Harvest Versus Sowing
I was thinking the other day about the Fivefold Comparison Nichiren outlined in his writing Kaimoku Sho, wherein he lays out a system of comparisons establishing the superiority of chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. The series of comparison ends with the Buddhism of sowing being superior to the Buddhism of harvest. That is, chanting Odaimoku is superior to those who obtain benefit in this lifetime because of meritorious deeds performed in the past and are able to follow only the essential teachings contained in the Lotus Sutra. Chanting the Odaimoku enables those who have not accumulated good fortune in previous lives and their enlighten nature has not been nourished.
Today I would like to talk just about the idea of harvest versus sowing. In harvest one reaps the reward of previous efforts. In a way, when we practice for reward or to avoid retribution, we are focusing on harvest. In contrast when we practice to plant the seed of enlightenment in our lives then we are practicing or doing good for the simple reason that it is good to do good. When we chant Odaimoku with the idea of attaining enlightenment and also enabling others to attain enlightenment then we are planting seeds that will blossom at some point in the future.
Practicing solely to advance ourselves or to accomplish gain in wealth, popularity, or fortune is a focus on harvesting immediate reward. Or if we chant that we can eliminate some retribution as a result of negative causes then too we are focusing on harvest. This isn’t to say that chanting to overcome an obstacle is wrong, it is saying however, that our ultimate goal, even when overcoming an obstacle, is to attain enlightenment. And further that even our own enlightenment should consider the enlightenment of others as well.
When we plant the seeds of enlightenment within our lives then we begin to change the very things in the core of our life that accumulate and manifest as negative effects. If we fail to change our lives at the core, then we are doomed to continually repeat the cycles of suffering and chanting to change the effect rather than changing the cause.
We truly harvest what we sow, and without further sowing then the field becomes barren and produces no more.