Aug 29, 2013

The Art of Listening with the Eyes of the Buddha

I think the ability to hear ourselves, and the ability to see everything from the viewpoint of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, means to be able to view all of life from the standpoint of the law of causality.

I find that so many people still chant to the Gohonzon as if it were some God or some force outside of themselves. The attitude with which we chant, and the attitude with which we view the Gohonzon is most important, because if we have a distorted view, we will have a distorted practice, and it is that distorted practice and view, that we will teach to others.

We know from study that the characters on the Gohonzon represent the two sides of life and all of the positive/negative attributes that exist within life, including that fundamental darkness that coexists within every human life. Nichiren Daishonin says that there is no life that has one without the other. The characters representing both aspects of life are written on the Gohonzon. For me what is exciting is to know, that even without my being able to read it, Nichiren Daishonin wrote all of these characters on the Gohonzon, which represent every aspect of life, in such a way that every character is looking at the centre just like you and me. Every character is looking at Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Think about the Ceremony in the Air. Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is the axis of the universe and we're forming a circle around that axis.

All of us are looking at Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. It is the centre that every character is looking at. Why? It is because Nichiren Daishonin is giving us a continual message every time we look at the Gohonzon. The message is that we must base our life on the Law and never on the person. It is the mystic law that has enabled every Buddha throughout eternity to be able to manifest their fullest potential, and that it is the key, which is the centre, for everything. We have to make Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo the center of our life and we have to base our life on Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. It means being able to see and to hear ourselves. It means that whenever we are facing a problem, we don't just try to use our brain to figure it out, or strategise how to fix it. Many members still do this, and after they have racked their brain as to what to do in order to get from Point A to Point B or to fix the problem, they then chant the solution to the Gohonzon to make it work! (laughter). I think that this is practicing incorrectly. Let me tell you why.

When we talk about the nine levels of consciousness, the first five are our senses. Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste and Touch. The sixth level is the conscious mind. The seventh is the unconscious mind. The eighth level is what we call the karma storage area, which is that area in our life that has accumulated every cause we have ever made throughout all existences. Below that is the ninth level of consciousness, which Buddhism says, is the one pure, unchanging reality of our life.

Every single one of us has fortune and lack of fortune in our life. In the areas in which we have fortune, we can do the same things we see other people do and we can achieve our goals but in the areas of your life where you lack fortune, you can do the identical thing you see your neighbour doing, but the object of your desire seems to move further and further away (laughter), right?

When we are dealing with problems in our lives, they have a causal connection to us. Many times they come from that place in our life where we lack fortune. And so, if we use our brain to strategize how to fix things, our brain can only go to the eighth level of consciousness, which is the karma storage. That is the area which stores up and accumulates all of the causes we have ever made, and it's seems to be the place in which; WE DO NOT SEEM TO HAVE FORTUNE (laughter). Our brain then devises a solution based on lack of fortune. By following this "mental" solution, we will keep reinforcing the same pattern of karmic tendencies over and over in our lives.
But what Nichiren teaches is that by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo you can pierce through the eighth level of karma storage. Pierce through it, be unaffected by it, and you can reach the pure unchanging reality and infinite wisdom of your life that is unaffected by karma storage. That answer is the correct answer for your life. It's not affected by your karma in the area in which you lack fortune. And this is why I believe Nichiren Daishonin says we must become the master of our mind rather than allowing our mind to master us.

My point is this; when we pray, we need to start from a determination such as: "I will accomplish X," (whatever X is). We also have to understand from Buddhism that we create our life every moment through our thoughts, our words, and our behavior.

Prayer in Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is profoundly different from prayer in other religions. We are not praying to something outside of ourselves to bestow something on us. Instead, our prayer here is the determination that; "I will create the object or thing that I am praying for through my causes of thought, words, and actions. I am the creator of my life and I will take the responsibility to create the thing that I am praying for, and that after I have chanted this kind of determined daimoku, I will accomplish X." I then must come to a realization... "How in the world am I going to do this? That answer only exists inside of my life. I can tap my wisdom for the answer when I have the belief and conviction, that the answer exists inside of me." And I start chanting with the determination to pull that wisdom up from within my life to clearly see what it is that I need to do in order to create the thing that I'm praying for. That is why 
President Ikeda says:

"Benefit comes from you. Nobody gives you benefit."

Source: THE ART OF LISTENING WITH THE EYES OF THE BUDDHA - By Linda Johnson, SGI-USA WD Leader, Nov 2003 (Abridged), Edited by Adrian Mollica April 6th 2004

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