“Chanting Daimoku for Oneself and Others is Most Essential”
On the Occasion of the May Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
May 1, 2011
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
On this occasion of the May 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.
One third of this year already has passed, and we are now at the middle phase of our challenge. I’m sure that you are striving in your practice, day and night, aiming toward the achievement of your shakubuku goals.
The Teachers of the Law (Hosshi; tenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra states:
After I have passed into extinction, one should accept and uphold this sutra. There is no doubt that such a person is assured to attain the Buddha way.
(Hokekyo, p. 517)
“This sutra” refers to the Lotus Sutra. In terms of the Latter Day of the Law, this does not signify the surface meaning of the words of the Lotus Sutra. Rather, it is the meaning hidden in the depths of the Buddhism of the sowing of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Thus, those who embrace Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo of the sowing, hidden in the depths of the Lotus Sutra, will be able to attain Buddhahood without fail.
The Wondrous Powers of the Tathagata (Jinriki; twenty-first) chapter of the Lotus Sutra reads:
Just as the sunlight or moonlight dispels the darkness, this person will practice [Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo] in the world and eliminate [the fundamental] darkness of all living beings.
(Hokekyo, p. 516)
Regarding this passage, the Daishonin teaches in “Letter to Jakunichibo” (“Jakunichibo-gosho”):
The sutra states, “Just as the sunlight or moonlight dispels the darkness, this person will practice [Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo] in the world and eliminate [the fundamental] darkness of all living beings.”
Carefully ponder the meaning of these words. “This person will practice [Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo] in the world” means that Bodhisattva Jogyo makes his advent in the first five hundred years of the Latter Day of the Law, reveals the light of the five characters of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, and illuminates the fundamental darkness and earthly desires. The efforts of Nichiren and his followers to have all people in the country of Japan embrace the Lotus Sutra are the work of the envoy of Bodhisattva Jogyo.
(Gosho, p. 1393)
The passage: “Just as the sunlight or moonlight dispels the darkness, this person will practice [Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo] in the world and eliminate [the fundamental] darkness of all living beings,” denotes that Bodhisattva Jogyo will appear in the Latter Day of the Law. He will illuminate the darkness of the earthly desires of all living beings with the five characters of Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo.
Likewise, “The True Object of Worship” (“Kanjin no honzon-sho”) states:
Now, in the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, those who are attached to Hinayana Buddhism criticize Mahayana; the believers of the provisional teachings go against the true teaching. People refer to east as west and west as east.
The country has become so chaotic that even heaven and earth are reversed. The four reliances of the Buddha of the theoretical teaching have gone out of sight and disappeared. The guardian deities have abandoned the nation and no longer give it protection. Now, for the first time, the Bodhisattvas of the Earth have made their appearance in this world, in order to lead the people to embrace the five characters of Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo.
(Gosho, p. 660)
Furthermore, “Reply to Emon no Taifu” (“Emon no taifu dono-gohenji”) reads:
Nichiren is like an envoy of Bodhisattva Jogyo (Superior Practice), as he propagates this doctrine. The Wondrous Powers of the Tathagata (Jinriki; twenty-first) chapter of the Lotus Sutra states: Just as the sunlight or moonlight dispels the darkness, this person will practice [Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo] in the world and eliminate [the fundamental] darkness of all living beings.
Who do you think “this person” is as described in this sutra? I think that “this person” is the reincarnation of Bodhisattva Jogyo. The sutra states, “After I have passed into extinction, one should accept and uphold this sutra. There is no doubt that such a person is assured to attain the Buddha way.”
(Gosho, p. 1435)
Though the Daishonin made his advent in the Latter Day of the Law as the reincarnation of Bodhisattva Jogyo, his status as Bodhisattva Jogyo was his provisional identity. When viewed from the standpoint of his inner realization, the Daishonin is the True Buddha with the property of intrinsically perfect wisdom from the infinite past of kuon-ganjo.
High Priest Nichikan Shonin teaches the following in the “Meaning Hidden in the Depths” (“Montei hichin-sho”):
From the superficial perspective of his external stature, he is Nichiren, the reincarnation of Superior Practice (Jogyo). Based on the profound mystery of his inner realization, he is Nichiren, the reincarnation of the Buddha of perfect wisdom. Thus, let it be known that the true identity is the Buddha of perfect wisdom. The provisional identity constitutes Bodhisattva Superior Practice (Jogyo), and revealing the true entity is Nichiren.
(Six-Volume Writings [Rokkan-sho], p.49)
As Shakyamuni Buddha predicted, in the Latter Day of the Law, the founder Nichiren Daishonin would make his advent into this world. His transient identity is Bodhisattva Jogyo, while his true identity, based on his inner realization, is the True Buddha from the infinite past of kuon-ganjo. With the mystic Law of the Three Great Secret Laws, he will sow the Buddha seed into the hearts of the people in the defiled age of the Latter Day of the Law.
The Gosho, “Reply to Priest Takahashi,” (“Takahashi nyudo dono-gohenji”) reads:
In the Latter Day of the Law, however, the Hinayana sutras entrusted to Mahakashyapa, Ananda, and others; as well as the Mahayana sutras entrusted to Bodhisattvas Manjushri, Maitreya, and others; as well as the Lotus Sutra entrusted to Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and others—all these teachings can no longer work as medicine to treat the people’s illnesses. Only the words of these sutras are still in existence. Their illnesses will be too serious while these medicines are too ineffective. At that time, Bodhisattva Jogyo (Superior Practice) will make his advent in order to bestow upon all people in the entire world the five characters of Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo.
(Gosho, p. 887)
In the Latter Day of the Law, only Myoho-Renge-Kyo of the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin will enable the people to attain Buddhahood. No one can reach enlightenment through the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings, the provisional teachings, or any other doctrines. Rather, these teachings will lead people to the hell of incessant suffering.
Thus, in the Latter Day of the Law, we should revere the founder Nichiren Daishonin as the True Buddha. We also must venerate the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, the supreme Three Great Secret Laws, as the Gohonzon to which we devote our lives. Then, we can attain our long cherished ambition of attaining Buddhahood in our present form. This is possible only by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo single-mindedly to the Gohonzon.
However, the Daishonin states the following in the Gosho, “On the Transmission of the Three Great Secret Laws” (“Sandai hiho bonjo ji”):
There are two types of Daimoku: the Daimoku chanted during the Former and Middle Days of the Law, and the Daimoku to be chanted during the Latter Day of the Law.
Although Bodhisattvas Vasubandhu and Nagarjuna themselves chanted the Daimoku during the Former Day of the Law, they did so to practice for themselves only.
During the Middle Day of the Law, Nan-Yueh, Tiantai, and others did chant the Daimoku; however, they did it only for the sake of their own practice and not for the sake of teaching others. This type of Daimoku was practiced [in order to observe one’s mind] based on the theory [elucidated in the surface meaning of the words].
Now, in the Latter Day of the Law, the Daimoku that Nichiren chants is different from that of previous ages. It is the Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo of the practice for oneself [for Nichiren Daishonin himself as the True Buddha], and the practice for others [enabling others to attain enlightenment as well].
(Gosho, p. 1594)
As the Daishonin teaches, chanting Daimoku for oneself and others is most essential in the Latter Day of the Law. Therefore, the practice of Daimoku should not be only for the sake of chanting Daimoku. It is important for one to move forward and do shakubuku, based on the benefits and joy one has received. Each individual must put the actual practice of shakubuku before theory. This is the practice befitting “The Year of Taking Action to do Shakubuku.”
There is a proverb that says, “If one only sits and eats, a mountain of wealth will be gone.” It is true that if we are idle and do not work, our abundant possessions eventually will be consumed completely. Likewise, if one does not do shakubuku, then before one is aware of it, his accumulated benefits will be lost.
In order for each of us to achieve the attainment of Buddhahood in this lifetime and realize the establishment of the Buddha land, we must act as Bodhisattvas of the Earth. We must be aware that the best way to live is to chant Daimoku and do shakubuku consistently, upholding the vows: “to attain the supreme enlightenment,” and “to save innumerable living beings.” After witnessing the disaster of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, I feel incredibly strong about these vows.
The Gosho, “Attaining Enlighten-ment at the Initial Stage of Faith through the Lotus Sutra” (“Hokke shoshin jobutsu-sho”) reads:
In the Latter Day of the Law, it is a matter of principle that we firmly should teach the five characters of the honorable title of the Lotus Sutra, whether or not it is suited to the capacities of ignorant common mortals. This is because in the past, when Shakyamuni Buddha was called Bodhisattva Never Disparaging (Fukyo), he propagated the Lotus Sutra. Men and women, monks and nuns, all mocked him. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging was spoken ill of and cursed. He was beaten and exiled out of the country. He also was detested, and people held grudges against him. Yet, he remained undaunted. Instead, he strongly taught the Lotus Sutra to the people. This led him to become Shakyamuni Buddha.
(Gosho, p. 1315)
As these golden words indicate, shakubuku in the Latter Day of the Law should be conducted following the example of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. It is vital for us to maintain the spirit that “we should firmly teach the five characters of the honorable title of the Lotus Sutra, whether or not it is suited to the capacities of ignorant common mortals.”
The same Gosho states:
Thus, we should strongly teach and make them listen to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Those who follow and take faith in it will be able to attain enlightenment, and even those who slander it will likewise attain Buddhahood in the end through their reverse relationship with it.
(Gosho, p. 1316)
Based on our compassion, if we earnestly wish to save someone, we must put these golden words into actual practice and sow the seed of the Buddha. We must shakubuku as many people as possible.
Faith is not theory. It is actual practice. Through the practice of shakubuku, we are able to eradicate our negative karma from the remote past and attain Buddhahood in this lifetime.
We now must take to heart the passage from the Teachers of the Law chapter that states, “After I have passed into extinction, one should accept and uphold this sutra. There is no doubt that such a person is assured to attain the Buddha way.” It is vital that we practice not only for ourselves, but also teach others about the great benefits of the mystic Law (Myoho) and shakubuku the many people who suffer from misfortune.
I truly pray that you will remember this. With absolute conviction in the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, I sincerely hope that the members of each chapter will strive in doing shakubuku toward our goals for the coming years 2015 and 2021, based on unity and the spirit of itai-doshin. I hope that all the chapters will achieve their goals without fail.
It is often said, “Good timing is hard to come by and easy to lose,” or “Time and tide wait for no one.” If you think you have plenty of time before the end of the year, you will not be able to achieve your goal. It also is said, “Time is money.” Since time is precious, we should not waste our time.
We must not waste even a minute, and we must do shakubuku. I sincerely hope that all the chapters definitely will achieve their goals this year. •