Sunday, 29 June 2014

Buddhist quotes - June

This month, I once again left my quote until quite late in the day.
I have been studying a lot, mostly "The opening of the eyes", but for some reason when I started thinking about a suitable quote for this month, I could only think about that Gosho where Nichiren tells Shijo Kingo not to wear fancy clothes (yes, really). Only I could not remember what Gosho it was.

So, a bit of Google-fu later, I found The Three Kinds of Treasure. And reread it.

In recent times, I am really striving to put Nichiren at the centre of my life, and to strengthen my bond with my Mentor in order to reach the heart of Nichiren. And I am discovering Nichiren as a truly incredible guy. The wonderful thing about him is that he was a real person. He didn't pretend to be perfect, and since we can study what he actually wrote to his disciples, we can see what his heart was like. I strongly recommend reading this Gosho right now. I had a really hard time not copying the whole thing in here as my June quote. I love how there is so much practical advice in it. For example:
[N]o matter what faults you may find with your younger brothers, do not let them leave you alone even for a moment.

[Y]ou should at all times behave unobtrusively in their [your enemies'] presence. Pay greater respect to the other retainers of the clan than you have in the past.

[...]Leave your sidelocks uncombed, and refrain from wearing well-starched court dress, bright quilted robes, or other colorful clothing. Be patient, and continue in this way for the time being.
[...]For the time being stay calm, and observe how things develop. And do not go around lamenting to others how hard it is for you to live in this world. To do so is an act utterly unbecoming to a worthy man. 
[...]But since you are hot-tempered by nature, you might not take my advice. In that case, it will be beyond the power of my prayers to save you.
This bit is often quoted by one of our National Leaders as something especially encouraging for Men Division Members:
Over and over I recall the moment, unforgettable even now, when I was about to be beheaded and you accompanied me, holding the reins of my horse and weeping tears of grief.7 Nor could I ever forget it in any lifetime to come. If you should fall into hell for some grave offense, no matter how Shakyamuni Buddha might urge me to become a Buddha, I would refuse; I would rather go to hell with you. For if you and I should fall into hell together, we would find Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra there. It would be as if the moon were illuminating the darkness, as if cold water were pouring into hot as if fire were melting ice, or as if the sun were dispelling the darkness. But if you depart from my advice even slightly, do not blame me for what may happen.[emphasis mine]
The part I find most encouraging is the line I put in bold. We can't blame the practice when we don't get what we want, if we haven't been practising correctly to start with.

After all that, I think the quote that I find most responding to my current prayer is right at the start:
I am most grieved over your lord’s illness. Although he has not professed faith in the Lotus Sutra, you are a member of his clan, and it is thanks to his consideration that you are able to make offerings to the sutra. Thus, these may become prayers solely for your lord’s recovery. Think of a small tree under a large one, or grass by a great river. Though they do not receive rain or water directly, they nonetheless thrive, partaking of dew from the large tree or drawing moisture from the river. The same holds true with the relationship between you and your lord.
and further towards the end (possibly the most famous quote from this Gosho):
Live so that all the people of Kamakura will say in your praise that Nakatsukasa Saburō Saemon-no-jō [Shijo Kingo] is diligent in the service of his lord, in the service of Buddhism, and in his concern for other people. More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all. From the time you read this letter on, strive to accumulate the treasures of the heart! [emphasis mine]
I am really chanting to develop a harmonious work place and I know I am not showing enough gratitude in there. I have to forget the specifics of what people do that irritates me and even put my feelings about people themselves on the side, and just respect their role in my life.

Not easy, but I must not depart from my mentor's advice :)

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