justsomeguy wrote: ↑Fri May 31, 2019 11:35 pmI will attest that this is a huge hurdle to overcome, and one that some simply will not overcome. The replacement of Shakyamuni with Nichiren as "The Buddha" is jarring. I'm Shoshu myself, and to be honest I'm still not 100% on how I feel about it. I don't stop practicing because of it of course, but the concept is a struggle nonetheless, as I'm simply not willing to suspend academic evaluation... not for anything, not even Buddhism.The degradation of Lord Sakyamuni and the subsequent teachings that make like he was some transient Buddha...Gakki and ShoShu words...is not really going to bring a newcomer to the table with reality .
I think it is important to understand that pounding dogma, whether it be the Honbutsu or Kuon Ganjo or whatever else, is not the way to cultivate faith in the Lotus. To the actual topic of this thread, introducing others to the Daimoku, I believe people who are receptive (or at least not hostile) deserve realistic, relatable explanations for the things we believe and do in our practice. For example, the Shoshu "Basics of Practice", while it deserves merit as an instruction book for someone taking up the path, simply doesn't meet the mark. It's even better if they observe first-hand positive changes in our lives and character as a result of our practice. Rational humans will relate more to experiences, either their own or those shared by their peers, than they will doctrines. Example, if someone asks me why I sit and chant at those Chinese characters scribbled on a scroll, I don't say something like "to fuse with the power of the Gohonzon" or something similarly nebulous; I'd tell them that doing so focuses the mind, much like meditation, on the meaning inscribed, which then begs the next question of what they mean. They're both the same, but the second obviously invites more curiosity and a deeper understanding.
Just as important as introducing others to the practice is the converse notion of not repelling others from the practice, the latter of which I think is, sadly, forgotten too often. I can only speak of my experience with the Hokkeko as I have no experience with any other Nichiren Buddhist group (never even involved with SGI). Here's what rational, curious and sincere people are not impressed by: charges of heresy (the "H" word is very weighty in the context of Western history), dogmatic proclamations without any explanation as to how the practice relates to and improves the human experience, being told to "don't worry, just chant about it" (yuck), and hostility toward other 'flavors' of Nichiren Buddhism. To the latter of these, I am not saying one should not be convinced that his or her way is correct, and it's even OK to think that other ways are incorrect, but we should recognize our common ground and use that for dialogue. I would expect any newcomer off the street, if she were to witness any of the conditions I just laid out, to turn right around and walk away, and with good reason.
Anyway, it's been a while since I have posted. Enjoy my $0.02, or even rip it to shreds. I love learning from you all.
When I was introduced to buddhist it was a causal chanting group promoting Nichiren buddhism. In short time I experienced the stigmatization you speak of. The practice drew me because it resonated with me deeply AND what I perceived as the true meaning seemed compatible with my desires. I decided at that point to practice privately and outside the bias of traditional organization until such a time my "faith" in what I believed the practice to evoke was understood as a definitive outcome in the doctrine of the lotus and the writings of nichiren.
I chose to do my due diligence in propagating these teachings for myself much as you described.
With that said, ten years later I still practice and my life condition evolving regardless of outside influence I have come to appreciate this practice without reservation and do not have the same conflicting points of view but rather it seems the human condition expressed as we see it now was/is deeply understood by nichiren and his teachings accommodate for harmony in this disparity even as ti exists today.
However perhaps I am deluded but even on the very topic of the division of the schools so many portions of his writings come to mind (and no way limited to) from the opening of eyes, many in body, one in mind, how Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra that support a different perspective for me. From interpretation of Nichiren's life was a deep and complete understanding of all teachings he encountered and while he evaluated them comparatively he did so after practicing many of them first. This process of practice and mastery gives a different understanding than faith alone.
*IN MY MIND* all schools are votary of the lotus sutra and the methodology of evaluating efficiency of practice must adhere to Nichiren's teachings whcih requires deep and complex evaluation using Ten'Tai' methods as described in "Questions and Answers on the Various Schools". This lead me in the beginning of my practice to simply regard all votary of the lotus sutra as "dharma brothers and sisters" (thank you queeqoug for the inspirational statement I plagiarized.) That meaning I simply refuse to put any weight in the division others perceive. Is this unreasonable behavior? I think it is proper behavior and perception based on my karma and capacity but I do not want to limit myself to delusion so please feel free to comment if you disagree.
As far as Lord Sakyamuni and Nichiren *IN MY MIND* This all speaks to why Nichiren is the thus come one and why we need to supplant his realization of Buddha nature with that of Lord Sakyamuni but this is not a denigration of Lord Sakyamuni but rather Nichiren is the TRANSFERABLE manifestation of Lord Sakyamuni.
*IN MY MIND* the analogy that fits this is that of a seed which grows into a tree. The DNA of the seed and the tree that grows from it is the same, it is only the expression that differs. In this way Lord Sakyamuni is the seed and Nichiren is the tree and we are simply evoking the same manifestation of lord Sakyamuni through the vehicle whcih Nichiren himself has revealed and embodies. One is the foundation, one is the manifestation in the later day of the law and in this context as I understand it BOTH ARE EQUALLY ESSENTIAL.
Once again as great as this sounds to my mind I accept it might be a delusional construct and hope that a) I do not offend anyone with such offerings b) that if I am delusional that there will be something offered for me to consider
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you all for posting, regardless of differences to know these teachings exist in the hearts and minds of others is very encouraging and uplifting.