35 Day Practice Day 11

35 Day Practice Day 11

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 129 “In order to save all living beings….(continue to p. 130)….The Most Honorable One.”
M p. 140 “Then he expounded the teaching…..(read entire paragraph)…..suffering and lamentation are eliminated.”
R p. 182 “In order to liberate living beings,….(read to p. 183)….To one of unexcelled honor.”
R p. 194 “Then he taught the twelve causes and conditions….(read entire paragraph)…suffering and anguish are extinguished.”

12 Link Chain of Causation

After reading these sections spend the remainder of your practice time chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. At the end of today’s writing I’ll have another activity for you to engage in.

In the first section of today’s read we hear of the praise being offered to the Buddha. I think it is important to look closely at the praise, not because it talks about the great things the Buddha accomplished for himself, but for the benefit what he did provides all humanity.

If the Buddha had attained enlightenment and kept it for himself we would not even be practicing Buddhism today. I personally am also of the mind that if the Buddha had not shared his great accomplishment with others, then his own personal enlightenment would have vanished just as dew evaporates with the rising sun.

Why do I say this? It is because at the heart of Buddhism is our connections, our relationships with all of life. We do not exist in a vacuum, and so our own personal enlightenment resides within the context of the happiness of others. Just as the Buddha is the leader of all mankind in the quest for the elimination of suffering, so too are we leaders in our own individual ways, providing an example of the possibilities.

Today we are presented yet again in the Lotus Sutra to one of the Buddha’s major teachings. This Twelve Link Chain is a way of looking at the cause and effect relationship within our lives. The Buddha taught that the key to breaking the chain of rebirth was to eliminate ignorance and he set out to free us from this bond.

The Twelve Link Chain also indirectly points to the reality that nothing arises independent of some cause and relationship. If we examine our lives closely we can see our myriad connections to countless others, because of these connections we are able to live our lives. Our very own existence is only possible because of the countless efforts of many others, beginning with our own parents who gave birth to us and who provided us with food and care at birth, a time when we were most helpless.

As we continue to live our lives we sometimes loose sight of these connections and think of ourselves as independent beings. Because of this thinking we are sometimes led to believe that we do not need other people, or we don’t need some people, and yet the truth is that even as we grow older and live seemingly independent lives we are still tied to the efforts, the labors of countless others.

Today please continue with observing the one Right Way you have chosen to follow this week. Do not be discouraged if at time you forget, it is natural at time to get caught up in the events of our lives and not be mindful. Remember this is practice and as practice we continue to try our best.

Also today when you sit down to eat your meal, no matter where you are, try to think about the many people who have made the meal possible. See if you can engage in this activity while you eat slowly. Let appreciation well up from within you as your taste buds are activated. Think of the people who built your car with all of its complex components that work together to provide transportation. Or think of the bus driver or train engineers. Think of those who laid the roads or rails. Think of the cashier who stands on their feet all day long ringing up purchases. Think of the truck driver who delivered the merchandise to the store. Think of the packagers. Think of the farm laborers who make the food possible. Think of those in oil producing countries who give up their natural resources and labor. The list is almost endless. I can imagine that by the end of the meal you still have not thought of all the countless labors, big and small, that made that meal possible. Don’t forget to include your own labors as well.

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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.