35 Day Practice Day 34

35 Day Practice Day 34

Fontana Dam, North Carolina
Because of the efforts of thousand and thousands of people, many of whom are now dead, we can enjoy the benefit of electricity.

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 330 from beginning of Chapter “Thereupon the Buddha said…(continue to p. 332)…practice the Way under that Buddha!”
R p. 387 from beginning of Chapter “ At that time the Buddha…(continue to p. 389)…pursue the Way under the Buddha.”

Two Sons – Pure Treasury and Pure Eyes

Keeping up the rhythm of your practice routine, once you have finished reading the selection today spend the remainder of your practice time divided between reading the Shindoku of Chapter 16 and chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. I haven’t mentioned it in a few days, however, I hope you have not forgotten to try to chant Namu Myoho Renge Kyo or hold it in your mind as you go through your daily activities.

Today we read about two sons who because of the supernatural powers they acquired through their Buddhist practice were able convert their father to Buddhism.

Yesterday as we read the chapter on Dharanis or Incantations I wrote about our practice benefiting our friends and family. In other writings I have talked about the difficulty of converting friends and relatives to Buddhism because they know us in ways that others do not. Our close friends and family know all of our faults, so they are not easily convinced of the benefit of our practice until we make some really fundamental and deep changes in our lives.

Our first step in many instances is to merely hold those people in our hearts and sincerely wish they somehow benefit from our practice.

The thing I would like to you to take away from the reading today is the concept of relationship. Throughout this 35 days I have asked you to consider the many ways you are connected to countless other lives. I have asked you to delve deep into these connections so that you can see how their efforts have impacted you, either directly or indirectly.

Today, and a little bit yesterday, I would like for you to consider how you can benefit those countless other living beings you are connected to. If we are not aware of our connection to others, then it would not be possible for us to consider how our practice can benefit them. Just because you do not know the names of the people who laid the asphalt or who pumped the oil out of the ground or who piloted the ship or conveyance for your product to reach you does not mean that you are not connected to them.

Likewise, just because they do not know you directly doesn’t mean they don’t receive benefit from your practice.

Sometimes I am asked about vegetarianism. I personally do not feel it is as important to observe vegetarian eating practices, as it is to observe our relationship to the many things that make it possible for us to eat. Even if we practice vegetarian eating habits, we are still connected to those who may not. So our ability to be vegetarian has to include appreciation to those who are not.

I say this because, our practice of Buddhism is made possible because of what we receive from countless others who probably are not Buddhist. When we can live with a great feeling of appreciation to others and not from a feeling of superiority, then we can most effectively cause people to benefit from our humble efforts.

To be able to engage in this kind of mindful practice is I believe tantamount to performing all of the magical and spectacular tricks the two sons do to convince their father of the benefit of Buddhism. Further, when we receive benefit ourselves if we can have a sense of both appreciation and gratitude, realizing that we ourselves did nothing on our own we are better able to repay our debt of gratitude.

Throughout the day please continue to observe the Eight Right Ways, as well as your connections to others. Also remember to remind yourself to engage in chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo as you go through your day.

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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.