Category Archives: Daily Dharma

Daily Dharma

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

Daily Dharma – Sept. 22, 2017

Needless to say, so will be the merits of the person
Who keeps this sūtra, gives alms, observes the precepts,
Practices patience, prefers dhyāna-concentrations,
And does not get angry or speak ill of others.

The Buddha sings these verses in Chapter Seventeen of the Lotus Sūtra. In this chapter, he explains that anyone who understands his ever-present existence, even for a moment, will gain the merit of ridding themselves of innumerable delusions. In his previous teachings on the perfections of a Bodhisattva, he showed that our practices of generosity, discipline, patience, enthusiastic perseverance, concentration and wisdom, all these will help us to see the world as it is. Realizing that the Buddha is always here teaching us helps us to look for him. But this realization does not obscure the necessity of putting his teachings into practice so that we may benefit all beings.

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

Day 3

Day 3 covers the first half of Chapter 2, Expedients.

Having last month learned the goal of all Buddhas is to show the insight of the Buddha, we conclude Day 3’s portion of Chapter 2, Expedients.

“Śāriputra! The Buddhas appear in the evil worlds in which there are the five defilements. The worlds are defiled by the decay of the kalpa, by illusions, by the deterioration of the living beings, by wrong views, and by the shortening of lives. Śāriputra! When a kalpa is in decay, the living beings [in that kalpa] are so full of illusions, so greedy, and so jealous that they plant many roots of evil. Therefore, the Buddhas divide the One Buddha-Vehicle into three as an expedient.

“Śāriputra! Some disciples of mine, who think that they are Arhats or Pratyekabuddhas, will not be my disciples or Arhats or Pratyekabuddhas if they do not hear or know that the Buddhas, the Tathāgatas, teach only Bodhisattvas.

“Śāriputra! Some bhikṣus and bhikṣunīs do not seek Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi because they think that they have already attained Arhatship, that they have already reached the final stage of their physical existence, and that the Nirvāṇa attained by them is the final one. Know this! They are arrogant because it cannot be that the bhikṣus who attained Arhatship do not believe the Dharma. Some bhikṣus who live in a period in which no Buddha lives after my extinction may not believe the Dharma after they attain Arhatship because in that period it will be difficult to meet a person who keeps, reads, and recites this sūtra, and understands the meanings of it. They will be able to understand the Dharma when they meet another Buddha.

“Śāriputra and all of you present here! Understand the Dharma by faith with all your hearts! There is no vehicle other than the One Buddha-Vehicle.”

The Daily Dharma from March 12, 2017, offers this:

Śāriputra! Some disciples of mine, who think that they are Arhats or Pratyekabuddhas, will not be my disciples or Arhats or Pratyekabuddhas if they do not hear or know that the Buddhas, the Tathāgatas, teach only Bodhisattvas.

The Buddha makes this declaration to his disciple Śāriputra in Chapter Two of the Lotus Sutra. When the Buddha says he only teaches Bodhisattvas, he does not mean that he excludes anyone from his teaching. It is only when we realize and develop our capacities as Bodhisattvas, beings who exist to benefit all beings, rather than being preoccupied with our own suffering, can we hear, practice and appreciate the Buddha Dharma.

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

Daily Dharma – Sept. 21, 2017

Those Buddhas came under the jeweled trees.
The trees are adorned with those Buddhas
Just as a pond of pure water is adorned
With lotus flowers.

In these verses from Chapter Eleven of the Lotus Sūtra, the Buddha describes the scene after he calls the Buddhas of his replicas from innumerable worlds to join him and open the treasure tower of Many-Treasures Buddha. By comparing how a pond is made beautiful by flowers growing in it to how the world is made beautiful with Buddhas in it, the Buddha shows us that wherever we see beauty, we see the Buddha.

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

Daily Dharma – Sept. 20, 2017

Because they did sinful karmas,
They lose pleasures and the memory of pleasures.
They are attached to wrong views.
They do not know how to do good.
They are not taught by a Buddha;
Therefore, they fall into the evil regions.

The Heavenly-King Brahmas from the zenith sing these verses to Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Buddha in Chapter Seven of the Lotus Sūtra. They describe how beings live in a world in which they can find no Buddha, their joy that Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Buddha has appeared, and their hope that this Buddha will lead all beings from the regions of difficulties. When these Brahmas speak of pleasure, it is not what comes from getting what we want. It is the pleasure of the Dharma, the pleasure enjoyed by all Buddhas when they become enlightened, and the pleasure available to us when we resolve to benefit all beings and practice the Buddha Dharma as Bodhisattvas.

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

Daily Dharma – Sept. 19, 2017

Therefore, anyone who has wisdom should copy this sūtra with all his heart, cause others to copy it, and also keep, read and recite it, memorize it correctly, and act according to it.

The Buddha declares this to Universal-Sage Bodhisattva in Chapter Twenty-Eight of the Lotus Sūtra. It is important to remember that early in the sūtra, the Buddha explained that he teaches only Bodhisattvas, beings who exist for the benefit of all beings. Our practice of the Lotus Sūtra is not just for ourselves. When we use it to lead others to enlightenment, we create the cause for our own enlightenment.

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

Daily Dharma – Sept. 18, 2017

He said to them, ‘Know this! Now I am old and decrepit. I shall die soon. I am leaving this good medicine here. Take it! Do not be afraid that you will not be cured!’

The Buddha gives this explanation in Chapter Sixteen of the Lotus Sūtra. It is part of the Parable of the Wise Physician in which a father finds his children have taken poison and gives them an antidote. The poison has caused some of the children to lose their right minds and not trust that the medicine will cure them. By faking his death, the father used an expedient to get the children to realize that there was no other medicine that would cure them, and summon the courage to take it. When we accept the Wonderful Dharma and put it into our lives, we are cured of our delusions and find the Buddha’s wisdom.

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

Daily Dharma – Sept. 17, 2017

Deep in their minds they are thinking of me,
And observing the pure precepts.
Therefore, they will be filled with joy
When they hear they will become Buddhas.
I know their minds.
Therefore, I will expound the Great Vehicle to them.

The Buddha sings these verses in Chapter Two of the Lotus Sūtra. He speaks of those who come to his teachings wanting only to end their own suffering. He understands the part of our existence that is obscured by our delusions, and that the teaching of enlightenment of all beings in the Lotus Sūtra inspires us to purify this world of conflict. The joy we find in the Buddha’s wisdom is incomparable to the happiness we find when our desires are met. When we learn the Buddha’s mind through his teachings, we learn about our own true minds.

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

Daily Dharma – Sept. 16, 2017

My body is pure and indestructible.
I will appear in any of many thousands of billions of worlds
During many hundreds of millions of kalpas,
And expound the Dharma to the living beings.

The Buddha sings these verses to Medicine-King Bodhisattva in Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sūtra. We can hear these lines and assume that the body of the Buddha is somehow a permanent version of the man who lived in this world of conflict 2500 years ago. The body of the Buddha takes many forms. We can see it in his teachings: the Wonderful Dharma he left for us. We can see it in every raindrop, every mountain, every smile and snarling face that comes into our lives. We can see it in the capacity we and all beings have to shed our delusions and live peacefully. The Buddha is always leading us to our better selves, whether we realize it or not.

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

Daily Dharma – Sept 15, 2017

Rivers come together to form an ocean. Particles of dust accumulate to become Mt. Sumeru. When I, Nichiren, began having faith in the Lotus Sutra, it was like a drop of water or a particle of dust in Japan. However, when the sutra is chanted and transmitted to two, three, ten, a million and a billion people, it will grow to be a Mt. Sumeru of perfect enlightenment or the great ocean of Nirvāṇa. There is no way other than this to reach Buddhahood.

Nichiren wrote this passage in his essay on Selecting the Right Time (Senji-shō). In our quest for enlightenment, we may become discouraged by the enormity of our task. When we sweep away one delusion, another appears. When we benefit one being, the needs of millions more become clear. Nichiren reminds us persevering though these difficulties and strengthening our faith in the Buddha’s wisdom are more important than any outcome we seek.

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

Daily Dharma – Sept. 14, 2017

“Who will expound the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma in this Sahā-World? Now is the time to do this. I shall enter into Nirvāṇa before long. I wish to transmit this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to someone so that this sūtra may be preserved.”

The Buddha asks this of those gathered to hear him teach in Chapter Eleven of the Lotus Sūtra. If there had been no one among those listening who was able to expound the Sūtra, he would not have asked this question. Our ability to benefit others with the Buddha Dharma is not based on our eloquence, our intelligence or our position in life. It is based only on our faith in the Buddha’s teachings and our determination to benefit others. When we read, recite, and copy the Lotus Sūtra, the Buddha is transmitting it to us. We preserve the Sūtra through our practice.

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