“Have the Conviction that Efforts Always Will Pay Off”
On the Occasion of the February Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
February 6, 2011
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
Good Morning, everyone!
On this occasion of the February 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.
As I often mention, the shakubuku momentum increased among the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity at home and abroad last year. We achieved great results and made a leap forward toward the years 2015 and 2021.
This is solely due to the fact that all the chief priests and Hokkeko believers became single-minded in their efforts to practice, overcoming every obstacle and hardship. I offer my sincerest congratulations on their great progress. I truly wish they will further devote themselves to their practice in “The Year of Taking Action to do Shakubuku.” I hope that with this forward momentum, all the chapters will achieve this year’s goals without fail.
As you know, this month commemorates the advent of our founder Nichiren Daishonin. As predicted in the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren Daishonin was born on February 16, in the first year of Jo’ o (1222). From the standpoint of his inner realization, he is the True Buddha of the property of intrinsically perfect wisdom from the infinite past of kuon-ganjo, while his provisional identity was Bodhisattva Jogyo. The purpose of his advent in the Latter Day of the Law was to lead all the people who do not possess the seed of Buddhahood to the Buddha path with the great Law hidden in the depths of the Life Span chapter of the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra. This will lead them to the attainment of Buddhahood in their present form.
The most significant mission for both the priests and lay believers of Nichiren Shoshu today lies in assuming the Daishonin’s aspiration to save all living beings. In order to achieve this, we must devote ourselves to the practice, just as taught in the passages that state, “one’s body is insignificant while the Law is supreme” and “willing to give one’s life to propagate the Law.” In other words, the best way to fulfill our mission is to sow the seed of the mystic Law (Myoho) of the true cause into the lives of many people, who suffer from the poison of slander. This is shakubuku.
Concerning the propagation of the Law after Shakyamuni Buddha’s passing, the Teachers of the Law (Hosshi; tenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra expounds the principle of the three rules of preaching—the robe, the throne, and the room:
Enter the room of the Tathagata, don the robe of the Tathagata, sit on the throne of the Tathagata, and extensively preach this sutra for the sake of the four kinds of believers.
(Hokekyo, p. 329)
“Enter the room of the Tathagata” means to arouse one’s feeling of great compassion. “Don the robe of the Tathagata” refers to wearing the clothing of gentleness and forbearance. The phrase “sit on the throne of the Tathagata” is explained in the “Orally Transmitted Teachings” (“Ongi kuden”) as follows:
The throne signifies devoting oneself to the practice without begrudging one’s life. This means to reside in the seat of emptiness, liberating oneself from all illusions.
(Gosho, p. 1750)
This principle teaches that one should have the mind of gentleness and forbearance, have the firm conviction of not holding one’s own life dear, and propagate the Law with compassion.
Apparently, in the present age, the style of doing shakubuku may differ from one person to another. I believe that everyone should have the attitude based on the principle of the three rules of preaching—the robe, the throne, and the room—and practice shakubuku. Furthermore, each of us must stand up and do shakubuku as a disciple of the Daishonin, with the firm resolve described as follows:
Even if 1,000 people oppose you, [as long as you have a clear conscience] you must face them with your own dignity and courage.
Last year, Nichiren Shoshu made great achievements, both here and abroad, due to the concerted efforts of the priesthood and laity with forward shakubuku momentum.
In particular, the shakubuku achievement in India is worthy of special mention. According to the report of the Overseas Department, in Mumbai, India, approximately 1,200 people received Gojukai last year. This was all started by the shakubuku activities conducted by only three members.
One of them is a lady who is originally from Malaysia. She became naturalized in Japan 30 years ago and joined Nichiren Shoshu ten years ago. Now, she runs her own travel agency in Mumbai. Another person is her older brother. He became naturalized in India and lives in Mumbai. Two years ago, he had heart disease and underwent emergency surgery. His doctor told him there was a 99 percent chance that he would die. He then started to chant Daimoku, as his sister always had encouraged him to do. The surgery was successful, and he received the great benefit of escaping death. Afterwards, he made up his mind to stand up and do shakubuku together with his sister and one other member from India.
The third person is originally from India. He was the only active believer in Mumbai and had been practicing Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism all alone. He had no fellow members with whom to practice. After meeting the brother and sister, he joined hands with them. Then, the three of them started to do shakubuku together. As a result, to everyone’s surprise, 1,200 people received Gojukai last year. This is quite an astounding achievement.
Furthermore, they recently have informed the Overseas Department that there are 600 more people waiting to receive Gojukai. They have asked when the priest would be able to come to conduct the Gojukai Ceremony.
Shakubuku activities such as these, which initially were started by only three people, can spread like a great wave, and can even lead to the achievement of 1,200 people receiving Gojukai. It happened because these three members became united as one and fearlessly devoted themselves to do shakubuku in earnest, upholding the passages, “one’s body is insignificant while the Law is supreme” and “willing to give one’s life to propagate the Law.” This proves that shakubuku can be achieved without fail, as long as one truly does it in earnest. There is a proverb that says:
It is not because it is impossible to do. It is because you do not try to do it.
The reason why you cannot achieve something is not because it is impossible to do. It is because you do not try to put it into action. No matter how capable one may be, if he lacks the ability and the will to get something done, nothing will be achieved. On the contrary, once a person feels motivated and gains confidence, he often demonstrates power beyond his abilities, as is the case with shakubuku.
These three members in India have proven that as long as one has absolute faith in the Dai-Gohonzon, an indomitable will, confidence based on a “can-do” spirit, and makes strenuous efforts, one will never fail to accomplish shakubuku.
Therefore, if any of you feels that shakubuku is not going your way, please do not establish your own limits. Instead, have the conviction that “efforts always will pay off.” Then, emulate the firm faith of these Indian members and conduct shakubuku. I assure you that shakubuku can be achieved.
When doing shakubuku, one first must chant Daimoku powerfully. The benefits that one gains from chanting Daimoku are immeasurable. One will develop every power that is required to do shakubuku, including deep compassion with the desire to save as many people as possible. One also will gain confidence. Moving forward based on the benefits and joy one has gained from chanting Daimoku is the key to achieve shakubuku.
In fact, last year, the members in the chapters that achieved their shakubuku goals chanted Daimoku with unity between the priesthood and laity. They moved forward with their shakubuku practice with great joy.
I pray that you will conduct shakubuku befitting “The Year of Taking Action to do Shakubuku” with strong faith and energy that even rivals or surpasses the members in India. Based on this, I hope everyone will achieve this year’s goals without fail. •