35 Day Practice Day 7

35 Day Practice Day 7

Walkway path leading to Bodaite, stairway to Enlightenment at Mt. Minobu Kuon-ji

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 76 “Sariputra! With this parable I expounded…..(top of p. 80)…..The stage of avaivartika.”
R p. 127 “Shariputra, it is for the sake of all beings….(top of p. 131)….”Will never backslide.”

Today we continue reading a bit more of Chapter III. Today’s reading presents me with a bit of a difficulty. This one section to me highlights the most important complaint I have for the Reeves translation. In the Reeves translation not once is what has come to be known as the Eightfold Path mentioned yet in the Murano it is mentioned twice. If we examine other translations we also see this mentioning of “eight right ways”.

One of the points frequently mentioned as I teach the Lotus Sutra is that within the Lotus Sutra is contained all of the important previous teachings of the Buddha. The Lotus Sutra is not an abandoning of previous teachings it is in stead an advancement on or beyond those previous teachings. All of the Buddhas teachings are still important and necessary and are contained in the Lotus Sutra.

In this section we read about the Four Noble Truths as well as the mentioning of the importance of the Eightfold Path or Eight Right Ways.

For those new to Buddhism I’ll offer a short introduction to these two teachings. There is much on the web available that will expand on this brief introduction to perhaps the two most fundamental teachings of the Buddha.

The Four Noble Truths was the first teaching of the Buddha after he attained enlightenment and presents the foundation or cornerstone for all of Buddhism. The Four Noble Truths are in brief: 1) The truth of suffering, 2) The truth of the origin of suffering, 3) The truth of the cessation of suffering, 4) The truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering.

The Eightfold Path, the path leading to the cessation of suffering is: 1) Right View, 2) Right Intention, 3) Right Speech, 4) Right Action, 5) Right Livelihood, 6) Right effort, 7) Right Mindfulness, 8)Right Concentration.

Let me point out here that ‘right’ in the above is not the opposite of ‘wrong’. Right in the above is about doing those things which will yield the greatest good. In Buddhism it is not merely enough to do no harm, we are striving to do the greatest good. We call this living skillfully, and that is what we strive to do when following these Eight Right Ways.

Not all of the time will we be presented with clear choices, sometimes our options may all be less than favorable. In all things though our intention, our basis for action, is to do the least harm and the greatest good.

I encourage you to look up deeper explanations of the above concepts. You can find some on my blog as well as various places on the internet.

From today, as a new practitioner of Buddhism you have a guideline for living your daily life. You may have noticed that up until today we just focused on cultivating a daily practice routine. From today though you know a little bit more about what being a Buddhist means in the context of your daily life.

Congratulations on your seventh day of practice and to the beginning of your walk on the path to enlightenment!

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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.