To Chant Odaimoku is to
Six Paramitas and to Attain Buddhahood
The ultimate goal for Buddhists is to attain Buddhahood. What does it mean to attain Buddhahood? If we do not know, then we cannot aim for it. It is to become a person who awakens from illusion and liberates from lust, worldly desires and negative karma, one who attains Buddha Dharma, and one who is well-rounded.
All sutras preceding the Lotus Sutra limit only certain people to attaine Buddhahood. The Lotus Sutra that Sakyamuni Buddha revealed during his last eight years before his Great Nirvana teaches everyone’s possibility becoming a Buddha. For example, Chapter Two says, “All Buddhas appeared in this world in order to cause all living beings to obtain the Buddha wisdom and to enter into the insight of the Buddha.” In other chapters of the first half of the sutra (the historical Buddha's teachings) Sakyamuni gave assurances to all his disciples including women, and wicked man like Devadatta after their many births and deaths. There is one exception; the eight year old Dragon King’s daughter who became a Buddha immediately.
In the last half of the sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha reveals his eternal existence; the Buddha explains the relationship between him and us. Because the Buddha exists now, everyone is able to attain Buddhahood by practicing Bodhisattva’s Ways; which are the Six Paramitas. A Bodhisattva always seeks his own salvation from all sufferings, worldly desires, and karma, but he also helps other people. We should try to make others happy and delighted as much as possible.
The Six Paramitas are;
1. OFFERING (your offering to the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, and your ancestors; not only that anything you give to others are offerings such as smile, good words, money, food, volunteer work, etc.)
2. PRECEPT (not only to keep the five Buddhist Precepts but also to follow rules of your communities; Nichiren Shu precept is to chant “Namu Myo-ho Ren-ge Kyo”),
3. PATIENCE (not to get upset, try to control your lust, to bear hardship; when people learn to be patient, death rates by guns in America will dramatically come down.),
4. DEVOTION (your daily practice in Buddhism, devote yourself to something good),
5. MEDITATION (to maintain calmness or quiet state of your mind) and
6. BUDDHA WISDOM (understanding the reality of all things).
Nichiren Shonin gave us a remedy, “NAMU MYO-HO REN-GE KYO.” You don’t need to make effort to practice the above mentioned Six Paramitas. Why is that? It is because when you chant the sacred title of the Lotus Sutra in Japanese, you will act the Six Paramitas without knowing. You will enjoy to help others, to become patient, to be able to overcome hardship, to be endure, to get some sort of wisdom because your mind is calm.
To chant “Namu Myo-ho Ren-ge Kyo” means “I vow to follow the righteousness and to follow the rules of your communities.” “Ho” means Buddha Dharma, the universal laws, the traffic rules, the Constitution. “Ren-ge” means the lotus flower, a symbol of cause and effect. When you follow the righteousness or rules, deities protect you, because “Namu Myo-ho Ren-ge Kyo” is the deities’ vows to protect you. Even if you do not know the meanings of the Odaimoku, if you chant the phrase; you will act unconsciously the Six Paramitas and cleanse your bad karma little by little just as a baby drinks milk without knowing the nutritional value. Therefore, it is better to chant it as many times as possible. It is a way to attain Buddhahood.
(From Radiance No. 14, March 1, 2010)
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