The Concept of Karma and Rebirth


Each person, depending on how they were raised, and what they were taught, has an opinion about what happens when we die. There are also those who think nothing happens. We live, we die, and that’s it. We believe what we do, because it is what we want to believe happens. To adhere to the teachings of our religion we find ways to justify our belief. If we were raised in a different religion we would be adamant that those teachings would also be the truth. Which one is right? You have to study other religions to find out. Many people – actually most people – never take a serious look at what a different faith has to teach, except to try to find ways to prove it to be false by comparing it to their own beliefs. But if you looked at it objectively you would find many similarities, perhaps only explaining it a different way. It’s important to remember, whatever you believe, it began with a human being’s interpretation of phenomena that later was interpreted again and again, while trying to make sense of life and death. Bottom line, people are afraid of dying. They “get religion” at the end, just in case.

Years ago there was a man in my life who was a staunch atheist. That was fine with me. I was agnostic. I didn’t know and at the time I didn’t care. I left the Christian religion years before because I didn’t see anyone applying the teachings to his life to become a better person. It didn’t mean anything to anyone. People went to church because that is what everyone did. If they didn’t go, other people would ask questions. So everyone had their social time together, but it didn’t affect their own personal growth. I guess Jesus “saved” them, although that terminology didn’t exist back then. Not one time growing up, and I was in the church almost every day for one reason or another and I never heard the words uttered “Jesus saved . .” So that must have started recently in the last 30-40 years. They were going to heaven. They didn’t need to work on changing themselves.

27 years ago my mother stopped going to church. She had learned about Nichiren Buddhism. She now had the answers to questions her pastors over the years couldn’t give her. The answers that made sense. She’s almost 83 now. She attributes still being alive because she learned HOW to live her life and how she could overcome her problems without asking an entity to do it for her. She knows that who she is now, in these last years of her life still determine the Spring of her rebirth. Every day she prays for wisdom and patience. She is so alive.

The atheist I lived with was later diagnosed with cancer. The closer he came to dying, he abandoned his atheism and turned to God – just in case. He was afraid of dying. If he hadn’t been sick he would still be an atheist. It was his choice, of course, if it gave him comfort, but it doesn’t make it real. God didn’t save him. He still died. Good or bad, no matter what happens, people always say, “It was the Lords will.” No it wasn’t. He had cancer. Did God give him cancer so he could die? No. God didn’t give me Hep C so I needed a liver transplant, either. I did that to myself with drugs 40 years ago. Now my Hep C is gone. Did God do that? No. Was it the Lord’s will? No. It was mine. I asked my doctors for the meds. God had nothing to do with anything.

Apparently Ted Cruz’s father thinks differently.  These next pictures show abuse of religion in politics with the determination of deliberately swaying the Christian vote. This is swaying people’s thoughts that only a Christian is fit to be a president even though there are multiple faiths practiced.  Is this what Christianity teaches?  Does professing to be Christian automatically make him more fit than someone who isn’t a Christian?  Do politicians have to convince people they are Christian even if they aren’t or they won’t get elected. You would never see a Buddhist using his faith for political gain. “I’m a Buddhist, elect me.”

I could never go back to Christianity. I tried to once, in my early 20’s. For two years I tried every day to make God the center of my life. I tried so hard to develop a relationship with him. I tried to feel the love. I studied. I went to church. I was “saved”. Two years later I realized it made absolutely no difference in my life at all. So I just stopped one day and that made no difference, either. There was no proof that my faith changed anything in my life. What was I believing in? I realized there were too many unbelievable things I had to make myself believe were true that went against reason. I might as well go to a ouiji board for answers about life and death.

Ten years later I started to study Nichiren Buddhism. I saw proof in my life. But just like Christianity there are many schools of thought. Different sects with different ideas that try to explain life and death. What is karma? How do our thoughts, words and actions affect our life? And what is rebirth? Where are we reborn? Who are we? Why are we who we are when we are born. Looking at our own lives, the traits we have, our talents or lack of them; are we pretty, ugly, happy, depressed, angry, rich, poor, abusive parents, aborted, sick, healthy, intelligent or stupid. Why are we who we are? Do you think it is all the luck of the draw? Do you think an entity “up there” took the time to individually pick all of the traits you ha e and he does that for every single fetus? Or does he only do that for Christian fetuses? I use fetus, because these things are inherently in us in the womb. Who decides the traits for everyone else? All those babies in this world in countries who die of starvation who never had a chance to “pick” a religion. For me, this is where believing in a thinking entity breaks down. A loving God? You wish.

I spend a lot of time contemplating these questions. I’m not quick to believe what anyone says is the truth. Even when you break it down to simple gossip, people tend to believe what people say, pass it on and add a few new twists to it. That doesn’t make it truth unless it can be proven. “Jesus loves you!” Oh yeah? Prove it. “Jesus lives!” There is no proof he ever lived, and if he did, he sure doesn’t live today and he doesn’t love you today. He may have been a good man 2000 years ago but he isn’t alive today and his spirit does not talk to you. The problem is that Christians idealize the man, when they should worship the teachings. Worshiping the man doesn’t change you into a better person. “He” can’t change you. Only you can do that by your thoughts, words and actions. You do that with the wisdom you gained through overcoming problems. That is what really affects your life. You. You make the causes. You get the effects. You reap what you sow. This is a Christian teaching that I don’t see being applied anywhere. Does a Christian think about that everyday in all they do? Because that creates your karma and you will get back what you dish out. In Buddhism, “you reap what you sow” is the primary, most important thing to learn. “The law of cause and effect.” Have you applied that to your life today or are you waiting for God to make things happen. It doesn’t matter what you believe. You will reap exactly what you sow. Your life doesn’t happen because God decided it should happen. Your life happens the way you caused it to happen.


The Bible was written by many men interpreting what they knew. They wrote about karma. These writings were removed. Political leaders needed to manipulate the masses, the same way they do today. You can read it everyday in the news; which presidential candidate is the best Christian, they claim, to get the Christian vote? Do you think the are really Christians who value the lessons taught? I don’t. Their kind of Christian is scary.

Many of the teachings of Christianity and Buddhism are the same, although Buddhism doesn’t just tell you the teachings, it explains why it’s important and also explains the effects if you don’t learn it, but still, the message is the same. The difference lies in what happens when you die if you didn’t change the negativity in your life and have positive results. Maybe you ran from your problems instead. Maybe you blamed your problems on someone our something else. Maybe you didn’t learn you problems our become a better person. You’ll have to do it over until you get it right. Christians should want to have Christlike behavior. Buddhists want Buddhahood. It’s the same thing.

I am NOT saying that Christians should become Buddhists. But I am saying you should look internally to break through your problems instead of asking something outside yourself to plan and execute your life. All life – ALL LIFE – goes through the cycle of birth, aging, sickness and death – THEN – birth. The cycle of seasons goes from Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter – then – Spring. Never does the cycle change. If all life goes through this cycle, why would our life be different? That is common sense. We don’t die and go to heaven to be judged and hopefully go to a paradise or hell. We die and the causes we made in this lifetime will be the judge as to how our life will be when we go through the next cycle. WE determine our own lives by our actions. Heaven and hell is something we live determined by what we do. It isn’t some place we go to after we die. Life is eternal and we either learn the lessons our life has put in front of us, depending on the causes we made, or we don’t learn it and have to repeat it. God can’t change your life, or make you well, or get you that job you need. Only you can do that. Something outside of yourself isn’t there. It is your own power inside yourself that changes your life.Daisaku Ikeda guidance

Today, our ability to reason far surpasses the capabilities of man in the past. They understood so little. It HAD to seem mysterious to them. Two thousand years have passed. It is an extremely short period of time when compared to the hundreds of thousands of years man has walked the earth. In the last two thousand years, the teachings of all religions continued to change and have new interpretations by different people. People conclude these interpretations are the truth, never looking to see if they actually make sense, in lui of our ability to understand things today. Instead, the more unbelievable the stories are, the more they are believed, because that in itself makes it more mysterious. God formed man out of clay, but Abel went off and married? To whom? A virgin birth with God as the dad? Believing in an all knowing, loving, but vengeful, very egotistical God, that “wants” you to suffer to teach you lessons, doesn’t make any sense. Why would you want to believe that, except that was what you were taught – what came to you in a very long, often changed, line of gossip. Use your brain. Step back.

why do you believe what you believe.Think for yourself. Why do you believe what you believe? Because you were told, or because you studied and compared what you learned. Don’t be afraid of what others will think. It’s your life.

This Lifetime Will Never Come Again


This lifetime will never come again; it is precious and irreplaceable.  To live without regret, it is crucial for us to have a concrete purpose and continually set goals and challenges for ourselves.  It is equally important that we keep moving forward toward specific targets steadily and tenaciously, one step at a time.

Daisaku Ikeda   SGI International      my mentor

Nichiren Buddhist lay organization

Daisaku Ikeda, sgi-usa, daily guidance, Nichiren buddhism
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Getting Myself Back Together Again – At Last!

Daisaku Ikeda guidance
I’ve had a pretty rough three months that has given me a close relationship again with my bed. It nearly succeeded in making me immobile and once again I am pulling myself up by the bootstraps. I haven’t posted often on this blog during this time. I’ve been trying sporadically to keep up my other blog on my Nook Sitting up has been nauseating. But there is light at the end of the tunnel! For that I know I am fortunate, for I know those who aren’t so lucky and are on rougher rides.

I know how damned hard it is to deal with a debilitating chronic illness that never leaves you pain free for long, but occasionally there are times you have a good enough day you are encouraged to believe you are beating it and you have the mental energy to convince yourself that you’re winning. I feel an obligation to the people close to me to prove to them I’m okay so they don’t worry. I get so very tired of the question, “How are you doing today?” Out of concern for me, I know, but how many ways can you answer that question? But now I know I really am winning. I feel like I can leap over tall buildings in a single bound! ( That translates into being able to go to the grocery store and staying on my feet long enough to make it to the checkout line.)

Because of my determination I suck it up and force myself to push on. But it is because of this very determination, and because the mind is a very powerful part of who we are – I’m still here. I shouldn’t be. When you believe you will win your mind will find a way to do so. You are more powerful than you give yourself credit.

I have seen hopelessness in people. I’ve watched them give up finding meaning in their life even if it is just old age, with old age deterioration, often because of neglect of their health. No more dreams. No new “projects” to start. Waiting to die. No reaching out to help someone else because they are too busy complaining about their problems. They are lonely. They don’t make new friends. They bitch and moan and wait to die. The last years of your life determine your success with life. Die mentally miserable means you blew it. What a waste. It’s easy to fall into that trap and it’s very hard to pull yourself out of it – especially if you’re waiting for something “out there” to fix your life for you.

What has given me the strength, and therefore the knowledge, to survive and continue to push myself to develop my life takes more energy than I have sometimes. My confidence is in my practice of Nichiren Buddhism. That is why I have the courage and confidence in myself that what I’m going through has a reason. I absolutely DO NOT BELIEVE in the fiction of an emotional, angry, loving supreme alien being in the sky who loves me and gives me benefits if I catch him on a good day, ignores me other times, and allows so many to suffer because…because…just because I was taught that as a kid. One woman told me that when things get bad enough he’ll step in and help. I choked on that statement. God always has an out for not doing anything. I just have trouble believing in anything that relies on blind faith and no proof. He ranks up there with the tooth fairy.

After 40 years of hep C and all the pain and variety of illnesses and suffering it caused, I started on the new hep C drug, Harvoni, 2 1/2 months ago – and it’s gone! Totally. …Gone. The virus is undetectable!! Wow! That did a number on my head. Holy shit! Gone. Now, the deal is, I have to take the meds until mid Feb and it has to still be gone 6 months after that before I can say, next August that I’m cured and throw a party, but wow! Just simply wow 🙂

I had surgery early August on my spine – because damage hep C and cirrhosis did to my bones. People know it can kill your liver but nobody really talks about the other destruction it does – the surgery, or rather the implant that was put in, hurt the intercostal muscles between my left ribs. The implant was inserted up my spine and when turned on generates electricity that overrides pain signals before it gets to the brain. At first it really helped. But now I can’t turn it on because it causes pain instead of taking it away. Healing time is 6-12 months and even then turning it on may re-damage it. That’s my lousy karma. What can go wrong usually does. I started the Hep C treatment right after the surgery and that made me very sick curled up on my bed for 2 months until the stopped one of the meds. It’s not as bad as interferon but it brought my life to a halt. I couldn’t do anything – didn’t want to do anything. I was a slug. I lived on anti-nausea meds.

This treatment won’t undo the damage already done, but as long as my body doesn’t reject my liver transplant I’M GOING TO LIVE LONGER! It will stop more damage. I’m happy!! I chanted nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the determination to show proof in my life of the power each person has to change his karma – caused by the things we think, do and say. I did this to myself. I am responsible for my life and it is my responsibility to change it. Happiness isn’t given to us. We need to find the absolute happiness that is in our life. Not the happiness we get from things or events, but indestructible happiness no one can shake. We can’t pray to an outside source for it. We have to create it. Then we have to share it and encourage others they can too.

Word of advice -you already know this and are probably ignoring it – if you are doing something destructive to your life and have a variety of stupid excuses why you are doing it – you know the excuses – trust me – YOU DO NOT WANT TO LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES NO MATTER WHAT YOU TELL YOURSELF. It’s not worth it, and you are going to care a lot when you are faced with the consequences. You are going to be sorry. You aren’t special. It will get you.

The major desire I have in my life is to help others – I want my life to make a difference. It’s why I write – letters, my blogs, the book I’m writing, my music, poetry. My illnesses taught me so much I wouldn’t have understood otherwise. It is my benefit. It brought me home, near my mother. If I wasn’t sick I would have missed these years. But how can I encourage others if I don’t show proof in my own life of what a single person can do. That powerful God-like-nature is in all of us, it’s not “out there” getting jealous if it isn’t worshipped.

Who could have ever known being so sick would have the power to make me so happy. Who can see the positive side of their adversity? It has taken a long time to understand this with a long way to go. It’s up to me to change it. Whatever happens from here I know this karma is changed. I won’t be repeating it.

Happy face

So to my sick friends reading this – you know who you are – you understand. And to everyone else who battles a hardship of any kind. Relationship, job, environment – You know how hard it is. Can you list the ways your adversity has made you a better person? Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. Sometimes there are things we need to learn first. But for me – finally – this week has been a giant win and I am enjoying it!

I recorded a new piece of music on my new piano. (First gift to myself in a long time, with the help of my son, and the support of my old hippie) It is the most recent post on my other blog.

Second Time Around . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Sonni Quick piano music complete list

What Does The Bible Say About This?

I have some questions I wish someone would answer.  I’m trying to decide if I want to go to heaven.
What would life be without challenges? Are there any challenges in heaven or are we done with all that? It is easy to say, if we got everything we wanted in life it would be very boring. If we didn’t have to work to improve our life or our talents, it would be no fun.  If it all came easy, there would be no feeling of accomplishment. That is how I view heaven and why I would never want to go there when I try to imagine what I have heard about the place.

bearI relate life to the song, “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” and what do you think he saw?  He saw another mountain. If there were no more mountains to climb there would be no more lessons to learn, and you might as well park it in front of your TV and let someone else’s life and let their problems entertain you until you are tired enough to go to sleep.  BORING.

I think heaven would be very boring without challenges to overcome and things to learn. Is there any mention in the Bible of being able to go to school in heaven, or do we automatically know everything about everything and everyone there all knows the same stuff, too?  No one is smarter than anyone else?  No one has a different talent?  Can everyone play the piano?  If there isn’t a piano there I don’t want to go.  Or do we all just sit around in the grass and feeling happy?  I get a lot of enjoyment from learning new things and if I can’t do that in heaven I’d be pretty upset – and bored.  Do we just sit around adoring God and feeding his over large ego who says – “There shall be no Gods before me or I’ll through a plague or something at you.”  Sounds pretty insecure to me.

This is part of my problem with Christianity.  I’d have an easier time accepting it except for the human feelings and emotions of love and hate that are given to him. He also sounds extremely selfish and definitely only loving when he feels like it. “You didn’t worship me enough today.  I didn’t see you at my feet.  Where were you?”

We are supposed to be able to see God in heaven right?  There are a lot of people up there.  It should be crowded, except for all of these really good people who helped people and cared for the sick and loved the animals, but they were atheists and Buddhists and Christian scientists (they are a little weird) and yes, Muslims and wiccans and pagans and they all had to go to hell.  There are a whole bunch more of all these people than there are Christians because Christianity is not the number one religion in the world and yet they can’t go to heaven.  But a really bad person can repent at the end and he gets to go!  Maybe he doesn’t get all the same perks as someone who was a believer their whole life.  What does the Bible say about that?

Since there are many many planets and we aren’t even at the center of everything, and there are also many solar systems we know nothing about, and we amount to a piece of dust,  the chance of other types of life are probably out there.  So how come God has human “feelings”?  Or is he a different god to other species?  I think people have attached these human qualities out of a need to be protected and loved.  I practice Nichiren Buddhism as many of you already know.  We DO BELIEVE there is power in the universe.  It’s as real as the tides and the cycle of life – birth, aging, sickness and death that all life goes through.  We just don’t give it emotions.  We don’t need to have it love us.  To me that seems silly.  I read a bunch of posters on facebook that has God saying this and that and feeling this and that and you know darn well he never said any of it.  It is a human being projecting their own feelings on what they think God would have said.  Now, I may be pissing off a few people, but I have to deal with so much stuff on Christianity printed online so you can deal with this from me.  If you continue reading you just might learn something useful.

Tell me about these mansions we are to live in – are they self cleaning? Do we just go outside mansion in heavenand play? What good is having a mansion if we don’t cook in it, because we can’t eat because then we have to poop and then we would need plumbing and plumbers to keep them fixed. I doubt we need to sleep so what do we do all night?  Or is there even night and day?  What the hell do we do all day?  I need answers!

Are there any new books being written? I love to read.  I just have so many questions about what we do for eternity because it really is a long time. And after all the people we knew and were close to have died, and they have gone to either heaven or hell, then there would be no new people to greet. No new babies to cuddle or birthday cakes to make. No new friends – unless we make friends of other people up there? Any mention of these things in the Bible?

Please – someone tell me – what do we do for eternity in heaven where the skies are always blue and the birds always sing and harps never need to be tuned or repaired? I hear a lot from Christians about going to heaven when they die but I have never heard one person tell me what happens after we get there! If you have the answer, tell me. If no one knows, I have no intention on going. I think I will instead reincarnate into another life so I can continue on my growth. I’d rather use the wisdom I am gaining and move to a higher stage of development so I can help other people overcome the problems in their life.  I want to be able to use what I am learning for a better purpose.

Our life is one big cause and effect. 100%. We can’t pick and choose what we want and have it magically be there. We have to work for it. I think everyone can agree on that. It has to happen because we made a cause for it. We have to make a plan and fight through all the setbacks until we accomplish it. We have to be responsible for the effect of our causes. We can’t chose to not be affected by our causes just like we can’t choose when we want to be affected by gravity. Gravity doesn’t work only part of the time. If we jump off a building we are going to smack the ground. That is cause and effect.

life is an echo, you reap what you sowIn the Bible it teaches  “You reap what you sow”. What does that mean to you? How much time have you given to thinking about that? Do you apply it to everything you do?  Do you think before you act? It’s the same thing as the law of cause and effect.  Buddhist or Christian it is the exact same thing.  So either you are responsible or you aren’t. If you come back and say God gives you free will then doesn’t that blow his plan to pieces? Or does he keep readjusting the plan depending on the causes you make. That is confusing. Either he has a plan or he doesn’t. You don’t reap what you sow part of the time – you reap it all of the time. It is the basis for all you do because you have to live with the effects.  We get back what we dish out. What goes around come around. We all have karma, made by what you think, say and do. Hundreds of years ago they took any mention of the word karma out of the bible. Why? In order to control the people who could neither read nor right.  They had to be afraid of going to hell. If they knew they didn’t have to fear the wrath of God they would have less control. I’m not making this up. This is history.
why do you believe what you believe.

Have you ever really asked yourself why you believe what you do? Seriously? I have. When I was young – up until age 18 I believed what I was taught to believe. Everyone around me believed the same thing. A lot of them even went to the same church I did. There was also Monday evening catechism class, Girl Scouts on Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon bible school and Thursday evening choir practice, Sunday school and Church. We were in the church a lot. That was in addition to my parents activities and pot lucks and Luther league. Church was a big part of our life and I had a good time. I had my Sunday clothes and shoes and after church we always had a big Sunday dinner where everyone sat around the table. We had all of our dinners together. Aside from the religion itself, I came from a time when families acted like a family. We were taught table manners and never talked back to our elders. We never even THOUGHT about talking back to our elders. Showing respect was a big thing. Once that was lost it is easy to see the effect on families today.

But back to religion – it was all for show.  It had nothing to do with what was taught during the sermons.  Everyone believed in God because it was what you were taught.  You never learned anything else. That DOES NOT make it valid. When you question what you’re taught and start to think for yourself, you finally say, this doesn’t make sense.  You realize it is only something passed doesn’t through the ages, like gossip, changing here and there depending on the capacity of the people’s understanding at the time.

angry godSome people are afraid to not believe just in case God gets angry and causes bad things to happen. Some people believe because they want a place like heaven to exist because the are either afraid of dying or because they don’t want to exist.  Some people believe because they are afraid of what people will say.  Some people believe because it’s easier and they don’t want to have to learn anything else.  And . . . I can’t leave these people out . . . some people believe because they really do and they try hard to live by what they are taught.  I understand and respect that choice. There are many good things taught in the bible. You will find many of the same things in the Sutras – the teachings of Shakamuni Buddha.

What I have little respect for are the Christians who say they are Christian but it doesn’t effect their behavior. They say they believe in God but it doesn’t change anything. They think believing is all they need to do. Ask for forgiveness and keep on doing the same thing.

I’ve gone on a bit of a rant. But I’m serious about wanting to know what it is you believe happens in heaven because I seriously have no clue.  So if you can tell me I’d appreciate it.  Then again, if no one can answer my questions or give me anything more than what you think is up there and can’t back it up then I’ll just considerate it hearsay and whole lot of wishful thinking.

As a Buddhist I believe heaven and hell is life condition we live – not some place we go when we die.

Yes, Homosexuality Absolutely is A Choice

…….This is one of the best explanations I have read on this issue and it wasn’t what I expected. The responses on the original are very worth reading. I found this blog quite by accident (the best kind) because I replied to a comment I received which lead from blog to blog. If you have read my posts here or at my other blog My Name is Jamie. Life in Prison you may already know I am a Nichiren Buddhist. This explanation crosses faith lines. I would be curious to know how you feel about this.

john pavlovitz


Confession time.

To all of my Christian brothers and sisters who insist that homosexuality is a choice, I need to break down and finally admit something: I agree with you.

I believe that it absolutely is a choice too, only not in the way that you may have meant.

But I guess that’s largely the crux of the problem we have here. I think you use your terms too loosely without really thinking them through. When you say quite matter-of-factly that homosexualityis a choice, I’m not sure you really know in that moment, just what you mean by “homosexuality”.

Far too often Christian, when you make the statement that being gay is a sin, what you’re really doing without realizing it is reducing all LGBT people down to a sex act; as if that alone defines sexuality.

You’re denying any emotional component in their lives; any capacity to feel real love or show genuine affection toward someone…

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Daily Encouragement for July 17


Life isn’t always smooth. If it were we would never grow and develop as human beings. If we succeed we are envied;if we fail we re ridiculed and attacked. Sadly, this is how people are. Unexpected grief and suffering may lie ahead of you. But it is precisely when you encounter such trying times that you must not be defeated. Never give up. Never retreat.

Daisaku Ikeda   SGI-USA

Lay Nichiren Buddhist organization based on the Lotus Sutra

sgi-usaPeople often have a phrase or motto that sees them through difficult or important times.  A short saying, a few words, can determine the course of one’s entire life. Nam myoho renge kyo  Nam nyoho renge kyo

A Life Lived Without Purpose

Daisaku Ikeda, sgi-usa, daily guidance, Nichiren buddhism
Photo credit:

A life lived without purpose or value, the kind in which one doesn’t know the reason why one was born, is joyless and lackluster. To just live eat and die without real sense of purpose surely represents a life pervaded by the world of Animality. On the other hand, to do, create or contribute something that benefits others and to dedicate ourselves as long as we live up to that challenge – that is a life of true satisfaction, a life of value. It is a humanistic and lofty way to live.

Daisaku Ikeda
Soka Gakkai Int’l
Nichiren Buddhism