As promised, here’s a picture of our Gohonzon, enshrined in the Butsudan that me and my bro in law made.
So, how’s the chanting going so far? Weird. Jarring. Calming. Awkward. Uplifting. I’m having a hard time making it a regular habit. My 9 1/2 month old son likes to wake up 5 times a night, so getting up an extra 20 minutes early for Gongyo is quite the chore at the moment. I’m stumbling over the Japanese, though I’m not doing nearly as bad as I thought I would.
But this is all a good thing. It’s forcing me to experience something new, something profound. It’s breaking me out of my shell of comfort that I’ve spent the better part of 26 years building up around me. Because that shell of comfort is an illusion. It’s an attachment-based reality that is filled with unreasonable expectations of myself and the world around me. I need to stop having these expectations, and just let shit ride. I need to stop finding comfort in the what-ifs and maybe-some-days and find comfort in what I have here in the now (which is a home, a stable job, and the best family a man could ever ask for and probably doesn’t deserve – I don’t have it that bad).
Chanting, practicing, meditating, pondering; it’s all forcing me into a new and more fluid version of myself. I’m thinking outside the box, I’m acting outside the box, I’m being outside the box. Now if I can just get myself out of bed to do it every morning……..
Also, I just found out that KISS has a new album out: “Sonic Boom”. (hence the title of this post)Cheers.
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.