Nichiren Buddhist Association of America

Nichiren Buddhist Association of America
Discovering the unknown within through a revolution in religious thinking

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Introduction to Buddhism
 
             
Introduction
  The Path to Becoming a Buddha  
 
Nichiren, the founder of this religion, embarked on a journey with a revolutionary new concept. That is the unthinkable act of demanding that a religion be true in order to practice it. People in this day and age shy away from the idea that any religion might be true. Again and again we are confronted with religions that defy logic and reasoning. We know of hundreds, if not thousands, of religions that don’t have any evidence of their validity, deny scientific truths, don’t do what they claim, deceive people, and sometimes cause destruction in society. If someone claims that their religion is the ultimate truth, we shun them because we fear that they may do something like cause a crusade, blow up buildings, stop the progression of science, or some other thing that we associate with people of devout beliefs.

So many false religions have created a hysteria about religion in this society. This is unfortunate. Because of all of these incorrect religions, people no longer look for or find truth. They have become apathetic about the matter. They think that whatever they believe is okay as long as they don’t believe in it too strongly or have too much confidence in it. Society has even taken this to the point that no one is allowed to openly discuss religion with anyone else. In this way, no one looks for the truth and no one finds the truth unless by accident. Even priests have given way to the influence of those who would say that there is no true religion.

If you can, leave your prejudices from your past experiences with false religions behind. Imagine, if you will, what a true religion would be like if there were such a thing. Let’s embark on a whole new journey with a whole new perspective.

A true religion would be kind of like a science. It would make sense given what we know about the world. It would actually do what it says it will do in every single situation without failing once. It would actually help its practitioners. It would change people’s lives in a clearly visible way.

Now imagine the practitioners of that religion. How can people that have direct experience with a truth not have complete confidence in it? If a child sees that every time he throws a rock in a pond waves ripple out from the spot where the rock fell, would he believe someone who told him that throwing rocks in ponds doesn’t cause ripples? With anything in life, if something happens to you in a predictable way and it also happens to others around you in the same way, how could you not believe the truth of it? It is the same with religion. A person who actually sees a religion predictably work every time for every one will grow to have total confidence in the validity of the religion. A person who practices a correct religion grows to have total confidence in it as they see it working in spite of their previous doubts. If a person doesn’t have complete confidence in something, it may be because they believe in something that isn’t true and they know it.

Given the presumption that there is a true religion, we propose that freedom of speech among religions take precedence. In a search for a correct religion, we should all be open to listening to debates and discussions between religious leaders. We should try to discover who is right and who is wrong. A true religion will be able to break through the dogma and senselessness of a false teaching. In this way we can all discover the truth of life for ourselves and change the world for the better.

We believe that a religion that spreads itself through the use of violence and aggression and then stops spoken comparison of religions is not a true religion at all. A true religion doesn’t fear reasoning. It doesn’t fear arguing. It can stand on it’s own merit like scientists arguing a new hypothesis. Eventually we can all find out what’s really true if we can discuss it. Only teachers of false, misleading teachings fear open dialogue, and especially debate, about religion. Don’t fall for their tricks. There is a correct religion out there and it’s up to us to continually search for it until we find it.

At the same time, people need to avoid prejudice in all of its forms. That means that if we see that a religion doesn’t work or doesn’t make sense, we should be okay with discarding and realize that the truth is out there waiting for us. That also means that we should avoid the prejudice that there is no correct teaching or that we shouldn’t offend people by arguing with them in search of the truth. We need to be courageous and bold if we, as a society, are to figure out what is real and what is erroneous.

Nichiren, an extreme optimist, set out on just the same journey. At a time and place where the religious leaders and the people were saying that all religion is the same and equal, he set out looking for the truth. He could plainly see that the religions that were popular at the time were not helping the people. He determined to himself to find a way to help people change their lives into lives of fortune and happiness. He devoted his life to this task and completed his mission.

This book is in no way a complete analysis of the teachings of Nichiren. It is really just the tip of the iceberg. We took the most basic concepts and put them in this book to get you started. Even having said this, we know that there will be people who will read this book and assume that they know everything there is to know about this philosophy. These are people of overwhelming arrogance. We strongly encourage people who want to truly understand Nichiren to follow the practice outlined in this book and continue to study Nichiren’s own writings.

This is undeniably the most profound teaching available to mankind. People look for religions that are readily understandable. We hope you won’t do that. Teachings that are quick and easy to understand are not profound, and they are also not complete. This philosophy is easy to explain at an elementary level to get people started. However, the depth required to really understand the essential nature of life takes years and years to grasp. Not a single person in history has ever been able to grasp the phenomenon of life through intellectual pursuits or even years of deep meditation. So a combination of study and correct practice are required to fully understand the depth of a religion such as this one.

Before you get frustrated, though, remember that the journey introduced here is to find a correct religion, not to find an easy, shallow one. We can absolutely guarantee that Nichiren Buddhism is the ultimate truth in life and it will completely change your life. This is not a game. This is real. This is your life.


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