Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself

Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself

– Nichiren Daishonin, “The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon”, WNDI, page 832

What the Daishonin means is that when chanting, we seek to make inner change.  We are not praying or chanting to an idol or an ethereal being to make our lives better or forgive us for past mistakes.

The only thing we can change is ourselves.  We do it for ourselves and others, to be happy.

This is becoming more and more clear to me with each passing day.  Every time I listen to the radio, see the news on TV or the internet, events and the demonstrable actions of people reveal this to be so.

Here are two:

Bishop of Ebbsfleet set to be first to leave Church of England over women bishops.  Notionally a head of a religious order that preaches humility but separation between sexes at the same time.  At earlier times of the order’s history they have burned people to death for disagreeing with them, and later had separate praying centres for different sexes, races, nationalities etc.  Now in the 21st Century, the Bishop wants to keep to the old separatist and subservient ways.  In his eyes the problem is his church moving the goalposts.  He sees it as not his fault.  It’s their fault that the god isn’t working.  He’s taking his god and moving on.

This is the fundamental difference between the “Abrahamic” and other mono or polytheist religions and Nichiren’s Buddhism.  There is no hell and there is(are) no god(s) with Nichiren’s interpretation of Shakyamuni’s later writings.  Nichiren states it succinctly like so;

“Neither the pure land nor hell exists outside oneself; both lie only within one’s heart” – Hell is the Land of Tranquil Light, WNDI, p456.

So if a married couple are having an argument and one says “it’s like living in hell with you!”, Nichiren is saying that in actual fact, they are living in hell, not like living in hell.  When they die, hell doesn’t start then.  There is no hell, or heaven.  They are both states of each person’s current existence and as individuals we strive to control our own existence.  Furthermore, Nichiren is stating that if one partner “loses it” and kills the other, they won’t pass the pearly gates and have judgement passed on them by some supernatural being or force.  No.  He’s saying “judgement” is immediate, much faster than the law of the land, because when we make a  cause, the effect is simultaneous.

Woman’s £7k high heel claim.  A woman goes into a shop and buys some high-heeled shoes, falls over and makes a claim for her broken leg against the maker.  On examination, the design of the shoe is singularly unfit for the intended purpose of running around, leaping off trains and escalators etc.  A glance at any shoe of this design shows it to be structurally unsound – by design.  Losing a heel is like a right of passage!  And yet the woman bought it.  It was her choice. No-one forced her and there were plenty of options.   So she won her money and yet, as the news article shows, she doesn’t wear any shoe of the type any more.  But she still believes the problem is outside herself, the shoe-seller, not her choice of shoe.

If she would see this for herself her whole life would change.

For myself, in the past I’ve seen the problems in the world as out of my hands and impossible to fix.  “it’s someone else’s fault” etc.  In reality, I’m as much to blame for the two instances above as anyone.  We all let things happen that shouldn’t.

So this is why I’m pointing these stories out – because there’s no other way not to demonstrate examples without pointing out errors of all types.  I hope that people see my actions and words in this light and not as someone who says “do as I say, not as I do”.  There’s nothing worse than that.

By Strangely

Founding member of the band Crawling Chaos from the North-East of England