Jigyo, a Peaceful Practice????
Comments on JN’s lecture, Nichiren Daishonin’s Birthday, posted 2/17/2005.
In the following statement Jisei Nagasaka exhibits a clear inability to understand the challenges of modern day life and a shallow understanding of the crux of Buddhism.
“If we only stay in a Jigyo practice, a peaceful practice for oneself…”
The practice of Jigyo (Buddhist practice for oneself) is peaceful? What a terrible thing to say!
The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin are very clear on this matter: “What does Bodhisattva Fukyo’s profound respect for people signify? The real meaning of Shakyamuni Buddha’s appearance in this world lay in his behavior as a human being” (Major Writings, Vol. 2, p. 240). Our lives have a purpose which is reflected in our behavior as people. In short, as Buddhists we must be victorious in all of our battles. This is the essence of happiness.
Every day is a struggle. Some of us must deal with major health problems. Others struggle with family and relationship situations. We face the challenges of finance and careers. In this battle we either win or we lose—and the crux of Buddhism is that we must win. This spirit is captured in the phrase “daimoku toso.” Toso means a battle.
Perhaps priests, living off of contributions and subsidies, do not understand the struggles of daily life. JN’s sermons distinctly lack references to his own personal struggles and victories. The rest of us must engage in personal struggles that are far from “peaceful.”
Buddhist practice entails jigyo and keta (practice for others). But keta can only be observed if there is deep respect for the life of a single individual. Nichiren compares himself to Bodhisattva Never Disparaging (Fukyo). He says that the entire Lotus Sutra is condensed into Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s twenty-four-character passage: “I deeply respect you. I would never slight you or behave arrogantly towards you. For if you carry out the bodhisattva practice you can become a Buddha without fall.”
Deeply understanding, respecting, and revering the lives of others is the underlying foundation of propagation. Unless JN can deeply respect the lives and struggles of his members, how can he ask them to lead others?