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Rissho Kosei-kai
International of North America
Buddhism for Today
Phone: (323) 262-4430
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President Nichiko NiwanoForging Ties with the Buddha

Nichiko Niwano, President of Rissho Kosei-kai

Learning from Encounters

Buddhism’s worldview is based on the doctrine of
dependent origination.

This can be basically understood as the relationship
between causes and conditions. In other words, it can be expressed in the familiar formula: “When this exists, that exists; with the arising of this, that arises. When this does not exist, that does not exist; with the cessation of this, that ceases.” Through one of the basic practices of Rissho Kosei-kai—guiding someone new to the faith, sharing the teachings with other members, and participating in hoza sessions—we can experience the Law of dependent origination.

“Guiding”means forging ties with the Buddha.“Sharing the teachings” means inviting other members to opportunities for getting in touch with the Dharma.“Participating in hoza sessions” provides the chance to reflect with fellow practitioners on oneself and others in accordance with the teachings.The three elements can be
understood as one, and what is common to them all is to value the importance of encounters and to learn from them.

When we visit someone for guiding and sharing the teachings, we sometimes are not well received by that person. If this happens repeatedly, calling upon others can become burdensome. If our wish to help someone find happiness is not understood by that person, our consideration for that person may weaken.

However, such occasions can provide us with a golden opportunity to learn from the relationship we have with such a person.

Our encounters with others should be accepted as appropriate chances to objectively examine ourselves and our attitudes. Through such self-reflection, we will gradually receive the Dharma and make it our own.

Putting Our Hands Together in Reverence

Since we grasp the teachings of the Buddha through our interactions with others, the reality is that all of us will sometimes meet with whom it is difficult to get along. In order to be able to put our hands together reverently before people with whom we do not get along, the fact that we are first able to put our hands together reverently for ourselves is of great importance. When we can do that, then we can truly put our hands together reverently for others.

From the viewpoint of the doctrine of dependent origination, every one of us is equal to each other in receiving the gift of precious life from heaven and earth. And since all living beings are permeated by the law of impermanence, we all certainly will die. When we look squarely at this fact, we come to understand the preciousness of our lives and so naturally understand the preciousness of the lives of others. We then can truly put our hands together reverently before everyone.

When we are able to put our hands together reverently before everyone we meet, we receive the “eyes of wisdom” by realizing that all life is interconnected. This means we can then truly worship, with hands folded reverently, before the Eternal Buddha.

Read past Guidance messages from President Niwano.

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