We are all imperfect. To try to pretend to be a perfect, flawless Buddha who is always smiling and compassionate so that others will take up this religion is both unrealistic and incorrect practice as well as a cop-out. Those who see us every day see real us. They see right through the pretense. However, what separates a genuine Buddhist practitioner from others is that a genuine Buddhist practitioner understands that he or she is far from a perfect Buddha yet makes efforts every day to live with greater self-awareness, greater compassion and a genuine self that can communicate in a real and natural way the greatness of Buddhist practice and the infinite reasons taking it up will greatly improve one’s life by seeing the real connections between the reality they experience, the causes they are making and the ways they are interpreting them and thinking about them. Rather than try to be a superior being, I am trying to be a better person than I was or even habitually am being up to this moment and I invite you to join me and see how much together we can accomplish so much more as our individual selves im our individual lives and thereby contribute to improving the world we live in that, if people stay as they are, will result in either nuclear annihilation or climate change annihilation, whichever ticking time bomb goes off first, more likely in our own lifetime than that of the yet unborn.
Some people have many harsh and unrelenting standards which they impose on themselves and others, or worse, only on others, and most of us have one or more of these people in our lives. Such arise from ignorance of our true wonderful nature which can never be dispossesed and the resulting fear of loss of self or possessions, these 3 being the 3 poisons of ignorance, anger and greed, or the fear of death. Because these fears and poisons are innate in all our lives, we incorporate the voices of such people in our heads and hold ourselves and others to harsh standards. If we try to practice or come into contact with people who practice Buddhism (Nichiren, SGI Buddhism, that is), unless we see the true nature of our thinking, we will have inrealstic expectations and often sink, in the face of such pressure, to giving up and finding whatever temporary fix or comfort we can to further mask the pain, an inevitably fruitless and pointless endeavor. So the first step is to recognize and be kinder to ourselves and others while bravely walking the path of Buddhist practice and becoming not a perfect Buddha (which doesn’t exist) but a better Buddha with each day and allow people to see natural growth and change as we continually share these great principles that truly work for anyone courageous enough to really try.
“Nichiren Daishonin states in ‘Letter to Akimoto”, ‘All the Buddhas of the three existences and the ten directions have attained Buddhahood through the seed of the Mystic Law. The Daishonin clarifies that the same principle, not any other special means, equally enables all people to attain enlightenment.
“Now all of us have had this same seed of the Mystic Law planted in our lives. How wonderful! When we exert the powers of faith and practice to tap the powers of the Buddha and the Law inherent in the Gohonzon, we can definitely show proof of having attained Buddhahood in this lifetime. This is a promise made by the original Buddha and absolutely never fails to materialize.
“You must never be deceived by someone who does not embrace the Mystic Law, no matter how extraordinary that person may appear. Both the Great Teacher Dengyo and Nichiren Daishonin state that in the Latter day of the Law, there will be no ‘saints’ or ‘sages’…”
“All of us are ordinary human beings. When ordinary people embrace the Gohonzon completely, we can enjoy our lives from moment to moment just as we are, savoring an inexhaustible taste of Buddhahood. In the eyes of Buddhism, therefore, all of us…dedicated to the cause of kosen-rufu [the wide spread of the Law, i.e. the principles of absolute respect for the dignity and unlimited capability of each person, which will of course lead to peace and save us all–these are my words] are indescribably precious”
These last 3 paragraphs were from “My Dear Friends in America”, p. 72. This is from a speech given by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. It happens to the very first speech of his I attended (via videoconference) and the very first time I saw him live and heard the sound of his voice. I could hear and sense the outrage in his voice toward those who give sincere people who are trying their best a hard time for “not measuring up” as he clarified what Buddhism really is all about and what religion should always be about, to help us grow to be better people in a human way while strictly embracing and supporting others while never saying or doing things to cut them down and make them feel bad. I can’t iterate this enough.