The parable in the Lotus Sutra, “Three Carts and the Burning House” says:
He sees living beings seared and consumed by birth, old age, sickness and death, care and suffering, sees them undergo many kinds of pain because of the five desires and the desire for wealth and profit. Again, because of their greed and attachment and striving, they undergo numerous pains in their present existence, and later they undergo the pain of being reborn in hell or as beasts or hungry spirits. Even if they are reborn in the heavenly realm or the realm of human beings, they undergo the pain of poverty and want, the pain of parting from loved ones, the pain of encountering those they detest—all these many different kinds of pain.
In other words, 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.
As this passage from the Lotus Sutra teaches, it is certain that many people in society today, who live with various difficulties and sufferings in their lives, first try to relieve themselves of them. Without realizing it, however, they eventually become accustomed to their surroundings and stop making such attempts.
Visit Myosenji Temple & Learn How to Find Happiness
Visit our Buddhist Temple this Sunday, August 26th for a brief video presentation on Buddhism’s history beliefs and a brief lecture on the practice of Buddhism and the Lotus Sutra by our Chief Priest, Rev Sakabe. Our Assistant Priest will teach you how to chant and take your questions.
- Learn how to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and properly use the Juzu Beads, Buddhist prayer beads.
- Q&A with our Assistant Priest.
- The meeting starts at 2:00 pm and concludes around 3:15 pm. Open to the public.
- 310 University Blvd West, Silver Spring, MD 20901
If you have decided to become a Buddhist or are interested in learning how to become a Buddhist, after Sunday’s meeting (about 3:30 pm) Rev Nishioka will be performing the Acceptance of the Precept Ceremony, the ceremony where you become a Buddhist.