Why Are You Doing This Practice?


cartoon Nichiren Shonin studyAfter discussing the essence of the Odaimoku, I left everyone with the question.  “Why are you doing this Practice?

I ask this because to give all of the spiritual reasons one should chant seems not enough to get people to let go of their ego and dull mindedness to uphold the Odaimoku.  Now when I say “Dull Mindedness” I am not pointing to one person, I am along side with all of you in this situation.  I have discovered that reviewing my own reasons and challenges, not only could it be the right medicine to help others begin the path, but it makes the path I walk more clear as well.  I suppose this is why in our Bodhisattva practice, this path is not to be walked alone, but with others.

When I asked you the question, “Why are you doing this practice?”   I know there is a variety of answers from the basic, “I want to get stuff” to “I want to attain enlightenment.”  All are very well, but it seems to me even in my case, we have the direct need for benefits.  In Nichiren Shu we have worked with many people coming from other organizations that simply focuses on material benefits to actualize the practice to the more spiritual benefits of traditional Nichiren traditions towards enlightenment.

In my case, I cannot say directly that it is any of those things.  I did not come to Nichiren Buddhism because of my wish to “get things” or “attain enlightenment”.  I was a Buddhist monk before, because I simply wished to become powerful to be able to be smarter then my enemies or have mental & spiritual powers, in which I could overcome anything difficult.  This is because I was a shy and non-confident child and Buddhism looked like the way to fix my life.

The underlying fact seems to be the very base wish to “fix ones current state.”  Is this to be despised?  I do not think so!  I just feel that whenever one searches for that vehicle to change the state of ones life, we become venerable and are easily abused.  That is percisly why we need the correct teaching or else in this open state of hope we can be filled with Dogma or led astray by bad friends.  So I remember the saying, “The Path is as narrow as the razors edge.”  We must find good friends and teachers to help us come to this personal realization.

That is why I consider the Odaimoku to be the perfect teaching to save all sentient beings and why I chant it.  It exposes all of our ignorance and becomes a torch that lights the path for us.  It is important to know what source that our chanting originates.

A recent revalation that I had was when my teacher, Tsukamoto Shonin, stated that, “When we chant, we should just wish to see the Buddha!”  How simple!  I was trying all of this time to ponder what I should be focused on or what should I be thinking, not knowing that it was simply my deep vow for what I value most!

This awakened the passage in the Lotus Sutra for me, “When they see me seemingly pass away, and make offerings to my sariras, and adore me, admire me, and become devout, upright and gentle, and wish to see me with all their hearts at the cost of their lives…”.  – Chapter 16, Lotus Sutra.

At the cost of our lives!  What else do sentient beings value more then their lives.  This is the place from which I discovered that the true vow originates and is exemplified through our founder, Nichiren Shonin’s life.

With Gassho…

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Gabriel Eisho Rosman
9 years ago

I also lack at times confidence, and my practice always reminds me that I am not alone in the search for spiritual strength. I sometimes need to listen more to my teacher and my sangha and let them be a pivotal force of strength in my life…

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