On the Occasion of the December Kōsen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
December 6, 2009
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
On the occasion of the December 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, including many overseas believers. This is already the month of December, and we have only one month left before the end of the year. I am certain that you are devoting yourselves to the practice day and night, aiming toward the achievement of this year’s shakubuku goals.
As I have often mentioned, on July 26 this year at the Great Assembly of 75,000 Hokkeko believers, our new objectives were set for both 2015 and 2021. Now that we have already commenced our activities, it is crucial for each Hokkeko chapter, first and foremost, to achieve its shakubuku goal for this year. If you have an attitude such as, “when I see the New Year in, I will start taking action,” you will be just like the Kankuchō bird (bird suffering in the cold) in the Snow Mountains. Thus, it is essential that you start working immediately today for the accomplishment of our goals, without postponing your action. I sincerely hope that each one of you will exert your utmost efforts for the remaining days of this year until the very end.
Nichiren Daishonin states in the Gosho, “Reply to Priest Takahashi” (“Takahashi nyūdo dono-gohenji”):
“For the first five hundred years after Shakyamuni’s passing, Mahakashyapa, Ananda, and others should save all the people with the medicine of the Hinayana sutras. For the subsequent five-hundred-year period, Bodhisattvas Manjushri, Maitreya, Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, and others should save all the people with the medicine of the Flower Garland Sutra, the Great Sun Tathagata Sutra, the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra, and other Mahayana sutras.
“Then, during the Middle Day of the Law, one thousand years after Shakyamuni’s passing, Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and others should save everyone with the medicine of the remaining teachings, except for the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra.
“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, Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, 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 Jōgyō (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)
This means that Buddhism sets forth the Law that is suited to each period, such as the correct Law to be propagated during the Former Day of the Law, or the Law to be propagated during the Middle of the Law. For the first five hundred years after Shakyamuni’s passing, the first half of the Former Day of the Law, Hinayana Buddhism was propagated. Then during the next five hundred years, the latter half of the Former Day of the Law, provisional Mahayana teachings such as the Great Sun Tathagata Sutra and the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra were spread. And for the one thousand years that followed, during the Middle Day of the Law, “the remaining teachings, with the exception of the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra,” was to be propagated. This refers to the surface meaning of the words of the Lotus Sutra.
However, the Hinayana sutras, Mahayana sutras, and the Lotus Sutra of the “surface meaning of the words,” which were entrusted respectively to Mahakashyapa, Ananda and others, to the bodhisattvas Manjushri, Maitreya, and others, and to Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and others—all these sutras entrusted to these Bodhisattvas taught by the Buddha of the theoretical teaching remain only as words in the Latter Day of the Law. They cannot serve as medicines to cure the illnesses of the people in the Latter Day of the Law. They cannot save the people who do not possess the seed of Buddhahood. This is analogous to an ineffective medicine being used to treat a grave disease. Under these circumstances, Bodhisattva Jōgyō will make his advent into this world and bestow upon all living beings the five characters of Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo.
In other words, the people in the Latter Day of the Law, who do not possess the seed of Buddhahood, cannot be saved without true Buddhism and the advent of our founder Nichiren Daishonin, whose external identity is Bodhisattva Jōgyō, but who, in reality, possesses the inner realization of the True Buddha of the Property of Intrinsically Perfect Wisdom. This indicates that the Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo inherent in the life of the Daishonin is not merely the five characters of the title of the Lotus Sutra. Rather it is the five characters of Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo that comprise the true Law of the infinite past. It is the supreme Law of the Three Great Secret Laws—the True Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching.
Indeed, this True Object of Worship, the supreme Law of the Three Great Secret Laws, is the fundamental Law to save all people throughout the three existences of life. Since they do not possess the seed of Buddhahood, the people in the Latter Day of the Law will be able to attain Buddhahood in their present form only when they revere the Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws as the True Object of Worship. This is what we should devote our entire lives to, while single-mindedly chanting Daimoku, performing shakubuku, and practicing Buddhism with firm faith.
We, who embrace and practice the Daishonin’s correct Law, should never forget his declarations in the following two passages:
[First, the Daishonin states]:
“You must immediately renounce your erroneous belief and take faith in the supreme teaching of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra. Then, this entire threefold world will become the Buddha land. How could the Buddha land ever decline? All the lands in the ten directions will transform into the treasure realms. How could a treasure realm ever fall to ruin? If the nation never declines and the land is indestructible, you will find safety and peace of mind. These are the very words that you must believe and revere.”
(Gosho, p. 250; Rissho ankoku-ron, p. 42)
[Second, the Daishonin teaches]:
“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; Rissho ankoku-ron, p. 35)
We must strictly follow these golden words, and make intense efforts to realize the ideals set forth in the Risshō ankoku-ron in pursuit of true world peace and the happiness of all mankind.
Although the time remaining this year is as short as one month, I sincerely pray that each one of you who is here today will end this year with great success by carrying out shakubuku to the best of your ability and by gaining immeasurable benefits.