Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Happy April 28th! The Day Nichiren Chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the first time

On April 28th, in 1253  
Nichiren Daishonin changed our lives forever. 
He chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo 
and reclaimed the practice of Buddhism 
for the happiness of all. 

It's fascinating to imagine what it would have been like for him that day. I wonder what he felt when he was pondering the true practice for the age. Remember, he'd made a vow at the age of twelve to be the wisest man in Japan. He'd traveled to Buddhist temples all over reading the sacred scrolls and asking himself the same question over and over: 

"What is the REAL practice for this age? What will lead people to happiness? What is the true lifeblood of Buddhism NOW?" 

He put every cell of his body into finding the answer to this question. There were many forms of Buddhism at the time. All of them promised rewards in the future, but no fulfillment right now. The Pure Land sect focused on happiness after death in the Pure Land. Other sects said you had to atone for every single negative cause you had ever made and after many, many lifetimes attain Buddhahood. Others said you had to be reborn as a man. 

But NONE said that Happiness exists in the here and now, and you can attain Buddhahood, happiness, enlightenment, right here right now in your present form. 

And THAT school was the one Nichiren founded, beginning 762 years ago today by chanting the title of the Lotus Sutra for the first time. I can just imagine the shivers going through his body. I can just imagine the responses of the people around him who were all attached to their own particular beliefs. It took an amazing amount of energy and strength. 

And he continued his religious revolution every day from then on. In the face of multiple persecutions, attacks, hatred...you name it. But he KNEW. He KNEW that one day you and I would be chanting this phrase and changing the world by infusing our lives with the energy of this vibration, advancing, dancing step by step with Nichiren and our mentor in faith Daisaku Ikeda. 

What courage. What strength. 

Those of us who have read the writings Nichiren wrote to his followers know what he went through...being exiled to a gardener's hut with holes in the walls and the ceiling with no provisions in the cold of winter ~ in a graveyard no less...not even a graveyard actually, a place where dead bodies were just left on Sado Island. People were told not to go near the hut or help Nichiren or they would be killed.

And it was from this hut where he wrote the Opening of the Eyes and many of his most important letters "Gosho" saying "I am the happiest man in all Japan!" 
Why was he so happy? Because his persecutions confirmed that this was the correct teaching. We can learn so much through his actions and attitude. 

Happy April 28th! 
We are the Buddhas of this new age! 
All of us are standing on that hill with Nichiren 
facing the rising sun...
boldly proclaiming Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
I CLAIM my life! 
I will live my life with the vow to accomplish a world of respect for all. I will show, through my own life what is possible as a human being.

My noble, noble friends! 
I look forward to hearing your victories on May Third!  

1 comment: