35 Day Practice Day 17

35 Day Practice Day 17

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 176 “Medicine-King! Although many…..(continue to p. 177 end of paragraph)….cause them to attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.”
R p. 230 first paragraph “Medicine King, thought there are many….(read three paragraphs on this page ending with)….the Buddha has opened it up.”

Thirsty Man

Continue today splitting your remaining practice time between chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo and practicing reciting Chapter 16 in the Shindoku as before. Perhaps by this time you are feeling a little more confident in your reciting of Chapter 16 and may even be getting further along, some may even be able to recite the entire portion. Regardless, though, of how far you are getting do not be discouraged or over confident. Take it slowly and deliberately, remember it is a meditative practice and as such should be done with mindfulness.

As you have been doing for the past several days continue developing your awareness to connections you have with people throughout the world who make your everyday living possible. Try to generate a real sense of appreciation for all those efforts, even if you do not know the specific individuals. And keep working on the two right ways you have selected to focus on. Make a mental note of your progress or where you fall short. This mental note taking is not meant to discourage you but to help you focus more attention on what needs work.

There is a really short parable here of a thirsty man. We previously ran across a starving man, and now we meet his counterpart the thirsty man. In this short story the thirsty man is digging in the ground for water to satisfy himself. For the time he dug out dry earth he had no hope of finding water, but when he found moist earth he was encouraged to continue digging. He then finds mud and he becomes convinced that water must be near.

Before we came into contact with the Lotus Sutra, we were like digging in dry earth, never sure if enlightenment was a possibility, or if even happiness was possible. Yet as we read the Lotus Sutra, we have been encouraged first by moist earth with the early predictions of enlightenment and now we are actually digging up wet mud. In these paragraphs we see that those who practice in the time after the death of the Buddha and who carry out the five practices outlined are guaranteed to attain an enlightenment that had never been revealed before. This enlightenment is greater than the Nirvana that previously had been sought after.

This sutra that we are reading and studying every day is the sutra that casts aside all of the expedients, all the temporary teachings, all of the teachings designed to lead to this Anuttara-samyak-sambohi or supreme awakening. This sutra opens wide the gate that up until now had been closed and limiting to Nirvana and show what is beyond that gate and now makes it possible for all living beings to equally become enlightened.

I am not sure if you are as excited about this as it makes me, perhaps you are or perhaps it will develop in time. Either way, I hope you will continue your practice day by day without becoming discouraged or giving up. We have some really fantastic things in store for us in the next few chapters. We are now roughly half way through our 35 Days, congratulations.

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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.