Sakyo and Shabutsu Dharma Talk – 23 October 2016

Items used in formalized Shakyo: Ink stone, sumie ink, character space guides, handmade face mask with handmade paper string, formatted shakyo paper.

Thoughts on why we do this, how you might do it as part of your daily life, what you might do with the finished item. Let us combine both Shakyo and ShaButsu all together here to simplify the response.  Also I would like to set aside any discussion of the highly ritualized and formal practice. There is value in the formalized practice and there is value in a less formal practice.  It difficult to do…

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A Holiday Message and Plea – 17 October 2016


A Holiday Message and Plea for Financial Support for All Nichiren Order of North America Temples – October 17, 2016 It is the season that time of year when we think about gratitude and giving.  Hopefully that does not translate as grateful the stores are open late or Black Friday begins on Thursday. I am writing this post solely for the purpose of reminding you of the importance of your financial support for the spread of…

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Compassion –  Peaceful Practice

There is a lot of talk about compassion where I work as well as in some of the media I consume. Frequently the word compassion is paired with fatigue. Compassion-fatigue is such a hot topic there are departments and groups and initiatives and numerous other groupings with corporate sounding names being formed, set up, and initiated. Speakers are identified, topics are selected, strategies formulated, days designated, colors selected, slogans and code words promulgated, and the…

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Because of You

Ryusho2016-Shakyo 10-2.jpg

Often I will hear how someone feels their part in making the world a better place is unimportant or insignificant. Occasionally their discouragement is so great they feel like giving up.  In the passage I quoted today the phrase I encourage us to consider is “we, too, have obtained benefits.” Because the Buddha attained enlightenment we receive benefits. Without enlightenment, we may not have even known there had once been a Siddhartha who lived in…

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Put it on Their Heads &  Tefillah


As I read the Lotus Sutra this morning I turned to this page and the phrase “put it in their head” stood out. The act of putting the Sutra on the head is a practice we copy during our service.  When we say the Verses for Opening the Sutra we lift the Sutra at the point when we say: “When we see, hear, or touch the Sutra…” While we do not actually put it on…

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Know All These Illusions


Today I chose this passage about the Twelve Link Chain of Causation and the reality of the illusion and ignorance which leads to suffering. Here in Charlotte we have witnessed first hand in our community the unrest and suffering caused by devaluing and unfairly treating our neighbors because of a difference in skin color. We have in affect based this injustice on an illusion of difference.  I ask is the value of a diamond any…

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Shakyo Practice – Meditative Sutra Copying

Shakyo Chapter XVI

I had a conversation the other day with a temple supporter who told me about an artist who uses words from various Buddhist texts to create some beautiful art.  Immediately ideas began to pop up in my mind.  So I have begun exploring the merging of text from the Lotus Sutra to a visual representation beyond merely words on paper.   I’ve only done this for two days and this is what I have experienced.  One…

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They Say I Did This


They Say I Did This  (Originally posted August 26, 2012) This is getting posted a tad bit late. I arrived home late last night, later than I had anticipated, from my KY prison visit. I learned while making this visit that an inmate does not say “I did such and such a thing/crime/virtually anything.” rather they will say the phrase “they say I did such and such” instead of ‘I did such and such.’ This…

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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the world and me

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER | NAACP IMAGE AWARD WINNER | PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST | NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST | NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR “This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.” In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals…

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The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir

The Beautiful Struggle

An exceptional father-son story from the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us. Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African…

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