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THE CHANGING ROOM

By entering the first part of the Inner Chamber, you’ve declared your readiness to evoke the inner power of self-transformation dwelling beneath the surface of your life. This is the Changing Room, a circular vestibule, the first of four connecting chambers that constitute EverLife’s Inner Chamber. Before you venture further into the Inner Chamber, please be good enough to prepare yourself for the experience by donning the Robe of Forbearance. This is the robe of your patience, tolerance, courage and receptivity. You will need to wear it as you venture deeper into your essential self…if you hope to persevere. Challenges are sure to arise.

Inside the Changing Room:

Taking the First Step

Reciting the Lotus Sutra

Acquiring the Gift of Life

 


Taking the First Step

Anytime you choose to take a particular direction in your life, make a decision or just try something new, you temporarily place your faith in an expected outcome. Whenever your outcome is favorable, the faith you placed in the vehicle that got you there will increase. The more successful you are with a faith-vehicle, the more confidence you’ll gain in yourself, and, in turn, your ability to make successful decisions will increase proportionately. Three key factors determine whether the faith one places in a vehicle will be warranted: (1) how viable is the faith-vehicle you selected as a means for achieving your expectation. Obviously, choosing to take the bus across America will fail to get you across the country in one day. Given that objective, you would do better to choose a plane. Yet, a successful outcome may depend on more than making the right choice about the vehicle. (2) A certain amount of strength, determination, commitment or focused effort is likely to be required in support of the objective you choose to put faith in. Even if the faith-vehicle is well chosen, oftentimes the “faith-success equation” will not lead to a desired outcome without the determination factor. (3) Nevertheless, without appropriate timing, even choosing the right vehicle and mustering extraordinary determination will result in disappointment. As these three factors are essential elements of success in mundane matters, naturally those who seek to accomplish ultimate peace, joy and wisdom will need to apply them as well. In taking your first step toward the practice of Buddhism, keep in mind that this Inner Chamber will provide you with the powerful faith-vehicles to accomplish fulfillment. Nevertheless, the magnitude of your effort and the time you devote to it will determine whether the temporary faith you may offer now can be converted into absolute fulfillment.

 


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TRANSLATION
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LOTUS SUTRA

 Reciting the Lotus Sutra (Jpn. Gongyo)

Nichiren recommended the recitation of two key Lotus Sutra chapters (second and sixteenth). Originally recorded in the Sanskrit and Pali languages of ancient India, the Lotus Sutra was translated into the Chinese by Kumarajiva. Today the Japanese transliteration of his translation is recited phonetically by millions of Buddhists throughout the world. The English translation that follows is for meaning only. Reading the Lotus Sutra (Skt. Saddharma Pundarika Sutra; Jpn. Myoho-Renge-Kyo) in English does not constitute the practice of recitation.

EverLife’s English translation:

Part I of Recitation Text
Sutra chapter 2, section I
[prose]
Chapter Title: Tactful Means (Skt. Upaya; Jpn. Hoben)

After some 42 years of discourse, the Buddha has taught his disciples as much as there is to teach using means that take into account their ability to comprehend. Here he reveals for the first time that the one teaching that remains is too difficult for them, as only buddhas are able to fathom it. This teaching contains the most profound of all Truths and is the basis for all that exists.

Part II of Recitation Text
Sutra chapter 16, section I [prose] & II [verse]
Chapter Title: Declarer of the Truth of Everlasting Life (Jpn. Nyorai Juryo)

While the second chapter observes that only a buddha can fathom this teaching, several chapters that follow assert that every person in attendance (i.e., including those who recite it today) is sure to attain buddhahood. By predicting that Perfect Enlightenment is in everyone’s future, Sakyamuni explains that the direct source of illumination that all buddhas tap into is universally and inherently endowed to all mortal beings — revealing that all mortals are essentially buddhas. What is this fountainhead? Finally, in the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra the Buddha reveals it as he traces back the moment of his enlightenment to the eternal past. In so doing, he espouses the concept that all living beings fundamentally possess the gift of Everlasting Life (a synonym for Perfect Enlightenment). This chapter then reveals that at a future time countless numbers of ordinary people will awaken to the self-transforming, nourishing, healing and enriching powers of this sutra.

 


Acquiring the Gift of Life

The Lotus Sutra deemed that all beings, without exception, possessed an unfathomable enlightened essence. It further contended that this “Luminous, Eternal, Universal Gift” was LIFE itself. Throughout its doctrinal course, Buddhism evolved an increasingly grander view of Life; herein, at its zenith, it declared Enlightenment to be both the fundamental and everlasting state of Life. Consequently, if you were alive, you were experiencing Life’s enlightenment. In other words, to be mortal constituted an actualized, enlightened manifestation of eternal Life. Accordingly, all persons, even the most ignorant or evil-minded, were fundamentally enlightened. In plain language: if they weren’t enlightened, they’d have to be dead. This rather controversial idea in the annals of Buddhist scholastics has eluded many. Any Buddhist scholars who missed or ignored this profoundly grand message as recounted in the Lotus Sutra inadvertently overlooked the unequivocal declaration of Equanimity among all humans. In this sutra Sakyamuni finally and without caveat declared that the eternal power of Perfect Enlightenment was accessible to all in the here and now for two reasons: (1) because all mortal beings were graced with it since before the beginning of time and (2) this sutra embodied the means to evoke buddhahood in real time. Unlike any other sutra, the Lotus Sutra not only decreed that without exception all beings possessed an enlightened-essence (buddha-nature), but it also constituted the universal vehicle with which anyone may unearth the Supreme Treasure of Everlasting Life onto the surface of mortal existence.

Nevertheless, even today the traditional idea persists that enlightenment is an esoteric, supernatural state of “universal knowing” that may be attained only by a few, very “tuned in” individuals. While the achievement of enlightenment has been regarded as the central pillar of Buddhism, its attainment means nothing less than the fathoming of the essence, nature and scope of Life or the Truth of the Reality of All Existence [Past, Present, Future and beyond]. While serious and valiant pursuers of such limitless wisdom may seek this Truth in a realm that is beyond comprehension, in the Lotus Sutra the Buddha clearly determined that the pursuit of enlightenment can only take place in the here and now — which he described as the “Real Nirvana.”

 

Proceed into the Gateway.

 

 

 

 

 


 

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