Nichiren Shonin
Gohonzon Shu

O'Mandalas by St. Nichiren
[1222-1282]




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Early Mandala inscribed by Nichiren.

The Post Modern Sutra for
Opening the Eyes of Wooden and Painted Images

During the Eternal Ceremony in Cyberspace, the Bodhisattva Independent lamented, "I wish I could ask the Buddha about the Eye Opening Ceremony, but I can't! And his disciples in this Saha world all disagree about what he would want us to do!"

In response to his intense inner yearning, an enormous Stupa rose into the Open Space above Cyberspace and the Eternal Buddha thundered: "And what does the eye opening ceremony have to do with following the eightfold path and attaining liberation from suffering?"

The Bodhisattva Cheeky Brit rose from her seat, not much taken with authority figures on the whole, and unlikely to be intimidated for very long by the blinding light coming from between his bushy eyebrows, or that he was hovering just above her, naked except for a golden loin cloth, and said to the Buddha:

"Why thank you very much for asking, Sir. I am most honoured. In my own experience, I have found it much easier to understand your teachings since I have been chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo, and especially since I have been doing it in front of this strange piece of paper covered in squiggles. Can you tell me if there is a better way for me to follow the eightfold path and attain liberation from suffering for all beings? I know that a lot of people down here would dearly like to know.

And the Buddha answered:

"Why put Sino-Japanese and a calligraphic scroll between yourself and the direct practice of right views, right intentions, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration?"

And then Ananda, who is always sticking up for people when the Buddha is being obstinate, said: "But Lord Buddha, don't you regularly teach people to be mindful of the Dharma?"

And the Buddha solemnly nodded in the affirmative.

"And isn't it better to have a simple way to be mindful of, take faith in, and rejoice in the Dharma in each moment rather than to have a long elaborate teaching to memorize or scene to visualize that boils down to the simple but profound intention of devoting oneself to the Wonderful Dharma?"

And the Buddha solemnly nodded in the affirmative.

"And for some people, doesn't it help to have something to focus one's attention upon, just like we do in the kasina meditation (meditationg upon colored circles)?"

And the Buddha solemnly nodded in the affirmative.

"And isn't it better to not just focus on any dharma or Dharma, but on the Wonderful Dharma of the Lotus Flower Teaching which is where all Dharmas flow like the rivers into the ocean?"

And this time the Buddha smiled and nodded in agreement. Then he said, "Ananda, you are correct, but you have said nothing that goes beyond the eightfold path. Right views is to view each situation in the light of the Wonderful Dharma. Right intention is to have the mind of Buddha which is expressed in the Wonderful Dharma. Right actions, right speech, and right livelihood are way in which a person devoted to the Wonderful Dharma lives. Right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration is to constantly be mindful of the Wonderful Dharma in everything one does and to have a mind and heart that are centered upon it and at peace.

"If reciting the Dharma and gazing upon a mandala are direct practices of the eightfold path in this way, then one is indeed on the Buddha Way.

"If, however, one is mindlessly reciting Dharma like the brahmins reciting Vedic hymns, or clinging to ceremonies and objects the way the brahmins cling to their fire worship, then one is not practicing the Dharma at all. It would be like a man calling to the opposite bank of a river. No matter how earnestly he calls, it will not come over to his side. The man must take the ferry if he wishes to cross the river. In the same way, reciting the Dharma can be like callinig to the opposite bank, or it can be a way of boarding the Great Vehicle by centering one's mind and heart on the Wonderful Dharma in each moment.

"Remember, Ananda, that faith must lead to wisdom and not stagnate into mere piety. Enthusiastic efforts should be focused into that which actually does increase liberation for all beings. And above all mindful discernment should guide one in all things. In this way, one's practice can be true Buddhist practice and not fall into the meaningless rites and rituals of the brahmins and naked ascetics.

"So, Ananda, follow and practice that which is Dharma. Do not follow that which is not Dharma even if it is in the name of Dharma." The Buddha then smiled and the assembly bowed with their palms together, as the Ceremony in Open Space continues to this day.

Inspired in the Gohonzon Forum

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Gohonzonsh»u (129 halographs)
Published by Rissho Ankokukai. 1947, 1999.
1 | 2 | 3A | 3B | 3C | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32A | 32B | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68A | 68B | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125

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