Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin – September 6, 2009

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On the Occasion of the September Kōsen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
September 6, 2009
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji

Good Morning, everyone!

On the occasion of the September 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.

Exceeding our expectations, 78,423 believers gathered at the Head Temple and the General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers in Commemoration of the 750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Risshō ankoku-ron was splendidly conducted with great success on July 26, blessed with good weather.

This is primarily due to the fruit of the assiduous efforts of the chief priests and the believers of the Hokkeko chapters across the country. Again, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to you for this great success.

This great achievement is the result of the hard work of many chapters to the very last possible moment. I imagine they must have faced various difficulties during that time. However, I firmly believe such hard work will greatly help each chapter in their practice toward the achievement of the new goal.

Through this experience, I think members of each chapter realized that, “If you try, you can do it.” It is truly important to have certainty that, “You can make it, if you try” in everything.

It works the same for shakubuku. If you try, you can surely achieve shakubuku.

As I mentioned on July 26, our future challenge is a shakubuku-led practice.

In other words, the basic policy of Nichiren Shoshu is to make sure that each chapter will achieve the goal of increasing the number of the Hokkeko members by fifty percent by 2015. Furthermore, we will establish a framework of 800,000 Hokkeko believers by 2021 to contribute to kōsen-rufu.

In order to achieve these goals, each chapter should start the shakubuku practice without loss of time, as the start of the next challenge has already begun at the great Kick-off Ceremony on July 26. First and foremost, they must achieve this year’s shakubuku goals without fail.

As the saying goes, “All’s well that ends well.” At the same time, there is another saying which says, “Well begun is half done.”

Once you have made a good start, you do not need to put in much more effort afterwards and will get a good result.

On the contrary, if you have a tough time at the very beginning, this will make things difficult to get back on the track.

Thus, the key to success is each chapter exerts every possible effort to achieve this year’s shakubuku goal.

Again, the focus of our next challenge is to build a framework of 800,000 Hokkeko believers by 2021. To achieve this, each chapter should first accomplish the goal of increasing the number by fifty percent by 2015. Accordingly, the key to success is to achieve this year’s shakubuku goal without fail.

I imagine the recent General Meeting of the Great Assembly of 75,000 believers was quite a challenge for you. However, you were able to achieve such a great success. This is a result of each individual’s devotion to practice, based on firm resolution and conviction, with unity between priesthood and laity in the spirit of itai dōshin.

Therefore, if the members of the chapters are persistent in their shakubuku practice with a can-do attitude, the goal will surely be achieved.

The point is you can make it, if you actually try to do it. But at the same time, nothing can be accomplished, unless you take action.

There is a saying which goes, “Good deed alone cannot bring honor, unless it is accumulated.”

Shakubuku is the best way to rescue all living beings. It is also the practice to repay one’s debt of gratitude to the Three Treasures. It is the best Buddhist practice for attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form. However, only wishes cannot accomplish anything.

Thus, the Daishonin teaches in “The Doctrine of Ichinen Sanzen” (“Ichinen sanzen hōmon”) :

“Medicine produced by mixing one hundred and thousand ingredients cannot cure illness, unless one takes it. Even though one has treasures in a storehouse, the treasures will be wasted, unless the storehouse is opened. Even if there is medicine in one’s pocket, unless been taken, one may die.”

(Gosho, p.110)

We must carefully read this Gosho passage.

Faith is an actual practice. If one regards Daimoku and shakubuku as desk theory, nothing will happen. It can bear fruit only after taking action.

Furthermore, what is important in conducting shakubuku is an absolute faith in the Gohonzon.

If one believes in an erroneous teaching, for example if one chants Daimoku to a counterfeit Gohonzon like Ikeda Soka Gakkai, it stands absolutely no reason for one to obtain true happiness. A counterfeit Gohonzon is the root cause of misfortune. It is important that we must appeal strongly to others with confidence that nothing could lead us to obtain true happiness but the Gohonzon with the legitimate Heritage of the Law. Such firm belief and a single mind of consideration for others will certainly move people’s heart.

“Orally Transmitted Teachings” (“Ongi kuden”) reads:

“Great mercy is like mother’s compassionate feeling toward the child. Now, it is Nichiren’s deep compassion. As Chang-an says, ‘He who makes it possible for an offender to rid himself of evil is acting like a parent to him.'”

(Gosho, p.1733)

Out of sincere consideration to others, pointing out erroneous ideas and slanderous thoughts, and removing them to correct their understanding is like a compassionate act of a parent toward a child. Such great practice of compassion is, after all, the best way to free them from the sufferings of slandering the true Law.

Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra (Hokke gengi) teaches:

“The practice of the Lotus Sutra is shakubuku, the refutation of the provisional doctrines.”

(Gakurin Gengikai-bon, vol.2, p.502)

The Lotus Sutra does not teach the practice of shōju which was taught in Nirvana Sutra (nehan-gyō) etc. Instead, it teaches shakubuku. There lies the way to lead both oneself and others to the attainment of Buddhahood through refuting the provisional teachings.

The only way to save all living beings in the Latter Day of the Law is shakubuku. Faith which lacks shakubuku leads one to fall into the practice for one’s own sake only. This may end up not being able to save himself.

Practice for oneself only does not accord with the Daishonin’s will.

The Daishonin teaches in “Encouragement to A Sick Person” (“Nanjō Hyōe Shichirōdono-gosho”)

“No matter what great good deed one may perform, even if he reads and transcribes the entirety of the Lotus Sutra a thousand or ten thousand times or masters the meditation to perceive ichinen sanzen, should he but fail to denounce the enemies of the Lotus Sutra, he will be unable to attain the Way.”

(Gosho, p. 322; MW-6, p. 24)

In short, the Daishonin teaches, unless one practices shakubuku, one cannot make oneself happy.

“On the Three Great Secret Laws” (“Sandai hihō-shō”) reads:

“There are two methods for the practice of Daimoku. The first was used during the Former and Middle Days of the Law, and the second is to be used during the Latter Day of the Law. Although the bodhisattvas Vasubandhu and Nagarjuna themselves chanted the Daimoku during the Former Day of the Law, they did so for their own sakes only, and did not tell many others about it. This method might be called practice in principle only. The Daimoku that Nichiren now chants during the Latter Day of the Law differs from that of former ages, for while his practice does benefit the practitioner himself, it also is intended to be shared with others.”

(Gosho, p. 1594)

Taking these Daishonin’s words to our heart, I wish you will first devote yourselves to the shakubuku practice with a single mind, toward the achievement of this year’s goal. This will conclude my address today.