Today, I have come to hold a lecture on the Daishonin’s Buddhism for the Kanagawa Territory here at Okenji Temple. It is wonderful that the chief priests and believers from all of the temples in the territory have assembled here in cheerful spirits. I am profoundly grateful that this occasion is such a splendid success.
Regionally, Kanagawa Territory corresponds to the central part of Japan. This is an extremely important region, and according to what I have heard, the chief priests and believers at all the temples have united together and are moving forward earnestly in the practice of the true cause, which encompasses both the practice for oneself (jigyo) and teaching others (keta). I am extremely delighted to be able to visit such a truly splendid territory.
The propagation of the true Law develops in each specific age in accordance with a diversity of karmic relationships. Among these developments, perhaps owing to causality related to evil karma from the past, there have been many cases of believers who have entered into the treasure mountain and formed a relationship with the true Law, but have seen that relationship take either a straightforward or reverse form when they encountered karmic hindrances or when it was accompanied by instigation from the devil king of the sixth heaven. If one views the past history of Nichiren Shoshu, one finds that among the believers who have based their faith on the Head Temple, Taisekiji, there have been many people who have come up with various notions based on arbitrary, egotistical ideas and were, in the end, excommunicated from Nichiren Shoshu.
When examining the forms that these slanders of the Law took, they were characterized into two types: “going to excess” and “not reaching far enough.” It is important for the priests and laity of our religion to propagate the Law in accordance with the age and thereby to progress toward the kosen-rufu of the ten thousand years and eternity of Mappo. However, there must always be a foundation for protecting and upholding the Law along with this widespread propagation of the Daishonin’s Buddhism.
Nevertheless, there have been many people in the past who would not listen to the teachings based on the fundamental standpoint of the Head Temple and instead put forth arbitrary ideas. For example, in the Tokugawa period there were people who asserted that, “There is no need to recite the sutra. Mappo is a time when the important thing is shakubuku, so all one need do is face the Gohonzon and recite the four dictums: ‘Nembutsu leads to the hell of incessant suffering,’ ‘Zen is an act of the devil king,’ ‘Shingon will ruin the nation,’ and ‘Ritsu priests are traitors to the nation’.”
Not only that, these people also expressed the excessive view that one should tell this to numerous other people. Nevertheless, even though they were admonished for this error many times, they didn’t listen and in the end were excommunicated from Nichiren Shoshu. This kind of faith, based on brooding excessively on a certain point, had an end result which would be regarded as lacking in common sense by people in society and which would effectively debase the noble, precious Law.
To further illustrate the point of “not reaching far enough,” there have been many people who, although having accepted the teachings of Nichiren Shoshu, have fallen into thinking that the Reiyukai or Rissho Kosei Kai, with their simpler doctrines, were better for them. Depending on the times, there have been a number of such sects that believers have fallen into accepting, such as the “Kempon Hokke Shu” and the “Honmon Hokke Shu.”
Note: This lecture can be read in its entirety in the book: Sermons 1992-2002 by Sixty-seventh High Priest Nikken Shonin.
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