Voluntarily Assuming the Appropriate Karma

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In the “Teacher of the Law” chapter in the Lotus Sutra we learn about the idea of “voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma.
The Lotus Sutra explains that Bodhisattvas voluntarily relinquish any good karmic rewards due to us as a result of pure actions in past lives. “Out of compassion, they choose instead to be born in an evil age, so that they can teach people the principles of the Lotus Sutra and save them from suffering.”
Reading these words became another confirmation that what I’ve felt all along is real. I could never understand why I had such an urge to help relieve the suffering of the world, when I couldn’t seem to solve my own problems. But, I get it now.
“When We change our karma into mission, we transform our destiny from playing a negative role to a positive one. Those who change their karma into mission have ‘voluntarily assumed the appropriate karma.”

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Living as a transgender woman, the world at times became a scary place I feared, but I was most afraid of dying without giving birth to the life still growing inside me. Would people ever be able to see that I am still a woman, here to give birth of a different kind?
Then I stopped worrying what other people were going to think. I trust my Buddha nature and my “mother nature” and where it will lead me. As an expecting mother I learned to love without expectation.

I have overcome so much, but I am still fighting battles I have yet to win. Typically, we learn about battles in history books, and in hindsight, but as Buddhists we are peaceful warriors and “with every problem we overcome through Buddhist faith and practice, we create a model for winning in life, a genuine experience through which we can encourage others.” So for this reason I aggressively take on life’s challenges.

“I release all disappointment, from my mental, physical, spiritual and emotional body… ’cause I know that spirit guides me, and LOVE lives inside me” – India Arie –I released all shame I carried with being black, being transgender, being poor, not completing a formal education, or simply the shame of being a sexual being. The practice of Nichiren Buddhism has empowered me like nothing else ever before. For me, Buddhism is this blessing in continual blossom within the hearts of those who recognize it. My faith in myself and this world just gets deeper and richer as I study and chant more. My life evokes a smile that no pain could ever kill. I pray you too receive this blessing.


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Angelica Ross

Angelica Ross is an award-winning and Emmy-nominated Actress, Producer, Writer, Human Rights Advocate, Singer Songwriter and star of POSE and American Horror Story on FX and Broadway's Chicago. She's also the Founder of TransTech, an incubator for LGBTQIA+ Talent from marginalized communities and President of Miss Ross Inc.