Tangyo Raihai By Rev. Yamamura

Tangyo Raihai

There was a priest called Fukyou in India long ago. He did not read sutras at his temple, nor did he give sermons, and never conducted memorial services. So, what did he actually do? He would get up in the morning, put on his priest’s attire and go out. As he met people, he would bow his head, put his hands together, and say, “I respect you, and will never look down you,” and continued on his path. That’s all he did. If a priest suddenly came up to you, and said those things, wouldn’t you be surprised? If this happened today, he would simply be ignored, and be brushed off, but back then, people were offended, and threw rocks and tiles at the priest. Fukyou would run away, bow his head from afar, and repeat, “I am not looking down on you. I respect you,” and offered more prayers. This practice is called, Tangyou Raihai, and is found in 20th chapter of the lotus sutra.

I don’t know how many of you remember, but in 1970 there was a hi-jacking of a Japan Airlines flight from Tokyo to Fukuoka by the Red Army faction of the Japanese Communist Party. The flight was diverted to Seoul’s Kimpo Airport, and finally to Pyongyang. When the Japanese Prime Minister at the time, Takeo Fukuda had the hostages released, he said “Human lives weigh more than the earth itself.” That is so true, a human being’s life is heavier than the earth. The same goes for you and those around you. Every human being is given a life, which is heavier than earth. We were sent to earth to perform a duty just by being alive. Every human being is equal.

The priest Fukyou worshipped our lives, and prayed for us. If you pass this practice on by worshipping others, and praying for them, you begin to realize how important and precious your existence is. Instead of worshipping yourselves, it becomes a privilege to pray for others.

One of the main goals of Buddhism is to rid yourself of self-loathing. Even if you say, “I love myself dearly,” I think you realize deep down inside that life is fleeting. Self-hatred is buried deep down inside our hearts.

You ask, “What should I do, then?” You should praise yourself. Speak well of yourself. Give praise to yourself. “I’m doing my best.” “I honor myself.” Tell yourself that.

However, if you bow your head and pray for others, you will gain greater satisfaction.    Another person’s life is the same as yours. In weight and in value. By looking up to others, your are also honoring yourself. But why would you pray for someone you don’t like? You are not offering prayers to that person, but allowing yourself to pray for their life.

Let’s think about how we can have peace of mind and be happy. If you are not happy, you will not be able to make others happy. First, lead a happy life. If you have not attained happiness, you will not be able to respect others. But as you continue to pray for that person’s existence you will be satisfied, and will be able to have deep love for others. That is why it is important to pray for others. Start by putting your hands together for others. You will start to realize that to worship others is the same as worshipping yourself. As you worship others, you will also be honoring yourself.

The life of another person is your life. As you are allowed to pray for them, you will be honored, and obtain gratification.