“Have Pride as an ‘Envoy of the Buddha'”
On the Occasion of the June Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
June 6, 2010
Reception Hall, Head Temple
Good morning, everyone!
On this occasion of the June 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 June has arrived in this “Year of Advancing toward Kosen-rufu.” I imagine you are devoting yourselves to your practice day and night, aiming toward the achievement of this year’s shakubuku goals.
Since the great success of the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers held last year on July 26, the momentum for shakubuku among the Hokkeko believers has increased across the country. Since the beginning of this year, in particular, many chapters already have achieved this year’s shakubuku goals.
There also are many other chapters that have achieved 70 to 80 percent of their shakubuku goals thus far. It is quite certain that they will achieve this year’s shakubuku goals as well. This development truly is gratifying. I believe this is because the members of each chapter understand the deep significance of this “Year of Advancing toward Kosen-rufu,” and they earnestly are devoting themselves to the practice of shakubuku, based on unity between priesthood and laity in the spirit of itai-doshin. I sincerely hope that with even more solidarity and firm faith, all chapters, large, medium, and small, will achieve their goals.
The Teachers of the Law (Hosshi; tenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra states:
If one of these good men or good women in the time after I have passed into extinction is able to secretly expound the Lotus Sutra to 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; The Lotus Sutra, Watson, p. 162)
In addition to this passage, the Teachers of the Law (Hosshi; tenth) chapter also teaches the five practices of embracing, reading, reciting, teaching, and transcribing the Lotus Sutra. It also expounds the three categories of sutras: those that the Buddha has preached, now preaches, and will preach; and the three rules of preaching: the robe, the throne, and the room.1
The above passage expounds that the practice of a bodhisattva is that of the Buddha’s envoy. It teaches that those who preach even one phrase of the Lotus Sutra after the Buddha’s passing are the envoys of the Tathagata (Thus Come One). The envoys of the Tathagata are those who were dispatched on a mission by the Buddha to teach even one person a single verse or a phrase of Myoho-Renge-Kyo.
The Buddha did not appear in this world to preach the Law for his own satisfaction. Rather, he wished for the happiness of all living beings. Thus, he made his advent into this world in order to save all living beings with his true and eternal teaching.
Those who become the messengers of the Buddha, bearing in mind the Buddha’s will to save all living beings, and devote themselves to kosen-rufu are the envoys of the Tathagata.
In this passage, the “Thus Come One’s work,” means that the Buddha preaches the Law to all living beings, enabling them to receive benefits. In other words, he will save and protect all living beings.
Concerning the passages in the Teachers of the Law chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the Daishonin teaches in “Ten Superior Doctrines Described in The Outstanding Principles of the Lotus Sutra” (“Shuku jissho-sho”):
The sutra states, “If one of these good men or good women in the time after I have passed into extinction is able to secretly expound the Lotus Sutra to 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.” 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.
He also teaches in “Letter to Heino Saemon” (“Issakujitsu-Gosho”):
Those who propagate the Lotus sutra are the messengers of all the Buddhas.
(Gosho, p. 476)
He further teaches in “A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering” (“Shiiji shirodono-Gosho”):
The Teachers of the Law chapter of the Lotus Sutra states, “If one of these good men or good women…[secretly 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.
(Gosho, p. 1555)
As these passages expound, those who teach even one verse or one phrase of Myoho-Renge-Kyo—in other words, those who do shakubuku in the Latter Day of the Law—whether they are priests or nuns, laymen or laywomen, are equally the “envoys of the Thus Come One.” They were sent by the Buddha as his messengers in order to carry out the Buddha’s work. Those who devote themselves to the propagation of Myoho-Renge-Kyo and do shakubuku are all the “emissaries of the Buddha.”
Nichiren Shoshu has welcomed the “Year of Advancing toward Kosen-rufu” and is powerfully moving forward on the path to kosen-rufu. I think it is most essential that each and every priest and lay member of our denomination become aware of one’s responsibility and have pride as an “envoy of the Buddha.” Then, we should strive to conduct shakubuku in high spirits.
There is an expression that says, “Unless you take action on your own initiative, you can never achieve anything.” It is important to have the desire to take action and carry through with everything you set out to do.
Each individual must take the initiative to pray for the achievement of worldwide kosen-rufu, as well as for one’s own attainment of Buddhahood. One should chant Daimoku to the Gohonzon earnestly, and wholeheartedly fulfill one’s responsibility as an “emissary of the Buddha.”
As I always mention, in order to attain our goals for 2015 and 2021, we absolutely must first achieve our goals for this year.
I sincerely pray that each of you will become aware of your responsibility, as well as feel pride and a sense of mission as an “envoy of the Buddha.” With this, I pray that each individual will achieve this year’s shakubuku goal without fail, aiming toward the achievement of kosen-rufu, the will of Nichiren Daishonin.
1 The three rules of preaching: the robe, the throne, and the room represent three rules of conduct that are important when propagating the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law. The “robe” means an attitude of gentleness and forbearance; the “throne” symbolizes the realization that all phenomena are without substance; and the “room” signifies the mind of great mercy and deep compassion. (cf. Doctrines and Practice of Nichiren Shoshu, p. 289)