Become Active Participants
Guidance by Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin
On the Occasion of the Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony, April 1, 2007
Head Temple Taisekiji, Reception Hall
On the occasion of the April Kosen-rufu Shodai ceremony, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the large number of participants here today despite your busy schedules.
Nichiren Daishonin states in the Gosho, Rissho ankoku-ron (On Securing the Peace of the Land through the Propagation of True Buddhism):
I have pondered the matter carefully with what limited resources I possess, and have looked a little at the scriptures for an answer. The people of today all turn their backs upon what is right; to a person, they give their allegiance to evil. This is the reason why the benevolent deities have abandoned the nation and departed together, that sages leave and do not return. And in their stead, devils and demons come, and disasters and calamities occur. I cannot keep silent on this matter. I cannot suppress my fears.
(Gosho, p. 234; MW-2, p. 5)
And, again in the Rissho ankoku-ron he states:
Alas, how pitiful that others should turn their backs on the enlightened prohibitions of the Buddha! How tragic that they should heed the gross and deluded words of this ignorant monk! If we hope to bring order and tranquillity to the world without further delay, we must put an end to these slanders of the Law that fill our country!
(Gosho, p. 247; MW-2, p. 39)
The Daishonin teaches that the reason for disorder and misfortune in the world is the poison of slander of the Law. We have to renounce slanderous teachings, embrace the correct teaching of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, and bring order and tranquility to the world. The Gosho passage expounds that this is the best way for the people to attain happiness.
Today, the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu are working hard together in itai doshin toward the achievement of our goals for 2009 of doubling the number of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth and gathering at the Great Assembly. It is important for each and every one of us to truly uphold the significant teaching of the Rissho ankoku-ron. We should not stand by and be onlookers; we must actively participate in and strive toward our goals.
There is an obvious difference between a believer who is an onlooker, sitting on the sidelines, and one who is an active participant. An active participant takes actions by oneself. One who takes no action cannot be called an active participant.
In Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, we cannot attain enlightenment through ideology or theoretical concepts. For the sake of propagating the Law, one must use one’s body and take actions that can manifest the immense benefits of the Buddha.
Those who are called &ldquoractitioners of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism” are the believers who put their faith into actual practice. Without actually using our bodies, we are unable to perform Gongyo and shakubuku. Thus, we cannot be called believers who actively participate in faith and practice if we only use our mouths. The Daishonin states in the Gosho, “Letter to Priest Nichiro in Prison”:
Others read the Lotus Sutra with their mouths alone, reading only the words, but do not read it with their hearts. And even if they read it with their hearts, they do not read it with their actions. Praiseworthy indeed are those like you who read the sutra with both body and mind!
(MW-5, p. 127)
Then, how can we become believers who are active in faith and practice? We must first have a firm awareness that each and every one of us is a Bodhisattva of the Earth. Nichiren Daishonin states in the Gosho, “The True Entity of all Phenomena”:
Now, no matter what, strive in faith and be known as a votary of the Lotus Sutra, and forever exert yourself as Nichiren’s disciple. If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth.
(MW-1, p. 93)
We must always deeply keep in mind the phrase, “If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth.”
Absolute faith in the Gohonzon is our foundation. This means having the absolute devotion of faith and practice without any doubt (mugi wasshin). It is important for us to strive toward Kosen-rufu of the world, which is the great aspiration of Nichiren Daishonin. What matters is whether or not we have faith and conviction in the Gohonzon’s great benefits.
In the Gosho, “The True Object of Worship” (“Kanjin no honzon-sho&rdquo, the Daishonin states:
Shakyamuni's practices and the virtues he attained are all contained within the five characters of Myoho-Renge-Kyo. If we believe in and uphold that phrase, we shall naturally be granted the same benefits that he received.
(Gosho, p. 653; MW-1 p. 64)
Both Shakyamuni’s various practices that he accumulated over a very long time and the boundless virtues he received when he attained enlightenment are entirely contained in the Three Great Secret Laws.
The Buddhism of Sowing of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin, in the Latter Day of the Law, contains within the five characters of Myoho-Renge-Kyo, all the laws and phenomena that exist in the Ten Worlds and the three thousand realms. It lacks none of them. Anyone who practices this Law will simultaneously obtain both the cause and the effect of Buddhahood.
Therefore, those who honestly believe in and embrace this Gohonzon, will obtain the immeasurable benefit of transforming the Three Paths of Earthly Desires, karma and suffering into the Three Virtues of the Dharma body, wisdom, and emancipation, and will fulfill the true purpose of faith—attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form.
In conclusion, each of us must uphold absolute faith in the five characters of the Mystic Law (Myoho), the Dai-Gohonzon, with the awareness that we are Bodhisattvas of the Earth, and pray for our attainment of Buddhahood and the achievement of our great goal, Kosen-rufu. This is the moment when we must be active participants, willingly taking action toward the achievement of doubling the number of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth and gathering at the Great Assembly in 2009.
With another two years left until the achievement of our goals for 2009, I would like to conclude my address for today by sincerely praying that all of you will be able to forge ahead without any regrets and without wasting a single day.
(Nichiren Shoshu Monthly Sep. 2007 p.3-p.4)