557Re: [Buddhism_101] New Member and Questions
- Nov 2, 2003Karen,Yes, there are many traditions of Buddhism.The Buddha's teachings spread to many cultures, and each one of them has their own, or many lineage's, and traditions within.The base is the same.....but depending on which cultural filter you are looking through there are many words for the same terms, and differing emphasis put on different aspects of the Buddha, and the Dharma.(The Three Jewels are Buddha, Dharma, (Buddha's teachings), and Sangha (Spiritual Community).It is a very vast subject, and can be very confusing when you first approach it.The same way as there are many forms of Christianity based on a common base belief, with differences of perception/belief surrounding that base......Christianity just appears less confusing to us because it is so deeply embedded in our own culture therefore familiar :DNichiren Shoshu is a "unique" Buddhism......and the above does not apply.It began in Japan.It is based on the belief that a Japanese priest named Nichiren who lived about 750 years ago was/is the next Buddha foretold by Shakyamuni before he entered his Nirvana, who would come to earth to teach sentient beings.The rest of the Buddhist world still awaits Buddha Maitreya.The religion practices the teachings of this one Japanese priest exclusively, believing all other teachings to have been "provisional" and no longer holding the power to enlighten.Nichiren's words are law.Nothing that came before Nichiren holds any importance.It's Three Jewels have been changed to The True Buddha, (Nichiren), The Law, and the Priests........these are huge differences.NSS holds Nichiren to be the True Buddha, and rejects all other teachings, and teachers.The tradition holds that Nichiren discovered the Mantra, and Mystic Law of the Universe hidden within the Lotus Sutra....which is Nam Myho Renge Kyo......and that this practice, and this practice alone will lead one to enlightenment.You need do nothing else but this practice.The practice itself is mantra recitation along with recitation of select passages from the Lotus Sutra (Gongyo) performed before a scroll (Gohonzon) which has been through a ceremony to enlighten paper, and ink (The Opening Of The Eyes) and so is therefore considered itself to be the Living Buddha.You will be taught to chant for wordly, and material gain.Study Nichiren's teachings.All other teachings are to be abandoned.This is quite different from the traditional Buddhism of Tibet, which came from India, was nurtured for centuries, and is based on uncovering the Buddha Nature within through study, and meditation based on the Teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha of how he himself attained liberation. A path passed down through generations of lama's, saints, and highly realized masters in direct lineage from Buddha himself.A tradition that encourages education on all levels, all disciplines, all philosophies.The development of wisdom, and knowledge.In this way, and through meditation we learn the truth of the teachings through personal experience, and not just because someone in a robe told us it is so.Buddha himself admonished his followers not to accept anything he taught until they found it to be true within their own experience.The basic teaching is that we suffer in cyclic existence....death, birth, sickness, old age, death, over, and over again because we misunderstand the true nature of our own minds, and that of reality.It is an inner journey of discovery.....of removing obscuration.....of awakening the Buddha Nature within.Buddhist = "one who seeks inwardly."Within Tibetan Tradition we learn to unlock the workings of the conventional mind, and see through it's delusory state.To interrupt the chain of causation of cyclic rebirth into suffering.I would suggest you do some study before investing yourself too strongly in NSS.While it is a loose "form" of Buddhism......it is a very narrow path.Much of it in direct opposition to the traditional teachings.I speak from experience.Please study Tibetan, and other traditions before joining a group who has already discarded this treasure of accumulated wisdom for their own ideas.There are three "buddhisms" which appear on all of the cult awareness lists,They are Nichiren Shoshu, (NSS), It's "splinter" group Soka Gaikai, (SGI), and New Kadampa Tradition, (NKT)These groups should probably be avoided until one has at least learned enough of Buddhist Philosophy to understand what one is getting into......make an informed decision.If once studied, one chooses one of these paths.....well that would be different.....however these groups reach out to those who have little knowledge of Buddhist Tradition, and don't have any base knowledge to see the disparities.They actively proselytize...in NSS it is called "Shakabuku", and involves attacking the faith, and beliefs of others....members get recognition/rewards at the temple for how many new members they can bring in......again something you will not find in traditional Buddhism.One is either drawn to dharma....or one is not.If one is drawn to, and seeks out teachings they will be taught......but Buddhism does not have membership drives. :DI hope this has helped in some small way.May All Beings Be Happy.
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