Secular Shoshu Silent Prayers

As an alternative to the Nichiren Shoshu Silent Prayers
(A printable file of the secular version is below.)

First Prayer: With conviction that the quality of our most deeply held beliefs may profoundly impact our lives and the lives of others, we begin this day with the following Silent Prayers. And to the extent these prayers, along with effort in implementation, will help us become better people, clear up delusion, and otherwise further virtuousness, we would be very grateful.

(The First Prayer is to be read only in the morning after reciting the opening prose section of the Second Chapter of the Lotus Sutra and the verse section of the Sixteenth Chapter of the Lotus Sutra, while facing away from (stage right of) the Gohonzon. As a general guideline, it is recommended that the recitations of the Lotus Sutra liturgy follow the language and structural format of the traditional Gongyo. For those who are unfamiliar with the traditional Nichiren Shoshu protocol, the liturgy is performed in classical Japanese before a properly enshrined Gohonzon every morning and evening
with beads held in hands poised in the prayer position. While the first recitation is done facing away from the Gohonzon, as mentioned above, the others are performed while facing or bowing before it, depending on whether or not one has memorized the classical liturgy or chooses to read it. Also, each of the Silent Prayers and subsections are to begin with and be followed by chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Moreover, there are designated patterns for ringing the bells.)

Second Prayer: We express our devotion to the meaning and purpose of the Dai-Gohonzon and the subsidiary Gohonzons, including the ones enshrined in our local temple and our homes, each of which is hereby affirmed to be a source of reverence for the intrinsically benevolent aspects of existence, a venerable guide for the cultivation of a genuinely wise and compassionate nature, an enduring image of complete enlightenment in a single lifetime, an offering of Buddhahood as the prevailing influence over the lower conditions of life, and a means by which to encourage the aspiration for a truly peaceful universe.

(The Second Prayer is to be read in both the morning and evening after reciting the opening prose section of the Second Chapter of the Lotus Sutra and both the prose and verse sections of the Sixteenth Chapter of the Lotus Sutra.)

Third Prayer (a): Now that the ancient revelations of our tradition have been refined into concepts for the present, let us not forget the contribution of Nichiren Daishonin who set the foundation for our Buddhism by initiating the propagation of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, inscribing the first Gohonzon, and transferring the responsibility for preserving the orthodoxy to Nikko Shonin and the successive High Priests.
(b): Also, for unity in the community of faith and in keeping with the principle of the middle way, we pledge to respect those from our tradition who continue to believe in a literal interpretation of the scriptures, the Buddha as a Supreme Being, or an exclusive path for enlightenment.
(c): At the same time, however, we pledge to represent Buddhahood in an age free of the obligation for supernatural adornment, belief in rebirth, and acceptance of a divinely linked sectarian lineage.
(d): And we pledge to encourage openness in all religions to well-considered opposing points of view and the possibility of flaws in the tenets of every faith, including our own.

(The Third Prayer is to be read in both the morning and evening after reciting the opening prose section of the Second Chapter of the Lotus Sutra and the verse sections of the Sixteenth Chapter of the Lotus Sutra.)

Fourth Prayer (a): We express appreciation for participating in our fundamental cause of Buddhist enlightenment: the morning and evening recitation to the Gohonzon from the Second and Sixteenth Chapters of the Lotus Sutra, the reading of the Silent Prayers, and the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
(b): And we pray to develop the wisdom for honestly inspiring others to join in this practice, so they may consider for themselves if the combination of these prayers and the sharing of this faith is not only an effective alternative to the traditional path, but the way of enlightenment itself.

(The Fourth Prayer is to be read only in the morning after reciting the opening prose section of the Second Chapter of the Lotus Sutra and the verse sections of the Sixteenth Chapter of the Lotus Sutra.)

Fifth Prayer:(a): We offer gratitude for the distant goodness of our ancestors, our parents who gave us life, and those who nurtured us through childhood. This gratitude extends as well to all who have broadened our understanding of Buddhism and helped us develop the skills and humanity for improving our lives. With special appreciation to ...
(b): Lastly, we pray for our teachings to evolve so their benevolent purpose may be preserved over time and eventually embraced to such an extent that everyone, together with all existence, will be naturally influenced to forever live in peace.

(The Fifth Prayer is to be read in both the morning and evening after reciting the opening prose section of the Second Chapter of the Lotus Sutra and the verse sections of the Sixteenth Chapter of the Lotus Sutra.)

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John Tate,
May 10, 2017, 7:36 AM