Thursday, August 27, 2015

Faith Like Flowing Water

With Ben on our Carribean Cruise in 2012

Thanks for all the feedback on my recent posts. 

Tomorrow I go to Cape Cod with my son Aaron, his girlfriend Meg, and my "Wusband," Paul, for a week. We'll be staying with Paul's brother and sister-in-law - who will always be my family too, even though I'm no longer married to Paul.
This vacation is another example of the power of the law - "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo." When we decided to get divorced I made a determination to have the kind of divorce no one would even believe...where each member of the family was better off than before...something truly remarkable...and we've achieved it. We've had friends begin their Buddhist practice after seeing us together! 

Lately I've been thinking a lot about having 
Faith Like Flowing Water ~ as opposed to faith like fire.  
To me, faith like flowing water means faith that does not stop, it continually flows over whatever rocks are in its way. It is undaunted. It stops at nothing. It may seem like having faith like flowing water is difficult, but I believe having faith like fire is much harder. Every time the fire goes out it needs to be rekindled from scratch. Difficult! 

Last night it was really difficult to chant, but I knew I wanted to, and I knew I HAD to...because it was Wednesday and tomorrow was going to be Thursday. Ben started his next journey on a Thursday, and each Thursday is really hard for me. This Thursday it is eight weeks. It feels like no time at all and it feels like an eternity. 

And as I was "trying" to chant last night, I just sat there and kept trying, and at a certain point it kicked in. Faith like flowing like flowing water...never giving in and always winning. This morning's daimoku was powerful - I never wanted to stop! 

Here are some quotes on having Faith Like Flowing Water: 

"Today there are people who have faith in the Lotus Sutra. The belief of some is like fire while that of others is like water. When the former listen to the teachings, their passion flares up like fire, but as time goes on, they tend to discard their faith. To have faith like water means to believe continuously without ever regressing."
The Two Kinds of Faith - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.1, page 89
Sensei Ikeda has explained the meaning of the above gosho passage through the following excerpt, in which he explains the difference between having faith that is like water and faith that is like fire.
"Faith that is like fire,” he said, “resembles a flame that leaps up and burns brightly for a short time. We experience this when we have a burst of enthusiasm and decide to chant or share Nichiren Buddhism more seriously. Just like a flame, however, this kind of faith tends not to last.
In contrast, faith that is like flowing water resembles a stream firmly and steadfastly running its course. It is the faith of a person who, though their actions may not be showy or extraordinary, has an invincible determination and sense of mission, and continues to challenge themselves in faith, practice, and study throughout their life.
It’s important that we maintain faith that is like flowing water. But how do we do that? By practicing Nichiren Buddhism together with the Gakkai organization. When human beings, ordinary people, are all on their own, they aren’t as strong. They can easily lapse into self-centered, arbitrary views and stop making efforts to grow.”
Not being part of an organization might seem more free and enjoyable, but true growth in faith is nurtured through the process of fellow members, “good friends” in the realm of Buddhist practice, encouraging and inspiring one another, and spurring each other on. Sensei went on to say that Gakkai meetings play an important role in helping us maintain faith that is like clear, pure, flowing water.
Excerpt - "The Banner of the Law", NHR , Vol 26

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