January 2011 (pp. 8-9, 11-14)
In the Gosho, “On the Buddha’s Behavior” (“Shuju onfurumai gosho”), the Daishonin states:
During the more than twenty-two hundred years that have passed since Shakyamuni entered nirvana, no one has ever embarked on this mission, not even the greatest of his followers, Mahakashyapa, Ananda, Ashvaghosha, Nagarjuna, Nan-yueh, Tiantai, Miaole or Dengyo. My disciples, form your ranks and follow me, and you shall surpass even Mahakashyapa or Ananda, Tiantai or Dengyo! If you quail before the threats of the rulers of this little island country and abandon your faith, how will you face the even more terrible anger of Emma, the King of Hell? You have proclaimed yourselves to be the messengers of the Buddha. But if you falter, there will be no one more despicable than you.
(Gosho, p. 1057, MW-1, p. 173)
In 2009, during the 750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of Rissho ankoku-ron, the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity received a new directive from the High Priest for kosen-rufu to be realized in the future. Let us once again confirm the directive:
1. By July 31, 2015, the year that marks the 770th Anniversary of the birth of the Second High Priest Nikko Shonin, all Hokkeko temple branches must increase the number of Hokkeko believers by 50 percent.
2. By 2021, on the occasion marking the 800th Anniversary of the birth of Nichiren Daishonin, we must reach a membership of 800,000 Hokkeko believers.
The first important year of working toward realizing this directive was 2010. That year was given the title, “The Year of Advancing toward Kosen-rufu.” A great shakubuku effort was commenced around the world, and many temples reached their shakubuku goals.
The Latter Day of the Law is an evil age defiled by the five impurities, which give rise to confusion. Nichiren Daishonin instructs that through upholding the true Law and the true teaching, a peaceful and tranquil society and nation can be established. The great prayer for the peace and stability of the land through propagating true Buddhism will be realized.
Nichiren Shoshu prides itself for being the faith that practices shakubuku. This year, we must exert ourselves even more than last year and advance dauntlessly toward doing shakubuku. We must realize our goals again this year without fail. The Daishonin states the following in “Questions and Answers between a Sage and a Foolish Man” (“Shogu mondo sho”):
But the present age is a defiled one. Because the minds of the people are warped and twisted, and provisional teachings and slander alone abound, the true Law cannot prevail. In times like these, it is useless to practice the reading, reciting, and copying [of the Lotus Sutra] or to devote oneself to the methods and practices of meditation. One should practice only shakubuku, and if he has the capacity, use his influence and authority to destroy slander of the Law, and his knowledge of the teachings to refute erroneous doctrines.
(Gosho, p. 1057; MW-5, pp. 104-5)
Here, he teaches us that in this defiled age, we are able to refute slander and heretical teachings only through the practice of shakubuku. The Chinese character for “ikioi” is defined in the dictionary as the strength and speed required in order to gather momentum and advance. It also is referred to as the vitality or the power to become vigorous. When we do shakubuku, we should bring forth this “ikioi” and continue our efforts. The Daishonin’s Buddhism is comprised of the three essential elements of faith, practice, and study. We must have absolute trust and faith in the Dai-Gohonzon. This is our foundation that will sustain our faith and practice and will lead us to take physical action.
Buddhism is different from other religions, philosophies, and moral codes of conduct. It surpasses such teachings and is revered because it explains the importance of taking action through practice, based on the three categories of body, mouth, and mind. It also explains the means to expiate negative karma, attain enlightenment, and actualize a peaceful and tranquil society.
Shakubuku is not just a theory or concept. In order to do shakubuku successfully, one must move one’s feet, offer explanations with one’s mouth, and lead an individual to receive the Gojukai Ceremony and become a member.
(Note: This article can be read in its entirety in the October, 2011 edition of the Nichiren Shoshu Monthly magazine. For more information, please contact your local temple.)