One’s Attitude in Faith is Everything

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Second Guidance Meeting for Kotos and Vice-Kotos, Great Lecture Hall, Head Temple, Taisekiji, March 25, 1995

….We are common mortals, and there are many times when, from the standpoint of a common mortal, we tend to have a one-sided point of view or a petty outlook. Therefore, even after accumulating [experience] in faith, it is often the case that we may be influenced by slanderous beliefs, incomplete views, and narrow-minded ideas of society, and for that reason inadvertently lose sight of what is most fundamental.

Still, from the beginning, we must uphold that which is most fundamental so that our faith and practice will be constantly manifested. If this [foundation] is inadequate, I feel we will be unable to advance properly by keeping to ideas of what is right and proper.We revere Nichiren Daishonin as the Buddha. Well then, what kind of Buddha do we consider him to be? Some may think of him as being in some far-off, high place, utterly beyond our reach as common mortals with our limited perception and wisdom. Or, conversely, I think that among believers there may be some who think of the Daishonin merely as a Buddha who has the same form as a common mortal, and in so doing have forgotten to reverently trust and respect him.

To comment on the latter of these two approaches, I must say that it is a mistake to view the life condition and entity of the Daishonin, as expressed in the phrase the “the Buddha of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo,” from a self-satisfied perspective, based on our view and wisdom as a common mortal.

However, I also think that we must deeply revere the virtue of the Daishonin as the Buddha who has “the ultimate enlightened life in the form of a common mortal,” and always have feelings of yearning and adoration for him. In our endeavors to accomplish kosen-rufu and in our performance of shakubuku, and our faith and practice, this reverence represents the most fundamental issue. If we carelessly lose sight of this, no matter how much we pay lip service to “shakubuku” and “faith,” in the long run we will end up being merely superficial.

Take one’s manner of reading the Gosho as an example. The Gosho explains every possible aspect of the ten worlds. Therefore, the contents of the Gosho are very broad and deep, so it is, in itself, a big mistake to superficially think, based on one’s perception and wisdom as a common mortal, that, “I understand the contents of the Gosho.” Instead of doing that, we have to read the Gosho are very broad and deep, so it is, in itself, a big mistake to superficially think, based on one’s perception and wisdom as a common mortal, that, “I understand the contents of the Gosho.” Instead of doing that, we have to read the Gosho, passage by passage, using real faith. In reading even a single passage based on faith, I think the noble heart of the Buddha will profoundly touch a person’s life. If one neglects to do this, and becomes mechanical or falls into a mere force of habit, somehow one’s faith will never really come to anything.

There are many different ideologies and religions in the world. There are also a variety of perceptions of value, so it is difficult to make sweeping statements. The Daishonin states:

I, Nichiren, am the richest man in Japan today.

(Gosho, p. 562)

He also states:

If so, then I, Nichiren, am the father and mother of the present emperor of Japan, and the master and lord of the Nembutsu believers, the Zen followers, and the Shingon priests.

(Gosho, p. 844)

Nevertheless, even though he says these things, he is not boasting. He also says about himself:

I, Nichiren, am the son of a chandala family.

(Gosho, p. 482)

And he states:

How terrible are the slanders Nichiren committed in his past lives and present existences.

(Gosho, p. 482)

These passages show that the Daishonin is the Buddha who has the ultimate enlightened life in the form of a common mortal, in whom all aspects of the ten worlds are encompassed. Every last thing is included therein.

Thus, absolutely no one other than Nichiren Daishonin can ever be the Buddha in whom the person and Law are one, and who has the ultimate enlightened life, in the form of a common mortal, without beginning or end.

….People who believe in other religions are only able to revere a Buddha who is incomplete, whether to a greater or lesser degree. Therefore, we need to sincerely feel how wonderful it is that we have formed a relation to the Buddhism of the three treasures of sowing established by the Daishonin, and with firm faith, exert ourselves in the two ways of practice and study.


(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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