Day 27

Day 27 concludes Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month compared the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, we consider the merits of the Sūtra.

“Star-King-Flower! This sūtra saves all living beings. This sūtra saves them from all sufferings, and gives them great benefits. All living beings will be able to fulfill their wishes by this sūtra just as a man who reaches a pond of fresh water when he is thirsty, just as a man who gets fire when he suffers from cold, just as a man who is given a garment when he is naked, just as a party of merchants who find a leader just as a child who meets its mother, just as a man who gets a ship when he wants to cross [a river], just as a patient who finds a physician, just as a man who is given a light in the darkness, just as a poor man who gets a treasure, just as the people of a nation who see a new king enthroned, just as a trader who reaches the seacoast. Just as a torch dispels darkness, this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma saves all living beings from all sufferings, from all diseases, and from all the bonds of birth and death. The merits to be given to the person who, after hearing this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, copies it, or causes others to copy it, cannot be measured even by the wisdom of the Buddha. Neither can the merits to be given to the person who copies this sūtra and offers flowers, incense, necklaces, incense to burn, powdered incense, incense applicable to the skin, streamers, canopies, garments, and various kinds of lamps such as lamps of butter oil, oil lamps, lamps of perfumed oil, lamps of campaka oil, lamps of sumanas oil, lamps of pāṭala oil, lamps of vārṣika oil, and lamps of navamālikā oil [to the copy of this sūtra].

See Bodhisattva Way

Bodhisattva Way

The Lesser Vehicle of the “Sravaka” and “Pratyekabuddha” drew a sharp line between this world of sufferings and the pure world of spirit. Its followers renounced worldly concerns, devoted their lives to religious austerities, and made every effort to attain absolute tranquility. This made for a two-dimensional world view, esteeming the pure world of spirit and devaluating the everyday world in which we live.

Bodhisattvas, on the other hand, saw the two worlds as one. They saw this world as the center stage for their religious practice, and preached that spiritual enlightenment must be realized in our life in this world. In short, the Bodhisattva’s mission to deliver people from suffering is to be accomplished in this world of sufferings.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

The Sun of Nichiren’s Proclamation

The sun, which at its rising had beheld Nichiren’s proclamation, the sun which at noon had witnessed Nichiren’s sermon, set as the hunted prophet made his way through the darkness of a wooded trail; only the evening glow was in the sky. What must his thoughts have been? What prospect could he have cherished in his mind for his future career and for the destiny of his gospel?

Nichiren, The Buddhist Prophet

The Buddha Dharma and the Worldly Law

SHOKYO TO HOKEKYO TONO NAN-I NO KOTO

Since the Buddha dharma is not understood correctly and is not believed righteously, the worldly law becomes disorderly. The Buddha dharma is like a body while the worldly law is like its shadow. When the body bends, its shadow also bends.

(Background : May 26, 1280, 58 years old, at Minobu, Showa Teihon, p.1752)

DANNOTSU BO GOHENJI

To serve your master (in your work) is to practice the teaching of the Lotus Sutra. The sutra says that worldly politics and economy are not against its ultimate reality.

(Background : April 11, 1278, 56 years old, at Minobu, Showa Teihon, p.1493)

Explanatory note

An old Chinese book says that a wise man predicted destruction of his country because its people did not bother to comb their hair, and his prediction became true.

There is a Japanese saying, “Eyes are the windows of one’s mind.” The slightest movement of our eyes shows what we are thinking. Our thoughts are expressed in our attitudes, which become social movements.

Such matters are taught in Buddhism. But people generally think that Buddhism concerns individual’s inner self only. Nichiren Daishonin clarified this matter. Merely holding hands in gassho and reciting the sutra are not the practice of faith in Nichiren Buddhism. But faith must appear in our daily works.

We, Nichiren Buddhists, keep the teaching of “Rissho Ankoku,” that is, to establish the righteousness of the Buddha’s teaching is to secure the nation. We must understand that the social movement is the reflection of the people’s religion. We must remember that Nichiren Daishonin advised Kingo Shijo to stay on his work when Kingo wanted to quit his work for the sake of devotion to his faith. We must keep Nichiren’s advice in our minds and practice our faith in our home and work.

Rev. Kanai

Phrase A Day

Daily Dharma – Jan. 19, 2017

When they expound the scriptures of non-Buddhist schools, or give advice to the government, or teach the way to earn a livelihood, they will be able to be in accord with the right teachings of the Buddha.

The Buddha gives this explanation to Constant-Endeavor Bodhisattva in Chapter Nineteen of the Lotus Sūtra, describing those who keep the Lotus Sūtra. In this chapter, the Buddha shows that our practice of this Wonderful Dharma is not separate from our existence in this world. The purpose of the Buddha’s wisdom is not to escape to a better life, but to see our lives for what they are, and to use that clarity for the benefit of all beings.

The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com

Day 26

Day 26 concludes Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas, includes Chapter 22, Transmission, and introduces Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Having last month met Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha, we are introduced to Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva.

“Thereupon [Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue] Buddha expounded the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva, to the other Bodhisattvas, and also to the Śrāvakas. Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva willingly practiced austerities under Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha. He walked about the world, seeking Buddhahood strenuously with all his heart for twelve thousand years until at last he obtained the samadhi by which he could transform himself into any other living being: Having obtained this samadhi, he had great joy.

“He thought, ‘I have obtained the samadhi by which I can transform myself into any other living being because I heard the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma. Now I will make offerings to Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha and also to the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.’

“He entered into this samadhi at once. He filled the sky with the clouds of mandārava-flowers, mahā-mandārava-flowers and the powdered incense of hard and black candana, and rained down those flowers and incense. He also rained down the powdered incense of the candana grown on this shore of the sea [between Mt. Sumeru and the Jambudvipa]. Six shu of this incense was worth the Sahā-World. He offered all these things to the Buddha.

See The Most Important Bodhisattva Practice

The Most Important Bodhisattva Practice

[T]he lotus flower symbolizes the most important Bodhisattva practices in Mahayana Buddhism. In Chapter Fifteen, “Bodhisattvas from Underground,” it says

The Buddha’s children have studied the way of Bodhisattvas well. They are no more defiled by worldliness just as a lotus flower is not defiled by water.

The lovely lotus flower grows out of muddy water and is not defiled by it. In the same way, Bodhisattvas, persons who put the Buddha’s teachings into practice, can live in the midst of a world defiled by vice and corruption, and yet not be contaminated by it. They can teach and awaken other people while keeping their own minds pure. They can save others, however, only when they live with them here in this evil world.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Realizing the Buddha World is the Real World

We all have Buddha’s nature, without exception. May we recognize it, and strive to realize that the Buddha world is the real world with Odaimoku. This is the faith of the Lotus Sutra. Please make the effort to chant Odaimoku everyday, for yourself and your neighbors.

Spring Writings

Diligent Practice

TOKIDONO GOSHO

Nichiren’s followers must strive to attain Buddhahood by shortening sleeping hours and by cutting the time for rest. If not, you will repent forever.

(Background: August 23, 1277, 55 years old, at Minobu, Showa Teihon, p.1373)

Explanatory note

Nichiren himself reached the realization that he is the manifestation of the Bodhisattva Visista Charitra (Jogyo Bosatsu) through his understanding and practice of the Lotus Sutra and through the four major and numerous lesser persecutions.
The above quotation is from the last section of his letter to Lord Toki, in which Daishonin shows what is expected of his followers. He says, “Do not sleep too long and do not waste time; concentrate on the attainment of Buddhahood at all times.”

How strict he was!

Such an intensity is required if we are to live for our faith. As we reflect on our behavior, we notice that some of us gladly torture ourselves to pass examinations, or we don’t complain of hardships if they were for the attainment of our business goals. But these are only transient goals. Our true goal has to be the perfection of ourselves as human beings. It is a difficult task indeed to keep the above oath in mind all the time. We must, however, continuously reaffirm the religious goal and never let it escape from our mind.

Rev. Ikuta

Phrase A Day

Daily Dharma – Jan. 18, 2018

Anyone who keeps this sūtra
In the latter days after my extinction
Should have compassion towards laymen and monks
And towards those who are not Bodhisattvas.
He should think:
‘They do not hear this sūtra.
They do not believe it.
This is their great fault.
When I attain the enlightenment of the Buddha,
I will expound the Dharma to them
With expedients
And cause them to dwell in it.’

The Buddha sings these verses to Mañjuśrī in Chapter Fourteen of the Lotus Sūtra. In our zeal to help other beings, we may create expectations of how they will receive our efforts, or how they will change themselves after hearing the Buddha Dharma. We may even blame them for not improving as quickly as we might want. These verses remind us that there is no shortage of time available for our efforts to benefit others.

The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com