One of the things I’ve noticed through the years is that Tricycle has been doing a better and better job of covering the various sects of Buddhism, and the Spring 2023 issue might be the best example yet, with wonderfully informative articles on the Nichiren and Pure Land [Jodo Shinshu] schools (“Knowing Nichiren” and “True Entrusting” [now titled “One Mess Within Oneness” on tricycle.org]).
Something that fascinates me is how so many people view their practice as the only valid one. I consider sitting meditation to be the most miraculous discovery of my life. But some years ago, when I was teaching at Duke University, one of my students told me about her grandmother, a Nichiren Buddhist who moved from Japan to America for cancer treatment. She faced her illness—and her eventual death—with complete equanimity and would wake up every morning at 4:00 a.m. to chant for two hours. I was in awe of that.
One evening she gathered her family and told them how grateful she was to have them and to have discovered Buddhism. She died later that night. The best spiritual practice is the one that you actually do.
I just wanted to express my appreciation for your inclusion of Nichiren Buddhist perspectives in the range of articles that you publish and events that you put on. I am always pleased to see work from teachers like Bishop Myokei Caine-Barrett [head of the Nichiren Shu Order of North America] or contributions from a more academic perspective like the recent interview with Professor Jacqueline Stone (“Knowing Nichiren,” Spring 2023).
I was especially pleased to see “You Can Get There From Here” by Mark Herrick in the Spring 2023 issue and would love to see more content that explores the range of Nichiren-inspired Buddhist practice in the West beyond the better-known Soka Gakkai.
More broadly, I would welcome any contributions that illustrate how Buddhist practices can be so much more diverse than breath meditation and mindfulness, important as those practices are in their own right. Thank you.
With best regards,
“It was refreshing to see the sect and discipline that I follow receive some attention. Thank you for helping to educate others.”
As a Nichiren Buddhist practitioner, I was excited and pleased to read the interview with Professor Jaqueline L. Stone (“Knowing Nichiren,” Spring 2023). Nichiren Buddhism does not get the same media attention from Buddhist magazines as other traditions do—largely, in my opinion, as a result of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge. Frederick M. Ranallo-Higgins conducted an exemplary interview, underscoring history, eradicating misnomers, and providing much-needed insight into the Daimoku. Please highlight Nichiren Buddhism in Tricycle more frequently, perhaps by interviewing practitioners.
It was refreshing to see the sect and discipline that I follow receive some attention. Thank you for helping to educate others.
–Shundrea S. Trotty, MPA
I loved the article in the Spring 2023 issue on defilements as the path to awakening (“You Can Get There from Here” by Mark Herrick) and the interview with Jacqueline Stone (“Knowing Nichiren”). Both articles were excellent in providing insights on Nichiren Buddhism, a less-known lineage not often discussed in “mainstream” Buddhist circles. Nichiren Buddhism, particularly the Nichiren Shu lineage, has been around for over 750 years. This is a Buddhism that stresses equality and diversity. I would greatly appreciate if Tricycle could publish more articles on this very enlightened lineage of Buddhism.
I really enjoyed Mark Herrick’s article on Nichiren Buddism and the Lotus Sutra (“You Can Get There From Here”). It is very interesting and informative. I look forward to seeing more articles by him.
In response to the Buddhism for Beginners article, “Is Buddhism a religion, a philosophy, or a way of life?”: It seems unnecessary to try to pin Buddhism down to one of these three categories since, in fact, it may be all three or just one, depending on the needs and perspective of the individual. For some, Buddhism may also be a psychology, [with] practice incorporated into a therapeutic approach. Buddhism may start out looking like one thing, say a philosophy, and later appear as a way of life and/or a religion. Despite not fitting the description of a religion using Judeo-Christian criteria, in many parts of the world Buddhism is undoubtedly a functioning religion that helps people through maintaining faith in the dharma and connects them through belonging to a sangha. Important rituals and practices help maintain and strengthen this faith, and provide people with important insights into how everything in the universe exists and how one fits into a network of relationships that is non-dual.
Maybe most importantly, as you suggest, Buddhism helps people cope with the obvious fact of suffering through a deep understanding of the four noble truths. I think the tenets of any religion should be open to question and to the test of one’s personal experience, regardless of what you call it.
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