Category Archives: Daily Dharma

Daily Dharma – Dec. 2, 2017

Now I will tell you clearly. The merits of the person who gave all those pleasing things to the living beings of the six regions of four hundred billion asaṃkhya worlds, and caused them to attain Arhatship are less than the merits of the fiftieth person who rejoices at hearing even a gāthā of this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.

The Buddha gives this explanation to Maitreya (whom he calls Ajita – Invincible) in Chapter Eighteen of the Lotus Sūtra. He compares the benefit created by someone who teaches innumerable beings and makes exorbitant offerings through following the pre-Lotus sūtras to the benefits of finding joy in the Buddha’s Highest teaching. This joy is not the same as just getting what we want, or being relieved from what we do not want. It is the joy of seeing the world for what it is, and our place in it as Bodhisattvas who exist 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

Daily Dharma – Dec. 1, 2017

I, Nichiren, am the lone forerunner of the bodhisattvas who emerged from the earth. I may even be one of them. If I am counted as one of the bodhisattvas who emerged from the earth, my disciples and followers too are among the ranks of those bodhisattvas from the earth, are they not? The “Teacher of the Dharma” chapter states, “If someone expounds even a phrase of the Lotus Sūtra even to one person in secret, then you should know that such a person is my messenger, dispatched by Me and carries out My work.” This refers to none other than us.

Nichiren wrote this passage as part of his Treatise on All Phenomena as Ultimate Reality (Shohō Jissō-Shō), sent to the monk Sairen-Bō. He refers to Chapters Ten and Fifteen of the Lotus Sūtra. This passage reminds us of our position as followers of Nichiren, and fellow messengers of Śākyamuni Buddha.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 30, 2017

The Buddhas of my replicas
As innumerable
As there are sands in the River Ganges
Also came here
From their wonderful worlds,
Parting from their disciples,
And giving up the offerings made to them
By gods, men and dragons,
In order to hear the Dharma,
See Many-Treasures Tathāgata,
Who passed away [a long time ago],
And have the Dharma preserved forever.

The Buddha sings these verses in Chapter Eleven of the Lotus Sūtra. The Buddhas of his replicas inhabit countless other worlds in the universe, and enjoy the status and benefit of being enlightened in those worlds. Despite the honor they receive in those worlds, they happily come to hear the Buddha teach the Wonderful Dharma. As our pleasures seem small compared to those of a Buddha, so a Buddha’s pleasures seem small compared to 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 – Nov. 29, 2017

World-Honored One, do not worry! We will keep, read, recite and expound this sūtra after your extinction. The living beings in the evil world after [your extinction] will have less roots of good, more arrogance, more greed for offerings of worldly things, and more roots of evil. It will be difficult to teach them because they will go away from emancipation. But we will patiently read, recite, keep, expound and copy this sūtra, and make various offerings to it. We will not spare even our lives [in doing all this].

Medicine-King Bodhisattva, his attendants and other Bodhisattvas make this vow to the Buddha in Chapter Thirteen of the Lotus Sūtra. Once we awaken to our Bodhisattva nature and resolve to benefit all beings, we may still hold on to the belief that those beings should gratefully receive the teaching and and keep progressing towards enlightenment. We may even become discouraged in our practice of the Wonderful Dharma when these beings do not live up to our expectations. The vow of these great Bodhisattvas reminds us of how difficult is is for us ordinary beings to keep the Lotus Sūtra, and of the determination it takes to create benefit in the world.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 28, 2017

Although the time is ripe for the Lotus Sutra to convert everyone, teachers who propagate it are ordinary teachers while their disciples are wicked and sickened by the three poisons of greed, anger and ignorance. They avoid teachers who preach the True Dharma, befriending teachers who preach false Dharma. Is it not natural then that he who practices the Lotus Sutra, the true teaching of the Buddha, and his disciples and followers and lay followers are persecuted more severely than the three kinds of enemies?

Nichiren wrote this passage in his Treatise on the True Way of Practicing the Teaching of the Buddha (Nyosetsu Shugyō-shō). In our efforts to uphold and practice the Wonderful Dharma of the Lotus Sūtra, we may be surprised to be the targets of anger or aggression from others, especially from others who also practice the Dharma with us. These difficulties will be opportunities for us to practice wisdom and nourish our compassion. We can learn to recognize others’ delusions within our own minds and remain focused on ridding ourselves of the three poisons, rather than attempting to change someone else’s behavior. In this way we become an example for how to live, and allow the Ever-Present Buddha Śākyamuni to work within our hearts.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 27, 2017

Anyone who not only understands
This sūtra by faith
But also keeps, reads and recites it,
And copies it, or causes others to copy it,
And strews flowers, incense,
And incense powder to a copy of it,
And lights lamps of the perfumed oil
Of sumanas, campaka, and atimuktaka
Around the copy of this sūtra
And offers the light thus produced to it,
Will be able to obtain innumerable merits.
His merits will be as limitless as the sky.

The Buddha sings these verses in Chapter Seventeen of the Lotus Sūtra. This teaching contains the Buddha’s highest wisdom, leads all beings to enlightenment, and calls us to transform our personal suffering into an aspiration to benefit all beings. The joy and clarity we gain by practicing and respecting this sūtra is beyond what we can imagine in our state of attachment and delusion.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 26, 2017

You, the World-Honored One, saw that the aspiration for the knowledge of all things was still latent in our minds; therefore, you awakened us, saying, ‘Bhikṣus! What you had attained was not perfect extinction. I caused you to plant the good root of Buddhahood a long time ago.’

Five hundred of the Buddha’s monks give this explanation in Chapter Eight of the Lotus Sūtra. In the story, the Buddha has just assured them of reaching the same enlightenment he found. These monks had worked diligently for many years to rid themselves of suffering, and taught many other beings to become Bodhisattvas and reach the Buddha’s enlightenment, thinking they were not capable of reaching this wisdom. Not believing we are capable of something obscures the capability we have. When the Buddha proclaims that he leads all beings, he reminds us of this capacity and inspires us make efforts to bring all beings, including ourselves, to his joy.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 25, 2017

He should respect the Buddhas, the World-Honored Ones,
As his unsurpassed fathers.
He should give up arrogance
So that he may expound the Dharma without hindrance.

The Buddha sings these verses in Chapter Fourteen of the Lotus Sūtra in which he describes the peaceful practices of a Bodhisattva. By arrogance, the Buddha means not only acting as if we know what we do not, but any fixed understanding of the world and the beings in it. This opening of our minds allows us to be receptive to the innumerable ways the Buddhas are teaching us, and to learn to see the world for what it is. This receptivity also allows us to see the Buddha nature in all beings, no matter how deluded they are and how much harm they create. Respect is what allows us to fully hear and be present for what the world has to offer us.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 24, 2017

The Buddha is great, but compared to the Lotus Sutra He is like the light of a firefly in front of the sun and moon. When compared in terms of height, the Buddha is like the earth while the Lotus Sutra reaches the heavens. If making offerings to the Buddha has such great merit, how much more so does one gain by making offerings to the Lotus Sutra?

Nichiren wrote this passage in a Reply to Lord Ueno (Ueno-dono Gohenji). When we encounter someone we consider great because of their fame, their wisdom, or anything else that leads them to be dear to us, our natural inclination is to show our gratitude to them by offering them gifts or services. When we learn about the Buddha, his life and what he taught us, even from a distance of 2500 years, we cannot help but be grateful for everything he has done to benefit us and all beings. But, as Nichiren instructs, when we realize the treasure of the Wonderful Dharma of the Lotus Sūtra, and how it is the embodiment of the Ever-Present Buddha who continues to teach all beings through all worlds and all time, our gratitude to it is even greater. We make offerings to the Sūtra through our practice, our determination not to allow suffering to dictate what we do, but to cultivate the wisdom and compassion within us, and repay the Ever-Present Buddha with the enlightenment of all beings.

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

Daily Dharma – Nov. 23, 2017

I see all living beings equally.
I have no partiality for them.
There is not ‘this one’ or ‘that one’ to me.
I transcend love and hatred.

The Buddha makes this declaration in Chapter Five of the Lotus Sūtra. He compares himself to a rain shower that waters all plants equally. He uses this example to show us how we should approach all living beings. Our respect for them and wish that they become enlightened cannot depend on whatever personal feelings we have towards them.

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