Earthly Desires Are in Themselves Enlightenment


Congratulatory Address at Transfer, Opening and Gohonzon Enshrinement Ceremony, Myohoji Enichizan Temple, Los Angeles, May 19, 1996 

….In the world today, we see that the five impurities of the age, of desire, of the people, of thought and of life itself have deeply permeated and intensified in society. From beginning to end, people uphold erroneous outlooks on daily life and the world and possess greedy desires, which cause them to live a completely twisted life. The degeneration of the mind and soul is growing alarmingly widespread. According to the Buddhist doctrines, evil causes and evil associations, without fail, will bring about negative effects and negative retribution. It is clear, therefore, that the future will be steeped in the three evil paths of hell, hunger and animality. Thus, Nichiren Daishonin, the founder of True Buddhism, stated:

This path will enable people to become Buddhas even without separating themselves from mundane desires.

(Gosho, p. 1287)

People immersed in the three poisons of greed, anger and stupidity can immediately transform themselves, as entities of delusion, into the manifestations of purity, the most supreme enlightenment of the True Buddha, without first discarding their desires or eliminating their greed, anger and stupidity. The key lies in the essence of the mystical doctrines of the Lotus Sutra, the Three Great Secret Laws of the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin.

Moreover, a passage from the “Oral Teachings,” the Ongi Kuden, reads:

The likes of Nichiren are separated from these five impurities. Since the land where we stand is peaceful, it does not represent the impurity of the age. Since we are the true entities of the Original Buddha, we are not manifestations of the impurity of the people. Since we embrace the mystic principles of “earthly desires are in themselves enlightenment” and “the sufferings of birth and death are in themselves nirvana,” we are not defiled by the impurity of desire. Since we are entities of the original enlightenment from the incredibly remote past of time without beginning or end, we are not manifestations of the impurity of life. Since we are practitioners who have honestly discarded the expedients and who expound the supreme Way, we are not defiled by the impurity of thought.

(Gosho, p. 1729)

Thus, the fundamental resolution of the delusions of the earthly desires that prevail in all forms of life and the suffering caused by them is to believe in the Buddha and the Law through which all aspects of life have been correctly expounded, based on Myoho-Renge-Kyo. The key to this resolution exists in following these teachings and honestly discarding the expedient doctrines and, furthermore, in embracing Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo with sincere faith and performing shakubuku, the ultimate propagation.

The Daishonin wrote: 

I proclaim that the single character denoting “faith” is the seed to enlightenment.

(Gosho, p. 1738)

As this passage shows, faith is, indeed, most important. Faith is manifested in our determination and our sincere devotion to the Law and to the Buddha.

The Daishonin stated the following in his Gosho “The Gift of Rice”:

Common mortals can attain Buddhahood if they cherish one thing: faith . . . in a time of famine, offering the Buddha the single bowl of rice on which one’s life depends is to dedicate one’s life to the Buddha.

(Gosho, p. 1544)

In this way, the Daishonin instructs us that our faithful devotion to offer the benefits of our lives to True Buddhism is the fundamental source of true enlightenment and happiness. 

I ask you all, from today on, to further strengthen your resolve in your determination to protect and serve True Buddhism and to advance forth, centered around your local temple, in the activities that will bring you benefits, as you practice for yourself and for others and perform shakubuku, and re-shakubuku. 


(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.)