Destiny or Karma
During ones struggle to find the time, energy and desire for faith, practice and study in our busy world, I am often reminded of the wonderful story in the Eighth Chapter of our Lotus Sutra. This is the story of the “Gem in the Robe.”
We find here a man indecisive about his life, he did not seem to be successful in regards’ family or a permanent sharing relationship, he was fairly cheerful about life, but wasn’t sure about his career direction. He had expectations, hope and good friends. One weekend while partying at his friends home the fellow had too much to drink and was put to bed by his host. In the morning the host not wishing to disturb his good friend who was going through a tough time wanted to help out, and so he took the time to sew a valuable gem in his friend’s thick robe, thinking to help him get through another of life’s challenges. Then he goes off on a business trip.
The friend awakening realizes his host has left and goes out looking for work. Not finding work in the local area, he begins a life of wandering and taking whatever odd jobs he can, often hungry, often hanging out with negative sorts of people, rather than positive uplifting associates. So that for several years his life continues to be one of doubt, mistrust, and lower world conditions.
Then as One’s karma would have it, returning to the area of his friend he bumps into him at the local coffee house. His friend is saddened to see that the fellow looks so downhearted and poorly dressed. He had wondered where his friend had gone and why he hadn’t been in touch. After all he had left him with the means to temporarily get on with his life financially.
He seeing his friends miserable state of mind and body he says to him; “how could you be such a dolt. Look at yourself! I am truly saddened to see you in this state. The last time you visited my home I sewed a precious gem into your garment that you would be able to pick yourself up and get on with life. Look here, and so saying he cuts into the lining of the tattered coat and pulls out the precious gem. I wanted you to live comfortably, I have lots to live on and am happy to share what I have with you. Now take this and sell it and buy what you need. Why should you be in want?
Here we have the parable of life’s emotions. The generous One is of course the Buddha and the friend is a common mortal confused about life. Some may be fortunate enough to have money bestowed upon them or have good financial fortune to win some, but for the most part we all have to work long at making ends meet and putting some aside for future consideration while ensuring our Will is current and our financial obligations are looked after in the case of sudden death.
The precious gem here is our buddha nature which we all possess. It is through our buddha nature that we are able to Realize that it is not fate, luck or destiny that makes one happy or rich. When we look about us we see so many people that are not in tune with their spiritual nature.
Too many rely on the need for more pills or more drugs or another relationship to make life better. Working ever so hard to make ends meet. Busy being busy, yet forever in turmoil with little thought or realization on the true value of their potential and personal value. It is obvious it is all they expect in this lifetime, but the buddhist teachings share that there is so much more to life than day to day stress and a little joy now and then.
One’s Buddha nature offers the capacity to live in the higher Worlds of wellness, peaceful means, bliss, Bodhisattva and moments of Buddhahood. This is accomplished with discipline, through the wisdom teachings, practice and ones world of Realization. Though all humans have an intrinsic Buddha nature, few will come face to face with it, in the same way the friend in our story wandered about from one area to another never realizing how rich he had become due to the generosity of his friend.
The lesson of this story or parable is that each of us can find so much more to life than the daily grind. The Buddha appeared almost 3,000 years ago in the Former Day of the Law, as Gautama Shakyamuni to bring to earth the universal teachings, he taught that all human Beings have a buddha nature, which is our priceless gem, in our robe we call life. The instant we gain this Awareness we can go beyond the five challenges of life* expanding our realizations working towards freedom. It is not luck, fate or destiny, it is up to us to expiate our negative karma of this lifetime and live a dynamic, fun, healthy life in the here and now; as we prepare for our future existence by our present actions.
The compassionate Sage Nichiren Daishonin opened the door of the Three Great Secret Treasures, A] The Method: offering an object of respect the Gohonzon Mandala merging of Precepts, Meditation and Wisdom. B] A Practice: the Five In One fundamental Meditation, our chanting of the all inclusive title of the Lotus Sutra, Namu~Myoho~Renge~Kyo, incorporating awareness, breath, visualization, the sound of our voice, and the contemplation of our mind. C] A Place: our modest Buddha Centre, our homes, wherever our life force makes conscious communication with the Buddha’s of the Ten Directions, a Temple, a place of action to awaken our buddha nature.
The precious gem in our life should be the gem of “No-Doubt.” We are responsible for our lives our challenges and our happiness. With the Three Secret Treasures and our Treasure Jewel of growing wisdom we are truly fortunate. If you have not found your gem yet, I suggest you check that old coat.
Thus It Has Been Shared, Respectfully, TM Henry
* Lower worlds of Hell, Hunger, Anger
* The Five Challenges: family, relationship, career, health, financial