On Ichinen Sanzen

Ichinen SanzenMany thanks to that most learned of  fellows, Ken Hawkins, for providing the following explanation of the Chinese symbols of Ichinen Sanzen.

Ichinen Sanzen is the wish-granting gem.

There are as many sides to this gem as there are living beings. Like a gem, each side reflects its own reality. Our life is a wish-granting gem.

When we peer into our lives we can barely see our own reflection. But when we polish our lives through chanting and making efforts to improve ourselves, we can see ourselves reflected clearly.

When our gem is polished in this way we can see beyond our own reflection and see inside the gem that is the ultimate reality of all life.

Ichinen Sanzen in Chinese is composed of four main Chinese characters.

Ichi

Ichi

The first character (Ichi) is a horizontal line. It is the character one. It is both the beginning of the Chinese alphabet and  numbering system. In Buddhism, Ichi is the source of all beings.  The “Fundamental Essence” in the Japanese title of  Heritage of the Ultimate Law

Nen

Nen

Nen  is composed of three elemental characters. On top are three lines  forming a triangle. Under the triangle is a person bending to  completely enclose an object, and under the bending person is a  heart.

– The triangle is a convergence of the elements of one’s life.

– It combines with the bending person to form a compound meaning the  present moment. (All of one’s life is enfolded in the present  moment.)

– The character, Kokoro or shin. The heart, in this case, is the core of intention. The derived meaning is to make present the heart’s intent, reviving or making real a person’s intent.

In some sects, “Nen” means mindfulness – that is being aware of the Buddha in the present moment.

San

San

San is the number three, representing heaven (the cosmos), earth, and humanity (also known as the three realms).

Zen

Zen

Zen is ten times 100. Connected to this concept is the harvest of crops or a thousand grains. The character for 1000 is also used to indicate an uncountable number.

Putting it all together:

Ichi

a single (Ichi) core intention in the present moment

Nen

makes real, enfolds, and harvests (Nen)

San

three (San)

Zen

thousand (Zen) – or uncountable – realms and possibilities.

A determination or decision (Ichi) at the core of your being makes real (Nen) that self-pledge or vow in all the realms (Sanzen) of your life.

Determination Will Get It Done

Determination Will Get It DoneBeing good at something isn’t just about talent, it’s about having the desire, in your heart, to make it happen. Ichinen is a Japanese word meaning determination (amongst other things). If you have a strong Ichinen, you are far more likely to reach your goal. You still have to put in the effort and in fact, the more talent you have, the more effort is needed, because your end result might be far more exacting than a less talented person.

If you think you will fail, you will fail. You must embrace your goals, your targets, with every fibre of your being. Strive with all your might, night and day towards that goal and you are far more likely to succeed. And actually, only you decide when you have failed, when you give up trying.

ichinen

[一念] (Jpn; Chin i-nien )

A single moment of life, one instant of thought, or the mind or life at a single moment. Also, life-moment, thought-moment, or simply a single moment or instant. Ichinen has various meanings in Buddhism: (1) A moment, or an extremely short period comparable to the Sanskrit term kshana. The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom defines one kshana or moment as a sixtieth of the time it takes to snap one’s fingers. (2) The functioning of the mind for one moment. The “Distinctions in Benefits” (seventeenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra speaks of a single moment of belief and understanding. (3) To focus one’s mind on meditating on a Buddha; Shan-tao (613-681), a patriarch of the Chinese Pure Land school, defined ichinen (one instant of thought) as chanting Amida Buddha’s name once. (4) T’ient’ai (538-597) philosophically interprets ichinen in his doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life ( Jpn ichinensanze Chin i-nien san-ch’ien ). In this doctrine, ichinen indicates the mind of an ordinary person, which at each moment is endowed with the potential of three thousand realms; its characteristics are: (a) it pervades the entire universe; (b) it includes both body and mind; (c) it includes both self and environment; (d) it gives rise to good and evil; and (e) it encom-passes cause and effect simultaneously. Nichiren (1222-1282) embodied this philosophical framework in the form of a mandala known as the Gohonzon. By this he aimed to establish a practical way for ordinary people to manifest Buddhahood from among the Ten Worlds of their own lives. SGI Dictionary

Success takes focus, desire, effort, hard work, determination and perseverance.

Ichinen covers them all and chanting for what you want to achieve makes your ichinen stronger and stronger.

All In An Instant

Ichinen Sanzen - Three Thousand RealmsLet’s talk about Ichinen Sanzen for a moment, about how each of the Ten Worlds contain all of the other Worlds, meaning we can move from one to another in an instant.

Ichinen Sanzen means Three Thousand Realms in One Instant. The maths is simple, Ten Worlds each containing all the others makes one hundred Worlds.

Multiply them by the Ten Factors gives us one thousand ‘states’ of existence, giving us three thousand when we take the Three Realms into account.

Here is a list of The Ten Worlds, The Ten Factors and the Three Realms.

The Ten Worlds  
Buddhahood Enlightenment
Bodhisattva Helping others
Realisation Absorption and understanding
Learning Self reflection and study
Heaven Rapture
Humanity Tranquillity
Anger Self righteousness
Animality Instinct
Hunger Insatiability
Hell Extreme suffering
   
The Ten Factors  
Appearance Physical aspect
Nature Mental aspect
Entity Substance, life itself
Power Inherent energy
Influence Influence or power
Inherent Cause Habit or karma
Relation External cause
Latent Effect Potential effect
Manifest Effect Visible outcome
Consistency Connected nature of all
   
The Three Realms  
The Self Form, perception and consciousness
Living Beings Society, community, people
The Land The natural environment

I hope this helps you understand the concept of Ichinen Sanzen and the true nature of Life at any given instant. It shows us why, in any particular situation, there are so many factors that will influence our actions, reactions and the eventual outcome.

Maybe we should now grasp the reason why being mindful of all things, and reacting to the situations of daily life, in a controlled manner, is such a challenge.

Ichinen Covers It All

The Route To SuccessBeing good at something isn’t just about talent, it’s about having the desire, in your heart, to make it happen. Ichinen is a Japanese word meaning determination (amongst other things). If you have a strong Ichinen, you are far more likely to reach your goal. You still have to put in the effort and in fact, the more talent you have, the more effort is needed, because your end result might be far more exacting than a less talented person.

If you think you will fail, you will fail. You must embrace your goals, your targets, with every fibre of your being. Strive with all your might, night and day towards that goal and you are far more likely to succeed. And actually, only you decide when you have failed, when you give up trying.

ichinen

[一念] (Jpn; Chin i-nien )

A single moment of life, one instant of thought, or the mind or life at a single moment. Also, life-moment, thought-moment, or simply a single moment or instant. Ichinen has various meanings in Buddhism: (1) A moment, or an extremely short period comparable to the Sanskrit term kshana. The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom defines one kshana or moment as a sixtieth of the time it takes to snap one’s fingers. (2) The functioning of the mind for one moment. The “Distinctions in Benefits” (seventeenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra speaks of a single moment of belief and understanding. (3) To focus one’s mind on meditating on a Buddha; Shan-tao (613-681), a patriarch of the Chinese Pure Land school, defined ichinen (one instant of thought) as chanting Amida Buddha’s name once. (4) T’ient’ai (538-597) philosophically interprets ichinen in his doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life ( Jpn ichinensanze Chin i-nien san-ch’ien ). In this doctrine, ichinen indicates the mind of an ordinary person, which at each moment is endowed with the potential of three thousand realms; its characteristics are: (a) it pervades the entire universe; (b) it includes both body and mind; (c) it includes both self and environment; (d) it gives rise to good and evil; and (e) it encom-passes cause and effect simultaneously. Nichiren (1222-1282) embodied this philosophical framework in the form of a mandala known as the Gohonzon. By this he aimed to establish a practical way for ordinary people to manifest Buddhahood from among the Ten Worlds of their own lives. SGI Dictionary

Success takes focus, desire, effort, hard work, determination and perseverance.

Ichinen covers them all and chanting for what you want to achieve makes your ichinen stronger and stronger.

Rays Of Hope

There Is Always HopeWhilst feeling a little adrift given my current situation and enraged by the lack of fairness in the way modern institutions and those in power treat us mere morals, I found this piece by Sensei rather encouraging …

What can the individual accomplish in the face of the huge institutions that run our world? This feeling of powerlessness fuels a vicious cycle that only worsens the situation and increases people’s sense of futility.

At the opposite extreme of this sense of powerlessness lie the Lotus Sutra’s philosophy of three thousand realms in a single moment of life and the application of this teaching to our daily lives.

This principle teaches us that the inner determination of an individual can transform everything; it gives ultimate expression to the infinite potential and dignity inherent in each human life.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Reaching The Realm Of Understanding

Ichinen Sanzen - Three Thousand RealmsLet’s talk about Ichinen Sanzen for a moment, about how each of the Ten Worlds contain all of the other Worlds, meaning we can move from one to another in an instant.

Ichinen Sanzen means Three Thousand Realms in One Instant. The maths is simple, Ten Worlds each containing all the others makes one hundred Worlds.

Multiply them by the Ten Factors gives us one thousand ‘states’ of existence, giving us three thousand when we take the Three Realms into account.

Here is a list of The Ten Worlds, The Ten Factors and the Three Realms.

The Ten Worlds  
Buddhahood Enlightenment
Bodhisattva Helping others
Realisation Absorption and understanding
Learning Self reflection and study
Heaven Rapture
Humanity Tranquillity
Anger Self righteousness
Animality Instinct
Hunger Insatiability
Hell Extreme suffering
   
The Ten Factors  
Appearance Physical aspect
Nature Mental aspect
Entity Substance, life itself
Power Inherent energy
Influence Influence or power
Inherent Cause Habit or karma
Relation External cause
Latent Effect Potential effect
Manifest Effect Visible outcome
Consistency Connected nature of all
   
The Three Realms  
The Self Form, perception and consciousness
Living Beings Society, community, people
The Land The natural environment

I hope this helps you understand the concept of Ichinen Sanzen and the true nature of Life at any given instant. It shows us why, in any particular situation, there are so many factors that will influence our actions, reactions and the eventual outcome.

Maybe we should now grasp the reason why being mindful of all things, and reacting to the situations of daily life, in a controlled manner, is such a challenge.

The Key To Success, That’s Ichinen

The Key To SuccessBeing a success or good at something isn’t just about talent, it’s about having the desire, in your heart, to make it happen. Ichinen is a Japanese word meaning determination (amongst other things). If you have a strong Ichinen, you are far more likely to reach your goal. You still have to put in the effort and in fact, the more talent you have, the more effort is needed, because your end result might be far more exacting than a less talented person.

If you think you will fail, you will fail. You must embrace your goals, your targets, with every fibre of your being. Strive with all your might, night and day towards that goal and you are far more likely to succeed. And actually, only you decide when you have failed, when you give up trying.

ichinen

[一念] (Jpn; Chin i-nien )

A single moment of life, one instant of thought, or the mind or life at a single moment. Also, life-moment, thought-moment, or simply a single moment or instant. Ichinen has various meanings in Buddhism: (1) A moment, or an extremely short period comparable to the Sanskrit term kshana. The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom defines one kshana or moment as a sixtieth of the time it takes to snap one’s fingers. (2) The functioning of the mind for one moment. The “Distinctions in Benefits” (seventeenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra speaks of a single moment of belief and understanding. (3) To focus one’s mind on meditating on a Buddha; Shan-tao (613-681), a patriarch of the Chinese Pure Land school, defined ichinen (one instant of thought) as chanting Amida Buddha’s name once. (4) T’ient’ai (538-597) philosophically interprets ichinen in his doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life ( Jpn ichinensanze Chin i-nien san-ch’ien ). In this doctrine, ichinen indicates the mind of an ordinary person, which at each moment is endowed with the potential of three thousand realms; its characteristics are: (a) it pervades the entire universe; (b) it includes both body and mind; (c) it includes both self and environment; (d) it gives rise to good and evil; and (e) it encom-passes cause and effect simultaneously. Nichiren (1222-1282) embodied this philosophical framework in the form of a mandala known as the Gohonzon. By this he aimed to establish a practical way for ordinary people to manifest Buddhahood from among the Ten Worlds of their own lives. SGI Dictionary

Being good or a success at something isn’t just about talent, it’s about having the desire, in your heart, to make it happen.

If you have a strong Ichinen, you are far more likely to reach your goal. You still have to put in the effort and in fact, the more talent you have, the more effort is needed, because your end result might be far more exacting than a less talented person.

If you think you will fail, you will. You must embrace your goals, your targets, with every fibre of your being. Strive with all your might, night and day towards that goal and you are far more likely to succeed.

Success takes focus, desire, effort, hard work, determination and perseverance.

Ichinen covers them all and chanting for what you want to achieve makes your ichinen stronger and stronger.

There Is Always Hope

There Is Always HopeFollowing on from my rant about the inequalities and lack of fairness in the way modern governments and those in power treat us mere morals, I found this piece by Sensei rather encouraging …

What can the individual accomplish in the face of the huge institutions that run our world? This feeling of powerlessness fuels a vicious cycle that only worsens the situation and increases people’s sense of futility.

At the opposite extreme of this sense of powerlessness lie the Lotus Sutra’s philosophy of three thousand realms in a single moment of life and the application of this teaching to our daily lives.

This principle teaches us that the inner determination of an individual can transform everything; it gives ultimate expression to the infinite potential and dignity inherent in each human life.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Retail Hell

Rare as hen's teethI had never understood the phrase ‘retail therapy’. It seems that there are those amongst us who actually enjoy shopping, being immersed in a throng of like-minded people, all hell bent on spending their hard earned wonga on things they don’t really need, all in the pursuit of a short-term dose of euphoria. Not me.

Having subjected ourselves to hours of fruitless searching for various items, including a granary bloomer, we had to accept that we had failed abysmally on virtually all counts. The sad truth was however, that there were some items, curtain rails and lamp shades, amongst others, that were deemed to be necessities.

So it was, that we found ourselves in IKEA at 7:00pm on a Saturday evening, a joyless experience to say the least. Tired, hungry and completely devoid of any enthusiasm for the task in hand, it would have been easy to give up and go home, but still we pressed on.

The IKEA experience is a retail nightmare. One is forced, by store layout, to walk miles and miles, past thousands of items, none of which hold the faintest interest, before you even get a glimpse of the thing you went in there to buy. But suddenly there it was !!!

The perfect stainless steel rail, designed as a high-tech utensil rail, but doubling unwittingly as a utility room curtain pole. The design was perfect, the brackets were reversible, the length of 1200mm ideal, everything just right. So a purchase was agreed and the search for a boxed item began. Nothing. Lots of 800mm rails, lots of other designs, but not one 1200mm boxed item was to be found.

So we approached customer services, to see when the next batch would be delivered. Shock and horror !!! The item has been discontinued. Maybe too many people in the Bristol area had spotted the alternative usefulness of the rail and had caused a glut of bespoke curtain rails in the soft furnishing department. Who knows, but it was typical of our fruitless day.

Then a ray of hope !!! Apparently, and only because it was discontinued rather than simply out-of-stock, it became possible to purchase the very item that was screwed so alluringly to the display. But only if the Kitchen department would sanction such an action. So off to customer services (Kitchen department) we marched, determined to secure the last existing rail this side of the galaxy.

Obviously the guy had no idea of the rarity, and hence huge worth of his prized asset. Not only did he whip out his personal electric screwdriver to remove said item, but he also gave us a chit to take to Bargain Corner so we might acquire it at a discount. What a result !!! We raced down to the Corner of many delights, clutching our chit, fearful that an announcement, reversing the decision, might boom out over the Tannoy at any moment.

No such announcement was issued, so with our discount barcode zip-tied to our wholly unique curtain/utility rail we raced through the self service checkout, into the near empty car park and sped off into the Bristol night air. Success !!! The perfect curtain rail, and at a bargain price too !!! Now I know why they call it retail therapy, the buzz is almost better than sex. Or maybe not, but at least it did illustrate the Ten Worlds and Ichinen Sanzen rather nicely.

Ichinen – Making It Happen

DeterminationThe Japanese word Ichinen means, among other things, determination. Here is the definition from the SGI dictionary of Buddhism …

ichinen

[一念] (Jpn; Chin i-nien )


A single moment of life, one instant of thought, or the mind or life at a single moment. Also, life-moment, thought-moment, or simply a single moment or instant. Ichinen has various meanings in Buddhism: (1) A moment, or an extremely short period comparable to the Sanskrit term kshana. The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom defines one kshana or moment as a sixtieth of the time it takes to snap one’s fingers. (2) The functioning of the mind for one moment. The “Distinctions in Benefits” (seventeenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra speaks of a single moment of belief and understanding. (3) To focus one’s mind on meditating on a Buddha; Shan-tao (613-681), a patriarch of the Chinese Pure Land school, defined ichinen (one instant of thought) as chanting Amida Buddha’s name once. (4) T’ient’ai (538-597) philosophically interprets ichinen in his doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life ( Jpn ichinensanze Chin i-nien san-ch’ien ). In this doctrine, ichinen indicates the mind of an ordinary person, which at each moment is endowed with the potential of three thousand realms; its characteristics are: (a) it pervades the entire universe; (b) it includes both body and mind; (c) it includes both self and environment; (d) it gives rise to good and evil; and (e) it encom-passes cause and effect simultaneously. Nichiren (1222-1282) embodied this philosophical framework in the form of a mandala known as the Gohonzon. By this he aimed to establish a practical way for ordinary people to manifest Buddhahood from among the Ten Worlds of their own lives.
SGI Dictionary Online

Being good or being a success at something isn’t just about talent, it’s about having the desire, the determination, deep in your heart, to settle for nothing less than victory.

If you have a strong ichinen, you are far more likely to reach your goal. You still have to put in the effort and in fact, the more talent you have, the more effort is needed, because your end result might be far more exacting than a less talented person.

If you think you will fail, you will. You must embrace your goals, your targets, with every fibre of your being. Strive with all your might, night and day towards that goal and you are far more likely to succeed. Remember, you only fail when you decide to stop trying.

Success takes focus, desire, effort, hard work, determination and perseverance.

Ichinen covers them all, and chanting for what you want to achieve, makes your ichinen stronger and stronger.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: