Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Heart of The Lotus Sutra by Daisaku Ikeda

I am reading this new book published by the SGI and written by Daisaku Ikeda. Have you ever read a book that was so good you just want to highlight every single passage? The Heart of the Lotus Sutra explores our beloved Gongyo passages line by line in a way that is making them jump out at me in a new way...and I am gaining a new understanding and appreciation of the Lotus Sutra itself. 
With each sentence I feel like Daisaku Ikeda, Josei Toda, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Nichiren Daishonin are speaking directly to me...and to all of us. This book can be purchased through the portal on the right, and possibly at your local SGI Center. 

I have been thinking about the best way to help you gain an understanding along with me, but I really feel the best way would be for you to get the book, if possible, and read it along with me ~ sharing your thoughts and observations. 

Here are just a few of the ideas I'd like to share with you:

According to Daisaku Ikeda this book arose from Josei Toda's lectures on the Lotus Sutra. 
"These lectures arose from the vast state of life of President Toda, who had awakened to the essence of Buddhism while in prison...
..."President Toda began each series of lectures by emphasizing that the Lotus Sutra is expressed differently according to the age..."
"What do the different expressions of the manifold Lotus Sutra have in common? Ultimately, it is the teaching that everyone equally has the potential to attain Buddhahood...Nichiren Daishonin revealed the ultimate truth of the Lotus Sutra as nam-myoho-renge-kyo, enabling all human beings of the Latter Day to attain Buddhahood."

He also says that Toda made this bold declaration: 

"I want to banish the word 'misery' from this world and rid the world of poverty and sickness." and goes on to state: "The passionate cry of the spirit of my mentor, who stood up alone after the war (WWII), still resounds in my ears. This cry of the spirit is none other than the heart of the Lotus Sutra." 

President Ikeda addresses the question that often comes up in Buddhist meetings. What kind of benefit will I get by reciting words I don't understand? He writes:

"I imagine some may wonder how reciting sutra passages you cannot understand could bring about any benefit. Let me reassure you that there is definitely benefit from carrying out this practice. 
The Daishonin writes:

A baby does not know the difference between water and fire, and cannot distinguish medicine from poison. But when the baby sucks milk, its life is nourished and sustained. Although one may not be versed (in the various sutras)...if one listens to even one character of the Lotus Sutra, one cannot fail to attain Buddhahood. (WND-1, 513)"

As we are "chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we are speaking in the language of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Even though you may not understand what you are saying, your voice definitely reaches the Gohonzon, all Buddhist deities, and all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas over the three existences (past, present and future ~JS) and in the ten directions. In response, the entire universe bathes you in the light of good fortune.
At the same time, of course, if you study the sutra with this practice as your basis and with a seeking spirit, you can as a matter of course deepen your confidence and strengthen your faith."

In a later passage, Daisaku Ikeda states:

"Nichiren's intent is for each person to shine as a celebrity of the Mystic law in their community and in society at large. By making dedicated efforts in faith, we are certain to develop such a reputation." 

There is so much more I'd like to write, but it is time to start my day. I have been enjoying every moment of my life. I love my new job. I love the people I work with. I am enjoying the new man in my life. Yesterday we went to the boat show in Chicago and I am allowing myself to believe that there will be wonderful days of Sunshine and boating in my future. Boating is one of those things I have always wanted to spend more time doing. It's another example of "Making the impossible possible!" Today I am going to a concert celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, and having my sons and some friends over to watch the 49er/Seattle Seahawks football game. (My son Aaron is a diehard fan of the 49ers...and he was born in San Francisco after all!) Ben is doing great. He's enjoying his new job and looking forward to some college courses coming up in a few weeks. My fortune is overflowing and I continually pray the same for you. 

1 comment:

  1. Quite beautiful words from Daisaku.
    Even though One doesn't understand the language, if he devoted to the sutra with all his heart and devotion to the sutra, then one can truly understand the meanings of the language even the you truly doesn't understand the language.