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The Gohonzon, the Object of Devotion

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Everything you want to know about Buddhism

2012 – Guia para examen Introductorio

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2012 – Introductory Exam Guide

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  1. Soka Friend says:

    The Latter Day of the Law

    The End of the World or a New Dawn of Hope?
    “The end is coming!” On December 31, 999, many people in Christian Europe fearfully anticipated the catastrophic end of the world and the judgment of their souls. But as Pope Sylvester II conducted midnight mass in the Vatican, nothing happened. A half-century later, the similar millennium fear swept Buddhist Japan. Many believed that the year 1052 marked the first year of “the Latter Day of the Law,” a period in which they expected the world to be lost to suffering and chaos. As aristocratic rule was collapsing and the warrior class was gaining more influence, Japanese society at the time was in turmoil. For the next several centuries, as war, famine and pestilence continued to rack the country, many Japanese were convinced that they were indeed living in the Latter Day of the Law. This apocalyptic frenzy in medieval Japan was based on the concept of the “three time periods” of Buddhism—the Former, Middle and Latter Days of the Law (or Shakyamuni’s teaching). These are the three consecutive stages into which the time after the Buddha’s death is divided. There are several views on the length of these three periods. Many Buddhists, including T’ien-t’ai, Dengyo and Nichiren Daishonin, adopted the explanation found in the Sutra of the Great Assembly, which describes five consecutive five-hundred-year periods following Shakyamuni’s death. The first two five-hundred-year periods are regarded as the Former Day of the Law, the following two five-hundred-year periods as the Middle Day of the Law, and the fifth five-hundred-year period as the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, which continues indefinitely.
    Nichiren Daishonin describes the three time periods of Buddhism in terms of teaching, practice and proof. “Teaching” refers to the Buddha’s teaching, “practice” to the practice set forth by the Buddha’s teaching, and “proof” to the resulting benefit of that practice. During the Former Day of the Law, the pure spirit of Buddhism remained intact, and people practiced Buddhism correctly and enjoyed the benefit of their practice. Thus, in the Former Day, the teaching, practice and proof of Buddhism were all present. During the Middle Day of the Law, Buddhism flourished in society, but the emphasis was placed on formalities and rituals. The vibrant humanism of Buddhism was beginning to decline. In this stage, people practiced Buddhism yet could not enjoy the fullest extent of its benefit. In the present Latter Day of the Law, people neither practice the Buddha’s teaching nor gain its benefit. While the teaching is present, there is neither practice nor proof. The Sutra of the Great Assembly describes this degenerate stage in the history of Buddhism as a time in which “quarrels and disputes will arise among the adherents to my [Shakyamuni’s] teachings, and the Pure Law will become obscured and lost” (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 3, p. 85). That is, during the Latter Day of the Law, people lose sight of the Buddha’s true teaching and suffer from egoistic delusions.
    According to the ancient Chinese dating of Shakyamuni’s death as 949 BCE, most Japanese thought that the year 1052 marked the beginning of the third millennium after the Buddha’s passing, that is, the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law. Most modern scholars, however, date Shakyamuni’s death at either around 480 or 380 BCE. Based on these recent datings, the time in which Nichiren Daishonin lived would correspond to 1,600 or 1,700 years after Shakyamuni’s death.
    When examining this discrepancy, it is important to note that the Daishonin deeply considered the conditions of religion and society at large in light of statements in various sutras. This fact is more significant than simple arithmetic. The Daishonin was living in the midst of conditions that could be best characterized as those of the Latter Day of the Law as described by the Buddhist teachings. In addition, it is important to note that expressions like “500 years” and “1,000 years” in the Buddhist scriptures should be taken not so much as a succinct fixed length of time, but as a description of a magnitude of time and a corresponding flow of events. From this standpoint as well, the conditions in the realm of Buddhism and society predicted for the Latter Day of the Law in the Buddhist sutras are more relevant a gauge than the precise number of years.
    Why is Shakyamuni’s teaching said to fall into obscurity in the Latter Day of the Law? Because in the Latter Day, the sutras teach, people are profoundly deluded. Just as medicine kept beyond its expiration date can lose its power to combat pain or illnesses, Shakyamuni’s teaching has over the millennia lost its power to save ordinary people from suffering. In this regard, the Daishonin states: “In this way, the extremity of greed, anger and stupidity in people’s minds in the impure world of the latter age is beyond the power of any sage or worthy man to control” (MW-6, 141). The Daishonin here indicates that Shakyamuni’s teaching is no longer effective in relieving the people of the Latter Day of their suffering and confusion.
    Although the Latter Day of the Law is described as rife with “quarrels and disputes,” this does not simply mean that there is an abundance of Buddhist dialogue and debate. In the history of Buddhism prior to the Daishonin’s time, there had been many doctrinal debates to evaluate the merits of various teachings. But in these earlier times, practitioners shared a strong desire to seek the correct teaching. Because of this seeking spirit, those who lost a debate over doctrine would gladly discard their own teaching or teacher and adopt those of the one who had successfully pointed out their error. In contrast, in the Latter Day, most people, including Buddhist practitioners, are so entrenched in greed, anger and ignorance that they refuse to follow the correct teaching even when they encounter it. Consumed with pride and ego, they tend to value status, position and fame more than the heart and spirit of Buddhism. So, in league with those in power, they persecute the practitioners of the correct teaching. The Lotus Sutra explains that the sutra’s practitioners after Shakyamuni’s death will encounter various forms of oppression from religious authority. What underlies such persecutions is the tendency, particularly among the Buddhist clergy, to be attached to status or wealth instead of striving to uphold the correct teaching.
    The corruption of priesthood that characterizes the Latter Day of the Law was rampant during the Daishonin’s time. For example, Ryokan—a powerful and highly revered priest in Kamakura—was behind the government’s failed attempt to execute the Daishonin and his exile to Sado Island. Threatened by the Daishonin’s forthright challenge to the teachings they espoused, many influential priests felt enmity and contempt for the Daishonin.
    While the characteristics of the Latter Day—corrupt and arrogant clergy and the people immersed in misery—were apparent in thirteenth-century Japan, the Daishonin remained optimistic. To be sure, the Latter Day of the Law signified the end of Buddhism to many; but Nichiren Daishonin viewed it as a new era in which the teaching by which all Buddhas attain enlightenment is to be revealed and spread among the common people. He confidently declared: “But that which is to come after ‘the Pure Law has become obscured and lost’ is the Great Pure Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the heart and core of the Lotus Sutra. This is what should be propagated and spread throughout the continent of Jambudvipa…so that it may be chanted by all persons…” (MW-3, 87–8). While he recognized the bleak reality of people’s lives in his contemporary society, the Daishonin viewed the arrival of the Latter Day of the Law as an opportunity to bring a new and powerful light of hope to humanity. He transformed the concept of the Latter Day of the Law from one of a fearful end into one of a hopeful new beginning.
    Standing now as we do at the brink of a new millennium, his spirit can serve as a model for all those who have their gaze fixed upon the future.
    Living Buddhism, December 1999, p.6

  2. Soka Friend says:

    To Open, Show, Awaken, and Induce to Enter

    When Thomas Edison was a child, he was extremely inquisitive. He perhaps spent much time pondering such questions as “What makes the wind blow?” But in school, he was having trouble with the basics—English and math. Suffering from a hearing deficiency, and bored with the rote learning conducted in class, others labeled him a misfit. After attending school on and off for five years or so, he dropped out.
    His mother, believing in her son’s potential, tutored him at home in subjects that seemed to spark his interest. Young Edison became a voracious reader, and taking nature as his instructor, he learned through a process of repeated trial and error. This style of learning contributed at least in part to his great success as a master inventor in later years.
    If, like his school, his mother had labeled him slow or deficient, our world today might be decades behind in terms of technological advancement. It is clear that whether or not children can learn in a way that opens and cultivates their innate potential will dramatically effect their growth and future.
    If people become aware of the hopes and expectations of teachers and loved ones toward their growth and success, come to share those hopes themselves, and actually live up to those hopes, this contributes tremendously to their level of confidence. On the other hand, if led to believe they are inferior or deficient, people will lose confidence, and their emotional and intellectual growth will stall. In this sense, low expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy. While this applies in particular to children, it is true of adults as well.
    The “Expedient Means” Chapter of the Lotus Sutra teaches the principle of “opening, showing, awakening, and inducing to enter.” This comes from the passage that reads:
    The Buddhas, the World Honored Ones, wish to open the door of Buddha wisdom to all living beings, to allow them to attain purity. That is why they appear in the world. They wish to show the Buddha wisdom to living beings, and therefore they appear in the world. They wish to cause living beings to awaken to the Buddha wisdom, and therefore they appear in the world. They wish to induce living beings to enter the path of Buddha wisdom, and therefore they appear in the world. (The Lotus Sutra, trans. Burton Watson, p. 31)

    Thus, the purpose of a Buddha’s appearance in this world—any Buddha’s raison d’être, so to speak—is to “open” or cultivate the Buddha wisdom within the lives of all people, to “show” them the Buddha wisdom, to “awaken” them to it, and to lead them to “enter” that condition of life called Buddhahood.
    Though the Buddha is called “World-Honored One,” Buddhas never consider themselves exclusively worthy of respect. The aim of all Buddhas is to help all people, whatever their background, achieve the same level of enlightenment as the Buddhas themselves enjoy, thereby securing their happiness. According to the sutra, this is the sole purpose of a Buddha’s existence. The principle of “opening, showing, awakening, and inducing to enter” the Buddha wisdom is a declaration of this purpose.
    Prior to this declaration in the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni’s disciples never imagined themselves capable of becoming Buddhas. Like children in school who assume they can never compete with the best student in class, they viewed Shakyamuni as exceptional—an unexcelled prodigy of the spiritual realm. But with the preaching of the Lotus Sutra, it became clear that the Buddha’s true purpose was to enable his disciples to excel to the same degree—to attain the same state of life he had attained.
    In reality, Shakyamuni Buddha spent his life actively sharing and spreading his teachings, converting one person after another. From the time he set out from his parents’ home to embark on a religious life, he never resided long in one place. The Buddha was the ultimate educator, endlessly on the move, reaching out to open and nurture the condition of enlightenment within people’s lives. In fact, he believed more strongly and completely than anyone else in the capacity of ordinary people to become Buddhas. His example should serve as a model for all teachers.
    Edison’s great success as an inventor may be traced to his mother’s strong belief in his rich potential and her efforts to help him open and broadly cultivate that potential. The true purpose of education and of Buddhism is to help human beings cultivate their innate unique qualities, individuality and creativity.
    “To open” means to cause to manifest what is inherent but hidden in the individual. No matter how many priceless treasures we may have locked in a vault, unless we can open the vault and put those treasures to use, they have no value. Ultimately, they go to waste.
    Nichiren Daishonin stated that “to ‘open’ is another name for faith. If one chants the Mystic Law with faith, one will directly open the Buddha wisdom” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 716).
    The Daishonin assures us that the way to open the wonderful “treasure storehouse” of Buddhahood within is to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon with faith in our own enlightened potential. In this way, we come to “show” actual proof of our innate enlightenment, thus “awakening” others to the benefit of Buddhist faith and practice and inducing them to “enter” a most fulfilling way of life.
    Actually, we can view these four points as steps in an educational process. It is the method by which a Buddha, as the ultimate educator, teaches the people, his students, how to become Buddhas.
    In our case, to help us open the door to our Buddha wisdom, Nichiren Daishonin “showed” us this wisdom by revealing the Gohonzon and Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. By practicing as he taught, we “awaken” our own enlightened nature. This awakening then moves us to “enter” the way of life of a Bodhisattva of the Earth—a way of life dedicated to helping others “open,” “show,” “awaken to” and “enter” their own Buddha wisdom. To the degree we strive to do this, we embody the oneness of teacher and student, the oneness of mentor and disciple. That is, the purpose of our lives becomes one with that of the Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. And when this happens, our contribution to peace and human happiness will be no less revolutionary and important than Thomas Edison’s contribution to technology.

  3. admin says:

    The Teaching of Sunyata: Non-Substantiality

    Overcoming selfishness helps you find a world of new possibilities within!
    Have you seen the patterns formed by sand dunes? Depending on the size and shape of the sand grains, the direction of the winds and the surface features of the land, shifting sands can form myriad dune patterns. The scaly or wavy patterns are constantly changing. Just like those ever-shifting sand patterns, everything around us (ourselves included) is constantly changing. And like dunes of sand, how things or people change is a function of their relations with their surroundings.
    Nagarjuna, the Buddhist teacher believed to have lived in India sometime around the late second century and the early third century, expounded the teaching of sunyata (Jpn ku), which is variously translated as non-substantiality, void or emptiness. He developed the concept of non-substantiality from Shakyamuni’s principle of dependent origination (Skt pratityasamutpada; Jpn engi).
    Nagarjuna asserted that since everything arises and continues to exist by virtue of its relationship with other phenomena (i.e., dependent origination), it has absolutely no fixed or independent substance of its own (i.e., non-substantiality). Viewed from this perspective, there is nothing that cannot be changed. Nothing exists entirely on its own, and no form is absolute and immutable. The universe, then, is full of new situations at every moment.
    This open-ended nature of the universe also applies to human beings. Our lives are full of new possibilities for the future. It all depends upon how we view ourselves—how well we recognize these possibilities—and what kind of relationship we create with our surroundings.
    According to the perspective of non-substantiality, everything changes not only in its appearance or shape but also in its nature or meaning. A raft, for example, may be useful for a traveler to cross a river. But it would be foolish for him to carry the raft a long distance after crossing the river. The raft then becomes a heavy burden, an obstacle to his journey. In this sense, the concept of non-substantiality suggests that it is foolish for us to base our lives on and grow attached to things that we possess, such as wealth or position. Like the raft, they are only of immediate value, and attachment to them can even become a burden on our journey toward self-perfection. And from the standpoint of eternity, they are nothing at all.
    The important thing is that we create a positive relationship with our ever-shifting surroundings at every moment and thereby create value. If we base our lives on the belief that there is permanent value and meaning in money or social status, our expectation will be miserably betrayed sooner or later. For example, we would be endangering ourselves if we were to cling to a bundle of dollar bills rather than a jug of water when walking across a desert. If we attach ourselves to material wealth while ignoring our spiritual well-being, we will eventually become miserable as well. At the same time, if we develop the ability to utilize material wealth to support our happiness and to benefit others, neither shunning it nor enslaving ourselves to it, our lives can be more fulfilling.
    Nagarjuna’s concept of non-substantiality points out that there is no absolute value—good or evil—assigned to the things or events in our lives. Their meanings are essentially what we make of them. No matter how painful or unfortunate an event we may encounter, we can still create a positive meaning from it, depending upon how we view it and what we do about it. Our views and resulting actions, however, are determined not merely by our intellectual understanding but by our essential consciousness or the state of our innermost being. This is where our practice of Buddhism can effect positive change.
    The concept of non-substantiality also helps us discover within us a world of new possibilities. Sometimes we limit our potential, thinking that we will remain the way we are forever. “This is something that I was born with. It’ll never change!” As the concept of non-substantiality illustrates, however, nothing is exactly the same from one moment to the next. As much as things may get worse, they may also get better. Changing our lives for the better is therefore always possible, and it is always up to us. In this sense, putting limitations on ourselves amounts to living under the illusion that our present self-image is a fixed reality. In reality, it is non-substantial and changeable.
    Probably the most important implication of the teaching of non-substantiality is that we do not exist entirely on our own. The meaning of our lives—and our happiness—arises through our interconnectedness with those around us, with the community and world in which we live. An analogy used to describe this principle in Buddhism is that of two bundles of reeds that remain standing as long as they are leaning on each other. The implication is that there is no fundamental distinction between our happiness and that of others. To fall under the illusion that we are independent of others is to alienate ourselves from the world around us. This kind of selfishness becomes self-defeating. The concept of non-substantiality teaches that all things, including our lives, exist as they are only in the context of their relations with other phenomena. Nothing has an independent substance of its own. For instance, a human being in the vacuum of space will be quickly transformed into a lifeless mass—scorched to coal on one side by the direct rays of the sun and frozen on the other. Without air and water and other forms of life to provide nourishment, a human being will die. And in our modern world, few of us could easily survive without the system of commerce that surrounds us, which includes transportation, food distribution, etc. Many people are involved in these endeavors and all of us depend on them. To fail to recognize and appreciate this due to an illusion of independent identity will cause imbalance and unhappiness.
    Isolated, our lives lose meaning. But depending upon how we relate to others and our environment, we can realize the infinite potential we possess and our own value to the world around us. In this sense, the most unfortunate are those who withdraw to the prison of their own self-centeredness and lock the door from the inside by insisting that their lives are fundamentally separate. In an ironic reversal of intent, those who seek absolute value in their own existence while ignoring the happiness of others are, in fact, voiding their lives of meaning and substance. With the absence of such relationships, all that remains is “non-substantiality” or “emptiness.”
    In the final analysis, the concept of non-substantiality is a teaching through which we awaken compassion and transcend our selfish ego so that we may actively engage with others. When we view the happiness of others as our own and extend them genuine care, our lives transform themselves from “emptiness” to “substance.” In this regard, Nichiren Daishonin states: “To dwell in the seat of non-substantiality is to practice with selfless dedication” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 737). As the Daishonin succinctly explains here, when we live for the sake of others’ happiness with selfless dedication, we are putting the teaching of non-substantiality into action. As noted Buddhist scholar Hajime Nakamura explains, Nagarjuna himself esteemed and upheld the values of “thankfulness” and “the ideal of the bodhisattva.” [1] He saw the importance of realizing the interconnectedness of all lives as well as of expressing appreciation and compassion in altruistic action. The concept of non-substantiality suggests that selflessness may be the shortest path to meaningful selfhood.
    [1] Hajime Nakamura, Indian Buddhism: A Survey with Bibliographical Notes. Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers: 1987, p. 252.
    Living Buddhism, July 1999, p.5

  4. politobar says:

    Treasures of the Heart

    Essentials for proper self-control and personal brilliance
    We value many things in life, particularly that which enhances and improves the quality of our lives in some way. Nichiren Daishonin divides life’s “treasures” into three categories: treasures of the storehouse, treasures of the body, and treasures of the heart. He writes, “More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all. Strive to accumulate the treasures of the heart!” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1 p. 1170) Thus the Daishonin teaches that life’s most important commodity—that which most greatly enhances the quality of our lives—is treasures of the heart.
    To pursue material treasure alone is to lead a miserable life
    “Treasures of the storehouse” are material treasures. They include such things as property and financial wealth. They are, for the most part, life’s external adornments. These are things that almost all of us want—treasures we are naturally attracted to, often feel we need, and to which there is usually attached monetary value. And while we tend to seek these things, most of us realize that focusing on them exclusively or excessively can be futile, or even detrimental.
    “Treasures of the body” are attributes that endow our person, such as skills, knowledge, educational background, etc. They also include perceptions that are attached to or associated with us, such as social standing, reputation, position and fame. In contrast to treasures of the storehouse, treasures of the body are perhaps more stable and lasting. Nevertheless, simply possessing them does not ensure happiness, and when such attributes are misused even a little, they can lead a person to ruin or to the ruin of others.
    Nichiren Daishonin referred to those of great skill or learning who failed to use those skills wisely as “talented animals.”
    The human heart, left to its own devices, tends to lean toward the exclusive pursuit of wants and desires. When, spurred on by this “hungry heart,” people focus their energies on obtaining treasures of the storehouse and treasures of the body, they are never satisfied. It is quite as Cicero said, “The thirst of desire is never filled, nor fully satisfied.”
    Psychological research is finding more and more that people whose primary focus in life is the attainment of “extrinsic goals”—externals such as wealth, property, fame or status—tend to be less happy. In general, they are said to experience higher levels of anxiety, suffer more from illness, and have less of a sense of fulfillment.
    Shakyamuni Buddha said that “the mind is wavering and restless, difficult to guard and restrain…But it is a great good to control the mind; a mind self-controlled is a source of great joy” (The Dhammapada, verse 34–35).
    The most respected figures in early Buddhism were those known as arhats. Literally, the Sanskrit word arhat meant “deserving,” or “worthy,” but it was also interpreted as meaning “killer of the robber.” In other words, an arhat was a Buddhist sage who had defeated the “robber” of earthly desires within his heart and mind.
    Shakyamuni also said, “If a man should conquer in battle a thousand and a thousand more, and another man should conquer himself, this would be the greater victory, because the greatest victory is over oneself…” (The Dhammapada, verse 103).
    No matter how many “treasures of the storehouse” and “treasures of the body” one amasses, nothing of these may remain in the aftermath of an unexpected event. And certainly after one has been visited by what Buddhism calls the four sufferings—birth, old age, sickness and death—these external treasures lose all meaning. The sense of loss one feels at parting with such treasures can even become a cause for further suffering. In this light, it is easy to see why the ability to win over ourselves—over our weakness that makes us vulnerable to defeat by our own desires—is the most important treasure we can possess. This is the treasure of the heart.
    We can define “treasures of the heart” as the mental and spiritual capacities to achieve mastery over oneself and to have genuine concern for others. This equates to such attributes as a solid sense of fulfillment, a brightness of spirit, a warm and attractive personality, self-control, conviction, a sense of justice, courage, empathy and compassion.
    Or, it may be viewed as an indestructible spiritual state—the state of absolute happiness— that allows a person to surmount even life’s most fundamental sufferings. A winner in life is a person who amasses treasures of the heart.
    The Roman philosopher Seneca, tutor to the infamous Emperor Nero, was unjustly sentenced by imperial order to commit suicide. Just before the end, he turned to his family and is reported to have said, “There is no need to worry. There is something that surpasses the riches of this world and I will leave as an example, the moral life I have led.”
    Even though facing a tragic and unjust death, at the final moment, he gave expression to the treasures of the heart he had accumulated through the way he lived. He also stated that he had led a full life. “Death,” he said, “is so little to be feared that through its good offices, nothing is to be feared” (Moral Essays, book 1, XXIV).
    Though not persecuted in the same way as Seneca, we may perceive the sufferings of birth, aging, illness and death, which assail us all, as inherently unjust. In a sense, we all fall victim to the tyrannical emperor of death. The question is whether we can face this ultimate suffering of death with composure and confidence.
    Nichiren Daishonin wrote that because the four sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death are the greatest of life’s sufferings, we can use them to “adorn the [treasure] tower of our beings” to the greatest extent. In other words, through our practice of the Mystic Law, we turn the greatest of life’s sufferings into life’s greatest assets—we develop treasures of the heart.
    Ultimately, treasures of the heart mean the strength, wisdom and good fortune not to be done in by desires and suffering. It indicates the condition of Buddhahood potential within us, which we aim to bring forth and develop through Buddhist practice. And when we become rich in treasures of the heart, on that basis we also enrich our treasures of the storehouse and treasures of the body. In fact, we gain the ability to use these other two treasures to enhance our happiness and that of others.

  5. politobar says:

    The Oneness of Life and the Environment

    Most western religious traditions hold that life is the product of a supreme creator, placed into its environment as part of a grand plan. Science suggests that life sprang forth from inanimate surroundings—that it is merely a phenomenon of a higher complexity.
    The Buddhist view of the relationship between life and its environment, between people and their surroundings, is very simple yet profound in its implications. It explains that life naturally emerges wherever causes and conditions are suitable for it to do so. The place where life emerges and exists is called an environment. “Environment” means surroundings, and life is what it surrounds. For human beings, environment includes our families, communities and workplaces, as well as the landscape upon which we live and all life that fills it. Life cannot exist apart from its environment, and life in turn profoundly effects its environment.
    At the dawn of life on Earth, the oceans teemed with single-celled organisms. Some of these began to absorb the carbon dioxide (CO) in the atmosphere and in turn give off oxygen (O2). Gradually these simple organisms evolved into plant life, producing more and more oxygen. An atmosphere that once contained little oxygen slowly transformed into one that was oxygen rich, as new forms of oxygen-breathing life evolved. Some of that oxygen (O2) was transformed into ozone (O3), creating a layer in the atmosphere that blocked out much of the sun’s harmful radiation, cooling the land and oceans and protecting life. Under this protection, life flourished and evolved. Life thus transformed the environment, making it more conducive to more forms of life.
    Human beings are immersed in an environment rich with myriad forms of plant and animal life, divorced from which we cannot survive. Because we depend on the water, air and the plant and animal life that surrounds us, our environment truly deserves the name “mother nature”—giving birth to and nourishing human beings. Furthermore, our very bodies are composed of the same elements found in our environment—the liquid component of our bodies, for instance, is similar in composition to seawater.
    That we depend on and closely resemble our environment makes the Buddhist concept of the oneness of life and its environment a matter of common sense. But the Buddhist view goes beyond a merely mechanical connection; it recognizes a common thread that binds living entities and their environment. This thread is the true aspect of all phenomena, the Mystic Law, which can be understood as the very life of the universe itself.
    While science recognizes that life arises from the environment and is an extension of that environment, Buddhism sheds light on why this is so. It is because the environment itself is “alive”—because the universe is brimming with the potential for life.
    The “oneness” we have been referring to derives from a Chinese term that literally means “two but not two.” On one level, people and their surroundings are distinct and separate entities. Naturally, it is important to recognize and appreciate this distinction. Yet when viewed from the standpoint of the essential reality, or what the Lotus Sutra refers to as the true aspect of all phenomena, they are one and the same.
    Nichiren Daishonin states: “It means that all beings and their environments in any of the Ten Worlds, from Hell at the lowest to Buddhahood at the highest, are, without exception, the manifestations of Myoho-renge-kyo. Where there is an environment, there is life within it. Miao-lo states, ‘Both life (shoho) and its environment (eho) always manifest Myoho-renge- kyo.'” He equates Myoho-renge-kyo to the true entity or true aspect of all phenomena. The Daishonin also writes, “The Environment is like the shadow, and life, the body. Without the body there can be no shadow. Similarly, without life, the environment cannot exist, even though life is supported by its environment” (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 4, p. 146). The phrase translated here as “is supported by” can also be understood as “is created by” or “is formed from.”
    When people’s inner lives are misguided or unbalanced, the environment—human society, the ecosystem, oceans, atmosphere and geography—is negatively influenced.
    It is important to realize that this is not a static relationship. The connection between us and our surroundings is dynamic, alive. We are constantly exerting an influence on our surroundings while our surroundings are constantly influencing us. What should concern us is whether we are exerting a positive, valuable influence on our environment, and whether we are responding to the influences of our environment in positive and valuable ways.
    If we don’t like what we see in our environment, we can work to change it for the better. And to do this, the principle of oneness with our environment suggests that we must simultaneously work to better ourselves.
    Today our world stands at the brink of an environmental crisis. The habits of humankind have been causing cumulative global environmental effects that are beginning to degrade the well-being of humanity. The dangerous depletion of the Earth’s protective ozone layer and global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels are just two publicized examples. In addition, some 50,000 species are becoming extinct each year, many from causes directly linked to human influence.
    According to the principle of oneness of life and the environment, a fouled environment is the product of polluted hearts and minds. It in turn functions to pollute the bodies, hearts and minds of those living within it. The ongoing destruction of nature, in this light, is clearly a sign of people’s ignorance of the true nature of life.
    In our study of Buddhism we often use the term life-condition to describe our inner mental or emotional state. Life-condition, however, actually refers to the whole picture of our internal and external circumstances. Not only does it mean one’s outlook, frame of mind, heart and spirit; it also includes one’s surroundings—the harmony of one’s family setting, work environment, role in the community, prosperity, etc. All of these things characterize our life and its environment.
    When we view ourselves and our environment as essentially one, we see the value of cultivating and enriching our inner humanity while working to improve our external circumstances. To attend exclusively to either the internal or the external will leave us going in circles. The purpose of the SGI movement is to enable a positive transformation in the lives of individuals, who in turn act with wisdom to exert a positive influence on their environment. As the preface to the novel The Human Revolution reads, “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.” Understanding of this principle is perhaps best expressed in our determination always to improve ourselves while working positively for the well-being of others and the improvement of our environment.
    Living Buddhism, June 1999, p.6

  6. politobar says:

    What Is Karma?

    Human beings have long ascribed to fate, destiny or even God’s will problems they felt powerless to resist, resigning themselves to these perceived forces. The ancient Greeks envisioned three elderly goddesses—the Fates—who controlled people’s lives. The goddess Clotho determined birth, spinning the thread of human life; Lachesis dispensed that thread, steering the path a person would follow in life; and Atropos cut the thread thus determining an individual’s moment of death.
    This attitude—that all in life is predetermined or inalterable—is not limited to people of old; it exerts an influence on the hearts and minds of many living today. Expressing frustration over this tendency, British author and essayist George Orwell wrote: “For the ordinary man is passive. Within a narrow circle…he feels himself master of his fate, but against major events he is as helpless as against the elements. So far from endeavoring to influence the future, he simply lies down and lets things happen to him.”
    The idea that something other than ourselves controls our destiny can in one sense be seen as a form of avoidance—a rationalization to escape facing and challenging real problems and suffering. It may also be an expression of a deep, subconscious sense of helplessness.
    Buddhism teaches the solution to human suffering and provides a way to overcome or transform this sense of helplessness. Ultimately, it teaches that the cause of misery lies not with any external force or circumstance, but with ourselves. Buddhism looks nowhere beyond the sufferer for both the cause and the solution to suffering.
    According to Shakyamuni Buddha: “If a person commits an act of good or evil, he himself becomes the heir to that action. This is because that action actually never disappears (Udana).”
    The Sanskrit word karma means action. And Buddhism divides the actions that constitute karma into three categories: actions of the body (behavior), actions of the mouth (speech, language) and actions of the mind (thoughts).
    The latent force of both our good and bad actions remains in our lives.
    Once committed, any human action, whether good or bad, does not simply vanish into the past with time. Each act remains in one’s life at the present as a potential force or energy, influencing the course of one’s existence from the point of that action forward. In this sense, rather than simply viewing karma as “action,” it may be more appropriate to think of it as action plus that action’s potential influence on one’s life. Or, in simpler terms, karma may be seen as life’s ingrained habits, leanings or tendencies—actions that tend to repeat themselves, or that we tend to repeat.
    Buddhism teaches of the eternal or unending nature of life as a cycle of birth and death. So when people speak of “past karma,” they really mean the present influence on one’s life of actions taken in the past (in past lives). Buddhism also teaches that actions (karma) can be either good or bad; good actions (good karma) give rise to happy, positive effects, and bad actions (bad karma) give rise to unhappy, negative effects.
    Further, some actions yield specific results that will appear at a set time—this is known as fixed or immutable karma. Other actions yield results that are not set or specific in their nature or timing—this is non-fixed or mutable karma. Immutable karma is often used to describe a person’s life span, because the time of one’s death is viewed in Buddhism as fixed or set by the influence of past karma.
    What kind of actions form immutable karma? In the Buddhist scripture “A Treasury of Analysis of the Law” (Jpn. Kusha Ron), they are described as:
    Actions arising from strong earthly desires (delusions, illusions); or conversely, actions arising from a very pure heart and mind.
    Actions that are continually repeated over time.
    Actions taken toward the correct teaching of Buddhism.
    Actions taken toward one’s mother or father.
    While human beings cannot avoid the results of their actions in past lives, Buddhism does not teach that we should simply resign ourselves to the effects of karma, be they good or bad. Submission to fate, to “one’s lot in life” or to some will outside our own is not a correct Buddhist view. Rather, Buddhism is correctly understood as a forward-looking, empowering teaching that stresses personal responsibility and hope. “If I am the one who made myself what I am today, then I am the one who will create the ‘me’ of the future,” is the ideal attitude of a Buddhist.
    Karma, then, does not so much apply to our circumstances as to our thoughts, words and deeds. Things do not happen to us, we make them happen—or we act in a habitual way when they do happen that leads us to habitual situations. We made what we are and experience now, and we are at this moment making what we will be and experience in the future. That is karma. So to change karma means to change our lives right now; that is, the way we think, speak and do things. The best way to positively transform the effects of our past bad karma, enjoy the effects of past good karma, and create good karma for the future is to inform our actions with fresh life force and wisdom.
    Fortunately, the Daishonin’s Buddhism provides us with a way to bring forth this powerful life force and wisdom. The power of our Buddhist practice also enables us to transform negative karma or circumstances into a motivating force for creating great future benefit and reward. Faith and practice enable a change of destiny and the accumulation of good fortune. The key to breaking through the wall of our bad karma and creating future happiness lies only in ourselves—in our own actions.
    Nichiren Daishonin writes in “On Prolonging Life” that “sincere repentance will eradicate even immutable karma, to say nothing of karma which is mutable” (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 229).
    “Sincere repentance” here means to repeatedly refresh our determination to dedicate ourselves to the Law of Buddhism by continually carrying out the practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for our sake and for that of others. This is the purpose of our SGI organization—to provide many people with support in doing just this. When we freely engage ourselves in chanting daimoku and in SGI activities, powerful vitality will emerge from within us. Not only will we break the restraints of our past karma, we will also build a rock-solid foundation of good fortune and happiness for the future.
    Living Buddhism, April 1999, p.6

  7. politobar says:

    Earthly Desires are Enlightenment
    Taking Control Of Our Lives
    As the sexual behavior of politicians surges to the forefront of public debate, two contrasting undercurrents of American thinking rise into view. One side tells us to suppress desires because they are nothing but trouble—the suppression or even denial of desire should be celebrated as a sign of virtue. Meanwhile, the other tells us that human desire is natural (and good!); that we should trust our feelings and desires, and do whatever they move us to do, so long as we do not infringe on the rights of others. Experience, however, tells us that neither the suppression of nor abandonment to desires leads to satisfaction in life. Then how do we live with the reality of our abundant desires and still become happy and fulfilled?
    Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism helps shed light on this issue through the concept called “earthly desires are enlightenment.” The original term in Japanese is bon’no soku bodai. The Japanese word bon’no derives from the Chinese interpretation of the Sanskrit word klisa (or klesa), which means defilement, pain, affliction, distress, evil passion, moral depravity, worry, trouble, infection or contamination. The Chinese interpretation also implies delusions or temptations arising from passions or ignorance that disturb and distress the mind. The Japanese word soku means to be immediately present or to be the same as. And finally the Japanese word bodai is a transliteration of the Sanskrit bodhi, which means knowledge, understanding, perfect wisdom or the enlightened mind. Put simply, this Buddhist concept tells us that our desires and suffering—all that torments our mind—can be the source of wisdom and happiness.
    On the surface, however, this concept is contradictory. Our desires often cause delusion and suffering, which are the exact opposite of wisdom and happiness. In this sense, defining desires as an obstacle to enlightenment, rather than as enlightenment, seems more reasonable. So the logical extension of this line of thought will be that we have to eliminate our desires in order to attain enlightenment. This is exactly what was taught in the monastic Theravada Buddhism, which the populist Mahayana (“Greater Vehicle”) Buddhists called Hinayana (“Lesser Vehicle”). Taking this view of desires to the extreme, Theravada Buddhism taught the annihilation of self through religious austerities. In other words, as long as we have a body and mind, we will continue to suffer from our desires. So we must reduce ourselves to nothing, or so those Theravada monks thought.
    The Daishonin’s Buddhism, however, explains that both “earthly desires” and “enlightenment” are intrinsic to our lives. So any intent to deny either is itself a delusion. In this regard, the Daishonin states: “Among those who wish to become Buddhas through attempting to eradicate earthly desires and shunning the lower nine worlds, there is not one ordinary person who actually attained enlightenment. This is because Buddhahood cannot exist apart from the lower nine worlds” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 403). The Daishonin defines “earthly desires” as “the obstacles to one’s practice which arise from greed, anger, stupidity and the like” (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 145). Earthly desires such as greed, anger, stupidity, arrogance and doubt have a negative influence upon our lives, causing delusion and suffering. The Daishonin teaches that since such earthly desires are ever-present, we must develop wisdom and inner strength so that they do not influence us negatively, and so that we may transform these functions into a driving force for our spiritual growth.
    The Daishonin stresses the importance of inner strength to control our “earthly desires” as he encourages us to “keep the three paths of earthly desires, karma and suffering in check” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 984). Desires give rise to actions, but when those desires are steeped in delusion, those actions create negative karma, which in turn leads to suffering, which gives rise to more desire, and so on.
    The key for us to develop inner strength to stem this negative cycle lies in our prayer to the Gohonzon, in our chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The Daishonin states: “Believe in this mandala [the Gohonzon] with all your heart. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be an obstacle?” (MW-1, 119). Though this was written to the parents of a child suffering from a physical illness, “sickness” can be broadly interpreted as earthly desires or all that causes spiritual or physical anguish such as problems with health, relationships, family harmony, money or career. As long as we firmly believe in the Gohonzon and continue to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no suffering or hardship can be an obstacle to our happiness. With a powerful prayer to the Gohonzon, our earthly desires not only cease to cause suffering, but also become an impetus for our wisdom and happiness. The fact that they motivate us to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with a strong prayer in itself suggests the transformation of earthly desires into enlightenment. To illustrate this point, the Daishonin states: “Through burning the firewood of earthly desires, one can manifest the wisdom-fire of enlightenment” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 710).
    Because we have earthly desires, that is, suffering and delusion, we pray to the Gohonzon. Our hardships are often our greatest motivation to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. When we make a determination that our desires and hardships are yet another opportunity to strengthen our faith and our lives, they no longer function as earthly desires that torment us.
    Through our prayer we can sublimate our base desires into noble and creative causes. Through the Buddhist practice, an egoist whose only concern in life is to gain material wealth can change into a person of magnanimity who gladly uses wealth for the sake of others’ peace and happiness. Sexual desires can be destructive. Shakespeare writes about them as: perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame, savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust (Sonnet 129).
    Passion, however, if imbued with wisdom, can become an impetus for our affectionate expression of humanity as the Daishonin states: “Even during the physical union of man and woman, when one chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, then earthly desires are enlightenment and the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana” (MW-2, 200).
    We cannot avoid our passions. But whether, when they arise, we act wisely and compassionately, or foolishly and selfishly, may determine happiness or suffering in life. The spirit to use whatever desires arise as fuel or “firewood” to empower our prayer to the Gohonzon and thus to bring forth wisdom, is the key to making the principle that “earthly desires are enlightenment” a reality. If we leave the “firewood of earthly desires” alone, they will simply remain a source of suffering. Only when we ignite the firewood with the spark of faith in the Gohonzon, can we bring forth a bright flame of wisdom and happiness from within. Through the concept that “earthly desires are enlightenment” the Daishonin teaches us how to create the greatest possible value from our natural desires and suffering, while neither denying them nor abandoning ourselves to them. This Buddhist principle thus offers us a new approach to the problem of human desire—one that is neither self-denying nor hedonistic.
    Viewed from the standpoint of delusion—desire does not “equal” enlightenment. But viewed from the standpoint of enlightenment itself, earthly desires are indeed enlightenment. This is because a Buddha experiences desires while maintaining full control of them, always bringing forth their enlightened quality to the fullest benefit of self and others.
    Living Buddhism, February 1999, p.6

  8. politobar says:

    The Four Virtues of the Buddha:
    Breaking Out of the Lesser Self

    How we view ourselves is reflected in how we see the world and how we treat others. The less sure we are of ourselves, the more we become fixed on ourselves while disregarding others and the world around us. Selfishness is often the flip side of a lack of self-identity. Even when those who are not really sure of themselves try to do something for others, they are often motivated by selfishness. They may be attempting either to make themselves feel needed by others, or seeking some sort of praise, recognition or even the salvation of their souls for their “altruism.” Buddhism views altruism as an expression of one’s awakening to one’s true self and explains that it stems from compassion, appreciation and a sense of interconnection rather than insecurity. The notion of the “four virtues of the Buddha” describes and encourages a holistic view of self, a view that transcends selfishness.
    The Buddha, or enlightened one, is said to possess four virtues: true self, eternity, happiness and purity. The original concept of these four virtues, however, predates Buddhism. Brahmanism, the prevailing religion in Shakyamuni’s India, taught that the human being has an enduring soul or essence called atman—”the breath of life.” Atman, often translated as “self,” was viewed as eternal, happy and pure. Espoused by the Brahmans, then India’s highest, priestly caste, Brahmanism explained that the supreme purpose of atman was to acquire wealth and honor. So, by making offerings to the deities, people sought worldly gains. Atman, in this sense, may be viewed as self in pursuit of selfish desire.
    In his early teachings, Shakyamuni refuted the Brahmanic view of self and in his later teachings revealed his enlightened perspective on the matter. When people are consumed with egotism, no matter how much they seek wealth and honor, the pain of their hunger will not be eased. So from this standpoint, Shakyamuni taught that the self is impure and transient and causes suffering. In the earlier sutras, he explains that nothing remains constant, there is no such thing as eternal self. Because the self was transient and not enduring, the Buddha taught, attachment to it or anything in this impure and fleeting world was the cause of suffering. In his later teachings, which came to be classified as Mahayana, or “Greater Vehicle” teachings, especially in the Lotus and Nirvana sutras, Shakyamuni expounds an entirely new view of self. He explains that one’s true self, that is, one’s Buddha nature, is eternal, transcending the cycle of birth and death; it is essentially pure and endowed with happiness. From the viewpoint of Mahayana Buddhism, therefore, true self, eternity, happiness and purity are called the four virtues of the Buddha. In this regard, one Mahayana scripture explains: “The deluded beings are attached to their lesser self and thus suffer. Buddhas and bodhisattvas discard the lesser self. As a result, their self is pure and thus called the greater self. Because they think of all living beings as ‘self,’ theirs is called the greater self.”
    While Brahmanism justifies attachment to self, Mahayana Buddhism advocates the inner reform to discard one’s lesser self and develop the greater self rooted in compassion. The Nirvana Sutra clarifies this point, saying: “The deluded beings view that in this world, self is eternal, happy and pure, but this is topsy-turvy. The Buddha also views that in this world, self is eternal, happy and pure, and this is the truth.” Buddhas are those who are awakened to the greater self of compassion. In this expanded vision of self, they see that their lives are connected to others and the world around them. So Buddhas have genuine appreciation for others and are driven by their desire to contribute to the world around them.
    Nichiren Daishonin attributes the four virtues of the Buddha to the four leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Bodhisattva Superior Practices (Jogyo) represents true self. Revealing true self means for us to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon, thus manifesting our innate Buddhahood and shedding the lesser self of egotism. Bodhisattva Boundless Practices (Muhengyo) signifies eternity. Through establishing our true self of Buddhahood, we come to understand, perhaps not intellectually but with our innermost heart, the eternity of life, and remain unswayed by our ever-changing circumstances while confidently challenging ourselves. Bodhisattva Pure Practices (Jyogyo) represents purity. Once we are awakened to the greater self of Buddhahood, we are no longer tainted by delusions. With a secure sense of self, we can even positively influence our environment, thus purifying it. Finally Bodhisattva Firmly Established Practices (Anryugyo) signifies happiness—a kind of happiness that withstands all the ups and downs of our lives, including death. Through developing confidence in the Buddha nature as our true self, we free ourselves from trivial concerns for any unnecessary artifice of life and remain at peace with ourselves, knowing that we will ultimately triumph over any obstacle.
    It is significant that the four leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth represent the four virtues of the Buddha. As the names of those bodhisattvas indicate, only through our dedicated practice as bodhisattvas—practice dedicated to the happiness of others—can we break through our lesser self and reveal the greater self of Buddhahood. In other words, our bodhisattva practice is the cause for the Buddha’s four virtues to manifest in our lives. Yet from another perspective, it may be also said that Buddhas are in essence those who are awakened to their greater self and act for the well-being of others. In this sense, the altruism of Bodhisattva practice is not only the means to overcome the lesser self and develop the four virtues; it is also a direct expression of these four virtues inherent in life, in our Buddha nature. This is why chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which calls forth our inherent Buddhahood and its corresponding virtues, provides the greatest basis for an altruistic life—a life dedicated to the happiness of others.
    The four virtues of the Buddha, from the standpoint of the Daishonin’s Buddhism, describe the ideal characteristics of human beings whose view of self is not hindered in any way by selfish ego. Their understanding of self is so encompassing that their own existence and the world around them become indistinguishable. A limited understanding of self, however, leads to egotism, bringing suffering and misery to both oneself and others. True self-knowledge—an awakening to our true, greater self—in this sense is a key to overcoming selfishness.
    Living Buddhism, January 1999, p.8

  9. politobar says:

    [南無妙法蓮華経] Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
    The ultimate Law or truth of the universe, according to Nichiren’s teaching. Nichiren first taught the invocation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to a small group of people at Seicho-ji temple in his native province of Awa, Japan, on the twenty-eighth day of the fourth month in 1253. It literally means devotion to Myoho-renge-kyo. Myoho-renge-kyo is the Japanese title of the Lotus Sutra, which Nichiren regards as the sutra’s essence, and appending nam (a phonetic change of namu ) to that phrase indicates devotion to the title and essence of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren identifies it with the universal Law or principle implicit in the meaning of the sutra’s text.
    The meaning of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is explained in the opening section of The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, the record of Nichiren’s lectures on the Lotus Sutra compiled by his disciple and successor, Nikko. It states that namu derives from the Sanskrit word namas and is translated as devotion, or as “dedicating one’s life.” What one should dedicate one’s life to, he says, are the Person and the Law. The Person signifies “Shakyamuni,” which means the eternal Buddha, and the Law is “the Lotus Sutra,” which means the ultimate truth, or Myoho-renge-kyo. According to Orally Transmitted Teachings, the act of devotion (namu) has two aspects: One is to devote oneself to, or fuse one’s life with, the eternal and unchanging truth; the other is that, through this fusion of one’s life with the ultimate truth, one simultaneously draws forth inexhaustible wisdom that functions in accordance with changing circumstances.
    Orally Transmitted Teachings further states: “We may also note that the nam of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a Sanskrit word, while Myoho-renge-kyo are Chinese words. Sanskrit and Chinese join in a single moment to form Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. If we express the title [of the Lotus Sutra] in Sanskrit, it will be Saddharma-pundarika-sutra. This is Myoho-renge-kyo. Sad (a phonetic change of sat ) means myo, or wonderful. Dharma means ho, Law or phenomena. Pundarika means renge, or lotus blossom. Sutra means kyo, or sutra. The nine Chinese characters [that represent the Sanskrit title] are the Buddha bodies of the nine honored ones. This expresses the idea that the nine worlds are none other than the Buddha world.”
    Myo stands for the Dharma nature, or enlightenment, while ho represents darkness, or ignorance. Together as myoho, they express the idea that ignorance and the Dharma nature are a single entity, or one in essence. Renge stands for the two elements of cause and effect. Cause and effect are also a single entity.”
    Kyo represents the words and voices of all living beings. A commentary says, ‘The voice carries out the work of the Buddha, and it is called kyo.’ Kyo may also be defined as that which is constant and unchanging in the three existences of past, present, and future. The Dharma realm is myoho, the wonderful Law; the Dharma realm is renge, the lotus blossom; the Dharma realm is kyo, the sutra.”
    As Nichiren states, namu derives from Sanskrit, and Myoho-renge-kyo comes from Chinese. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is, therefore, not simply a Japanese phrase, but a Japanese reading of a Sanskrit and Chinese phrase. In this sense, it contains aspects of the languages of three countries in which Mahayana Buddhism spread. According to Nichiren’s treatise The Entity of the Mystic Law, Nan-yüeh and T’ient’ai of China and Dengyoof Japan recited the invocation meaning devotion to the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, as their private practice, but they did not spread this practice to others.
    In On the Three Great Secret Laws, Nichiren states that the daimoku Nichiren chants today in the Latter Day of the Law is different from that of the previous ages—the daimoku T’ient’ai and others chanted in the Former Day and Middle Day of the Law—because the practice of daimoku in the Latter Day of the Law involves chanting it oneself and teaching others to do so as well. Nichiren not only established the invocation (daimoku) of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo but embodied it as a mandala, making it the object of devotion called Gohonzon. In Reply to Kyo’o, he states, “I, Nichiren, have inscribed my life in sumi ink, so believe in the Gohonzon with your whole heart. The Buddha’s will is the Lotus Sutra, but the soul of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (412).

  10. politobar says:

    No importa que problemas ocurran, considerelo como un sueño, algo transitorio y piense unicamente en el sutra del Loto.
    Daisaku Ikeda

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