The Sole Efficacy of Odaimoku

by Rev. Ryuei
Michael McCormick

Let me share a few ideas about practice with you. In Buddhism, there is the One Vehicle of the Lotus Sutra - which is the Buddha Vehicle. This is about the final goal of our practice and also the actual ground of our practice. In other words, because there is Buddha-nature we can aspire to Buddhahood. Our Buddha-nature is our practice actually. Namu Myoho Renge Kyo is the expression of that Buddha-nature -- the voice of the Eternal Buddha as our voice and our giving voice as the Eternal Buddha. This moment-by-moment opening of our lives to the Wonderful Dharma is what I believe Namu Myoho Renge Kyo is all about. It is voiced, but it is also minded and hearted and if it is truly reading the sutra with body and mind/heart then it is a continual recital that permeates everything we say, think, feel or do. The practice and realization of Buddha-Dharma does not go beyond this. This simple act is the entrance to the Dharma Realm which is infinitely vast and infinitely deep and yet completely fulfilled in every concrete moment of tapping on a keyboard or glancing at a watch or thinking of those who will read this or any other brief snap of a thought-moment containing all 3,000 worlds. If anything more were required it could never be done, if any less were required it would be a fantasy of enlightenment masking a barren waste of self-delusion. Without this moment-to-moment awakening through total dedication/devotion to the Wonderful Dharma no bodhisattva perfection could be realized. With it, all perfections are enlivened.

According to Sakyamuni Buddha, the One Way of Practice is mindfulness which encompasses all forms, feelings, mental states, and all phenomena just as they are. This is the One Vehicle in actual life. This One Way of Practice drops all wishes, hopes, dreams, fears, anxieties and all other suppositions and just directly experiences the true reality of all existence which only the Buddhas can share. This true reality of all forms, feelings, mental states and phenomena which only Buddhas together with Buddhas can share is the Wonderful Dharma of the Lotus Flower Sutra being preached right where we stand and right where we can hear it directly from the Buddha's lips. These forms, feelings, mental states, and phenomena are the assembly and this mindfulness our rising above the realm of matter of fact with all of them into the presence of the Eternal Sakyamuni Buddha. To trust in the selflessness which is revealed as endless and beginningless in this assembly is to shout "Namu!" Then all form, feelings, mental states, and phenomena drop away and are restored as the Pure Land of Tranquil Light with the Buddha's returning cry of "Myoho Renge Kyo!" Moment-to-moment we awaken to a mindfulness of all forms, feelings, mental states, and phenomena as Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. We feel the ground beneath our feet, the air in our lungs, our flesh, our blood, our worries, our hopes, our dreams, our frustrations, our concerns for family and friends, our frazzled nerves, our second wind, our exhaustion, our exhileration, and our computer moniters, concepts, doctrines, keyboards, sounds of faxes and echoes of memories, and all the other props which form the texture of our lives. All of this is the One Vehicle, all of this is the One Way of Practice, all of this is Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.

Without Namu Myoho Renge Kyo as the aim and as the reality there is no practice and no realization. With it, all things are practiced and realized. Outside of it there is nothing whatsoever, within it there is everything that can not be sought or grasped or given or taken. To realize this is to realize the sole efficacy of Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.

Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,

Copyright by Ryuei Michael McCormick. 2001.

More articles by Ryuei:
Odaimoku as Hui-t'ou
Shodaigyo Meditation
What is the Gohonzon?
My Letter to Nichiren
Nam or Namu? Does is really matter?

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