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Switch to Forum Live View SGI Members! A question...
6 years ago  ::  Aug 09, 2011 - 2:54PM #1
Illise
Posts: 2

Hello everyone!  First post...

So I recently got married and moved across the US to my new home in Georgia.  I'm a fortune baby and YWD.  I received my gohonzon prior to moving, but not all the items for my altar.  I have the actual altar, of course, along with candles, candle holders, and incense. (though I wasn't given "starting ashes")  The problem is I don't have the bell or the striker, the water cup, or a "traditional" incense holder.  We're really short on money to get these things.  Can I chant without some of them in the mean time?  Can I just use any ol' incense holder, and any small glass or cup to offer water?  I can get fresh fruit, and maybe a small plant...but I don't have the money for the bell and striker right now, and likely won't for another month and a half.  I know the SGI online store has an altar set for around $37 before tax, but we're REALLY tight on money...y'know, the usual plight of the newly weds.  I know I should've made getting my altar together a priority (especially considering my karma) but that can't be helped now.  I've contacted the nearest SGI center, but that's in Atlanta, which is 2 1/2 hours away.  I'm still waiting for a call from the nearest YWD.

I know I can chant without having the gohonzon in front of me...but I techincally DO have one, and I feel terrible knowing I haven't unfurled it yet.  I guess what I'm asking is---since I have the gohonzon, do I set up my altar with what I have and chant to it?  Or should I wait till the earliest possible moment when I can have a complete altar?

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6 years ago  ::  Aug 09, 2011 - 3:01PM #2
etoro
Posts: 595

I would say set up the alter with what you have, unfurl the Gohonzon and start chanting and reciting Gongyo.  As Nichiren and Daisaku Ikeda always says, it is the heart that matters. Your pure intentions to practice with a correct mind are the basic starting points ofd a correct practice.  The things on the alter are mere formality. You can fix it up as your conditions improve. Just start chanting. 

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6 years ago  ::  Aug 10, 2011 - 2:11AM #3
Bob_the_Lunatic
Posts: 3,458

I practiced for a few years before being able to receive Gohonzon.  I joined after the split, and I believe I was the first in my state to receive the Nichikan Gohonzon.  I chanted to an empty Butsudan for a long time.


Back to your issue-Sincerity is all that matters.  I have a nice 14" bell, but if I ring it to show it off, how much fortune do you think I get?  If you have nothing but a glass and a spoon.... but strike it with sincerity-what will yours be?

My first bell was a glass and spoon-the offering is that of Sound.  Not that of a Morning Sun fancy $300 bell.  It is your devotion that matters and you cannot purchase that with $.


You try to come up with the relevant offerings, if all you have is a dryer sheet for the offering of "scent" I think you could offer it sincerely and feel good about it.


My first Butsudan was a shirt box, but I was sincere.  Also-you can find some good deals on ebay sometimes for Butsugu, you might keep an eye out there.


Just remember-it is  always sincerity. 


Also, for me it's mostly about respect-I cleaned that shirtbox everyday like it was a fine Okinawan Butsudan.  That is the true spirit toward the Gohonzon.  As though it is the Daishonin himself that has come to see you in your home.  That spirit is what matters, not the quality of your material offerings. 

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6 years ago  ::  Aug 10, 2011 - 2:14AM #4
Bob_the_Lunatic
Posts: 3,458

Also-the offerings are not a formality, that is incorrect.  They all have very distinct meanings and I don't think those things should be devalued.  Just as the Juzu mean many things, and this should be understood.  Just as you offer 3 incense or 1, but both indicate that past, present, and future are in the moment...


If something is a formality, the attitude is wrong.

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6 years ago  ::  Aug 10, 2011 - 2:20AM #5
Bob_the_Lunatic
Posts: 3,458

Another thing on formality:  I recall when I finally received my Gohonzon, I treated it with special care-after all, it is my LIFE.  My teacher taught me we keep incense in our mouths to avoid breathing on it, with many other practices, all designed to care for it correctly and show it the proper respect. 


Many of these things are now taught to be "unnecessary formalities".  This contradicts the idea of sincerity I'm afraid.  I had deep, sincere respect for my Gohonzon.  And I recall when I received it that I did so in a large Community Center in front of many people.  When I showed my sincere respect, a very high level leader (as in, several states leader) made fun of me-in front of about 80 members, commenting that "I bet that incense tastes terrible eh?" and then laughing-which caused many other members to laugh as well!


Instead of having reverence himself and respecting my respect for this Object Worthy of Great Respect, he concerned himself with what is Gakkai what is Priesthood and "formalities".  He was incorrect to do so, my attitude was the correct one.  There is nothing wrong with sincerity or reverence and both are appropriate when it comes to Gongyo. 


Don't forget to think when you are told something is a "formality".   Stick to sincerity in your practice and you can't fail to attain enlightenment. 

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6 years ago  ::  Aug 10, 2011 - 2:47AM #6
Bob_the_Lunatic
Posts: 3,458

More on the offerings:


This is taken from the New Members Handbook (1989), some quoted, some paraphrased:


 


Greens, Candles, Incense:


The triad itself has symbolic significance:  These 3 things represent the three truths, the three properties, and the three inherent potentials of the Buddha nature.


Evergreens symbolize the truth of temporary existence, the Buddha's enlightened physical property or his compassionate action, and the potential to form the correct relationship with the environment (via the ten factors).  We also choose evergreens as they are long lasting, in Japan, specifically Shikimi is used.


Candles stand for the truth of non-substantiality  or the latent potential of life.  They also represent the property of wisdom or the Buddha's enlightened spiritual property, and the potential wisdom to become aware of our own innate Buddha nature.


Incense represents the truth of the Middle Way.  The essential property of the Buddha's life or the property of the Law and the potential of our own innate Buddha nature.


Anything written by George Williams is usually very good stuff :)

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6 years ago  ::  Aug 11, 2011 - 10:16AM #7
Illise
Posts: 2

Wow!  Thanks so much for all your wise words!  I've started chanting right away. 

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4 years ago  ::  Oct 24, 2013 - 3:42AM #8
Littlebear4181
Posts: 25

Aug 10, 2011 -- 2:20AM, Bob_the_Lunatic wrote:

Another thing on formality:  I recall when I finally received my Gohonzon, I treated it with special care-after all, it is my LIFE.  My teacher taught me we keep incense in our mouths to avoid breathing on it, with many other practices, all designed to care for it correctly and show it the proper respect. 


Many of these things are now taught to be "unnecessary formalities".  This contradicts the idea of sincerity I'm afraid.  I had deep, sincere respect for my Gohonzon.  And I recall when I received it that I did so in a large Community Center in front of many people.  When I showed my sincere respect, a very high level leader (as in, several states leader) made fun of me-in front of about 80 members, commenting that "I bet that incense tastes terrible eh?" and then laughing-which caused many other members to laugh as well!


Instead of having reverence himself and respecting my respect for this Object Worthy of Great Respect, he concerned himself with what is Gakkai what is Priesthood and "formalities".  He was incorrect to do so, my attitude was the correct one.  There is nothing wrong with sincerity or reverence and both are appropriate when it comes to Gongyo. 


Don't forget to think when you are told something is a "formality".   Stick to sincerity in your practice and you can't fail to attain enlightenment. 


Bob wrote "Many of these things are now taught to be "unnecessary formalities".  This contradicts the idea of sincerity I'm afraid."



 I disagree.


 it is not against sincerity.  It would be like the islanders of the pacific building a big wood and mock airplane to bring back the Americans who provided food provisions as charity support.


the act is sincere, but because of incorrect knowledge it is horribly misguided.


 The result is the same.  AS Nichiren put it in his youthful insights boo.  IF the object of


devotion is wrong the practice is wrong.


  the sincerity is not the issue but proper knowldge of why we do these things


yours.


Randanada


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3 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2014 - 6:33AM #9
Dhruvthukral
Posts: 7

Aug 9, 2011 -- 3:01PM, etoro wrote:


I would say set up the alter with what you have, unfurl the Gohonzon and start chanting and reciting Gongyo.  As Nichiren and Daisaku Ikeda always says, it is the heart that matters. Your pure intentions to practice with a correct mind are the basic starting points ofd a correct practice.  The things on the alter are mere formality. You can fix it up as your conditions improve. Just start chanting. 




Yes, we should chant alot

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