A summary of my affinity with Lotus Sutra for 2016

There were many interesting and gloom-setting world events going on this year and I was pretty much distracted by the many happenings that happened to me too. A quick look at this website and I realized that there are only 4 posts since 2014 and the most recent one was in late July this year. And 2016 is ending in 6 weeks’ time.

I am not a natural writer though, somewhat, I wish that I can express my views to the world through writing and that would require more discipline for me to do so. There are a few draft posts at the moment and would really like to produce more, especially, Lotus Sutra-centric materials regularly in time to come.

I am pretty much surprised by myself the affinity and devotion I have with the Lotus Sutra despite my many disappointing moments I had with a few matters this year. The Lotus Sutra was introduced to me back in 2000/2001 period. So it has been a good 15 years till date that I am still sticking myself with. The kind of devotion is like a simmering fire, not the type that burning in an ablaze fashion, I guess that is one of the reasons that it still stays in me.

I was exposed to other techniques and sects in Buddhism and only a small handful that I revere and keep as secondary practices. Even that is fading away.

I denounce my identity as a Buddhist to a few of my (especially Buddhist) friends due to a series of things that had happened and are ongoing in my life recently. What is clear to me is that this denouncement does not divorce my relationship with the Lotus Sutra.

After all, what makes a Buddhist?

Anyone who had attended a proper Dharma class would have the answer but these days, anyone can claim to be a Buddhist.

So if you are into…

Treating monks like gods;
Keep donating money and valuables to monks;
Believing non-human bones or some stones to be Buddha’s relics;
Long term meditation retreats;
Puja after puja;
Releasing animals to eliminate your bad karma;
Burning real food through ritual fire;
Saying sorry and kowtow to unseen spirits endlessly;
Assuming all religions points to the same source;
Deities from other religions suddenly all become bodhisattvas in Buddhism;
Believing that going through sufferings is a good thing that negates bad karma;
Spirit mediums that channel Buddha and Bodhisattva;
Social justice;

Then this is not the place for you. There are many other websites or real organisations that are offering these activities and you are free to go there. I am also not positioning myself to comment whether they are right or not since I am not a Buddhist anymore.

My focus with this site is to provide Lotus Sutra-centric writings that is based on the (Threefold) Lotus Sutra itself as the primary source. If I have the luxury of time, effort and resources, I will try to do readings on Nichiren’s and Tendai ideologies since the both of them are strong proponents of the Lotus Sutra-faith.

There are two factors that had hindered and will hinder in my writings. Firstly is the primary language source. My interest and study of Lotus Sutra had been reading the Chinese translation by Kumarajiva. And because I am trying to relay to a wider English-reading audience, I have to translate the text that I am citing. Even this splits into two problems, one is that there are random typos in quite a few websites that offer the Kumarajiva’s version of the Lotus Sutra. I am unsure are these typos deliberated. So I have to try to type in Chinese from the hardcopy that I use. Another one is that, even though I am not a Buddhist academic, when it comes to English translation, I do at times feel more incline to translate differently based on my introspection.

Secondly, the sequence of writings. I had often wanted to do them in chronological order, that is from Chapter 1 to Chapter 28. And I think this stubbornness of mine had really got into my way. There are certain chapters that I am more familiar with because I hold them with higher significance. So the new direction should be follow my heart, write what speaks to me the most.

After all, I am neither a professional writer nor an academic, just an average guy that is projecting a different perspective to the world.