On the Occasion of the Completion of the 75 Billion Shodai-gyo
July 9, 2009
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
Today, we completed our final 5,000 Daimoku of the 100-day Shodai-gyo (for a total of 75 billion Daimoku) that has been held daily since April 1st of this year. Thank you very much for all of your efforts over the past 100 days.
This 100-day Shodai-gyo has been conducted at the Head Temple, all temples, and all households, for the sake of the total success of the upcoming “Great Assembly of 75,000 believers in Celebration of the 750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Rissho ankoku-ron” on July 26th. I believe that the benefits accumulated by Hokkeko believers, who took various measures to make time to chant and accomplish these 100 days of Shodai-gyo, are profoundly vast.
I am confident that through these benefits, and through your strong faith, we will certainly be able to conduct the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers with flying colours. I feel strongly that we must put forth every effort to be completely successful.
Nichiren Daishonin teaches us about the benefit of the Daimoku, in “On Attaining Enlightenment at the Initial Stage of Faith through the Lotus Sutra” (“Hokke shoshin jōbutsu-shō”):
“As for the meaning of Myoho-Renge-Kyo: the Buddha nature inherent in us, ordinary beings; the Buddha nature of Bonten, Taishaku and the other deities; the Buddha nature of Shariputra, Maudgalyayana and the other disciples of learning; the Buddha nature of Monju, Miroku and the other bodhisattvas; and the mystic Law that is the enlightenment of all the Buddhas of the three existences, are one and identical. This principle is called Myoho-Renge-Kyo.
“Therefore, when we chant Myoho-Renge-Kyo once, with just that single sound, we summon forth and manifest the Buddha nature of all Buddhas; all dharmas; all bodhisattvas; all disciples of learning; all the deities such as Bonten, Taishaku, King Emma, the sun, the moon, and the myriad stars, the heavenly gods and earthly deities; on down to hell-dwellers, hungry spirits, beasts, asuras, humans, gods and all other living beings. This blessing is immeasurable and boundless.”
(Gosho, p. 1320; cf. MW-6, p. 207)
Once we chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, this one phrase enables the Buddha nature within the lives of the people, who inhabit the ten worlds, to be called up and revealed. Thus, all living beings are able to attain enlightenment. The merit of chanting Daimoku is absolutely infinite and immeasurable.
According to Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching, for our attainment of enlightenment, we cannot neglect the essential Buddhist practice of chanting Daimoku.
The Daishonin states in, “On Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime” (“Isshō jōbutsu-shō”):
“It is the same with a Buddha and an ordinary being. When deluded, one is called an ordinary being, but when enlightened, one is called a Buddha. This is similar to a tarnished mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished. A mind that is presently clouded by illusions originating from the fundamental darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror. However, once it is polished, it will become clear, reflecting the enlightenment of immutable truth. Arouse deep faith and polish your mind night and day. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.”
(Gosho, p. 46; cf. MW-1, p. 5)
As this passage teaches, it is vital to polish one’s fundamental single mind. Then, we can surely receive the great benefit of transforming earthly desires into enlightenment. For this reason, we must chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.
However, we should not conduct this Shodai-gyo just for the sake of chanting Daimoku. We need to bring forth the benefit and joy of our Shodai-gyo, and then exert ourselves in doing shakubuku, aiming toward kosen-rufu. It is important to maintain this attitude.
The Honorable Retired High Priest Nikken Shonin composed the following poem:
“Constantly chanting Daimoku
Infinitely opening forth our life condition
Ever seeking to achieve
(Kagiri naku, kyogai hiraku, Daimoku wo, tsune ni tonae tsu, kofu mezasan)
(Dai-Nichiren, March 1999 issue, p. 72)
“Kofu mezasan” (“seeking to achieve kosen-rufu”) means, “to do shakubuku.” We constantly exert ourselves to chant, and then with the benefits and joy brought forth through chanting Daimoku, we seek to achieve kosen-rufu, for ourselves and others, through doing shakubuku.
The 100-day Shodai-gyo has finished today. I would, however, like to ask all of you to continue to chant Daimoku, now more than ever, aiming toward the accomplishment of a completely successful “Great Assembly.” Furthermore, I wish for your assiduous efforts toward shakubuku, and the achievement of our goal of “Doubling the number of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.” With this, I would like to conclude my address on the occasion of the completion of the 100-day Shodai-gyo.