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Help with understanding The Four Teachings of Doctrine

The four teachings of doctrine are: (1) The Tripitaka teaching, which corresponds to Hinayana, is so called because it consists of the three divisions of the canon ( tripitaka)—sutras (the Buddha’s teachings), vinaya (the rules of monastic discipline), and abhidharma (commentaries and treatises). The teachings of this category reveal the cause of transmigration in the threefold world and urge one to free oneself from this continual rebirth and enter the state of nirvana in which all desires are extinguished. To help one cast off attachment to the threefold world, they teach the analytical view of non-substantiality, or the perception that all things, when analyzed into their constituent elements (dharmas), prove to be without substance


  • Anyone's help would be much appreciated.

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited August 2018

    Are these four teachings supposed to be the four truths?

    Or do you mean the Tiāntāi five periods?

    Where is this list from?

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran

    Do you mean 1) sudden 2) gradual, etc?

  • The list is from a Buddhist dictionary that use to study. The list is part of the definition of something called the eight teachings. I pasted some of the definition but not the whole definition. Eight Teachings is system that Tientai used to classify the Buddhas teachings. The eight teachings are divided into two groups. The four teachings of doctrine and the four teachings of method. You can go to Nichiren and use the dictionary to look up the eight teachings.

  • I don't have a good understanding of the definition but I am sure you will be able to figure it out.

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran

    I know what you mean. Give me a second.

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited August 2018

    The Tripiṭaka Teaching consists of the 4 noble truths: 1) suffering 2) arising 3) cessation 4) the path, the 4 bases of mindfulness, the 4 varieties of correct endeavour, the 4 spiritual powers, the 5 wholesome roots, the 5 spiritual powers, the 7 limbs of awakening, and the 8-fold path.

    This is all from T1931 天台四教儀 Tiāntāi Four Teachings Exegesis. It is a catechism from Master Chegwan of the Korean branch of Tendai-shū. It has a more detailed explanation than the short summary I gave you.

    A. C. Muller translated part of the catechism into English here:

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited August 2018

    I don't know who NichirenLibrary considers authoritative, but in the Tiāntāi teachings, the Tripiṭaka teaching is to both the śrāvaka and the bodhisattva. It is not a "Hīnayāna" teaching in Tendai-shū. From the above catechism T11931.774c13:

    一修多羅藏、 [四阿含等經]。二阿毘曇藏、 [倶舍婆沙等論]。三毘尼藏、 [五部律]。此之三藏名通大小。今取小乘三藏也。
    The first is the Tripiṭaka Teaching, the three being: (1) the Sūtra Collection, including the four Āgamas and such sūtras (2) the Abhidharma Collection, (3) the Vinaya Collection [i.e., the five versions of the Vinaya]. This term, “Tripiṭaka” applies to both Mahāyāna and Hīnayāna. Here I will treat the Hīnayāna version of the Tripiṭaka teachings.

    -Venerable Chegwan

    The interpretation of Nichiren Buddhists may differ, but in my experience, usually Venerable Nichiren taught the 8 modes based on Venerable Zhiyi, whom Venerable Chegwan is also following.

    I may be wrong, of course.

  • Thanks for the help. I have a better understanding of the definition. I'll read the catechism that you gave the link to. I feel that I can learn a lot from you. If I ever have more questions I'll contact you if you are willing to explain things about Buddhism.

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited August 2018

    Venerable Jikai of the Australian Tendai-shū saṃgha also has a commentary on Ven Guanding's preface to Ven Zhiyi's 摩訶止觀 (Mahāśamathavipaśyanā) T1911.

    The 4 part study notes happen to overlap with the 8 modes:摩訶止觀.php

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited August 2018

    @Omar067 said:
    I'll contact you if you are willing to explain things about Buddhism.

    I am just another layman, I'm not a priest, though I practice with Tendai-shū. I am more than eager to share anything that I have managed to learn.

    If you are not also already on DharmaWheel, you should also inquire there. They have entire subforums dedicated to SGI & Nichiren Buddhism.

  • Thank you for providing me with a study guide. I will look into it. I'll also look into to Dharma Wheel too.

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