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Thursday, July 5, 2018

How to maintain your practice till the end

"Just a suggestion but would it be possible to post more info on how to really dive into the teachings for a new be coming into the Nichiren fold?there isn't much info out there other than by "those that shan't be named." or others with there own agenda. would it be possible to maybe post some things that show how one can begin, continue and develop their practice for the long haul and integrate into everyday life from an authentic point not from a watered down, mixed point like what is being peddled as Nichiren Buddhism." -- Josh

To begin to dive into the teachings, determine to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo for, at least, 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. Choose a clean area of your home and set up an altar with blank wall, altar table, covered water cup [to change the water daily], vase for fresh flowers or evergreens [which should never be left on to wither and die], food bowl for offering fresh fruit [and try never to let the fruit rot], bell, insense dish, and candle holder. Initially, you may place a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha on the altar [be sure that it is Guatama or Shakyamuni and not Amida] and place a copy of the Lotus Sutra before it. In order to continue, make a great indestructible vow to continue chanting Namu Myoho renge kyo until the last moment of your life. To help you to continuously renew and strengthen your vow, it is necessary several things: To study the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin on a daily basis if possible; to take as your teachers Shakyamuni Buddha of the Original Doctrine [Shakyamuni of the 16th Chapter of the Lotus Sutra] and Nichiren Daishonin, The Supreme Votary of the Lotus Sutra]. Integrating the teachings into your daily life is to chant the title of the Lotus Sutra with the same faith as Nichiren. When your vow is firm, you may ask your friend or family member who introduced you to the faith and practice to bestow upon you a mandala Gohonzon or you may print off a mandala Gohonzon and either frame it or mount it on a blank wall scroll. The Gohonzon should be placed on the wall above seated eye level or placed in a cabinet called a Butsudan. You may continue to have your statue of Shakyamuni Buddha and the copy of the Lotus Sutra on the altar and you may also place a statue of Nichiren Daishonin on the altar. Usually, the statues and copy of the Lotus Sutra are placed in the middle in front of the Gohonzon but this is not a hard and fast rule. Nichiren was not absolutely clear as to the structure of a valid object of worship [devotion], be it a painted [or inscribed] or statue arrangement. This accounts for the different styles and arrangements of the objects of worship of the various sects. You can't go wrong with a copy of a Nichiren inscribed Gohonzon. 

There are two types of practice: The practice for oneself and the practice for others. The practice for oneself is to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo. We may also chant parts of the 2nd and 16th Chapters of the Lotus Sutra. The practice for others can be further broken down into the peaceful practices and the forceful practices. Only the priests must perform both practices. Laymen and laywomen may or may not perform the forceful practices depending on their abilities. Nichiren performed principally the peaceful practices regarding his disciples and believers and principally the forceful practices regarding believers and practitioners of other faiths. 

You will develop and integrate your faith and practice by following the Master Nichiren and adopting his manner of reading the Lotus Sutra [a bodily reading]. 

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