Introduction To Buddhism

By Bartholomew M. Klick



“All of the non-Buddhist scriptures and writings in society are themselves Buddhist teachings, not non-Buddhist teachings.”  (The Gift of Rice)  



I lovingly dedicate this book to Barbara Ford.  Like a shooting star across the sky she was here and then gone but the light she brought with her will always live on in my mind.




Bartholomew Klick is the Youth Director and web-master for BIONA (Buddhist Information Of North America).  Bart can be reached at you can send e-mail to him at [email protected]





This slender volume is a wonderful introduction to Buddhist thinking.  The topics are discussed in general terms that every reader will understand.  If this is your first Dharma Book then relax, you are in very good hands!  After finishing this book you should read “Stop Suffering: A Buddhist Guide To Happiness,” and then “Day By Day.”  These books from BIONA can usually be downloaded or read on-line free of charge on the BIONA website.  Some of the titles are still on sale for a few dollars as e-books.  Visit our web site at to discover a free on-line Dharma library as well as links to other Buddhist study sights. 




Other Books From BIONA:

“Stop Suffering: A Buddhist Guide To Happiness”

“Day By Day”

“Inside The Lotus Sutra”

“A House On Fire”







Is Buddhism a Religion, or is it a philosophy?  People who develop within Theistic religious systems argue that Buddhism is not a religion because there are no gods in it.  I have never understood this reasoning.  To me religion is clearly about the development of personal morality and proper ethical conduct.  If the belief in some god is necessary for your human development at this time then by all means engage in that form of worship.

 The Buddha never confirmed or denied the existence of gods because this kind of questioning does not lead to happiness.  He did make it clear that gods (if they literally exist) created nothing and are merely beings trapped in a different realm of suffering.  When the good fortune created by past behavior is used up these beings will be thrown back into a lower realm and continue in the endless cycle of existence.

Some people leave gods out of Buddhism, saying that they are symbolic representations of natural forces that benefit us when we behave in a correct fashion.  This is my opinion but the Director feels that Buddhist gods are ‘real’ because you can see the results of their activity in your life when you follow the guidance of our Teacher, Nichiren.  He refuses to speculate about the nature of these ‘gods’ because it is not profitable.  In the final analysis, whether the Buddhist gods are forces or little beings who perch on your shoulder, it is a fact that these forces are engaged when we practice.

  Some people assume that the ten worlds are different physical locations; to them hell is an underground pit somewhere and Heaven is a place of celestial happiness.  This could be true.  There might be other plains of existence.  Modern science tells us that there may be many universes, not just the one that we know about and there are almost certainly more then three dimensions.  Speculation of this sort is pointless, the truth is the same whether there are physical locations for the ten worlds or not. 

The worlds of heaven and hell are always with you.  If neither is being manifested, then they are static within you.  They will naturally be produced when the circumstances are correct. 

At the moment of death the world you resided in most frequently will manifest itself and that is the state of mind you will experience between lives.  You can think of this as a sort of hell, or heaven, depending on your life state. 

Maybe your energy is actually confined in some sort hellish physical location.  Scientists have speculated that if someone were to be caught in a Black Hole the gravity would actually make him travel slower as he got closer to the center.  This would seem to the traveler like an eternity because escape would be impossible until the black hole died. 

Ultimately, what difference does it make to the person suffering where he is?  The suffering would be just as ‘real’ in Ku as it would be in any physical hell realm. 

As is my custom, I’ve wandered off the point.  What I want to say is that the presence of gods is not very important when it comes time to define a religion.  The purpose of any religion is to purify the individual, and to help them become the very best person they can be. 

 Vietnamese Buddhists practice Buddhism but incorporate Catholic deities into their worship.  The Tibetans have included the gods from the ancient Bon religion into their practice.  Does this make them any more religious than a forest monk or a lay believer who thinks that gods are merely superstition?

            Surprisingly one of the most common questions I get asked is, “Where does Jesus Christ fit into Buddhist thought?”  I knew almost nothing about the person they call Jesus so I attempted to research his life.  There is an appalling lack of hard data; in fact, if so many people did not claim to know him personally I would now suspect that he never existed at all.  It seems likely that he is an amalgamation of various itinerant preachers who wandered freely seeking to lead a holy life.

Whether he ever existed or not, the idea of a Bodhisattva-like being preaching love to the masses is a big improvement over the previous sacrificial methods people in that era used to worship the forces of nature.

Jesus is not, of course, present in Buddhist literature.  Some modern scholars are saying that Jesus went to India at one point and studied with Buddhists.  I have not seen any evidence to support this, except for some bronze statues of Buddhist monks herding sheep, which could be a symbolism of sorts.  The problem with all of this is that almost nothing of what the man Jesus taught has been preserved; everything I’ve seen was added at a later time.  

            No matter what religion a man or woman practices, the person who does not engage in evil activities and lives to bring benefit to the people around him is a true follower of Shakyamuni, whether he knows it or not.  The Buddha never said that only people who practiced his teachings would be saved from suffering.  He even encouraged and helped people from different religions, offering them guidance whenever they asked for it.

            This is an example we should all follow.  Many people believe that their way of practice is the only way and that all other beings will suffer for not practicing correctly.  The Buddha taught love and tolerance, not prejudice. 

We are all practicing the same religion even though we do not seem to be aware of it.  We grasp onto pieces of truth, and say, “Mine is the prettiest.  Yours is ugly therefore, you should like my piece better.”  The more highly realized people among us see that all these pieces are part of a gigantic Mosaic, and that while each may be pretty by itself, they are beautiful when combined together into one single, simple truth.

            When you reach the right perspective, you will discover this truth for yourself.





            Every human culture that we know anything about has speculated about the true nature of death and have also wondered what happens to the individual when death occurs.  This is something all people think about at some point in their lifetime.

Some people believe in reincarnation or dependent origination, while others believe that they would go to some sort of paradise after death if they lived decent lives.  A minority believes that death is actually permanent and that once you are dead, you simply vanish forever. 

            According to Buddhist teachings, when you die, you enter a state ‘in-between’ lives called Ku.  It can be described like this: You are running across a very long rope bridge.  While you are running, you are alive.  Then, at regular intervals, you come across a point where several of the bridge’s planks are missing.  It is too large to simply step over, so you jump.  The jump itself represents death while the time you are in the air represents the state between lives, called “Ku.”  Then you land at the other side, and continue running until the next jump. 

If you are well trained and running steadily then this leap will be smooth and seamless.  You will see the missing planks ahead as you run, prepare for them, and then nimbly leap across.  It will be very quick and very painless; the time you spend in the air will be exhilarating.

 However, if you have not trained you will run erratically and be forced to ‘take things as they come.’  You might see the holes in the bridge and somebody could certainly fall through them but it won’t be you!  (“Oh sure, someday I’ll have to fall, but it won’t happen now, not to me!”)  When the inevitable happens, you’re not prepared and the time you are in the air is longer and far more terrifying.

 Some one who lives a good life will be happy and because he lives in the higher worlds he will die in the same condition.  Some one who has led a miserable life will have an awful death.  How you live this life sets up the conditions for your death as well as having a significant impact on your next life. 

Life and death are often thought of as two separate things, but this is not reality.  Birth is directly connected to death; you cannot stop death, unless you completely eliminate life.  They cannot be separated as men have always dreamed, because they are ultimately the same thing.

This body you now inhabit is like your car.  It may not be a Mercedes Benz, but it is yours.  If this car, your body, gets into a state of disrepair then you go and have it fixed.  If it becomes ruined beyond recovery, you abandon it for a new one.  You are not really attached to the car very much because once it is ruined you find a new one. 

If you were to somehow stay in this body after it died, then it would be like sitting behind the wheel of a ruined car.  Nothing you do can make it functional again; it is transitory because it is dependent on causes and conditions, therefore it is destined to die.

This ego you have, that you’ve done so much to protect and defend is lost at death except for your karmic connections and your Buddha Nature.  The ego is tied to your current body.  When you get a new body, you get a new ego.  Therefore, this ego is not you.  It is there because it can be, not because it has to be.  It is very easy to let the ego control the body.  Many people do it, but they seldom find happiness

Death can sometimes be postponed for incredible amounts of time, but never forever.  You should face death, looking at it as an old friend who always is there to help you find a new body.  If you have thoroughly trained your mind and practice as our teacher instructed us then you will face death with confidence.  Any other existence can lead to a death filled with pain, uncertainty, and anguish.

Is it not better to come to the moment of death knowing that you did the very best you could?  If you have led a truly happy life, filled with love and compassion how can your death be any different? 

The road to the next life is one you have to travel alone.  Even if you have fifty relatives and a thousand friends at your deathbed giving you comfort, they will be of no consequence at all when you die.  Any non-violent death can be good.  You do not have to die a certain way to be successful.  However, if you die screaming and writhing in agony your next life might very well be a grim one.

 If you live as Nichiren teaches then you will die in the same manner our teacher died, quietly chanting in a meditative state.  If you manage to follow these simple instructions then you will lead a good life and experience a good rebirth.






Compassion is the fundamental base that Mahayana Buddhism is built upon.  The goal of a Mahayana Buddhist is not just to attain happiness for himself, because you will never be happy until you work to help all living things everywhere.  As a Mahayana Buddhist you should love and respect everybody, the way you would your parents.  The Buddha points to deep compassion over and over again as a vital part of Buddhist practice.  You can see examples of this at our library site by reading “The Mettá Sutra” and “The Sutra of the Deep Kindness of Parents.”

            By compassion the Buddha did not mean that you should throw yourself into a pit of wild animals because they are hungry and have not been fed.  He meant that when you have the opportunity to help somebody, you should do it.

            You should never be compassionate in the hope of receiving some reward or recognition.  You don’t have to worry about being rewarded for kind and generous behavior, because the good things you do will inevitably be returned to you.  This is called karma, and it simply means that the energy you use, whether good or evil, stays with you, and manifests itself when the circumstances are right.  While this means that loving behavior is always returned, it also means that the bad things you do come back to you as well.

Being compassionate will bring you good things, but you will never purify your previous negative actions that way.  Doing Buddhist practice purifies negative karma and lessens the amount of suffering that you have to navigate.  You can also use Buddhist practice to bring out, and enhance, the good effects you get from your merit (hence the expression “Wish Fulfilling Jewel” which you inevitably encounter in your studies).

Buddhist practice also consists of study.  You cannot spread the Dharma if you do not know the dharma.  Also, if you practice, but do not study, you will be imbalanced, and you will not grow or develop.  This is because your development is dependant on the realizations you have, and you cannot have realizations without an equal combination of both practice and study.  To study correctly you must read commentaries, receive teachings from Dharma teachers, and you must study the sutras.

You have done many virtuous things in your past lives, or you would not have been born as a human.  Unlike the other beings on our planet, humans can talk, read, write, and turn our thoughts away from base desires.  Without all of these capabilities practicing the dharma would be impossible.

If you waste this precious human birth that is a shame, because there is no guarantee that you will not come back as a dog, an insect, or an even less significant life form.  Let’s face it; dogs do not have very much time for inner growth.  An animal’s day is spent eating, sleeping, amusing itself, and avoiding trouble.  Check to make sure that you do more than this, make certain that you are more than an animal in a human body.

Compassion is always better than evil.  It is more interesting.  Do you know why you get tired of hearing about evil on the news?  It is because evil is boring.  There is so much more joy to be had in a compassionate way of life.

When you do something evil, it haunts you.  When you do something good, you feel good about yourself.  When you anticipate the result of something evil that you did, you dread what is going to happen, and you spend time worrying about the future.  When you anticipate the result of something good that you did, you can hardly wait to find out how things turned out.  One of the karmic effects a murderer has to deal with is the haunting memory of his action, and he also has to worry about what will happen if someone finds out that he is a killer.  His actions will be constantly in his thoughts and his dreams.  It will scar his mind.

That is a good way to think of it.  Evil actions from your past are scars on your mind.  These scars ache, hurt, and can even be agonizing depending on the amount of evil involved in inflicting them.  Compassion and Buddhist practice is like a magic healing salve.  Applying it to these wounds makes them hurt less, scab over, and eventually heal.  It is not just a healing salve.  Compassion, or this ‘magic’ medicine makes you feel good.  This salve has a good scent, it does not sting, nor does it taste bad (for those of us with bad mouth karma).

Not only will leading a compassionate life make you feel better, it will make the people around you feel better because everybody has an impact on their environment.  When you walk into a room where people have been arguing and fighting, you can feel the tension.  It seems to be hanging in the air, and makes the room stuffy.  However when you walk into a room full of people who are sincerely praying, chanting, or studying the atmosphere is wholesome and pleasant.  You feel better just being there.

The compassionate way of life as taught by the Buddha is not an impractical dream that you will never be able to live up to.  If you stay mindful, and continue with daily practice and study, your compassion will develop and grow naturally.  You have to want to improve your life; you have to want to make the effort.  The Buddha cannot save you, but he has shown us the path to liberation.  Now, you must help yourself.






Love is not ‘liking’ some one.  It is not compassion or respect.  Love contains all of these things but is somehow more.  Unfortunately, many people in our present society confuse love with liking some one, or with hormonal attraction.  They are not the same things. 

If you’ve ever had the good fortune to be around a stable marriage then you have seen the face of one kind of love.  My parents have been married about twenty-five years now so I grew up in a house with that kind of love in it. 

I grew up with another kind of love as well.  My family is devoted to spreading the Dharma and we spend much of our time and resources doing that all across North America.  This kind of love is the best kind because it is extended to all people everywhere.  

             If you want to become a Buddhist student and follow the path that leads to the end of suffering then you must learn to practice this same kind of love.  If you manage to open your heart to all people then you are advancing on the path to nirvana. 






Co-author: Stephen Klick



            Emptiness, in the Buddhist tradition, does not mean nothingness.  It does mean that life is like an illusion, in the sense that everything you see, do, and hear is non-existent from it’s own side.  However, this does not imply that life isn’t real. Your life is not an illusion.  It is easy to prove that this form of nihilistic thinking is wrong.  Go stub your toe, or bang your arm on a hard corner.  Hurts, doesn’t it?  If that corner, or your toe or arm were truly non-existent, than you would have felt nothing.  It is likely that you would have gone through the wall!

            Emptiness, like I said, does not mean that life is an illusion.  It means that life is like an illusion.  Big difference.  Life is real yet, while being real, life is also dependent on causes to exist.  Nothing ever comes from itself: a child cannot just spring out of thin air.  If something was born ‘of itself’ like this than it would have no beginning, it would not die, and it would never change.              The same is true of all things, even you.  Your heart has to be healthy, you need working lungs, you need blood, regular deposits of the right nutrients, and all kinds of other things.  If all of them are not perfectly in place, then we get sick, and eventually die from it.

            Even what you consider to be ‘The Real You’ is subject to emptiness.  Your personality is made up of the causes you have made in the past and this is called karma.  Your birth condition is also subject to this.  If you were greedy you will not have been born rich, if you were filled with defilement, how could you hope to be born beautiful?  ‘You’ are ever changing and eternal and always the result of the causes you have made in the past.

            Now that you know that everything is empty, dependent, and ever changing you can see it is foolish to become angry when someone attacks your ego with insults.  It is petty easy to be upset or sad when your possessions, which would disappear at your death anyway, are taken from you.  You become upset because you do not yet understand emptiness.  Your understanding of emptiness, when complete, will be like a perfect armor, off of which all your troubles will be repelled.  Nothing will disturb your mind!  Instead of, “That jerk!  He called me fat!  Why did he do that?” it will be more like, “How sad that he damages himself by attacking me!  I hope that nothing is troubling him.”  You also realize that you have made the cause to be treated this way because if you hadn’t it could never happen.  Since you made the cause it is irrational to blame others because you don’t like the result of your own past actions.

 Realizing emptiness will free you from the suffering you presently endure when you experience something that you label a problem.  Not matter what happens you will remain joyful.  Having realized emptiness you will no longer feed into the endless cycle of evil that permeates our world, and eventually you will be exempt from this vicious cycle.  This is because the first thought in your mind, when someone does something to you, will never be, “How can I get even?”  You will know that ‘getting even’ will just worsen the situation.  You will understand that his actions are only hurting him while at the same time helping you by burning off negative causes you have made in the past.

            Even if you have no understanding of cause and effect and you don’t want to be Buddhist, keeping in mind that all things are empty will greatly reduce your suffering.  It is the greatest psychological tool ever devised and it is soundly based on the way things really are.

We label things and believe that we understand but this is almost never the case.  We label the thing I’m sitting on as ‘chair’ but what does that mean?  By itself the word ‘chair’ means nothing.  If we try to discover the essence of ‘chair’ we will never find it because it’s something we made up, it is not real.  If we take this ‘chair’ apart looking for the ‘real chair’ we cannot find it.  We end up with a pile of parts but none of them are the ‘chair’.  This ‘chair’ is dependent on causes to exist, just like everything else.  It is dependent on trees for the wood, chemicals for the glue that holds it together, and the skill of a craftsman to build the structure we call ‘chair’.  If any of these causes is removed then we don’t have any ‘chair’.  When this planet came into existence because of causes made in the past this chair was not present.  Somebody made this chair from parts they collected for that purpose.  This chair is dependent on causes to exist and so is everything else in the universe.

Understanding the concept of emptiness is one of the mental tools you can develop to eliminate needless suffering from your life.  If you are a Buddhist student it is one of the most important steps along the path to enlightenment.  It is so important that some schools have stated that realizing emptiness is enlightenment!  No matter what your view is on what constitutes enlightenment, by totally understanding emptiness your life will become peaceful and serene.





Buddhist Ethics



Buddhist Morality is very simple because it is based on common sense.  The Theravada school focuses on the beginning teachings of the Buddha but these concepts are limited to the notion that you should not do bad things or create negative causes so that the individual student can find mental peace.

 Mahayana teachings state that you must not only refrain from doing wrong, you must also actively decide to help people.  The advanced Buddhist student must decide that he is going to support life because this is the highest form of morality. 

To me this means that a Mahayana Buddhist is always ‘Pro-Life.’  I think that most of us have heard the things that they should not do their entire life: Don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t misbehave sexually and so on. 

A Mahayana Buddhist, however, has a list of things that he should do.  He has to be actively pro-life.  You should help people who want to be helped every time an opportunity presents itself.  Above all, you must have compassion for every single being on the planet.  When we realize that all beings are just like us, that they want happiness and do not want to experience any form of suffering then it becomes much easier to love everyone.

            There are several important moral questions being debated in our society right now, and our phone lines have been very busy with people calling and asking what we think about the various issues.

In this section of my book, I would like to address some of these issues.  President Bush has been trying to decide, as of the time I am writing this, whether or not it is ethical to use human stem cells for medical research.  Buddhism teaches us that life begins when sperm fertilizes the egg.  Until the moment of fertilization occurs life is not present so we cannot say that this research will kill anyone but we still need to be very careful!

The Pope stated that we are on a very ‘slippery slope’ when dealing with these issues and I strongly agree.  When we begin to feel that it is okay to kill certain elements of our society then we have lost something very precious.

 Our laws tell us that it is wrong to kill but then kills with impunity.  If I can’t kill my neighbor because he is personally inconvenient to me then why is it all right for a woman to murder an infant for the same reason?  We have become confused as a society, we’ve gone from capitol punishment, to abortion, and now people want Doctors to be able to practice euthanasia.  Human life is not ‘sacred’ in our current system.  I wonder how far away we are from television ‘reality shows’ where people kill each other for money. 

   Human birth is rare and difficult to obtain.  To deprive someone of it before they can ever express themselves is evil.  It could be millions of years before this person has another opportunity to be born sentient.  This is, without a doubt, one of the coldest kinds of murder you could ever commit.

          The Death Penalty is where this country made the first serious misstep away from correct morality.  There are too many minority prisoners on death row and far too many of these men have been proven innocent for anyone to seriously put their trust into such a system.

 Proponents of the death penalty claim that capitol punishment is not about revenge, the goal, they claim, is to reduce the number of murders by sending a message to criminals that society will not tolerate this vicious crime!  The problem with this argument is that states with no death penalty have lower murder rates.                  

If murder is really a crime in our society then why do we engage in wars?  If killing a single individual is wrong then why is mass slaughter okay at certain times?  War is the oldest human atrocity and we need to stop supporting the people who advocate and engage in this criminal act.  Armies should exist for two things: parades, and the defense of a nation or nations against terrorism or outside invasion.

World government is needed to stop this kind of animal aggression.  Political leaders who threaten their neighbors with war are nothing but terrorists.  Such people are evil, and should be kept far away from the centers of political power.

            As I said, Buddhist Ethics are very simple.  There are things you should not do, lying, stealing and killing come readily to mind, but there are also things you should do.  You should help people in need.  You should tend to the sick and needy, and you should only say positive things, as negativity is the road to disaster.  If you follow these very basic principles then you will be a much happier person, and the people around you will better off as well.







            Faith is one of the most important aspects of any religion.  Faith in Buddhism however, does not mean to blindly believe in some force or outside power that you cannot see or hear, nor is it any kind of blind trust.  Faith in Buddhism is like the faith you have in an honest, hard working technician.  You know that when you trust him with your TV he will fix it so that it is like new.  Faith that you place in such a person is good faith, because it has a basis, a reason for being faith.  Were you to have faith in a technician who often failed at his work, or was untrustworthy, it would be mindless, blind faith.

            You do not ‘take faith’ in Buddhism.  You have to question everything; you have to doubt everything, quite the same way that you would check every piece of a car that you buy at a used car lot.  You slowly gain faith in the salesman when he sells reliable cars.  If you drive off in a car purchased from him and the engine falls out through the bottom, than you have no faith in him and you likely avoid his place of business in future, and even tell other people about his bad business practices.

Faith is a gradual process and it should be, especially when you are trusting, not your car or TV, but your spiritual life, which is the most important thing you have.  When it comes to religion, kick all the tires, and look under the hood.  I encourage you to test this religion as much as you can, and prove to yourself that it works.  You must come into Buddhism as doubtful and speculative as you would come into a used car lot.  Test everything, and then only believe in it if it works.  Anyone who tells you to take blind faith in something is a manipulator who seeks to harm you, not to help you.  Would you buy a car from a shifty salesman who assures you that it is in perfect working order, when he will not show you the car?  Not testing your religion is akin to spending $35,000 or even more on a car that you have never seen.  Would you pay that kind of money to someone who will not even let you look at the car, let alone drive it?

A religion is like anything else on earth, it must pass the tests we give it.  Manufactures make sure that anything they sell works before they box it and ship it away.  If a TV comes off of the conveyor belt with a cracked screen they throw it out, or fix it, they do not box it up and sell it.  If you bought a TV with a cracked screen you would demand your money back.  

Many religions today do not seem to get tested by the people who run them, and they expect everyone else to have blind faith as well.  Not too long ago a group of people committed suicide because someone told them that if they died as a large meteor passed by our planet an alien spaceship would carry them off to a heaven-like realm.  They obviously never bothered to test their religion.

            Things like this happen because people are often trained not to test their religion!  People treat religion like it is different than a car or TV, but it isn’t.  If a religion does not work than it should be discarded or fixed, the same as a car or TV.  Driving off in a car, without ever having looked under the hood is exactly the same as practicing a religion without testing it.

            There are many kinds of ideas in the world.  Most belief systems have some really good ideas in them but for any system to be considered a ‘Religion’ it must be real.  If you cannot see dramatic proof that a ‘Religion’ can change your life for the better, right now, then it does not deserve the name ‘Religion’.





People often wonder what the purpose of life really is.  Some think that it is the accumulation of money or power.  Others seem to believe that they exist for no reason at all. Or they say that if life does have a purpose, they don’t really want to know about it because it would just get in the way of their "good time.”  There are also people who believe that the sole purpose of life is to become happy.

This last group is closer to the truth.  I would say that the true purpose of life is to develop your mind and become a happy adult.  The way to become a happy, mature adult is to develop your wisdom and then benefit as many of the people around you as possible.

I have come to realize that the universe itself is alive.  Life is a natural manifestation and we appear in the environment we have earned because of our own actions.

Life’s "purpose" then is for all of us to grow and move forward in positive directions.  Spiritual growth is absolutely necessary for us to become successful, happy beings.  My purpose in life is to become happy and then to help the people around me to become happy as well.  I do not mean just locally, I consider all people on this planet to be a member of ‘society’ and I would like to bring benefit to every single one of them.

Let’s look closer at this concept we call happiness.  Think carefully about your past.  Have you ever been truly happy for even a single moment?  No doubt you have experienced various states of joy in your lifetime, there are so many ‘worldly pleasures’ but have any of them ever made you truly happy? No, they haven’t.  When you are experiencing some worldly pleasure time seems to pass you by like lightning, you had fun or were distracted but you were not happy.

Too many people in today’s society seem to think that fun and happiness are interchangeable.  If this were the case, and fun was the same as happiness, then true happiness—the only true wealth one can possess, would be the most common and abundant thing in our lives.  You would be in a perpetually good mood, and little things, even big things, would not be able to upset you.

This, however, is not the case.  Small, trifling, things are capable of ruining your whole day—even two or three days.  This is a direct indication that your environment is in control of your life.

Living skillfully is like being the captain of a vessel at sea.  If you are unskilled, then the wind will carry you in pretty much whatever direction it pleases.  Whether it is into clear skies and white clouds, or right into the eye of a storm, a skillful captain can sail where he wishes, despite the direction of the wind.

Buddhism is the training that will enable you to ‘sail’ wherever you wish.  Buddhist Training can give you back control of your life.

If you are not a skillful Buddhist practitioner you will notice that control of things in your life often seem to disappear, and the ‘winds of chance’ move you about from mental state to mental state depending on what occurs in your environment.  This is why ancient man invented the concept of ‘fate’.  They argued that the hands of men are guided by fate because they had no clear understanding of cause and effect.  But this is never true, the hands of men are guided by only one thing; and that is karma.  Your karma, created by your own actions will put you into situations, in some of them you feel helpless, and things seem to go however they please.

If you learn how to seize control of your life from these circumstances, then events will begin to move in the direction you desire.  Calm, collected, mindfulness is the only true road to happiness.

Money cannot buy happiness.  Happiness is a commodity that cannot be purchased by anyone at any price.  True happiness must be earned and developed through loving, generous behavior, along with a healthy dose of mindfulness training to develop your insight and wisdom.

Buddhist mindfulness training combined with loving compassion will always move you in positive directions.  However, the overall happiness of your next life is determined mainly by how skillfully you die.  If you die a horrid death this might very well cause your negative karma to manifest when you are born again.  This will affect the quality and circumstances of this next life in a negative way.  Therefore it is just as important to die correctly as it is to live correctly.  The good news is that if we practice and study to develop our human potential then we will certainly die in very favorable circumstances.

There are many different kinds of mindfulness training because there are many different kinds of human minds.  There are meditations that involve standing, walking, sitting, chanting, and watching the breath, just to give you a brief example.  Almost anything can become mindfulness meditation training, even mundane things, such as walking the dog. The goal of all of these numerous practices is to teach us the lesson "live in the present moment"!

Think: "At this moment I am walking the dog, and nothing else.  I will concentrate on walking the dog, and nothing else.”  You will be surprised at how much trouble you can avoid by just staying mindful.  Walking the dog while pondering the week’s events can have dire consequences.  More importantly, how can we ever perceive reality if we live in some fantasy environment that takes place only inside our own head?

You should even turn your job into mindfulness meditation.  While performing your daily tasks please concentrate on them.  If you are performing your duties with your mind off in ’la-la’ land somewhere, you are more likely to ‘screw up’, even on the simplest jobs. Being mindful on your job is important, as employers want a mindful employee, who performs his task to the best of his abilities, not some goof off who keeps knocking the gears out of his well-oiled machine.

You will find that the practice of ‘simple’ mindfulness will make your life a lot happier as well as more efficient.  When your mind begins to wander, just gently guide yourself back to the present.  It is necessary to plan for the future, and it is can be all right to remember the good things in your past, but dwelling on these things too much will lead only to suffering.  If you spend your time ‘somewhere else’ then you might as well be dead, because if you do not live in the present moment, for the present moment then you are as good as dead.  The present moment is all we have.  The present moment is reality.

The Buddha’s first major realization was that people couldn’t be happy living a life dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure.  His second major realization was that following extreme forms of asceticism do not purify you or lead to higher realization.  Starvation, self-mortification, all forms of self imposed torment are suffering, and will not lead to happiness.

One form of self torture that is common in our society today is bulimia, where a person ceases the intake of nutrients by vomiting all of his or her food up, in hopes of not gaining weight.  While this is considered a medical condition it is also a sign of serious ego problems.

Shakyamuni specifically states that people who practice any extreme form of self-mortification are never going to be happy.  In fact, he even taught a method of not gaining weight, as even in his day there were people who were nutty on the subject.  This method was to only fill two thirds of your stomach at each meal, one-third with food, the other with liquid, leaving the rest of the space for air. If you eat this way you will not grow fat and your stomach will always be comfortable.

However, most people in the world today are tragically over indulgent, which the Buddha also said will never lead to happiness.  If your goal in life is to acquire as many personal items as possible, and to experience as many bodily pleasures as possible, then you are walking barefoot on a road paved with razor blades.  To be attached to material objects is not a good thing, since under all circumstances you will lose these things when you die.

The Buddha taught us to follow the middle way.  This means that indulgence and asceticism are useful only in moderation.  If taken to extremes this behavior leads only to suffering.  The Buddha tells us that to not get one wants, is suffering.  Well, that isn’t very hard to figure out, but would you have ever guessed that when you do get what you want that you are suffering also?  It is not as direct a form of suffering, but nonetheless it is suffering.  Eventually, that object you acquired will become a form of suffering, or lead to new suffering.  In fact, getting something you want can be worse than not getting something you want!

If you are denied some object of desire, and you have taken this denial well, then you have just eliminated some of your bad karma.  However, if you get something you desire, and then form an incorrect attachment to it, then not only did you burn up some good karma getting that item, you’ve also created a new form of suffering.

The forms of suffering in this world are indeed many, and the sources of true happiness few. It is almost miraculous, that eons and eons ago a mere mortal, just like us, broke out of this nightmarish chain of suffering and attained enlightenment, unaided.  This first Buddha, the universal Buddha, is a person that we owe a great debt to, as he is the one who discovered happiness, and shared it with the rest of the universe so long ago.  This person still reaps in good causes because he is the direct cause of every good thing that we have done as Buddhists.

Attaining enlightenment without the aid of a Buddha, even indirectly, might be all but impossible for the average person, rather like an inchworm trying to traverse the entire planet before his tiny life span is over.  Yet, the universal Buddha, the forefather of all Buddha’s, proved to us that this is indeed possible.  Even better, to this day he and all the Buddha’s dedicate their time and energy to helping people escape suffering and achieve happiness.

This is the Teacher I wish to emulate.  I want to help all beings in the universe end their sufferings.  I will do my best to emulate this behavior, and I will set the Universal Buddha as my role model.  May all beings benefit from my actions, may all beings live in peace, harmony, and happiness.  May all beings one day find the path that leads to enlightenment.  Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.  May all beings become happy.






Respect is a crucial element in any relationship.  Children need to respect their parents and parents must learn that their children are not merely extensions of them. Parents who live vicariously through their children are badly out of touch with reality.

 Students and teachers must respect each other or learning does not occur.  Employees who do not respect their employers are quickly unemployed.  Employers who do not respect the people they hire create miserable working conditions and never receive full value for the money they spend because people are not fully productive in an oppressive environment. 

          Respect is the lubricant that keeps our social machine functioning and it is necessary not only in the workplace but in the home as well.  People in modern western society have forgotten the great debt that they owe to their father and mother.  You should look after your parents and help them, as they grow older.  Your parents sacrificed many things for your benefit and it is downright churlish to dump them in some institution where they are warehoused until they die. 

            As difficult as this will be for some of us we must learn to respect the people who hold public office.  It’s fine to campaign vigorously for the candidate of your choice but the horrible negativity prevalent in our current system is going to destroy our present way of life if we do not learn to behave.

            The atrocities that occur during Presidential campaigns should be made unlawful because it is hurtful to everybody involved.  As Americans we must respect whoever holds the office of President and while his political views are of primary interest his private and family life should be left strictly alone.    

            Washington D.C. is full of officeholders who practice situational ethics.  In recent years we have watched as the President was accused of marital infidelity by men who, it turned out, were behaving in exactly the same manner.  It can be difficult to respect political figures under these circumstances but we must respect the office even if we cannot respect the men who hold them. 

             Respect for our political intuitions is essential if we are to survive as a single political unit.  Even the Supreme Court has been the target of a great deal of anger, with people calling for the impeachment of various justices because of their clearly unconstitutional behavior in the last presidential election. 

            As important as respect is for citizens this esteem must be mutual if it is to endure and this is clearly not the case anymore.  Elected officials are supposed to serve their country but most of them are insulated from the realities of daily life.  Why should government employees have all the ‘perks’ they currently enjoy?  When you interact with government officials do they treat you with courtesy and respect?  A system where people can freely abuse the little power they possess and yet never be fired leads to the situation we currently ‘enjoy.’    

 Mutual respect is necessary in marriage or any other partnership.  The lack of this respect stems directly from the lack of self-respect.  If you do not understand who you are how can you respect anyone else?  People are very precious because they all have the potential to become Buddhas.  It takes time to realize this so I urge you to begin now.



The Ten Worlds


The Ten Worlds can be found in all of us.  They are not places, but are rather states of mind.  However, you will find students of the early teachings of the Buddha who say that these worlds are separate places.  The Tibetan Buddhists for example, believe that hell, heaven, animality, anger, and hunger exist somewhere apart from our world (humanity).  When they talk of Hell, they are quite literally referring to a pit somewhere below or apart from the Earth where the ‘spirits’ or essence of men and women are thrown upon their deaths.  To a Nichiren Buddhist, or any other advanced student of the Buddha, hell is a mental condition where sorrow and suffering are predominantly featured. 


There are six lower “Worlds,” which represent the base emotions of all living beings.  They are:









Hell is the state of mind where a person is upset at everything, and always sees the negative side of a situation.  It is also the state of mind where sorrow resides.  Often times the death of a close friend of family member causes this state.  Sometimes the impulses people receive when in this state are so strong that they go insane, or kill them selves.  It is also possible for someone to actually live in hell.  This does not indicate that their physical location is actually in some fiery pit.  It means that their predominant life condition is one of extreme torment and sorrow. 

The world of Hunger is a state of greed and desire.  It can be the desire for food, but it is not limited to that.  If a man sees some material object that he likes he makes plans to acquire it.  He will either try to purchase or trade for the object of his desire, or he might try to obtain it dishonestly.  Often times, someone is thrown into the world of hunger upon seeing the object of his desire.  He thinks about it, craves it, but then decides against going out of his way to get it.  Apart from hunger being a state of mind, it can also be a state of life, where a person’s sole objective is to satiate his or her cravings for various things.

Anger can be explained in very simple terms.  When a person thinks that someone has affronted him, he becomes angry.  This angry state can be anywhere from mildly upset, to insane raging.  It all depends on the situation.  The state of anger is very dangerous.  One moment of anger can corrupt a millennium’s worth of good causes.  One moment of anger is capable of destroying someone’s life.  People who live in the state of Anger do not necessarily seem angry at anything this can be quite subtle.  A person can seem quite cheerful and yet still live in the world of anger.

Someone whose only goal is his or her own immediate satisfaction characterizes Animality.  People who are in this state are capable of becoming uncharacteristically inhospitable or greedy.  People who live in this state generally have a mean streak, but in this state people are capable of showing small amounts of compassion and loyalty.  Most animals live in this state, and many humans do as well. 

Dogs are perfect examples of beings that reside in this world.  A dog is capable of growling and barking at you (in a mean way) one second, then realizing that you have food and suddenly wanting to be your friend.  However, a dog is capable of loyalty and love.  

When a person who is in hunger or animality gets one of his desires fulfilled, he moves into the state of Heaven.  Heaven is a state of bliss that is generally induced by the receiving of gifts, or the satisfaction of some desire.  However, this bliss is only temporary, and once something else happens, the bliss is replaced by a more common world, whichever one the person spends most of his or her time in.

Humanity is a state of compassion and contentment.  Someone who lives in humanity has higher goals than to simply entertain and maintain them self.  Someone in a state of humanity might donate money to a children’s hospital or donate time to some good cause.  He might also study religious books in hopes of finding “life’s purpose.” 

If we do not have some practice that gives us stability we bounce around these lower six worlds every day.  The state of hunger drives you into the kitchen to eat breakfast every morning, and then it drives you to be entertained, so you go read the paper, or watch TV.  Then you remember that you need to go to work or school, and you go into the world of Anger, Hell, or Heaven, depending on how much or little you like your job or school and the people who work with you. 

When a hope of yours is lost, you become angry.  When one is fulfilled, you enter the world of Heaven.  There is no end to the highs and lows that you experience.  Something very petty can send you bouncing around through the lower six worlds.  If you live in the lower six worlds your environment is in control and you have ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days.  If you live in the four higher worlds you are always in control of your mind and cannot have a ‘bad’ day.

The Four Higher worlds are:






In the states of Learning and Realization, a person is fulfilling his spiritual needs, and learning Dharma.  In a state of Learning, a person is hearing or reading the Dharma from a book or teacher.  In the state of Realization, a person is actually coming to understand a concept through his own experience.  He is not just learning it, he is realizing it: he comes to understand the concept based on his own knowledge so that nothing could ever convince him that it is wrong. 

Living in these two worlds is necessary for growth but can be very dangerous if you remain there.  People who live in these worlds are prone to look down on others who do not have their knowledge.

The state of Bodhisattva is exactly the opposite.  It is a state of intense compassion and loving care.  Living in the state of Bodhisattva shows that a person understands that the secret to being happy lies in a compassionate way of life, and in his or her ability to assist people in need.  Truth is not to be found merely in highbrow intellectual knowledge. 

Buddhahood is a state of complete understanding and infinite compassion.  People who live in this state are completely enlightened.  They have attained the perfect balance of knowledge and compassion.  Buddhahood is a natural state that anyone can experience by sitting in front of the Gohonzon and practicing correctly.  Words do not do an adequate job of explaining the state of Buddhahood.  It is something that must be experienced to be understood.


These ten worlds are contained inside of everyone.  Nobody is outside of these states of mind, not even a Buddha.  With these ten states of mind, a person could be in 3000 possible combinations of worlds.  This is because each of the ten worlds contains the ten worlds, giving us one hundred.  Then these hundred worlds are multiplied by the ten factors1 that make up any human.  That gives us 1000 worlds.  These 1000 worlds are each present in the three realms of existence.  These realms of existence are Self, our Society and our Environment.  That gives us 3000 possible life states to be in for every single moment that we are alive.


The nine consciousnesses consist of the five sense organs, a sixth Sense, the ego, memory, and Buddhahood.

The Five Sense Organ Consciousnesses are the eyes, and their ability to report sight, the ears, and their ability to report sound, the nose, and it’s ability to report smell, the skin, and its ability to report feeling, and the tongue, with it’s ability to report taste. 

         Each of these organ consciousnesses possesses different levels of ability, depending on the person owning them.  A Blind man has sight consciousness, but does not use it.  However, his smell consciousness and his sound consciousness will be more alert because of this lack. 

Science has now identified what Buddhism teaches as the sixth sense.  It is an area in the brain that reports to you what information is important and what information is not.  If you are looking for your keys, and you know that they are not on the table than, even though your eyes see the keys, this part of your brain will not report it.  It has a preconceived notion as to what is already on the table.  You can leave the room and fill your mind with different sense impressions, then return to the room and search again, or you can ask somebody else to look for you. 

The Mano consciousness is the home of your ego; many people identify themselves as this level of consciousness because they do not understand that they are really composed of their aggregates and totally dependent on causes they have made in the past.

        The levels of consciousness we have examined so far are dependent on the karma you produced in previous lives.  The type of body and the efficiency of your sense organs depend on the kind of life you have led in the past. 

The final two levels are eternally with us and do not change.  The “storehouse” consciousness is the place where positive and negative energy are stored.  Every action creates some form of energy, good, or bad and it is stored in this level, called “Alaya.” 

The ninth level is called the “Amala” consciousness.  This is your Buddha nature and everybody can access this level with the proper technique no matter what state your life condition is in.  Even mass murderers can attain enlightenment if they change their lives; this path is truly open to anyone.  


Buddhahood is the factor that is used the least by untrained people.  It is the part of you that always can see what the best thing to do would be, that can reason out any question, and that will never hesitate to do the right thing.  This quality is the same in everyone, but untrained minds have a limited ability to draw on it.

 People have developed ways to make their senses work better.  Speed-readers are an excellent example of people who have trained their sight consciousness to a level that exceeds the accepted ‘norm.’  Just as there are exercises one can employ to make one’s memory or sight better, there is also a training that allows one to have extended access to his Buddha nature.

An Enlightened Being is a person who has trained himself so thoroughly in this manner that he now uses Buddhahood instead of ego to solve problems presented by his environment.  This is how we become happy.  We must train ourselves to react to things in our environment with our innate enlightenment.  We already have enlightenment we just need to learn a method that will enable us to live in this highest human state.

We all have the potential for good or evil.  With Buddhist practice we can focus our lives into the higher four worlds, and escape from the miseries of cyclical existence.  By this I do not mean that we will leave the Saha World, never to return, I mean that we shall live here in peace, and without suffering.  While we strive to end our suffering, and to reside in the upper four worlds, we must also help the people around us do the same.  It is not necessary to wait until you are enlightened.  The only way to eliminate suffering for your self, and to escape from the lower worlds, is to lead people towards enlightenment.  It is not an act of compassion to ignore the world’s troubles until you think you are ready to teach people how to leave them behind.  The time for waiting is past; the time to take action is now.






This myth-filled tale was developed over a period of several hundred years after the death of our wonderful Teacher, Shakyamuni Buddha.

   Please do not take this story literally; it was created to demonstrate the greatness of the Buddha.  For a historical look at the life of Shakyamuni please see “Stop Suffering: A Buddhist Guide To Happiness” from BIONA.  For a longer version of this story please read “Buddha: The Gospel,” available free on the BIONA website.


In the middle of the first Millennia, BCE (Before Common Era, this corresponds to the Christian A.D.) in the land called India, there was a Queen named Mahamaya, who was wed to King Shuddhodana.  Their country was small, and surrounded by large hostile neighbors.  These neighbors had, in the past threatened to invade, but King Shuddhodana was politically astute, and had, so far, kept them at bay. 


One day, during the mid-summer festival, Mahamaya had a dream that she was elevated to a great height, well above the clouds, where a Great Celestial Elephant with six tusks entered her womb from the right side. 

Then she awoke with a feeling of immense and boundless happiness, and knew immediately that she was pregnant.

Later in the year, when Mahamaya felt that the time for birth was near, she requested to be taken to her fathers garden grove, where she wished to have the child.  When the moment of birth was at hand, Mahamaya grabbed hold of a tree-limb, and much to the surprise of all present, the child mystically exited the womb from her right side, never traveling through the birth canal.  The child immediately took seven firm and stable steps, looked towards each of the cardinal directions, and said, “I am the leader of the world, and I am the guide of the world.  This is my final birth.” 

The King summoned an astrologer to explain these strange happenings.  The astrologer examined the signs, the stars, the planets, the moon and sun, and said, “You are very fortunate to have such a child.  He will be successful in all that he does, and will either become a great wheel rolling king, who will unite the world under a single flag, or a Fully Enlightened Buddha, a honored teacher who will lead the people to spiritual happiness”.  They named the boy Siddhartha.

Two days after the birth, Mahamaya passed away.  It was then that King Shuddhodana, reminded of his own mortality, made plans for the future of his kingdom.  These plans naturally included the young prince.

Accordingly, Siddhartha began his education young, he learned all about philosophy, the art of war, painting, and all the things that were expected of a young prince. 

Later events proved the astrologer to be correct.  Siddhartha mastered all of his various subjects with ease, and always won physical competitions with the other princes.  He was physically astute, as well as mentally brilliant.  None of the young princes could best him in debate, and only the wisest men in the land could keep up with him when philosophic matters were discussed.

 The Kings sole objective became to attach his son to worldly life so that he would some day become a king who could rescue his endangered people.  He knew that it would not be long before their neighboring countries decided to invade his land.  If Siddhartha became a Great Conqueror, however, they would never get the chance to invade.  The King wanted to save his people and without the help of the prince he could see only certain disaster ahead for them.

The King became convinced that his goal was achieved when Siddhartha took a wife.  That would surely attach him to the worldly life enough that he would never consider leaving and living the homeless life of the spiritual practitioner. 

The woman he married was a beautiful princess named Yashodhara and the young couple led an idyllic life.  It was not long before Yashodhara was with child

However, Siddhartha had already begun contemplating the various sufferings of the world, and was becoming depressed because, although he had every pleasure imaginable in that day and age, he was not happy. 

He began to become restless because his father kept him confined to whatever property they were living on.  His father, concerned about Siddhartha’s condition ordered that the roads be cleared of unsightly things, and then suggested that the prince take a drive through the city. 

Siddhartha agreed, and was soon awaiting his Charioteer, who would drive him through the city.  When they departed, Siddhartha, reveling in his new freedom, expressed a desire to see another part of the city, which would leave the predetermined route that his father had created.  The Charioteer had little choice but to comply. 

As they traveled, Siddhartha saw a man whose skin sagged, whose body was covered with blotches, whose hair was thin and gray, who could barely support his own weight without the aid of a walking stick.  Siddhartha asked his charioteer, “Channa, who is this man?  Why is he so frail looking?”

The charioteer, understanding that his prince had never before seen an old man, explained to Siddhartha with these words, “This man is frail looking because he is old, my prince.  He has lived a long life, and was at one time as fit and healthy as you or I.”

The Prince merely nodded his assent, his question answered.  His mind began to fill with questions.  He said, “Am I, also going to become like this as well?  Or is he one of a few old men in the world?”

Channa replied grimly, “So it is that all men begin life as infants, grow to adulthood, and finally become old, my prince.”

There was a long silence until the prince saw another man whose complexion was somehow wrong, whose skin appeared to have been marred with fire, and who could walk even less nimbly than the aged man.  Curious, the prince said to his charioteer, “Now who is this man?  He looks as if he has fallen into a pool of acid.” 

Channa, knowing in his mind that his beloved prince had been protected from such horrid things as disease, responded thus, “This man has surely been smitten by some ghastly disease!  It would be best if we turn back, or perhaps we might catch it from him, and suffer the same fate.”

“Then I too, am susceptible to such a thing as this thing you call ‘disease’?  Or is this man one of a mere handful to suffer such a horrid fate?”

The Charioteer said to his beloved prince, “Alas, we are all susceptible to disease.  It is only through great care, and extended love from your father, god-mother, and followers, that you have never been stricken by a disease.”

“This is truly a horror!  How can we live in such a merciless world!  What did this poor man do to deserve such a fate?”

“I do not know, my prince,” said the charioteer bleakly.

They traveled on for a time, and then their way was blocked by a procession of men, women, and children, who though dressed for a celebration, were weeping and behaving strangely as they followed the body of a man who lay quiet and still on the top of a litter. 

 Siddhartha asked his charioteer, “Why are these people looking so sad, they are dressed in bright colors for a festival but they are not happy.

 “They are on their way to a funeral, my prince.  Worry not, it is no one you were close to.”

What do you mean?” asked the prince.

“What do I-” Then Channa realized that Siddhartha had never heard of death.”

“They are taking the body of a man who, through either old age or disease, has had his life ended, to be burned away to ashes, or buried.  His essence has fled the stricken body, and now all that remains is a lifeless shell.”

“Will I too, share his fate?”  The prince asked.

“Alas, my prince, no man, woman, or child can escape deaths scythe.  Though you may live to be a thousand years old, you will eventually die.”

“Oh, this is ghastly!  How can men live, knowing that some day, everything they care for and love, will vanish from their sight?  What is the purpose of this existence, if everything we strive to acquire is to be taken from us?”

They drove on for a short distance but then the Prince spotted a man with no hair, who carried nothing but a walking stick and a bowl, and whose robes were rags that should have been discarded long ago.

“Channa, who was that man?  He carried only a bowl with him, and wears clothes that no decent man would be seen wearing.”

“That, my prince, was a monk or a holy man.  They get their nourishment by begging for it.  They wear discarded clothing or nothing at all, and they are dedicated to finding an escape from the sufferings of the world.”

The prince remained lost in thought so the two men did not speak again.  It was getting late, and they returned to the Palace where the prince retired to his quarters. 

In a very short time Siddhartha’s first child was born, a son named Rahula.  Since he now had produced a male child who could assume the throne Siddhartha had fulfilled his family obligations.  He loved his wife and family but the problems of aging, sickness and death were spurring him to seek for answers. 

He determined to leave worldly life and become a seeker of truth.  With the help of his loyal Charioteer, he left the Palace and traveled alone determined to find enlightenment.  He shaved his head, dressed as he saw the monk dress with discarded old clothing, and took nothing with him but an ordinary bowl, which he would use to gather alms.

He decided that he needed a teacher so he became to student of two renowned teachers, one after the other.  He quickly master both of their techniques and doctrines in turn but he was still dissatisfied.  The teachings of these famous men were good but they did not lead to enlightenment!

Eventually, he realized that he had gone as far as he could with teachers so he decided to leave and practice on his own.  He became a wandering ascetic, with the reasoning that if total pleasure and luxury made him unhappy, then total self-control and severity would make him happy.  Siddhartha moved to an area where other ascetics lived, in the open air but with a beautiful view.

         He eventually began to practice with five other ascetics, and was soon considered their leader because his personal regimen was far more severe.  

         After almost seven years of ascetic practice Siddhartha came to realize that he was gaining nothing for all of his effort; starvation did not lead to purification it led only to sickness and death.  A young woman who lived nearby offered him a meal of rice-milk and he accepted it.

His five associates said nothing when he ate the rice-milk because he had been fainting from hunger a lot that week but later Siddhartha ate another meal and the five men began to openly sneer at him.  Siddhartha was saddened by the lack of trust exhibited by his friends but he felt no anger at their betrayal.

 He left them and sat in the shade of a pipal (or Bodhi) tree determined not to move until he had attained enlightenment.  The great demon king, Mara (the inner darkness present in all beings) seeing that Siddhartha was close to attaining enlightenment, approached him (appeared in his mind) and said to him that his quest for truth would certainly end in failure, and that the true course of wisdom would be to return to the palace and his family.

When this did not work Mara summoned his great army of demons; they were many, and varied in shape and size.  Some of these demons were tall; with many arms while others were squat and smelled bad.  Some had no recognizable form, and were covered with oozing protrusions.  Others had eyes on their bellies, or had horns and tusks, and all of them brandished tools of destruction.  They attacked Siddhartha, but their weapons proved futile and simply bounced off of him because his mind remained focused in his meditation. 

Then the infuriated Mara made the demons vanish, and assaulted Siddhartha with a fierce hurricane, but it failed to even move the edges of his robe.  He summoned a great fire, but it did not burn him.  He caused beautiful women to appear before Siddhartha in an effort to entice him but this did not work either.  Furious, the demon challenged the prince, saying, “By what right do you take the seat of enlightenment?”

“I have the right through my practice of the ten virtues in this life and in the past.  If you claim to have a right to the seat of enlightenment, then what witnesses do you have to say that you have practiced the ten virtues?”

“What witnesses do you have?”  Mara roared back at him.

“I have the earth as my witness” and as if in reply the grounds trembled and shook in six different ways (his six senses were purified).  Mara slunk away, defeated and Siddhartha became Shakyamuni, the sage (wise man) of the Shaka tribe.



This story records how Shakyamuni, or Siddhartha Gotama attained enlightenment.  There are some people who believe this account to be literal truth but people are becoming more sophisticated because of better educational opportunities and most people realize that this story is symbolic.  The Buddhas struggle with Mara was an internal battle against the same kind of negative forces we all possess, like anger, greed, and lust.

The story of the chariot ride is a clever way of telling us that as he grew up, he discovered all the pain and suffering in the world.  Since his mother died when he was young, there is no way he could not have known about death.  The symbolism is this: The chariot drive represents him growing up, and the four times they stop, seeing old age, sickness, death, and a monk, are ways of saying that he saw mankind’s suffering, was horrified by it and sought through the holy life to ascertain the truth.

He might have had to sneak away from the palace, but it is most unlikely.  In Indian society it was perfectly common for a man to retire from worldly life and become a wandering monk.  His father may not have totally approved, but he would not have tried to stop him either.





            Siddhartha had sat under the pipal tree but it was Shakyamuni that arose in the early morning light.  He went out in search of the Five Ascetics to teach them what he had learned. 

As he walked along the road he encountered several merchants, who recognized that he was someone special.  They asked him if he was an enlightened being and he told them he was.  It was to these men that he gave his first teaching and this was because most of the practicing Buddhists in the world would be lay people.  

This first teaching stated that the world is filled with suffering.  Ignorance is the cause of suffering and the cessation of suffering is the elimination of ignorance.  The elimination of ignorance could be achieved by practicing right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.  The merchants heard this and understood.  These laymen became his first followers. 

            When he arrived at the Dear Park in Varanasi he saw the five ascetics from a distance, and began to approach them.  They saw the Blessed One approach, and said to each other, “Here comes Siddhartha, he has given up the holy life.  Let us not rise to greet him and let us also address him simply as Siddhartha.”

            As the Buddha neared they saw in him a gigantic change, and in spite of their plan they rose to greet him, but when they spoke it was to say “Hail, Friend Siddhartha!”

            The Buddha said to them, “Monks, do not address me by name or as  ‘friend.’  Such a one as myself has become fully enlightened.  Listen to me, oh monks.  The Unborn, The Deathless has been attained, and it is I who will instruct you in the true Dharma.  Practice in accord with what I teach, and you shall be able to realize this Dharma through your own direct knowledge.  You will have achieved that which every clansman and householder who sets out on the holy life aspires to.”

            The five ascetics exchanged looks with one another.  They had never known their old friend to speak in such a manner, nor had he ever been known to tell a lie.  “Very well, master, we will hear what it is you have to teach.”

            “Oh Monks, there are two extremes that are to be refrained from, and never cherished.  What are these two extremes?  The first is the total devotion to the pursuit of pleasure in sensual desires, which is coarse, ignoble, vulgar, low, and harmful; and there is a second, and that is the total devotion to self-mortification, which is painful, low, ignoble, and harmful.  I have discovered a way of life that follows neither of these extremes, and that Oh Monks, is the middle way.

 The Middle Way gives vision, gives knowledge, and leads to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nirvana.  And what is this middle way?  It is the noble eightfold path.  This path consists of right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. 

            The former ascetics were wise enough to recognize Dharma when they encountered it so they again became the followers of Shakyamuni and this time they were loyal until death.  From that moment on, they called him Shakyamuni and when referring to him they would add such titles as  “World honored One.”

             After a time Shakyamuni found himself preaching to larger and larger audiences, as more people proclaimed that they were lay followers of the Buddha.  The monastic order grew as well and after a few years women entered as nuns.

 As more followers began to understand his early teachings the Buddha began to teach the doctrine of non-ego, or emptiness. This teaching simply states that all people are empty because everyone and everything is dependent on causes and conditions to exist. 

These teachings take years to fully realize so don’t worry that you do not entirely understand now.  You must do more then grasp these teachings intellectually, you must live them and take them into your heart.  This requires practice and study.

         When the Buddhas students had reached a sufficient level of understanding he preached “The Lotus Sutra” which he took great pains to repeatedly point out contained his highest teaching.  The last eight years of his life were devoted to teaching only this “Lotus Sutra.”

Shakyamuni’s life ended the way all good teachers hope to conclude their careers, by teaching others.  On the day he died Shakyamuni addressed his monks, “Gather around.  Does any one here have a question to ask me, before I depart from the world?”  There was silence.  “Do not, out of respect for me, neglect to ask your final questions, for later you will not know the answer.  This will cause you to not be at ease knowing that when we were face to face for the very last time you did not ask your question, and so obtain peace of mind.”  Still, no one said anything.  “If you are embarrassed to ask me a question at such a time, whisper to a friend and have him ask for you, and thus retain you anonymity.”  Still silence pervaded the grounds.

Shakyamuni spoke “So be it!  Let it be known to all that in the future men will claim to have secret teaching only revealed to a few select students.  I tell you, I do not leave this world having left any hidden teachings.  I am an open handed teacher and have fully revealed the path to all of you.”

            “My final words to you are, all things that exist because of causes and conditions are transitory.  Be your own refuge, only you can save yourself, therefore, be diligent. 

With these words, the Lord Buddha perished.


Authors Note:



 “The Lotus Sutra” is difficult material and should not be approached lightly.  You should have some experience of daily practice and also have read and understood many of the introductory sutras.  There are two different versions of “The Lotus Sutra” in the BIONA library; I highly recommend the twenty-eight-chapter version translated by the greatest Buddhist translator who ever lived, Kumarajiva.  The other translation is also of tremendous interest and should be read as well

If you go on to read the rest of the BIONA books “Stop Suffering: A Buddhist Guide To Happiness,” and “Day By Day,” then you will be ready to visit “The Lotus Sutra Study Center” and read the sutras and a commentary from BIONA “Inside The Lotus Sutra,” as well as the other books and lectures included.  These books have been written to prepare you for this study.








Chih-i of T’ien T’ai Monastery




Chih-i came to be considered the Buddha of the Middle period of the Law.  His teaching and writings had a profound impact on Buddhism.  When he entered the monastic life, he became the student of Fa-hsü, and then later the monk Hui-Kˇuang tutored him.

After several years of study, Chih-i journeyed to Mount Ta-hsien, located in Heng-Choü province, there, he devoted his studies to the Mahayana Sutras, specifically, “The Sutra of Innumerable Meanings”, “The Lotus Sutra”, and “The Sutra of Meditation on the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue”.  These three Sutras together are referred to as “The Threefold Lotus Sutra.”

 Chih-i became convinced that “The Threefold Lotus Sutra” was the highest teaching of the Buddha, and assigned it a position of supreme importance amongst all other Sutras.  He was well aware that this was not a popular opinion to hold.

            When he was twenty-three years old, he traveled to the dwelling place of Hui-ssu, a famous teacher who he knew to hold that same opinion.  Chih-i arrived to discover that Hui-ssu had left.  Hui-ssu had fled his home because people persisted in trying to assassinate him.   Chih-i followed Hui-ssu’s path across a war torn China to the Buddhist Center at Mount Ta-su.  Travel was very dangerous at the best of times but this journey could be considered almost epic.

            When he finally arrived at Mount Ta-su, Hui-ssu greeted him thus: “Long ago we were together on [Eagle Peak], and [we] listened to “The Lotus Sutra”.  Now, pursuing those old bonds of karma you have come [to me] again.”  Hui-ssu immediately introduced Chih-i to the various practices of “The Lotus Sutra” that he had learned from his teacher.  Chih-i carried out these practices for two weeks, making rapid progress.  At the end of the second week he had attained enlightenment.

            Chih-i lived at Mount Ta-su for seven years, studying his teachers’ doctrines and making sure that he had learned all that he could from Hui-ssu.  Later, he took leave of the mountain and traveled to present day   Nanking, which then served as a headquarters for the Ch’en Dynasty.  He remained there for eight years, residing at a temple called Wa-kuan-ssu.  It was here that he gave a series of lecture on “The Lotus Sutra” that would eventually be compiled into “The Profound Meaning of The Lotus Sutra”, one of his three major writings. 

            Chih-i made many enemies amongst his fellow Buddhists.  They considered his viewpoint ludicrous.  Fortunately, these ‘enemies’ were not as hostile to him as they were to Hui-ssu, and instead of avoiding an assassins blade, Chih-i found himself engaged in hundreds of debates (all of which he won.) 

            In spite of his seeming successes, Chih-i felt that most of his followers were unable to grasp the true meaning of “The Lotus Sutra.”  In the Fall of 573 CE, when he was thirty-eight years old, Chih-i traveled to the T’ien T’ai Mountain Range, which was noted as being a center of both Buddhist and Taoist activities.  It was here that he took up a permanent residence.  After living in a cave on the Mountain Range’s highest peak for a few years, Chih-i decided that the wisest course of action he could take would be to propagate “The Lotus Sutra.”  (As opposed to simply hiding in the mountains and enjoying his enlightenment alone). 

A few years after this, Chih-i and his band of followers were granted financial support from the government.  He used some of this money to buy the fishing rights for the seacoast at the foot of the Mountain, and stopped the people from fishing there. 

            To many of us, such an action would be considered foolish and pointless.  Some even go so far as to say that Chih-i was more concerned about the fish than the people.  This is not true.  Chih-i halted the fishing at the foot of the mountain not out of compassion for the fish, but for the men: He knew that they were making violent causes that would trouble them in some future life.  In addition, it must have seemed strange to have men killing fish in front of a Temple that preaches total non-violence. 

            In 585 Chih-i went to the capitol at the Emperor’s request and gave several discourses.  These were later compiled into a work called “Words and Phrases of The Lotus Sutra.”  This is the second of his Major ‘Writings’.  It was here that Kuan-ting, who eventually compiled the major writings of Chih-i, became his disciple.  Later, before returning to the T’ien T’ai Mountains, Chih-i returned to the land of his birth, where he gave the lectures that constituted his third major writing, “Great Concentration and Insight.”  Upon his return to the mountain range the Emperor granted to Chih-i the title ‘Chih-Che’, or “Wise One.”  

            He died in 597.  He was posthumously given the title ‘T’ien T’ai Ta-shih’, which means “The Great Teacher of the T’ien T’ai Mountains.”  Later people simply called him “T’ien T’ai.”  His three major writings, which were all compiled by his disciple Kuan-ting, had a huge impact on Mahayana Buddhism.  Eventually his followers were recognized as belonging to a separate sect, which came to be called ‘The T’ien T’ai School of Buddhism.’  All of the ‘new’ schools of Japanese Buddhism came from the T’ien T’ai School, which is called ‘Tendai’ in that country. 

            T’ien T’ai changed the way people saw Buddhism: he categorized the Buddha’s teachings, making the intention and meaning clear.  His lectures on “The Lotus Sutra” are still read and studied to this day, by people of many different sects.  His teachings on the ten worlds have helped numerous Buddhist students develop the wisdom that has led to higher realizations.  (For more information on the life and teachings of Chih-i please read “Stop Suffering: A Buddhist Guide To Happiness.”)





By Bartholomew M Klick


Nichiren was born in Medieval Japan in the 1200’s.  He was the son of a manager, who was in charge of the administration of fishing rights for a private fishery.  He began to receive his advanced education at age twelve when he was sent to a temple to learn to write in Chinese as well as Japanese.  He became quite proficient with both languages.


 The priests at the temple also taught him some of basic Buddhist concepts.  He became very interested in Buddhism, and when he turned 16, he became a priest.


Nichiren was a good student and absorbed the contents of the local library quickly.  He then set out to find more books.  When he reached the capital where many of the Buddhist centers of learning were located he discovered that he could not attend lectures given by any of the teachers because of his ‘inferior’ social standing.

 Their other students had social connections, wealth, and access to powerful men, which could help these teachers advance their careers while Nichiren could offer them nothing but the robes he lived in and an accent that clearly proclaimed that he was from the provinces. 


 So if he wanted to learn he could only study the sutras and famous commentaries.  After a time he came to realize that the doctrines being taught at the temples was not what he was reading in the Buddhas teachings.  From his years of intense study Nichiren learned that the Buddha had clearly stated that “The Lotus Sutra” was his highest teaching, but this was not what the various sects of Buddhism in Japan were teaching.


He began to openly preach his direct realizations on “The Lotus Sutra” and at first he was merely criticized.  Later, however, when he started to acquire followers, he began to be openly persecuted. 


He was eventually exiled because of his teachings, to a small island off of the coast of Japan.  He began to preach his doctrine to the locals on the island, and gained a significant following there.  A few years later he was pardoned from exile, and returned to Japan.


He went right back to preaching and his movement grew dramatically, which had an adverse effect on other temples income.  Soon rival priests were plotting to have him killed.  They pulled some official strings, and his execution was set up.  However, there was some kind of problem and the execution did not take place.  The best they could do was to have him exiled again.  This time, the conditions of the island were so harsh, that he was sure to die.  However, thanks to the great care given to him by his followers and people on the island he not only survived he also wrote some of his most important works, which are still read and treasured to this day.

            Later he was pardoned again.  He retired to an area where he had loyal supporters and he spent the rest of his life training his students and writing letters to his followers.  The practice he taught was a form of meditation based on chanting the mantra Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.  He also told his students that they should recite chapter two and sixteen of “The Lotus Sutra” every day (See “Inside The Lotus Sutra”) as well as learn the eighty thousand doctrines of the Buddha. 

            We have many of these letters that Nichiren wrote today, and you can get translations of a few of them at our website (  You can find more translations by following the links on the same site.


For more information about Nichiren and the practice he taught see “Day by Day,” and for information and study material on “The Lotus Sutra” visit out Lotus Sutra Study Center.





My Experience




I started practicing Buddhism when I was eight years old.  I didn’t understand much about it, nor did I particularly want to at that time.  I figured that Buddhism was the same as my old religion, and that it wouldn’t make any sense.  I never studied at first, and I didn’t practice much until I started getting things that I prayed for.  They were small things at first, a new game, or a cool piece of computer hardware, and then when my life condition started to improve-- not just the quality of my material possessions.  I began to develop a small amount of faith. 

When I was in the sixth grade, right before I turned twelve, I actually got the one thing that I was convinced would make me happy; I got out of school.  My parents put me into a home schooling program and I graduated at age fourteen.  It was not that I hated learning; it was the environment that I had to learn in that I so detested.  In home schooling, I learned twice as much in half the time, and as of November 2 of this year, I will be eligible for collage.

It was when I started home schooling that I began to develop serious faith in Buddhism.  I also began studying everyday.  Some sutras and teachings were easy for me, while others were not.  It took me almost 5 years to understand “The Lotus Sutra”!  It was not until I read “Inside The lotus Sutra” (available in our library section) that I really began to understand this profound teaching of the Buddha.

As the life condition of my entire family became better, so did our surroundings.  Just recently we moved into a much better neighborhood.  Today I run the website for Buddhist Information, give speeches, answer the phone, and I also write the occasional lecture. 

For the past two “Compassion Days” I went to the Country Club Plaza and gave speeches representing our school of Buddhism.  “Compassion Day” is sponsored by “Tricycle Magazine” and brings all the various Buddhist Groups in the city together to talk to anyone who is interested in learning more about the Buddhist faith.

 Ever since my family started practicing Buddhism, we have not lacked anything material, and everything we want comes our way.  When we started this practice, my father was in a wheel chair, and my mother was constantly ill.  Today, my dad gets around with a cane, and mom is in much better health.  We run Buddhist Information of North America, and send information on Buddhism all over the North American continent, including Hawaii, Canada, The USA, The Bahamas, and Alaska.  We also maintain a vast online Library, which is freely accessible to anyone.

            My father now writes Buddhist Books.  He has finished three of them, “Stop Suffering: A Buddhist Guide To Happiness,”  “Day by Day,” and “Inside The Lotus Sutra.”  “Stop Suffering” is available from “,” the other two can be read by anyone who is interested in the free on-line library at www.  He also writes lectures and has made numerous audiotapes for the people who study here. 

            I started this practice with no faith, but despite this the practice still worked for me.  If it hadn’t, then the Buddhist Law would not be a universal law.  If you leap off of a cliff, and say “I don’t believe in gravity.  I have no faith in gravity” all the way down, and even if you really don’t have any belief or faith in gravity, you will still be hurt, possibly killed when you hit the ground.  The Buddhist Law is also like this, it works regardless who believes or does not believe in it. 

Under all circumstances, this practice works.  You do not have to have faith in it for it to work.  You do not have to make your mind believe anything to receive value from this practice.  Eventually, because it does work, you will develop faith.  Whatever religion you practice should be the same way or you are cheating yourself.  If a religion is real, you can see it, prove it, and demonstrate this truth for the entire world to see.








The Kindness Of Dharma Teachers





There is no one more important to your growth and spiritual development than the person who teaches you Dharma.  People who have a present connection to the Dharma often times fail to appreciate what it is they have.  They do not understand how rare it is to encounter these teachings, let alone have some one to instruct them.  You owe your teacher in the Dharma a debt that is similar in magnitude to that of your present parents.

            The person who first introduces you to the Dharma has saved you from endless suffering.  It is not easy to encounter the Dharma many people live, die, and never even hear the word.  Therefore you should treat your instructor in the Dharma as if he were a Buddha.  You should offer him the highest honors, make sure that he is never in need of anything, and always respect his teaching. 

            Your Dharma teacher is like a kind and experienced sailor.  He saw you, from his safe and sturdy ship, flailing about in the ocean, so he threw you a rope, and pulled you to safety.  Your natural response to a person who rescues you from drowning should be gratitude.  You should feel that same way towards some one who pulls you from the ocean of suffering.

            This world we live in is like a great ocean in many ways.  There are dangers at every turn, things lurking in the murky depths, hoping to catch you off guard so that they can devour you.  We, who live in this world, are akin to some one who is swimming in this ocean water.  Such a person is oblivious to the predators and numerous other dangers, which could quickly kill you.  There is evidence all around you that such things exist in the water, but you do not look and so you do not see, instead you swim on.  A Dharma teacher has long ago realized the dangers of the ocean, and has constructed a boat for himself.  He still remains with us in the ocean, but is unaffected by the presence of sharks, jellyfish, and the other dangers of the sea. 

This Dharma teacher calls to you from the safety of his ship, saying, “ Swimming in the middle of the ocean is dangerous.  My ship is warm and safe from sharks, jellyfish, and sharp coral reefs.  It is also stocked with food and fresh, clean water.  Please save yourself and come aboard!” 

            You now become alerted to the dangers of the ocean so you exercise your limited judgment and climb aboard his ship, and he begins to teach you about a land area called ‘shore’ where you will be happy. 

This shore is Nirvana.  The Ocean is the way we view our world before we develop the wisdom to see things clearly.  A person who studies Dharma could easily remain static in the happy state he acquires at the shore, and not go out sailing, looking to save people from their own suffering.  Sailing is a lot of effort and yet they always return to the rough areas of the ocean seeking to help as many people as possible.

            This Dharma teacher selflessly gives his time, his entire life really, to teach people who want to be free from the poison of mental suffering.  A real Dharma Teacher is available to you twenty-four hours every day of the year.  This teacher will give you guidance soundly based on the Dharma and will never charge a fee or accept money from you!

            Not being respectful to your Dharma teacher would be foolish!  Without him you would still be in the ocean, swimming around, oblivious to all the danger.  He sails in visible range of the people in his environment and frees himself from the chains of suffering he was voluntarily born with, to show others that they could do the same!  Yet, many pay no attention, pretend not to see him or worse, make light of his efforts.           

You have the karma to notice his ship and enough wisdom to grab the line he throws so you quickly scramble aboard. 

            Once you are on the ship, he begins to teach you how to sail it.  He shows you how to start the engines, how to steer, and he charts a course for you that leads to the shore of Nirvana.  He tells you how to avoid reefs, what to do in a storm, how to get food when supplies are low, where you can get fresh water, all of the knowledge you need to become a seasoned captain.  Once you have learned these skills, you have the ability to end your personal suffering and the burning desire to free as many other people as possible from the sea of suffering.

            This ship is the Dharma.  It will inevitably carry you to the shore of Nirvana and as you learn to sail you will become more skillful.

Although clumsy at first you will soon be able to steer with ease.  Please notice that a genuine Dharma teacher wants his students to equal or exceed anything he manages to accomplish.  A true teacher does not want to make you dependent on him nor does he want you to support him financially.     

            My Dharma teacher is also my father.  He has taught me the Dharma since I was seven years old.  He rescued me from suffering, and has shown me the way to Nirvana.  The only way I can repay the debt I owe him for this is to take the knowledge he has given me, and reach out to assist as many people as possible.

            To be Buddhist means that we teach others.  To correctly practice Mahayana Buddhism we must teach the Dharma freely to anyone who wants to learn.  There is no separation of these two things.  If you practice Buddhism, but fail to teach the Dharma, you will never attain enlightenment.  If you say to yourself, “I will wait until I am fully enlightened to teach the Dharma,” and you follow through with this policy and do not teach others then you will never attain enlightenment.  You learn more in a year of teaching then you will in decades of private studying.  There are insights that you will never gain if you do not teach.

             I know that many people never get to hear Dharma, let alone have a teacher to guide their footsteps.  I have the great good fortune to live with my Dharma teacher.  He is constantly at work, always studying or writing or chanting. 

He is like an immovable force!  Sometimes he works so hard that he collapses in bed at the end of the day having done nothing else but Dharma activities!  He has produced three books on Buddhism back-to-back in less that a full year, and is working on another one.  His goal is to teach somebody every day until the day he dies

My Teacher has always been self-sacrificing and noble, especially on my behalf.  He has always gone out of his way to make sure that my education, both Buddhist and worldly, was lacking nothing.  Thanks to him, I have given numerous lectures on Buddhism and I am close to finishing my first book

Once again I would like to thank my teacher and father, for all of the hard work that he has done on my behalf, and I only hope to some day be as kind and loving a person.  My goal at the moment is to become as tolerant of others as he is. 

All that I know has been directly transmitted to me from my father and teacher Stephen Klick.  I would like to dedicate the merit accrued from this writing to him.  I would not have had the opportunity to practice the Dharma without his help, and I therefore think that any merit I receive should really be his.









Every word in this book is sincere but please believe none of it!  Buddhists do not blindly trust, they find out for themselves through direct experience.  I urge you to read the rest of the books in the BIONA series and test the practice they teach.  If this practice is real you will see that it directly improves your mind and life.  If it can’t prove itself to you in a reasonable amount of time then why would you continue to practice it?


Author’s Guarantee:


If you try this practice for three months I promise you that your life will dramatically improve no matter what your life is like when you start. 


I make this unconditional promise because these teachings are based on the one great Law that runs the entire universe.  Remember, to really do this practice you must chant “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo” for a few minutes several times a day as well as study the teachings of the Buddha.  It is also important to make a start learning the Gongyo ceremony (sutra recitation of chapter two and sixteen of “The Lotus Sutra”)

Since you are new to the practice you will not need to chant for more then ten or fifteen minutes per day but if you can do more you will certainly benefit from it.  Daily study is important but since this is an experiment you don’t want to spend much (or any) money if possible.  As long as you have access to the Internet you can use the library at the BIONA website.  You can study for a year or two just with the material you find provided and the links to our ‘sister’ sites will last even longer.

The phone lines at BIONA are also answered twenty-four hours every day so before you try this practice make certain that you know how to pronounce “Nam Myoho-Renge-Kyo” properly.  If you do this practice without guidance you will probably just waste your time.





Thank you for reading this book.  Spiritual growth and personal morality are critical for proper human development.  These subjects are the most important issues that face us as individual human beings as well as collectively as a society.  I personally encourage you to decide to work for the benefit of all beings everywhere.  


I recently read a teaching that said a good thing to do when you are, say riding in a car, is to imagine your love as sonic waves, and to further imagine that they extending from you into everyone and everything on earth.  It is a very peaceful way to calm yourself and it’s also a good practice to use when training your mind.


If you really could extend your love to everyone on earth, to just ‘make’ every one happy, I am sure that my teacher would have done so long ago.  I would like to thank all of my teachers, and all of the Buddha’s for making this book possible.  I would especially like to thank my father and teacher Stephen Klick, for suggesting that I write a book, and for giving me the wisdom and knowledge to write it with.


May all beings in the universe be affected by my love, may all beings attain true and perfect enlightenment.  May all beings come to know the true meaning of love.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, may all beings benefit.