Life consists of the five components: form, perception, conception, volition and consciousness. Form is the physical aspect: i.e. male or female, tall or short.
About SGI HellasSoka Gakkai International (SGI) is a socially engaged Buddhist movement linking more than 12 million people around the world. SGI members integrate their Buddhist practice into their daily lives, following the Lotus Sutra based teachings of Nichiren, a 13th-century Japanese Buddhist priest.
These days we know that the environment has an immense effect on people, for example, turn on the television and we may well find a programme trying to unravel whether our path in life is shaped through 'nurture' (one's upbringing) or through 'nature' (genetic inheritance). Plus the lack of green space in our cities has been blamed for the rise in asthma-related illnesses in children.
Buddhism teaches that there is a ninth consciousness, which Nichiren Daishonin identified as the Buddha nature, or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It is the basis of all life's functions and is known as the 'amala' or 'fundamentally pure' consciousness, shared at the most profound level with all life. As we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, so life-force comes from the ninth consciousness, purifying the internal causes and effects that lie in the eighth, and improving the way our sixth and seventh consciousnesses function.
The first five 'consciousnesses' are our basic senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste, which we use to take in information from outside ourselves in order to understand what is going on in the world. Imagine the moment of birth. The baby at that moment is aware of sound, of smell, touch, taste and sight. Like the baby we become attached to the world to such a degree that, for many, the world in all its complexities continues to hold our attention and we remain ignorant of the working of the deeper 'layers' of consciousness.
Buddhism teaches the existence of a law of cause and effect, which explains that when we make a cause, the anticipated effect of that cause is stored deep in our lives, and when the right circumstances appear then we experience the effect. This concept of cause and effect is at the heart of Buddhism, and the characters for 'renge' in Nam-myoho-renge-kyo mean the simultaneity of the internal cause and the internal effect.
Nichiren Daishonin`s Buddhism enables us to free ourselves from the sufferings of birth and death. But to achieve this we must "perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings." This means tapping the limitless power of the Mystic Law inherent in our lives.
It is the same with a Buddha and an ordinary being. When deluded, one is called an ordinary being, but when enlightened, one is called a Buddha. This is similar to a tarnished mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished.
Nichiren Daishonin`s Buddhism teaches that the spiritual and physical/material aspects of life are inextricably linked. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and practising Nichiren Daishonin`s Buddhism, in the face of day to day realities with its ups and downs, gives us a powerful means to draw out our Buddhahood. We find the key to our happiness in the middle of our daily lives! This is one meaning of `Buddhism equals daily life`.
The 'oneness of mentor and disciple' is a principle which has profound significance in Buddhism. Nichiren Daishonin reconfirmed Shakyamuni's plea to his followers to: 'Rely on the Law and not upon persons'(4). Therefore, we do not worship or pray to statues of the Daishonin or Shakyamuni. Rather we have an object of devotion - the Gohonzon - which is a representation of Nichiren Daishonin's enlightened life state. However, the Daishonin also stated that we should 'seek out the votary of the Lotus Sutra and make him our teacher.'
Although we are all different ('many in body'), it is possible for us to share a common goal, or 'one mind'. This does not mean that we all have to 'think the same', as past experience of totalitarian regimes may indicate. Indeed, it is essential for us to develop our own unique qualities to the full.