What is the Purpose of this Magic Paper that Sensei gave me?

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…

With Gassho,

Rev. Kanjin Cederman

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Back to the temple

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I made it to Stonehenge!

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Friday – Wednesday

Update from Shami Kanse walk!  With Gassho…

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It’s Friday?!

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An update from Shami Kansei on his journey!  With Gassho…

 

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Upcoming Enkyoji Retreat Registration!

Upcoming Enkyoji Retreat! Join us!

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Wednesday 18th July

Hello everyone,

Have you been following Shami Kanse Capon in his path, “walking withCaptain James blog”?

Wednesday 18th July

There was a very interesting situation on his journey that he encountered Jehovah Witness believers.

Of course, like most feverant religious believers they had the simple mindset to comb the masses until a few disinchanted or fearful people that they were able to catch with their message, strayed from the heard.  Many people for example, the woman who chanted loudly “Namu Myoho Renge Kyo”, stated that they simply bothered her morning.

What should be our behavior in this situation?

I would like to share with you what I have learned through the many encounters that I have had throughout my life with zealous religious believers.

Since I was 18 years old, I have wore Buddhist robes.  To to many Western religious people this was seen as confusing and they treated me as never being able to be brought back from the dark side.  I have fine too far, they thought.

I remember one time meeting with a Bishop in Buffalo and upon meeting him he immediately asked where I was from, I stated that I was from Wheatfield New York and that my mother was Chatholic.  He then said, “well what happened to you?”.  I was so irritated by this offhand humor, that I stated, “what do you mean?”. The room went silent.  Of course, at that time the Church was growing it’s relationships with other Faith’s.

I remember from that point I became more direct with my practice.  Of course, I had seen the ridiculous behavior of some other Nichiren Buddhist groups doing the same thing, basically barking until you believed it or walked away.  So I made a few rules of how to approach a religious conversation.  First is appropriate timing?  Secondly that I would actually listen to their points wholeheartedly and thirdly that I would make it known that they should listen as well and that if you want to discuss this we will it do it frankly and with no quarter.  If you can accept all of this we will have a religious discussion.

It is interesting to see that when there is the potential of a blunt conversation, that I will not simply and politey let them ramble and what is expected expected to happen.  Without fail, almost all change the subject or attempt to move forward at their own peril.

I believe that we are Bodhisattvas and that when a “searcher” comes to us, it is our responsibility to teach them in the many ways of our faith, respectfully and maturely.  As Nichiren Shonin stated, “I will never submit, until defeated by a man of reason!”

With Gassho,

Kanjin Cederman Shonin

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