We want to realise Buddha’s ideal for this world – to bring about peace and ease suffering.
It’s a bold vision, but we believe it’s possible in our lifetime.
Now, it’s time to practise.
You want to live deeply
You’ve come to the right place.
What does Rissho Kosei-kai mean?
‘Rissho’ means living out the true words of the Dharma (the divine Buddha’s teachings).
‘Kosei’ means perfecting ourselves through learning together.
‘Kai’ means society or collective – for we cannot exist purposefully in isolation.
As members of RK, we are followers and agents of Buddha and aspire to live out his teachings in our own lives, homes, workplaces and communities. We believe this brings individuals true happiness and offers personal liberation.
You don’t have to visit a temple or Buddhist centre, and you don’t have to be a monk or priest. You don’t need any special skills or knowledge to join us. We’re a community of ordinary people and practise our faith everywhere we happen to be.
All of RK’s practices are based on Buddha’s teachings (Shakyamuni) and interpreted by his disciples, our Founder and President, for today’s practising Buddhists.
The three basic practices of our faith are sutra recitation (communing with Buddha to examine our experiences), sharing Buddha’s teachings with others (to spread peace and enlightenment – we can’t keep this to ourselves), and coming together to understand the Dharma more profoundly to grow spiritually (you never stop learning).
It’s all about our hearts and our minds and how we cultivate them to have a positive influence on society.
This is expressed in our Members’ Vow. Take a look.
Whether you are new to the Buddhist faith or are an experienced practitioner, journey with us to find out more.
How does Buddhism help us live generously?
Someone who has a spirit of generosity is seen as a true reflection of our divine Buddha.
A Bodhisattva is someone who is on the way toward enlightenment. They’re devoted to attaining enlightenment, knowledge and understanding not only for themself but for all people and sentient beings.
Within RK, the bodhisattva practice is represented in six ways—through generosity, precept keeping, forbearance, diligence, meditation and wisdom (known as Six Paramitas).
There are three types of generosity: material donations (monetary or gifts), donation of the Dharma (serving others through teaching) and giving the idea of fearlessness to others (helping them be more confident through our words, behaviour and prayers).
We also encourage seven other simple types of non-material giving, such as greeting our neighbours with a smile or offering to help someone struggling—everyday acts of kindness.
Putting others first
Giving up possessions, money or time to others is often difficult– over time, we often want something in return.
Buddha says in the Lotus Sutra that: ‘all of the causes of suffering are rooted in greed and desire’.
Throughout history, we constantly see how living selfishly, as greed and desire dictates, causes mounting suffering and ultimately affects everyone–look at our present global issues of climate change, inequality and political polarisation.
Bodhisattva practice is the path to freedom from this vicious cycle. It counters selfishness, expands the heart and refines the personality.
Even if we experience this reality for only a few hours or minutes a day, our physical well-being and the community around us will also gradually transform.
This is true liberation from suffering.
To learn more about the practice of generosity, read here.
Our thoughts on meditation
Buddhism is commonly associated with meditation – there are more than 15 common types.
RK mainly offers the practice of O-daimoku (a chanting meditation).
We believe this helps you access a transcendent state so that you can meditate anytime and anywhere.
When it comes to meditation, there are various levels of practice:
- Meditation ‘without meditating’: As we start to learn how to meditate, we often focus on a desire to be free from worries and stresses, but this is not meditation, but wrestling with our internal thoughts and anxieties. This is hard work.
- Ethical meditation: Alternatively, reflecting on our past conduct, and resolving to correct these moral failings is a form of meditation. But while it is a good thing to do, we often don’t feel uplifted afterwards, we may feel guilty.
- Philosophical meditation: Through contemplation—probing deeply into questions such as the formation of the world or the right way for human beings to live — is a meditation from a philosophical viewpoint. You’re on the right path, but there’s still something missing.
Finding your true potential
We cannot obtain true peace of mind—nirvana—through these types of meditation. Why? Because of our subconscious mind, which we’re unable to rein in or control.
This layer of our mind is what Buddhism calls the manas and ālaya consciousnesses, which we can think of as subconscious awareness. The Buddhist doctrine of ‘three thousand elements of reality in a single thought’ (known as Ichinen Sanzen) speaks of how many infinite possibilities there are at any given time. So, out of the blue, we can think random, chaotic thoughts—and these can lead us to good or bad choices.
How it is possible to control these thoughts so that we realise our potential?
It is by studying, practising and meditating on the teachings of the Buddha, rooting them deep within our mind. This mindfulness is what meditation from a religious perspective is all about. This is the only way we can purify the subconscious mind that is normally beyond our grasp, and have our thoughts and actions spontaneously harmonise with our surroundings.
This is true peace of mind; it is the stage of tranquillity at rest.
How do we start practising?
Buddha simply sat down under a tree in the middle of the forest and started meditating. This spot is revered at the ‘Place of the Way’ because it’s the site where he practised and attained enlightenment. But as a place, it was nothing special.
For RK members and experienced practitioners, any location can be the place of the Way—our homes, gardens, offices or places of study, or even a seat on the train.
You might think, well that’s easier said than done.
We understand that our minds are prone to agitation because of our information-overloaded society. Of course, we need special training spaces for practising the Way of the Buddha.
So we need to gather together often with our fellow travellers, such as at RK’s Buddhist centre and refresh our minds through practising the Buddha’s teachings.
As we gradually improve our character, purifying our hearts and minds, and cultivating the roots of virtue, we can progress to a state of consciousness so that any place we live or work is a place where we can attain enlightenment.
Over time, we will start to see the world differently.
The right Bodhisattva practice for you
There are millions of members of RK, and every single person is unique—our nature, desires and abilities.
Our staff will help you find the best Buddha practice and approach to suit your likes and preferences.
The basic practice of faith consists of sutra recitation, reaching out (connecting people with the Dharma and enhancing people’s connection) and Hoza (also known as Dharma circle – where members gather to share worries or talk about world events), and Dharma study (learning more about Buddha’s correct teachings). There are many other ways to live out your faith, such as volunteer practice (serving at the centre) and social engagement (interreligious cooperation and peace activities).
To learn more about our activities and practices, and the Lotus Sutra, we recommend Buddhism for Today or read on below.