35 Day Practice Day 2

35 Day Practice Day 2

Read Lotus Sutra:
M p. 23 “Thereupon the World-Honored One…(page 24)…despite these differences.”
R p. 75 “At that time the World-Honored One…(page 76)…complete fundamental coherence.”

Depending upon how long it takes you to read this, and please take your time doing so, chant the remainder of your goal time. If your goal time is used up then just chant Namu Myoho Renge Kyo three times and bow as the conclusion of your daily practice today.

Remember, as you chant keep your mind focused on Namu Myoho Renge Kyo as you chant. It is also good while you chant to be aware of your feelings after having read this passage.

The passage we are reading today forms one of the core portions of our daily practice; chanting part of Chapter 2 and part of Chapter 16. So already you have learned an important part of Nichiren Buddhist practice.

As you read today’s selection it may have seemed confusing to you, perhaps not. I would like for you, as you read to not focus too much on what the meaning is, but try to tune into what your feelings are. This may not be natural for you to do, but give it a try.

In this daily practice outline we won’t be going through every detail of the Lotus Sutra there will be some important doctrinal points not covered. It isn’t my intent to make this a thorough doctrinal exploration of the Lotus Sutra; that isn’t possible in 35 days. Instead my goal is to connect you with a spirit or feeling of the richness of the Lotus Sutra as an important Buddhist text.

In today’s reading this point actually is brought up. The Lotus Sutra, what the Buddha is teaching, is very difficult to understand, and the Buddha is telling one of his disciples just this point. Over and over in the Lotus Sutra the Buddha says that our connection with the Lotus Sutra occurs not on the level of the mind or intellect but on the level of heart or belief.

The Lotus Sutra comes to much of the Western world in a somewhat disguised way. By that I mean it has come to us outside the context in which it occurs in much of the East Asian countries. In the long history of Buddhism the Lotus Sutra has been considered a very important text by virtually all Buddhists, we don’t see that so much now in the West. We tend to see the Lotus Sutra outside its relationship to other texts and other denominations. It is almost as if the Lotus Sutra is orphaned from its own history.

I don’t believe I have it in my capacity to really convey the richness and importance of the Lotus Sutra, certainly not in this short 35 days. I will try though to connect you with some of the spirit, grandeur, richness, and great joy expressed in this wonderful if not confusing teaching. To that end, I encourage you to be confused by the confusing, be awed by the spectacular, and be joyful at the promise of enlightenment. Read with me, read with your heart.

Today the Buddha says that since he began he has been teaching the Dharma through various methods trying to convey the wisdom of Buddhas. This wisdom is very hard to understand. It is complex and confusing, partly because the Buddhas try to teach so many different people with different abilities. In this section the Buddha makes the statement that in spite of all that has been heard to this point, it still doesn’t represent the hidden core of Buddhism.

During Nichiren’s time and before, the great teachers of Buddhism recognized that the Lotus Sutra was an important text, but they also said because it is difficult to understand they would not teach it. Nichiren, however, countered that because it represents the heart of the Buddha’s teachings, and because the Buddha recognized its difficult and complex nature yet still said it should be taught in the future it was most appropriate to teach it now. So in brief, it is hard to understand yet that is no reason not to follow it in this time.

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About Ryusho 龍昇

Nichiren Shu Buddhist priest. My home temple is Myosho-ji, Wonderful Voice Temple, in Charlotte, NC. You may visit the temple’s web page by going to http://www.myoshoji.org. I am also training at Carolinas Medical Center as a Chaplain intern. It is my hope that I eventually become a Board Certified Chaplain. Currently I am also taking healing touch classes leading to become a certified Healing Touch Practitioner. I do volunteer work with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (you may learn more about them by following the link) caring for individuals who are HIV+ or who have AIDS/SIDA.