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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Merit

Q: Roshi, when we chant the Maka [Hannya Haramita] Shingyo, in what sense is there merit? And can we give this merit to others?

R: Yes, to help. When you become familiar with the shingyo, what you will do will naturally explain your understanding, your attitude. Even though you don't realize it, there is a big difference between the people who can recite sutras and those who cannot. So, of course, that you can recite sutras will help others. From my cabin, when I am resting, I can see out of the window in front of my sink. Before you enter the restroom, you bow. And I think you are just doing it, you know, like this, maybe, because you get accustomed to it. But I thought, if people saw someone bowing to that place, what kind of feelings would they have? The people might not know what it meant, but I think you would give them some feeling. You just do it, you know. And that's a very valuable thing. This is the same thing as reciting the sutra.
Buddha's disciples converted many learned scholars to Buddhism, like Sariputra, who converted when he saw a monk walking on the street with a very steady feeling. So, we say that each one of the 250 characters of the "Prajna Paramita Sutra" is a bodhisattva, is Buddha. This is more than just how we understand it. That is this merit for us and for others. -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-02-00-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC