Sunday, June 30, 2013

the promise of buddhahood:

   One of the great promises of the Lotus Sutra is that all beings will attain

buddhahood. Male, female, animal, grasses, the good and the bad, even


   When I was a child, I used to love to look at this painting in the Metropolitan

Museum, it's the parinirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha. Here it is:

   I was quite an animal lover and that the painter included animals crying, really

spoke to me. Obviously in Buddhism they were important and that's how I

found Buddhism. When I read the Lotus Sutra I immediately loved it and looked

at this painting with new eyes...."For the sake of the masses of beings by

expedience manifest Nirvana." Shakyamuni looks like he is dying but in reality

"I have ever been preaching the Dharma, teaching and converting numberless

tens of millions of beings." So it's not a sad painting at all, it's a wonderful

reminder that the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni is always with us, always

compassionatly  teaching us : cats, flowers, stones, humans, gods, nagas with no


Saturday, June 29, 2013

About our teacher:

      I wanted to write today about Rev. Tsuchiya. Since I joined over a year and a

half ago, he has always been posting dharma weekly talks and explanations of

the Lotus Sutra at our facebook group and answering any questions any of us

have had. Always kindly and patiently, because really some of the same

questions pop up again and again...

      You may be suprised to find out that Rev. Tsuchiya is an airline pilot, pretty cool and 

even cooler is that he does this, helping, guiding, instructing us all in his free time.

This isn't his day job, he does this because he really is devoted and wants to

spread the correct dharma to everyone, everywhere.

      I really appreciate this as my previous Tendai teacher never wrote to me or my

friends, we came to the U.S.from Germany and Ireland to train at the temple during the

summer, we had so much faith and devotion! And for the rest of the year


    So I don't take it for granted. I really appreciate having a caring teacher who is

there for me. So thank you Rev. Tsuchiya.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Rev. Kubota's Visit to New York

Back in the 1990's, Kempon Hokke members were very fortunate...Rev. Tetsujo Kubota, the priest assigned to the United States, came to NY for a visit.  It was an incredible few days.  Kubota-sensei honored me by performing Gongyo in my home.  It was an amazing experience...his spirit and devotion to the Dharma was unquenchable.  I will never forget those few days with a very amazing man!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The absolute best photo of Eagle Peak and having friends:

Isn't this amazing? It was just taken by a friend of mine a Canadian Mahayana

monk. He lives in India in New Delhi, his teacher's teacher was Nichidatsu

Fuji the founder of Nipponzan Myohoji, the Lotus monks who build the

peace pagodas and chant daimoku, but now his teacher is independent. He was 

going on pilgrimage to visit all the places marking Shakyamuni Buddha's 

human  life and I asked him to take good pics of Eagle peak for me. He's a kind 

guy and yes I'm his friend.

He knows what I believe and is very supportive. In Kempon Hokke We can be

friends with lots of people of many faiths and Buddhist sects, we just don't

pray with them. Besides how would these people even learn about the Lotus

Sutra and Nichiren if we didn't talk about it?

Also as laypeople we're not required to do shakabuku, that's the priests'

responsability. So our job is to pratice and study, if we want to tell our friends

more that's great; just don't tell them they're going to avici hell! Lol...I'm kidding

but you get my point.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dharma Lesson from the Lotus Sutra:
 this is Rev. Tsuchiya's lesson that I will be posting now regularly. You can also find it on our facebook Kempon Hokke group:
The teacher of the Dharma, chapter 10

(scripture 52)
Even while I am alive, this sutra is hated with jealousy by many people. Needless to say, it will be more after my extinction.

If there is person who copies, keeps, reads, and recites this sutra, makes offerings to it, and expounds it to others after my extinction, he will be covered by my robe. He also will be protected by the present Buddhas in other worlds. This person will have the strong power of faith, the power of willingness and the power of making good deeds. You should know that he is living with me, the Buddha. His head will be surely caressed by my palm.

You should understand, it is a matter of course that the opposite against the right teachings happens where many people are under the control of illusion. Because Lotus Sutra is the right teachings, the opposite happens. Even when the Buddha Shakamuni existed in the world, there were nine big persecutions to him. Needless to say, after the Buddha's death, people who oppose to the Lotus Sutra also increase more and more because the world worsens and people's minds are twisted. As the proverb says "Good medicine tastes bitter, Good advice is seldom welcome", Nichiren shonin explains in Kaimoku-sho(Open your Eyes) that enemies emerge there because you expound the righteousness sternly, many people oppose to the Hokke practitioner because he points out their errors.

However, the Buddha protects the Hokke practitioner. The Buddha Shakamuni supports those who spread the Lotus Sutra, and protects them. "He will be covered by my robe" means that, the Hokke practitioner surely is protected kindly by the Buddha's affection as like the mother who holds a baby in her arms, covering by her clothes. Because the Hokke practitioner is guided by this teaching, he can have the strong power of faith, the power of willingness and the power of making various good deeds. Although the power of faith is caused for the eternal truth of universe, the original Buddha and the Buddha-nature of you, anyways, the strong faith is established there that the teachings of the Buddha are the supreme doctrine, which is never broken by anyone. In this way, you will have the strong spirit to make efforts for people and the world, with the power of willingness which saves all human beings and establishes the peace country by the true Dharma, and you will also have the executive ability to do all sorts of good deeds. It is not a selfish desire such as the prosperity of family, or the narrow spirit getting the freedom from suffering in the world for your own self which was criticized by Mahayana.

In this way, the Hokke practitioner has to make efforts, having the strong power of faith, the power of willingness and the power of making good deeds. If you have only the faith without the willingness or the practice of good deeds, it disobeys to the meaning of the Sutra. The Hokke practitioner who makes efforts is living with the Buddha. Even if he is exiled or is sat for beheading, he is always with Buddha. The Buddha caresses the head of practitioner with a palm. It has been clearly expressed in the faith and activity of Nichiren shonin. Therefore, we have to learn steadily this meaning of the Sutra as disciples of Nichiren's sects, and follow his example. You should not abide by the principle of “peace-at-any-price”as like many ordinary priests in Nichiren's sect. If you always behave as a good man uttering flowery words, and also lose the dignity of religion by admiring the praying for magic or the fortune telling, Buddhism will become worthless for people more and more. If you consider that Buddhism is supreme religion, and that Nichiren shonin has demonstrated the righteousness and orthodox doctrine of Buddhism, you have to accomplish your duty as a disciple, having more great aspiration.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Meditation help:

Okay when I posted the meditation, I realize that hey not everyone (ie. me)

knows what the 4 heavenly kings, the shitenno, look like so here we are

some helpful visual aids. Remember this isn't some dogamatic thing where

they have to look like the pic, it's up to you and what works for you best!

Here's the king of the North :

pretty great, and the next is the king of the West

Now you get the idea, so that's enough.

Now for the fierce guardian deities who destroy spirits , here's Acala also

known as Fudo Myo
Fierce! I love those flames & now Ragaraja aka Aizen Myo:

Wow, even better, who would mess with you with these deities on your side! So

now let's get going with our meditation.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Continuing the meditation discussion:

Was just reading J. Stone's essay "Realizing This World As The Buddha

Land." this goes right to what we were discussing...

 "This constantly abiding pure land is the very realm depicted on Nichiren's

great mandala, the calligraphic object of worship (honzon) he devised, which

represents in Chinese characters and Sanskrit letters the assembly of the Lotus

Sutra on Vulture Peak, where the ever-present Sakyamuni preaches ....For

Nichiren, faith in the Lotus Sutra thus collapses all temporal and spatial

separation between the Buddha and the devotee; by upholding the sutra

and chanting its daimoku, one can immediately enter into the Lotus assembly

and dwell in the Buddha's presence. "
    Readings of the Lotus Sutra [p.221-222] 


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Meeting Buddha Shakyamuni in our minds:

While we chant Daimoku in Kempon we at the same time do a meditation,

which is pretty cool. It's Shakyamuni Buddha teaching  the great assembly

at Eagle Peak. Here it is:

Meditation While in chanting Daimoku

As Nichiren shonin described in Gohonzon,

1.You place the Four-Quarter kings in the cardinal points to draw a boundary for protection against evil at first.

2.You send for guardian deities, Acala and Ragaraja that destroy evil spirits. Acala changes your anger to justice, Ragaraja change your love and hatred to mercy.

3.Many gods beat a heavenly-drum and heavenly-flowers are rained from the sky.

4.Nichiren shonin and Nichijyu shonin and so on sit in front of you. Then invite the Buddha Sakyamuni, the Buddha of Many Treasures and four bodhisattvas together with them. A lot of your colleagues sit down with you and chant Daimoku with you.

5.You hear the teachings from the Buddha Sakyamuni and receive the five character of Myoho renge kyo. 

And here is a photo of Mt. Grdhrakuta in India to give you

some inspiration!
Remember chanting Daimoku be conscious of the real existence of the 

Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni, listen to him and feel his encouragement.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Original Enlightenment explained: waves vs. acorns

Okay, Masaru asked me to explain this in plain English and here goes, if anyone

has questions, is confused about a point just ask me! I'm happy to discuss it.

      Now SGI teaches that the Buddha is life and you can tap into that energy,

that you're a buddha too. This idea comes from medieval Tendai philosophy

basically that ordinary humans = Buddha's enlightened reality. So SGI would say

the Buddha is the ocean and we are the difference.

     Now Kempon Hokke teaches that chanting the Daimoku plants the seed of

Buddhahood.  Ordinary people have the potential to become Buddhas, but they

are not there yet. . Think of an acorn, every acorn is the seed of a potential oak


So you can see the big difference;  it's waves vs acorns. 

Nichiren followed the Buddha-seed idea, which comes from Zhiyi (Chih-I) the

founder of the Tiantai sect in China. Zhiyi said the Buddha sowed the seeds of

enlightenment in human beings by preaching the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren says the

Daimoku is the seed of buddhahood and this happens as:

Sakyamuni Buddha's cause and effect are contained into the five of words of Myoho renge kyo. If we keep this five of words, His cause and effect are naturally transferred to us. Kanjin Honzon-sho

Well that's a lot and I really think enough for now. But you can see when you

have the seed of Buddhahood, you're basically a student of Shakyamuni

Buddha, so you need to listen to your teacher, meditate on his teachings and

study a lot!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Something about our School

       For people who are wondering I'd like to tell you something about our school,

which is right in the mainstream.

      We follow the Lotus Sutra and worship the eternal Buddha Shakyamuni,

 we revere Nichiren Shonin as the reincarnation of Bodhisattva Jogyo. We don't

believe in original enlightenment, meaning we don't think we're already

buddhas, we have the  ability to become a buddha if we practice correctly.

     We don't worship with other religions or Buddhist sects but we talk to them

and listen to lectures. We perform shakubuku by stating the case and supporting

our  assertions with textual support from the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Shonin,

we use reason and people's intelligence to open their eyes, our priests teach in a

kind fashon.

     Our sect is keen on scholarship and study, so reading the Dhammapada

is a good guide for ethical living.

    Kempon Hokke is small, it was founded in 14th Century Japan by Nichiju a

former Tendai monk, who felt the other Nichiren sects had departed from

Nichiren Shonin's original teachings.

    When we chant Daimoku we visualize the Eternal Buddha at Sacred Eagle

Peak and that if you have faith the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni will guide you

and all the deities will protect you forever.

    So we're mainstream like Nichiren Shu but more orthodox;  stricter on faith

and worship.

    I hope this gives you some understanding of who we are, we've a Facebook

group you're welcome to check out: kempon fb group

 our priest Rev. Tsuchiya posts text  and explanations from the Lotus Sutra and

will answer your questions. Hey you can even ask me if you like!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Another poem from Jien referring to Chapter 3 "A Parable" of the Lotus Sutra

Ushiyasa wa             I know    
Kakaru kuruma o     This is a splendid cart
Arit to shite               And yet
Noraba ya to dani     I never thought of
Omowazarikeru        Riding it.          

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Here is my first post for the blog a wonderful poem written by Jien.

Izukata mo                  Though I search
Nokosazu yukite         Every field
Tazunu to mo             Overlooking nothing,
Hana wa minori no    All the flowers are but
Hana bakari koso      The flowers of the law.

Jien,1155-1225, poet, monk, chief abbot of Mt. Hiei on the Lotus Sutra as the unsurpassed vehicle that leads to enlightenment.