Sermon by Chief Priest Reverend Taishin Takano
numerous religions in the world today. Among the world’s religions, two of the
most significant types are monotheism and Buddhism. Christianity teaches that
God and humans are distinct and separate beings. It draws a dividing line
between God and humanity. Buddhism, however, teaches that the essential natures
of the Buddha and the people are the same and equal. Therefore, it is possible
for all people to attain the highest life state.
In the Buddhist
sutras we can find many names of Buddhas, such as Amida Buddha, Yakushi Buddha,
and Dainichi Buddha. But these are names used as expedients according to the
content and level of doctrines being taught by Shakyamuni. An originalBuddha possesses all three of the Three Enlightened Properties:
1.The Buddha in his property of the Law aspect
2.The Buddha in his property of wisdom aspect
3.The Buddha in his property of action aspect
In Buddhism it
is spelled out when and where a Buddha made his advent and how he taught and
led the people. If the Three Enlightened Properties
possessed by a Buddha existed separately, there would be no Buddha
function. The true value of a Buddha exists in his teaching and leading us
directly. So a Buddha cannot be an imaginary figure. He must be born into this
world and teach and lead living beings.
Christianity uses words such as “miracle” and “blessing.”In our daily lives, we use the word “miracle”
when we encounter surprising and wondrous events, or things that are beyond our
understanding. In Christianity the word “miracle” indicates the wonderful power
of God to intervene in the affairs of the world on behalf of someone in
particular. This “miracle” or “blessing” is said to be a revelation from God
shown to humanity as a sign of his love or grace. They teach that salvation and
grace are gifts from God.
Buddhism emphasizes that a good cause produces a good effect and a
bad cause produces a bad effect. We can see this in any situation. One’s
actions in the past have shaped one’s reality in the present, and the actions
in the present in turn determine one’s future. For example, everyone knows that
if we sow good seeds in good soil, spread good fertilizer and properly tend the
field, it will bear good fruit, which in turn becomes good seeds.
In this way, if we sow the seed of Buddhahood in our hearts and
tenderly raise it with the good teachings of Buddhism, the good fruit of
enlightenment will be born and it will become the good seed of Buddhahood, the
cause for attaining Buddhahood in the future.
There are three categories of action:mental, verbal, and physical; that is,
thoughts, words and deeds. Such activities in our daily lives determine our
environment and surroundings because we ourselves decide how we live and where
we go. This is the Buddhist way of thinking.
Furthermore, Buddhism teaches that this principle of cause and
effect relates not only to the present lifetime but also to past and future
want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as
they are manifested in the present. And if you want to understand what results
will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present.
(Gosho, p. 571, MW-2, pp.197-198)
context, the causes are our behavior within the three categories of action. Our
lives are not created by the will of an absolute being. We are not drifting
through life tossed back and forth at the mercy of the waves of coincidence. We
exist due to causes and effects, which we ourselves have created.
we must not think that the path of our present life has already been completely
determined by the causes that we created in our past lives. Buddhism does not
teach this kind of deterministic fatalism. Our state of life is, indeed,
determined by karma, but we can change our karma by creating new causes.
Buddhism teaches that human life is dynamic, not passive.
Daishonin teaches that we can change our difficulties as the cause to live more
vigorously and positively in the future. For example, if we learn that a
serious disease afflicts us, we are shocked and driven to despair. If we were
to shift the responsibility for these problems to our parents or society, the
problems would never be solved. However, when we chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we
realize that the cause of our difficulties lies in our own negative karma,
which we ourselves accumulated in past lives. These problems are actually
coming from within our very own lives. We then gain the insight and power
necessary to begin to solve our problems and establish happy lives.
no matter how negative our present condition may be, sincerely chanting
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the Gohonzon will produce strong vitality and wisdom and
will give us fundamental support. This is the state of Buddhahood welling up
inside us when we chant Daimoku. This is benefit of Buddhism.