Well, we recieved our Gohonzon tonight. It was interesting, weird, jarring, and peaceful chanting with a room full of family and strangers. I don’t know many of the chants quite yet, but I managed to fumble along nicely. Paul, who’s home we went to for the ceremony was very nice and welcoming, and no one commented on our lack of chanting skills. Next week we’ll be enshrining it in the Butsadon that my brother in law and I made last weekend. I’ll put up a picture of mine then. This is a picture of one for those unfamiliar.
I was holding my 9 month old son, Corbin worried that he would start crying at any moment. It was getting past his bed time and he usually doesn’t do well with loud noises or if a lot of people are around him talking. But he just sat there the whole time. Didn’t make so much as a peep. He looked around at all the strangers, and really seemed at peace. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Alex, my wife, has been chanting to him since he was in the womb. He certainly enjoyed himself, and seemed really centered. And when we all stopped, he starting doing his baby babble as if to fill the silence with his version of Nam myoho renge kyo.
As for me, well, I was able to do the Daimoku, but the rest was way beyond me. I’ll need lots of practice, but I’m okay with that. If it came easy, I don’t think it would be worth it. I think a big benefit of Buddhist practice is breaking us out of the shells we’ve created for ourselves (and we certainly have thick shells here in the US, don’t we?). So while Nicherin Buddhism wasn’t my first “pick” for the type of Buddhism I would practice, it will certainly suffice. I don’t see any reason why in the future I couldn’t also sit zazen or approach things from a more Therevaden standpoint. Maybe that will be the future face of Western Buddhism. The US has always been the “melting pot”, so why not for Buddhism as well? Maybe that is where we will find our voice in the West. Not in any one particular practice or any new version of Buddhism, but a marriage of many practices and beliefs. Who knows?
I know that right now, I’m diggin this new sangha and practice, and that’s all that matters to me. I’m fine with any form of practice that helps me realize my own Buddha nature. Cheers.