35 Day Practice Day 8

35 Day Practice Day 8

Read Lotus Sutra
M p.89 “World-Honored One! Allow….(p. 92)…It has come to me unexpectedly.”
R p. 142 “World-Honored One, we would…(p. 144)….have now come to me by themselves.”

Parable of the Rich Man and His Poor Son

Today is long read, none-the-less, try to read all of it within your goal time and what ever time you have remaining spend it chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. As you chant do so with great joy, even a small amount of joy is the cause for even greater joy. Think of the great treasure you have come into contact with through your practice of Buddhism and the Lotus Sutra.

Yesterday you learned of the Eightfold Path. Beginning today for the next 7 days try to focus on one of those eight right ways. Make this the focus of your practice outside of your dedicated time reading and chanting. You might pick Right Speech and then for the rest of the week try to the best of your ability to only engage in speech that not only causes no harm but encourages good. Or you might pick another of the Eight Right Things. Focus on one, maybe even write it on a card and tape it to your computer or bathroom mirror to remind you of your intention.

Actually this kind of setting your intention is engaging in another of the Eight Right Ways, that of Right Intention. See how easy it is to do this practice, or at least try to do the practice. If in the course of this week you should mess up or forget, please do not worry about it. Use it as a lesson to advance your growth.

This parable of the rich man and his poor son is often mistakenly compared to the prodigal son in the Bible. It should be noted though that the two stories are different in many key ways. In this story the son has left his father at an early age before his father had any wealth. The son had no knowledge of the great treasure he was entitled too. The son in this story did not avoid doing the hard work it took to elevate his life.

We are like the poor son and the Buddha is like the rich father. We may feel no connection, or we may feel that we are not deserving of great joy. We may be just like the son who runs in fear of the man who is his father. We may run from the promise of enlightenment, thinking we are not worthy or that it isn’t possible for us to be happy.

Yet, through your daily practice of Buddhism you can slowly elevate your life condition and see potentials for unimaginable benefits.

Never fear, there is no such person who is not capable or deserving of attaining enlightenment. If Angulimala, or Devedatta can attain enlightenment then there is nothing that can stand in the way of our own enlightenment, if we only try.

If you have not done so already, I encourage you to write on a card one thing you would like to change over this 35 day practice period. Put this card in your sacred space if you have one, let it be a reminder of what has brought you to this Buddhist practice. If you are the kind of person who writes a journal perhaps each day you can reflect on your goal.

You are beginning your second week of practice. This is great, keep focused on your daily efforts.

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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.