Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin – May 2, 2010

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“We Must Firmly Teach the Law”
On the Occasion of the April Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
May 2, 2010
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji

Good morning, everyone!

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, despite your busy schedules.

One third of this “Year of Advancing toward Kosen-rufu” already has passed, and the month of May has arrived. I imagine you are devoting yourselves to your practice day and night, aiming toward the achievement of your shakubuku goals.

When I look at the progress of shakubuku across the country, I can see that many chapters have built momentum in their shakubuku activities this year. As of today, 25 chapters already have achieved this year’s shakubuku goals, and many other chapters are following close behind. If this upward
momentum continues, I firmly believe that every chapter will accomplish this year’s shakubuku goal without fail.

I sincerely am delighted that this is the result of practice based on unity between priesthood and laity.

As I often have mentioned, we all have been born into this world of humanity, which is difficult to achieve. We have encountered this Buddhism, which is difficult to meet. Furthermore, we have met the Dai-Gohonzon, the supreme object of worship in the entire world.

We now are blessed with a supreme state of life.

This is the greatest joy of all. We profoundly should be grateful for this rare life state and repay our debts of gratitude to the three treasures from the bottom of our hearts. At the same time, we should not be passive and keep this benefit and joy only for ourselves. Rather, it is most important to follow the Daishonin’s teaching of practice for oneself and others, and share this teaching with as many people as possible through shakubuku.

Shakubuku is the supreme practice of repaying our debts of gratitude. It is the practice of compassion to save all living beings. By doing shakubuku, we can lead others to true happiness and at the same time, expiate our own negative karma from the beginningless past. Shakubuku enables both oneself and others to attain true happiness in this lifetime and in the next.

The people of the Latter Day of the Law do not possess the seed of Buddhahood (honmi-uzen). In other words, they have not accumulated virtue through practicing for countless kalpas. We steadfastly must instruct the people and let them hear the teaching of Myoho-Renge-Kyo, so they can form a relationship with Buddhism. Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra (Hokke mongu) states:

Those without the seed of Buddhahood do not seek the true Law by themselves. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging (Fukyo) will allow them to arouse the delusion of the three poisons [so they can form a reverse relationship with true Buddhism].

(Hokke mongu, Vol. 2, p. 452)

This means that the people of the Latter Day of the Law, those who lack the seed of Buddhahood, have never accumulated virtue. Thus, they do not try to seek Myoho-Renge-Kyo by themselves. The Buddha must arouse the delusion of the three poisons [of greed, anger, and stupidity] within them, so they can form a poison-drum relationship with Myoho-Renge-Kyo. This eventually will lead them to the Buddha way. The Gosho, “On Attaining Enlightenment at the Initial Stage of Faith through the Lotus Sutra” (“Hokke shoshin jobutsusho”) reads:

In the Latter Day of the Law, it is a matter of principle that we should firmly teach the honorable title of the five characters of the Lotus Sutra, whether or not it is suited to the capacities of ignorant common mortals.

(Gosho, p. 1315)

The Daishonin explains the reason for this in the same Gosho:

Long ago, when Shakyamuni propagated the Lotus Sutra and was looked down upon as Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, not a single person: neither man nor woman, neither nun nor priest paid attention to his teaching. He was cursed and sometimes abused or attacked, and even driven away. He was hated and envied. Yet, he never flinched in the least. Rather, he persistently preached the Lotus Sutra. For this reason, he became Shakyamuni Buddha in the present world.

(Gosho, p. 1315 [Summary])

Therefore, in the Latter Day of the Law, even though people may not listen to it, or their capacities may not be suited to it, we should conduct shakubuku by firmly teaching them the five characters of Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo, so they can form a relationship with true Buddhism.

The Daishonin further states:

The people in the Latter Day of the Law will definitely fall into hell as a result of turning their backs on the Lotus Sutra. Thus, we should powerfully teach and let them hear the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Those who follow and take faith in it will be able to attain Buddhahood, and even those who slander it will likewise attain Buddhahood in the end through their reverse relationship with it. In any case, there is no sutra other than the Lotus Sutra that enables us to attain Buddhahood.

(Gosho, p. 1316)

The people in the Latter Day of the Law may not have heard directly of the Lotus Sutra. Nevertheless, they have slandered it. In reality, the poison of heretical teachings often influences people, even though they don’t realize it, through visiting [heretical] shrines, temples, and so on. As a result of going against the Lotus Sutra, they will fall into hell. Thus, we persistently should teach them the Lotus Sutra. Those who follow and take faith in the Lotus Sutra will form a positive relationship and immediately will attain Buddhahood. Those who slander it will encounter the Lotus Sutra again, by virtue of the merit they have gained through their reverse relationship with true Buddhism and the seed of Buddhahood that was sown into their lives. Though they will fall into hell once, they ultimately will attain Buddhahood through their reverse relationship.

The seed for attaining Buddhahood for both positive and reverse relationships is the Lotus Sutra. It is none other than the Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo hidden in the depths of the Juryo chapter of the Essential Teaching of the Lotus Sutra. The only way to save all people in the Latter Day of the Law, regardless of their rank, age and gender, whether priest or lay person, is to teach them firmly Myoho-Renge-Kyo, hidden in the depths of the Buddhism of the sowing, and sow the seed of Buddhahood into their lives.

If we firmly teach the true Law to the people in the Latter Day of the Law, we will face various difficulties. This is unavoidable. The Benefits of the Teachers of the Law (Hosshi kudoku; nineteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra reads:

If after I have entered extinction, there are those who can expound this sutra, I will send the four kinds of believers, magically conjured, monks and nuns and men and women of pure faith, to offer alms to the teachers of the Law; they will lead and guide living beings, assemble them and cause them to listen to the Law. If someone thinks to do evil to the preachers, with swords and staves or with tiles and stones, I will dispatch persons magically conjured who will act to guard and protect them.

(Hokekyo, p. 332; The Lotus Sutra, Watson, p. 168)

If someone, out of hatred, tries to persecute those conducting shakubuku, the Buddha clearly states that he will dispatch his emanations to protect them. Shakubuku is an extremely difficult practice. However, if one bears the adversity, he will receive protection from the Buddha without fail. The
Daishonin teaches in “Safe Delivery of a Fortune Child” (“Shijo Kingo dono nyobo-Gosho”):

If one has pure faith like clear water, the moon of blessings will cast its reflection on the surface of the water, and without a doubt, will protect one.

If one has pure faith like clear water, the moon of blessings will cast its reflection on the surface of the water, and without a doubt, will protect one.

(Gosho, p. 464)

The Daishonin teaches that those who have firm faith surely will receive protection from the Buddha.

During this “Year of Advancing toward Kosen-rufu,” the Hokkeko chapters across the country are striving for a great shakubuku practice, based on unity between priesthood and laity in the spirit of itai-doshin. Each of us must have the conviction that we will be protected by the Buddha no matter what difficulties, persecutions, or obstacles may arise. It is most essential that we move forward with our shakubuku practice based on conviction, courage, and passion for achieving our goals.

The Daishonin states the following in “Questions and Answers between a Sage and a Foolish Man” (“Shogu mondo-sho”):

In this defiled age of the Latter Day of the Law, the people’s minds are distorted and only the provisional and slanderous teachings are prevalent. Thus, it is difficult for the true teaching to be propagated. In times like this, it is useless to practice the reading, reciting and transcribing [of the Lotus Sutra], or to practice meditation and sit in silence. You must do shakubuku in high spirits and vigorously defeat slander. You must refute heresy based on the correct doctrines. Without adhering to delusions and other attachments, devote yourself to propagating the true Law.

(Gosho, p. 403)

I sincerely pray that both the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu will conduct shakubuku, just as these golden words teach. With this, I pray that all chapters across the country definitely achieve this year’s shakubuku goals.