Category Archives: Daily Dharma

Daily Dharma – Feb. 10, 2018

The gods, men and asuras in the world think that I, Śākyamuni Buddha, left the palace of the Śākyas, sat at the place of enlightenment not far from the City of Gayā, and attained Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi [forty and odd years ago]. To tell the truth, good men, it is many hundreds of thousands of billions of nayutas of kalpas since I became the Buddha.

The Buddha makes this proclamation in Chapter Sixteen of the Lotus Sutra. This was the first time he revealed himself not as the temporal Siddhartha Gautama, the man who left home and became enlightened, but as the Ever-Present Buddha Śākyamuni who has been alive for innumerable eons helping beings to become enlightened and will continue that existence for twice that time into the future. This is the highest teaching of the Buddha, the purpose of all his expedient teachings that came before, and the Wonderful Dharma that is most difficult to believe and understand. When we comprehend the existence of this Ever-Present Buddha for even the blink of an eye, we gain more clarity about the world than through any of the Buddha’s other teachings.

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

Daily Dharma – Feb. 9, 2018

Tomorrow, I, Nichiren, will be exiled to Sado Island. In this cold evening I am thinking of you in the cold dungeon. My thought is that you have read and practiced the Lotus Sutra with your thought and action, which would save your parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, ancestors and everyone around you. Other people read the sutra vocally without feeling it in their hearts. Even though they might read it with their heart, they do not experience it as the sutra teaches. Compared with them you are very precious since you are practicing the sutra with your actions, voice and spirit.

Nichiren wrote this passage in a Letter to his Disciple Nichiro (Tsuchi-ro Gosho). At this point in Nichiren’s life, he had been placed on the execution mat at Tatsunokuchi Beach, only to have the execution stopped at the last minute. Instead of deterring him from teaching the Wonderful Dharma, this experience cemented his resolve to continue admonishing all those who were harming the people of Japan. He taught that rewarding delusions and leading people away from the Buddha’s wisdom only causes misery. Nichiren recognized that his life was the experience of the Lotus Sūtra, and showed his appreciation to everyone who, as he put it, “reads it with their bodies.”

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

Daily Dharma – Feb. 8, 2018

Universal-Sage! Anyone who keeps, reads and recites this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, memorizes it correctly, studies it, practices it, and copies it, should be considered to see me, and hear this sūtra from my mouth. He should be considered to be making offerings to me. He should be considered to be praised by me with the word ‘Excellent!’

The Buddha makes this declaration to Universal-Sage Bodhisattva (Fugen, Samantabhadra) in Chapter Twenty-Eight of the Lotus Sutra. He reminds us that when we study and practice the Lotus Sūtra, we see not only the Buddha, but all beings who have vowed to protect and encourage us in our practice. It is often difficult to see these beings and appreciate what they are doing for us, much more so to hear the encouragement they offer us in this world of conflict. This is why we must continue to dedicate our lives to offer benefit and encouragement to all beings, so that we can embody the spirit of these protective deities.

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

Daily Dharma – Feb. 7, 2018

Only perverted people say:
“All things exist,” or “Nothing exists,”
Or “All things are real,” or “Nothing is real,”
Or “All things are born,” or “Nothing is born.”

The Buddha declares these verses in Chapter Fourteen of the Lotus Sūtra in which he describes the peaceful practices of a Bodhisattva. Hearing these descriptions can be confusing. We think that we have to choose from among these views, and that these are the only views possible. The Buddha shows us another way. When we think of things as either unchanging or nonexistent, we live in a world of either judgement or despair. The Buddha shows us how to value what exists as it is changing and not attach ourselves to our expectations of stability. It is only because we are changing, and the world is changing around us, that we have the potential to become enlightened.

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

Daily Dharma – Feb. 6, 2018

Suppose parents who had an aversion to alcohol had a son who loved to drink liquor. Because of their love for their son and also to cater to his whim, they made it a point to offer him alcohol, pretending that they were also drinkers of liquor. The hopeless son then assumed that his parents truly loved alcohol. Sutras preached according to others’ minds are the same.

Nichiren wrote this passage in his treatise, The Sutra Preached in Accordance to [the Buddha’s] Own Mind (Zui-jii Gosho). In the Lotus Sūtra, the Buddha sets aside his expedient teachings and leads us to his own way of thinking. He knew the difficulty of changing our habits and beliefs, so he started by catering to our selfish desires to be happy and end our own suffering. For us to realize our full potential for wisdom and compassion, we must stand up to our fears and nourish our true nature as Bodhisattvas: beings who exist to create benefits for the entire universe.

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

Daily Dharma – Feb. 5, 2018

Seeing [these wonders displayed by] the supernatural powers of his sons, the father had the greatest joy that he had ever had. He joined his hands together towards his sons [staying in the sky], and said, ‘Who is your teacher? Whose disciples are you?’

King Wonderful-Adornment makes this declaration to his sons in Chapter Twenty-Seven of the Lotus Sūtra. His sons had been asked by their mother to display their supernatural powers to their father and awaken the desire in him to hear the Buddha Dharma. We all have abilities of which we are not aware, and can cultivate those abilities so that they may seem miraculous to those who do not understand them. But it is important for us not to fall in the trap of using these abilities to strengthen our ego delusion. Instead we should dedicate our talents towards awakening the joy of the Wonderful Dharma in all beings.

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

Daily Dharma – Feb. 4, 2018

If after my extinction anyone rejoices, even on a moment’s thought, at hearing even a gāthā or a phrase of the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, I also will assure him of his future attainment of Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi.

The Buddha declares these lines to Medicine-King Bodhisattva at the beginning of Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sūtra. Other teachings had described beings becoming enlightened after making exorbitant offerings or strenuous practices over many lifetimes. In the teaching of the Wonderful Dharma, a single moment of joy at hearing the Dharma is enough to assure us that we 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 – Feb. 3, 2018

You skillfully expound the Dharma with various parables and similes,
And with various stories of previous lives.
Now my mind is as peaceful as the sea.
Hearing you, I have removed the mesh of doubts.

Śāriputra, the wisest of the Buddha’s disciples, sings these verses in Chapter Three of the Lotus Sūtra. After the Buddha announced in Chapter Two that he had not revealed his highest wisdom, that everything he had taught before then was preparation, Śāriputra was the first to understand what the Buddha meant. The parables, similes and other parts of the Lotus Sūtra help us to understand how to read them, and how to make them real in our lives. When we find the true purpose of what the Buddha is teaching us, our mind and the world become peaceful together.

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

Daily Dharma – Feb. 1, 2018

Arouse your power of faith,
And do good patiently!
You will be able to hear the Dharma
That you have never heard before.

The Buddha sings these verses in Chapter Fifteen of the Lotus Sūtra. These are another emphasis of the superiority of those who put the Buddha’s teachings into practice rather than those who merely hear and understand them. It is only when we are engaged in creating benefit in the world, in helping all beings to become enlightened, that we are able to hear the Buddha’s highest teaching, the teaching of his own enlightenment.

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

Daily Dharma – Jan. 31, 2018

The father thought, ‘These sons are pitiful. They are so poisoned that they are perverted. Although they rejoice at seeing me and ask me to cure them, they do not consent to take this good medicine. Now I will have them take it with an expedient.’

The Buddha gives this description as part of the Parable of the Wise Physician in Chapter Sixteen of the Lotus Sūtra. In the story, the physician’s children have mistakenly taken poison, yet refuse the remedy their father provides for them. The children are just like us as we cling to our attachments and delusions and refuse the good medicine of the Buddha Dharma. This refusal can be for many reasons. The children may think the remedy is worse than the poison. They may be holding out for another remedy that may be even more pleasant. They may enjoy being poisoned. They may not trust that their father can cure them. As the father in the story faked his death to bring the children to their right minds, the Buddha seems to disappear from our lives so that we may learn to accept the teaching he provides for us. And as the father reappeared to the children once they took the remedy, the Buddha reappears to us when we practice his teaching.

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