The Buddha Next Door

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The Buddha Next Door
By Zan Gaudioso and Greg Martin
ISBN 978-0-9779245-1-6

About the Book
About the Authors
Table of Contents

2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards
Bronze Medal Winner - Inspirational / Spiritual

2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Finalist - Religion / Religious Non-Fiction

2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Finalist - Anthology / Religious Non-Fiction

Through more than 100 personal experiences, this anthology illuminates how the practice of Nichiren Buddhism has changed people’s lives for the better. These first-person narratives—representing folks from all across the country of various ages and ethnic backgrounds—examine the challenges of daily life associated with health, relationships, career, and aging, and the ensuing experiences of hope, success, inspiration, and personal enlightenment that come about as a result of living as Nichiren Buddhists.

ZAN GAUDIOSO is the contributing author and editor of several volumes of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series including Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul III. She lives in Pacific Palisades, California.

GREG MARTIN is co-author of the best-selling book, The Buddha in Your Mirror, and a vice general director of the SGI-USA, the lay organization of Nichiren Buddhists in the United States. He lives in Los Angles.

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Preface: Zan Gaudioso and Greg Martin
Chapter 1: Family
Chapter 2: Learning and Spirituality
Chapter 3: Career and Success
Chapter 4: Finances
Chapter 5: Health
Chapter 6: Relationships
Chapter 7: Aging and Death
Chapter 8: Putting It All Into Practice
More On Nichiren Buddhism and its Application to Daily Life

“If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.”

—Albert Einstein

THE BUDDHA IN YOUR MIRROR—best-selling introduction to Nichiren Buddhist practice tells us, “Never before in the history of the West have so many people turned to the timeless wisdom of Buddhism for answers to the great questions of life as well as to master the problems of daily existence.” The obvious sequel to The Buddha In Your Mirror—Buddhism explained—is The Buddha Next Door, Buddhism lived.

In this book we open windows into the lives of people who have made what The Buddha In Your Mirror calls “the thrilling leap from the mere holding of knowledge to the actualization of our vast potential.” In The Buddha Next Door you will read accounts of how people are changing their lives and circumstances for the better, how they are incorporating the wisdom of ancient teachers into their lives in the twenty-first century.

Let’s take a brief detour at this point in the story to provide some background information and terminology that will help you better grasp the stories that will come.

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Born twenty-five hundred years ago, Siddhartha, later known as Shakyamuni Buddha, brought Buddhism into being through his own enlightenment. Making Buddhism even more accessible to people, Nichiren Daishonin, born in Japan in 1222, gave concrete and practical expression to the Buddha’s philosophy by expressing his central teachings in a prayer, an invocation, based on the title of the Lotus Sutra, the most important and influential scripture of Mahayana Buddhism.

Nichiren defined the essence of this teaching as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (see pronunciation guide, page 298). Nam derives from Sanskrit. A close translation of its meaning is “to devote oneself.” Myoho literally means the Mystic Law and expresses the relationship between the life inherent in the universe and the many different ways this life expresses itself. Renge means lotus flower. The lotus blooms and produces fruit at the same time and thus represents the simultaneity of cause and effect. Kyo literally means sutra, the voice or teaching of a Buddha. In this sense, it also means sound, rhythm or vibration.

Shakyamuni Buddha taught that enlightenment is not exclusive. Nichiren created a practical method for making preface that enlightenment accessible to everyone. As The Buddha In Your Mirror states, “Just as Benjamin Franklin’s discovery of electricity was not harnessed for practical use until many years later when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, Shakyamuni’s enlightenment was inaccessible for all but a few until Nichiren taught the fundamental practice by which all people could call forth the law of life from within themselves.”

Nichiren Buddhism has taken a powerful role in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries through the founding of an organization known as the Soka Gakkai, or Value-Creating Society, which bases itself on the principle of human revolution, the profound inner transformation that comes from the practice of Nichiren Buddhism.

Each individual has his or her own specific desires, sufferings or problems (likely a whole list). When we find something important enough that we are not willing to lose it, when we can say that pursuing or keeping this makes us want to be a better person—that is the moment when human revolution begins. And that is why Nichiren taught that desires are not to be eliminated (as many Buddhist schools teach) but are the driving force for the profound inner transformation that is attaining Buddhahood.

The current president of the Soka Gakkai International, Daisaku Ikeda, serves as both teacher and role model of how a transformation of character through Buddhist practice not only brings joy and peace to an individual but creates ripples of change that extend that joy and peace throughout one’s environment to the entire world.

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Nichiren Buddhism focuses on three basics: faith, practice and study. Faith is to have confidence that Buddhahood exists in all life, including yourself. Practice means chanting the phrase Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon (an object of devotion that was first inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin). Practice also entails sharing with others the Buddhist view of life’s dignity and potential for hope, courage and confidence. Through study, Nichiren Buddhists learn about the teaching of Nichiren and the Lotus Sutra.

The incorporation of this threefold practice into one’s life initiates and sustains the process of human revolution. This enables us to confront and overcome the very real challenges of daily life. It brings an individual life into harmony with the greater life of the universe awakening the profound potential inherent in life that we experience as wisdom, courage, life force and compassion. Through a consistent practice of Nichiren Buddhism, a person not only gains individual empowerment but also paves the way for humankind to direct its energy toward creating a peaceful and prosperous world.

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What treasures will you find in the pages that follow? You’ll read one story after another of challenge, setback, disaster and discouragement met head-on with the compassion, wisdom and courage generated from within by Nichiren Buddhist practice. Story after story of transforming poison into medicine; winter into spring. Story after story of victory over adversity and happiness sculpted from the clay of misery.

Join us for a journey into the lives of ordinary people sharing extraordinary stories. People who have changed their minds and hearts and by doing so have changed the world around them, and the destiny of their lives forever.


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