“Carrying Out the Thus Come One’s Work”
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.
Here, at the Head Temple, the Shodai Ceremony began at 9 AM today due to the New Year. As a general rule, however, the one-hour Shodai Ceremony will be conducted as usual, from 8 AM to 9 AM every day throughout the month of January. I hope that many people will be participating.
As I mentioned at the New Year’s Gongyo Ceremony, Nichiren Shoshu gained momentum for shakubuku across the country last year, befitting “The Year of Advancing Toward Kosen-rufu.” A total of 434 chapters, far exceeding the majority, achieved their shakubuku goals. This enabled them to take a major step forward toward the achievement of their goals for 2015 and 2021.
Most notably, starting with the Gifu propagation district, all the chapters within the 12 propagation districts fulfilled their shakubuku goals. This is admirable. In addition to Gifu, the other districts are Aichi East, North Kinki, Yamaguchi, Aomori, Kumamoto, Shizuoka West, Osaka South, Southern Kyushu, Iwate, Niigata, and Miyagi.
Furthermore, in the overseas countries, Honkoin Temple, as well as Hoshuin Temple, Shogyoin Temple, Honshoin Temple, and Myogyoin Temple, all located in the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Seoul Propagation center as well as the Busan Propagation center in South Korea, Kaimyoin Temple in Singapore, Hokkeji Temple in Ghana, Myohoji Temple in Los Angeles as well as Myosetsuji Temple in New York in the United States of America, Myoshoji Temple in Spain, the Argentina Propagation Centre, the Hong Kong Office, and the Vancouver Buddhist Centre in Canada all achieved their shakubuku goals. Besides these temples, in the countries where only a lay organization exists instead of a temple or a propagation center, India, where an astonishing result was achieved, and other countries, such as Sri Lanka, Germany, Switzerland, and Serbia all achieved their shakubuku goals. Shakubuku momentum abroad rivaled or surpassed that at home. It is incredibly encouraging to learn that fellow believers in overseas countries are truly committed to achieve kosen-rufu.
This solely is due to the fact that the chief priest and the lay believers of each chapter here and abroad have chanted Daimoku earnestly and exerted effort to do shakubuku. Taking to heart 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 have overcome every hardship and obstacle and devoted themselves to their practice, based on itai doshin and profound compassion, toward the achievement of kosen-rufu. I praise each individual’s strenuous efforts and sincerely pay my respects.
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” (“Shuku 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)
The Bodhisattva Medicine King (Yakuo bosatsu; twenty-third) chapter of the Lotus Sutra expounds:
You have upheld this sutra, read and recited it, pondered and preached it for the sake of others. The benefits you will receive are immeasurable and boundless. They cannot be burned by fire or washed away by water. Your benefits are so great, that one thousand Buddhas preaching together could not adequately describe them.
(Hokekyo, p. 538)
“You have upheld this sutra, read and recited it, pondered and preached it for the sake of others” refers to the practice for oneself and others. This passage teaches that the benefit one will gain from practicing for oneself and others is so enormous that it cannot be marred by fire or water. This benefit cannot adequately be described, even if one thousand Buddhas joined together to explain it.
Furthermore, the “Recorded Lectures” (“Onko kikigaki”) states:
Propagating the seven characters of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo in the Latter Day of the Law is the only way for one to receive true benefits.
(Gosho, p. 1818)
Now in the Latter Day of the Law, doing shakubuku is the only way for one to receive the great benefit of the Buddha. If you wish to sever your negative karma, build a supreme life condition, and live a happy life filled with benefits, you should first and foremost conduct shakubuku. It is the very mission of both the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu, who advance forth toward kosen-rufu. We all should be aware that this is the best way to attain true happiness.
I assume we are all well aware that the only way to save those who suffer from the three poisons of greed, anger, and stupidity is to do shakubuku. However, just knowing this alone means very little.
In this “Year of Taking Action to do Shakubuku,” all individuals must put action before theory so that they, themselves, will receive the boundless benefits of the Dai-Gohonzon and will save the many people who suffer in deep distress. In closing, I sincerely pray that everyone will be able to repay one’s debts of gratitude to the three treasures. •