On the Occasion of the April Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
April 5, 2009
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
Good Morning, everyone!
On the occasion of the April Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony, conducted today at the Head Temple, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the large number of participants in attendance.
As we welcome the auspicious occasion of the 750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Rissho ankoku-ron this year, I imagine you are devoting yourselves toward the achievement of the goals of “Doubling the number of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth” and the “Great Assembly,” with unity between priesthood and laity in the spirit of itai doshin.
As you know, the Rissho ankoku-ron is the treatise that the Daishonin submitted to Hojo Tokiyori to remonstrate with the government, as well as the entire nation, in order to save all the people. He did this with great compassion as the True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. The Daishonin lamented that due to the grave slander against true Buddhism, the entire nation, from the highest-ranking individuals to the lowest, was suffering from intolerable pain. There were unusual occurrences in the heavens; natural disasters on earth, such as famine and epidemics; internal strife and foreign invasion. These were occurring in the present, and the people were sure to fall into the hell of incessant suffering in their next life.
The Daishonin witnessed various calamities, such as frequent unusual occurrences in the heavens, natural disasters on earth, including famine and epidemics, and the great earthquake that occurred on August 23rd in the first year of Shoka (1257). In the Rissho ankoku-ron, the Daishonin states that the root cause of such disasters is the people’s slander against the true Law. He explains that the people of the country have gone against the correct Law and become wholly devoted to incorrect doctrines. Consequently, all the Guardian Deities that are supposed to protect the nation have abandoned the country and instead, devils and demons have rushed in, bringing disasters and calamities.
Citing the Sutra of the Golden Light (Konkomyo-kyo) and the Sutra of the Great Assembly (Daishik-kyo), the Daishonin teaches that, according to the sutras, when the people do not take faith in the correct Law and instead commit slander, the three calamities and seven disasters will arise. Furthermore, he states that the single evil cause that has brought forth all adversities, misfortune, confusion, and suffering is Honen’s writing, The Sole Selection of Nembutsu. Thus, the Daishonin teaches that if this single evil cause is removed, eliminating slander of the correct Law, and if the people uphold the virtuous mystic Law, then the three calamities and seven disasters occurring throughout the country will vanish. The national crises, which have been piling up, will also disappear and instead, a stable and peaceful Buddha land will emerge. Conversely, he warns that if the people do not take faith in the correct Law, then internal strife and foreign invasion—the two of the seven disasters that have not yet happened—will occur, one after another. The Daishonin then concludes by declaring that one must immediately renounce one’s erroneous belief and take faith in the “supreme teaching of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra.”
Though the Rissho ankoku-ron was addressed to Hojo Tokiyori, the most powerful man in the country at that time, it was actually intended as an admonishment to all the people.
The Daishonin teaches in his Rissho ankoku-ron:
“Rather than offering a myriad of prayers and rituals, first and foremost it is vital to eliminate the single evil cause of all adversities.”
(Gosho, p. 241)
The Daishonin appears to refute the slander of Honen. However, his true intention is to broadly refute all erroneous teachings.
The true significance of “sho” in “rissho” (propagation of true Buddhism) is the Object of Worship of the Buddhism of the sowing and the Three Great Secret Laws. “Koku” of “ankoku” (securing the peace of the land) tentatively refers to Japan; however, in truth, the Daishonin indicates the entire world.
Therefore, “rissho” means to uphold the Three Great Secret Laws: the Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching, the Daimoku of the Essential Teaching and the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, which shall be propagated in order to illuminate the darkness of the ten thousand years of the Latter Day of the Law. The Daishonin teaches that it is most essential to uphold the Three Great Secret Laws in order to realize “ankoku,” securing the peace of the land.
Thus, the Rissho ankoku-ron reads:
“You must immediately renounce your erroneous belief and take faith in the supreme teaching of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra. Then, this entire threefold world will become the Buddha land. How could the Buddha land ever decline? All the lands in the ten directions will transform into treasure realms. How could a treasure realm ever fall to ruin? If the nation never declines and the land is indestructible, you will find safety and peace of mind. These are the very words that you must believe and revere.”
(Gosho, p. 250)
The true meaning of the passage: “You must immediately renounce your erroneous belief and take faith in the supreme teaching of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra” is indeed, that one must take faith in the Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching, the supreme teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws.
The Gosho, “On the Meaning of the True Entity of Myoho-Renge-Kyo” (“Totai gisho”) reads:
“Those persons 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. The Buddha who is the entity of Myoho-Renge-Kyo of the Lifespan (Juryo; the sixteenth) chapter of the Essential Teaching, who is both inhabiting subject and inhabited realm, life and its environment, body and mind, entity and function, and the uncreated and unadorned three enlightened properties—he is to be found in the disciples and followers of Nichiren.”
(Gosho, p. 694; cf. MW-7, p. 64)
In his Commentary on “The Meaning of the True Entity of Myoho-Renge-Kyo” (“Totai gisho” mondan), the Twenty-sixth High Priest Nichikan Shonin comments on the phrase: “The place where they dwell will become the land of eternally tranquil light”:
“The following reveals the principle of the oneness of life and its environment. “Those persons” refers to a person who has transformed the three paths into the three virtues. This is the living subject (shoho). “The place where they dwell” indicates the objective environment. Furthermore, “the place where they dwell” refers to the cause within the environment, while “land of eternally tranquil light” is the effect within the environment. You must know this: because of the principle of the oneness of life and its environment, the causality of the environment is inherent in itself. This is because the causality of life is inherent in itself. [Thus, life and the environment are two but fundamentally one.] You must know this: every cause and effect of life and its environment is the Law of Myoho-Renge-Kyo.”
(Mondan, p. 622)
In other words, because of the principle of the oneness of life and its environment, if one takes faith in the Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching, the supreme Three Great Secret Laws of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra, the place where the person resides becomes the tranquil Buddha land, receiving the boundless benefits of the mystic Law.
The closing words of the Rissho ankoku-ron state:
“From now on, I will faithfully uphold your compassionate admonition so that I may clear my foolish and deluded mind. I will immediately eliminate [all slanderous teachings] and make every effort toward realizing the peace throughout the land. These efforts will also secure my own peace of mind in this lifetime and will enable me to attain supreme happiness in future existences.”
(Gosho, p. 250)
This passage indicates a person’s [the traveler’s] resolution: “Seeking for your compassionate reprimand, I was able to realize my foolish delusions. From now on, I will immediately eliminate slander against the correct Law in order to realize the peace and stability of the land and to establish happiness in this life. I will continue my practice for happiness in this life and the next by not only practicing true Buddhism myself. I also will shakubuku many others, who are tainted by the poison of slander, by admonishing them of their errors.”
The last paragraph, which is the traveler’s question, is actually the answer of the host. This part is the conclusion of the Rissho ankoku-ron.
In other words, this last paragraph reveals an extremely important teaching. It indicates that in order to put the principle of the Rissho ankoku-ron into action and to save many people, who suffer from the poison of slander, one must carry out compassionate shakubuku, looking toward the realization of the establishment of the true Buddha land.
As pointed out at the beginning of the Rissho ankoku-ron, the root cause of misfortune, confusion, and suffering throughout the world is slander of the true Law. Unless such slander is eliminated, the peace of the world will not be secured.
Now is the time for each of us to gratefully uphold the underlying intention of the Rissho ankoku-ron and devote ourselves to do shakubuku with concerted effort, and advance toward the achievement of “Doubling the number of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.”
Regarding the Great Assembly, as I mentioned on the occasion of the Kick-off Ceremony held on January 3rd of this year, the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers is the greatest assembly that has ever taken place. It is the greatest assembly of the century when the most devoted Hokkeko believers will gather together here at the Head Temple where the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching is enshrined.
The “most devoted believers” refers to the Hokkeko believers with a strong sense of mission for kosen-rufu, who are devoting themselves to propagate the true Law even when at the cost of their lives, aiming for the fulfillment of kosen-rufu throughout the entire world. They are, so to speak, the “soldiers” of kosen-rufu. All of the selected 75,000 Hokkeko believers who will come together at the Great Assembly are the persons of talent who are central to future kosen-rufu activities.
With the Great Assembly soon to take place, every chapter needs to encourage their members to look within their organization and discover the “buried treasures” there—the people of excellent talent. If each chapter boldly promotes this movement, the entire organization will be revitalized, and a robust organization for kosen-rufu will be established without fail.
If the most devoted 75,000 believers who gather at the General Meeting stand up for the propagation of the true Law and courageously move forward to carry out shakubuku, this will further extend the shakubuku activities throughout Japan and the entire world. Such a large movement can change the world significantly toward the realization of the ideal land described in the Rissho ankoku-ron.
When we see the world in chaos—one of the worst worldwide economic recessions in decades, racial disputes, and the current condition where global-scale wars can happen at any time—we must realize that the only way we can rescue the people from these distressed conditions is with the Three Great Secret Laws of Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law.
Therefore, if each individual of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity feels a mission for kosen-rufu and earnestly practices shakubuku, aiming toward the achievement of “Doubling the number of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth” and the “Great Assembly,” and then two people, three people, ten people, and ten thousand billion people follow, joining and practicing together, the dream of the great aspiration of the propagation of true Buddhism can actually come true.
I wish from the bottom of my heart that this year, when we welcome the auspicious occasion of the 750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Rissho Ankoku-ron, you will make further advancements toward the achievement of the goals of “Doubling the number of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth” and the “Great Assembly” in the spirit of itai doshin. With this, I would like to conclude my address for today.