Category Archives: Lotus Seeds

Lotus Seeds: The Essence of Nichiren Shu Buddhism

Lotus Seeds bookcoverFrom the NBIC website

Almost 2500 years ago, the Buddha taught a way to relieve the suffering of all beings in the universe. In the thirteenth century, a Japanese monk named Nichiren proposed a reform of Buddhism to make the Buddha’s teaching and enlightenment once again accessible to all mankind without discrimination. His efforts led to the founding of the Nichiren Shu School of Buddhism.

This book makes the Buddha’s and Nichiren’s teachings accessible for us today. Lotus Seeds fills the gap of information for those seeking an English-language explanation of the foundation and essential teachings of Nichiren Shu.

Find out how to apply the principles of Nichiren Shu within your own life and join the practitioners of this unique form of Buddhism worldwide on making the world a better place. Plant Lotus Seeds in your life today.

Book Quotes

 
Book List

The Emptiness of Birth and Death

There is a deeper meaning to Emptiness than simply recognizing the impermanent nature of reality. Emptiness also means that things are without boundaries in terms of both time and space. Again, everything arises and ceases depending upon the coming together of many other elements or factors. But at what point can one say that something has begun or come to an end? For instance, do our lives begin at birth, or at conception, or at the time of our parent’s conception? At what point in the process that we call our lives can we definitely say that the process has begun? The same is true of our deaths. If our lives are carried on through our children or through the impact of our actions on the lives of others, at what point does our life really come to an end? In addition, the Buddha taught that some portion of our existence (composed of our intentions, habits, and to some extent an unconscious storehouse of memories) moves on from one life to another. So it is never entirely correct to say that someone has been born or has died. The reality of our lives defies such a simple description.

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Cling-Free Emptiness

Awareness of Emptiness is awareness of the constantly changing nature of life. To understand Emptiness is to understand that there is nothing that we can hold on to forever, and to see that we must not cling to things like money, power, sexual pleasure, fame, the company of loved ones, or even our own lives. All of these things are temporary and do not possess a fixed or eternal nature. On the other hand, through Emptiness we can learn to appreciate things and people as the dynamic and changing things that they are. When we do not cling to the good things in life, we are finally free to appreciate them for what they are for as long as they do grace our lives, but without being burdened by the fear of their eventual dissolution.

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Seeing the Middle Way

Emptiness is a way of pointing to the ungraspable nature of reality. It is not a denial or existence or being, but is a way of seeing things in accord with the Middle Way.

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The Empty Table

Everything that we can point to or name exists only for as long as other things come together in a certain way to support its existence. A table, for instance, is only a temporary meeting of an uncountable number of atoms working together for a certain period of time. Another example is the human body, which is a changing process that requires a constant supply of new material in the form of air, food, and water to sustain itself, and which is constantly expelling waste material. Even consciousness is not a static thing, but a perpetually changing stream of thoughts and impressions that also depends upon constant input of new material in the form of ideas and sensations.

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The Emptiness of Dependent Origination

“Emptiness” is a central concept in Mahayana Buddhism, often associated with the perfection of wisdom. However, Emptiness is really just another way of talking about Dependent Origination. Whereas Dependent Origination focuses on the coming together of many causes and conditions to bring about a temporary thing or being, Emptiness, focuses on the absence of a self-contained or permanent person, place, or thing. In other words, nothing exists forever and nothing can exist on its own.

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The Perfection of Wisdom

Of the Six Perfections – generosity, discipline, patience, energy, meditation, and wisdom – the perfection of wisdom is accomplished when our views are in accord with the reality or the world as it truly is. That is, we have insight into the dynamic and interdependent nature of all things. The perfection of wisdom is expressed through our faith in the Wonderful Dharma, which enable us to have confidence and trust in our Buddha-nature – our capacity to view life with the insight and wisdom of the Buddha.

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The Perfection of Meditation

Of the Six Perfections – generosity, discipline, patience, energy, meditation, and wisdom – the perfection of meditation indicates that we should cultivate full awareness of all of our thoughts, words, and deeds in all places and at all times. Meditation enables us to focus our minds so that we an engage in self-reflection and direct our minds to the highest teaching of the Buddha. The practice of meditation ultimately allows us to abide in a stale of clear and spacious awareness in which we directly perceive the true nature of life for ourselves.

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The Perfection of Energy

Of the Six Perfections – generosity, discipline, patience, energy, meditation, and wisdom – the perfection of energy involves enthusiasm and unflagging dedication to the practice of Buddhism. We use our energy to make continuous efforts to weed out bad habits, avoid starting any new bad habits, cultivate good habits, and develop new good habits.

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Perfection of Patience with the Buddha’s Teachings

Of the Six Perfections – generosity, discipline, patience, energy, meditation, and wisdom – the perfection of patience also applies to our attitude toward the Buddha’s teachings. The teaching that all things are empty and selfless, for instance, can sound quite confusing and intimidating; but if we are patient and persistent in our practice we will come to a deeper understanding that will lead to our liberation from suffering and ultimately to Buddhahood.

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The Perfection of Patience with Ourselves

Of the Six Perfections – generosity, discipline, patience, energy, meditation, and wisdom – the perfection of patience also implies patience with oneself. Some people may even find this more difficult than being patient with others or with events in their lives. Patience toward ourselves includes not becoming frustrated when we do not progress as quickly as we might like, being willing to try again when we fall short of our expectation for ourselves, taking the time to nurture ourselves, and not fooling ourselves into believing that we have attained that which we have not.

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