Reciting the sutra (gokuyo) every morning and evening at home is the first element of the basic practices of our faith. Its purpose is that we learn the true way to live as a member of humanity as preached in the Lotus Sutra, and thus become someone who benefits others as well.
Home altar and offerings
New members will receive a locally-bestowed Gohonzon for your home as well as Dharma Titles (Gohogo) of the Founder and Cofounder, the Posthumous Name for All One’s Ancestors and the Land Purification Inscription. These will be installed in a central and bright place in the members’ home, with offerings of incense, flowers, lights, and several kinds of food and drink, as well as a gong and a register for ancestor’s names.
If you find difficulty installing the home altar or offering in this manner, Rissho Kosei-kai (RK) would express understanding of respective views and circumstances. In such instances, you do not have to adhere to the traditional form. Doing your best with a completely sincere heart would be precious.
The basic scripture to recite for English speakers is The Threefold Lotus Sutra: A Modern Translation for Contemporary Readers (Kosei Publishing 2019). However, considering its thickness of over 500 pages, RK members recite Kyoten: Sutra Readings, which contains excerpts from the Threefold Lotus Sutra, for daily practices.
It is one of RK’s distinctions that daily sutra recitation is done in our mother tongue. We inquire into the sutra and learn profound wisdom and compassion of the Buddha every morning and evening through our recitation, and we live a life making our actions and mind along with Buddha’s teachings: that is RK members’ way of practice. It is related to Shakyamuni Buddha’s preaching in respective dialects that the locals used in daily lives.
Of course, you can recite the sutra in any language, including the Chinese translation that uses the Japanese pronunciation system (Jpn., Shindoku) as some groups do, because RK also recognises the transcendent power of the sutra itself. Deeply embracing the profoundness of the sutra in our mother tongue will help us reach a higher level of aspirations.
Most importantly, sutra recitation enters us into communication with the Buddha (Eternal Buddha) who enables us to live. Through this dialogue with the Buddha, things suddenly occur to us that we are not able to notice when we are busy, such as our own faults or careless actions, and the support we receive from the people around us. In addition, the Buddha’s teachings and wishes sink deeply into our hearts and minds.
Secondly, through sutra recitation we show appreciation to our ancestors for unceasingly continuing the family line, for giving us life, and for their having prayed for descendants. Service at the home altar is also an expression of our gratitude. Thus, sutra recitation elevates us spiritually.
In the morning recitation, we make a personal vow to diligently practise on that day, and later during the evening recitation, we are grateful for the events of the day. More importantly, however, through sutra recitation we deepen our faith in the Buddha and practise his teachings in our daily life. That is the most important offering of all to the Buddha and our ancestors.