The Treatise on Securing the Peace of the Land through the Propagation of True Buddhism (Rissho Ankoku-ron)
2006 May Okyobi Sermon
Read by Reverend Shogu Kimura
In Nichiren Shoshu, it has been said that the lifetime teachings of Nichiren Daishonin commence with the Rissho ankoku-ron and culminate with the Rissho ankoku-ron. This is because the Rissho ankoku-ron teaches the principle that securing the peace of the nation will come through propagating True Buddhism, based on the doctrine of refuting evil and revealing the truth (haja kensho). It is the teaching of shakubuku, a fundamental principle that the Daishonin upheld throughout his life. Both priesthood and laity in Nichiren Shoshu have never forgotten this basic principle throughout the ages. We, as the followers of the Daishonin, must keep his guidance in our hearts eternally into the future.
2. The Outline of the Rissho ankoku-ron
During the Daishonin's lifetime, various calamities, such as gales, heavy rain, floods, famine, epidemics, and great earthquakes ravaged the land of Japan, one after another. Society was in a constant state of trauma, and the people were afflicted with great suffering. The Kamakura government called upon the priests from the various sects of Buddhism and ordered them to offer prayers to eliminate the rampant natural disasters. Their prayers, however, failed to produce even the slightest effect. The disasters never ceased.
Witnessing these social conditions, the Daishonin assessed the root cause of this misfortune, based on the deep wisdom of the True Buddha that he possessed, and wrote the Rissho ankoku-ron. He clarified the causes of the calamities and revealed the method to put them to an end.
At the age of thirty-nine, Nichiren Daishonin wrote the Rissho ankoku-ron in Kamakura and submitted it to the most influential retired regent [of the Kamakura Shogunate at the time], Hojo Tokiyori in July of the first year of Bunno (1260). This was the seventh year after he had established True Buddhism.
The Daishonin revealed the fundamental causes of the misfortune as follows:
When I, with my limited knowledge, read the sutras, I find that all people have gone against the correct law and become wholly devoted to evil doctrines. This is why all the guardian deities abandon this country and sages have left this land, not to return. Seizing this opportunity, devils and demons rush in, bringing disasters and calamities. This is most fearful. We must speak out! (Gosho, p. 234)
The following is a summary of the major causes of the disasters explained in the Rissho ankoku-ron:
1. The people in society have turned their backs on True Buddhism and have upheld evil teachings; therefore, disasters have arisen.
2. The guardian deities, whose original function is to protect the people who uphold the correct Law, have been starved of the Law and abandoned the nation. They have returned to their places of origin; therefore, disasters have arrived.
3. The devils, whose negative function is to inflict various misfortunes, have replaced the guardian deities and now reside in the country; as a result, unprecedented disasters have struck, one after another.
One of the Daishonin's primary assertions in the Rissho ankoku-ron is that the fundamental cause of the disasters and misfortune is that “all people have gone against the correct Law and become wholly devoted to evil doctrines.”
3. Establishing the Correct Doctrine (Rissho) and Securing the Peace of the Land (Ankoku)
The Chinese characters for rissho of Rissho ankoku-ron mean to establish the correct Law. This signifies the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential (Honmon) Teaching. The correct Law indicates the Three Great Secret Laws: the Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching, the Daimoku of the Essential Teaching, and the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching. Rissho also means to refute all slanderous doctrines in order to establish the correct Law. Thus, Rissho means to establish the correct doctrines of True Buddhism based on the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary. This is the Daishonin's true intention-to save all the people around the world and lead them to happiness through faith in the Dai-Gohonzon. Rissho also indicates refuting all heretical religions, which lead the people to misfortune.
The characters for ankoku signify securing the society and the nation. This is the condition in the future where all the countries around the world will enjoy an orderly and stabilized existence. The people who reside there will be able to live secure and happy lives. The True Buddhism of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, established by the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin, will thoroughly purify the evil minds of the people, which is the fundamental cause of misfortune. The teachings of the Daishonin will lead the people to the ultimate life condition, Buddhahood.
Thus, we can build a truly secure society. Nichiren Daishonin teaches that this is the correct method to actualize “Securing the Peace of the Land through the Propagation of True Buddhism, Rissho ankoku.”
4. The “750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Rissho ankoku-ron” in 2009
The Sixty-seventh High Priest Nikken Shonin stated the following at the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Hoando in October of 2002:
Seven years from now will mark the 750th anniversary since the Daishonin taught the correct doctrine by means of the Rissho ankoku-ron in the first year of Bunno (1260). The True Teaching revealed in the Rissho ankoku-ron is the basic guide to lead all mankind to enlightenment. It is also the fundamental key to secure an eternal peace. The 750th anniversary of the writing of the Rissho ankoku-ron will correspond to the year 2009. To welcome such a significant year, it is essential that for the coming seven years we carry out more shakubuku and nurture activities for the advancement of True Buddhism. Based on the Great Law and the correct teachings of True Buddhism, we can double and further multiply the number of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth gathered this year.
(Daibyakuho, Vol. 608)
Three years have passed since we received his guidance. Three years remain until 2009. The mission of each one of us, both the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu who are living in the Latter Day of the Law, is to actually establish world peace through propagating True Buddhism based on the doctrine of “Revealing the truth and Refuting evil” taught in the Rissho ankoku-ron. We must realize that celebrating this significant occasion in 2009 is a great opportunity for all of us.
5. Daily Practice
Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin gave us the following guidance on New Year's Day:
Nichiren Daishonin stated in “The Bodies and Minds of Ordinary Beings”: Dewdrops accumulate to form a stream, and streams accumulate to form the great ocean. Particles of dust accumulate to form a mountain, and mountains accumulate to form Mount Sumeru. (Gosho, p. 1216; MW-6, p. 279) You must not neglect a trifle to make a serious matter. I am convinced that if you chant the Daimoku seriously everyday, shakubuku consistently, and succeed this year, you will accomplish your major objective without fail.
(Dai-Nichiren, Vol. 719)
There are no secret, epoch-making tactics one can use in order to achieve a great goal. We must keep in mind that our steady practices, such as daily Gongyo, chanting Daimoku, consistently participating in the Oko ceremonies and the Hokkeko meetings, trying to do shakubuku whenever we have the chance, and taking every opportunity to talk about Buddhism are the causes that will result in a great success. We should steadily advance forward, making efforts step by step instead of being captivated by a distant goal.
In his “Decree” to the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu, High Priest Nichinyo Shonin declared the following:
It is imperative that priesthood and laity single-mindedly cooperate in harmonious, tight-knit unity to achieve our cherished kosen-rufu of the True Cause to every corner of the world, by dedicating ourselves to deepening our understanding of Nichiren Shoshu doctrine and propagating its teachings, exerting ourselves, thus bringing about the flourishing of the True Law. In particular, we must dedicate ourselves in our daily practice and with further unity as we prepare for the great milestone that lies three years ahead-the “750th Anniversary of the Daishonin's Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Rissho ankoku-ron.”
(Daibyakuho, Vol. 685)
Our High Priest encouraged us, saying that we must take a step forward through consistent daily practice in the unity of itai doshin based on the Gohonzon.
Let's chant Daimoku to the Gohonzon seriously and do shakubuku assiduously with the cooperative spirit of itai doshin, as we look toward the great celebration of the “750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Rissho ankoku ron” taking place three years from now. Let's take resolute action and majestically advance, as we strengthen our determination to do shakubuku. That is the meaning of this year's slogan, “The Year to Stand Up and Take Resolute Action.”