“Unity Based on the Spirit of Itai-doshin Is Essential”
On the Occasion of the March Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
March 6, 2011
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
On this occasion of the March 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 mentioned before, the shakubuku momentum increased among the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity at home and abroad last year, and we have made a great leap forward toward the achievement of our goals for 2015 and 2021.
This solely is due to the fact that all of the chief priests and Hokkeko believers upheld a single-minded determination toward the achievement of kosen-rufu. They strove in their practice, based on unity, in the spirit of itai-doshin (many in body, one in mind), overcoming every obstacle and hardship. I would say that this great achievement was accomplished through the spirit of itai-doshin.
As you are well aware, the Daishonin teaches the following in the Gosho, “On itai doshin, Many in Body, One in Mind” (“Itai doshin-ji”):
If itai-doshin (many in body, one in mind) prevails, the people will achieve everything, whereas, in dotai-ishin (one in body, many in mind), they will not achieve anything.
This is illustrated in the more than three thousand volumes of Chinese and Japanese literature. Though King Chou of Yin led 700,000 cavalrymen in the battle against King Wu of Chou, King Chou was defeated because of disunity. King Wu led the coalition troops of 800 feudal lords, but they defeated his opponent due to perfect unity.
Even an individual who is at cross-purposes with himself will never succeed, due to his conflicted mind. Yet, even 100 or 1,000 people certainly can accomplish their goals if they become single-minded. Though numerous, the Japanese people will find it difficult to accomplish anything, because they are in dotai-ishin. In contrast, I believe that even though Nichiren and his followers are few in number, because they act in itai-doshin, they will accomplish their great mission of propagating the Lotus Sutra.
(Gosho, p. 1389)
Quoting the historical events of King Chou of Yin and King Wu of Chou, the Daishonin teaches how important it is to unite together, based on the spirit of itai-doshin, in the challenge of achieving kosen-rufu. Each individual’s ability may be necessary for this challenge. However, no matter how remarkable an individual’s ability may be, if each person behaves in a self-centered manner, the goal will not be achieved. When everyone becomes single-minded, sharing the common objective, and strives to practice for the achievement of the same goal, this will lead to the achievement of the goal. It becomes a driving force more powerful than anyone ever could imagine. This is the only way that each individual can exploit his abilities to the fullest. The Daishonin teaches in “On the Heritage of the Law” (“Kechimyaku-sho”):
All disciples and believers of Nichiren should chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo with the spirit of many in body, one in mind, overriding all differences among themselves to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim. This spiritual bond is the foundation for the universal transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death. Herein lies the ultimate objective of Nichiren’s propagation. When you are so united, even the great hope for kosen-rufu can be fulfilled without fail. But if any of Nichiren’s disciples should disrupt the unity, he will destroy his own castle from within.
(Gosho, p. 514; cf. MW-1, p. 23)
This teaches that the spirit of itai-doshin definitely will lead to the achievement of the great aspiration for kosen-rufu. On the contrary, the Daishonin strictly admonishes in this passage that “if any of Nichiren’s disciples should disrupt the unity, he will destroy his own castle from within.”
The Gosho, “Letter to Benko Nissho” (“Bendono goshosoku”) teaches:
Even though you have been chanting so earnestly that you now have pain in your head, your prayers have not been answered. This is because there is someone among you who is not of the same mind as Nichiren.
(Gosho, p. 998)
The Daishonin strictly admonishes that if there is anyone among his disciples who is not of the same mind as Nichiren, no matter how seriously one may chant, his prayers will not be answered.
As is obvious from these passages, unity based on the spirit of itai-doshin is essential for the challenge of kosen-rufu. However, the important point is what this spirit of itai doshin is based upon.
If one follows his own heart, in other words, if one views Buddhism based on his own personal preferences, he will become wrapped up in himself. This does not lead to true itai-doshin. True itai-doshin will result only if one bases his mind on Buddhism.
Instead of focusing on one’s own self-centered thinking, if one bases his mind on Buddhism, focuses on kosen-rufu, and strives to practice for the achievement of the goals together with his fellow believers, then this will lead to unity based on true itai-doshin.
Our challenge of kosen-rufu for the years to come will not be easy at all. It is inevitable that every obstacle and devil will block our path.
We must engrave into our hearts the golden words, “If itai-doshin prevails, the people will achieve everything” and practice in itai-doshin, based on unity between the priesthood and laity. Then, we can overcome every hardship. This itai-doshin, however, cannot be established unless one has absolute faith in the Dai-Gohonzon and makes assiduous efforts to chant Daimoku.
The Daishonin teaches the following in the Gosho, “On the Meaning of the True Entity of Myoho-Renge-Kyo” (“Totaigi-sho”):
Those who honestly discard the expedient teachings, put faith only in the Lotus Sutra, and chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, will transform the three paths of earthly desires, karma, and suffering into the three virtues of the property of the Law, wisdom and emancipation. The threefold contemplation and the three truths will immediately manifest in their minds. The place where they dwell will become the land of eternally tranquil light.
(Gosho, p. 694)
As these golden words teach, the benefits of chanting Daimoku will enable one to transform the three paths of earthly desires, karma, and suffering into the three virtues of the property of the Law, wisdom, and emancipation. Such immeasurable benefit will purify one’s body and mind, so that he will be able to walk the path of correct faith, basing his mind on Buddhism.
I sincerely pray that you will chant Daimoku consistently. This will lead to unity based on the spirit of itai-doshin, which will enable you to strive in your practice for oneself and others. I hope that each of you will firmly engrave this into your heart, and that based on itai-doshin, all the chapters will achieve this year’s goals without fail. This will enable everyone to repay their debts of gratitude to the three treasures—the Buddha, the Law, and the priesthood. •