Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin On the Occasion of the January Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
January 1, 2017
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
In this early spring of the 765th anniversary of the establishment of true Buddhism, “The Year to do Shakubuku, develop your faith, and help others develop their faith and practice,” I wish you a Happy New Year!
I believe that the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity both have welcomed the new year feeling refreshed, and have renewed their pledge to make further efforts in their practice.
As you know, the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu are making concerted efforts, and the members of each chapter are courageously moving forward in their shakubuku practice, day and night, based on unity and in the spirit of itai dōshin, as we aim toward our goal―establishing a membership of 800,000 Hokkeko believers by the auspicious occasion of the 800th anniversary of the advent of our Founder Nichiren Daishonin in 2021.
In conjunction with this event, the renovation work on the Five-Storied Pagoda at the Head Temple has been completed successfully. This work had been underway as part of the Commemorative Project Celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the Advent of our Founder, Nichiren Daishonin. And, on the 16th of January, the Grand Ceremony Commemorating the Completion of the Renovation of the Five-Storied Pagoda will be conducted.
This was possible, primarily due to the sincere Gokuyo that you offered, based on your faith, in order to protect true Buddhism. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my humble gratitude for your respectable faith. Thank you very much!
As you know, the main door of the Five-Storied Pagoda faces west, in contrast to the Mieidō, the Reception Hall, and other temple buildings, which face south. This demonstrates that the Buddhism of our Founder Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha in the Latter Day of the Law, will spread from the east to the west, unlike Shakyamuni’s Buddhism, which originated in India and moved from the west to the east. It signifies that the Daishonin’s Buddhism will spread, starting from Japan to China and India, and then, eventually to the entire world.
The Daishonin teaches the following in the Gosho, On Remonstrating with Hachiman (Kangyō hachiman-shō):
India was called the land of the moon. It is a name, indicating the advent of Shakyamuni Buddha. Fusō is the name for ancient Japan, the land of the rising sun. Indeed, how could a sage not appear in this land? The moon travels from west to east, which is a sign of the Buddhism that originated in India spreading to the East. The sun rises in the east, which is an auspicious sign of the Buddhism that emerged in Japan gradually returning to India. Moonlight, when compared to the sun, is not as brilliant. Shakyamuni Buddha expounded the true teaching for only eight years. Sunlight is brighter than the light of the moon, and this signifies that the Buddhist teaching [of Nichiren Daishonin] in Japan shall illuminate the infinite darkness of the fifth Five-hundred-year Period.
(Gosho, p. 1543)
As these golden words teach, like the moon, the Buddhism of Shakyamuni in India was transmitted from the west to Japan, through China and the Korean Peninsula. Shakyamuni’s Buddhism, which was preached during the periods of the Former and Middle Days of the Law, was transmitted from west to east. Unlike Shakyamuni’s Buddhism, the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha in the Latter Day of the Law, originates in Japan, the eastern land. Like the sun, the Daishonin’s Buddhism will spread to the west, moving from Japan, through China and India, and then to the entire world.
The Gosho passage states, “Sunlight is brighter than the light of the moon, and this signifies that the Buddhist teaching [of Nichiren Daishonin] in Japan shall illuminate the infinite darkness of the fifth Five-hundred-year Period.” This indicates that the Daishonin’s Buddhism is the great pure Law that will save all living beings and eternally illuminate the infinite darkness of the Latter Day of the Law.
The Daishonin teaches the following in the Gosho, Orally Transmitted Teachings (Ongi kuden):
The Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo that Nichiren now chants will enable all living beings of the ten thousand years of the Latter Day of the Law to attain Buddhahood.
(Gosho, p. 1732)
As I mentioned earlier, the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu are gathering their collective efforts, and the members of each chapter are vigorously conducting shakubuku with unity based on the spirit of itai dōshin, as we aim toward our goal of establishing a membership of 800,000 Hokkeko believers. At this time, we always must devote ourselves to chant Daimoku, firmly believing in the boundless benefits of the Dai-Gohonzon. With this conviction we must do shakubuku.
Others will determine whether or not to take faith Nichiren Shoshu when they hear the confident words and see the behavior of those who conduct shakubuku. Thus, shakubuku should never be done with an insincere attitude. It is essential that we consistently strive to chant Daimoku. With the benefits and joy from chanting Daimoku, we should step forward to do shakubuku.
At the start of this year, “The Year to do Shakubuku, develop your faith, and help others develop their faith and practice,” I sincerely wish that all of you, with new resolve, will devote yourselves to do shakubuku and help others develop their faith and practice. I also pray for your ever-increasing good health.