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Buddhism: Living & Thriving in a Muddy Pond

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.