35 Day Practice Day 35

35 Day Practice Day 35

Read Lotus Sutra
M p. 336 “World-Honored One! I heard…(continue to p. 337)…if they do these four things.”
M p. 339 “Universal-Sage! Anyone who…(continue to p. 340)…and practice just as you do.”
R p. 393 “Arriving at Holy Eagle Peak…(continue to p. 394)…certain to acquire this sutra.”
R p. 396 “Then Shakyamuni Buddha praised him…(continue to p. 397)…do the work of Universal Sage Bodhisattva.”

Four Causes for Personal Appearance of Lotus Sutra

Well today is our last day together in this project. After you have finished your reading for the day spend the remainder of your time reading the Shindoku of Chapter 16 and chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.

I do not know about you, but I am feeling a certain sadness today with the conclusion of this 35 days we have spent together reading and practicing and talking about the Lotus Sutra. I would say there is some definite grief at work here.

As I think about you completing this introductory practice, or for those who have practiced for a long time, the refreshing of your practice, I can not help but be hopeful that somehow you will continue to deepen your practice and faith in the wonderful Dharma that is given to us by the Buddha in the Lotus Sutra.

I feel we have been through a lot together. I wish I could speak to you now personally to congratulate you on such a remarkable achievement. I hope you feel a personal sense of accomplishment.

We have read of how hard it will be to practice the Lotus Sutra, and here you have engaged in 35 days of practice and study. We have also read of the great benefits that will manifest in our lives as a result of our efforts in this most difficult of Buddhist practices.

Perhaps for some of you there has been a dramatic change in the way you view your life and your relationship to your environment. For others perhaps it may not have been dramatic, but it was a new way of approaching how you engage your self with others. There will be as many different experiences are there are individuals who practice.

We have now read through some of the portions of the Lotus Sutra I feel are important to be exposed to. We have certainly not read all of the Lotus Sutra, but I don’t need to tell you that. I hope that you will use this 35 days as an introduction to your further exploration of the profound teachings contained in this greatest of the Buddhas teachings. At least now it may not be as confusing or off-putting or complex. I do think you have a basic foundation from which you can launch into an ever-deepening relationship to the Lotus Sutra.

Also you have practiced reading the Shindoku of Chapter 16 so you are perhaps able to join in when you practice with others in community. And you have become accustomed to chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo, which may have been strange to you initially.

Today we first read of the four things that will cause the great Dharma of the Lotus Sutra to be obtained in our lives. The first is to have faith, and to have no fear of the truth of the Lotus Sutra. Sometimes fear, also expressed as perhaps feeling weird or uncomfortable, can prevent us from achieving our greatest accomplishments.

As you have chanted Namu Myoho Renge Kyo hopefully you have begun to challenge your fear. Perhaps you still harbor a fear of success, as if you may think you would be the sole person who would not benefit or attain enlightenment as a result of this practice. I can assure you, that you along with anyone else is equally qualified to become a Buddha, as you are. Sometimes though our fear may stand in the way.

The second thing is to always observe the Six Perfections which include giving generously to support the Dharma, discipline to practice correctly, patience which includes graciousness to both your self and others, meditation including meditation by chanting and contemplating the Lotus Sutra, and wisdom by manifesting the wisdom residing deep in our lives, the wisdom of the Buddha which we bring out through our chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.

The third thing that will cause the Lotus Sutra to appear to us is to have firm faith. Firm faith means that we see beyond our successes or failures to the depths of our lives and recognize our inherent Buddha potential. It is difficult to practice this Lotus Sutra way, as we have already read. There will be times when things arise that serve to prevent us from practicing. There will also be times when we may feel so good or so much joy that we think we no longer need to practice. Developing firm faith will enable us to see through these illusions and realize that only by continuing unrelentingly in our practice will be able to absolutely overcome suffering at its most deepest fundamental level.

The fourth thing is to always hold in our heart the vow to save all living beings. When we become sidetracked with our own problems, or with our own gains to the exclusion of the sufferings of other beings we can no longer experience a relationship with the ultimate teaching of the Buddha contained in the depths of the Lotus Sutra.

In closing let me say that I wish we could spend more time together. I hope that you will connect with a suitable teacher so that you can further deepen your connection to other practitioners of the Lotus Sutra. I also look forward to walking the Way with you as a fellow Bodhisattva from Underground!

My sincerest best wishes for your happiness and the happiness of all those in your life.

With a deep bow and Gassho,

Ryusho Jeffus

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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.