Category Archives: Daily Dharma

Daily Dharma – Mar. 30, 2015

However, we now live in the Latter Age of Degeneration, when disputes and quarrels are rampant while the True Dharma is lost. There is nothing but evil lands where evil rulers, evil subjects and evil people reject the True Dharma, showing respect only to evil dharmas and evil teachers. Evil spirits take advantage of this, filling the lands with the so-called three calamities and seven disasters.

Nichiren wrote this passage in his Treatise on the True Way of Practicing the Teaching of the Buddha (Nyosetsu Shugyō-shō). It can be hard for us to imagine how what we believe can change our society. We think we have to create a new political system, or put the right people in power, or acquire wealth before we can have peace. What would happen in a world where people believed their happiness was intertwined with that of others? What happens in a world where people believe their happiness has to come at the expense of others? Our beliefs are far more powerful than we realize. When we put our belief in the Buddha’s description of the world as it is, and see our place in it as Bodhisattvas who have chosen to be here to benefit others, the world changes before our eyes.

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

Daily Dharma – Mar. 29, 2015

Thereupon Pure-Flower-Star-King-Wisdom Buddha said to Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva: “Do not despise that world! Do not consider it to be inferior [to our world]! Good Man! The Sahā-World is not even. It is full of mud, stones, mountains and impurities. The Buddha [of that world] is short in stature. So are the Bodhisattvas [of that world]. You are forty-two thousand yojanas tall. I am six million and eight hundred thousand yojanas tall. You are the most handsome. You have thousands of millions of marks of merits, and your light is wonderful. Do not despise that world when you go there! Do not consider that the Buddha and Bodhisattvas of that world are inferior [to us]! Do not consider that that world is inferior [to ours]!”

In Chapter Twenty-Four of the Lotus Sūtra, the Buddha sends a light from his forehead to the world in which Wonderful-Voice Bodhisattva lives. When that Bodhisattva saw this light from Śākyamuni Buddha, he asked permission from the Buddha he was attending to visit our world of conflict. The instruction he receives from his Buddha reminds us that no matter what advantages we have gained from our practice of the Buddha Dharma, these do not make us any better or worse than those we are determined to benefit.

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

Daily Dharma – Mar. 28 2015

Mind is called the spiritual aspect while voice is the physical aspect. Therefore the spiritual aspect reveals the physical aspect. But it is also possible to perceive the mind by listening to the voice. In this case, the physical aspect (voice) reveals the spiritual aspect (mind)

Nichiren wrote this passage in his Treatise on Opening the Eyes of Buddhist Images, Wooden Statues or Portraits (Mokue Nizō Kaigen no Koto). This is one of the many instructions Nichiren gives us for how to read the Lotus Sūtra and find the wisdom of the Buddha within it. It is easy to understand how the intentions we have in our minds guide our words and actions. By cultivating the intention to benefit all beings, rather than just focusing on making ourselves happy, we mold our speech and actions to accord with that intention. Finding the mind behind the voice is more difficult. When we look for the Buddha speaking to us in all situations, especially those which are demanding, we bring ourselves closer to the Buddha’s own mind. We bring our speech and actions into harmony with the world as it is.

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

Daily Dharma – Mar. 27, 2015

Having sung this gāthā, Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, ‘World-Honored One! You do not change, do you?’

This description of the life of Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva comes from Chapter Twenty-Three of the Lotus Sūtra. In a previous existence, this Bodhisattva had given up his body and his life for the sake of teaching the Wonderful Dharma. He was then reborn into a world in which the Buddha he served previously was still alive and benefitting all beings. Recognizing this unchanging aspect of the Buddha despite his changing appearances helps us see into our own capacity for enlightenment.

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

Daily Dharma – Mar. 26, 2015

“Good man! Go to Śākyamuni Buddha who is now living on Mt. Gṛdhrakūṭa! Ask him on my behalf, ‘Are you in good health? Are you peaceful? Are the Bodhisattvas and Śrāvakas peaceful or not?’ Strew these jeweled flowers to him, offer them to him, and say, ‘That Buddha sent me to tell you that he wishes to see the stūpa of treasures opened.’”

In Chapter Eleven of the Lotus Sūtra, Buddhas and their devotees from innumerable worlds come to our world of conflict and delusion to see Śākyamuni Buddha open the tower inhabited by Many-Treasures Buddha. As our capability for enlightenment wells up from within us, the tower of treasures sprang up from underground when the Buddha asked who would teach the Wonderful Dharma after the Buddha’s extinction. The treasures in the tower are nothing more than Many-Treasures Buddha declaring the Lotus Sūtra to be the Teaching of Equality, the Great Wisdom, the Dharma for Bodhisattvas and the Dharma upheld by the Buddhas.

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

Daily Dharma – Mar. 25, 2015

Great-Power-Obtainer! What do you think of this? The Never-Despising Bodhisattva at that time was no one but myself. If I had not kept, read or recited this sūtra or expounded it to others in my previous existence, I should not have been able to attain Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi so quickly. Because I kept, read and recited this sūtra, and expounded it to others under those past Buddhas, I attained Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi quickly.

The Buddha gives this explanation to Great-Power-Obtainer Bodhisattva in Chapter Twenty of the Lotus Sūtra. The practice of Never-Despising Bodhisattva was to approach all beings and tell them, “I respect you deeply. I do not despise you. Why? Because you will be able to practice as a Bodhisattva and become a Buddha.” When the Buddha explains that Never-Despising Bodhisattva was one of his previous lives, he equates this respect for all beings with the practice of the Wonderful Dharma.

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

Daily Dharma – Mar. 24, 2015

As the destroyer of the bonds of existence,
I, the King of the Dharma, have appeared in this world.
Since then I have expounded the Dharma variously
According to the desires of all living beings.

The Buddha proclaims these verses in Chapter Five of the Lotus Sūtra. This is another explanation for why he uses expedients to teach those who are not ready for his highest teaching. When we set aside the cravings that lead to suffering, and cultivate our desire for enlightenment, both for ourselves and all beings, then we are ready to receive the Buddha’s highest teaching.

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

Daily Dharma – Mar. 23, 2015

The Buddha said to the rākṣasīs: “Excellent, excellent! Your merits will be immeasurable even when you protect the person who keeps only the name of the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.”

The Buddha declares these lines in Chapter Twenty-Six of the Lotus Sūtra. The rākṣasīs are violent, bloodthirsty demons whose nature is to satisfy their own cravings at the expense of beings weaker than themselves. In the Lotus Sūtra, they learn of their capacity to use their strength to protect others and vow to the Buddha to defend anyone who keeps this sūtra. They understand that when they dedicate their strength to caring for other beings rather than destroying them, they gain the merit which will bring them closer to enlightenment. We learn from this example about our own natures, and that of the beings we share this world with.

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

Daily Dharma – Mar. 22, 2015

To enter the room of the Tathāgata means to have great compassion.
To wear his robe means to be gentle and patient.
To sit on his seat means to see the voidness of all things.
Expound the Dharma only after you do these [three] things!

The Buddha sings these verses in Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sūtra. Our compassion leads us to engage with the world and benefit others. Cultivating our gentle and patient nature lets us live the peace everyone wants and show them how to obtain it. To see the voidness of things does not mean acting as if they don’t exist. We presume that things that do not exist forever do not exist at all. A wisp of smoke. A fleeting smile. The Buddha teaches that there is nothing permanent and self-existing. Only what is interdependent and changing truly exists.Only that which is connected with everything else truly exists.Nothing hinders us. Nothing opposes us. When we see the harmony in our changing existence, then we see 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 – Mar. 21, 2015

I attained perfect enlightenment and now save all living beings because Devadatta was my teacher.

The Buddha makes this declaration in Chapter Twelve of the Lotus Sūtra. Devadatta was a cousin of the Buddha who became jealous of the Buddha’s enlightenment. Several times he tried to kill the Buddha. He also caused a split in the Buddha’s Sangha, and convinced a young prince to kill his father and usurp the throne. Devadatta was so evil that he fell into Hell alive. Despite all this, the Buddha credits Devadatta with helping him become enlightened, and assures Devadatta personally that he will become enlightened. This shows us that even those beings who create great harm have Buddha nature. They may not deserve our admiration, but they at least deserve our respect.

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