Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin
On the Occasion of the January Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony January 1, 2011
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
Happy New Year to you all!
On the new spring of the 759th Anniversary of the Establishment of True Buddhism, I imagine the Honorable Retired High Priest [Nikken Shonin], too, is welcoming the New Year in splendid condition.
I also believe that both the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity have welcomed “The Year of Taking Action to do Shakubuku” feeling refreshed, and have renewed their pledge to make further efforts in their practice.
….I truly wish that you will continue to have success this year and will advance with powerful force, just like a ferocious lion, befitting “The Year of Taking Action to do Shakubuku.”
The Teachers of the Law (Hosshi; tenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra reads:
If one of these good men or good women in the time after I have passed into extinction expounds the Lotus Sutra to only one person, even one phrase of it, then you should know that he or she is the envoy of the Thus Come One. He has been dispatched by the Thus Come One and carries out the Thus Come One’s work. And how much more so those who in the midst of the great assembly broadly expound the sutra for others!
(Hokekyo, p. 321; cf. The Lotus Sutra, Watson, p. 162)
In the Latter Day of the Law, those who teach only one person even one verse or one phrase of Myoho-Renge-Kyo are the messengers of the Buddha, and they carry out the Buddha’s work. The term, “Thus Come One’s work,” is explained in the Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra (Hokke mongu):
A practitioner in this age has great compassion and teaches the immutable doctrine in this sutra for the sake of others, enabling them to obtain benefit. This task is called the Thus Come One’s work.
(Mongu ehon chu, Gakurin version, p. 635)
This passage states that expounding the significance of Myoho-Renge-Kyo for the people, based on the Buddha’s great compassion to save them from suffering and lead them to obtain benefits, means “to carry out the Thus Come One’s work.”
“A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering” (“Shiiji shirodono-Gosho”) reads:
The Teachers of the Law chapter of the Lotus Sutra states, “If one of these good men or good women…[expounds the Lotus Sutra to one person]…then you should know that he or she is the envoy of the Thus Come One.” This means that a person who teaches even one phrase of the Lotus Sutra, whether one be priest or nun, layman or laywoman, appears as the messenger of the Buddha. You are a layman and one of these good men. Those who listen to the Lotus Sutra, even one sentence or one phrase of it, and take it to heart, are like ships that cross the great ocean of birth and death.
(Gosho, p. 1555)
Furthermore, the “Ten Superior Doctrines Described in the Outstanding Principles of the Lotus Sutra” (“Shūku jissho-sho”) teaches:
We certainly know this to be true. Those who teach the Lotus Sutra to others are the messengers of the Buddha. In other words, they carry out the Buddha’s work.
(Gosho, p. 1327)
This does not mean that only specific individuals are the emissaries of the Thus Come One. In this defiled age of the Latter Day of the Law, those who uphold Myoho-Renge-Kyo and preach its significance to only one person—in other words, those who carry out shakubuku—are the messengers of the Buddha.
The Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity are devoting themselves to do shakubuku day and night, based on the golden words, “one’s body is insignificant while the Law is supreme,” and “willing to give one’s life to propagate the Law.” They are working toward the achievement of their goals for 2015 and 2021 based on the great aspiration to attain kosen-rufu. From this perspective, they too are the envoys of the Thus Come One.
Accordingly, the benefits one can gain from this practice are enormous. Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra states:
You should know that this person is the envoy of the Thus Come One. He will reveal the benefit of carrying out the Buddha’s work.
(Mongu ehon chu, Gakurin version, p. 634)
(Note: This article can be read in its entirety in the April, 2011 edition of the Nichiren Shoshu Monthly magazine. For more information, please contact your local temple.)