Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin On the Occasion of the January Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
January 1, 2012
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
Happy New Year to you all!
I am pleased that our Honorable Retired High Priest is welcoming the New Year in good health and high spirits upon this early spring of the 760th Anniversary of the Establishment of True Buddhism.
I believe that both the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity also have welcomed “The Year of Advancing Kosen-rufu Through Shakubuku” feeling refreshed, and renewing their pledge to make further efforts in their practice.
It is New Year’s Day and so the Shodai Ceremony here at Head Temple started at 9AM today, however as a general rule, our one-hour Shodai Ceremony will be conducted from 8 AM to 9 AM every day throughout the month of January. I hope that many people will be participating.
Last year, 578 Hokkeko chapters achieved their shakubuku goals through unity and harmony between priesthood and laity, based on the spirit of “one’s body is insignificant while the Law is supreme” and “willing to give one’s life to propagate the Law.”
This indicates that 98.8 percent (nearly 99 percent) of all Hokkeko chapters in Japan achieved their goals, a dramatic increase when compared with the results from last year. Unfortunately, we couldn’t achieve the accomplishment of the goals in all propagation districts and Hokkeko chapters. However, if we sum up the results of all the shakubuku achieved, we exceeded the number of our goal, and that is a great victory. This is proof that all Hokkeko chapters throughout the nation are intensifying their shakubuku activities and experiencing a great change.
It is particularly worth noting that nearly all the temples in the North East region of Japan magnificently achieved their shakubuku goals.
The magnitude of the Great East Japan Earthquake was far beyond our imagination, and it caused the greatest tsunami in the recorded history of our nation. It resulted in catastrophic effects in Japan to which many people fell victim. Following that, problems with radioactive contamination were caused by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. It is because of the unwavering faith of members in the northern region that they could overcome countless obstacles, difficulties, and sadness and achieve their goals.
In the “Postscript to the Risshō ankoku-ron,” the Daishonin states:
I believe the same will hold true in the future for my other admonitions as well. (Gosho, p. 420; The Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 45)
Facing this great disaster, they recognized the true intention of these golden words and strengthened their faith more than ever. I would like to express my deepest respect for the members who were not discouraged by these disasters. They single-mindedly conducted shakubuku with firm determination and achieved this great result.
I sincerely pray for the rapid recovery of Eastern Japan and all of your continued good health and prosperity.
Meanwhile, overseas, starting with the countries that have temples or propagation centers, Spain, the Philippines, Panama, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, New York and Los Angeles in the United States of America, Hong Kong, Vancouver in Canada, Ghana, Argentina and other countries all achieved their shakubuku goals. In the countries where lay organizations exist as opposed to temples or propagation centers, Mexico, Denmark, Serbia, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Togo, Benin, Congo, Peru, and Chile all achieved their shakubuku goals.
I would like to express my deepest respect and appreciation to all the believers in their respective countries who are embracing the true intention of the Daishonin and conducting shakubuku vigorously. They are aiming for world peace and the happiness of all people, despite living in places so far away from the Head Temple.
In this way, the shakubuku momentum increased among the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity at home and abroad last year. We have made a leap forward toward the years 2015 and 2021.
This is solely because all the Hokkeko members in Japan and around the world have realized the importance of achieving their goals for 2015 and 2021, and advancing the kōsen-rufu of the true cause in every corner of the world. You have overcome every obstacle and exhibited dauntless courage in your shakubuku activities. This is the fruit of your efforts and unity. This eventually will turn into a great source of power for our activities toward 2015 and 2021 and the advancement of kōsen-rufu.
I sincerely pray that each one of you will redouble your devoted efforts, as you move forward in your faith and practice and propagate true Buddhism through shakubuku, in order to achieve our vow and the advancement of kōsen-rufu.
Additionally, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for the special Gokuyo offered by the Hokkeko members throughout the nation for the achievement of the commemorative projects in conjunction with the 750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Risshō ankoku-ron. We will use the Gokuyo effectively for the comprehensive restoration of the Mieido and other associated projects. I would like to express my appreciation once again. Thank you very much.
This year is “The Year of Advancing Kōsen-rufu Through Shakubuku.”
“Advancing kōsen-rufu through shakubuku,” means to conduct shakubuku and advance toward the achievement of the ultimate goal of worldwide kōsen-rufu and the immediate objectives set forth for 2015 and 2021, in solid, harmonious unity between priesthood and laity.
In the Risshō ankoku-ron, the Daishonin states:
Thus, by thoroughly reading all of these sutras, you will find that they all point out the grave consequences of slandering the Law. How lamentable it is that everyone has walked out of the gate of the correct Law and entered into the prison of erroneous teachings! How foolish people are to be caught by the hook of evil doctrines and become eternally entangled in the net of slanderous teachings! In this lifetime, the people’s ability [to see the correct Law] is obscured by a dense fog, and in future existences they will be engulfed by the roaring flames of hell. How can we not grieve? How can we not agonize? 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 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; The Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 42)
Furthermore, the same Gosho reads:
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; The Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 35)
In order to prevent calamities and disasters in the nation, realize true peace in the world, and establish the Buddha land, we must tell all the people in the world that the root cause for the destruction of the environment and the hearts of the people is the spread of heretical doctrines and religions. We must teach them that the best way to solve these problems is to renounce their erroneous belief. Then, we must lead them to take faith in the supreme teaching of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra and devote themselves to the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, the true purpose of the Daishonin’s advent into this world. The concrete way of practice is to conduct shakubuku.
Hence, in “Questions and Answers between a Sage and a Foolish Man” (“Shōgu mondō-shō”), the Daishonin clarifies:
When incorrect teachings are viewed as equal to the correct Law, and Mahayana and Hinayana followers fight with each other over what is correct— this is the time, above all else, to refute these slanderers. This is the practice of shakubuku. (Gosho, pp. 402-403)
Furthermore, in “The Crucial Elements for Attaining Enlightenment” (“Jōbutsu yōjin-shō”), the Daishonin teaches:
Trying to attain enlightenment without admonishing slander of the Law is like seeking water in fire or fire in water. How fruitless!” (Gosho, p. 1040)
Various heretical religions, including the Soka Gakkai, are rampant in society and are deluding many people. It is absolutely necessary for us to teach the people that slander of the Law is the root cause for unhappiness. We must refute their slander of the Law and lead them to attain true happiness and the realization of the Buddha land of peace.
In “The Crucial Elements for Attaining Enlightenment” (“Jōbutsu yōjin-shō”), the Daishonin states:
The Nirvana Sutra states: Suppose a decent priest becomes aware of one who slanders the correct Law. If he lets the slanderer be, without reproaching, expelling, and correcting him by exposing his faults, we should know that this priest is an enemy of Buddhism. On the other hand, if this priest expels, reproaches, and corrects the slanderer by exposing his faults, this priest is my disciple as well as a true practitioner of my teachings. Never forget this admonition against ignoring another’s slander of Buddhism. Both master and disciple will surely fall into the hell of incessant suffering if they see enemies of the Lotus Sutra and fail to reproach them. The Great Teacher Nan-yueh wrote, “They will fall into hell with evil men.” (Gosho, p. 1039)
We, the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu, should etch these golden words into our hearts. Now, it is most important for us to declare that erroneous teachings and sects are the root cause for the unhappiness of the people and the destruction of the realm of the environment (the environmental condition) and refute heresy by conducting shakubuku.
We, Nichiren Shoshu, are advancing toward the years 2015 and 2021, with unity between priesthood and laity.
The only way to achieve our objectives for 2015 and 2021 is conducting shakubuku. Shakubuku is essential for laying the firm foundation for the achievement of kōsen-rufu.
As you well know, our desires cannot be realized if we don’t take action. In order to achieve our objectives, we must conduct shakubuku and advance kōsen-rufu.
In order to advance kōsen-rufu through shakubuku, it is important for each one of us to diligently chant Daimoku. Shodai is the practice of the Daimoku of the Essential Teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws. It is the basic of Buddhist practice, the power source for the achievement of our objectives, and the fundamental practice for attaining enlightenment.
The Gosho, “On the Transmission of the Three Great Secret Laws” (“Sandai hihō bonjō ji”) reads:
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, pp. 1594-5)
He teaches us that the Daimoku of the Essential Teaching has both meanings of the practice for oneself and practice for others.
Needless to say, the Daimoku for oneself is Shodai. The Daimoku for others is shakubuku. Shodai and shakubuku are one, and Shodai is the source of energy for our shakubuku activity.
When doing shakubuku, we must have unwavering faith and strong confidence. It is crucial to conduct Gongyo and Shodai without fail, in order to be able to overcome every obstacle. It is important to conduct shakubuku based on our abundant benefits and the joy of chanting Daimoku. The Gosho, “On Prayer” (“Kitō-shō”) reads:
Even if one misses while pointing at the earth, even if one ties up the sky, even if the ebb and flow of the tide ceases, and even if the sun rises in the west, the prayers of the votary of the Lotus Sutra will never be unanswered. (Gosho, p. 630)
We should pray to the Gohonzon and sense our mission for kōsen-rufu. We can move people’s hearts by doing shakubuku for the world and the people, with firm faith, based on the spirit of “one’s body is insignificant while the Law is supreme” and “willing to give one’s life to propagate the Law.”
I would like to ask all of you from the bottom of my heart to carry out your practice to the fullest in “The Year of Advancing Kōsen-rufu Through Shakubuku,” aiming for the achievement of the goals of all the Hokkeko chapters.