Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin
On the Occasion of the January Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
January 1, 2020
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
In this early spring of the 768th anniversary of the establishment of true Buddhism, “The Year of Achieving Our Shakubuku Goal,” I wish you a Happy New Year!
I believe you have welcomed the start of “The Year of Achieving Our Shakubuku Goal” feeling refreshed, and have renewed your pledge to make further efforts in your practice.
As you know, today, the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu are powerfully moving forward in their practice, based on unity between the priesthood and laity, in the spirit of itai doshin, 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, which is finally approaching in a little more than a year.
The establishment of a membership of 800,000 Hokkeko believers is the vow we pledged in front of the Gohonzon. We must be aware that the great significance lies in all chapters throughout the country achieving our shakubuku goal without fail.
In order to achieve this, we must have an indomitable determination and bravely devote ourselves to propagate Myoho-Renge-Kyo, without any hesitation, just as taught in 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.” Then, it is essential that we refute slander, the root cause of unhappiness, and do shakubuku—refuting heresy and reveling the truth.
The Daishonin teaches us the following in the Gosho, Letter to Nanjo Hyo’e Shichiro (Nanjo hyo’e shichiro dono-gosho):
No matter what great merit one gains by performing good deeds; even if one transcribes the Lotus Sutra ten million times, and achieves the observation of the mind based on the principle of ichinen sanzen (three thousand realms in a single life-moment), should he fail to denounce the enemies of the Lotus Sutra, he will not be able to attain enlightenment. For example, one may loyally serve the imperial court for ten to twenty years, but if he recognizes an enemy of the emperor and neither reports it nor personally feels enmity, all the services he has thus far offered will come to naught. Rather, he will be punished. You must realize that all the people in this age are slanderers of the Law.
(Gosho, p. 322)
Literally, we must be well aware that conducting shakubuku, the act of compassion that can save all living beings, is far more important than accumulating any kind of great merit by performing good deeds; transcribing the Lotus Sutra ten million times, and achieving the observation of the mind based on the principle of ichinen sanzen.
Precisely, the best way to save many people who are suffering in agony due to the poison of the slander of erroneous teachings is shakubuku. In order to invite true happiness, there is no way other than teaching others about the teaching of our Founder Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha in the Latter Day of the Law, and leading them to take faith in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism through shakubuku, as much as we can.
Furthermore, Nichiren Daishonin expounds in the Gosho, On Teaching, Practice, and Proof (Kyo gyo sho-gosho) as follows:
If the disciples and followers of Nichiren are cowardly, nothing can be achieved. When we compare the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings and the Lotus Sutra and debate on which one is superior or inferior, shallow or deep and whether or not one can attain Buddhahood, even Shakyamuni Buddha of the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra is no one to be afraid of. A bodhisattva at the stage of near enlightenment is to be feared even less, and this is even more so with the followers of the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings. Embracing the Lotus Sutra is like being in the highest position of Heavenly King Daibonten. You may look down upon the views of the followers of heretical teachings as primitive. However, keep in mind that you must be resolved to refute and correct their errors.
(Gosho, p. 1109)
As these golden words teach, we must not be cowardly when we conduct shakubuku, the greatest act of compassion, which can save all living beings. It is most essential that we do shakubuku with absolute faith in the Dai-Gohonzon as well as a firm determination and the courage of “Single-mindedly yearning to see the Buddha, they do not begrudge their lives.”
The Daishonin expounds the following to us in the Gosho, Reply to Shijo Kingo (Shijo kingo dono-gohenji):
You must employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra more than any other tactics. The golden words, “All others who bore you enmity or malice have likewise been wiped out [by the benefits of the Lotus Sutra]” are undeniably true. The essence of military strategy also was derived from Myoho-Renge-Kyo. You must continuously deepen your faith with no doubts. Nothing can be achieved if you are cowardly.
(ibid. p. 1407)
“All others who bore you enmity or malice have likewise been wiped out” (Hokekyo, p. 538; Lotus Sutra, Watson, p. 288) in this passage is a phrase taken from the Bodhisattva Medicine King (Yakuo bosatsu; twenty-third) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Because of the benefits of embracing Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we can repel every kind of obstacle that hinders our attainment of Buddhahood.
I sincerely pray that each one of us becomes aware that the most important thing now is to firmly believe in the vast and boundless benefits of the Dai-Gohonzon, and to teach others about these benefits and to shakubuku as many people as possible. I then hope that the members of each chapter will unite as one, based on the spirit of itai doshin, and stand up to do shakubuku, so that every chapter will achieve this year’s shakubuku goal without fail.