35 Day Practice Day 29

35 Day Practice Day 29

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 292 first two paragraphs “Thereupon the Bodhisattva-mahasattvas…make offerings to it.”
M p. 294 “The Buddhas, the World-Saviors, have…(continue to end of chapter)”
M p. 297 “For many hundreds of thousands…(continue to end of paragraph)”
R p. 346 first two paragraphs “At that time…radiating immeasurable light.”
R p. 347 “The Buddhas, the saviors of the world…(continue to end of chapter)”
R p. 351 “In this way…(continue for two paragraphs)…repaid the grace of the Buddhas.”

Transmissions

Congratulations today begins the fifth and final week of this suggested 35 day practice outline. You might consider congratulating yourself for all that you have accomplished so far. You have almost read through portions, important portions of the Lotus Sutra and you have begun to develop a practice which you can use as a foundation for your further lifetime of practice. You are accomplishing a great thing something that fulfills the predictions in the Lotus Sutra and begins to repay your gratitude to the Buddha for his teachings.

If the Buddha had chosen to keep his enlightenment to himself the people of today, ourselves included may not have been given the door through which our own enlightenment would be possible. Further if the Buddha had failed to teach the Lotus Sutra then we of generations long after the Buddha would have no assurance that any practice or teaching of the Buddha would be appropriate specifically for us.

In no other teaching does the Buddha spend so much time and effort on a teaching for a time beyond his own lifetime, a teaching specifically for the ages when the effect of the Dharma would diminish.

Today we read of the great vow or promise the Bodhisattvas who arose from beneath the ground made to the Buddha to practice and teach the Lotus Sutra in ages after he died. We also read of the Buddhas transference of the teachings of the Lotus Sutra to future practitioners such as ourselves.

I should point out to you that the verse section of Chapter 21 which I had you read is the place in the Lotus Sutra where Nichiren drew part of his name. The portion that reads ‘just as the light of the sun…” is the first character in the name Nichiren. Nichi is the character for sun and ren is the character for renge or Lotus. So Nichiren’s name means Sun Lotus.

The past few days I have written rather long entries, today I’ll keep it a bit shorter. Before I wrap things up though I would like to draw your attention to the closing of the portion of Chapter 22 I had you read. In that section the Buddha says that when we tell people about the Lotus Sutra they may not readily take faith or even be open to what we are sharing. We should not become discouraged by this.

If they cannot accept the Lotus Sutra then we should share with them some other of the Buddha’s teachings with the objective of causing them joy and benefit. So an example of this would be to merely open their eyes to concepts such as cause and effect, or even dependent origination such as you have been working on throughout your practice in this outline. Or we might consider sharing teaching of equality, or even the benefit of the Eight Right Ways.

There are many things that we can introduce people to that are Buddhist concepts without even mentioning Buddhist terms, which will benefit people as they live their lives and will actually cause them to plant roots of fortune to be able to take faith in some lifetime.

As Buddhist we should never loose sight of the infinite nature of life, that there is not just this lifetime but countless lifetimes and that eventually each person will manifest their inherent Buddha life.

Today you begin your fifth week. This would be a good time to take a look at the remaining Right Ways. As you look at them try to do so from the perspective of how much you have accomplished so far. One thing about these Right Ways is that as you work on a few, that work impacts the others and it becomes, even if slowly, easier to follow all the Right Ways.

Follow up your reading today by continuing your chanting of Namu Myoho Renge Kyo as well as reciting the portion of Chapter 16 in Shindoku. Continue your practice of chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo as much as you can throughout your daily activities.

Again congratulations on beginning your fifth week!

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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.