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 – Nov. 18, 2017

It is not difficult
To grasp the sky,
And wander about with it
From place to place.
It is difficult
To copy and keep this sūtra
Or cause others to copy it
After my extinction.

The Buddha sang these verses in Chapter Eleven of the Lotus Sūtra for all those who had come to hear him teach. When we start on the path of enlightenment by finding joy in the Buddha Dharma, we might believe that the world will change around us to meet our expectations, and that we will have no more difficulties. Then when we do find hard times, we may even abandon this wonderful practice and go back to our habits of gratifying ourselves. Our founder Nichiren lived through unimaginable hardships so that we who follow him would not lose this precious teaching. The Buddha in these verses reminds us that difficulties are part of our practice, and that we can find a way to use any situation in life to benefit others.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 17, 2017

Medicine-King! Although many laymen or monks will practice the Way of Bodhisattvas, they will not be able to practice it satisfactorily, know this, unless they see, hear, read, recite, copy or keep this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma or make offerings to it.

The Buddha gives this explanation to Medicine-King Bodhisattva in Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sūtra. For us to aspire to benefit all beings is rare and wonderful. However, without the guidance of the Buddha, our efforts to benefit others can degenerate into expectations of separate benefits for ourselves. In the Lotus Sūtra, the Buddha explains the limitations of his previous teachings, assures us of our capacity for enlightenment and how he is always helping us, and gives examples of great Bodhisattvas whose experience we can apply to our own lives.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 16, 2017

Have faith in the great Mandala Gohonzon, the most superlative in the world. Endeavor! Endeavor to strengthen your faith, so that you may be blessed with the protective powers of all Buddhas.

Nichiren wrote this as part of his letter to monk Sairen-bō in his Treatise on All Phenomena as Ultimate Reality (Shohō-Jissō Shō). One way of reading this passage is that as we develop our faith in the Omandala Gohonzon, the Buddhas will provide more protection for us. Another way to read it is that as our faith develops, so does the power we have to protect others, free them from suffering and help them to awaken their Buddha nature. Either way, Nichiren shows us the practical results of our faith.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 15, 2017

Mañjuśrī! A Bodhisattva-mahāsattva who performs this fourth set of [peaceful] practices after my extinction, will be able to expound the Dharma flawlessly. Bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, upāsikās, kings, princes, ministers, common people, brāhmaṇas and householders will make offerings to him, honor him, respect him, and praise him. The gods in the sky will always serve him in order to hear the Dharma from him. When someone comes to his abode located in a village, in a city, in a retired place or in a forest, and wishes to ask him a question, the gods will protect him day and night for the sake of the Dharma so that the hearer may rejoice because this sūtra was, is, and will be protected by the supernatural powers of the past, present and future Buddhas.

The Buddha gives this explanation to Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva in Chapter Fourteen of the Lotus Sūtra. The fourth set of peaceful practices is not blaming those who do not hear the Lotus Sūtra and resolving to save them when one becomes perfectly enlightened. Rather than becoming upset with those who do not accept this teaching, it is useful to know that we are not alone in wanting to save them, and that by reducing our own delusions we increase our capacity to benefit others.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 14, 2017

Anything which tastes good, bad, delicious, distasteful, bitter or astringent, will become as delicious as the nectar of heaven and not distasteful when it is put on their tongues.

The Buddha gives this explanation to Constant-Endeavor Bodhisattva in Chapter Nineteen of the Lotus Sūtra, describing those who keep the Lotus Sūtra. In our habitual pursuit of pleasure, we often forget that what is pleasant to some people is irritating to others. This is most obvious with food. Flavors that some find delicious others find disgusting. When we understand that the things in the world are not the cause of our happiness or misery, and that our minds affect how we perceive the world, we find more joy and wonder than we thought possible, and no longer depend on this capricious existence for our happiness.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 13, 2017

He was patient, gentle,
And friendly with others.
Even when many evils troubled him,
His mind was not moved.

The Buddha sings these verses in Chapter Seventeen of the Lotus Sūtra. This stanza is his description of the Bodhisattva perfection of patience. As with all the perfections, these are qualities we cultivate, rather than something to use to judge how close we or anybody else is to enlightenment. As we progress in these perfections, our view of the world is less obscured by our own mental formations. We begin to see the world for what it is, and each other for what we are.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 12

Thereupon Cloud-Thunderpeal-Star-King-Flower-Wisdom Buddha said to King Wonderful-Adornment, ‘So it is, so it is. It is just as you say. The good men or women who plant the roots of good will obtain teachers in their successive lives. The teachers will do the work of the Buddha, show the Way [to them], teach them, benefit them, cause them to rejoice, and cause them to enter into the Way to Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi (Perfect Enlightenment). Great King, know this! A teacher is a great cause [of your enlightenment] because he leads you, and causes you to see a Buddha and aspire for Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi.

These lines are part of a story told by the Buddha in Chapter Twenty-Seven of the Lotus Sūtra. The Buddha uses this story to remind us of how much benefit we get from our teachers. When we see the world with the eyes of the Buddha, and know that he is always thinking of how to lead us, we can find innumerable teachers, and know to show our gratitude to them.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 11, 2017

Only I see clearly and without hindrance that they are at various stages [of enlightenment]. I know this, but they do not know just as the trees and grasses including herbs in the thickets and forests do not know whether they are superior or middle or inferior.

The Buddha makes this declaration in Chapter Five of the Lotus Sūtra, as he explains the simile of herbs. This is a good reminder for us on the Bodhisattva path of how important it is to have respect for all beings. We can believe we know whether someone else is less enlightened than we are, or even more enlightened than we are. But for Bodhisattvas, this belief is irrelevant. Only the Buddha knows who is where on the path. We do not need to know. We just need to find ways to benefit others, no matter how close they may be to enlightenment.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 10, 2017

Medicine-King! I will tell you.
The Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma
Is the most excellent sūtra
That I have ever expounded.

The Buddha sings these verses to Medicine-King Bodhisattva in Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sūtra. Our founder Nichiren explained that the superiority of the Lotus Sūtra lay not in its being more powerful than other Sūtras, but that it leads all beings, without exception, to the Buddha’s own enlightenment. Other teachings distinguish between those who can follow the Buddha Dharma and those who cannot. But this teaching assures everyone who hears it that they will become enlightened.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 9, 2017

Anyone who keeps
The Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma
Should be considered to have given up his pure world and come here
Out of his compassion towards all living beings.

The Buddha declares these verses to Medicine-King Bodhisattva in Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sūtra. He reminds us that as Bodhisattvas, we are no longer concerned with getting into a paradise where all our desires are met. This also means that we were not sent into this world of conflict (Sahā) so that we could be tested to see whether we are worthy of getting into that paradise. Instead, we are Bodhisattvas, beings who through our great resolve to benefit all beings, have with great courage chosen to immerse ourselves in the misery of this world, because we know there is no other way to create benefit and lead all beings to the Buddha’s enlightenment.

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