On Reciting the Sutra – Part 4

“The Buddha is the unexcelled King of the Dharma.  Once we chant what he preached with his golden lips, the spiritual phrases of the sacred teachings, those words will become a Dharma-wheel that travels throughout the earth.  The yakshas chant to the sky as an offering to the Four Heavenly Kings.  After the Heavenly Kings hear it, they then pass it on until it reaches the King of the Brahma Heaven.  This chanting spreads out to the dead and to the living.  The dragon-gods are as pleased as when people listen to the speech of a king.  Who would not praise it?  The merit of chanting is like this.” Wu-chin, Goho-ron (Treatise on Protecting the Dharma)

Even though our ears are not fine tuned and so are unable to hear many frequencies our voices are heard and cause the universe to move.  We can have a voice of love or of hate, and then what we hear in return, what we experience is in accord with our voice.  Think how the universe is moved when we recite the words of the Buddha.  Even our small voice reaches the heavens.

I remember as a child one night while taking a bath my parents got into an argument in another room and started yelling at each other.  My father stormed into the bathroom grabbed some things and turned out the lights as he  slammed the door.  There I was alone in the bathtub with no lights.  I hit my head on the water spout and got a cut which started bleeding.  Maybe that’s why to this day I don’t like taking baths, maybe not.  Regardless their voices and their actions reverberated, and were felt by me.  We know the energy of angry words are powerful, I think we often discount the equal power that words of kindness have and the even greater power of our voice lifting up the words and phrases in the sutra, especially the Lotus Sutra.

I wish for you great joy.  Is a powerful statement.  What’s even more beautiful about this wish based upon the Lotus Sutra is that it doesn’t contain any mention of what it might be so it is up to each individual what there great joy is.  That is why when I pray for someone who has requested a specific prayer from me I simply pray that they have the necessary resources to solve their situation.  I am not capable of knowing exactly what someone needs, I can’t know the specifics, but I can easily put my life energy into a prayer for the necessary resources whatever they may be.

Contained within the teachings of the Lotus Sutra are limitless resources for us to navigate our life situation.  We will never know them if we ignore reading, reciting, and studying.  As Nichiren says in the Shoho Jisso Sho, “Endeavor, endeavor to strengthen your faith”. 

As Wu-chin says, our small voices are relayed to the King of the Brahma Heaven.  And this pleases not only the living and the dead it also pleases the Brahma King.  It’s always nice to make the Brahma King happy.

I feel as if I am being a bit redundant here so rather than continuing to repeat myself and the wise ancient elders I wrap it up by simply encouraging you to pursue with joy, with vigor, with determination the practice of reciting the sutra.  Get a hold of a copy of the romanized version of the Shindoku text of the Lotus Sutra and practice reciting in this way.  If you are unable to do that right now have it as an eventual goal and recite from the English a portion of the Lotus Sutra every day.  Your life will change, and your faith with strengthen.

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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.