【To further expand the capacity of our confidence…】
We are advancing deeper into autumn.Autumn is a great season for art・autumn is a great season for reading・autumn is a great season for our palate. How are you spending your autumn days?
Autumn is the bountiful season・autumn is harvest time. It is also the season when we share the joy of the bounty with those around us.
Now, everyone, as we welcome the autumn season, is your mind and heart filled with “crystallization” (fruits) of your efforts?
This month, I would like to discuss how we can expand our capacity.
Shakyamuni Buddha expressed the Truth・Dharma, to which he was enlightened, through such teachings as the Four Noble Truths, the Twelve Link Chain of Causation, Eightfold Paths and Six Paramitas, so that we can apply the Dharma in our daily lives.
We, the members of Rissho Kosei-kai, consider the Six Paramitas (donation, keeping the precepts, perseverance/forbearance, efforts, meditation, and wisdom) as the practice for the bodhisattvas and will endeavor to apply the teaching.
The premise for all six of the Six Paramitas is to wish not only for our own liberation, but to help liberate others and attain happiness together.
This is, indeed, what links us to the deeds that will allow us to “accumulate blessings and merit” and will, as result, expand our capacities.
Now, with the practice of donation for the sake of others and the world at large (donation of material goods, donation by sharing the Dharma, donation of our bodies), the donation of material goods helps us to abandon our greedy attitude, our attachment to our desires, or our tendency to harp on how grateful others should be for what we had done for them. “To accumulate good deeds” is another way to say “to practice donation.” “To do things that make other people happy” and “to expand our own capacity” are also other ways to express “donation.”
With “merit,” there are meritorious acts done visibly (youtoku) and there are meritorious acts done unnoticed or secretly (intoku).
President Niwano teaches us the importance of “wholeheartedly doing good deeds over and over again.” What matters the most for any person to expand their capacity is accumulate merit honestly and diligently, whether the action is visible or hidden.
In Buddhism, there is a saying: “Donation is the most important of all our good deeds.” Yet, no matter how valuable this Buddhist practice may be, aside from the donation of the Dharma and of our body (services), when it comes to material donation, we cannot offer what we do not have.
Thus, in Buddhism, “seven kinds of donation that cost nothing” is taught so the practice of donation can be done at anytime, anywhere and by anyone.
In the “Zo Hozo Kyo”(Miscellaneous Sutra on Bodhisattva Dharmakara), these seven kinds of donation are explained as follows:
“For those who have come into contact with the Buddha’s teachings, there are seven kinds of donation they can practice without money or property and still receive great rewards. First is
“gen se.” Second is “wagenetsushiki se.” “Third is“gonji se.” Fourth is “shin se (身施).” Fifth is also “shin se (心施).” Sixth is “shohza se.” Seventh is bohjya se.” (Omission) These are called Seven Donations. Lack of property does not preclude you from attaining great rewards.”
1. Expression of the eyes (gen se): compassionate eyes, affectionate and friendly eyes – to look at people kindheartedly.
2. Gentle, happy face (wagenetsushiki se): to always have a friendly and cheerful smile for others.
3. Speech, words (gonji se): use kind, warm, and thoughtful words
4. Body, service (shin身se): Even with things others dislike doing, strive to do excellent work dedicating yourself with a good attitude.
5. Heart and mind (shin心se): Be considerate – be able to share in the other person’s joy and share in their sorrow as well.
6. Seat, place to sit (shohza se): Offer someone a seat – at the Center during a testimonial or in a Hoza or on a public transportation.
7. Place to rest (bohsha se): Provide shelter to people so they can weather the wind and rain
Those are the seven kinds of donation we can do without any money or property. They are practice of compassion that is very easy to understand. In this world, there are probably many people who think that “donation” is something that the have’s “show mercy” to the have not’s.
Because they think of donation as “showing mercy,” no matter how much effort they may exert into the deed, the tendency to feel “I did something for someone” will likely remain in some corner of their heart and mind. In the end, it will no longer be true donation and all the work will be for naught.
Every life is caused to live by the Eternal Buddha. Therefore, instead of having the arrogant attitude of “I am doing for others,”… “thanks to the Eternal Buddha’s power, I am able to offer…” is the correct attitude of a Buddhist.
Let us all strive to polish our good souls.
New York Church Minister