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"The Buddha, the World-honored one, now intends to reveal his pinnacle Dharma, to rain down the ultimate Law upon all the living, to trumpet the conch of supreme Reality, to beat the drum of the ultimate Truth and expound the meaning of the Cosmology that encompasses all existence."

Lotus Sutra
Chapter 1
Introduction

Welcome into the EverLife Buddhist Education Center.

The entrance provides an introduction to Buddhism. Here you can become familiar with subjects covered in this site.

 

INTRODUCTION:

• #1: Overview

• #2: The Lotus Sutra

• #3: Nichiren

• #4: Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo

 

OVERVIEW:

Why does your life exist?

Is your life predestined or do circumstances occur by chance?

Why does your existence — along with everything else in the universe — invariably follow a course of birth, growth, deterioration and death?

Did you exist prior to your present birth?

Will you exist in death beyond this mortal existence?

Buddhism is certainly one of the world’s major religions, although it is not clearly a religion. Perhaps it’s a collection of psychographic and metaphysical doctrines that try to make sense out of the goings on beneath the surface of the human condition. Scholars consider its insights to be among the most brilliant ever produced by human beings. Nevertheless, it also paints a rich cosmic pantheon of deities and angelic selfless beings at the ready to come to the aid of believers. Buddhism’s exotic cosmology offers plenty of inspiration to those who seek the means for invoking powerful spiritual forces. Buddhism trades in the nearly incomprehensible mysticism that characterizes salvationist ritual practices throughout the ecclesiastic world. Whether it is one of the world’s major philosophies or religions, it certainly has carved an important place in the annals of human thought and just as certainly it has made a significant contribution to humanity’s quest for a divine identity.

Buddhism came into being on the premise that illuminating the mystery of life and death will free mortal beings from suffering. Its doctrines are attributed to its founder — an extraordinary sage being given the title of Buddha (Enlightened One). Buddhism is based on his high-minded sermons (Skt. sutras) delivered in the form of metaphoric tales each with profound hidden meanings. Their cosmic scope is such that they may appear to be nearly impenetrable concepts requiring years of study and meditation to pierce their meaning. Actually, esotericism and theoretical abstraction are antithetical to the Buddha’s legacy. They distract from his stated purpose: to make a Perfect Enlightenment that is equal to his own accessible to every single mortal without exception — regardless of intellectual capacity.

To understand the Buddha’s metaphysical cosmology and complex doctrines does not in itself constitute enlightenment, although one who gains a clear comprehension of the Buddha’s words should come to understand his intent. In that respect Buddhist doctrines were not meant to serve as ideology. Rather, they were crafted to elicit profound and applicable wisdom from one’s deepest being. Like arrows shot into the conscious mind, the concepts are meant to pierce the stubborn surface of pattern existence.

 

THE LOTUS SUTRA:

All of Buddhism’s vast and intricate philosophy exists only in support of this one universal mandate — the "Truth of the Reality of All Existence" is endowed to all living beings. The Lotus Sutra suggests that below the ground of mortal experience is hidden a treasure of cosmic wisdom and joy. Unearthing it in our present mortal existence is a difficult task, but it is possible because inherent within us all is Perfect Enlightenment — a quintessential illumination that transcends the bounds of birth and death, body and mind, person and milieu, time and eternity, essence and phenomena.

Among the large volume of teachings attributed to the Buddha in ancient India, the Lotus Sutra is his premier thesis. Nearly all Buddhists recognize it to be at the very least one of his major doctrines, primarily because it contains the Buddha’s pinnacle revelation regarding the eternal nature of his life. Nevertheless, after over 2,500 years of Buddhist history, relatively few Buddhists recognize that within the eight-year sermon called the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha bequeathed therein to all humanity a "direct means for invoking enlightenment." This vehicle for actualizing a "state equal to his own" is found between the lines of the enigmatic Lotus Sutra.

The Buddha expected that it would be a long, long time before this sutra would be properly recognized, although he clearly called it his "foremost sutra among all sutras." He predicted that the legacy of the Lotus Sutra would remain hidden from the masses of people for whom it was intended until thousands of years after his passing. Eventually, the Buddha prophesied, the time would come for the Lotus Sutra to endow people with individual power to manifest Perfect Enlightenment.

Before that happens, however, the human world would deteriorate. Life would mean less and less. Its perverse people would find it very difficult to accept the Lotus Sutra. For the sake of saving the suffering masses, the Buddha called forth an emissary tough enough to convey this teaching to a degenerated world. The sutra describes a scene set in a transcendent "place" beyond life and death, where the Buddha bequeaths the future dissemination of the secret "vehicle" to a missionary figure named Demeanor of Supreme Essence (Skt. Visishtaciritra).

 

NICHIREN:

Some 2,000 years later (c. 13th century), a common Japanese Buddhist priest named Nichiren actualizes the role of this literary figure when he announces his discovery of the secret invocation of enlightenment hidden between the lines of the Lotus Sutra. He declares his intention to inform the entire Japanese population of its beneficial properties. Citing prophetic clues in the sutra text, Nichiren challenged the religious establishment of his day to a debate on Buddhism. Although avoided, rejected and persecuted by the authorities, his message found an audience largely among common folk. He led his followers by example as he himself devotedly chanted the Lotus Sutra’s full title — Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Furthermore, through his peerless study of Buddhism Nichiren was able to support his contention that this phrase embodied the enlightenment of the Buddha — the secret "vehicle" he intended as his legacy to future generations. Nichiren’s extensive doctrinal works evidenced that the intent of the sutra was clearly to reveal a universally-applicable practice for actualizing enlightenment in the mortal realm. Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo was the means for illuminating one’s immortal identity within the framework of one’s own desired existence.

The Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra is a unique teaching of endowment. It does not espouse the "attainment" of enlightenment, the promise of a "future" enlightenment requiring many lifetimes of effort, or a "transcendent" enlightenment beyond death. Instead, the Lotus Sutra offers to help illuminate the eternal bliss of your immortal identity while you are in the present moment in your present form. Accordingly, at birth all living beings already own the essential seed of their absolute identity (buddha-nature). Invoking the name of their greater self — Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo — causes the seed to root and then blossom above the ground of their existence.

When Nichiren crystallized this invocation, he declared buddhahood to be universally accessible to anyone. If you’re alive, you qualify — regardless of personality, character, gender or race, intellectual capacity, emotional make-up, moral values or past deeds. The invocation of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo works naturally. Just as the verse of a love poem stimulates romantic feelings, or an insulting word evokes anger, the chant triggers the emergence of an essential luminousness that raises the roof off our common existence. The chant is like a light switch. Perfect Enlightenment is Life switched on.

 

NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO:

Chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo endows you with the wisdom and power to transform your personal experiences in light of your ultimate self.

As such, you can:

• Sense an inner illumination.

• Become more aware and appreciative of life’s blessings.

• Experience physiological balancing, including stress reduction, natural enthusiasm and an overall physical, spiritual and mental regeneration.

• See and take advantage of opportunities to perfect your inner self and your immediate environment.

• Discover the fundamental reasons underlying the quality, pattern and direction of your life experiences.

• Gain a deeper appreciation of the value of all life.

Knowing the secrets hidden in the Lotus Sutra is not a prerequisite for starting an enlightening practice. Buddhist knowledge covered in Secrets of the Lotus Sutra is best utilized in nurturing the practice of chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Together the meshed gears of practice and study should be used to motivate, initiate, and perpetuate the illumination of your mortal experiences.

Therein, you’ll discover how to:

• Self-validate your existence.

• Discern the patterns of your behavior and find the strength to change what you believe needs changing about yourself.

• Heal your body and mind of all that causes you unhappiness.

• Invoke lasting, self-generated happiness.

• Realize your connection to all people and all that exists.

• Expand your world by extending yourself to others.

• Live each moment as a dignified guest in another’s universe, and the gracious host of your own.

Through chanting your thankfulness for the "gift of everlasting life" that is endowed by your existence, you’ll discern your own profundity, enjoy being alive, acquire gracious and considerate thoughts, and feel the power of bliss surge through your sense organs.

 

 

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