The Memorial Book (Kakocho)
Recorded in the Memorial Book are the anniversaries of the deaths of Nichiren Daishonin and all of the successive High Priests, acknowledgment of the religious persecutions the Daishonin endured, and the anniversaries of the deaths of your own deceased relatives and friends. The book is set up so that you can offer memorials of gratitude each day. The Memorial Book (Kakocho) is used to assist us in offering benefit or merit to the deceased each day during morning and evening Gongyo. All Nichiren Shoshu Temples have a Memorial Book at the altar. Smaller sized versions are inscribed for lay believers by the Chief Priest of their local temple. It is recommended that all believers have a memorial book. It is placed to the left side of the offering table in front of the Butsudan.
Each page of the Memorial Book is numbered to correspond to a day of the month. For example, the page numbered 20 corresponds to the twentieth day of each month of the year. Just before beginning evening Gongyo, turn the page to the one numbered for the next day. Then, repeat the memorials on that page at morning Gongyo of the numbered day.
Families who have a Memorial Book should offer the memorial section of the Fifth Prayer in the following manner. After ending Shodai, and chanting Daimoku Sansho, continuously strike the bell:
- Silently offer your deep gratitude for the Daishonin and successive High Priests as they are noted in the Memorial Book.
- Silently offer your gratitude for the religious persecutions the Daishonin endured as they are noted in the Memorial Book.
- Silently offer prayers in memory of and gratitude for the lives of the deceased (including the parents of the Daishonin) as they are noted in the Memorial Book.
- Offer prayers for your deceased relatives and friends as written in the first part of the Fifth Prayer. When finished, stop striking the bell and chant Daimoku Sansho.
To obtain a Memorial Book, believers request an application from their local temple. This application will have a place to write the names of one’s deceased family and friends. The Chief Priest will inscribe the requested names in the book. When a new name needs to be added, the book should be given to the Chief Priest to make the inscription. Please check with your local temple staff regarding appropriate Gokuyo.