Gosho often references eradicating our earthly desires, but it also says that
earthly desires equal enlightenment. How can both be true?
According to the Hinayana teachings, since illusions and earthly desires
generally work to obscure the Buddha nature and hinder Buddhist practice, one
must eradicate them in order to attain enlightenment. In the viewpoint of the
Lotus Sutra, however, earthly desires and enlightenment are not different in
their fundamental essence. It follows that enlightenment is not the eradication
of desires, but a state in which the true entity of all phenomena can be
experienced by transforming one’s innate desires. The Bodhisattva Universally
Worthy Sutra (Fugen-gyō)
, which is the epilogue to the Lotus Sutra,
Even without extinguishing their earthly desires or
denying their five desires, they can purify all of their senses and eradicate
all their misdeeds.
(Hokekyo, p. 674)
The Daishonin taught that chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to
the Gohonzon is the specific practice for manifesting Buddhahood and thereby
transforming earthly desires into enlightenment. The “Orally Transmitted
Now, Nichiren and others who chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo
burn the firewood of earthly desires and behold the fire of enlightened wisdom
before their eyes.
(Gosho, p. 1721)
He also stated:
Those persons who honestly discard the expedient
teachings, put faith only in the Lotus Sutra, and chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo
will transform the three paths of earthly desires, karma, and suffering into
the three virtues of the Dharma body, wisdom and emancipation. The threefold
contemplation and the three truths will immediately manifest in their minds.
The place where they dwell will become the land of eternally tranquil light.
(Gosho, p. 694)