhism, writes, “A heart that strongly believes
Buddhist texts, including Nichiren’s writings, often liken the world of Buddhahood to a lion king. Like the lion king, those who have activated their Buddhahood neither fear nor are daunted by anything or anyone. It is a condition of courage, genuine peace, absolute happiness and enlightenment.

Chant to experience this and your fear will disappear. 
You can do it! 


  1. ANOTHER great post, thanks -- just shared it on my FB! The 10 Worlds concept reminds me of Abraham Maslow's pyramid and how marvelous it is that Buddhism was waaay ahead of "modern" concepts, again!

  2. I have found peace with myself chanting is doing wonders to me

    Thank you