Reaching Out

The second element of our basic practices encompasses connecting people with the Dharma (Michibiki), enhancing their connection with the Dharma (Tedori) and participating in Dharma circles (Hoza). Connecting people with the Dharma is introducing Buddhism and Rissho Kosei-kai (RK) to someone. Enhancing people’s connection with the Dharma encourages them to put the teachings into practice in daily life and find a joyful way of living.

Significance of reaching out

Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings are summarised as follows: in benefitting others before satisfying one’s own desire, both oneself and others will find the shortest way to true happiness.

Human beings have a tendency to think and act in a self-centred way such as ‘People are allowed to sacrifice others for the sake of personal benefits and comforts’. A great number of shocking phenomenon happen here in the UK and all around the world today, caused by individuals greedily jostling each other and leading to divided societies, climate change, domestic violence and wars and terrorism.

If we ignore these social issues as someone else’s problem, then we will imperceptibly get greedier and thus all suffer more. In order to establish brighter and more liveable societies, RK members are eager to connect people with the Dharma and enhance their connection with the Dharma as much as possible. Connecting neighbours with the Dharma and enhancing their connection with it is the shortest way to our happiness, our genuine compassion and the foremost ‘sacred work’ of bringing people back from the suffering and anxiety of modern societies.

Founder Niwano left his guidance on connecting people with the Dharma and enhancing their connection with the Dharma as follows:

Our mission is to develop ‘Buddhists in Buddhist-like manner’ as much as possible. Please shatter the notion of RK members being for RK’s own sake, and make sure that we have a mission to disseminate the fundamental principle of things to the world.

Merits of reaching out

These practices help make the Dharma part of ourselves and create opportunities for us to learn the teachings and a way of life appropriate for us through our involvement with others. Our life revolves around relationships with various people at home, in the workplace and in our social communities. We cannot master the Buddha’s teachings and practise them to achieve true happiness without involving others.

It may make more sense for us to practise the teaching in our own daily lives before telling it to others, as the practice that takes hold within us can then much better touch another’s heart. We also have to do our best to walk the path towards liberation together as buddha children and not to act in a patronising way such as ‘I will save you’. In these practices, we can meditate and reflect on our own shortcomings (such as being uncaring for others and poor in spirit) and this acknowledgement and remorse can touch others and purify our own hearts.

Through such communication, we ourselves change for the better thanks to our interactions with other people, who kindly improve our humanity.

The new members, who are our children in faith, will follow the Way as taught through the Lotus Sutra and be liberated. We come to feel more joy in others’ happiness than in our own and experience deeper understanding as we see RK’s teachings powerfully liberating people in reality.

This is evidence that we possess the same wish as the Buddha in our own heart of hearts. Reaching out with the Dharma fundamentally includes the practice of wishing for the happiness of others from the bottom of our hearts. This practice cultivates our own hearts and makes us realise that our wish is the same as the Buddha’s.