Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2016. Section A2

In 50-100 words, and based on the material in Section A – Part 2, 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)  What is the meaning of Nam‐myoho‐renge‐kyo?

(b)  What is the difference between a Buddha and an ordinary person?

(c)  What is the Gohonzon? 

a) Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the fundamental Law that pervades the universe. Nam [dedicating one’s life] is Sanskrit while Myoho-renge-kyo [The Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law] is the Japanese title of the Lotus Sutra. The lotus is a powerful symbol because: 1. Though it grows in muddy waters, its flower is pure and fragrant, meaning the sutra's believers remain pure in thoughts and actions. 2. It bears flowers and fruits at the same time, indicating that Buddhahood exists within ourselves and we don't lose the life states of ordinary people when we manifest our Buddhahood.

b) An ordinary person is one who is ignorant, unaware or doubtful of their own buddhahood.A Buddha is awakened to the life-state of Buddhahood inherently present in her or his life and is able to demonstrate the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that exist within them. When we have faith in and actually practise NMRK, the power and functions of the Mystic Law are activated and expressed in our lives, and in this way we manifest the life state of Buddhahood. 

c) The Gohonzon is the object of devotion inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin in the form of a mandala.  The Daishonin depicted his own Buddhahood, or enlightened life state, so that we ordinary people can manifest NMRK in our lives and attain Buddhahood, just as he did. It is important that we revere NMRK believing and accepting that it is inherent in our own lives. By doing so, we can tap the Mystic Law that resides within us and manifest our inherent Buddhahood.

There is a lot more I could write about these topics, but I have limited myself to the word count and to the information contained in the study material. Should anyone want a bit more info, hit me up in the comments.

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