Friday, April 4, 2008

Lesson 60 - WHO or WHAT is the Buddha???


I am very excited about today's lesson. This lesson comes from the revered Nichiren Shu priest Shami Ryuei Michael McCormick. He has done an excellent job through this article to help us understand the proper way to view the buddha. Often times we think of the Buddha in his historical capacity only but as the following lesson shows the buddha is both a historical figure and an essence. Please use this article to further your understanding of who or what the buddha truly is.
~Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

*I apologize for the formatting of the text but the content is worth it!

Awakening as Buddha's Children

"Since time immemorial all of the people on earth have been Shakyamuni Buddha's beloved
children. We had not realized the relationship, because we had been undutiful children. It
is a unique relationship. As the moon reflects on calm water, the Buddha appears in our
calm mind." - from Hokke Shuyo Sho by Nichiren Shonin

My reflection: In what sense are we "Buddha's children"? Obviously we are not the children
of the historical Shakyamuni Buddha. But the Buddha does say in the Lotus Sutra chapter
3, "The triple world is my property. All living beings therein are my children. There are
many sufferings in this world. Only I can save all living beings." This has been interpreted
as the passage that shows that the Buddha is like our sovereign, our parent, and our
teacher or guide. How is this?

We must not forget that in Mahayana Buddhism, "Buddha" is not simply a long dead
historical figure. "Buddha" also refers to the true reality that in a metaphorical sense is the
real source or ground (though a groundless ground) of all that we experience. This
Dharmakaya or Suchness or True Nature is also the Buddha-nature. It goes by many
names in Buddhism alone. Wisdom comes from this, wisdom awakens to this. It is always
expressing itself in and through bodies of bliss (sambhogakaya) and bodies of
tranformation (nirmanakaya) in a very personal way, though it is not a person in any
conventional sense. The Eternal Shakyamuni Buddha of chapter 16 embodies all three -
the Dharma or reality, the bliss of awakening and boundless merit, and the concrete
actualization of compassionate awakening conduct in this world. In this sense the Buddha
as reality, realization and expression is really at the center of everything. At the center of
the Omandala that is the world we live in. As the center the Buddha protects and leads us
like a sovereign, nurtures and cares for us all like a parent, and guides us to the same
awakening and selfless compassion as our great teacher and exemplar. Here Nichiren
asserts that this Buddha is found in our own calm mind. Then we are able to be the
Buddha for others so that they too can find the Buddha within them.

Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,


The Buddha's Face said...

I cried when I read this - I came to a knowledge of Buddhism through my wife who is Thai and through selling Buddha images - the more I have learnt the more I have come to love the Buddha but Buddhism seems too difficult. I would have to give up too much of my self. But baby steps first and I hope soon to spend a week at a retreat to help shed some of my old clothes of self and breathe the same air that you do.

In love and compassion


Anonymous said...

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