35 Day Practice Day 6

35 Day Practice Day 6

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 61 first paragraph “Sariputra! Suppose there lived…..(end of second paragraph p. 63)…..the large cars of treasures?”
R p. 112 last paragraph “Shariputra, suppose in a village….(end of last paragraph p. 114)….guilty of falsehood or not?”

Parable of the Burning House

Today we read the most widely known and most popular parable found in the Lotus Sutra. This parable is probably the most widely cited section of the Lotus Sutra, even by people who are unfamiliar with or who do not espouse the importance of the Lotus Sutra.

Today is a long read, but it is a good one. As I mentioned in the beginning of this series I wanted to introduce you to some of the grandeur and richness of the Lotus Sutra. This is one of those moments in the Lotus Sutra where this is revealed.

Once you have read this portion spend the rest of your time chanting. Again, as you chant try to keep your mind focused on the actual pronunciation of Namu Myoho Renge Kyo, if you find your mind wandering gently bring it back to your chanting by saying to yourself ‘thinking’.

There are many things to consider once you have read this portion. I have only highlighted one small portion, and after you finish your practice today perhaps if you have some time you might find it interesting to read more, but don’t let extra reading take away from your actual practice time.

The story of the Burning House is really about our practice of Buddhism. We are constantly living in a burning house, a house of the sufferings of life. Sometimes we distract ourselves from these sufferings by indulging in a variety of ways, all basically misguided attempts to eliminate suffering but actually often contributing to more suffering.

Buddhism presents us with a way to enjoy life, to eliminate suffering, and to contribute to not only our own well being but also the well being of our entire environment, including other people around us. The Buddha offered a wide variety of teachings prior to the Lotus Sutra and in the Lotus Sutra he explains why there were so many different teachings. They served as a means to enable people to partake of the ultimate purpose of all Buddhas, that is enlightenment.

This is represented in the variety of carts offered to the children to entice them to leave the burning house. When the children emerge they are rewarded not with the smaller carts they initially sought but with grander carts, equaling the enlightenment of all Buddhas.

I hope you have enjoyed your practice to this point. Please rest assured that you are making good progress towards your emancipation from sufferings. The process is slow but it is methodical, just don’t become impatient or discouraged. During these first few days, it is my intent that you have begun to easily incorporate Buddhist practice into your life. The fact that you are doing so is a fundamental part of preparing for a lifelong journey.

If you think about those smooth river rocks people seem to like so much, or if you consider the Grand Canyon, small but continuous erosions made those things possible. So too with your own life, you are slowly making changes in your life that will have lasting and beautiful impact on your life.

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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.