The Working of Brahma and Shakra

Gosho Lecture By Anthony “Amp” Elmore Sr.   

Greetings this is my second Gosho Lecture.   The reason that I chose this Gosho is because this Gosho is one among many that Nichiren Daishonin writes about the historical Buddha Shakyamuni and the circumstances that surrounded the first recorded Buddha Shakyamuni.   The reason that I emphasize this Gosho is to give historical references regarding India and to put light on the Black aspect of Shakyamuni.   Many people argue the point of the ethnic Background of Shakyamuni.  Nichiren Daishonin writes in the Gosho “The True Entity Of Life” Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study.   Without practice and study, there can be no Buddhism.   You must not only preserve yourself; you must also teach others.   Both practice and study arise from faith.   Teach others to the best of your ability, even if only a single sentence or phase. “     We write this Gosho lecture based on our spirit and not on our knowledge.   We have the spirit to share Buddhism as Nichiren Daishonin writes even if it is only a sentence or phase.  

  Brahma & Shakra is the name of two Guardian   Gods adopted from Indian mythology.    I am not particularly lecturing on this Gosho the point of this lecture is to help those who do not have the spirit to read the Gosho and to present some additional background   regarding Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism to help you to further understand the teachings.   Also we wanted to lecture from an Afro-Centric stand point.   Buddhism is a universal teaching and we can learn Buddhism from an African-Centered viewpoint.   Recently many Christian Churches have adopted the Afro-Centric viewpoint and the membership of the Churches has grown rapidly because African/Americans are genuinely interested in learning about their history.      M embers can refer to this Gosho in the Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin published by the Soka Gakkai in 1999, pages 798-801

In the Gosho “The Workings of Brahma and Shakra” this Gosho was written from Minobu in 1277 two years before the Daishonin inscribed the Dai-Gohonzon to Nanjo Tokimitsu who donated the land where Nichiren Shoshu headquarters and the Dai-Gohonzon is today.   During our August 1998 Tozan we Nichiren Shoshu members had the opportunity to reside in a temple on the property across from Nanjo Tokimitsu’s   home.   Just walking on the property you can feel the spirit of Nanjo Tokimitsu and get some idea of circumstance in the Daishonin’s time.  

At the time this Gosho was written Nanjo Tokimitsu was only nineteen years old and he had succeeded his father as the steward of Ueno Village in the Fuji District of Suruga Province.   Just think about it, Nanjo Tokimitsu was just a young boy at nineteen years and he had to face the challenges of maintaining his faith in Buddhism.   We know how hard it is for those of us twice his age let along trying to maintain faith at 19 years old.  

In the beginning of the Gosho the Daishonin acknowledges that he received a horse load of   Yams,   the Daishonin really appreciated the yams saying that they were   precious as jewels and medicine.   When we brothers sit down to that traditional dish of collard greens and yams we can think of   Nichiren Daishonin appreciating Yams like we do.    

The point that the Daishonin tried to make with young Tokimitsu was that people are devious and they would do anything to mess up his mind and turn him against Buddhism.   Nichiren Daishonin understood human nature. 

The Daishonin uses an example from   a tale from classical Chinese   history as how a mind can be swayed .   He tells to the story of Yin Chi-fu who had an only son whose name was Po-chi .   Yin Chi-fu and Po-chi were wise but in the end a scheming plot destroying the father and son relationship.   The step mother was successful at   convincing   the father that his son was making advances at her and the son hurt, distressful son who later drowned himself.   In addition to the example to Nanjo Tokimitsu   from Chinese literature the Daishonin uses Classical Buddhism to tell how devious and scheming a human can be.   I chose to lecture on this Gosho because it gives me the opportunity to relate to the African-Centered portions of the Gosho.   The Daishonin talks about King Bimbisara in many Goshos.   When African/Americans read the name King Bimbisara perhaps you just think about the days of Shakyamuni in India and you may not see a   relationship to King Bimbisara and yourself.     

Let us examine King Bimbisara from an African-Centered standpoint.   When you view King Bimbisara in your mind do you see an Aryan or an African?   Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism is not dead or un-relative to you, there is some history there that we as African/Americans can relate to.   King Bimbisara is very important to early Buddhist history.    

We at   have said that Buddhism has a Black or African past and we will give you some history to illustrate the history of Shakyamuni and the conditions in India at the time of his birth.   The first inhabitants of India were Black people from Africa who set up the powerful Indus Valley Civilizations together with Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Yellow river civilizations.   There are ancient ruins of these cities today; Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa-Daro , these cities would be in modern day Pakistan.   The most common name for these people are   Dravidian which is a lecture in itself.   Around 1500 B.C.E. Aryan (white people) penetrated the Pujab region of the upper Indus River and subjugated Black people to the worst racism in history called the Caste System .    

By 800 B.C.E. the nomadic Aryan tribes   conquered Pakistan and all of Northern India naming the new territories after themselves, Aryavarta or Aryan land.   The Aryan set us a perpetual system racial system that allowed the Whites to dominate the Black or the Sudras .   Below the Sudras were the outcastes or   really Black people. The 1. Brahmans were the (Priests) 2. The Kshatriva was the Royalty or Military 3. The Vaisyas or common class included the merchants 4. Sudra (Black) or outcaste.   The word “Caste” is Latin meaning   “Lineage” or “Extraction”.   White people and Uncle Tom Negroes ask us what different does the Color of Shakyamuni make?   Color made a huge, huge difference in Shakyamuni time.  

Many   argue that Shakyamuni was Aryan but you have to look at the environment that the Buddha emerged.   The Buddha Shakyamuni came from an adversarial environment of Black and Whites and the Rig Veda (the racist white document) verifies our point.   One important document we as Nichiren Shoshu members must get our hands on to study Shakyamuni   is the Shusho Iki.   It is written that Nichiren Daishonin used the Shusho Iki to learn of Shakyamuni.   Nichiren Shoshu members as well as SGI member inquire about the Shusho Iki to learn about Shakyamuni from Nichiren Daishonin’s point or how he learned about Shakyamuni.   

Nichiren Daishonin writes in the Gosho “The Brahman teachings date eight hundred years before the time of the Buddha”.   The Daishonin in the Gosho referred to   four Veda scriptures describing the Vedic period of Brahmanism widely practiced in India.

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