On July 11th in 1274, Nichiren Daishonin, the Japanese Reformist monk who gave us the form of Buddhism that changes karma in this lifetime by chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo (please try for yourself), writes a letter to a follower (WND, vol1, page 456-459) in which he tells her, "Neither heaven or hell exists outside oneself; both lie only within one's own heart. Awakened to this, one is called a Buddha; deluded about it, one is called an ordinary person. The Lotus Sutra reveals this truth, and one who embraces the Lotus Sutra will realize that hell is itself in the Land of Tranquil Light (heaven)."
He concludes this letter by saying, "...you should base your mind on the ninth consciousness, and carry out your practice in the six consciousnesses."
As I have said before, Nichiren gave us the greatest gift by a religious leader, the gift of changing our lives no matter what we have done in the past. To create a true happiness now, in this life by suffering what there is to suffer, and enjoying what there is to enjoy. The "ninth" consciousness of which he speaks of is nothing more than the nine levels of discernment. The first five consciousnesses correspond to the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. The sixth consciousness integrates the perceptions of the five sense into coherent images and makes judgments about the external world. The seventh consciousness corresponds to the inner spiritual world and generates awareness of the self and the ability to distinguish good from evil. The eight consciousness, called alaya-consciouness, receives the results of one's good and evil deeds and stores them as karmic potentials or 'seeds,' which then produce the rewards of either happiness or suffering accordingly. The ninth consciousness, called amala-consciousness, which remains free from all karmic impurity, is defined as the basis of all life's functions and is identified with the Buddha nature."
In a nut shell, this is how the Lotus Sutra allows us to change past karma today, this moment, and live out a nature, happy life overcoming past karma retribution by simply chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
It's a gift. Use it!
~~ Eso Terry