The answer to everything is within yourself and you have the power to grow as a person and not let external factors affect you, writes Shikha Jain
Since, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, how is it any different from karma?! Putting it into simpler words, it would be just the Mystic Law of Cause and Effect, which is exactly what Karma is all about. It is nothing, but science.
Buddhism is a philisophy that believes in the Buddha nature of each one of us and because every living organism in this universe is a Buddha it symbolises that we all have limitless potential within ourselves that we can even move mountains. All we need to do is devote ourselves to the mystic law of cause and effect. While this Mystic Law cannot be easily explained, it is encapsulated in the Lotus Sutra wherein Shakyamuni Buddha says, that his disciples and future followers can awaken to this law in their own lives.
The lotus flower symbolises the law of simultaneity of cause and effect as it blooms and seeds at the same time. The Sutra is a teaching that encourages an active engagement with mundane life and all its challenges. The flower blooms in muddy water, rises above it and turns towards the light (enlightenment). The lotus flower is a symbol of strength, perseverance, fortune and promise in adverse situations life throws at us. The mud that one has to rise above, represents the suffering that all human beings are born into. This suffering is a part of the journey of enlightenment since it is a test that will determine whether or not one is strong enough to break free from the muddy water. It is just a flower, but it is so much more than a flower. The fact that this beautiful flower blooms only from the muddy water reflects that it takes its nourishment from the bad while retaining its purity. It is used as an analogy for humans to bring forth their wisdom, courage and compassion through their adversity challenges and difficulties.
Some 1,500 years after Shakyamuni passed away, Nichiren Daishonin (1222–82), a Buddhist priest in Japan, crystallized in universally accessible form the ultimate reality expounded in the Lotus Sutra. He defined this as “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,” the fundamental law that is the essence of all life and phenomena. His teachings opened the way for all people to awaken to their Buddha nature. Something that will revive their weary, battered lives and fill them once again with hope and vigour.
So, when one starts practicing this law, one realises that there is no one to be blamed but themselves for every action that has been done and it is only them who can do their own human revolution by fighting against all the odds and building an island of faith. The next question that arises is how does one overcome all the obstacles and hindrances in life? In essence, the lotus flower is a living proof in action. While we’re living out the effects from our past actions (karma) we are creating effects that make the future. Like how they say, “You reap what you sow.”
What is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?
Nam derives from the sanskrit word Namu or Namas, which means ‘to devote one’s life’.
Myoho is the ‘mystic law’. Myo is the name given to the mystic nature of life, and ho to its manisfestation. Myo and ho correspond to death and life, respectively.
Renge means the ‘lotus flower’ that blooms and produces seeds at the same time. It represents the simultaneity of cause and effect and explains that we can change ourselves and thus, our destiny.
Kyo means ‘sutra’, or ‘voice’ or ‘teaching’ expounded by the Buddha.
President of The Soka Gakkai International (SGI), Daisaku Ikeda explains, “There is no true happiness for human beings other than chanting Nam-myhoho-renge-kyo (diamoku). Through the practice of chanting diamoku, we can bring forth our inner Buddhahood and increase the splendour and power of our lives.”
He further explains by saying, “When we chant we are not petitioning an external being to act in our favour; instead we are expressing our determination to bring forth our highest life potential. We don’t just sit and wait for people or circumstances to change. Through our own powerful inner resolve, we change ourselves and seek to exert a positive effect on our environment.
When we sow the seed of happiness that is faith in the mystic law, and carefully tend its growth, it will produce fruits of good fortune without fail. We have to bear in mind, however, that we cannot sow a seed today and expect it to bear fruit tomorrow. That’s not reasonable and Buddhism is reason. If we persevere in the practice of “faith equals daily life” in accord with reason, then our prayers will be answered. This is Nichiren’s promise to us. And his words are true beyond doubt, because we have the power to do anything and everything.
Nichiren uses a poetic metaphor to describe this process. He says, “When a caged bird sings, birds who are flying in the sky are thereby summoned and gather around,and when the birds flying in the sky gather around, the bird in the cage strives to get out. Similarly, when we chant the mystic law, our buddha nature, being summoned, will invariaby emerge.” Wonderful, is it not?
Every action we take molds our characters for the future. Both positive and negative traits can become magnified over time as we form habits. All of these cause us to accumulate karma. Buddhists believe we are in control of our ultimate fates. The problem is that most of us are ignorant of this, which causes suffering. The purpose of Buddhism is to take conscious control of our own behavior.
Therefore, every action (cause) = an equal and opposite reaction (effect).
So, we create our own future by the choices we make in each moment. Our actions and thoughts are entirely our own responsibility, creating our karma. Each of our thought and action will have an equal and opposite reaction, so do not send anything out that you wouldn’t like coming back to you.
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