Key teachings of the Buddha as practiced in the real-world
Here are the highest teachings of Buddhism as practiced in the real world - especially the world's most influential and advanced Asian nations of Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. These teachings also played the biggest role in the Golden Age of Indian civilization.
Origins: Buddhism was founded by King Ashoka based on the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni and the earliest and most important symbols of Indian Buddhism including the construction and veneration of stupas, the edicts of Ashoka, the Mahabodhi Temple, Ajanta Caves, Nalanda University and even the National Emblem of India were all inspired by the Mahayana tradition and imagery.. The Goddess Avalokiteshwara is also the most widely depicted Being in almost all major Buddhist temples of ancient India as well as worldwide from Japan and China to Tibet and Sri Lanka and hence the main Divinity for our temple. As a result, the Lotus Sutra's Chapter 25 and Karandavyuha Sutra with its famous mantra Om Mani Padme Hum are of much significance to us. Other important icons in all temples of the world include Vajrapani and Bishamonten as Defender Forms of Kannon and hence we honor them as well. Here are a few of the major beliefs of Buddhists all over the world in a non-sectarian manner.
1] Karma not Sin: We do not believe that we are born in sin but that we are born with Buddha Potential that can bloom through mantra meditation or chanting of the name of Kannon and/or the Lotus Sutra and by Bodhisattva based charitable works. We believe in Karma and that we design our destiny through our thoughts, words and actions. However, we realize that we cannot control every situation and there is a Higher Power that we focus on in prayer. Prayer and Meditation enable us to align our own inner power with the Higher Power (Kannon) and unite body, mind and spirit in the pursuit of our goals. We also believe that the material world is ultimately dissatisfying, transient and non-possessable and so focus on our spiritual growth to overcome challenges to our life's purpose.
2] Almighty Kannon (Guanyin): We believe in the Highest Force in the Universe called Kannon which is the Source of all positive energy, embodies the Law of Attraction, personifies the Benevolent Cosmos, represents the Perfection of Qualities and is the God of all gods. By keeping Kannon in our heart at all times, we find Hope even in despair and we become more compassionate like Kannon. Kannon is the only God that stands for Female Equality and Universal pluralism beyond ethnicity. Kannon is the God of all people, of all genders, of all nationalities and only uses love, never fear to save all. By venerating Kannon above all others, we place Kannon's qualities of Virtue and Compassion above all things and by meditating on Kannon we cultivate Kannon's qualities within ourselves. Praying to Kannon also helps us acknowledge that we cannot control every situation and thus must strike the balance between doing the best we can and leaving the rest to the Universe.
3] Amida's Paradise: We believe that those who meditate on Kannon and/or the Lotus Sutra are surrounded by positive energy in life and go to a place of positive energy upon death. This is called Sukhavati or the most beautiful heaven where we can become Bodhisattvas or Guardian Angels that can return to earth or any realm to assist sentient beings. Everything in this world is "anitya" or impermanent but the opposite of anitya is nitya and therefore only the Buddhist Trinity is Eternal and Everlasting. Kannon can not only assist us in all of life's battles but also bring us to heaven when we die. The Lotus Sutra makes it clear that Kannon can take the form of any Buddha or any God to save all beings. For many Buddhists, Kannon takes the form of Amida in Heaven and Shakyamuni on earth and all are 3 forms of the One. The Lotus Sutra says that Divinity is Limitless in its vision to offer salvation to all as a Protector (Kannon), a Savior (Amida) and a Teacher (historical Buddha). Many Buddhists equate Amida with the eternal form of the Buddha and the embodiment of Chapter 16 while the overwhelming majority of Buddhists worship Kannon as the God/Goddess of the Lotus Sutra as per Chapter 25, who can assume all forms to save all beings -- both in this life and the next.
4] Bodhisattva Path: We believe that venerating Kannon involves being like Kannon and so we promote compassion and social welfare projects all over the world. Kannon can blend into any environment and use skillful means to save all beings and hence we too use skillful means and innovative ways to inspire mainstream demographics and alleviate suffering for others. The Buddha also makes it clear that He rains His blessings on all without discrimination and so we work with the marginalized and vulnerable members of society who are all sons and daughters of the Buddha. We also promote heroism and noble altruism through the prototypes of great Samurai warriors like Miyamoto Musashi and the Patron saint of the Samurai and Shaolin Bodhidharma to give the youth and mainstream positive and exciting role moderls to emulate.
5] Buddha's Position: As every single scripture in Pali and Sanskrit and every bit of archaeology ever uncovered in any museum shows the Buddha being worshiped by all other gods, we agree that the Buddha is the Highest Being in the cosmos. The Buddha's power as Eternal Heavenly Father, the worker of endless miracles and as Devatideva or God of gods is documented in every major scripture of all traditions including the iconic Lotus Sutra. However, what makes the Buddha much more than a mythological figure is that he had what Max Muller called "the most perfect moral code the world has ever known". Vivekananda confirms that "wherever there is morality, it emits from that One Being the Buddha" and Gandhi said "Buddha rightfully replaced the Imposter sitting on God's White Throne". We honor the Buddha by cultivating the Buddha Potential within ourselves as well as promoting the Buddha's teachings on compassion and kindness.
6] Promotion: We believe we must promote Mahayana Buddhism all over the world as commanded in the Lotus Sutra and because it is the only religion that was spread without violence and that stands up for the rights of women, slaves, animals, gays and the oppressed; the only religion where Almighty God (Kannon) is also a good role model, gender-equal and source of all Positive Qualities and the only religion where Amida is the first and only One to offer universal salvation to everyone without atonement or blood sacrifice. However, we only spread Buddhism for universal welfare and out of compassion to brighten the world with love and positive energy.
7] Mantra Meditation: We believe devotion to Kannon and the Lotus Sutra is the highest teaching of the Buddha and triggers miraculous and provident situations - a phenomenon that has millions of witnesses around the world. We are the only temple in the world to chant 4 paragraph stanzas from the Lotus Sutra in Sanskrit -- the original language of the gods in which it was written. Scientists agree that the Sanskrit language has healing vibrations embodied in its pronunciation. A few of the most popular and simplest mantras from the Lotus Sutra for every-day use are as follows:
In Japanese: Salutations to Kannon from Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra. (To chant Namo Kannon just once with devotion has more spiritual merit than worshiping a trillion gods and buddhas in every conceivable way for as long as you live - This merit is immeasurable over lifetimes..... Buddha.)
Namu Kannon, Namu Kanzeon, Namu Kanjizai (Chapter 25, Lotus Sutra)
Kannon Myo Chi Riki, No ku Se Ken Ku (Chapter 25, Lotus Sutra)
Kanzeon Namu Butsu, Cho Nen Kanzeon Bo Nen Kanzeon (Chapter 25 Lotus Sutra, all Zen traditions)
or, Namu Amida Kannon (Chapter 25 speaks of both Kannon and Amida).
or Namu Amida Kannon Ichijo Myoho Renge Kyo (Homage to the 3 pillars of Buddhism as advocated by the Tendai monk Genshin based on Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra).
or Namu Kannon Shoten Zenjin Myoho Renge Kyo (Chapter 25 and 26 of the Lotus Sutra)
In Sanskrit: (There are many more chants for advanced practitioners, below is just a sample):
Namo Namastasmai Valokiteshvarasya/ Namo Valokitheswara/
or Om Mani Padme Hum (from Karandavyuha Sutra)
or Namo Amitabha Lokeshwara Namah
or Namo Sahasranetra, Sashasrabhuja, Shristikarta Lokeshwara (from Karandavyuha Sutra).
In Mandarin: Namo Kwan Shi Yin Pusa/ Namo Kun Yam/ Namo Amituofo.
In Japanese: August Title of the Lotus Sutra
Namu Myoho Renge Kyo (most popular Buddhist chant all over the world today).
or Namu Byodo Dai Ichijo Myoho Renge Kyo (Homage to the One United Vehicle of the Lotus Sutra)
or, Namu Amida Kannon Ichijo Myoho Renge Kyo (Homage to the 3 pillars of Japanese Buddhism)
or, Namu Kannon Ichijo Myoho Renge Kyo (Homage to Kannon and the Lotus Sutra)
or, Namu Ichijo Myoho Renge Kyo (Original daimoku of Shotoku)
or Namu Kannon Shoten Zenjin Myoho Renge Kyo (Chapter 25 and 26 of the Lotus Sutra)
or Keishu Myoho Renge Kyo (Original chants at Todaiji Temple)
or Kimyo Myoho Renge Kyo (Original chants at Mount Hiei near Kyoto - the birthplace of Japanese Buddhism)
In Sanskrit: (Many more Sanskrit chants available to advanced practitioners).
Namo Saddharma Pundarika Sutrarajaya Namah
Om Saddharma Pundarika Dharmaparyaya Namah
Om Saddharma Pundarika Valokiteshwara Namaha
In Mandarin: Namo Fa Hua Ching