BASIC PRACTICES OF FAITH
The core of Rissho Kosei-kai members' practices is revering buddha nature, that is, paying homage and revering all living beings.
This practice is oriented in two directions: toward ourselves, and towards others. Revering our own buddha nature means that we look directly at the buddha nature within ourselves through self-reflection and to achieve an awareness of our oneness with the Eternal Buddha. Revering the Buddha nature of others means that we view all people with reverence, seeing them as manifestations of the Buddha
The practice of revering buddha nature means always looking beyond the superficial characteristics of ourselves and others. This enables us to help ourselves and other people manifest our inherent buddha nature while we discover the workings of Life itself within all things.
All of Rissho Kosei-kai's practices are for the purpose of revealing buddha nature within all living beings. Revealing buddha natures is the basis of all forms of Buddhist spiritual discipline and the major purpose of the bodhisattva way.
We call the foundational practices that deepen our faith "basic practices of faith." They are "basic" in this sense that they are the fundamental practices we intend to master as Buddhists. Rissho Kosei-kai's basic practices are reciting the Lotus Sutra, sharing the teachings, participating in Dharma circles, and learning the Dharma.
RECITING THE LOTUS SUTRA
Daily recitation of excerpts from the Lotus Sutra is one of the most essential religious practices in which Rissho Kosei-kai members engage. Members recite these passages aloud each morning and evening before the a Buddhist alters in our homes or at Dharma centers.
We consider sutra recitation a form of meditation--a practice that played an important role in Shakyamuni Buddha's life and teachings. Reciting the sutra with reverence before the Buddha also brings us deep insight into ourselves that enables us to awaken to our oneness with the Buddha who sustains us all. Sutra recitation is a practice of revering ourselves by making us aware that buddha nature is the true essence of our life.
Through this practice we members express a sense of devotion and gratitude to the Three Treasures: The Buddha, Dharma, and the Sangha, Reciting the sutra before the Buddha, we express sincere gratitude first to the one who taught and explained the right way for human beings to live, as well as the Dharma, or his teachings. We also express gratitude to fellow members of our Sangha, to our ancestors, who provided us the opportunity to be born in this world, as well as to all living beings, whether related or unrelated to us.
KYOTEN: SUTRA READINGS
The Threefold Lotus Sutra is the main scripture in which Rissho Kosei-kai members place their faith. For daily sutra recitation, member use an anthology titled Kyoten: Sutra Readings that contains excerpts from The Threefold Lotus Sutra: A Modern Translation for Contemporary Readers, published by Kosei Publishing Company in 2019.
Kyoten contains excerpts from the Threefold Lotus Sutra: the Sutra of Innumerable Meanings, the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma, and the Sutra of Meditation of the Practice of Bodhisattva Universal Wisdom. The Threefold Lotus Sutra, teaches us the workings of absolute Truth, or the Dharma of the universe, and the way things really are.
SHARING THE TEACHINGS
The heart of Rissho Kosei-kai's practice of the teachings is revering the buddha nature in all of us. This practice is oriented in two directions: toward ourselves, and toward others. One of the ways we strive to master revering the buddha nature of others is to share the teachings with people.
This comprises two actions: 1) introducing people to the Buddha Way so that they can establish a bond with the Buddha; and inviting people who have already established a bond with the Buddha to opportunities where they can come into contact with the Dharma and deepen their faith.
Shakyamuni shared the Dharma throughout his life. He stressed the importance of meeting directly with his disciples and others to communicate the Dharma to them. "Kosei," a part of our organization's name Rissho Kosei-kai, means to improve oneself through engagement with others. Through sharing the suffering, cares, and worries of others we can achieve spiritual growth whenever we get together with other members and peoples from various walks of life to talk about the Dharma.
Establishing peace and harmony in our world, a state of things that Buddhism calls a "Land of Eternally Tranquil Light," can be accomplished by sharing the teachings and helping bring spiritual liberation to many people. This is the wish of the Buddha, and at the same time, the fundamental wish of all human beings.
DHARMA CIRCLE: HOZA
Dharma circle or Hoza, as one of Rissho Kosei-kai's basic practices of the faith, is an opportunity to learn the Dharma in concrete ways through understanding the sufferings and challenges faced by ourselves and others. It is also an occasion to recognize the Dharma at work in all the events of our lives.
Dharma circle participants listen to each other describe the problems they face in daily life in order to understand together the Buddha's wishes and the workings of the Dharma within their lives. By applying the Dharma to a problem, participants seek a way to help each other free themselves from the suffering that comes from the problems of life.
There is no "one size fits all' liberation, and this is why Shakyamuni Buddha always taught the Dharma according to the listener's capacity for understanding the teachings, as well as their specific conditions, circumstances, and the occasion presented to teach. This allowed Shakyamuni to liberate each individual person from their suffering. Dharma circle is inherently a place where his daily understandable teachings enable people to form a bond with the Buddha Dharma. In short, it is a place to encounter the Dharma.
Members hold Dharma circles daily or weekly at their Dharma centers or meeting places to learn how to employ the Buddha's teachings as a guide for living, obtain relief from suffering, and also to gain insight and achieve spiritual growth.