35 Day Practice Day 23

35 Day Practice Day 23

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 206 “Do not worry!…(continue to end of chapter)”
R p. 257 “Please do not worry….(continue to end of chapter)”

Three Powerful Enemies

After you have concluded the reading today split the remainder of your practice time between chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo and the Shindoku of Chapter 16. It won’t be long now and we will get to the English of this portion that you are reading in Shindoku.

As before, continue throughout the day to try to follow now your three Right Ways. Also how is the work going on addressing the obstacles you have to your daily practice? Don’t worry, we all have some difficulty that tries to stand in the way of our daily efforts.

In the section we read today it talks about some of the external factors that can stand in the way or try to prevent us from practicing. You may not directly face any of these challenges, but you might. Perhaps there is a family member who discounts or challenges or even ridicules your practice. Or maybe a co-worker gives you a hard time once they found out you are trying to practice Buddhism. In some cases perhaps a religious person is challenging your practice.

These kinds of problems are not unheard of and not rare, so please do not feel alone if you face this.

Nichiren, the found of Nichiren Buddhism who so dedicatedly taught and practiced the Lotus Sutra in the 13th Century suffered repeated persecutions as did many of his contemporary followers. In one of his famous writings he cites these passages from the Lotus Sutra as proof that what was happening to him was to be expected and was predicted in the Lotus Sutra.

Way back when I first began practicing I was in the military, which at that time was not the most favorable circumstances. Sometimes it was even hostile to my practice. I hope that you do not have to endure any such difficulties. For me it was encouraging to read Nichiren’s writings and study the Sutra to see that these things may happen and to not become discouraged.

So why do we do it? I mean wouldn’t it be easier to practice some other religion or to just give up? These are personal questions and each person needs to find the answer within. We can of course read passages such as these in the Sutra, and we can find encouragement by doing so, but still the desire to continue has to well up from inside your own life.

I think at times such as when we are facing a difficult situation we have an opportunity to really internalize the teachings of the Buddha. All at once it becomes not so much of an intellectual endeavor as one rooted deep down reaching the core of our lives.

It is at times like those when we can really understand what it means to take on the Buddha’s mantle and try to teach others of the greatness of Buddhism as we have read in the Lotus Sutra.

I do hope though that your practice is not so difficult though, but there will certainly be times when you will be challenged. Do not become discouraged, and don’t forget what you have studied in the Lotus Sutra.

Remember, your three Right Ways, your connections and of course continue to chant Namu Myoho Renge Kyo throughout your day when you are able.

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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.