35 Day Practice Day 13

35 Day Practice Day 13

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 153 First two paragraphs of Chapter VIII
M p. 156 “My disciples are performing…The listeners will doubt me.”
M p. 161 “World-Honored One! Suppose a man visited….(to the end of the paragraph)…You will not be short of anything you want.”
R p. 207 First two paragraphs of Chapter VIII
R p. 210 “Using innumerable skillful means….Would be doubtful and perplexed.”
R p. 215 “World-Honored One, it is as if….(read two paragraphs)….and be free from all poverty and want.”

Parable of the Gem in the Robe

Today’s reading consists of three short sections found in Chapter VIII. As in the previous days split your time between reciting Chapter 16 in Shindoku and chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. Keep in mind consistency and steady effort.

I presented three short reading today because I wanted to have you read first of the great joy experienced by one of the Buddha’s major disciples, Purna. In the first paragraph we hear of the joy of Purna because of these great things; assurance of future enlightenment of the great disciples of the Buddha, hearing of the previous lives of the Buddha, hearing the great powers of the Buddha. Having heard these three great things, things never before revealed, the disciple Purna expresses both his joy and his admiration.

I should mention a little about Purna. He was, as I mentioned, one of the Buddhas major disciples, one of the 10 listed as the most important. Purna is noteworthy because of his great efforts to spread the teachings of the Buddha. The Buddha says “I always praise him, saying that he is the most excellent expounder of the Dharma.” Purna, after the death of the Buddha was largely responsible for the spread of Buddhism in what is now Southeast Asia. The icon representing Purna is the egoro, or hand held incense burner.

When I began this temple in Charlotte I selected Purna as the person and spirit I wanted to model and in fact an egoro decorates one of the Sutra boxes in the main hall, hondo.

The next section you read talks about the many forms the disciples of the Buddha take on as they engage in Buddhist practice. It also talks about how sometimes these forms exhibit what would be considered not so skillful attributes by pretending to have the three poisons of greed, anger, and ignorance. In a way we might consider this to represent the many different kinds of people who will practice Buddhism in this age.

Finally in the selections today we also read of another of the famous or important parables found in the Lotus Sutra. See, I told you this sutra was full of interesting stories.

The parable of the gem in the robe is very short, only one paragraph long in the Murano translation. Yet in spite of its brevity it packs a very powerful message.

In each of us is already the enlightened nature or potential. Enlightenment isn’t something we have to bring into our lives, it is already resident. The practice of Buddhism isn’t so much about becoming some one different as it is about becoming who we really are. We do not take on enlightenment from outside ourselves, but develop what we already have. We have the gem, we just need to take it out and use it, there is not need for us to continue our sufferings.

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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.