The True Life

Neither is birth the beginning, nor death the end of life; the true life extends far beyond both of these commonly assumed limits. Things come and pass away, but truth abides; men are born and disappear, but life itself is imperishable. Buddhahood is neither a new acquisition nor a quality destined to destruction. The One who embodies the cosmic Truth, Buddha, the Tathagata, neither is born nor dies, but lives and works from eternity to eternity; his Buddhahood is primeval and his inspiration everlasting. How, then, can it be otherwise with any other beings, if only they realize this truth and live in full consciousness of it?

Nichiren, The Buddhist Prophet

A ‘Positive’ Religion

Nichiren Buddhism is called a “positive religion” because the Lotus Sutra instructs us to confront reality positively, and improve our lives by making efforts with faith. Generally, this world is spoken of negatively, and is called a degraded and disordered world. However, Nichiren Buddhism is different. Even though this world seems like it is degraded, and a world filled with deep desire, we are Buddha’s children. We all have Buddha’s nature, as a seed, waiting to become a Buddha and to construct an ideal world, the “Buddha’s world.” Unfortunately, it is difficult to recognize this nature by oneself, even if it is a part of our own mind.

Spring Writings

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.

Lotus Seeds

The Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path is a set of guidelines for our lives that help us develop understanding and compassion. Developing that kind of deeply compassionate life can help release us from suffering. The Eightfold Path is:

  • Right Views
  • Right Thought
  • Right Speech
  • Right Action
  • Right Livelihood
  • Right Effort
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right Meditation

… So what exactly do we mean by “right?” It means that we should use our judgment based on the Buddha’s teachings and be mindful of these things when living with others in our society.

Awakening to the Lotus

Six Perfections

A Bodhisattva practices the Six Perfections or pāramitās to obtain the goal of causing all beings to strive for Buddhahood. The Six Perfections are:

  • Giving
  • Observing Precepts
  • Patience
  • Striving
  • Meditation
  • Wisdom
Awakening to the Lotus

500 Days of Practice

I wonder what you could accomplish in your life if you made a commitment from today for 500 days to practice on a regular consistent basis towards the achievement of some change in your life? Would you be able to travel the entire 500 days without giving up or abandoning or forgetting your goal and effort?

The Magic City: Studying the Lotus Sutra

Practicing for Others

I have frequently spoken with people who are the only practitioner in their household and sometimes they express concern that the other person doesn’t practice. To this I have to say, yes they do! By their indirect support of you as a person, and especially if they do not interfere with your belief in and practice of the Lotus Sutra, they are in fact indirectly having a deep relationship with the Lotus Sutra through your practice.

Practice Guide

The Three Bodies of the Buddha

The Noumenal or Spiritual Body of the Buddha, is the Truth itself; the second, the Compensation Body, is the Intellect, which can discover the Truth; the third, the Body of Transformation or Impermanence, is that which is the object of worship to the vulgar.

Doctrines of Nichiren (1893)

Our Buddhist Corrective Lenses

In many ways, even if we have perfect or near perfect eyesight, we all need corrective lenses. Our Buddhist practice helps us to create the correct lens through which to see the reality of life, the true nature of cause and effect. If we look through distorted lenses, not seeing the suffering caused by our unskillful actions we will continue to manifest results we may not wish to experience. Buddhism helps us abandon the distortions that bring on suffering. By following the Eightfold Path we can begin to see how our distorted views cause suffering for ourselves and for others.

Lotus Path: Practicing the Lotus Sutra Volume 1

Getting Better

Over the years, my Buddhist practice has given me the tools to change and the direction in which to make those changes. The Lotus Sutra has been the key. The Buddha doesn’t preach to the congregation that they are defective. He doesn’t tell them that they will not attain enlightenment in this Saha world because they were broken or bad. Instead, he points out that after a certain length of time and after certain practices they will attain enlightenment. None of this is punishment. Can we also be as kind and gentle with ourselves even as we strive to make changes in our lives?

Giving ourselves the space to make changes to the good will guarantee our enlightenment. This is freedom from suffering. You are not a broken person; you can be better though. We all can be better.

Physician's Good Medicine