Sunday, 29 June 2014

Buddhist quotes - June

This month, I once again left my quote until quite late in the day.
I have been studying a lot, mostly "The opening of the eyes", but for some reason when I started thinking about a suitable quote for this month, I could only think about that Gosho where Nichiren tells Shijo Kingo not to wear fancy clothes (yes, really). Only I could not remember what Gosho it was.

So, a bit of Google-fu later, I found The Three Kinds of Treasure. And reread it.

In recent times, I am really striving to put Nichiren at the centre of my life, and to strengthen my bond with my Mentor in order to reach the heart of Nichiren. And I am discovering Nichiren as a truly incredible guy. The wonderful thing about him is that he was a real person. He didn't pretend to be perfect, and since we can study what he actually wrote to his disciples, we can see what his heart was like. I strongly recommend reading this Gosho right now. I had a really hard time not copying the whole thing in here as my June quote. I love how there is so much practical advice in it. For example:

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Grade 2 Study Exam - 2014. Section A. Q5

This is part of a series of posts to share my preparation for the Grade 2 Study Exam that I will sit this coming November. 

This question is quite interesting and I am finding it a bit more challenging to answer, partly because the principle I am asked to explain is, well, self-explanatory, and partly because I love the story of the Dragon King's daughter and I know more about it than it is explained in the exam materials.
(btw about the pic below, I know that the Dragon King's daughter is supposed to be a child, but I like the picture).

Section A

From ‘The significance of the Devadatta chapter’:
A5 - Referring to the spiritual and physical aspects of enlightenment, explain the principle of ‘attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form’.

The principles of ‘the spiritual aspect of enlightenment’ and ‘the physical aspect of enlightenment’ in the Lotus Sutra teach that no matter what difficulties or challenges we may face, from the perspective of the most fundamental level of life, we have the right and the underlying power to attain the highest possible state of happiness.

The Daishonin continues that only the Lotus Sutra teaches the principle of attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form. This principle is showed through the story of an evil man (Devadatta, representing the Spiritual aspect of enlightenment) who is predicted to reach enlightenment and a female (the Dragon King's daughter, who also is part animal and representing the physical aspect of enlightenment) reaching enlightenment in her present form. 

Word count: 122

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Grade 2 Study Exam - 2014. Section A. Q4

This is part of a series of posts to share my preparation for the Grade 2 Study Exam that I will sit this coming November. 

Section A

From ‘Teaching a young disciple the essence of faith’:
A4 - What is the significance of the fifth scroll of the Lotus Sutra with which Nichiren Daishonin was beaten by Sho‐bo? In the Gosho passage describing the fifth scroll, which particular Buddhist principle does Nichiren Daishonin explain that it contains?

The fifth scroll – the one with which Sho‐bo struck Nichiren – has special significance, because it presents the crucial elements involved in propagating the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law – including:
1. the actual proof of attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form;
2. the great persecutions that will be encountered when attempting to spread the sutra;
3. the emergence of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth;

The Daishonin stresses that encountering persecution as a result of propagating the Lotus Sutra means that one is reading the fifth scroll of the Lotus Sutra with one’s life and is on the path to attaining Buddhahood. He points out the importance of ‘committing oneself to the Lotus Sutra and having faith in its teachings’, and of spreading the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, Nam‐myoho‐renge‐kyo.

Word count: 136

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Grade 2 Study Exam - 2014. Section A. Q3

This is part of a series of posts to share my preparation for the Grade 2 Study Exam that I will sit this coming November. 

Sidenote: I read the question before I read the corresponding chapter. I immediately thought about the anecdote of the woman who trampled the Lotus Sutra. I feel like a complete smartypants now!

Section A

From ‘The benefit arising from forming a reverse relationship’:
A3 - Explain the principle of gaining benefit through forming a ‘reverse relationship’ with the Lotus Sutra.

The principle of Reverse relationship is also called "poison‐drum relationship". It indicates a bond formed with the correct teaching by opposing or slandering it. When people hear the correct teaching, some may reject and slander it and fall into the state of hell as a consequence. However, the act of rejecting and slandering the correct teaching is a cause to establish a connection with it and receive the seeds of Buddhahood. Because of this connection, even slanderous people will eventually attain Buddhahood.

The Daishonin illustrates this principle citing an Indian anecdote of a jealous woman who trampled the Fifth scroll under her feet in a fit of rage. She fell into hell but her feet didn't. He then refers to Sho‐bo, who struck him with the fifth scroll of the Lotus Sutra because ‘Sho‐bo hated both the Lotus Sutra and me, Nichiren.’ (WND‐1, p. 962) Although Sho‐bo’s actions mean that he cannot avoid falling into the hell of incessant suffering, the Daishonin says, through the benefit of forming a reverse relationship with the Lotus Sutra, Sho‐bo will eventually attain Buddhahood.

Word count: 186
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