Securing Peace throughout the Realm of the Environment – July 3, 2011

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“Securing Peace throughout the Realm of the Environment”
On the Occasion of the July Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
July 3, 2011
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji

Good morning, everyone!

On this occasion of the July 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 you already know, July is the month when the Rissho ankoku-ron was presented. On the sixteenth day of the seventh month in the first year of Bun’no (1260), when our founder, Nichiren Daishonin, was 39 years old, the Rissho ankoku-ron, a treatise of remonstration was submitted. It was sent through Yadoya-zenmon to Hojo Tokiyori, the most powerful government official in Japan at that time.

The circumstances of the submission of the Rissho ankoku-ron are stated in “Rationale for Submitting the Rissho ankoku-ron” (“Ankoku-ron gokan yurai”):

On the twenty-third day of the eighth month in the first year of the Shoka era (1257), there occurred an earthquake of unprecedented magnitude. On the first day of the eighth month in the second year of the same era, there was a tempest. In the third year (1259), a major famine occurred. In the first year of the Shogen era (1259), the epidemics were rampant.

Throughout the four seasons of the second year (1260), the epidemics kept prevailing without abating. By this time, more than half the ordinary citizens of the nation had been carried away by death. During this time, the ruler of the country, alarmed at this state of affairs, turned to the scriptures of Buddhism and the non-Buddhist writings for help, instructing that various prayers be offered. However, these failed to produce the slightest effect. On the contrary, famine and epidemics raged more fiercely than ever.

I, Nichiren, observing this state of affairs, examined the great collection of Buddhist scriptures. There I discovered the reason why these prayers were without effect and actually made the situation worse, along with passages of proof to support it. In the end, I had no recourse other than to compile a work to present my findings, entitling it the Rissho ankoku-ron. On the sixteenth day of the seventh month in the first year of Bun’no (1260), I handed this treatise through Yadoya-zenmon to Saimyoji who is now deceased. This is solely because I might repay the debts of gratitude that I owe to my native land.

(Gosho, p.367)

The Daishonin had witnessed the dismal state of affairs. There were frequent, unusual occurrences in the heavens and natural disasters on earth, as well as famine and epidemics raging throughout the country. Moreover, a great earthquake occurred on the twenty-third day of the eighth month in the first year of Shoka (1257). The Daishonin declared that the root cause of the devastation of the country was due solely to the poison of slander. He warned that unless the people immediately stopped believing in erroneous doctrines, numerous disasters, including the two calamities of foreign invasion and revolt from within, would occur one after another. As proof, he cited passages from various sutras, such as the Lotus Sutra, the Sutra of the Great Assembly (Daishik-kyo), and the Sutra of the Benevolent King (Nin’no-kyo). He explained what must be done in order to prevent these disasters:

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; GND-2, p.42)

In this passage, the Daishonin declares that one must sever one’s attachments to erroneous doctrines without delay, and take faith in the “supreme teaching of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra.” The Daishonin’s true intention regarding the meaning of the phrase, “supreme teaching of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra” does not indicate the surface meaning of the words of the Lotus Sutra. Rather, it refers to Myoho-Renge-Kyo, hidden in the depths of the sole essential teaching. It is the supreme Dai-Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws. He teaches that taking faith in the Dai-Gohonzon is the best way to secure the peace of the country.

High Priest Nichikan Shonin teaches:

The two characters for “propagating true Buddhism” (“rissho”) contain the significance of the Three Secret Laws.

(Mondan, p.6)

“Rissho” of Rissho ankoku-ron means to propagate the Three Great Secret Laws—the True Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching, the Daimoku of the Essential Teaching, and the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching—because they will illuminate the darkness of the ten-thousand years and more of the Latter Day of the Law. It is of utmost importance to uphold the correct Law, the Three Great Secret Laws, if one desires the peace and stability of the land.

Regarding the two characters of “ankoku,” it is taught:

The surface meaning of the characters refers to the country of Japan at present, while the true meaning refers to the entire world for all eternity.

(ibid., p.5)

“Koku” of ankoku superficially refers to the country of Japan. In reality, however, it represents the entire world, or Jambudvipa. Though the Rissho ankoku-ron was presented to Hojo Tokiyori, the all-powerful sovereign of Japan at the time, the treatise was, in essence, addressed to all the people throughout the land.

In other words, the Rissho ankoku-ron is a treatise of shakubuku, written by the Daishonin at the risk of his own life, in order to remonstrate with Hojo Tokiyori as well as the whole nation. He lamented that all people from the ruler down to the commoners of Japan would be afflicted by unbearable pain in this lifetime, such as unusual occurrences in the heavens, natural disasters on earth, famine, and epidemics, as well as revolt from within, foreign invasion, and so forth. Moreover, in their next lifetime, they would be tormented by the great suffering of avichi hell continuously.

Looking at the confused state of affairs today, we can see that now is the time to follow the Daishonin’s will stated in the Rissho ankoku-ron. We must devote ourselves to do shakubuku, with concerted efforts by both priesthood and laity, aiming toward the salvation of all mankind and the realization of the Buddha land. Based on the teaching expounded in the Rissho ankoku-ron, we can understand the cause of the country’s confusion, including the Great East Japan Earthquake. The Daishonin stated:

All people have gone against the correct Law and become wholly devoted to evil doctrines.

(Gosho, p.234; GND-2, p.3)

Furthermore, the fundamental cause lies in slander against the true Law.

If one desires peace to reign throughout the entire nation without delay, he should first and foremost put an end to the slanders that prevail throughout the country.

(Gosho, p.247; GND-2, p.35)

Engraving these golden words into one’s heart, each individual must pray for the peace of the land and do shakubuku, in order to eliminate all slanders throughout the country. After all, peace and tranquility throughout the land is what we all desire.

Buddhism teaches the principle of the oneness of life and its environment. We, living beings, the subjective self (shoho) and the realm of environment, the objective environment (eho) are not completely unrelated. The Gosho, “On Omens” (“Zuiso-gosho”) states:

If the people are filled with joy, a good omen will manifest in the heavens, and the Heavenly King Taishaku will work to protect the people in the land. On the contrary, if the people have strong evil minds, unusual occurrences will manifest in the heavens, and natural disasters will occur on earth. The magnitude of the changes in the heavens is closely tied to the degree of one’s anger. The same is true for natural disasters on earth.

(Gosho, p.920)

If we, the living beings (subjective self), discard all slanders and take faith in the Gohonzon of the Essential Teaching, the supreme teaching of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra, then the life of each individual will be purified by the immeasurable power of Myoho-Renge-Kyo. This purifying effect will extend from one individual to the general public, then to the realm of living beings. It will further spread to the entire society, and eventually will purify the realm of the physical environment (objective environment). In this way, the entire country will become the Buddha land.

On the contrary, if the people’s lives become tainted by evil doctrines, then impurities will fill the country. This will cause various manifestations in the land that will lead to unusual occurrences in the heavens and natural disasters on earth.

The Rissho ankoku-ron teaches:

If you desire a secure land, and wish to pray for peace in your present and future existences, you should waste no time, ponder on the correct path, and immediately eliminate slanders.

(Gosho, p.248; GND-2, p.39)

Securing peace throughout the realm of the environment is crucial for our own happiness. In order to realize this, we must eradicate slander. The cause for all confusion, suffering, and misfortune is solely due to the poison of slander. We must be aware that our most important mission right now is to eliminate slander and do shakubuku, in order to save the numerous people who are struggling with various types of suffering.

Thus we, the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu, must aim toward kosen-rufu of the entire world as our long-term goal, and in the short term, we must aim for the achievement of our goals for 2015 and 2021. I sincerely pray that all chapters, with none of them lagging behind, will first achieve this year’s goals, which are right before us. •