35 Day Practice Day 22

35 Day Practice Day 22

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 195 “In those days the lives of the people…(continue to end of first paragraph p. 196)….be short of anything.”
M p. 197 “The king at that time was…(continue to first sentence of last paragraph)…Devadatta will become a Buddha after innumerable kalpas.”
M p. 201 “Thereupon Sariputra said to the daughter…(continue to end of chapter)”
R p. 247 “At that time a person’s lifetime…(continue to end of the page 247)”
R p. 249 “The Buddha said to the monks:…(continue to first sentence of next paragraph)”
R p. 252 “Then Shariputra said to the dragon girl…(continue to end of chapter)”

Devadatta and The Dragon King’s Daughter

Congratulations on beginning your fourth week of practice. You have accomplished something very noteworthy, I hope you are pleased so far with what you have accomplished. I hope that practicing is becoming easier and you are enjoying reading and exploring the Lotus Sutra.

How are you doing on your Right Ways? You may have guessed already, however in case you have not today I encourage you to add a third one to what you are focusing on. Maybe if you have not already done so write them down on a card and put them some place you will see them, perhaps your altar or even your bathroom mirror. The practice of Buddhism never really ends, as you may have surmised, there is always work for us to do.

After you finish today’s reading divide your time between chanting and reading as much of the Shindoku of Chapter 16 as you are able. Has the reading of the Shindoku become any easier? It may not, yet. It is alright though just do the best you are able. The most significant improvement will probably only come if you are able to practice along with others. There are many ways you can accomplish this, one of course is if you live near a temple or practice group you can join with them. Another option is to seek out a temple that is broadcasting their services on the Internet; there are several who do. Another option is to speak with your teacher about a recording of the chanting of the sutra.

Today we read two sections from Chapter XII, titled Devadatta. In case you are not familiar with this person, he is the cousin of the Buddha. He is noteworthy or remembered because of his multiple attempts to kill the Buddha as well as his attempt to split the Sangha. In his attempt to split the Sangha he also tried to pervert or distort the teachings of the Buddha. So, he is notorious for causing harm to each of the Three Jewels of Buddhism; the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

In the first short section we learn of the deep connection that existed between the Buddha and this person who sought to destroy Buddhism. We learn that the Buddha praises this person who has done so much evil saying that because of their relationship in the past the Buddha was able to become the Buddha.

I wonder how many of us can look at those who cause us grief and thank them for the growth opportunities they provide us. It isn’t easy to express appreciation for such opportunities. Normally we just want to avoid at all cost those things that bother us.

Or perhaps we may want to seek out only pleasurable things or the easy way. Yet in doing the easy things we don’t always grow in the same way as if we were to challenge ourselves. You have chosen to try something of great difficulty, you have chosen to challenge your life. You are to be commended for this effort, and you should know that without doubt your life is changing, even if you don’t yet see it.

Finally in the last portion of our reading today there is the story of the Dragon Kings Daughter who even though she is female and as stated has what is known as the Five Impossibilities she effortlessly becomes a Buddha.

In this one chapter we see proof that the worst of the worst can become Buddhas and that also all beings are able to attain enlightenment. In the time of the Buddha women were not thought to be equal to men. Even still in our modern time there are many who would deny equality to women, even preventing them from religious offices. In this chapter we see that from the time of the Buddha such revolutionary concepts as equality was taught.

Today, as you add one more Right Way to your list of daily practice also continue working on connections in various areas of your daily life. Finally, when we began I asked you to write down something about yourself you might like to change. Do you still have that? I wonder how that is going? Have you noticed even a slight change? If not do not become discouraged, the change will happen, in fact it probably already has, even if the change is being more self aware.

Congratulations again on beginning week four!

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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.