35 Day Practice Day 26

35 Day Practice Day 26

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 246 “It is many hundreds of thousands…(continue to end of chapter)”
R p. 295 “Since I became a Buddha…(continue to end of chapter)”

Eternal Buddha

Finally we have come to the single most important portion of the Lotus Sutra. This is also the English of what you have been reading or practicing reading in Shindoku, the liturgical language. Unlike in some of the more dramatic sections we have read in the past few days, this section may seem rather ordinary. It is not ordinary though and is quite dramatic, even if in an understated way.

After you have finished reading the section today, go back now and try reading the Shindoku version you have been working on. When you have finished reading both of them if you have any time remaining please spend it chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.

In this chapter, in the section we have read, as well as in more detail in the portion we did not read, we learn of the eternal, always existing nature of ‘Buddha’. The Buddha says that he is always present that he has always present and that he will always be present. There is really no such thing as a temporary phenomena of Buddha, such as represented by a historical figure.

As I said, this is rather understated and less dramatic than some of the things we have been reading, yet the idea of the Buddha always existing is a dramatic shift from a concept of Buddha being just one historical figure. We have shifted the focus of Buddha from a single man represented by, in our worlds case Shakyamuni, to a concept of Buddha spanning time and place.

Nichiren taught that this one section of the Lotus Sutra is actually the eye of the Sutra and there are six reasons for its superiority. These six reasons are; 1. Eternity of Buddhas, 2. Shows people the way to Buddhahood, 3. Expresses the eternal Buddha Land, 4. The timeless salvation or enlightenment of people, 5. The actual enlightenment or saving of people of all ages, and 6. The original and always active vow of all Buddhas.

These are rather important ideas that have never been expressed or revealed in any of the Buddha’s previous teachings.

I think one important idea to try to grasp today, as you are first exposed to this teaching is that there is no other place more perfect to practice than the place in which we reside. That this place we are in is actually the Buddha’s Pure Land, but that manifestation is up to us to realize. Also, as I mentioned yesterday we have an infinite connection not with the historical person Shakyamuni but with a concept of Buddhahood as Bodhisattvas from Underground.

When we are separated from or distance ourselves from the eternal truth of Buddhahood we will tend to see our lives, our existence as one separate from enlightenment, we will see our world as one of strife and suffering. However, if we see ourselves as having an always existing connection to and with the eternal concept of Buddhahood then we can see the Buddha manifest in our lives and in our environment.

The Buddha is not merely someone who lived, taught and perished some 2500 or so years ago. But as taught in the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha is actually a presence in the life and environment that spans time or place. The Buddha taught in the Lotus Sutra that there is really no fundamental difference between the enlightenment he attained and the enlightenment that resides within our lives. The real difference is how we relate to it and whether or not we choose to manifest it.

All of this is a rather deep and profound teaching. This one section gets to the heart of what we are trying to realize in our daily lives. It is the core of our practice and effort. I also believe that it is a life-long endeavor.

What I have written today is just a short humble attempt at putting into a few words something that is way larger than these words can convey. I hope that you will connect with your teacher and explore this in greater depth

Please continue on with your chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo as you go about your day. Also continue to explore your connections to countless other living beings for your very existence, this is mindfulness practice. We are in our final ten days of this practice and study. You have come a long way since you have begun you should be proud of what you have accomplished so far, you are fulfilling the vows of countless lifetimes of relationships with the Buddha.

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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.