Difficulty In Meeting the Lotus Sutra

cartoon Nichiren Shonin chanting on mountainAs we look deeper into the teaching of upholding the Lotus Sutra we think of our actions in promoting the teaching or exemplifying it in our lives.  But in order to understand the profoundness of our simply meeting this wonderful teaching in our current lives, we must first take a step back.

In this Gosho entitled, Hokke Daimoku Sho, Nichiren Shonin states that “this is why the opportunity to encounter the Lotus Sutra is compared to udumbara flowers, which are said to blossom only once in 3,000 years. The difficulty is also compared to the story of a one-eyed turtle finding a floating piece of wood in the ocean in order to dry its shell once in innumberable kalpa (aeons).”

Many people do not think twice on how rare this teaching is.  When I look around, I see all people looking for happiness and truth in their lives and society.  However, due to karmic hindrances they glance over the great Buddha-Dharma.  So even to meet basic Buddhism is a rare occurrence.

When we have deep appreciation for the encountering of this teaching and realize that this is due to our past good merits, we can have compassion for all that have not had such an opportunity due to their blindness, but this is the place where the karmic seeds of compassion are sown.

When we realize this compassion we should cause others to hear the Lotus Sutra, for even if they slander it, “causing them to attain Buddhahood in the future through the merit of reverse relationship.” -Sho Hokke Daimoku-sho  They will come to an awakening in the future when the seeds sprout and Lotus begins to grow.  No meeting of this teaching is a wasted chance.

Also, if they choose to believe its teaching, “Beginners may practice this without knowing the heart (of the Lotus Sutra), but their practice will naturally harmonize with its intention- Shishin Ghohon-Sho  Meaning that they will come to realize it as the “Great Medicine” that will only cure the aliments of suffering beings.

“Although there is no mind in the lotus flower, it blossoms in response to the sunlight.  A Japanese banana plant has no ears, but its growth is influenced by thunder.  Likewise we able to become Buddhas by the virtue of the Odaimoku of the Lotus Sutra, which is like the sunlight and the thunder for a lotus flower and banana plant.” -Nichiren Shonin

Even through we are not enlightened beings, we are guided by the Buddha, if we have correct faith, we should naturally wish to give all Sentient Beings the same great opportunity.  The teaching will permeate their minds and hearts even if they slander or scoff at it.  This is truly the way of upholding the teaching and returning the incalculable Compassion of the Eternal Buddha.  So go study and share it with others from your true mind.  They will truly admire it, if it comes from the mind of the Buddha-realm.

With Gassho…

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“It is easy to receive the Lotus Sutra but difficult to uphold it; Buddhahood therefore, lies in upholding it.”

“It is easy to receive the Lotus Sutra but difficult to uphold it; Buddhahood therefore, lies in upholding it.”.

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“It is easy to receive the Lotus Sutra but difficult to uphold it; Buddhahood therefore, lies in upholding it.”

“It is easy to receive the Lotus Sutra but difficult to uphold it; Buddhahood therefore, lies in upholding it.”

cartoon nichiren Shonin preaching on the streetWhen we are awakened, beyond attachment and ego, to uphold this Dharma even at the cost of our lives.  What does this mean for us?

When we correctly practice the recitation of the Odaimoku in order to uphold the jewel of the Lotus Sutra, which the Buddha gave us and placed around our necksThis means to uphold and recite the Odaimoku with a gentle and upright heart, “Wishing to see the Buddha with all his heart, even at the cost of his life,” is to tread the path of the Buddha.

This means in my life, Priorities!  When people ask me the question, “is Buddhism a religion?”  I state that there are religious aspects to our practice, but overall I feel it is a value system.

While training as a Shami (Novice Priest) with Tsukamoto Sensei, I had to rethink my practice of Buddhism, since I was now going to be living and working among the regular “Secular” world.  As a monk previously in a monastic system, the only thing to focus on being Buddhist practice and study.  Living in the secular world, my Buddhist boundaries and values were in competition with many more aspects of life and I realized that Buddhism was for one to see the correct value in actions and pursuits and cultivate positive karma based in this principle.  When I say value, I am not speaking of monetary value but receiving the benefits of being in harmony with the spiritual reality of Myoho “Universal Law”.

So my practice of the Lotus Sutra was based directly in what I valued most!  So as I look at my own Buddhist practice, I realize this must be constantly assessed in our daily lives and to uphold the Buddha Dharma is to value it over all things.  I had to also see if I could lose everything, would I still keep it.  Easy to say, but difficult to do!

I value nothing over unsurpassed enlightenment as found in the Lotus Sutra and dedicate my life to the teaching of the Lotus Sutra.

This must be constantly inculcated as my base.  Which I feel in my itten (One Point) located 3 fingers below the navel and between the tops of my hip bones.  This is a spiritual center and where I feel my spiritual/physical center is, although the itten is not an actual thing.  I put it there and place my mind in it at all times.  Or at least try to…returning it to this place when it wanders.

What do you currently hold at the Top of your values in your life? 

Do you value nothing but unsurpassed enlightenment, even if you were to lose your life upholding it?

Please share your ideas and answers with us!

With Gassho…

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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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Reciting the Odaimoku and Chanting the Sutra. (Temple & Personal Practice)

cartoon Nichiren Shonin study1.) Reciting the Odaimoku and Chanting the Sutra.  (Temple & Personal Practice).

As I share with you all of the different types of practice that I use to manifest my study of Buddhism. I would like to state that the core of all of my practice is based in “Namu Myoho Renge Kyo”.  I am not simply speaking of the mere recitation of the title of the Lotus Sutra.  I am stating that the core of my study of Buddhism is to uphold and expound the virtues and merits contained in these characters.  In Nichiren Shu this is the core of our practice and all others are auxiliary practices.  However, I do not find them to be separate in my experience.  If we uphold the Odaimoku as our core, all actions and all realms of mind are naturally illuminated by it.

It is significant that I use the word illuminated.  When I chant before the Gohonzon, circle of the universe, I feel the rays of its illumination on my face and body, …”Just as the light of the sun and the moon eliminates all darkness.” -Ch. 21 Lotus Sutra

This believe comes from my experience during Aragyo (100 day Ascetic Practice).  “When all is stripped away and there is no thought left from the mind of ego, even one small ray from the winter sun can give us peace and connect us with our Buddha-nature.”  Truly, I had to find my core to sustain my life, what was there was the Buddha-Dharma of the Lotus Sutra.  Which I believe is, “essence beyond thought”.

The first part of this section that I would like to begin with is reciting the Odaimoku.

The first question that many people ask themselves is, “Why am I doing this?”

That is a natural question and the beginning of finding essence and dropping the mere theoretical state of ones practice.  For some who are stubborn or value their option over even reality, this can take years.

So I ask all of you, “Why are you doing this practice?”

-Please leave your comments to use for the upcoming post.  This is an interactive process…

With Gassho…

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Guidelines For Learning & Practice At Seattle Choeizan Enkyoji Temple

Guidelines For Buddhist Learning & Practice At Seattle Choeizan Enkyoji Temple.

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Guidelines For Learning & Practice At Seattle Choeizan Enkyoji Temple

Hello Everyone,

Thank you very much if you have subscribed to this blog.

I am starting with an outline of basic practices that I maintain in my daily life, which I believe allows myself to be more in accordance and grounded in my “Buddhist Life Practice”.

I say “Buddhist Life Practice” because it is far too easy for people to fall into Buddhism like any regular practice or faith.  We have many external similarities with other practices.  However, Buddhism is profoundly different in that we see the benefit and suffering in our daily lives, in which we actively and with gusto pursue its true meaning and ways in which it can be changed.  We are ready to see it in this life “Here and Now” and to live in the Pure Land of Mt. Sacred Eagle, not merely in our minds or the next life.

One of the most obvious assimilations is that we hold group services on Sunday.  As a practitioner and leader, I often see people falling into the mind that that Sunday Service is the main practice of their Buddhism and think to myself, “I did not join Buddhism to purchase a religious form or image, I wish to change my life“.  I have experienced the power of Buddhism to do that for me.  This also inspired me to write this!

Today in talking to our newly ordained Shami Kanyu Kroll, I stated in our conversation that “Buddhism is not about the status quo, it is about growing our lives and to see the reality of our state and attaining a truly bright maturity.”  In the years of my practice, I have always wished to develop a simple list of basic Buddhist practices that I use to balance my life and practice.

When you are practicing one you are practicing the others, as all of them are grounded in the original vow “Namu Myoho Renge Kyo”, to uphold the Dharma in every aspect of our beings.  Also, I have always strived to have a well rounded experience, growing and developing awareness of the many abilities that Buddhism illuminates in our lives.   Exposing the self-doubt, anger and other poisons in our minds.  We are not talking about a obscure theory, I have realized as expounded and demonstrated in our Founder Sakyamuni Buddha’s and Nichiren Shonin’s life. To awaken the Dharma simply means to abide and uphold it, shown to us in the Lotus Sutra and the lives of our Founders.

This will be the first of this blog of which I hope you will take to heart and investigate through your daily lives.  I hope you will take this walk with me and share this with others!

With Gassho…

Important Practices

1.) Reciting the Odaimoku and Chanting the Sutra.  (Temple & Personal Practice).

2.) Model for others the Lotus Sutra.  (Interaction with Others)

3.) Substantial Practice. (Physical; Action)

4.) Living Mandala. (Circle Practice)

5) Dharma Study

6.) Rokusai Nichi Observance

          We will discuss and investigate each of these practices together, so as to realize “My Life is the Buddhist Path!”

Disclaimer: Each temple and teacher may instruct you in a different way and method.  This is simply my realization of my own life and practice and I share it with others simply that it may benefit their own Practice and Study.  In all instances confer or discuss your practice with your Buddhist teacher.

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“Without Practice and Learning There Is No Buddhism!” -Shoho Jisso Sho

Hello Everyone,

The direction of the Lotus Sutra has led me, with the good advice of my friend and peer, Ryusho Shonin, to begin a blog site that is dedicated to transmitting and peering deeper into the practice of Buddhism.  I have been a Buddhist priest since I was 18 years old and this year I have hit this year the 20 year mark of my study and practice as a priest.  Many people have asked me to write and promote the practical practice of Buddhism through lectures and books.  This is what I hope to accomplish through this blog, allowing me to repay a small fraction of the kindness from the Eternal Buddha, Nichiren Shonin, and all of the many teachers throughout my life, which includes all of my family and friends.

I am still learning how to use and promote this medium of our technological age.  Through this I hope we can share information and thoughts in our mission of making this an enlightened world full of complete awakened people.  The Lotus Sutra can allow us to do this and to have real world peace and tranquility.

Once again I would like to thank everyone who is supporting me in this project.  Currently, we have of this date released two books;

http://www.amazon.com/The-Transformation-Kishimojin-Kanjin-Shonin/dp/1492362417/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415136626&sr=8-1&keywords=kishimojin

http://www.amazon.com/Oeshiki-Matsuri-Kanjin-Cederman-Shonin/dp/1500415235/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415136706&sr=8-1&keywords=oeshiki

If you have read these books please offer a review.  Also, I hope to welcome any recommendations for future books you would wish to see.

With Gassho,

Kanjin Cederman Shonin

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Baby Ceremony and Rituals

Baby Ceremony and Rituals

Hello Everyone,

            Please visit our new website if you have not yet done so.  This is our page about baby celebration rituals.  Enjoy!

With Gassho…

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