On the Occasion of the March Kōsen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
March 7, 2010
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
On the occasion of the March Kōsen-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 already arrived in this “Year of Advancing toward Kōsen-rufu.” I imagine you are devoting yourselves to the practice day and night, aiming toward the achievement of this year’s goals.
Since the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 Believers, which was successfully held on July 26 last year, the momentum for shakubuku has increased across the country. As a result, many chapters achieved their goals last year. This year, some chapters have already achieved this year’s goals. I believe this is solely because the members of these chapters understand the deep significance of “The Year of Advancing toward Kōsen-rufu” and devote themselves to their practice.
In these chapters that are active in shakubuku, the chief priest and the Hokkeko believers are all united. They pray for the achievement of their shakubuku goals and earnestly chant Daimoku. Their Daimoku has become one with shakubuku. They do not carry out Shodai practice only for the sake of chanting Daimoku itself. Rather, they move forward with their shakubuku practice, based on the benefits and joy they have gained from chanting Daimoku. Thus, they are rewarded with good results.
The Honorable Retired High Priest Nikken Shonin once composed the following poem:
“Constantly chanting Daimoku
Infinitely opening forth our life condition
Ever seeking to achieve kōsen-rufu”
(Kagiri naku, kyōgai hiraku, Daimoku wo, tsune ni tonae tsu, kōfu mezasan)
(Dai-Nichiren, March 1999 edition, p. 72)
I believe this poem signifies that one should do shakubuku with an elevated life condition. We can learn from this poem how important Shōdai (chanting Daimoku) is, in order to achieve one’s shakubuku goal.
The benefit of chanting Daimoku is taught in the Gosho, “On the Six Difficult and Nine Easy Acts” (“Rokunan kui-sho”):
“The essential of the Lotus Sutra is the Daimoku of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. If one chants Daimoku in the morning and in the evening, it is the same as correctly reading the entire Lotus Sutra. If one chants Daimoku twice, it is equal to reading the Lotus Sutra twice. Likewise, one hundred Daimoku means reading the Lotus Sutra one hundred times; one thousand Daimoku is equivalent to reading the sutra one thousand times. In this way, if you chant Daimoku with no regression, you are a person who reads the Lotus Sutra with unyielding resolve.”
(Gosho, p. 1243)
As taught in this passage, if one moves forward, doing shakubuku based on the tremendous merit and joy from chanting Daimoku, there is no doubt that this person will receive the protection of the three treasures and achieve one’s shakubuku goal. On the contrary, if one does not steadfastly continue chanting Daimoku, devils will take advantage.
Thus, I deeply hope that the members in each chapter consider Daimoku and shakubuku to be inseparable. I wish for you to strive to chant Daimoku and do shakubuku more and more, keeping the firm conviction that “earnest Daimoku will certainly lead one to achieve the shakubuku goal.”
The Daishonin teaches in “The Crucial Elements for Attaining Enlightenment” (“Soya dono-gohenji”):
“The Nirvana sutra reads: ‘If a good priest sees those who slander the Law and neglects to reproach them, expel them, or to punish them, then he is going against the true Law. But, if he reproaches, expels, and punishes the slanderers, he is my disciple and a true practitioner.’ You should deeply realize that disregarding a slanderer is also slander of the Law. There is no doubt that both master and disciple will fall into the hell of incessant suffering if they ignore the enemies of the Lotus Sutra. The Great teacher Nan-yueh teaches, ‘[Even though one practices Buddhism, if he tolerates slander,] he will fall into hell together with evil men.” Trying to attain enlightenment without admonishing slander of the Law is like seeking water in fire or fire in water. How fruitless!'”
(Gosho, p. 1039)
I imagine you are well aware of this passage. As it teaches, if one neglects to reproach or shakubuku those who slander the Law, such as the followers of the Ikeda Soka Gakkai, which slanders the three treasures, and many others who go against the true teaching, such a person cannot escape the offence of going against the teachings of Buddhism.
Thus, the Daishonin expounds in this passage, “There is no doubt that both master and disciple will fall into the hell of incessant suffering if they ignore the enemies of the Lotus Sutra.” He further states, “Trying to attain enlightenment without admonishing slander of the Law is like seeking water in fire or fire in water. How fruitless!” The Daishonin issues a strict warning to those who do not do shakubuku.
However, looking at it from another perspective, such severe words indicate how enormous the benefits are for those who do practice shakubuku. “Letter to Lord Soya-nyūdō” (“Soya-nyūdō dono-motogosho”) reads:
“Those who persecuted the votary of the Lotus Sutra already incurred punishment for their slander. So, why wouldn’t those who believe in the Lotus Sutra achieve great happiness?”
(Gosho, p. 791)
“On the Four Stages of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice” (“Shishin gohon-shō”) states:
“If we assess the degree of benefit based on the degree of actual punishment, there can be no doubt that the disciples of the Nichiren School will receive tremendous benefits that even surpass the ten honorable titles.”
(Gosho, p. 1115)
This describes how vast the benefits can be for those who correctly practice Buddhism for oneself and others, just as the Daishonin teaches. There is no doubt that those who devote themselves to do shakubuku for the general good, aiming toward the achievement of kōsen-rufu, the will of Nichiren Daishonin, will gain the benefit of the profound protection of the Dai-Gohonzon.
This is “The Year of Advancing toward Kōsen-rufu.” Today, disasters and calamities are frequently occurring on a global scale. The sole teaching that can lead to the realization of the security of the land and world peace is the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. The way to achieve this is by doing shakubuku.
Once the world attains peace, the true happiness of each individual can be realized. The Risshō ankoku-ron teaches:
“If you truly desire your own peace and security, should you not first pray for peace of the entire nation?”
(Gosho, p. 249; The Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 2, p. 40)
It further states the following regarding the realization of world peace:
“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; The Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 2, p. 35)
As taught in this passage, the only way to realize the security of the land is to “put an end to the slanders.” This means to do shakubuku. Moreover, in order to accomplish shakubuku, it is important to strive to chant Daimoku.
I sincerely hope that you will keep in mind that “moving forward with your shakubuku practice, based on the benefits and joy from chanting Daimoku” is the key to success. I also pray that you will keep up your practice, based on the spirit of “The Year of Advancing toward Kōsen-rufu,” and further devote yourselves, aiming toward the achievement of our goals.