Lotus Buddhism / FAQ / What is the Buddhanature?

What is the Buddhanature?

The Buddha-nature is the highest state of human nature.

The human-nature expresses a spectrum of various states, some are filled with suffering  (of the lower worlds of life), other states are more positive - as we ourselves experience in various phases of life.

The highest state of human nature is that when the individual is in harmony with the original energy of life, or the original truth, operating within one’s own life.

Awakening to the truth of one’s life opens the mind to its highest state of wisdom, compassion, harmony, inner security and energy to create value and live a meaningful life.  This describes the enlightened-nature of the individual, or the Buddhanature.

Another name given to this enlightened nature of the individual – is Buddhability : the ability of the individual to experience the highest state of life.

In essence, Buddhanature expresses the three aspects of the state of Buddhahood: Wisdom, Compassion and Courage.  The aspect of courage, or empowerment, reveals  confidence and freedom to act, contribute and create value in life. 

Activating this highest state of one’s life enables the individual to find beneficial solutions to emerging problems and to overcome all hardships - having power and wisdom to transform reality towards creating value and benefit (for self and others). It is the essence of living the happiest meaningful life.

Revealing the Buddhanature

Various Mahayana schools teach that it is possible to activate the field of one’s Buddhanature through the practice of meditation, but that it would take many lifetimes of gradual practice to achieve this goal.  For example, Tibetan nun, Tenzin Palmo mentions in her book Cave in the Snow page 115:

    “The lamas said that if you reach there [Enlightenment] in three lifetimes

    you are moving incredibly quickly” .

Nichiren Buddhism, however, is unique among all branches of Buddhism in its teaching - based on the Lotus Sutra - of attaining enlightenment in this lifetime.   Nichiren explains that as far as Mahayana teaches about the Buddhanature being inherent in one’s body and mind - then nothing should obstruct or postpone revealing this treasure of Buddhahood in this lifetime. Nothing should prevent the individual from experiencing happiness and benefit of the state of Buddhanature (helping self and others do the same) - in one’s living circumstances (not after death). 

The Buddhanature is a great inner treasure of enlightenment: wisdom and happiness.

A correct and powerful practice can lead to the direct path to enlightenment.

Based on the Lotus Sutra, in his letter On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime  Nichiren defines the Buddhanature as MyohoRengeKyo (the wonderful law of life) - which is the truth of one’s existence :

         “This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore

           enable you to grasp the mystic truth innate in all life”.

The life state of the Buddha is encoded within the phrase MyohoRengeKyo, encoding the field of enlightenment to the Law, available for us to freely benefit from:

        Shakyamuni’s practices and the virtues he consequently attained are all contained 

        within the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. If we believe in these five characters,

        we will naturally be granted the same benefits as he was. WND1 p 365

S G I teaching on the meaning of Attaining Enlightenment

(or revealing one’s Buddhanature):

    “ ….Attaining enlightenment is not about embarking on some inconceivably long journey

    to become a resplendent, godlike Buddha,

    it is about accomplishing a transformation in the depths of one’s being . . .

    It is a constant, moment-to-moment, inner struggle between

  revealing our innate Dharma nature or allowing ourselves

  to be ruled by our fundamental darkness and delusion.” 

(Source: Daisaku Ikeda Lecture On Attaining Buddhahood, p12)