“The Ten Comparisons and Twelve Similes”
On the Occasion of the December Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
December 4, 2011
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
Good morning, everyone!
On this occasion of the December Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony, conducted here today at the Head Temple, the last Shodai Ceremony of the year, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the large number of participants in attendance.
The month of December already has arrived in this “Year of Taking Action to Do Shakubuku,” and we have only 28 days remaining this year. I imagine the members of each Hokkeko chapter are striving forward, aiming for the achievement of their shakubuku goals.
Thanks to your unceasing efforts day and night, with unity between the priesthood and laity, 441 Hokkeko chapters have achieved their shakubuku objectives. The total rate of successful achievement has reached 75.51 percent. I truly am pleased to report that each and every chapter is advancing vigorously toward the achievement of its shakubuku goal. With such forward momentum, I firmly believe that all chapters will realize this year’s goals without fail.
As you know, shakubuku is the most effective way to save the chaotic society of today and lead all others who are suffering to true happiness. Shakubuku is the mission of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth and the most precious deed to bring salvation to all living beings.
In “The True Entity of All Phenomena” (“Shoho jisso-sho”), Nichiren Daishonin states:
If your mind is one with Nichiren, you must be one of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
(Gosho, p. 666)
Keeping these golden words in mind, we, the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu, should realize that the most important thing to do as the followers of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth is to conduct shakubuku single-mindedly with firm faith. We must aim for the achievement of kosen-rufu of the true cause in the Latter Day of the Law, which is characterized by delusion and evil.
Having absolute conviction in the Gohonzon is vital for us, in order to achieve shakubuku.
The Daishonin teaches the following in his Gosho, “On Practicing According to the Buddha’s Teachings” (“Nyosetsu shugyo-sho”):
Conduct shakubuku and refute both the person and the Law of the heretical teachings. Loudly proclaim that the Lotus Sutra is the only teaching that will lead the people to Buddhahood, and that the various other teachings are the root cause for obstructing one from attaining enlightenment and leading one to fall into hell.
(Gosho, p. 673)
It is of utmost importance to tell the people that the root cause that severs one from the path of attaining the way, and leads one to fall into hell and unhappiness is following heretical teachings and sutras. We must tell them that the only way to attain true happiness is to uphold the Gohonzon. In “Reply to the Wife of Abutsu-bo” (“Abutsubo amagozen-gohenji”), the Daishonin states:
Believers will attain enlightenment; slanderers will fall into the hell of incessant suffering.
(Gosho, p. 905)
In this way, the Daishonin clarifies the ultimate consequences of both believers and slanderers of the true Law. We must etch these golden words into our hearts and have firm conviction in the Gohonzon. Furthermore, we must distinguish between right and wrong and promote our practice of refuting heresy and revealing the truth.
In order to demonstrate the superiority of the Lotus Sutra over all other sutras, the Buddha expounded ten comparisons in the Bodhisattva Medicine King (Yakuo bosatsu; twenty-third) chapter:
Among all the bodies of water, the ocean is foremost.
Among all the mountains, Mount Sumeru is foremost.
Among all the stars, the guardian deities of the moon (Gattenshi) and the moon itself, are foremost.
The guardian deities of the sun (Nittenshi) and the sun itself, can banish all darkness.
Among all the kings, the wheel-turning king is foremost.
Taishaku (Shakra) is the king of the 33 heavenly beings.
The heavenly king Daibonten (Brahma) is the father of all living beings.
Among all common mortals, it is the sages, such as arhats and pratyekabuddhas, that are foremost.
Among all the people in the worlds of learning and realization, the bodhisattva is foremost.
The Buddha [of the Lotus Sutra] is the king [of the Buddhas] of all doctrines. Likewise, the Lotus Sutra is the king of all sutras.
Furthermore, in the same chapter, the great benefit of the Lotus Sutra is expounded using 12 similes. From these 12 smiles, we can understand that the Lotus Sutra is able to save all living beings, release them from their sufferings, bestow benefits upon them, and fulfill their wishes.
For example, the Lotus Sutra is like:
A clear, cool pond satisfying those who are thirsty
A fire for one who is cold
A robe for one who is bare
A group of merchants finding a leader
A child finding her mother
Someone finding a ship in which to cross the water
A sick man finding a physician
Someone in the darkness finding a lamp
A poor person finding riches
The people finding a ruler
An export trader finding his way to the sea
A torch that illuminates the darkness
In the same way, the Lotus Sutra can enable all people to be free from discomfort, illness, and pain. It can break the chains of birth and death.
These ten comparisons and 12 similes demonstrate that the Lotus Sutra is the king of all sutras and the most superior teaching, with boundless benefits.
Needless to say, from the standpoint of the observation of the mind of the true Law, the Lotus Sutra referred to here is Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, hidden in the depths of the Life Span chapter of the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra. In other words, the benefits of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, hidden in the depths of the Life Span chapter, are boundless and unfathomable, just as expounded in the 12 similes. This is because it is the most superior and precious Law.
In “Questions and Answers between a Sage and a Foolish Man” (“Shogu mondo-sho”), the Daishonin states:
By the single practice of taking faith in Myoho-Renge-Kyo, there are no benefits that will not be drawn to you; and there are no benefits that will fail to come and no good causes that will fail to be accumulated.
(Gosho, p. 408)
The Gosho “White Horses and White Swans” (“Utsubusa nyobo-gohenji”) reads:
All the benefits of the entire text of the Lotus Sutra of 28 chapters in eight volumes are contained within Myoho-Renge-Kyo. It can be compared to the bright jewel that possesses ten thousand treasures. This is the teaching of a single dust particle endowed with three thousand doctrines.
(Gosho, p. 1490)
Thus, he compares the vastness of the benefit of Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the bright jewel, which can fulfill any wishes.
We must etch these golden words into our hearts and conduct shakubuku as soon as possible, to save even one more person. We should embrace the Dai-Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws with absolute conviction and tell people from the bottom of our hearts that anyone can transform the three paths of earthly desires, karma, and suffering into the three virtues of the property of the Law, wisdom and emancipation. One can attain the state of true happiness in one’s present and future existences through the benefits of chanting Daimoku.
What must we do in order to establish firm conviction? We must do Gongyo and chant Daimoku assiduously. When you pray to the Gohonzon sincerely, the pure heart to save others will arise from the depths of your life. Then, your words will be filled with compassion, and you will move people’s hearts without fail.
The key to success in doing shakubuku is experiencing the benefits and joy of chanting Daimoku. This is the fundamental point.
In “Reply to the Lay Nun Myoho” (“Myoho amagozen-gohenji”), the Dai-shonin states:
Those who uphold the Lotus Sutra can transform their negative karma accumulated since the remotest past into the great merit of positive karma, and all the virtue from the infinite past will surely turn to gold.
(Gosho, p. 1483)
I would like to conclude my address by asking all of you to have unwavering faith in the absolute benefits of believing in and upholding the Gohonzon. Even though we only have a few days left this year, I ask the members of those chapters that have not yet achieved their goals to please put forth your utmost effort to achieve them. For the members of chapters that already have reached their goals, I ask you to please continue to do shakubuku and further advance, in preparation for the next challenge. •