Audience for Overseas Believers at Gotai-e Ceremony, Temporary Grand Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji, November 20, 1995
Large numbers of believers have come from countries all over the world for this year’s Gotai-e Ceremony for our founder, the Daishonin. Just now, with priesthood and laity untied in harmonious Itai doshin, we prayed to the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary, expressing our utmost appreciation in the spirit of repaying our debt of gratitude.
The Daishonin’s instructions contain the words:
A common mortal becomes a Buddha understanding the essence of the word “determination.”
(Gosho, p. 1544)
People’s individual negative karmic causes and acts from the past are truly multitudinous with many different forms. For the most part, however, people are deeply mired in a painful life condition of hell, not unlike the discomfort of being constantly submerged in water. The world is full of people who, even when on rare occasions they manage to emerge from it, only sink deeper into suffering owing to the severity of their own evil karma. It is taught in various sutras that for such a person, it is truly very difficult to encounter the correct Law.
It is also taught in the Lotus Sutra that it is extremely difficult to meet any of the Buddhas, or World-Honored Ones; that even if one is able to meet the Buddha, it is difficult to hear him preach the True Law; and furthermore, that it is still more difficult to believe in that Law after hearing it. Thus, it is indeed a difficult thing to believe in and accept the correct Law.
Today, an astonishing number—180,000—religious corporations exist in Japan alone, and it seems that in recent years their numbers continue to increase. Though in various forms they may seem to exhibit the appearance of religions, they teach absolutely nothing in the way of a path or a doctrine that will really lead to a correct destination.
There was an ordinary greengrocer’s wife who suddenly woke up one day and started saying she was supernaturally possessed and other incredible things. She would look at a person’s face and say, “Didn’t something like this happen to you in the past?” Since occasionally she hit the mark, she came to be regarded as a “Buddha” or “god.” Things like this, with absolutely no content—no teachings or truth to them—are emerging as religions. Because of such claims, the religious corporations law has now become quite an issue in Japan.
In any event, though there are a variety of religions, in selecting the truly correct teaching it is necessary to study the question strictly and exhaustively from three standpoints, which I think you are familiar with—good reason (dori), documentary proof, and actual proof. If one judges according to these three standards, one will understand that among all teachings of every kind and all the various religions, it is Buddhism that surpasses all the others. Furthermore, that within Buddhism, it is the teaching of the Lotus Sutra that is the highest truth.
The word dori (good reason) encompasses within it truly profound, broad significance, including the “way” or “path” and “natural principles.”1 Within the idea of a path, there are a multitude of paths—low paths, high paths, correct paths, and mistaken paths, and there are also the paths of the ten worlds and those of cause and effect. It contains within it the Law or realm of the ultimate reality as it is known in Buddhism.
In turn, documentary proof is used to judge the superiority and inferiority and the depth and shallowness of all the teachings, from the Lotus Sutra to all the other sutras. By grouping these teachings all together, it reveals what the genuine good reason (dori) is. And the way to gain the genuine merit of the Buddha is by actually practicing this natural law.
Next, actual proof is when the power of the Law and the benefits of faith clearly appear as actual fact within the multi-fold aspects of causality.
(Note: This lecture can be read in its entirety in the book: Sermons 1992-2002 by Sixty-seventh High Priest Nikken Shonin.
For more information, please contact your local temple.)