Now to take a break from the usual thread, I wanted to share my personal awakening experience. I experienced deep insight into a teaching given by my teacher to “See the Buddha!” Chapter 16; “If they respect me, believe me, and wish to see me.”
In my personal practice, I have dedicated myself to in addition to my personal practice to read everyday the Lotus Sutra highlighted chapters (Yohon) and our Founders Nichiren Shonin's writings.
I, perhaps like most people, did not understand this cryptic concept of “Seeing the Buddha!” Thinking will he magically appear before me. Well that is what happened!
During my daily reading, I began reading “Nyorai metsugo go-hyaku-sai shi kanjin honzon-sho” (A Treatise Revealing the Spirtual Contemplation and the Most Venerable One for the First Time in the Fifth 500-year Period after the Death of Shakyamuni Buddha) or just known as Kanjin Honzon Sho.
Previously being a monk, I read a wide variety of Sutra's that all claim to be superior and teach the Truth. When I became a Nichiren Buddhist, the Lotus Sutra baffled me. It was like no other sutra. Basically, because it spoke of faith instead of a method to find enlightenment.
In reading the Kanjin Honzon-Sho, Nichiren Shonin stated, “As we often look at each other's faces, we notice our facial expression changes from time to time. It is full of delight, anger, or calm sometimes; but other times it changes to greed, ignorance, or flattery. Anger represents hells; greed-hungry spirits; ignorance-beasts; flattery-asura demons; delight- gods; and calm-men. Thus we see in the countenance of people the six realms of illusion, from hells to the realm of gods. We cannot see four realms of holy ones (sravaka, pratyekabuddha, bodhisattvas, and Buddhas), which are hidden from our eyes. Nevertheless, we must be able to see them, too, if we look for them carefully.”
In this simple but profound statement, I realized what realms I could see exist in my mind as well as others. He further states about two holy realms of sravaka and pratyekabuddha. “We see the so-called principle of impermanence everywhere in front of our eyes. We humans understand this principle, through through…Two vehicles called sravaka and pratyekabuddha try to obtain enlightenment (Arhatship).” Having in my own practice experienced insight into the teaching of emptiness and seeing impermanence through my previous practices, I have seen that these realms truly exist within the realm of men.
He further goes on to state that, “A man, no matter how inconsiderate he may be, loves his wife and children. It shows that he is partly in the Bodhisattva realm.” In this I have experienced this as well in my mission and vow to being a priest .
If so, once the realization, that I have seen and experienced these realms. “The only realm contained in the realm of men and yet hard to see is that of the Buddha's.”
I realized in my mind and heart, without doubt that the realm of Buddha's exist and that when we study the Mahayana teachings we develop the Buddha-eye and are able to see the Buddha in our hearts as well as that of others, flowing our Lotus of faith. This is the first step in practicing Buddhism, that of Bodhicitta (Aspiring to Enlightenment). We must see this and find faith in our hearts and minds before we can lift ourselves up to actualize and see the Buddha realm manifesting it in our lives and realizing that the teaching of Ichinen Sanzen is the map to realizing this faith.
To sum this all up! “The reason why we, ordinary people, born in the Latter Age, can put faith in the Lotus Sutra is that the realm of Buddha's is included in the realm of human beings.” There is no need to rely on anything else, just to chant the heart and mind of the Buddha, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo!
Once we are convinced and believe this, we are truly able to realize that the highest teaching to lead us to enlightenment is the Lotus Sutra and that the true object that actualizes this, manifested in our world is the correct object of veneration, the Mandala Gohonzon. When chanting from this state, I was indeed able to have faith in and see the Buddha, causing the light of the Buddha to illuminate all the lower realms and thus I saw the Buddha in my own mind and from there I chant the Sacred Title! Honor be to Myoho Renge Kyo!