300 years old Tibetan Carved Skull.
This is awesome, but it makes me feel a little icky. Maybe that’s what it is supposed to do!
Did you guys see that the Dalai Lama led the US Senate in prayer on Thursday? That’s interesting! Click link to see video. Kind of cool, in terms of representation of different religious groups. But the ever-present skeptic part of me always wonders: why did His Holiness speak now? What was the motivation behind congress to do so?
Still, very interesting and cool!
Here is the paper I presented for the AAR! You are more than welcome to read it!
Today’s conference on Buddhism and Ecology at the AAR went great! I was so nervous in anticipation, but I finally got through it. I’m so happy with the way it turned out. I’m going to convert my document to PDF and show you guys what I presented. Happy to have participated in academic discourse of Buddhism!
(Alberto) Dan Diaz
- Dogen, from An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics by Peter Harvey (2000), pg. 177
Dear Nichiren Peeps,
I wish I knew people in the Nichiren tradition. It’s beautiful! They know the Lotus Sutra inside out. Many lay people are able to recite it from memory and discuss its meaning! I <3 the Lotus Sutra. It’s got so many good and beautiful teachings!
Do you practice Nichiren Buddhism? If so, what is your experience? Submit here!
Thanks! Glad you like it. Do I feel Nichiren is zany? Nope.
Nichiren Buddhism takes its name after its founder, who started the sect during the Kamakura period in Japan. Nichiren was originally a very devout Tendai monk, but he felt that the practices of Tendai had become too deviant from centering around the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren believed that the Lotus Sutra was the holiest and most important Buddhist scripture, so he gave emphasis to reading it over all other Buddhist practices, and he taught that reciting even the title of the Lotus Sutra alone would bring karmic merit to the practitioner.
Thus, we have the mantra (made famous to Americans by *Tina Turner and others), “Namo Myoho Renge Kyo”, which translates as “Honor/Obeissance to the Scripture/Teaching of the Lotus” (aka, the Lotus Sutra).
The Kamakura period in Japan consisted of political instability and a series of natural disasters and fires. Nichiren attributed this instability to the karmic consequences of our deviancy from reciting the scripture. The Pure Land and Zen sects of Buddhism were popular contemporary innovations in Buddhism in Japan, but Nichiren viewed the reciting of Amitabha Buddha’s name and the practice of zazen as inferior. He famously claimed that it was like “mixing rice with excrement”.
During this period of instability, the samurai classes adopted these three new Buddhist sects (Pure Land, Zen, and Nichiren), and abandoned the old sects practiced by the aristocracy (Tendai and Shingon). Nichiren was very popular at the time, and it still is popular in Japan today. Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is an international organization that identifies as Nichiren, and operates around the world. I would say that Nichiren has less fundamentalist attitudes today. It is a valid and very beautiful way of practicing the Dharma that the Buddha left to us.
For more information, check out De Bary et al.’s Sources of Japanese Tradition vol. 1
If you have any more questions let me know! This was a good one!
EDIT: Oops. Tina Turner, not Oprah.
The real mark is apart from marks; it is not attached to any distinguishing characteristics. It has left all dharmas behind, and swept away all marks. This is the investigation of the dhyana [Ch’an] Dharma-door.
Those who truly practice dhyana truly chant the Buddha’s name as well.
Those who can really recite the Buddha’s name are, in fact, investigating dhyana. Dhyana practice and Buddha Recitation both help you to stop your idle thoughts and sweep away your personal desires and random thoughts, so that your original face can appear. This is called real mark recitation."
- The Ven. Master Hsuan Hua, Buddha Root Farm, p. 41.