I chant the Lotus Sutra, nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is part of many Buddhist traditions, but I have learned it through SGI Buddhism. To me, what it stands for is the divine perfection of everything. When I chant nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the primary focus I have is that everything is perfect as it is, and also perfect in how it continuously changes. A vision that everything is happening at exactly the right time, and is always happening as it is meant to be. All I have to do is be open to this. It is always there, it is my attunement to it that varies. Everything is always changing, and always perfect in the same way.
A friend was talking to me about whether there were ‘unchanging truths’, going along with what I wrote about all truth being temporary. When I was writing that all truth was temporary, I meant more my individual perception of what I believe, who I am, how I interpret my experience from moment to moment. But I do believe there are larger universal truths. Most of which are paradoxical, such as all things being both perfect and perfectly changing. All time being eternally present.
Sometimes when I chant I also focus on what I would like to happen, how I would like perfection to be. This is part of the tradition I have learned the chanting from. But I find the greatest peace comes from allowing the idea that the perfection already is, and that I am part of it, more than from intensely focusing on my own version. My own version still induces a feeling of attachment, desire, potential suffering from non-realization of something. Seeing the perfection that already is is much more liberating.
From a philosophical persperctive, I have read Voltaire’s Candide, where he makes a mockery of the theory that ‘all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds’. He puts the poor innocent Candide, who has been taught this by a philosopher called Pangloss, through all kinds of torments, until Candide gives up on this ludicrous idea, and decides the only way to cope with life is to ‘cultivate one’s own garden’.
I can see why the theory appears ludicrous. Of course the world is full of torment and horror. Often I feel this way. Often I feel this way about my own life. I can’t say that I am always filled with that spirit of nam-myoho-renge-kyo. But I do know I can feel that way, and it is overwhelmingly beautiful. It is similar to the sense of peace in meditation. But it is different means of accessing that sense. It is easier to access through chanting from a state of emotional disruption. I was feeling that way last night, when I realized I’d be spending either last night or today up at the hospital getting a potassium infusion instead of going out for lunch with Mike on my one appointment free day.
But today hasn’t been so bad. I have been up at the chemo unit having the potassium, reading, and mostly sleeping. I thought we might still get to the pool with the kids afterwards, but there was a thunderstorm. Anyway, although the potassium was supposed to renew my energy, I feel tired from it. I hope to be rested enough for Mike and I to go to see the Bee Gees cover band tonight. My leg is certainly in a much better state for going out than it was for St Patricks’ Day two weeks ago.
So is everything in a state of divine perfection?I know that great gurus say ‘nothing ever goes wrong in my world’. I have read also that people who have had Near Death Experiences also have a sense that everything that ever happened, ever has happened, was always just right, there was never anything wrong. There is also a rational position that this is the best of all possible worlds, because there is no other possible world than the one that is. But rationality is not the source I am coming from. Rather perception.
There is so much peace and love in focusing on the perfection of this moment in space and time. It is hard to maintain on a moment to moment basis. But having chanting and meditation and making the time to keep accessing and training with these is a blessing that fills my spirit with light and purity. And it is true. I can feel it.