35 Day Practice Day 4

35 Day Practice Day 4

Read Lotus Sutra:
M p.48 “The Bodhisattvas who hear the Dharma…..(to end of chapter).
R p.100 “When bodhisattvas hear this Dharma…..(to end of chapter).

“When you have great joy you will become Buddhas!” (Lotus Sutra, Chapter II)

For those who have been reading my writings for a while you know that this passage is one I frequently quote. I think it is key and provides us with a hint as to how to practice. If we can begin to generate a spark of joy in our lives as we chant and practice the Lotus Sutra, it is my belief that this will eventually spread throughout our lives and become a foundation for how we can live our lives.

We may be weighted down by all manner of burdens in our lives. Yet I do feel that when we chant and read the Lotus Sutra, if for even a moment we can suspend our dwelling on those burdens and experience a small amount of joy in our lives because of our relationship to and practice of the Lotus Sutra, it can be the foundation for a shift in our lives that will have far reaching impact on all of our sufferings. Is it easy, in ways it is yet because it is easy it can be difficult to accomplish.

It does require a loosening of the tight grasp we have on our sufferings. When we dwell on our sufferings it can create a sense of security, we feel pain so we know we are alive. I think we become accustomed to living this way without even realizing it. We lament our lives which seems to create a sense of being alive and we become fearful of letting it all go and not being attached to those things.

I had it in my notes to give some basic instructions about chanting at the beginning of this series, but for some reason I failed to write them. Today according to my outline I would like for you to do some silent meditation. I’ll give some basic instructions, which I hope you will use both during silent meditation as well as chanting meditation. Of course this is not the only way to meditate, but it is a basic method that I can share with you on line. If you know other ways of meditation that is fine, however for this practice I encourage you to try this. If is just doesn’t work for you then by all means go with what is most helpful.

Also as you read the sutra passages, try to be in touch with how you feel after reading. Perhaps you feel confused, that is fine, it is good that you identify this. Perhaps you feel excitement, or joy, or even sorrow. All of those are perfectly acceptable. Focus on your feelings without trying to understand the meaning so much. Be gentle on yourself.

Today let’s do some silent meditation. Begin by chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo three times. Then get in a comfortable sitting position. This sitting position should be erect opening up your lower abdomen area as much as possible. Try not to slouch as this closes off your ability to breathe deeply and comfortably. As you sit in a mediation posture, erect, eyes partially closed, legs crossed if sitting on the floor or sitting forward on a chair with feet flat on the floor legs uncrossed. Hold your hands, left over right palm, palm up just above your belly button, the center of your life energy. Begin by breathing in through your nose and then slowly exhaling from between your lips. As you slowly exhale concentrate you mind on Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. As you exhale slowly also chant very slowly in your mind drawing out the Namu Myoho Renge Kyo for the entire breath. Breathe in through your nose and exhale from between your lips. Do this for 5 Minutes – 7 minutes max) If you find your mind wandering just say to yourself a simple word such as ‘thinking’ and come back to the out breath and Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.

When your time has elapsed chant Namu Myoho Renge Kyo three times out loud slowly, bow and finish.

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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.