“We Must Wish for Other People’s Happiness and Make Steadfast Efforts in Doing Shakubuku”
On the Occasion of the August Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
August 1, 2010
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
On this occasion of the August Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony, conducted here today at the Head Temple, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the large number of participants in attendance.
The month of August has arrived in this “Year of Advancing toward Kosen-rufu.” I imagine each chapter is striving for the achievement of this year’s shakubuku goal, based on unity between priesthood and laity in the spirit of itai-doshin.
As I often mention, in order to achieve our goals for 2015 and 2021, we absolutely must first achieve our goal for this year. Therefore, in the remaining five months, I hope the priesthood and laity in each chapter work together toward the achievement of this year’s goal with powerful force, just like a ferocious lion.
Nichiren Daishonin teaches in “Chanting the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra” (“Sho hokke Daimoku-sho”):
In the Latter Day of the Law, there are many who lack the seed of Buddhahood, while few possess the seed of Buddhahood. Thus, there is no doubt that the people [in the Latter Day of the Law] will fall into the evil paths. [Even if they oppose it,] we must strongly teach them and make them listen to the Lotus Sutra, so that they will form a poison-drum relationship with the correct Law. Now is the time to make them form a reverse relationship with true Buddhism through teaching them the Lotus Sutra.
(Gosho, p. 231)
The people in the Latter Day of the Law are those without the seed of Buddhahood. The people who lack the seed of Buddhahood have no relationship with Shakyamuni Buddha. Those possessing the seed of Buddhahood refer to the people who had created a karmic bond with Shakyamuni’s teaching.
Those who have a relationship with Shakyamuni Buddha and possess the seed of Buddhahood matured this seed during the two thousand years of the Former and Middle Days of the Law and attained enlightenment. On the other hand, people in the Latter Day of the Law have neither received the seed of enlightenment in the past, nor practiced for countless kalpas.
Then, who is the Buddha and what is the Law that enables the people in the Latter Day of the Law, who do not possess the seed of Buddhahood, to receive the seed and attain enlightenment?
The Twenty-sixth High Priest Nichikan Shonin teaches the following in “On the Three Virtues of Sovereign, Teacher, and Parent” (“Shushishin santoku-sho”):
The people in the Latter Day of the Law are those without the seed of Buddhahood. Thus, they never received the seed of enlightenment in the remote past. Based on his profound view, Shakyamuni Buddha entrusted Bodhisattva Jogyo (Superior Practice) with the five characters of Myoho to sow the seed into the hearts of the people in the Latter Day of the Law.
(Rekizen, vol. 4, p.118)
In the Wondrous Powers of the Tathagata (Jinriki; twenty-first) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni transferred the core essence of the Lotus Sutra, expounded as the essential Law in four phases, to Bodhisattva Jogyo who is the leader of all the bodhisattvas of the earth, and entrusted him with the propagation of the true Law after his passing in the Latter Day of the Law. Nichiren Daishonin made his advent in the Latter Day of the Law as the reincarnation of Bodhisattva Jogyo. However, his position as Bodhisattva Jogyo indicated an external identity. From the perspective of his inner realization, the Daishonin is the True Buddha of intrinsically perfect wisdom from kuon-ganjo.
People without the seed of Buddhahood in the Latter Day of the Law can attain enlightenment only by having the seed of Myoho-Renge-Kyo, hidden in the depths of the Life Span (Juryo; sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra and expounded by the founder Nichiren Daishonin, sown into their lives.
The way to realize this is through shakubuku. The Daishonin’s instructions are clarified in the Exegesis on the “Opening of the Eyes” (“Kaimoku-sho” mondan) as follows:
The shoju method must be applied to those possessing the seed of Buddhahood. For those without the seed of Buddhahood, shakubuku should come first. We must strongly teach those who do not possess the seed of Buddhahood.
“Strongly teach” means to powerfully teach those who do not take faith in the true Law, and make them form a relationship with true Buddhism. Since the people in the Latter Day of the Law are dominated by the three poisons of greed, anger, and stupidity, they will not try to seek the mystic Law (Myoho) by themselves. Therefore, we need to visit them, and dare to make them arouse the feelings of the three poisons in order to form a poison-drum relationship with true Buddhism. This will lead them to attain Buddhahood.
The poison-drum relationship refers to a drum smeared with poison. It is said that when this drum is beaten among the crowd, the sound is heard even by those who do not want to listen to it. Whether or not one is willing to listen, everyone who hears this sound will instantly die. Even if one is opposed to listening to the true Law, he eventually will sever his earthly desires and attain Buddhahood through hearing the Lotus Sutra. This is likened to the metaphor of beating a poison-smeared drum.
In the Latter Day of the Law, people will be able to attain Buddhahood in the future without fail, if we make them listen to the Daishonin’s Three Great Secret Laws. This is true not only for those who have a positive relationship with true Buddhism, but also for the people who have a reverse relationship with it. The Daishonin teaches in the Gosho, “Attaining Enlightenment at the Initial Stage of Faith through the Lotus Sutra” (“Hokke shoshin jobutsu-sho”):
The people in the Latter Day of the Law will definitely fall into hell as a result of turning their backs on the Lotus Sutra. Thus, we should strongly teach and make them listen to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Those who follow and take faith in it will be able to attain enlightenment, and even those who slander it will likewise attain Buddhahood in the end through their reverse relationship with it.
(Gosho, p. 1316)
Shakubuku, which is to be performed in the Latter Day of the Law, is different from the shoju method, which is used to lead people to enlightenment according to their capacities. In the Latter Day of the Law, it is essential to assertively state that the root cause of misfortune is the practice of heretical teachings, and the only way to attain true happiness is to take faith in the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching. Even if the people oppose it, they will attain Buddhahood in the end through a reverse relationship, by having the seed of Buddhahood sown into their lives.
The Daishonin teaches in “Reply to the Lay Nun Abutsubo” (“Abutsubo ama gozen-gohenji”):
One cannot escape from committing a grave sin if one does not teach others about true Buddhism. However, one can eradicate one’s negative karma by teaching people true Buddhism. If one sees and hears those who slander the true Law, and fails to denounce them, one is guilty of committing a serious offense. It is the most heartless behavior, and one will receive punishment for lacking the virtues of seeing and hearing. The Great Teacher Chang-an teaches, “If, due to lack of compassion, you become friendly with people [who slander the true Law], you yourself are their enemy.”
(Gosho, p. 906)
Among the people around you, there are your peers, superiors, and juniors at school and work. In particular, there are people who are your close friends, those to whom you are indebted, those who helped you, people with whom you shared joy and sorrow, and so on. Among your family, there are your parents, brothers and sisters, children, and relatives. If they are not practicing true Buddhism and you wish for their happiness, you must shakubuku them first and foremost. If any of your family members is not practicing, you should have him receive Gojukai, so that the entire family can practice the Daishonin’s Buddhism together. If you are not doing shakubuku because you are worried about damaging your relationships with others and are satisfied by just superficially getting along with them, this is hypocritical behavior. In this case, you are their enemy.
In order to avoid committing this offence, you must clearly teach others that the fundamental cause for unhappiness, confusion, and suffering is the poison of heretical teachings. Furthermore, you must tell them that discarding erroneous ideas and taking faith in true Buddhism is the best way to obtain true happiness. Thus, you must do shakubuku without hesitation.
The meaning of shakubuku is to shatter evil teachings and the evil in people’s lives in order to open their eyes to the truth. Needless to say, you must not use harsh words or display aggressive behavior. It is important to be well mannered, based on your understanding of the three rules of preaching—the robe, the throne and the room. You also must sincerely wish for their happiness, consistently point out with compassion the errors of heretical teachings, and teach them the true Law.
In some cases, a relationship of yours may be broken off because you have done shakubuku. However, such people will be saved in the end, because they have encountered true Buddhism. Thus, it is most important that you fearlessly shakubuku as many people as possible with a resolute attitude.
Furthermore, you must persevere in doing shakubuku. As I mentioned on the occasion of the July Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging went about bowing and preaching to all people, believing that the Buddha nature is inherent in every person. Though he was spoken ill of, cursed, and even beaten and pelted with wooden sticks or tiles and stones by those who were offended by his actions, he steadfastly continued preaching the twenty-four-character Lotus Sutra. As a consequence, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging attained Buddhahood. Furthermore, those who had persecuted Bodhisattva Never Disparaging fell into hell once, but they too were saved through their reverse relationship formed by hearing the Lotus Sutra.
I think these actions of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging teach us an extremely important lesson in conducting shakubuku. We must learn the importance of wishing for other people’s happiness and making steadfast efforts in doing shakubuku.
As I mentioned earlier, in order to achieve our goals for 2015 and 2021, the practice for this year is the key.
The Daishonin teaches in “A Letter to Lord Nanjo Hyoe Shichiro” (“Nanjo hyoe shichiro dono-Gosho”):
No matter what great deeds one may perform, even if one transcribes the Lotus Sutra ten million times, and achieves the observation of the mind based on the principle of ichinen sanzen (three thousand realms in a single life-moment), should he fail to denounce the enemies of the Lotus Sutra, he will not be able to attain enlightenment.
(Gosho, p. 322)
He also teaches in the Rissho ankoku-ron:
If one desires peace to reign throughout the entire nation without delay, he should first and foremost put an end to the slanders that prevail throughout the country.
(Gosho, p. 247; Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 35)
I sincerely pray that you will understand deeply the meaning of these golden words, so that all the chapters, large and small, will achieve this year’s shakubuku goals without fail.