There is no Doubt that You Will Be Able to Attain Enlightenment – October 2, 2011

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“There is no Doubt that You Will Be Able to Attain Enlightenment”
On the Occasion of the October Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
October 2, 2011
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji

Good morning, everyone!

On this occasion of the October 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.

October has already arrived, and there are only three months left in the year. I assume that all Hokkeko chapters are striving forward day and night, with unity between priesthood and laity, aiming for the achievement of their shakubuku goals for this year.

Especially this year, we are experiencing large-scale natural disasters, including the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, which occurred in March, and powerful storms caused by typhoons No. 12 and 15. We are burdened with major issues, such as radiation contamination from the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, and we have not yet found complete solutions to these problems. People are feeling confusion and anxiety about the future.

Now is the time for each of us to take action to do shakubuku—refuting heresy and revealing the truth—with firm conviction and courage, in order to actualize the true Buddha land in accordance with the golden words of the Rissho ankoku-ron.

Therefore, I truly hope that the members in each and every chapter will redouble their efforts and conduct shakubuku with the spirit of many in body, one in mind (itai doshin) with unity between priesthood and laity, in order to achieve the shakubuku goals for this year.

The Wondrous Powers of the Tathagata (Jinriki; twenty-first) chapter of the Lotus Sutra states the following:

After I have passed into extinction, one should accept and uphold this sutra. There is no doubt that such a person is assured to attain the Buddha way.

(Hokekyo, p. 517)

This is the conclusion of the chapter. The phrase, “After I have passed into extinction” includes the Former, Middle, and Latter Days of the Law. However, the Buddha’s true intention is focused on the present age of the Latter Day of the Law. On the surface, “this sutra” signifies the Lotus Sutra, but from the standpoint of the observation of the mind in the Latter Day of the Law, this is not the Lotus Sutra of the surface meaning of the words. It is none other than Myoho-Renge-Kyo, hidden in the depths of the Life Span of the Tathagata chapter of the Lotus Sutra.

In the Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra (Hokke mongu), there is the following explanation of the meanings of “accept” and “uphold”:

One accepts out of the power of faith and upholds through the power of prayer.

(Hokke mongu, vol.2, p. 612)

Thus, “accept and uphold” means to embrace with the power of faith and the power of prayer. In the Latter Day of the Law, it means to embrace the Dai-Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws with unwavering faith.

“There is no doubt” signifies that something is thoroughly determined. That is, there can be no doubt that one who upholds Myoho-Renge-Kyo, hidden in the depths of the Life Span chapter of the Lotus Sutra, in the Latter Day of the Law will attain enlightenment.

In fact, in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings, it is expounded that one should practice Buddhism over a period of countless kalpas, starting from the shallow and proceeding to the deep, in order to attain Buddhahood. This is what is called the sequential practice of Buddhism. However, the Devadatta (Daibadatta; twelfth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra discusses the instant attainment of Buddhahood of the Dragon King’s daughter and reveals that one can attain enlightenment without carrying out Buddhist practice over a period of countless kalpas.

“The Teaching Affirmed by All Buddhas of the Three Existences” (“Sanze shobutsu sokanmon-sho”) states:

To understand that all phenomena in the world derive from Buddhism is called the stage of first hearing the name of the Law. Since one attains enlightenment in one’s present form at the stage of first hearing the name of the Law, there are no sequential stages of practice in the perfect teaching.

(Gosho, p. 1417)

Also, the “Benefits of Receiving the Precepts” (“Tokuju shokunin kudoku homon-sho”) states:

When the common mortals who are yet to be severed from earthly desires take faith in Myoho-Renge-Kyo, they will attain the stage of enlightenment. How can you doubt that they will attain the stage of enlightenment? (The Lotus Sutra) states, “After I have passed into extinction, one should accept and uphold this sutra. There is no doubt that such a person is assured to attain the Buddha way.” The same sutra states, “If one hears the Law for even a single moment, he will be able to attain perfect enlightenment.”

(Gosho, p. 589)

This means that, by believing in and upholding Myoho-Renge-Kyo, even common mortals who have not yet eradicated earthly desires are able to attain enlightenment in their present form at the stage of first hearing the name of the Law. This is exactly due to the broad and boundless benefits of Myoho-Renge-Kyo, hidden in the depths of the Life Span chapter of the Lotus Sutra.

In other words, no matter what kind of person you may be, once you chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo from the bottom of your heart to the Dai-Gohonzon, there is no doubt that you will be able to attain enlightenment.

Nichiren Daishonin states 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.

(Gosho, p. 694)

At present, the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu are making concerted efforts, aiming for the achievement of our new objectives for 2015 and 2021. In order to realize our objectives for 2015 and 2021, it is of crucial importance for all Hokkeko chapters to achieve their shakubuku goals for this year.

When we look upon the confusing and chaotic situation here and abroad, we keenly feel the importance of sowing the seed of Myoho-Renge-Kyo and conducting shakubuku as soon as possible to save even one more person. This means, first and foremost, that Hokkeko chapters must rise up together and take action to do shakubuku.

Shakubuku is not a theory. It cannot be achieved without taking any action, just as a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you take resolute action, you will gain wisdom and be protected by the guardian deities. Thus, you will achieve your shakubuku objectives without fail.

If you cannot achieve your objectives, you must reflect upon yourself to see whether you have only been referring to the theory of shakubuku rather than taking action to realize it. You will never achieve shakubuku if you just sit down and discuss the idea of shakubuku.

There is an old saying:

If there is no dark obscurity in purpose, there will be no reputation for brilliance; if there is no hidden secret in the performance of duties, there will be no awe-inspiring majesty in achievements.

(Xunzi: A Translation and Study of the Complete Works,
vol. 1, p. 138)

In other words, there can be no prize without unseen efforts, and there can be no golden achievements if you neglect your work when you are out of sight.

The same is true with shakubuku. Making a wholehearted effort to do shakubuku continually is of utmost importance. Finding time in our busy schedules and persevering in conducting shakubuku will result in our attaining enlightenment in our present form and our saving people from their sufferings.

Some of the Hokkeko groups gathered here today might have already realized their shakubuku objectives for this year. Some may have yet to achieve theirs. Even if you haven’t, we still have three more months left. We can do almost anything if we have three months. If you take action to do shakubuku with unity between priesthood and laity, and keep the spirit of itai doshin with firm determination, you will definitely be able to realize your goals.

I would like to conclude my address by asking each and every one of you, regardless of whether or not you have achieved your goal, to strive forth toward the auspicious years of 2015 and 2021. •