Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin – March 1, 2009

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On the Occasion of the March Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
March 1, 2009
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji

On the occasion of the March 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.

The month of March has arrived in this year of “Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice.” I imagine all of you are devoting yourselves, day and night, toward the achievement of the Commemorative Grand Ceremony, the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers, and furthermore, the accomplishment of the shakubuku goal.

Nichiren Daishonin teaches in “Letter to the Brothers” (“Kyodai-sho”):

“Whatever trouble may occur, consider it as transitory as a dream and think only of the Lotus Sutra.”

(Gosho, p. 987; MW-1, p. 147)

If one carries through with one’s faith in the correct Law in this defiled age of the Latter Day of the Law, where the three obstacles and four devils arise, vying with one another, this person will encounter various difficulties without fail.

In secular society it is also said, “Happy events tend to be accompanied by problems.” When things are going well, one also tends to get interference by obstacles. In some instances, one encounters unexpected difficulties. However, as the saying goes, “Adversity makes a man wise.” Thus, one who overcomes many difficulties can develop a fine character.

The Gosho, “Letter to the Brothers” (“Kyodai-sho”), also teaches:

“If you propagate this doctrine, without fail, devils will arise. Were it not for these, there would be no way of knowing that this is the true teaching. A passage from this same volume [of the Maka-shikan] reads, ‘As practice progresses and understanding grows, the three obstacles and four devils emerge. They compete with one another to interfere….Do not be influenced or frightened by them. If they influence you, this will lead you onto the paths of evil. If they frighten you, this will prevent you from practicing true Buddhism.’ This passage not only applies to Nichiren. It is also the guide for his disciples. Reverently make this teaching your own. Transmit it as a standard of faith for future generations.”

(Gosho, p. 986; cf. MW-1, p. 145)

We must closely heed the Daishonin’s guidance, which states: “This passage not only applies to Nichiren but also is the guide for his disciples. Reverently make this teaching your own. Transmit it as a standard of faith for future generations.”

During this year of “Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice,” unparalleled commemorative projects, such as the Commemorative Grand Ceremony, the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers, and the Commemorative General Tozan will be held. We also must work toward the achievement of the shakubuku goals for all of the chapters. In such a significant time, every imaginable difficulty, including the three obstacles and four devils, blocks our path both from within and without.

Some may slacken in their practice, yielding to greed. Others may get caught up in their anger. Some may become confused and have trouble making reasonable judgments, and as a result, their practice may be disturbed. There may be other cases where one’s wife and children or people who are close will hinder one’s practice. Or again, the sovereign, a person of influence, a superior, or one’s parents may interfere with one’s faith.

If one’s practice is opposed by a person who is in a higher position, or by someone whom one respects, one’s faith, which normally would have been solid, may start to vacillate. Thus, when we face such obstacles, it is the time to remind ourselves of the lifetime teachings of the Daishonin who, with his own body and soul, overcame the four major great persecutions as well as minor ones beyond number. It is essential that each of us is resolved to unrelentingly carry through with our faith, despite any hardship or obstacle.

In other words, when we are faced with adversity, including the three obstacles and four devils, we must realize that this is the time our faith is being tested. It is the time when we stand at the crucial juncture of either overcoming such obstacles and heading toward the attainment of Buddhahood, or giving in to them and falling into the life condition of hell.

The Devadatta (Daibadatta; twelfth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra reads:

“The Buddha said to the monks: ‘In future ages if there are good men or good women who, on hearing the Devadatta chapter of the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, believe and revere it with pure hearts and harbor no doubts or perplexities, they will never fall into hell or the realm of hungry spirits or of beasts, but will be born in the presence of the Buddhas of the ten directions.'”

(Hokekyo, p. 361; The Lotus Sutra, Watson, p. 185)

No matter what obstacle we may encounter, if we take faith in the Dai-Gohonzon with firm faith and no doubt, and devote ourselves to practice for oneself and others, it is certain that we can overcome any difficulty or obstacle we confront, just as the golden words teach.

I would like to conclude my address today with my sincere wish that you will further devote yourselves to your practice, based on the unity between priesthood and laity, with the spirit of itai doshin, toward the achievement of the goals of the Commemorative Grand Ceremony, the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers, the Commemorative General Tozan, and moreover, the accomplishment of every chapter’s shakubuku goal.