Lotus Buddhism / FAQ / What is Fundamental Darkness?

What is Fundamental Darkness?

Fundamental Darkness means: Destructive Forces acting within people’s psychology.

The easiest way to observe the working of Destructive Forces in society is to watch daily news, showing images of violence, news of crimes, brutality, thefts, greed, arrogance, foolishness ….. These are direct products of inner darkness of those involved.

On our individual level, any thought that obstructs us from revealing our best nature represents a destructive tendency. Examples are: arrogance, negligence, carelessness, blaming others, complaining, laziness, jealousy, ego-based desires, belittling one-self, etc…

Our negative tendencies create effects in two ways: effects that are directly experienced, and other types of consequences eroding our good fortune in the long run (such as complaining or apathy, slackness, and inferiority).

What is the origin of these Destructive Forces?

Ignorance of our Buddhanature allows low-spirited tendencies to fill our mind and motivations - without restraint. Awakening to the power of Buddhanature provides both wisdom and courage to prevent our negativity and weakness, and build immunity against being influenced by destructive forces.

“Nichiren (1222–1282) interprets fundamental darkness as ignorance of the ultimate Law, or ignorance of the fact that one’s life is essentially a manifestation of that Law, which he identifies as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”.

Sources: Fundamental Darkness https://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/F/242

Transformation of Destructive Forces and Earthly Desires

Fundamental darkness is revealed in desires and thoughts based on ego, which characterizes one’s ignorance of one’s own worth. This field of ignorance is not external to the individual. According to the principle of NonDuality: the state of Ignorance does not exist separately by itself, but is the negation of Enlightenment. This means that overcoming or transforming negative motivations will automatically lead to enlightenment.

Buddhist literature teaches the principle that “Earthly Desires are Enlightenment” - which should be read as “Transforming Earthly Desires is itself the process of Enlightenment”.

Destructive Forces and the concept of the “Devil of the Six Heaven”

Destructive Forces are tendencies - not personified entities. There is no “external devil” in Buddhist teachings. Evil is a manifestation of tendencies that lead to sufferings.

All the Six Lower Worlds (from Hell to Joy) are states of life dominated by sufferings. The World of Heaven (or the Six World: Heaven) is at its worst when its motivation is twisted in having joy through depriving others of their lifeforce and good fortune. Such devilish or negative motivation is the worst possible and is represented figuratively by the words of the “devil from the six lower world, or sixth heaven” - as the culmination of the negative forces that try to obstruct one’s enlightenment.

Such twisted psychological tendencies can dominate through deception and ignorance, but can be defeated through the power of the Law of Cause and Effect.

Source: The Devil of the Six Heaven https://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/D/37