35 Day Practice Day 10

35 Day Practice Day 10

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 117 “Great Hero, World-Honored One!…(continue to p. 118)….Like the man who was permitted to take the meal.”
R p. 171 “Great Hero, World-Honored one,….(continue to p. 172)…As you would tell a starving person to eat!”

Starving Man

After you have finished reading this short section from Chapter VI divide the remainder of your goal time between reading the Shindoku of Chapter 16 and chanting Odaimoku.

Chapter VI is the first of several specific predictions of future enlightenment given to various people in the congregation at the preaching of the Lotus Sutra. These various predictions are meant to show that enlightenment is attainable by anyone. This is a pretty awesome promise and one that may seem unbelievable. And this sentiment is brought out in the passage we read today.

The speakers, since this is actually said by several people in unison, tell the Buddha that even though they heard it from him, that they would become enlightened they still had doubts, and even fears that perhaps this prediction does not apply to them.

I gave a lecture on the many predictions of future enlightenment in which I talk about how these serve to provide both those receiving the predictions as well as all who read the Lotus Sutra with hope. In the study of hope theory there are several key components that serve to engender hope in an individual. Two of those are community and a future story.

When we come to practice Buddhism we all come from a variety of places, both physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We join together with others who are at once similar and also very different than ourselves. We practice together in concert with these people and we see the powerful effects of Buddhism on their lives. This is fertile ground for the development of a future story that can be markedly different that what we are currently experiencing.

These predictions of future enlightenment are a story of a future of joy, of the cessation of suffering, peace, of enlightenment for ourselves. What the Buddha is encouraging us to do is to rethink our image of what we perceive our future to be. No longer do we need to suffer, no longer do we need to be insecure, no longer do we need to wonder if happiness will ever come to us.

Today as you continue to read the Lotus Sutra, and chant Namu Myoho Renge Kyo, and of course continue observing your selected Right Way, also think about what your future would be like if you overcame the sufferings you may currently be dealing with. You should know that no matter from what point you start from on the path to enlightenment, no matter what your past has been, no matter what you think you are capable of, enlightenment is not just a possibility but a certainty if you continue your practice. If even the worst of the worst, as I have mentioned before, can attain enlightenment through the practice of Buddhism then you certainly can as well.

Do not be as the starving man and fear to partake of this wonderful Dharma. Take this Dharma, practice and partake of the nourishment of the Buddhas teachings. Do not fear that you don’t know what to do, have faith in the Lotus Sutra, continue chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.

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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.