35 Day Practice Day 30

35 Day Practice Day 30

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 304 “Star-King-Flower! Just as the sea is larger…(continue to top page 306)…to the copy of this sutra.”
R p. 358 “For example, Constellation-King Flower…(continue to 359)…the blessing obtained will also be innumerable.”

Medicine King Bodhisattva

Just as in days past spend the remainder of your practice time split between reciting the Shindoku of Chapter 16 and chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. I hope it is becoming easier for you to read the Shindoku of Chapter 16, though I expect you are still probably having some challenges. Please do not be discouraged as for most people it takes a while to be able to read it easily. Even being read poorly there is great merit to be obtained, so don’t feel like you are getting no where.

In this section we read today it talks about the incomparable merits to be gained by practicing even a little bit of this Sutra. I would like to point you to the sentence on page 305 in Murano and 359 in Reeves where it says that a torch dispels darkness this sutra saves all living beings from all sufferings.

Think about, if you will, a cave that has not seen any light in thousands of years. In a single moment once a torch is brought inside the place is illuminated. It doesn’t matter how dark or for how long the illumination is instant. It is the same with our lives.

No matter how poorly we may think of our lives, or no matter how long we have been absent from the Lotus Sutra, the effect of a single moment of practice can cause us to remove sufferings accumulated. We may not think it is possible for such a thing and we may not notice the changes right away, but they are taking place none-the-less.

Think about it this way. For the time you are chanting and practicing you are making a change in your thinking, even if only for a moment. Have you even noticed a rut in a patch of grass where people have been walking across? That dirt path or rut is an accumulation of many foot steps on the grass which have caused the grass to die away, the ground to become hard and inhospitable for the growth of grass.

When people stop walking across this patch of grass then the conditions are favorable for the grass to regrow. Still, however, the grass does not immediately return, though it will eventually. Our lives are the same, if we stop making bad causes then eventually over time our sufferings will diminish.

Going back to the patch of grass, if we not only stop walking on that section, but also loosen the ground up and plant some seeds and water it the grass will return faster. In our lives the same things occur when we begin to practice Buddhism.

We are not only more conscious of the causes we make but we are also loosening the dirt which is the foundation of our unique lives. We begin to water and plant seeds with our practice. All the while as we continue to practice we keep tending to the grass, or our lives. By practicing Buddhism we can nourish the good things in our lives, the things that will result in the greatest joy, and we begin to eliminate the things that cause us suffering.

Even though, going back to our patch of grass, we may not see right away the results of our tilling the soil, planting seeds, and watering, things are actually changing very rapidly. So too with our lives and our practice of Buddhism. The changes are occurring though it may take time for those changes to manifest.

Think of your practice in this way, you are eliminating the ruts in your life. You are changing the patterns of behavior that have accumulated over lifetimes.

Continue today to observe your Right Ways as well as your connections. Consider these practices as ways in which you are nourishing the causes to your enlightenment.

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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.