Practice is Most Important for Understanding the Reality of Our Lives

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Audience for Overseas Believers at the Third Summer Study Tozan, Grand Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji, August 5, 1995

Just now, I greeted the believers from each country individually. I would like to say just a few words to all of you as a whole.

First, I am delighted that we are able to hold this Summer Study Tozan so splendidly with such a great number of participants coming from very far away, in the midst of this terrible heat, the hottest time of the year in Japan. I truly respect this expression of your faith. Thank you sincerely for all your efforts.

There were lots of clouds on most days of last year’s Tozan, so I think you may not have been able to get a clear view of the famous Mt. Fuji. I imagine many people left Taisekiji without seeing Mt. Fuji even once. But this year we have been blessed with clear skies day after day. It is as if Mt. Fuji is greeting all of you by appearing so vividly off to the northeast.

Mt. Fuji is positioned exactly in the center of the long, narrow country of Japan. I feel that there is a profound causal relationship to Buddhism and a tremendous significance in Buddhism with respect to its geographical position. There are mountains, plains and the flow of rivers; in various senses, topographical formations are the expression of nature’s appearance. Living beings reside within these forms of nature. Furthermore, it is the Buddha who is enlightened to the fundamental significance of the forms of nature and living beings, and the various forms in which the Buddha’s teachings appear will inevitably be determined according to the lineage of Buddhism.

The country of Japan is a land with a deep relation to Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha of the remotest past. In the exact center of Japan lies Mt. Fuji. The significance of this mountain is represented by the fact that the Daishonin’s Buddhism will infallibly lead many living beings in the long period known as the ten thousand years of Mappo. The most fundamental location where this takes place is Head Temple Taisekiji, where the life of Nichiren Daishonin always dwells here at the base of Mt. Fuji.

By having made a pilgrimage here you have returned to the Daishonin. I am confident that the merit you have acquired by doing this will continue to exist as an inexhaustible treasure within your bodies for an infinite period into the future, and that this is the best source for making both yourselves and others very happy.

“Practice” is set forth with particular care in the teachings of Buddhism. Of course, one’s faith is also important, but it is by expressing one’s faith with one’s body that great benefit naturally exists. One such practice is chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

People often say that although they have no problems with the [Nichiren Shoshu] faith, they have a resistance to chanting Daimoku or find it too much trouble to do. No matter how much one may study the principles of the Buddhist teachings, however, without the practice through which one receives those principles as merit into one’s life and body, neither one’s efforts to study nor the content of one’s study will amount to anything.

Why is this? It is because the age of Mappo is rampant with the five impurities, so we do not understand the reality of our own lives. That is, since delusions and earthly desires invariably exist within our minds, our lives are defiled.

These defilements are broadly classified into the “five impurities.” First, impurities that are emotional or instinctive, meaning things like male-female attraction, we call “impurity of desire.” Next, erroneous religions have been causing various disturbances in the world of late; including impurities such as these, we call ideas that arise from mistaken ideology and views “impurity of thought.” There are many kinds of such impurities. These are mental functions by which a person embraces distorted ideas mistaken ideas about all sorts of things. Next is “impurity of life.” This is when one’s life becomes dirtied and corrupted by these impurities. When these then take a larger social form, this is called “impurity of the people”—this is when people form causal relations with each other and bring about more evil owing to the bad influence of so-called “evil friends.” This also refers to when incorrect ideas creep up within an originally honest mind through being wheedled or coaxed along by the words of an evil friend. And finally, when these social impurities span a long period of time, this is called “impurity of the age.” This is what is meant when it is said that “the five impurities are rampant.”

No matter how much one may try to have a true heart and honest mind, if one lives in the midst of this, one is sure to be misled by such relations and, by coming to have an unhappy mind or deluded thinking, be corrupted bit by bit. This is the actual reality within the world now.

Therefore, receiving the fundamentally correct teaching is the key to maintaining one’s own life in a truly correct manner and gaining a happy state of life.

 

(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.)