I hope that you're having a wonderful beginning to the New Year 2020, the year of the mouse. This is the first animal of the zodiac, in which a new cycle begins. This is a very important year. In order to make the correct causes and conditions for the following years so that they may be fruitful and prosperous.
For this year I would like to give you my new year's message for all of you to contemplate, during this year. I have been studying. many new teachings and information found in our Nichiren Shu tradition of Buddhism.
This is very interesting because one of the main points that we must consider in practicing Buddhism is that Buddhism is able to grow and adapt to modern society and cultural aspects.
This is interesting because it gives us a challenge. In that, we must consider how Buddhism is to be shared and practiced, or how modern Buddhism will look like and be practiced in our Buddhism. We constantly hear Nichiren Shonin referring to the concept of “learning and practicing” and you may not know that this idea of learning and practicing actually is not originally from our teacher Nichiren Shonin. It, in fact, is referenced from Grandmaster Tien Tai and from the Maka Shikan. If we take this as simply just to have the devotion of chanting, we will be incorrect. The practice of chanting must be taught and understood in the context of our mind, emotion, and thoughts. And in understanding the context of Buddhism within our own lives, we can manifest mental health and change.
This, of course, will challenge, those who believe in the superstitious Buddhism, and the use of the mantra, that they use as a magic phrase that will automatically improve their current state, without challenging them to change and process new information. This is simply as the Buddha stated, “the mind of ignorance”. We are directed to see, according to Master Tien Tai, the mental and emotional distortions that we have as the 10 Contemplations. Through this, we realize that Buddhism is a form of therapy in that we must not be deluded that we are ok and others are the problem.
As we know, the main concept of the Buddha is to remove suffering. Looking at from this point of a vow a lot of outdated movements and beliefs must be seen as they are and if they are still relevant, to keep our practice relevant and be understood through modern science to demonstrate its purpose to modern people. The concept of faith must not just be another form of egotism or delusion. Faith must be demonstrated and manifested through a peaceful stable mind rather than religious fundamentalism.
In that now we are able to measure through science, which allows us to see the benefits of our practice based on scientific investigation and measurement. That is why we must challenge ourselves to explore the concepts of our mind through meditation and insight, revealing the true object of devotion.
What is the true object of devotion that we wish to attain and see? It is very important that we have an idea to change in order to improve ourselves to go beyond the cognitive distortions in our mind based on our biased, prejudice and victimhood.
We must improve our current mental and physical state to become upright and luminous. Through that, we will find the true motivation to change and move towards the true state of Buddha. In the modern sense, this becomes a form of therapy
This is my hope for this year in 2020.
So let us together, be able to move forward in our practice of Buddhism, becoming a foundation for positive living and positive change in our lives and in the lives of every day through concentration and insight, based on the mantra of the Odaimoku (Namu Myoho Renge Kyo)
May we share it with others. As we grow ourselves to better understand our mind. And to be able to invoke change in our lives.
Only through ourselves, can we manifest the teachings of the Buddha and the manifestation of the Gohonzon.
Rev. Kanjin Cederman