Buddha-Nature (1): Revering Buddha-Nature

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Buddha-Nature (1): Revering Buddha-Nature
Citation: Scarangello, Dominick. "Buddha-Nature (1): Revering Buddha-Nature." Dharma World 45 (2018): 28–36.


No abstract given. Here are the first relevant paragraphs:

Emulating Never Disrespectful Bodhisattva

The Quest of the Monk Sōō to Practice Revering Buddha-Nature

The "marathon monks" of Japan are one of the iconic images of Japanese Buddhism, familiar to people the world over. These monks walk excruciating mountain circuits on Mount Hiei near Kyoto and Mount Kinpu in Nara Prefecture for a summer retreat of one hundred days. A handful in the posar period have performed the insufferable thousand-day version of this retreat, and also completed additional ascetic practices to gain the title of Great Acarya. Having achieved the humanly impossible, they are sometimes referred to as living buddhas.
      Hagiographic sources tell us that the founder of this practice, the Tendai monk Sōō (831-918), was motivated to seek enlightenment when as a novice monk he studied the part of the Lotus Sutra that tells the story of Never Disrespectful Bodhisattva. Sōō set his heart on emulating Never Disrespectful's way of practice, walking about making obeisances to other people as future buddhas. Unfortunately, Sōō's responsibilities to look after his teacher, and the daily task of going into the mountains to harvest anise-tree leaves for the offerings at the monastery's central hall, prevented him from dedicating himself solely to the reverence of other people's buddha-nature. According to tradition, however, Sōō's daily forays into the mountain became the origin of today's marathon-monk practice, in which ascetic monks revere the shrines of Buddhist deities and places where Japanese divinities abide in the mountains. It is often said that the marathon monk's true object of reverence is the buddha-nature of the natural world.
      The Lotus Sutra's Never Disrespectful Bodhisattva is an archetype of respect for the inherent dignity of sentient beings. As told in chapter 20 of the Lotus Sutra, one time in the past there was a monk who did not practice by chanting sutras but instead went around making obeisance to every person he met, telling them, "I would never dare to disrespect you, because surely you are all to become buddhas!" As the reader can probably anticipate, the Lotus Sutra tells us that Never Disrespectful was oftentimes ridiculed, even physically attacked, but he bore it all patiently and through this practice not only purified his mind and body but also transformed the hearts and minds of the people around him. The Lotus Sutra tells us that performing this practice leads to quickly attaining the Buddha Way. (Scarangello, "Buddha-Nature (1)," 28-29) (Read entire article here)