New Year’s Address
Reverend Gyoyu Urushibata
Overseas Department Chief
January 1, 2013
As we welcome the early spring of 2013, I would like to wish all Nichiren Shoshu believers around the world a happy New Year.
As a start of the year, together with the resident priests in overseas countries and Nichiren Shoshu believers around the world, I would like for us to make the pledge to exert ourselves toward the further progress of World Peace and Kosen- rufu.
Last year, we, the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and lay believers around the world courageously worked to accomplish shakubuku for the significance of “The Year of Advancing Kosen-rufu Through Shakubuku” under the guidance of 68th High Priest Nichinyo Shonin. As a result, not only in Japan, but many chapters around the world were able to achieve their shakubuku goals.
Throughout this year, we must make further progress with increased efforts toward Kosen-rufu by achieving an even greater number of shakubuku than last year.
In order for the Hokkeko to increase its present membership of 50 percent by the year 2015, the “770th anniversary of the birth of Second High Priest Nikko Shonin,” I believe that the achievement of our shakubuku goal in what is now our 4th year will have great significance.
Thus, I hope that all chapters around the world will exert efforts to conduct shakubuku through accumulating serious Daimoku with unity between priesthood and lay believers, and accomplish each shakubuku goal.
The objective for this year is designated as “The Year of Advancing in Unity.”
The Overseas Department then set the following three practical points for 2013:
- To strengthen our faith and practice through consistent Gongyo and Shodai
- To carry out shakubuku with unity between the priesthood and laity
- To promote pilgrimages to the Head Temple in each country
1. To strengthen our faith and practice through consistent Gongyo and Shodai. Gongyo and Shodai are our basics of practice. This means to increasingly solidify firm faith by conducting Gongyo and Shodai seriously and abolishing idle thoughts.
2. To carry out shakubuku with unity between the priesthood and laity. When conducting shakubuku, between priests and believers and amongst the laity, many people work together and one by one diligent shakubuku is carried out. It is especially important to make the best use of everyone’s experiences and cooperation.
3. To promote pilgrimages to the Head Temple in each country. Tozan is the best opportunity of our practice to accumulate great benefits. Everyone will have conviction in their faith and will be able to establish firm faith.
Therefore, promoting pilgrimages to the Head Temple is an important activity for every country in the world. In particular, it is of great significance to encourage people who have not yet made any Tozan experiences.
I hope you will further exert yourselves toward Kosen-rufu in each country by upholding the above 3 practical points for this year.
Nichiren Daishonin states in “On Attaining Buddhahood”:
If the people’s minds are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two kinds of lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds. It is the same with a Buddha and a common mortal. While deluded, one is called a common mortal, but once enlightened, he is called a Buddha. Even a tarnished mirror will shine like a jewel if it is polished. A mind which presently is clouded by illusions originating from the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but once it is polished it will become clear, reflecting the enlightenment of immutable truth. Arouse deep faith and polish your mirror night and day. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. (Gosho page 47)
Nichiren Daishonin is teaching us that this Saha world in which we live is the eternal Pure Land.
So it is said that to either turn this eternal Pure Land into the Land of Hell’s War or the Buddha’s Peaceful Land will depend on the minds of the people who are living there.
Therefore, if we polish the Buddha nature in our lives, establish the life condition of Buddhahood and progress Kosen-rufu of the True Law, this world will naturally become the Buddha’s peaceful Land and we will be able to live a life of happiness and peace.
For this reason, we should chant Daimoku seriously day and night, polish our faith, conduct shakubuku and exert ourselves for Kosen-rufu of the True Law.
It is said that 65 hundred million people live among the world of chaos on Earth.
Because this is such an uneasy chaotic time, we must uphold Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching and propagate the True Law by aiming to establish a peaceful and tranquil Buddha Land.
To everyone around the world who is putting forth ceaseless efforts to protect and propagate the True Law, under the guidance of the High Priest, let us exert ourselves for Kosen-rufu of the true law throughout this year, together in firm faith, with the priesthood and lay believers.
I would like to conclude my New Year’s Address by praying from the bottom of my heart for the happiness of each one of you, for peace in each of your countries, and for the progress of Kosen-rufu of the True Law around the world.
January 1, 2013
Rev. Gyoyu Urushibata