If a Phrase of the Sutra Fills Your Heart… – May 5, 2017


“If a phrase of the sutra fills your heart it will be an aid to reaching the other Shore.  By deeply reflecting on and mastering the Dharma it will become a great vessel for crossing over.  Being able to see and hear the Dharma follows upon its joyful reception, as a vassal always follows after his lord.  Whether somebody follows it or goes against it, they will finally be able to achieve liberation through hearing it.”  The lay follower Wu-chin said [in Goho-ron (Treatise on Protecting the Dharma)].

Medicine Buddha – in progress

Last year I began a project which I have loosely titled Lotus of Your Life.  This is intended to be a multi-year long endeavor to illustrate, illuminate, or otherwise reveal in some form the Lotus Sutra of life.  Since I’ve written and published several books dedicated to the Lotus Sutra this project will be more visual and less written.  Paint, pencil, fiber, color, lots of color will be the vocabulary I will use to try to convey further my appreciation for and understanding of the Lotus Sutra.

Beyond a continuing expression of gratitude my goal is to let the art tell more of my story and the profound impact the Lotus Sutra has had on me.  While in my writing I try to be honest and tell my story when appropriate, I’ve not always felt it appropriate to the intent of the book or article.  When I do bring in my own experiences I try to be honest and I try to convey as much the fact and emotion as possible.

Honestly, I have felt in the past year or so that I have said all there is to say and anything more would be repetitive. I don’t know if that is the perception of the readers.  While I feel as if I have run out of words to talk about the Lotus Sutra, there still is within a need to ‘say’ more.

That was how the project began and even one year later that is how I still feel and what my thinking is.  I’ve moved from one city to another, which is quite an upheaval to almost every aspect of a person’s life.  There are so many things that need to come to an end and it seems an even greater number of things need to begin.

Art supplies and equipment was packed away with only some items held out for transition.  Slowly I’ve gone through most of the boxes that contained items needed for everyday living.  That has created space and revealed the boxes that contain art stuff.  It has been an adventure through an art supply heaven as I slowly pull things out and consider how to store them, how to group them, and even a renewed how to use them.  In that regard it is helpful to have some turmoil and change in a person’s life.

During the course of the project of Lotus of Your Life I’ve invited folks to join me.  It is my hope that people will continue to share with me as they have in the past how they would tell the Lotus Sutra from their own lives. 

I remain committed to encouraging people to look beyond the theory and see the story.  Where were you in your life when you first heard about the Lotus Sutra?  What were you looking for?  What were your hopes and dreams?  What has happened since then?  What impact has the Lotus Sutra had on your life?  What are some of the small things that happen which you attribute to the Lotus Sutra and what are some of the big things?  Are you now as you thought you would be when you first began practicing?  What has happened to you that because of your practice you can now look back upon with a different perspective?

There are so many questions, profound questions we can ask ourselves.  These questions and the answers are part of the sum of the story of the Lotus Sutra of our lives.  These questions are the same questions others in our society grapple with.  Your answers and your understandings can be an inspiration to others around you.  If you know it yourself first, that is.

In fact in my writings if I am able to help anyone it is first and foremost because of the Lotus Sutra and second because I’ve tried to look at the questions and answers as they have occurred in my life. Since I’m not such a unique person I figure there are at least a couple of people who may have had similar sorts of experiences.  While my solution won’t be their solution it is my hope that perhaps my story can give them hope.

So as the phrases of the Lotus Sutra have filled my heart I hope they can be an aid to others to overcome the sufferings they may experience and quickly have joy and become Buddhas.

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About Ryusho 龍昇

Nichiren Shu Buddhist priest. My home temple is Myosho-ji, Wonderful Voice Temple, in Charlotte, NC. You may visit the temple’s web page by going to http://www.myoshoji.org. I am also training at Carolinas Medical Center as a Chaplain intern. It is my hope that I eventually become a Board Certified Chaplain. Currently I am also taking healing touch classes leading to become a certified Healing Touch Practitioner. I do volunteer work with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (you may learn more about them by following the link) caring for individuals who are HIV+ or who have AIDS/SIDA.