Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin
On the Occasion of the May Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
May 5, 2019
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
On this occasion of the May Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony, conducted here today at the Head Temple, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the participants in attendance, despite your busy schedules.
As of May first, Japan’s imperial era name has changed from Heisei to Reiwa. Accordingly, today’s Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony is the first Shodai Ceremony in the new era of Reiwa. I hope you will turn over a new leaf and further devote yourselves to your practice, aiming toward the goal of propagating the true Law throughout the entire world.
Today, Nichiren Shoshu is powerfully advancing forth with the concerted efforts of each chapter, as we aim toward our goal—to achieve a membership of 800,000 Hokkeko believers by 2021, the 800th anniversary of the advent of our Founder Nichiren Daishonin.
As you know, our goal of the establishment of a membership of 800,000 Hokkeko believers is our important mission and also the vow we pledged in front of the Gohonzon.
Thus, the members of every single chapter must devote themselves entirely to achieve this goal without fail, no matter what difficulties and obstacles they may encounter. In order to achieve this, each one of us must first have the awareness and conviction as a disciple or follower of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Then, we must determinedly and courageously do shakubuku, based on the spirit of itai-doshin, no matter what obstacles and devils may face us.
The Daishonin teaches the following in the Gosho, Questions and Answers on Embracing the Lotus Sutra(Jimyo hokke mondo-sho):
Apart from the land of eternally tranquil light where the Buddha resides, every realm is a place of suffering. If we leave the realm of [the Buddha’s] original enlightenment, what joy can we find? I believe that embracing Myoho-Renge-Kyo, which ensures “peace and security in this lifetime and good circumstances in the next,” is the only honor to pursue in this lifetime and is the guide to maintain enlightenment in the future. Single-mindedly chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and encourage others to do the same. This will remain as your only memory from this present, human life.
(Gosho, p. 300)
The phrase: “peace and security in this lifetime and good circumstances in the next” in this passage is extracted from the Medicinal Herbs (Yakusoyu; fifth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Concerning the Buddha’s preaching in an immeasurable variety of ways, the preceding passage states:
All of them are delighted and are able to gain excellent benefits therefrom. Once these living beings have heard the law, they will enjoy peace and security in their present existence and good circumstances in future existences.
(Hokekyo, p. 217; Lotus Sutra, Watson, p. 99)
In other words, those who listen to Myoho-Renge-Kyo and take faith in it will be able to live in peace in the present life and be reborn into the pure lands of the various Buddhas in a future life. This is referred to as the Buddha’s vast benefits spanning the three existences of life.
Furthermore, the Daishonin teaches in the Gosho, Reply to Akimoto (Akimoto dono-gohenji) as follows:
Please understand it in this manner and chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Do not doubt that you will “enjoy peace and security in your present existence and good circumstances in future existences.” It is clearly revealed in the scriptures that all the guardian deities will protect the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, without ever slackening.
(Gosho, p. 334)
Those who chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo with strong resolve undoubtedly achieve “peace and security in this lifetime and good circumstances in the next,” as all guardian deities will protect the votaries of the Lotus Sutra.
Moreover, it is taught in the Gosho, Letter to Ueno (Ueno dono-goshosoku) as follows:
In general, those who take faith in this Lotus Sutra with firm conviction and single-mindedly devote themselves to the practice of Buddhism, will be protected, just as a shadow invariably accompanies its body. Please think of this over and over. If you do not reverse your decision and always have faith in this teaching, you will achieve peace and security in this lifetime and good circumstances in the next.
(Gosho, p. 923)
“Those who single-mindedly devote themselves to the practice of Buddhism” stated in this passage refers to one who devotes oneself entirely to the practice of Myoho-Renge-Kyo for oneself and others. Today, it refers to those who devote themselves to their practice and courageously do shakubuku, etching into their hearts the golden words, “One’s life is insignificant while the Law is supreme. You should be willing to give your life to propagate the Law,” as they aim toward our goal―to achieve a membership of 800,000 Hokkeko believers by 2021, the 800th anniversary of the advent of our Founder Nichiren Daishonin.
The Daishonin teaches that one who devotes oneself to the practice for oneself and others will obtain the vast and boundless benefits of the Dai-Gohonzon without fail. There is no doubt that such a person will enjoy peace and security in this lifetime and good circumstances in the next.
The auspicious occasion of the 800th anniversary of the advent of our Founder Nichiren Daishonin is only two years away.
Upon welcoming this golden opportunity, I sincerely wish that we will courageously do shakubuku based on firm resolve, without anyone falling behind. With this effort, I hope that we will achieve the vow we pledged in front of the Gohonzon—the establishment of a membership of 800,000 Hokkeko believers—and that each of us will be able to repay one’s debt of gratitude to the vast and boundless compassion of the Buddha.
I sincerely pray that every single member will make further efforts toward one’s practice, aiming toward the achievement of our goal.