how to expand my study/practice?

If you're new to the forum or new to Buddhism, this is the best place for your questions. Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
nichiren-123
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:07 pm

how to expand my study/practice?

Postby nichiren-123 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:43 pm

Hi, I'm nichiren-123. I practice nichiren buddhism and I am a member of SGI-UK (Sokka Gakkai - UK). I've read allot of material on nichiren buddhism but not so much on buddhism in general or on different traditions. Most of the material i've read has been authored by Daisaku Ikeda, and while I do agree with most of what he says, I would love to hear different perspectives - particularly those outside the Sokka Gakkai and Nichiren tradition. Through this broader scope, I'm expecting to do one of two things: 1) Either deepen my faith in nichiren buddhism by ruling out or otherwise understanding the similarities between the various traditions, OR: 2) potentially rule out nichiren buddhism or at least supplement it with other practices.
I understand that nichiren buddhism is highly critical of other forms of buddhism and that it regards the teachings of other schools as 'expedient', and while (at the moment) I believe the lotus sutra's message of faith as the doorway to enlightenment, I don't see how using so called 'expedient means' to reach the threshhold of enlightenment can be considered wrong - even if it requires faith in the lotus sutra to cross the threshold.
So, I am wondering what the best resources are for me to expand my study? Can anyone suggest useful books or online resources? Or can you give me general advice on where to begin, what to study, etc. Can anyone tell me some of the interesting elements of buddhism which are omitted in nichiren buddhism?
As well as study resources, i'm interested in supplementing my daimoku with samadhi and vipassana. So resources (books, articles, and especially podcasts) on meditation would be appreciated. However, I am not interested in meditation for the sake of meditation - I only want to use it as a means to an end (i.e. to cultivate wisdom, revealing my buddhahood).

To finish off; if there is any inaccuracies or misconceptions in what I've said then don't hesitate to tell me
Thanks, nichiren-123. :)

narhwal90
Posts: 386
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:10 am

Re: how to expand my study/practice?

Postby narhwal90 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:14 pm

Hi, I practice in SGI-USA- this is a great site to start getting out of the walled garden. There are translations of many sutras out there, I started by promiscuously reading them small or large. I started more or less in the mahayana sutra area but there is a wide scope of theravadan material available too. Many lectures on youtube as well, its nice to hear people talk about things instead of just reading all the time.

Nichiren is one small corner of Japanese buddhism, and there is a world beyond that too. There is an undercurrent of judgment about other schools in SGI today less so than in the old NSA days but habits linger. I found the more I read of the other schools the more there is in common, differences of doctrine and practice are there but I find the differences help clarify & strengthen my own practice and I value them for it. A literal interpretation of the Nichiren material made me prone to the kinds of judgment and opinion about other schools, which is a habit I try to be very careful to avoid nowadays. An SGI-only basis for Buddhism will likely leave you with many blind spots and assumptions- which IMHO is what it is... just something to be aware of.

Its also true there is sometimes a lot of contention and ancient and current history between the Nichiren schools, and that shows up on this site from time to time- so I would suggest letting go of debates along those lines before things get heated, if possible. That said, I get sucked in myself from time to time.

I maintain my SGI practice morning/evening, but add practices and prayers from others, I've attended Zen, Tendai and Theravadan meditation sessions will do more as opportunities arise. The attention paid to the other schools has made me more attentive to SGI- the good and the bad, my altar is cleaner & nicer now- got some ideas for flowers from local Tendai folks.

And finally- there are a number of Nichiren forums on this site with sporadic threads, and a number of highly informed participants (I do not count myself in that group)- so its a great place to learn a lot.

DGA
Former staff member
Posts: 8491
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Contact:

Re: how to expand my study/practice?

Postby DGA » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:20 pm

You may find it especially useful to visit and take instruction from Buddhists in your area. This is a most efficient way to learn.

User avatar
javier.espinoza.t
Posts: 268
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am

Re: how to expand my study/practice?

Postby javier.espinoza.t » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:27 am

nichiren-123 wrote:Hi, I'm nichiren-123. I practice nichiren buddhism and I am a member of SGI-UK (Sokka Gakkai - UK). I've read allot of material on nichiren buddhism but not so much on buddhism in general or on different traditions. Most of the material i've read has been authored by Daisaku Ikeda, and while I do agree with most of what he says, I would love to hear different perspectives - particularly those outside the Sokka Gakkai and Nichiren tradition. Through this broader scope, I'm expecting to do one of two things: 1) Either deepen my faith in nichiren buddhism by ruling out or otherwise understanding the similarities between the various traditions, OR: 2) potentially rule out nichiren buddhism or at least supplement it with other practices.
I understand that nichiren buddhism is highly critical of other forms of buddhism and that it regards the teachings of other schools as 'expedient', and while (at the moment) I believe the lotus sutra's message of faith as the doorway to enlightenment, I don't see how using so called 'expedient means' to reach the threshhold of enlightenment can be considered wrong - even if it requires faith in the lotus sutra to cross the threshold.
So, I am wondering what the best resources are for me to expand my study? Can anyone suggest useful books or online resources? Or can you give me general advice on where to begin, what to study, etc. Can anyone tell me some of the interesting elements of buddhism which are omitted in nichiren buddhism?
As well as study resources, i'm interested in supplementing my daimoku with samadhi and vipassana. So resources (books, articles, and especially podcasts) on meditation would be appreciated. However, I am not interested in meditation for the sake of meditation - I only want to use it as a means to an end (i.e. to cultivate wisdom, revealing my buddhahood).

To finish off; if there is any inaccuracies or misconceptions in what I've said then don't hesitate to tell me
Thanks, nichiren-123. :)


i wonder if you will use a nichiren theoretical frame in your search for new resources
studying various teachings at the same time is a delicate bussines, it needs a high level dicernment
some schools reject other schools, so sectarism is the number one object of discernment regarding traditional buddhism :quoteunquote:

nichiren-123
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: how to expand my study/practice?

Postby nichiren-123 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:53 pm

Javier, can you clarify what you mean?

User avatar
Boomerang
Posts: 516
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:34 am

Re: how to expand my study/practice?

Postby Boomerang » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:24 pm

There is a passage in the Lotus Sutra that says having faith in the sutra creates more merit than practicing the first five paramitas. That stood out to me, as it shows significance of the sixth paramita, prajnaparamita. I recommend you read some of the prajnaparamita sutras, especially the Prajnaparamita Sutra Pronounced by Manjusri Bodhisattva (aka Prajnaparamita in 700 lines). I recommend that version because it mentions the One Action Samadhi, which can be incorporated into a Lotus Sutra-based practice. You could do the One Action Samadhi with nam myoho renge kyo, or the name of one of the Buddhas/bodhisattvas mentioned in the Lotus Sutra, like Avalokitesvara.

Prajnaparamita in 700 Lines

You can also listen to this sutra as an audiobook on YouTube.

In fact, you can listen to the whole Lotus Sutra on YouTube.
"All the suffering of the lower realms, whatever difficulty and unhappiness we may experience as human beings, as well as every other possible suffering of the three realms of existence, have their origin in cherishing ourselves more than others."

User avatar
javier.espinoza.t
Posts: 268
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am

Re: how to expand my study/practice?

Postby javier.espinoza.t » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:34 am

nichiren-123 wrote:Javier, can you clarify what you mean?


it is a good practice to not confuse the frames of different buddhadharmas
if we confuse the frames, we can fall into misunderstandings and
despice buddhadharmas because we don't understand them
for example
if we see sutrayana through sutrayana's frame, we can understand
if we see sutrayana through tantrayana's or atiyoga's frame maybe we can understand something
in general if we mix the diferent frameworks we can get confused easily
in such case most people in their ignorance of the value of buddhadharma just despice sutrayana
just because sutrayana doesn't work for them or because they don't like it considering it inferior
we should respect all buddhadharmas, they are all important
that is what i meant as an humil advice regarding exploring the different teachings
that's why i mentioned sectarism as something extremely dangerous
and the number one thing to take account of

this is how i see it

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 3530
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: how to expand my study/practice?

Postby Queequeg » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:53 pm

I would echo Javier's advice. Be careful about just picking things up randomly.

I'm also going to warn - if you are coming from an SGI view and you start looking to the broader Buddhist world, you are about to have an interesting experience.

:thinking:
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"I've got me a date with Botticelli's niece."
-Bob Dylan

narhwal90
Posts: 386
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:10 am

Re: how to expand my study/practice?

Postby narhwal90 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:22 am

I agree with the other posters- I apologize for not expressing myself well, I follow SGI practice while doing gongyo, daimoku. In a vipassana session I follow those instructions, respectively likewise in the zazen and Tendai services I've attended. Consequences of the practices appear variously; I do not push daimoku and wear out my voice anymore, meditation posture is more informed, pertinent mudras are of interest but I don't use them in SGI. I prefered the flower arrangements I saw the Tendai folks doing to my own- so I adopted that for my home altar. In a Soto zazen session I attended, I liked how they recited the 4 Bodhisattva Vows so adopted those as part of my personal prayers in gongyo- but thats as far as mixing goes for me.

My daily practice is SGI, I pursue it more attentively now. Study now involves much more than SGI material though; there are many sutras, commentaries and lectures in various forms. Qualitative changes in awareness and habits of thought & relation are happening rapidly these days and I'm having a great time.

User avatar
Seishin
Former staff member
Posts: 1783
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am
Contact:

Re: how to expand my study/practice?

Postby Seishin » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:06 pm

I'm from Tendai and in the UK. Happy to help out if I can and if that's what you want. Otherwise I'd second the advice of others- attend some local groups and see how they fit.

nichiren-123
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: how to expand my study/practice?

Postby nichiren-123 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:29 pm

[quote="javier.espinoza.t"][/quote]

I've started to practice thich nhat hanh's brand of mindfulness as I believe it accords with your advice on avoiding sectarianism. Mindfulness appears to me to be quite secular so doesn't cause confusion but rather complements my morning/evening gongyo and daimoku


Return to “Discovering Mahayana Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest