Why A Different Gongyo Book
Available now for order for order on Create Space an Amazon subsidiary and on Amazon as well, is a new Nichiren Shu Gongyo book I have published. You may wonder why such an offering, that’s a fair question. I’ll take a little time now and share with you my motivation and what I hope to accomplish.
There are several options out there for Gongyo books, all of them good. The NBIC sells a couple of different versions and I think the LA temple also has one available, or used to. The one being made available now from this temple will just be one more. Fundamentally at the core of our service there is little variation so the bulk of this Gongyo book is similar to what one would find in any of the other versions.
What I have done in this book is to present the service in the order in which it is done here at this temple. There are many people who join our services on line who do not have one of the other books and perhaps with this offering they will decide to purchase one.
The very nice new one from the NBIC is probably the best done book, especially when it comes to binding and quality. It has a very nice sturdy cover, the paper quality is great, the type easy enough to read. The book is accordion style, which eventually most users become familiar with. There is a lot of additional material in there as well as a lot of things never used here at this temple, and frankly some of which I don’t agree with. That is my opinion and others may disagree.
There are a couple of inexpensive version that have been made in the past and which may still be available. They were satisfactory, but the binding in one was poorly done and the book would fall apart very easily. This edition being sold by the temple is I think nicely bound and very nice quality at a very affordable price.
Besides having a book available through the temple that matches exactly the service done here, I wanted to include some extra material, some extra prayers. Some of the prayers are available in various places but none are available all in the same book. So I tried to put some of them together in one book.
I work as a chaplain in a large hospital with a very large non-Buddhist patient population. One of the things I am frequently called upon to do is to offer prayers; most frequently for Christians. Over the several years of my training I have given a lot of thought to prayer. In Nichiren Shu free form spontaneous prayers are not something generally done. There are some Christians who also do not engage in that practice regularly either, though many do.
In this book I have included a prayer attributed to St. Francis, which is, I feel a very inspirational prayer and frankly expresses many ideals which we as Buddhist also believe in. That is a bit risky, but I feel comfortable taking that risk and if necessary defending it.
Something else I offer in this book is a little bit about what I have come to understand about constructing a prayer on your own for those times when no other prayer seems to fit the occasion.
In Nichiren Shu we have a set way of practice, reciting the Lotus Sutra and chanting the Sacred Title of the Lotus Sutra, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. That never changes. What changes is our individual circumstances, our individual and unique manner of expressing our wishes, our hopes, and our concerns. I offer at the end of the book a formula, if you will, for some of the elements I believe would be most appropriate as we consider prayer.
In this book I have included the standard prayer offered at Nichiren Shu services, the standard Memorial prayer, Prayer Before Meals, Prayer for the Sick, St. Francis Prayer, and my model for constructing personal prayer.
If you would like to purchase this book it is currently available through CreatSpace an Amazon affiliate and will soon be available directly through Amazon. I will eventually make a digital version available. I think it would be nice for some people to have a version right there on their eBook reader. Currently I working on some kinks in the digital version but one will come along soon.