What is Buddhism? | Myosenji Buddhist Temple - Part 2

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Due to the COVID-19, coronavirus, Myosenji Temple has paused our Introductory Series at the Temple.
However, we will begin offering ONLINE INTRODUCTORY MEETINGS on our Live Stream. CLICK here to REGISTER.

Upcoming Introductory Meetings

Sunday, January 24thBuddhism’s Core Beliefs & Causes of Unhappiness
Sunday, January 31st – Buddhism: Karma’s Mystical Nature

Our Chief Priest, Rev. Sakabe, will be conducting the Mokushi-e Ceremony on Sunday, November 15th, at 10:00 am via Myosenji’s Live Stream. The Mokushi-e Ceremony is a very significant memorial ceremony for the Third High Priest Nichimoku Shonin.*

This ceremony conveys our gratitude for Nichimoku Shonin’s unparalleled efforts in fourteenth-century Japan.  It is a tradition during this Mokushi-e Ceremony to celebrate the spread of True Buddhism from one generation to the next by paying our respect to the children of Nichiren Shoshu. Because children are the treasure of their parents and society, it is most important that they establish their connection to the Dai-Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws. It also carries with it our hopes for our children, that they will find their true mission in life and that they will grow to be as strong in faith, wisdom and knowledge as Nichimoku Shonin!

* From Nichiren Shoshu Temple Glossary
Nichimoku Shonin: (1260–1333) The Third High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu. He became a disciple of Nikko Shonin in 1274, and in 1276 went to Mt. Minobu where he was ordained by Nichiren Daishonin. He served the Daishonin for the remainder of the Daishonin’s life, and also served Second High Priest Nikko Shonin. He succeeded Nikko Shonin as the Third High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu. He is remembered as a great and courageous debater who remonstrated with the Kamakura Government and the Imperial court many times.

While deluded, one is considered a common mortal, but once enlightened, one is understood to be a Buddha. For example, even a dark mirror will shine like a jewel when it is polished. Likewise, a mind that is presently clouded by illusions originating from the fundamental darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror. Yet, once it is polished, it will become a clear mirror, reflecting the essential truth of the Law. Awaken deep faith and polish your mirror night and day without neglect. How should you polish it? Honestly chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is called polishing your mind.

written by Nichiren Daishonin, 13th century Japan

Guidance from High Priest Nichinyo Shonin:
[In the Lotus Sutra …] these passages teach that upon looking at people, we see they are unhappy and lost in melancholy. They shut their minds in the dark, and are burned by the fire of the three poisons of greed, anger, and stupidity. They can’t escape their many desires, and in their suffering, they are shackled tightly by their own ego, with which they seek treasure and profit.

For this reason, amidst their suffering, they may experience some pleasure, but afterward, they will experience the suffering of the three evil paths of hell, hunger, and animality. Even though they are born in the worlds of rapture or humanity, their hearts are truly corrupt. Consequently, they will undergo distress, trouble, and suffering, from having to part from those they love, and having to meet those whom they hate. Yet in spite of these sufferings, they surrender themselves, fearless, indulging in transient pleasures. They do not try to escape this suffering, even though they are inside the burning house of the threefold world—the world of desire, the world of form, and the world of formlessness. They do not worry about facing great difficulty, but simply amuse themselves by scampering from east to west.

The Ten Worlds: Making Sense of our Muddy Pond

The Buddhist Concept of the Ten Worlds explains the muddy pond we live in and why we circle endlessly in the six lower paths unable to be happy. It is a core principle of Buddhism and important to learn and understand.

If you have decided to become a Buddhist and begin your Buddhist practice, Myosenji’s Chief Priest, Rev Sakabe, can perform the Acceptance of the Precept Ceremony, the ceremony where you become a Buddhist. Please email the Temple to arrange for your ceremony.

Excerpted: High Priest Nichinyo Shonin Lecture, The Burning House of the Threefold World.

Members of Myosenji Buddhist Temple regularly make offerings to the Buddha, the Gohonzon, in the form of food offerings. We also make food offerings to the Gohonzon at our Buddhist altars at home. It is a tradition to offer food to the Buddha. In the video, our Chief Priest is making offerings to the Temple Joju (wooden) Gohonzon (object of worship) during the Oeshiki Ceremony (memorial ceremony for Nichiren Daishonin).

Nichiren Daishonin, the founder of Nichiren Shoshu in 13th century Japan, received many food offerings from believers. We know this because of the many personal Gosho letters he sent to believers thanking them for their food offerings. Below is an excerpt from one of his Gosho letters.

“As you well know, one of the sutras tells us the story of Tokusho Doji, who offered a mud pie to the Buddha and was later reborn as King Ashoka who ruled over most of India. Since the Buddha is worthy of respect, the boy was able to receive this great reward, even though the pie was only mud. However, Shakyamuni Buddha teaches that one who makes offerings to the Votary of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law for even a single day will gain incomparably greater fortune than he would by offering countless treasures to the Buddha for one hundred thousand aeons. How wonderful, then, is your heartfelt sincerity in supporting the Votary of the Lotus Sutra over the years! According to the Buddha’s own words, you are certain to be reborn in the pure land of Eagle Peak. What great good fortune you possess!”

In the Gosho, The Person and the Law (MW1 – p.263)

Sunday, Sept 20th Higan-e Ceremony

This Sunday is the Fall Higan-e Ceremony.  The Higan-e Ceremony, a very significant memorial ceremony for the deceased, is conducted only twice a year at Nichiren Shoshu Temples, in March and September.

In the Gosho, On the Enlightenment of Plants and Trees (Gosho – p. 522), the Daishonin states:

“When our fellow human beings pass on, it is essential to perform a Toba service. By so doing, the deceased will attain enlightenment as well as plants and trees.”

When we sincerely practice True Buddhism, we can purify our lives, eradicate our negative karma and experience enlightenment. Those who are unable to practice True Buddhism, however, such as the deceased, as well as plants, trees and other insentient life forms, must rely on the merit of the Gohonzon and on the faith and practice of others to attain enlightenment. In other words, we send the merit of the Gohonzon to the deceased in order to ease their present suffering and to ensure they will be reborn in a higher life condition. By requesting that a Toba tablet be prepared and offered to the Temple Gohonzon, the full merit of the True Law is immediately implanted into the life of the deceased. By continuing to offer Toba tablets to the deceased, we are expressing our desire to nurture the seed which has been planted until it reaches fruition at some point in the future.

Sunday’s Higan-e Ceremony begins at 10am with the Live Stream opening at 9:50am.