How did your life improve after converting to Nichiren Buddhism?

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bcol01
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How did your life improve after converting to Nichiren Buddhism?

Post by bcol01 » Thu May 17, 2018 12:32 am

I have been struggling to let go of Christianity because I have so many doubts and because I feel like it doesn't allow me to be myself and live my life. I'm also gay and I tend to look at the gay culture and see the problems within it through the lens of the religion that I grew up in. I'm in a real tug of war in my life between these two religions and I just need some advice. Gassho

markatex
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Re: How did your life improve after going from Nichiren Buddhism?

Post by markatex » Thu May 17, 2018 3:45 am

I don’t know that it improved, but I’ve gained a lot of clarity and this practice has been a lifeline during some dark and depressive periods.

I’m gay as well, and there wasn’t much of a “tug of war” as far as me and Christianity goes. For gay people, it’s done a lot more harm than good, and I can’t say that I recommend it.

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Queequeg
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Re: How did your life improve after going from Nichiren Buddhism?

Post by Queequeg » Thu May 17, 2018 4:52 pm

Nichiren had nothing really to say about sexuality except the following. I am quoting the context of the particular statement to frame it properly:
Though the teaching I am now propagating seems limited, it is extremely profound. That is because it goes deeper than the teaching expounded by T’ien-t’ai, Dengyō, and others. It is the three important matters in the “Life Span” chapter of the essential teaching. Practicing only the seven characters of Namu-myoho-renge-kyo seems limited, but since they are the master of all the Buddhas of the three existences, the teacher of all the bodhisattvas in the ten directions, and the guide that enables all living beings to attain the Buddha way, it is profound.

The sutra states, “The wisdom of the Buddhas is infinitely profound and immeasurable.” It refers to “the Buddhas” here in the sense of all Buddhas throughout the ten directions in the three existences, from the Thus Come One Mahāvairochana of the True Word school and Amida of the Pure Land school to the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of all schools and all sutras, all Buddhas of the past, future, and present, and the present Thus Come One Shakyamuni. And the sutra speaks of the wisdom of all those Buddhas.

What is meant by this “wisdom”? It is the entity of the true aspect of all phenomena, and of the ten factors of life that lead all beings to Buddhahood. What then is that entity? It is Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. A commentary states that the profound principle of the true aspect is the originally inherent Myoho-renge-kyo. We learn that that true aspect of all phenomena is also the two Buddhas Shakyamuni and Many Treasures [seated together in the treasure tower]. “All phenomena” corresponds to Many Treasures, and “the true aspect” corresponds to Shakyamuni. These are also the two elements of reality and wisdom. Many Treasures is reality; Shakyamuni is wisdom. It is the enlightenment that reality and wisdom are two, and yet they are not two.

These are teachings of prime importance. These are also what is called “earthly desires are enlightenment,” and “the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.” Chanting Namu-myoho-renge-kyo during the physical union of man and woman is indeed what is called “earthly desires are enlightenment,” and “the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.” “The sufferings of birth and death are nirvana” exists only in realizing that the entity of life throughout its cycle of birth and death is neither born nor destroyed. The Universal Worthy Sutra states, “Without either cutting off earthly desires or separating themselves from the five desires, they can purify all their senses and wipe away all their offenses.” Great Concentration and Insight says, “The ignorance and dust of desires are enlightenment, and the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.” The “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra says, “At all times I think to myself: How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a Buddha?” The “Expedient Means” chapter says, “The characteristics of the world are constantly abiding.” Surely such statements refer to these principles. Thus what is called the entity is none other than Namu-myoho-renge-kyo.
Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment

It sounds like you are worried about the opinions promulgated as Christianity as they pertain to you.

In Buddhism, there is reality and wisdom. Reality is the way things are, and Wisdom is the knowledge about the way things are. When you see things the way they really are, judgments about right and wrong lose their basis. Sexuality, in whatever form, what can be said? Nothing. There is only the the teaching that is understood and shared only among Buddhas.

We ordinary people are far from understanding what the Buddhas know. We are caught in a house of horrors of our own projection. By holding fast to the Buddhas, we are delivered beyond the bogeymen of our minds. The Buddha left this jewel of NMRK as the means to do this.
Showing profound compassion for those unable to comprehend the gem of the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, the Buddha wrapped it within the five characters [of Myoho-renge-kyo], with which he then adorned the necks of the ignorant people of the latter age. The four great bodhisattvas will protect anyone who embraces the five characters as faithfully as T’ai-kung Wang and the Duke of Chou supported King Wen, and as devotedly as the Four White-Haired Elders served Emperor Hui.
Kanjin no Honzon Sho, Object of devotion for the observation of the Mind
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

hopefullotus
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Re: How did your life improve after converting to Nichiren Buddhism?

Post by hopefullotus » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:14 pm

bcol01 wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 12:32 am
I have been struggling to let go of Christianity because I have so many doubts and because I feel like it doesn't allow me to be myself and live my life. I'm also gay and I tend to look at the gay culture and see the problems within it through the lens of the religion that I grew up in. I'm in a real tug of war in my life between these two religions and I just need some advice. Gassho
I think I'm really late to this but maybe you'll still see my reply and take something from it.

I am transgender and also gay (actually my sexuality and gender are quite complicated but it doesn't matter here).

I decided to transition after reading the Opening of the Eyes by Nichiren. I found a lot of parallels between discarding the transient and revealing the true and my own transition and living authentically.

Almost every person in this Buddhism has been supportive of me because basically sexual or gender identity doesn't matter in the Big Picture. So why not just support people for who they are? This is something I never understood from Christianity (I grew up Catholic).

Ultimately this Buddhism actually gave me the courage to come out, the wisdom to start my transition, and the compassion for myself as well as others in the LGBTQ community. I hope this is helpful in some way though I'm sorry it is so late.

Ginkyo
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Re: How did your life improve after converting to Nichiren Buddhism?

Post by Ginkyo » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:30 pm

I think what you have said about your experience is incredibly brave and courageous.

I'm almost 40 now, and in my life time understanding of sexuality and gender amongst ordinary people in the West (certainly where I am in the UK) has changed drastically in no small part to the bravery of other LGBT people who came before us.

Ginkyo
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Re: How did your life improve after converting to Nichiren Buddhism?

Post by Ginkyo » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:36 pm

I'd also like to add, that it will continue to change, as a result of how all of us, of every expression of sexuality, live our lives.

I used to be bitter and angry about the abuse I suffered growing up. It wasn't just over my sexuality, but a large part was. It warped and damaged me for a long time. I used to be jealous that people a generation after me seemed to have it easier and I didn't think it was fair. Someone pointed out to me that things had changed in part because of changes I - however minutely - had contributed to. This wasn't just in going on marches and protests when I was younger but in living my life. It was in rooting out my internalised shame. The collective result of thousands, millions of people all doing this aspect of their human revolution is changing society.

This letting go of bitterness and seeking to never dispise is a direct result of my Buddhist practice

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Queequeg
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Re: How did your life improve after converting to Nichiren Buddhism?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:00 pm

Wow, HL. :anjali:

Casting off the provisional to reveal the real.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

illarraza
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Re: How did your life improve after converting to Nichiren Buddhism?

Post by illarraza » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:38 pm

My nephrologist has 67 people on peritoneal dialysis. I am the only one working and I work six days a week. My doctor is amazed at my stamina, strength, and powers of concentration. Were I not practicing Nichiren Buddhism as Nichiren taught, I would be earning a disability check. My father was 63 when he died. I am now 64 and believe I can keep going until I am 90. I believe I changed my "immutable" karma thanks to the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin.

Mark

dude
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Re: How did your life improve after converting to Nichiren Buddhism?

Post by dude » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:54 am

Sorry, I was gone for a while and missed the question;

A matter of days after I first chanted nam myoho renge kyo, in less than a week several people approached me and invited me to a meeting. I was fascinated by the idea of reciting the sutra, and put it to the test immediately.
The results were overwhelming. The first day I did the whole (long version, which the sgi no longer does), everything I did that day went exactly as I wanted it to. I was hooked, so I chanted for other wishes I had. I was duly impressed, but a little disappointed that I couldn't just chant and get everything I wanted without even having to try (because that first day it really seemed I could).
After that, I experimented some more to resolve my doubts. Again I got some results, but nothing that happened I could explain away by saying maybe it was just a coincidence that I got what I wanted after chanting. After, I don't know, maybe three months, I couldn't say that any more. There were just too many "coincidences."
I've been practicing for some time, and I still live a very ordinary life. I'm not rich or famous, nor do I have any magical powers; on the other hand, I am absolutely convinced that karma is real, and that doing this practice has made my life much more gratifying than it would have been. I've never exactly quit completely, but I have plenty of experience with backing up in practice, seeing bad results, as well as the converse : practicing hard and getting great results.
The practice gets really difficult when you go at it whole hog, but the results cannot be denied.

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Queequeg
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Re: How did your life improve after converting to Nichiren Buddhism?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:02 am

illarraza wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:38 pm
believe I can keep going until I am 90
:cheers:

May you keep going after that. Sending you long life prayers.
dude wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:54 am
The practice gets really difficult when you go at it whole hog, but the results cannot be denied.
Nichiren Shonin read the Sutra with his body. Tatsunokuchi and Sado Island were beyond difficult.

Reading with the body gets real. Fast.

“We care nothing for our bodies or lives but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.”
-Lotus Sutra

“For example, it is like a royal envoy skilled in discussion and clever with expedient means who, when sent on a mission to another land, would rather, even though it costs him his life, in the end conceal none of the words of his ruler. Wise persons too do this. In the midst of ordinary people and without begrudging their lives, those who are wise should without fail proclaim the Thus Come One’s prize teaching from the correct and equal sutras of the great vehicle, that is, all living beings possess the Buddha nature.”
-Mahaparinirvana Sutra

“This monk did not devote his time to reading or reciting the scriptures, but simply went about bowing to people. And if he happened to see any of the four kinds of believers far off in the distance, he would purposely go to where they were, bow to them, and speak words of praise, saying, ‘I would never dare disparage you, because you are all certain to attain buddhahood!’"
-Lotus Sutra

Honoring beings as buddhas, 24/7, in this Saha world is the most difficult practice, but that's what we're taught to strive for.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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