Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin – January 3, 2009

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On the Occasion of the Kick-off Ceremony to Commemorate the 750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Rissho ankoku-ron
January 3, 2009
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji

On the occasion of this Kick-off Ceremony to commemorate the 750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Rissho ankoku-ron, I am graced with the presence of the Honorable Retired High Priest Nikken Shonin today. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Honorable Retired High Priest for his attendance.

It has been seven years since the Honorable Retired High Priest presented us with the goals of “Doubling the number of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth” and “Gathering at the Great Assembly” in 2002. This year is the year to complete these goals.

Marking this significant year of completion, both Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity must devote all their energy toward achieving these goals, no matter what, so that we can formally report the results to Nichiren Daishonin, as well as to the Honorable Retired High Priest who gave us the goals, to repay our debt of gratitude.

In particular, 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 in that the best Hokkeko believers will gather here at the Head Temple where the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching is enshrined.

The best believers refer to the selected warriors. In other words, they are the Hokkeko believers with a strong sense of mission for kosen-rufu who devote themselves to propagate the true Law at the cost of their lives, aiming toward the fulfillment of the aspiration of kosen-rufu throughout the entire world. They are, so to say, 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 central to the future kosen-rufu activities.

In other words, the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers has a great significance to show the results of the practice for the past seven years. It is, at the same time, the Commencement Ceremony for the further practice of kosen-rufu in the future as well as the great Kick-off Ceremony of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth that will make new history of kosen-rufu.

Thus, with the Great Assembly to take place, it is necessary for every chapter to thoroughly promote a stronger organization without remaining in the current active members: developing the human resources, and digging up and cultivating persons of excellent talent while organizing the line-up with these newly selected believers before attending the Great Assembly. I believe there are many hidden persons of talent in each chapter.

If each chapter boldly promotes this movement toward the assembly of the selected 75,000 believers, not only will new persons of talent be picked out and the faith of each believer polished, but also the whole organization will be revitalized, giving lively effect to the people around one. The unity based on “many in body, one in mind,” will be strengthened, resulting in the establishment of a robust organization for kosen-rufu that is utterly unmoved by any obstacle or difficulty.

The Daishonin teaches in “Supreme Leader of the World” (“Shijo kingo dono-gohenji”):

“Untempered iron quickly melts in a blazing fire, like ice put in hot water. But a sword, even when exposed to a great fire, withstands the heat for a while, because it has been well forged.”

(Gosho, p.1179; MW-3, p. 238)

Like a tempered Japanese sword, a sword which was repeatedly exposed to a fire with the heart of a workman withstands some fire, while an untempered one will instantly melt in fire. Such an untempered sword is useless to the actual practice.

If you wish to build a strong organization with the individuals who are willing to risk their own lives for kosen-rufu based on indomitable faith, it requires polishing one’s faith. Accordingly, we must take some kind of measures against it.

In that sense, the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 selected believers is the best opportunity for digging out and cultivating the persons of talent who will become the core members in the next kosen-rufu activities.

If the best 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 extend the shakubuku activities further to the whole Japan and the rest of the world. Such big movement can change the world largely toward the realization of the ideal land of the Rissho ankoku-ron.

To do that, we must first achieve a fully successful General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 selected believers. I hope each chapter will dedicate all its strength to accomplish this goal.

This also applies to the Commemorative General Tozan of 500,000 believers.

The golden words of the Daishonin teach:

“A bird, which approaches Mount Sumeru, will shine with the reflection in gold.”

(Gosho, p. 1054)

As the Daishonin teaches in this Gosho passage, the benefits of making a pilgrimage to the supreme place of the Head Temple where the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching dwells are immeasurable. There is no room to doubt that the negative karma from the infinite past will be eradicated and one can transform the three evil paths into the three virtues of the property of the Law, wisdom, and emancipation. Therefore, it is essential that everyone in each chapter calls to one another and cooperate together to practice Buddhism, irrespective of age and gender.

On one occasion, the Honorable Retired High Priest gave us the guidance that the purpose of the chapter tozan is to build up the organizational strength. As in the case with the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers, what you will gain through promoting the chapter tozan is of inestimable value.

Such merit will prominently manifest in each individual as well as each organization. It also becomes obvious in one’s faith and daily life. What is cultivated through promoting the organizational strength will become a great engine for further advancement of future kosen-rufu. It will display its power when one tries to lead those who slander the true teaching to the correct path.

Accordingly, it is of primary importance for both Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity to first accomplish the Commemorative General tozan at full stretch, including the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers. With the momentum of the success, together with the merits and the joy, we must aim toward the great aspiration of kosen-rufu and expand the great shakubuku practice in high spirits.

Seeing the world chaos and the global economic recession and the current condition where global-scale wars can happen any time, the only way to rescue people from this distressed condition is no other than the Three Great Secret Laws of Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha in the Latter Day of the Law.

The Daishonin teaches in “The Selection of the Time” (“Senji-sho”):

“Little streams come together to form the great ocean, and tiny particles of dust accumulate to form Mount Sumeru. When I, Nichiren, first took faith in the Lotus Sutra, I was like a single drop of water or a single particle of dust in all the country of Japan. But later, when two people, three people, ten people, and eventually ten thousand billion people, come to recite the Lotus Sutra and transmit it to others, then they will form a Mount Sumeru of the final stage of enlightenment, a great ocean of nirvana! Seek no other path by which to attain Buddhahood!”

(Gosho, p.868; MW-3, p. 172)

In order to build happiness, one must begin with a single step of a journey of a thousand miles.

Furthermore, the Honorable Retired High Priest instructs that “each person will achieve shakubuku one person in a year.”

Shakubuku is action before theory. As the golden words teach, if each individual senses a mission for kosen-rufu and earnestly practices shakubuku at any one time, followed by two people, three people, ten people and ten thousand billion people joining to practice together, the dream of the great aspiration of the propagation of true Buddhism can actually come true.

The supreme way to lead everyone in the entire world to true happiness is shakubuku. To practice shakubuku is not only beneficial to society: it also leads oneself and others to enlightenment. Moreover, as the principle of the oneness of life and its environment shows, the realm of environment will also be secured.

Shakubuku can realize true happiness of oneself as well as all mankind and worldwide peace. Thus, at this very moment, when the world is in extreme chaos due to the poison of slandering the true teaching, the most important thing for us to do is shakubuku. It is because the specific method of practice to realize the ideal world of the Rissho ankoku-ron is shakubuku.

This year, I sincerely wish from the bottom of my heart that we will thoroughly achieve the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers and accomplish the Commemorative General tozan in high spirits. Then together, with upward momentum, we will advance forth in the great shakubuku practice, resulting in every chapter achieving its shakubuku goal.

Fortunately, last year, there appeared many chapters that achieved the shakubuku goals with fury. This year too, with unrelenting spirit, I sincerely pray that each chapter certainly achieves its goals through the united efforts of priesthood and laity based on “many in body, one in mind.” This will conclude my address for today.