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Updated: Apr 29

Three people performing ritual sutra recitation at a Buddhist temple.
Kyoten sutra recitation practice at a local Dharma Center.

Three basic practices of Rissho Kosei-kai are 

  1. Sutra recitation

  2. Connecting people with the Dharma, enhancing their connection with the Dharma, and participating in Hoza (Dharma Circles)

  3. Learning and understanding the Dharma. 

The first basic practice of faith is sutra recitation.  At Rissho Kosei-kai, we recite the Kyoten: Sutra Readings.  It contains excerpts from the Threefold Lotus Sutra: the Sutra of Innumerable Meanings, the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wondrous Dharma, and the Sutra of Meditation on the Practice of Bodhisattva Universal Wisdom. The Threefold Lotus Sutra, the primary scripture of Rissho Kosei-kai, teaches us the workings of absolute Truth, the Dharma of the universe, and the way things are. The Kyoten allows recitation in a short time. We can practice recitation once in the morning and once in the evening in front of the home altar.  

Sutra recitation is an action that expresses a sense of devotion and gratitude to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha (Three Treasures). It can also be a practice of revering ourselves, which helps us become aware of our buddha nature (potential to become a Buddha or awakened person).

By reciting the Kyoten:

1. Members can let the Buddha's words permeate their hearts and minds. Elevate their spirits.


2. Members reach a meditative state, samadhi (a state of high concentration), and get insight into reality. They accept the new day and reflect on their deeds at the end of the day.


3. Sutra recitation expresses members' gratitude. We inherit life from our ancestors and many living beings who contribute to our lives.

Sharing the joy of the Dharma falls into the second category of connecting people with the Dharma, enhancing their connection with the Dharma, and participating in Hoza.

1. Connecting people with the Dharma (michibiki). It means introducing Buddhism to someone. The desire roots in the wish so many people can find true happiness. 

2. Enhancing Their Connection to the Dharma (tedori). It means encouraging them to practice the teachings daily and find a joyful way of living.  

3. Joining Dharma Circles (Hoza). Members gather together and share their innermost thoughts, from worries to suffering to joys and happiness. At Hoza, we learn to see things through the eyes of the Buddha. We recognize buddha nature in all, discovering a way of life based on the Buddha's teachings.

These practices help make the Dharma part of ourselves and create opportunities for us to learn the teachings and ways of life appropriate to ourselves through our involvement with someone else. 

Our lives revolve around relationships with various people at home, in the workplace, and in our social community. We cannot master the Buddha's teachings and practice them without involving others. By connecting people with the Dharma and enhancing their connection with the Dharma, we change for the better, thanks to our interactions with other people.  

We come to feel more joy in others' happiness, which proves that we possess the same wish as the Buddhis in our hearts. Connecting people with the Dharma is the practice of wishing sincerely for the happiness of others.

It is said that hoza is the life and soul of Rissho Kosei-kai. In hoza, members unite their hearts, regardless of their social status or differences, and share their innermost thoughts—worries and suffering to joys and happiness and empathy for one another. In the process, we realize that the Buddha's wish is present in our fears, grief, satisfaction, and happiness. 

Furthermore, by hearing many people's stories, we can discover our life's purpose. 

The third element of the fundamental practices of faith is learning and understanding the Dharma. This means understanding the Buddha's teachings correctly, thinking about them in the light of our daily lives, and repeating this process. In other words, it is nothing less than walking the Buddha Way.

Learning and understanding the Buddha's teachings means correctly comprehending the Buddha's wishes, preserving a sense of putting our hands together in reverence, and maintaining a compassionate heart. These practices are central to Buddhists. 

Also, have you ever felt that a sentence in a book or a phrase in a song has something in common with the teachings of Buddhism? Having the attitude that we can see common truths in various contexts is an essential part of the practice of learning and understanding the Dharma.

However, even if we try to permanently preserve a sense of putting our palms together in reverence, our hearts and minds may unknowingly become antagonistic toward others. Given the teachings, we should reflect and ask ourselves, "Am I at fault?" or "Did I communicate with others with a selfish mind?" In this manner, we can change our way of thinking, which enables us to move in a better direction. By practicing this repeatedly, we will develop our hearts and minds and change our way of life. 

Studying Buddhist doctrine helps extinguish the suffering in our lives and attain a peaceful state of mind. They are:

  • The Three Treasures 

  • The Law of Dependent Origination

  • The Three Seals of the Dharma

  • The Four Noble Truths

  • The Eightfold Path

  • The Six Paramitas

  • The Ten Suchnesses

  • The Twelve Causes and Conditions

Basic Buddhism, or Original Buddhism, as listed above, is the basic teachings of Buddha during the days when Shakyamuni Buddha directly preached to his disciples. We at Rissho Kosei-kai regard basic Buddhism as an essential doctrine found in the Lotus Sutra that we should study and understand.

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