Saturday, 6 October 2012

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2012. Section A2.

Following section A1, the second installment of my series of posts dedicated to the Study exams.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to go to study meetings for a couple of weeks now, what with Dedicated Lilac activities and, today, my being a bit under the weather and needing an actual complete day off.

So since I'm in bed doing nothing, I might as well do some blogging.

Section A2 reads: In 50-100 words, and based on the material in section A2, explain the following subjects as if you were talking to a friend who is interested in Buddhism. Include at least three different points for each subject in your answer. In the exam, only one of the three subjects will be set.

a) Nam-Myoho-renge-kyo

b) The Lotus Sutra

c) The Gohonzon.

To prepare for this, I read the supporting material and basically wrote a 50-100 words summary of each of the three sections. The way I do it is: first I copy the whole thing into my word processor, then I cut bits and pieces and rephrase sentences until I get to the right number of words. It works for me because I enjoy typing and I'm really fast.

a) Nam-myoho-renge-kyo represents the ultimate Law of the universe. Nam [dedicating one’s life] is a Sanskrit word while Myoho-renge-kyo is the title of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren regarded the title as encapsulating the sutra's essence.

Myo [mystic] stands for enlightenment, while ho [law] represents darkness. Together myoho expresses the idea that ignorance and enlightenment are a single entity.

Renge [lotus flower] stands for cause and effect, also a single entity.

Kyo ['sutra'] represents the voices of living beings.
Nichiren taught that the correct practice of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo involves chanting it and teaching it to others.

b) The Lotus Sutra is a collection of parables and teachings which is traditionally believed to have been taught in the last eight years of Shakyamuni’s life.
In the first half of the sutra the buddha reveals ’the true aspect of all phenomena’ indicating that everyone possesses the potential for enlightenment with the example of the dragon king’s daughter, a female in reptile form, attaining enlightenment.
In the second half Shakyamuni reveals his true identity as the buddha who attained enlightenment in the unimaginably remote past and describes the necessity and benefits of propagation.  

c) The  Gohonzon is the object of devotion in Nichiren Daishonin’s buddhism. ‘Go’ is a honorific prefix, and ‘honzon’ means object of devotion.
Nichiren viewed his inscription of the Dai Gohonzon on 12 of October 1279 as the fulfillment of his life’s mission.
Down the middle of the Gohonzon is written Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo Nichiren signifying the law which enables a person to become a buddha, and the person who has become a buddha through practising the law.
Nichiren embodied in the Gohonzon his enlightened state of life, so that people can attain it as well.

It's really bloody hard to say everything in 100 words! 

Check out the other sections:
Section A1  
Section B (quotes)
Section B (answers)
Section C
Section D
Grade 1 Wrap-up

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