“All Living Beings Are Enabled to Achieve Buddhahood Through the Mystic Law (Myoho)”
On the Occasion of the December Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
December 5, 2010
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
Good morning, everyone!
On the occasion of this year’s last Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony, conducted here today at the Head Temple, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the large number of participants in attendance.
The month of December already has arrived in this “Year of Advancing toward Kosen-rufu,” and we have only 26 days remaining this year. I imagine the members of each chapter are striving to achieve this year’s goal.
I am thankful that at this point, 296 chapters have achieved this year’s goals as a result of making great efforts, day and night. In particular, with regards to the Gifu propagation district, all the chapters within this district achieved their goals through dramatic advancement in their practice, based on unity between the priesthood and laity.
Across the country, there are also many chapters that are close to achieving their goals and are within ten to 20 percent of completion. With such upward momentum, I firmly believe that many more chapters will achieve this year’s goals without fail. Shakubuku can be achieved through upward momentum. As I always mention, it is extremely important to achieve the goal for this year. It is no exaggeration to say that success or failure of the achievement of the goals for 2015 and 2021 depends on the results this year. Though December is probably the busiest time of the year, I sincerely hope that you will exert every possible effort over the remaining 26 days, so that all the chapters will achieve this year’s goals.
Looking at the condition of the world in recent years, one can see that the people’s minds are extremely disordered, due to the powerful three poisons of greed, anger, and stupidity. As a result, conditions have become more confusing and chaotic, both within and without, and many people are concerned about troubles at home and abroad.
Thus, now is the time when we must further promote our practice of refuting heresy and revealing the truth, based on the principle of the Rissho ankoku-ron.
Needless to say, it is not easy to carry out shakubuku in the Latter Day of the Law. People in the Latter Day of the Law very rarely voluntarily seek the Law.
The Gosho, “On Chanting the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra” (“Sho hokke Daimoku-sho”) reads:
In the Latter Day of the Law, there are many who lack the seed of Buddhahood, while few possess the seed of Buddhahood. Thus, there is no doubt that the people [in the Latter Day of the Law] will fall into the evil paths.
(Gosho, p. 231)
As this passage states, those in the Latter Day of the Law do not possess the seed of Buddhahood. Thus, most people have difficulty attaining Buddhahood.
In “The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra” (“Hokke Daimoku-sho”), the Daishonin teaches:
Generally, there are four types of people who have great difficulty attaining Buddhahood. First are the people of the predestined two vehicles, second are those of incorrigible disbelief (icchantika), third are those who adhere to the principle of emptiness, and fourth are those who slander the true Law.
(Gosho, p. 357)
In this passage, the Daishonin enumerates the four kinds of people who have great difficulty attaining Buddhahood. They are just like withered plants in the fall and winter, or sick people with incurable illnesses.
The principle of the predestined two vehicles originally was taught in the Hosso sect, through the doctrine of the five distinctive natures. This doctrine teaches that there are two types of people: those who have the innate capacity to attain Buddhahood and those who do not, and this discrimination will never change. Among these groups, those who are destined to become people of the worlds of learning or realization are referred to as the people of the predestined two vehicles. In other words, they never can attain Buddhahood.
However, this doctrine is quite different from the Lotus Sutra, which expounds that all living beings have the potential to attain Buddhahood. The doctrine of the five distinctive natures, which teaches that there are people who cannot attain Buddhahood due to their lack of the Buddha nature, is an extremely biased idea. The Buddha, who taught the Law in order to save all living beings, cannot possibly have expounded such a discriminatory doctrine.
Those of incorrigible disbelief (icchantika) refer to the people who have neither faith in Buddhism nor minds of seeking for enlightenment. They completely lack the capability to become Buddhas.
Those who adhere to the principle of emptiness signify the people who do not believe in the Law of causality. Instead, they believe that they can attain enlightenment based on the principle of emptiness, indicating the view of non-Buddhist teachings.
Slanderers are those who commit slander against the true Law.
Among these four kinds of people who have great difficulty attaining Buddhahood, those who commit the gravest offense are those of incorrigible disbelief and those who slander the true Law.
The Parable (Hiyu; third) chapter of the Lotus Sutra teaches:
If a person fails to take faith and slanders this sutra, he will sever the seeds of Buddhahood in this world….when his life comes to an end, he will fall into the avichi hell.
(Hokekyo, p. 175)
“If a person fails to take faith” refers to those of incorrigible disbelief. “Slanders this sutra” indicates those who slander the true Law. The sutra warns that these two kinds of people will “fall into the avichi hell, when they die.”
On the other hand, the Lotus Sutra teaches that even those who have great difficulty attaining Buddhahood can attain enlightenment, once they take faith in the mystic Law (Myoho) and chant Myoho-Renge-Kyo. This is due to the beneficial power of the mystic Law.
The previous Gosho passage [from “The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra”] further states:
Since the Lotus Sutra makes it possible for these four types of people to attain Buddhahood, it is called the mystic Law (Myoho).
(Gosho, p. 357)
The Lotus Sutra is the true and supreme teaching of all the teachings that Shakyamuni expounded during his 50 years of preaching throughout his life. It is the teaching that transcends the three categories of sutras and is the teaching expounded in accordance with the Buddha’s own mind. The Lotus Sutra is the king of all the sutras. It was expounded by Shakyamuni as the ultimate purpose of his advent into this world.
The Life Span (Juryo; sixteenth) chapter in the essential teaching is the vital chapter of the Lotus Sutra. It is the great Law and the core of Shakyamuni’s 50 years of preaching.
The Daishonin teaches in “Reply to Ota saemon’nojo” (“Ota saemon’nojo-gohenji”):
The Life Span (Juryo; sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra is the heart of the essential teaching. This chapter is the core of the entire text of the Lotus Sutra as well as all the sutras taught by Shakyamuni throughout his lifetime. It encompasses the ceremonies of the sermons of all the Buddhas of the three existences of life.
(Gosho, p. 1223)
When he came to preach the Life Span chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni refuted the view that he attained enlightenment for the first time in India, which he had taught in the provisional teachings, and revealed his original enlightenment in the remote past. This is called extensively “opening the recent to reveal the remote” (kaigon ken’non). With this, it was revealed that Shakyamuni himself was the eternal Buddha who attained enlightenment in the inconceivably remote past of kuon, and who possessed the three enlightened properties—the property of the Law, the property of wisdom, and the property of compassionate action.
The revelation in the Life Span chapter of the Buddha’s enlightenment in the inconceivably remote past of kuon fundamentally changed the conventional view of the Buddha in the provisional teachings. It refuted the Law of causality taught in the four teachings of doctrine—the Tripitaka teaching, the shared teaching, the distinct teaching, and the perfect teaching. It then taught the Law of causality of the ten worlds in the essential teaching and revealed the doctrine of the Law of true cause and true effect. By revealing the attainment of Buddhahood by those of the two vehicles and the principle of the mutual possession of the ten worlds and ichinen sanzen, the attainment of Buddhahood by all living beings was made possible.
The Daishonin teaches in “The Essence of the Medicine King Chapter” (“Yakuo hon tokui-sho”):
During the time of the pre-Lotus Sutra and provisional teachings, it was difficult for people to be liberated from the sufferings of birth and death. However, once the Life Span chapter of the essential teaching [of the Lotus Sutra] was revealed, it became certain that everyone could attain Buddhahood.
(Gosho, p. 350)
He further teaches in “On the Meaning of the True Entity of Myoho-Renge-Kyo” (“Totaigi-sho”):
Once the Life Span chapter of the essential teaching was revealed, all people who gathered at the assembly on Eagle Peak were given the possibility of attaining Buddhahood. It was made possible for everyone, including those of the two vehicles, those of incorrigible disbelief, the determinate people, women, and evil men to achieve the mystic Law (Myoho) of the True Buddha.
(Gosho, p. 701)
In the Life Span chapter of the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha opened the near and revealed the truth in the inconceivably remote past. This led to the revelation of the mystic principle of the true mutual possession of the ten worlds and ichinen sanzen. In other words, all living beings, including those of the two vehicles, icchantika, the determinate people, as well as women and evil men were given the possibility of attaining enlightenment.
At this point, all people, including those of the predestined two vehicles, those of incorrigible disbelief, those who adhere to the principle of emptiness, and those who slander the true Law were given the possibility to achieve enlightenment through the Lotus Sutra, which is the direct path to attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form. Applying this to the present age of the Latter Day of the Law, all living beings are enabled to achieve Buddhahood through the mystic Law (Myoho) hidden in the depths, the heart of the Life Span chapter of the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra.
Now is the crucial time for both priesthood and laity to move forward with unity, aiming toward the achievement of our goals for 2015 and 2021. I firmly believe that each Hokkeko member must be on the front lines of propagation activities and courageously do shakubuku. Through the great benefits of the mystic Law (Myoho), the people’s minds will be purified and the establishment of the Buddha land will be realized.
The Rissho ankoku-ron reads:
You must immediately renounce your erroneous belief and take faith in the supreme teaching of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra. Then, this entire threefold world will become the Buddha land. How could the Buddha land ever decline? All the lands in the ten directions will transform into treasure realms. How could a treasure realm ever fall to ruin? If the nation never declines and the land is indestructible, you will find safety and peace of mind. These are the very words that you must believe and revere.
(Gosho, p. 250;
Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin-2, p. 42)
Now is the time to take the Buddha’s golden words to heart. Each chapter, with one mind, must strive to do shakubuku and crown the end of this year with success. If there are chapters that have not yet achieved this year’s goals, I pray from the bottom of my heart that the believers will follow the golden words, “one’s body is insignificant while the law is supreme,” and “willing to give one’s life to propagate the Law.” I hope they will continue to do shakubuku to the very last possible moment, so that every chapter definitely will achieve its goal. •