Sharing the Teachings
Not long after Shakyamuni's enlightenment, his disciples numbered sixty. The Buddha said to them, "You and I have been delivered from the fetters of the world and have attained the highest enlightenment. For the sake of the peace and happiness of the people of the world, go into all regions and preach the doctrine."
He added that many people, although they were subject to little confusion and passion, still suffered because they had not heard the precious teaching. Such people would find liberation if only the correct way were shown to them. He thus instructed the disciples to guide and teach as many people as possible. That was the beginning of the teaching mission of the followers of the Buddha.
Following this example, members of Rissho Kosei-kai strive to share the Buddha's teachings with many people. Even new members who joined the organization fairly recently begin to guide others, sharing with them the joyful experience of their new awareness. This is one of the practices of the bodhisattva, a person who devotes himself or herself to attaining enlightenment for all sentient beings.
Members call on each other from time to time in order to share their common faith. They also call on nonmembers so as to acquaint them with the meaningful way of life taught by the Buddha. Through these visits the teachings of Rissho Kosei-kai can be explained, questions can be answered, and printed materials (such as the magazines and newspapers published by Rissho Kosei-kai) can be introduced to others. Members also recount their personal experiences, describe how they found meaning in Buddhism, and explain what their faith means to them in their own lives.
President Niwano states in his book Shinden o Tagayasu (Cultivating the Fields in Our Hearts and Minds), "Human beings feel fulfilled in rendering sincere service through practices benefiting others as well as themselves. Only then are they able to savor true joy and satisfaction." Members find meaning in life when they share the teachings of the truth with suffering people for the sake of the salvation of both others and themselves.
Members usually visit newcomers as well as nonmembers in order to share the teachings and to listen to the troubles or suffering that those visited may be experiencing. Through such rounds of guidance work, we can become aware of the imperfections in our own hearts and minds by seeing ourselves reflected in the other person. Such awareness makes it possible to change our attitudes for the better.
Through listening to others on guidance rounds, we learn the viewpoints and feelings of other people and come to understand their position. By acquiring such experience we gain insight into the hearts and minds of others, and further, into those of the people around us. In other words, guidance work brings about our spiritual development. The spiritual growth of both ourselves and others is the religious merit gained from sharing the teaching of the truth.
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