Week 4 has arrived. Here’s our prompt from Rebekah @ She Seeks Nonfiction:
Worldview Changers: One of the greatest things about reading nonfiction is learning all kinds of things about our world which you never would have known without it. There’s the intriguing, the beautiful, the appalling, and the profound. What nonfiction book (or books) has impacted the way you see the world in a powerful way? Do you think there is one book that everyone needs to read for a better understanding of the world we live in?
Short post from me this week. Not as I originally thought because this was going to be a difficult prompt, but in fact because it was easy. There is only one way for me to answer this question. The book (or two volumes to be precise) that changed my life were written by in the thirteenth century by a Japanese monk called Nichiren Daishonin. They are called – not unreasonably – The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, and they detail his teachings of Buddhism based on the Lotus Sutra and the original teachings of Shakyamuni buddha. Taking the form of letters to his disciples, these prophetic and profound teachings are still studied by millions of people around the globe.
Some schools of Buddhism taught that countless eons of austerities must be undergone before enlightenment could be achieved, and then only in some far distant time or land. Nichiren, however, held that every human being has the potential to manifest Buddhahood in this present lifetime.
This was considered an outrageous claim by the powers-that-were in medieval Japan since all the entrenched beliefs of the time were based on Pure Land and other schools of thought. Nichiren nearly got himself executed, but never gave up his compassion for and belief in the infinite power of a human life. The central tenet of this teaching is that everything starts with us.
“You must never think that any of the eighty thousand sacred teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha’s lifetime or any of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions and three existences are outside yourself.”
Although Nichiren’s teachings became lost, in the 1930s they were rediscovered and are now propagated around the world by SGI which organised the translation of Nichiren’s writings into many different languages including English, which was why I am able to study them.