Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin
On the Occasion of the April Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
April 1, 2012
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
On this occasion of the April 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.
The month of April already has arrived, and a quarter of this year has passed. I imagine you are striving for the achievement of your shakubuku goals, based on unity between priesthood and laity in the spirit of itai-doshin.
As I look upon the deluded and confused condition of the world today, at home and abroad, I believe that the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu must gather all their strength and achieve the goals for the years 2015 and 2021 at all costs, upholding the golden words of the Rissho ankoku-ron.
Therefore, I sincerely pray that all Hokkeko chapters will achieve their shakubuku goals for this year.
The Teachers of the Law (Hosshi; tenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra states:
If, after my passing, there are good men and good women, and one among them secretly preaches the Lotus Sutra, [one volume of it, a single passage] or a phrase of it to even one other person, then this good man or woman, indeed, is an envoy of the Tathagata. As the Tathagata’s envoy, he carries out compassionate action in his stead. And how much more is this so for those who widely preach the Lotus Sutra for others in the midst of the great assembly.
(Hokekyo, p. 321)
“Good men” indicates men who believe in Buddhism, and “good women” refers to women who believe in Buddhism. In other words, they are called “good men” and “good women” since they believe in the correct Law.
If we apply this to the present age, however, they are the priesthood and laity who strive forth to practice Buddhism for oneself and others through taking faith in the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, which is the ultimate purpose of the advent of Nichiren Daishonin, our founder and the True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law.
The Daishonin states in “A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering” (“Shiiji shirodono-gosho”):
The Teachers of the Law chapter of the Lotus Sutra states, “If one of these good men or good women…[secretly expound the Lotus Sutra to one person]…then you should know that he or she is the envoy of the Tathagata.” This means that a person who teaches even one phrase of the Lotus Sutra, whether one be priest or nun, layman or laywoman, appears as the messenger of the Tathagata.
(Gosho, p. 1555)
He further teaches in “The True Entity of All Phenomena” (“Shoho jisso-sho”),
If I, Nichiren, am one of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, so are my disciples. The Lotus Sutra states, “if…there are good men and good women, and one among them secretly preaches the Lotus Sutra, [one volume of it, a single passage] or a phrase of it to even one other person, then this good man or woman, indeed, is an envoy of the Tathagata. As the Tathagata’s envoy, he carries out compassionate action in his stead” This refers to no one but myself.
(Gosho, p. 666)
As we can understand from these Gosho passages, the one who presently chants Daimoku and carries out shakubuku as a disciple of our founder Nichiren Daishonin is an envoy of the Tathagata who carries out compassionate action in his stead.
The purpose of the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin’s advent in the Latter Day of the Law is to lead all living beings to enlightenment by sowing the seed of the true cause of the mystic Law.
After the Daishonin’s passing, it is our important mission to strive forth toward the achievement of his will, taking to heart the golden words, “one’s body is insignificant while the Law is supreme” and “willing to give one’s life to propagate the Law.”
The priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu are advancing toward the years 2015 and 2021, in the spirit of itai doshin. This year is “The Year of Advancing Kosen-rufu Through Shakubuku.”
Therefore, on this occasion, each of us should become aware of our responsibility, have pride, and feel the sense of our mission as an “envoy of the Tathagata.” In this way, we must overcome any difficulties and obstacles, and conduct shakubuku with firm determination and courage, aiming toward the achievement of our shakubuku goals.
Even if people without any understanding take faith in Nichiren Shoshu immediately, they can form a karmic relationship with true Buddhism through having the seed of Buddhahood sown into their lives. Thus, they will attain enlightenment in the future without fail.
Therefore, in the “The Doctrine of Ichinen Sanzen” (“Ichinen sanzen homon”) the Daishonin teaches:
When one chants Myoho-Renge-Kyo, the Buddhahood inherent in one’s life will be manifested. Those who have the opportunity to hear it will be able to eradicate their negative karma that has been accumulating for infinite asamkhya kalpas. Those [who hear Myoho-Renge-Kyo] and rejoice for even a single life-moment, will attain Buddhahood in their present form. Even if they hear [Myoho-Renge-Kyo] but do not believe in it, since the seed of Buddhahood has been sown, and will become mature, one will attain Buddhahood without fail.
(Gosho, p. 109)
Furthermore, Nichiren Daishonin teaches in “On Chanting the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra” (“Sho hokke Daimoku-sho”):
In the Latter Day of the Law, there are many who lack the seed of Buddhahood, while few possess the seed of Buddhahood. Thus, there is no doubt that the people [in the Latter Day of the Law] will fall into the evil paths. [Even if they oppose it,] we must strongly teach them and make them listen to the Lotus Sutra, so that they will form a poison-drum relationship with the correct Law. Now is the time to make them form a reverse relationship with true Buddhism through teaching them the Lotus Sutra.
(Gosho, p. 231)
Through conducting shakubuku, both those who form a positive relationship with true Buddhism and those who have a reverse relationship will be saved together. It is essential to conduct shakubuku with compassion toward whomever you may meet, so that you naturally will gain the tremendous benefits of it.
The Daishonin teaches the following in his Gosho, “On Practicing According to the Buddha’s Teachings” (“Nyosetsu shugyo-sho”):
If you seclude yourself in the mountains and carry out the practice of shoju at a time when the Lotus Sutra and pre-Lotus Sutra teachings are confused, then you will lose the opportunity to practice the Lotus Sutra. Now, in the Latter Day of the Law, who will practice the Lotus Sutra correctly in your place, if you do not carry out shakubuku just as the sutra teaches? Whomever you may meet, conduct shakubuku and refute both the person and the Law of the other sects. Loudly proclaim that the Lotus Sutra is the only teaching that will lead the people to Buddhahood, and that the various other teachings are the root cause for obstructing one from attaining enlightenment and leading one to fall into hell.
(Gosho, p. 673)
We must bear in mind the following passage, “Whomever you may meet, conduct shakubuku and refute both the person and the Law of the other sects. Loudly proclaim that the Lotus Sutra is the only teaching that will lead the people to Buddhahood, and that the various other teachings are the root cause for obstructing one from attaining enlightenment and leading one to fall into hell.”
Please strive to conduct shakubuku in high spirits as an envoy of the Tathagata, who has the precious mission of achieving kosen-rufu.
I would like to conclude my address by sincerely praying for your further advancement toward the achievement of the ultimate goal of kosen-rufu of the true cause in every corner of the world, and the immediate objectives set forth for 2015 and 2021.