Gokuyo is the offering of donations of various kinds (such as financial offerings or food offerings) to the three treasures of the Buddha, the Law, and the priesthood. These offerings come from our sincerity and reverence.
It has been stated in the Gosho that:
As a layman, the most important thing for you is to chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo single-mindedly and to provide support for the priests. And if we go by the words of the Lotus Sutra, you should also teach Buddhism to the best of your ability.
(MW, Vol. 3, p. 216; Gosho, p. 1051)
Thus, for a believer, Gokuyo is an important part of Buddhist practice along with Gongyo and shakubuku. Primarily, Gokuyo is offered to the Buddha as a manifestation of a believer’s reverent faith. The Buddha, on the other hand, accepts the Gokuyo as acknowledgment of the sincerity of that believer. Therefore, in Nichiren Shoshu, we do not accept Gokuyo from those who have not yet taken faith in this Buddhism, nor from those who do not have correct faith in the true Law. In other words, Gokuyo must be offered from a pure spirit based on faith.
In order to give us the opportunity to attain enlightenment, the Buddha made his appearance in this world and preached the Law. Also, the priesthood, which has correctly learned, protected and handed down this Law, exists in order to teach us this very Law. Only with the existence of the Buddha, the Law and the priesthood, are we able to take faith in the true Law, practice correctly, and attain enlightenment.Therefore, we should protect and support the existence of the Buddha, the Law, and the priesthood with our offerings of Gokuyo. This is our duty as believers, and the correct attitude toward repaying our debt of gratitude to the three treasures.
There can be no greater misfortune than, out of lack of awareness of the merit we have received, to forget to offer Gokuyo and allow this Buddhism to decline. It cannot be emphasized enough that we must possess faith that devoutly reveres the three treasures, and must not neglect our obligation to offer Gokuyo with the full realization of our mission as lay believers.
(Note: This Chapter can be read in its entirety in the book: Nichiren Shoshu Basics of Practice. For more information, please contact your local temple.)