Dharma journey talk
Dharma journey talks are where members share the joy of having faith in front of a group of people, and are held as a part of ceremonies and other programmes. Listening to others members’ Dharma journey talk is one of the significant practices for Rissho Kosei-kai (RK) members because they witness the ‘principle of liberation for everyone’ in an easily understood and comprehensible way like ‘I practised as such, and I was liberated as such’.
When attentively listening to how speakers address issues, we will start to understand their practices, hearts and minds and begin to think of their issues as our own. Then, we will be able to come into focus on the modality of our future practices. New members are especially advised to listen to as many Dharma journey talks as possible even if they are unable to do other practices, and we hope that through this their true happiness will grow as quickly as possible.
Dharma journey talks will liberate both speakers and audiences
Dharma journey talk is called Seppo in Japanese, which literally means ‘proclaim the Dharma’ as teachings of truth, which can be represented by Three Seals (All things are transient, all things are nonself, and nirvana is tranquillity), and by which Shakyamuni Buddha reveals that people’s sufferings and worries are caused by greedy desire.
The spiritual journey within the talk tells various stories, such as emancipation from daily sufferings caused by being deep in debt or liberation from worries about a husband’s infidelity and children’s delinquency. Underlying this, the single crucial principle of liberation is changing our self-centred way of living and getting along with the truth of the universe.
There is nothing so difficult as frankly expressing and letting out our problems, feelings and emotions in a Dharma journey talk. We tend to be pretentious and keep up appearances, telling beautiful or neutral stories. This pushes us into our shells and causes us to avoid really looking at our suffering.
But we can be courageous to climb out of our shells in RK because its members revere others as ‘Buddha children’ and receive sufferings of other members as their own – brushing, polishing and encouraging each other. When speakers reveal their sufferings to other members and tell the joy of being liberated, the audiences are impressed. Alongside this, the speakers can face up to their own minds, be spiritually regenerated and move forward to further diligence.
Dharma journey talk as a bodhisattva practice and its merits
Looking back to the processes of our faith, it might be the case that when we first heard and started to understand the teachings, it was in a purely logical and philosophical manner. As a next step, raising the mind of joyful acceptance of the faith will be the stimulus for aspiring to practice. After this, for example, we might start sutra recitation every morning and evening, and feel greatly refreshed.
Moreover, learning the deep and profound mind of the Buddha through scriptures and their commentaries might educate our spiritual attitude as taught by the Buddha, making us capable of practising accordingly. Correct practice will then allow us to have good results beyond our imagination, helping us to share our gratefulness and joy with others.
At this point, we are advised to give Dharma journey talks, which can take various forms. For instance, they may take place at gatherings of many people like the ceremonies mentioned above, as well as at meetings during reaching out, at Hoza with ten or twenty participants and by letters, publications and SNS. Unspoken insights from the Dharma journey talk may even continue to occur and manifest in our everyday lives through showing and sharing our wholehearted practices.
Every form of Dharma journey talk is none other than the manifestation of the joy of our liberation, and it comes with the wish that other people will be liberated as we have been. In this respect, we are allowed to behave as bodhisattvas do.
As such, our hearts and minds are allowed to be elevated through practice, from a self-centred state to one wishing for the happiness of others, which is the supreme merit of the faith. We see many people with sufferings and worries. If we give Dharma journey talks to them and go to the world of the Buddha’s compassion together, then this will help lead to the realisation of world peace.
To find out more about members’ spiritual journey, please read here.