(This blog post is meant for those who practice Nichiren Buddhism, mostly from the Soka Gakkai. Therefore, I will be writing in the jargon that they know best which means the rest of you may not understand what I am saying. My apologies.)
Greetings and salutations Nichiren Belibers,
I meant what I said: Gongyo is good for nothing and it has brought me lots of happiness knowing such a truth.
I am not saying gongyo is useless. Gongyo is great and wonderful, but I like doing gongyo as if nothing good comes out of it.
Let me mansplain why.
First of all, life sucks. The Buddha said that himself as the First of the Four Noble Truths. There is no such thing as lasting happiness and bad things will happen to us whether we like it or not. The normal thing we’re supposed to do, at least in the Soka Gakkai, is to psych ourselves up. We’re supposed to get our hearts pumping. Then we chant with the rhythm of a galloping horse and chant like the ROAR OF THE LION!!!!!
I don’t know about you, but that tires me out. My adrenaline gets all pumped for the chanting and all ready I feel drained before the day begins.
So why not take it easy? I have to deal with office politics, bad traffic, and all sorts of happenings that will annoy the crap out of me. Why not simply relax, smile, do gongyo and chant? Basically I allow myself at least 15 minutes twice daily to feel calm and happy thoughts. Besides, if my gongyo is good for nothing, why not make it an enjoyable gongyo rather than stressful one?
I could skip gongyo and do other things, but here is another reason for me to do “Good-for-nothing” gongyo: it helps me master my desires. In fact, it helps me use my desires and not let my desires use me.
This is especially the case when SGI leaders would tell me, “Hey man, you want that high paying job in Manhattan? If you start attending more activities, you might get that sweet gig.” “Hey man, you want that hot Japanese girlfriend with big boobs? Study for our SGI test and you might meet one.” “Hey man, you want to improve your work environment? You should spend your weekend at the 50K Lions of Justice of Festival and you’ll get ideas on how to do that.”
Having no reason to do gongyo means no can induce me to make commitments that I don’t want to make. Next time someone tells me, “Hey man, you want to make a million dollars? Recruit more people into SGI.”
I can say, “Nah, I’m cool. I don’t need a million dollars that badly.”
I also like to practice gongyo for no reason because I can teach people to understand their own practice and not let themselves be controlled by me. Case in point, let’s say you find out that I chant the Heart Sutra in my gongyo practice. Most of you would probably blow your top and tell me to stop chanting the Heart Sutra and even tell me a horrible fate awaits for my “transgression.”
I am going to tell you this: since I don’t have any expectations in my practice, I am going to practice however the hell I want. The questions you need to ponder over are: how will you react? Are you going to spend your time trying to change me or are you going to prove me wrong and show me that your way is the right way? How is my practice affecting yours?
Here’s another thing I want to talk about in terms of gongyo. I see gongyo as a form of exercise.
You know how exercise works? In order to benefit from exercise, you just simply do it. Sure there is some minutiae to look into, but you’ll find out soon enough once you start. Trying to “expect” or speed up results will do more to hinder your progress. Consistency is key, not trying to figure out what kind of mindset you need to have before you exercise. As that sneaker company once said, “Just do it.”
That’s the same with gongyo, as long as you just do it the results will come in its own time. Trying to have faith in the practice, “seeking the Gohonzon in yourself”, making demands/determinations, or whatever are just more head games than anything. As long as you do gongyo, everything will fall into place. Don’t rush it and stop expecting anything.
One great benefit of this good-for-nothing gongyo is that you will finally see the Buddha’s disciples every where. People who you thought were demons actually become the guardians of the Buddha. People you thought were dry academic scholars transform into arahants. That janitor cleaning your office, he or she is a bodhisattva.
In fact, you’ll also hear the sound of the Buddha’s teachings every where. Daisaku Ikeda, Nissatsu Arai, Mark Rogow, the Dalai Lama, and even a single crow all become your teachers.
Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and kind regards,
PS Those YWD members make my member go “PARN!”