The Teaching and Practices of
Honmon Butsuryu Shu
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9. Humans Possess Six Souols

“Existence of a World of Hell is doubtful, but evil spirits exist in one's soul"(Nissen Shonin's Instructive Poem).


Men's soul is possessed with a tendency to act in brutal, cruel and unjust ways. These souls create sufferings like those of Hell when in motion. Thus, to debate whether Hell exists or not is meaningless.

The ten realms of a soul:

The Ten Realms in a living being from the standpoint of Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings are as follows:

By the way, do you believe in Hell? Nine out of ten people say it is a world of imagination. Believing in it is superstition.

However, Hell exists. Then, where is it located? It exists in one's soul and not underneath the terra firma. The opposite pole from Hell is the Land of Tranquil Light. Then again, the Buddhas in the Land of Tranquil Light are living within one's soul. Buddhism elucidated that within our soul exists the ten realms; from the highest, the World of Buddha, to the lowest, the World of Hell. They are: l) Hell. 2) Hungry Spirits. 3) Animals). 4) Asuras. 5) Men. 6) Heavenly beings. 7) Disciples. 8) Self enlightened Buddha. 9) Budhisattva. 10) Buddhas.

Let's begin with an explanation from the Hungry Spirits (Gaki). The Chinese Kanji character “Gaki" is written as “Eating" and “Self". The Hungry Spirit is always hunting for food. This soul is harbored within ourselves. This hungry spirit is not just walking around to find food, but is also seeking ways to make money. No matter how much money one has, they want more. In the course of attempting to accumulate money, they are not mindful of others. This type can be considered as people that fall into the realm of hungry spirit.

Below the Realm of Hungry Spirit is the Realm of Hell. While in the Realm of Hungry Spirit there is freedom, in the Realm of Hell there is no escaping from suffering.

In pursuit of financial gains, one may fall into the monetary hell by borrowing money from a loan company to pay off their debts. Men paying alimony as result of fickleness are in the realm of fickleness hell. Other examples of hell are traffic accidents, studying studiously for an entrance examination into a top-notched school, vying for success in life, and war. The sources of these existences in this world are initiated from the soul.

Referring to the hell of war, the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima Cities experienced hell from the atom bomb. Presently, there are people in various parts of the world who are experiencing suffering from the aftermath of war.

Rebirth in the six worlds:

Above the World of Hungry Spirits is the World of Animals. The general public thinks the World of Animals are dogs, cats or other animals. But, beasts are merely storing life. For example, if man's rationality becomes devoid or morality benumbed, it will be exposed to an instinct similar to that of a beast.

The World of Asuras is a soul of quarrel, envy or antagonism. Men will usually fall into this realm several times a day by displaying one of those souls.

The fifth world is the World of Men. It is a soul of confrontation - coping/dealing with the reality of things.

Above it is the World of Heavenly Beings. It is believed that when one's soul is excited from pleasures, it will climb into the World of Heavenly Beings. The sense of elation can be experienced during an event such as marriage and/or a honeymoon. But, when arguments prevail they will fall into the World of Asuras.

The Worlds of Hell, Hungry Spirits, and Animals are referred to as the three lowest states of existences. All existences in this world will be born, then die, and transmigrate between the six realms (Rokudo Rinne). We, not only, transmigrate from the past life into the future life, we also transmigrate within the six worlds on a daily basis. Thus, Buddhism maintains that the sins and iniquities are created by the six realms.

The reason why Shakyamuni Buddha's said, “First, look into your soul carefully" is so we can be cognizant of the despicable and ugly evils hidden within the Six Realms. One should offer repentance (confession) of past evil acts before the Gohonzon. The only true way to enter into the religion of the Lotus Sutra is to offer repentance (confession) before the Gohonzon for your past evils.

The starting point of religion is to reflect upon the souls of the six realms and to offer repentance to the Gohonzon.