From the writings of Nichiren Daishonin – The Wealthy Man Sudatta p1086
I will teach you how to become a Buddha easily. Teaching another something is the same as oiling the wheels of a cart so that they turn even though it is heavy, or as floating a boat on water so that it moves ahead easily. The way to become a Buddha easily is nothing special. It is the same as giving water to a thirsty person in a time of drought, or as providing fire for a person freezing in the cold. Or again, it is the same as giving another something that is one of a kind, or as offering something as alms to another even at the risk of one’s life.
Teaching another is not only about telling him what needs to be done, but giving that person the means to perceive it himself. That is, to put him into a state of self-sustenance so that the heavy task of carrying the boat from one point or another can be done easily, because it can float in water.
The way to become a buddha easily is nothing special, because it is nothing more than applying common sense (which, is actually not common). The key is to do the right action, at the right time, for the right purpose. In Tao Te Ching, it is mentioned that the Tao of action lies in its timing. This indicates that the wisdom of action of imparting one’s knowledge or idea not only lies in having the correct idea, the correct mindset, but also the effective way to convey it, which involes not only skill and techniques, but also timing. And so the passage reads: “It is the same as giving water to a thirsty person in a time of drought, or as providing fire for a person freezing in the cold”
So how can we tap into this level, this state of life? The passage then continues to read: “Or again, it is the same as giving another something that is one of a kind, or as offering something as alms to another even at the risk of one’s life.”
This passage teaches us what it means to have the ultimate respect towards all beings and to be consistently centered within and not easily swayed by circumstance and external factor. To give something that is one of a kind, something irreplaceable, to another as if it is a common thing. Or to offer an alms with the same amount of respect and devotion to a monk (which usually incurs protection and praise) or to a “criminal” (which usually then draws danger to oneself). When we can be this consistent to ourself within, when our life principles can be applied through and through to all aspect of our own life, then this power that is so mentioned in the beginning of the passage are sure to manifest itself from within to without.
Common sense is not so common indeed.