Re: [SGI] Re: studying Buddhism
----- Original Message -----
>>>>I do believe the SGI has made a choice in terms of the material it
presents to members to put very little emphasis on the Lotus Sutra.
Obviously it is a difficult book to get into, but since Nichiren put
so much emphasis on it it seems like we ought to make the effort.
And without official encouragement to actually read it and study it
at official meetings very few people are going to even give it a
try. Personally I think it is a very worthwhile thing to do.>>>>
This was something that bothered me from the moment I first started to read the Gosho. Nichiren was telling me there, over and over, how important it was to study the Lotus Sutra, and study was one of the three practices, but I couldn't find a copy in either SGI bookshops or local bookshops in Belfast [this was long before I discovered the Internet and the wonders of Amazon]. Any time I asked about it I was told how lucky we were to have PI to interpret it for us so that we didn't have to read it ourselves - an answer that I just couldn't accept. I don't accept that we need other people to interpret books for me or tell me what to think.
Eventually, through the public library, I found an ancient book about the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Buddhism. I can't even remember what it was called - but I kept it out for a couple of months as I read and reread it, as it was the nearest I had ever gotten to the Lotus Sutra. I remember when the Burton Watson edition finally became available. I read it over and over looking for the things that I had been told were in there - like the prophesy that Nichiren would appear as another Buddha, greater than Shakyamuni, in the latter day of the law, which was something I'd taken on trust - and I couldn't find them - even though I'd been told by so many SGI lecturers that they were in there. I felt duped - but also disappointed in myself - as a history graduate I knew the importance of checking source material, but, when that wasn't readily available, I'd just taken it on trust.
Even now, study of the Lotus Sutra seems to be limited in SGI to PI's many writings about it in the last few years, rather than reading the sutra itself. I don't think I've heard a single lecture about the Sutra itself, though I've heard many about PI's writings on the subject.
Nichiren himself said "If we merely rely upon the commentaries of the various teachers, and do not follow the statements of the Buddha himself, then how can we call our beliefs Buddhism? To do so would be the height of absurdity!"
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