An interesting situation came up recently concerning the (王舎城 (Ōshajō) aka, Rājagṛha – Town of Royal Palaces) Ofuda that we in Enkyoji give to new students as their first initiation into our tradition that has sparked this article.
For those who have not received one, I would like to explain a little bit about its purpose. The Oshajo Ofuda is a special tailisman of protection enscribed by Nichiren Shonin to protect students from disasters. A ofuda is not to be seen as a magic piece of paper, but as psychological medicine for our lives. To begin with the study of Buddhism, one must be fearless and possess the wish for freedom through the Buddha’s teaching.
I offer it to my students as a connection with our Founder Nichiren Shonin, our lineage and myself. Inscribed on the back is important information about the receipent as well as personal prayers from myself for the future of the Buddhist path.
Now the benefit!
Over the many years of practicing Buddhism, I have fought against the idea of the Guru or Teacher concept. However recently, I have come to realize the deep purposeful nature of this relationship and its great benefits.
The definition of Guru is as follows, “(in Hinduism and Buddhism) a spiritual teacher, especially one who imparts initiation.” Initiation into specific practices. This is something that as modern Buddhists we fight against, due to the images of long haired narcicsts in saffron robes. However, I have changed my perspective on this during my study of the Maka Shikan (Concentration and Insight Sutra) by Master Tien Tai.
A teacher is our spiritual physician. Watching and measuring our health, basically a life healthcare professional. A teacher shows us the right direction, exemplifies the teaching and shares with us their path of good living. Some paths are simple and some are profound but they still allow us to see the path being walked and that it is real.
Most people cannot see their own path through their maundane eyes, just like they cannot see how to implement Buddhism into their lives properly. However, we can witness others path and their benefits and be perscribe practices. This is the idea of “good friends” in Buddhism. They are seen to influence our health either towards illness or health and allows us experience the path in real time and change our lives and not just our thoughts.
Wow, how profound this is!
All aspects of our life is either leading to health enlightenment) or sickness (Mara-illusion). The choice is up to us, but just to have the idea is not the reality. We commune with our Founders and teachers daily to direct us through their teachings. The point of our morning and evening services are daily cheakups.
The Oshajo Ofuda is the prescription for health and a positive life. It is meant to be a living item that is the first key given to us, and that we accept, as the first step walking with our teachers. I am there to support you and see that you are in good health but only if you come for your appointment. If you think that you already know, I am unable to assist you. That is your responsibility… If you are willing to learn, please accept this Oshajo Ofuda into your life as an agreement between teacher and student. I promise to teach you what I have learned and you promise to learn sincerely and with a beginners mind. If this is not the case it loses its meaning and power in your life. You make the desicion…
Rev. Kanjin Cederman