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I would like to open a new discussion with a question. Is there a 'spirit' in Nichiren Buddhist beliefs?
Quite frankly, I don't know what to believe. I've read both ways in reading the Gosho, Lotus Sutra and some lesser Buddhist teachings. One SGI member even said she believes we're "energy packets", not a spirit or soul.
However, as I sit and think about things, I can't help but feel that there is some type of spirit, or whatever you wish to call it. What makes my brain 'think'? What makes and keeps my heart ticking and blood flowing? What gives me the feelings I have, both bad and good? What allows me to speak and chant to the Gohonzon?
Yes, there's a lot of energy going on with us for sure. But there is that intangible aspect to us that just seems to be spiritual - a spirit. Is it pure energy?
I would love to hear from you on this subject. I'm open to all opinions and truths. Thank you.
Please read from the site:
it could be about our 'perceptions'. Physically we're quite limited in our being able to 'objectively' perceive things. For instance, color. We're tri-chromatic generally as human beings. Color itself is objective but how 'see' color is subjective. IN our eyes, we have these receptor 'cones' that can see the blue, green, and red, so we can see about 93 types of shades of colors I think. Dogs can see bi-chromatically, or only the blue & green. What the dog lacks in its color perceptions, it makes up for with its sense of smell. There are some humans who have 4 cones (genetic mutants) who are tetra-chromatic, being able to see 4 colors of green, blue, red, and yellow. Butterflies have 5 cones. The mantis shrimp has 26 cones but is mainly a predator with a tiny brain that snatches & smashes things. Yet, only we (so far) have the 'brains' to perceive and perhaps somewhat understand or conceptualize & imagine colors. According to a Homeric scholar, the color or the word 'blue' does not exist at all in the Illiad. So do ancient texts of Hebrew, the Vedic literature, and ancient chinese. We 'learn' colors perhaps and words eventually so we 'train' our minds to see or learn 'blue' over time.
So the word 'spirit' is perhaps something that we 'learned' also to explain the unexplainable, of what lies beyond our own existence after death. Ancient Japanese called spirit 'kami' I think. 'Duende' in certain latin cultures. Sometimes with varying 'shades' of subjectivity (evil, good, mischievous, trickster) that we eventually 'assign' to certain types of spirits that we think embodies certain objects in our environment (trees, grass, formations, darkness, fairy circles, winds, rocks, water, etc.) So how to get beyond our 'subjectivity' is perhaps our way of attempting transcendence so far limited by our language & brains. What's it truly mean to have 'spirit'? (I'm thinking out loud here myself) Is the key to understanding spirit lie in the word 'ku' or the unlimited potential of everything and everyone around us?
There's a wonderful dialogue between Pres. Ikeda and Johan Galtung excerpt that was published in Living Buddhism (p. 38) August 2012. Just to quote briefly (I've included an attachment in PDF the dialogue, from p. 38 through 41):
Johan Galtung: Buddhism rejects the existence of the soul as an entity. At the same time, it recognizes transmigration. I am interested in the relation between the two.
SGI Pres. Ikeda: Buddhism rejects the idea of a persisting self or soul that continues to exist AFTER death. In Japanese, this doctrine is called muga, or 'nonexistence of self." Buddhism, does, however, teach that the great force of universal life extends unbroken from the past to the present and into the future, following a regulated cyclical pattern of individual lives & deaths. As your comment implies, Buddism has successfully merged the two ideas.
(Please read attachment)
all of your replies are very helpful. seems like it's an 'energy' or 'karma' packet instead of a soul or spirit. again, thanks.