Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin On the Occasion of the November Kosen-rufu Shodai Ceremony
November 1, 2016
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
Good morning, everyone!
On this occasion of the November Kōsen-rufu Shōdai Ceremony, conducted here today at the Head Temple, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the large number of participants in attendance.
As you know, this is the month when the Third High Priest Nichimoku Shonin passed away.
It is said that Nichimoku Shonin remonstrated with the Kamakura Government, as well as the Imperial Court in Kyoto, 42 times during his life.
Accordingly, praising the meritorious service of Nichimoku Shonin, the Second High Priest Nikko Shonin wrote the following bestowal inscription on a Gohonzon that was transcribed in December 1324:
Niida-kyo Ajari Nichimoku, for his benevolence on his first remonstration to the Imperial Court.
Nikko Shonin further wrote on the side of a Gohonzon that he transcribed in November 1332:
I bestow this on Niida-kyo Ajari Nichimoku for his benevolence on his first benevolence on his first remonstration to the Imperial Court. He is the first among my primary disciples.
He then stated the following in Articles to be Observed after the Passing of Nikko (Nikko ato jōjō no koto), which also was written in November of the same year:
Nichimoku devoted himself to remonstrating with the Imperial Court for fifty long years, from the eighth year of Kō’an (1285) until the second year of Gentoku (1330). Such achievements are superior to those of the other priests. I leave this as documentary proof for the ages to come.
(Gosho, p. 1883)
As we revere the noble behavior of Nichimoku Shonin, who dedicated his entire life to the propagation of the Law, I strongly feel that each of us should follow his strong will and devote ourselves to do shakubuku—refuting heresy and revealing the truth—aiming toward the propagation of the Law throughout the entire world, by overcoming any obstacle or hardship no matter what they may arise.
Today, the members of each chapter of Nichiren Shoshu are advancing powerfully, aiming toward our goal—to achieve a membership of 800,000 Hokkeko believers by 2021, to celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the Advent of our Founder Nichiren Daishonin.
Regarding this, all of us must be to aware that the key to achieve our shakubuku goals is absolute faith in the Dai-Gohonzon and persistent efforts in the actual practice for oneself and others, based on firm faith. We should bear it in our mind.\After all, no matter how knowledgeable and talented one may be, if one does not have faith, the virtue of knowledge is useless.
Even though Devadatta knew a large number of the Buddhist scriptures by heart, he ended up suffering in the flames of Avichi hell. This is because he had knowledge but no faith. On the contrary, Shuddhipanthaka was dull and ignorant, but he became the Buddha of Universal Brightness in the future, because of his pure faith. This is precisely because even though he had no knowledge, he had faith.
The Daishonin teaches the following in the Gosho, Reply to Nichinyo gozen (Nichinyo gozen-gohenji):
Faith is the fundamental point of Buddhism. The fourth volume of the Great Concentration and Insight (Maka shikan) states: “Buddhism is like the boundless ocean. But, only those who have faith can enter.” Interpreting this passage, Miaole writes in the fourth volume of his Annotations on the Great Concentration and Insight (Maka shikan guketsu): “Even Confucius teaches that faith is first and foremost. This is all the more true with the profound doctrines of Buddhism. Without faith, how one can possibly pursue the Way? Thus, the Flower Garland Sutra reads, ‘Faith is the basis of practice and the mother of benefits.’”
(Gosho, p. 1388)
This passage teaches that those who pursue Buddhism must have faith, first and foremost.
Concerning practice, if one’s faith is not accompanied by practice, one may backslide in the practice, abandon one’s faith, and lose one’s path to Buddhahood. The Life Span (Juryō; sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra reads:
Once, I also practiced the bodhisattva way. (Hokekyo, p. 433)
This passage reveals Shakyamuni’s practice of the true cause. Thus, faith can lead one to attain the vast and boundless benefits of the Dai-Gohonzon only when it is accompanied by practice.
As I mentioned earlier, the members of each chapter of Nichiren Shoshu are powerfully advancing forth, aiming toward our goal to celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the Advent of our Founder Nichiren Daishonin. At this time, I am convinced that if all of us believe in the vast and boundless benefits of the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, devote ourselves to the practice with both faith and practice, and then conduct shakubuku in the spirit of itai dōshin, our goals will be achieved without fail.
However, everything depends upon our efforts. Without effort, our goals can never be achieved.
Now is the time for each one of us to profoundly revere the behavior of Nichimoku Shonin, who was willing to give his life to propagate the Law. Let's each try to emulate even one ten-thousandth of his noble behavior, and stand up to do shakubuku with a firm resolution, as we overcome every difficulty. With these efforts, we should repay our debts of gratitude.
We have two months remaining this year. If there are chapters that have not yet achieved their goals for this year, I sincerely wish that the members of those chapters will unite as one, based on the spirit of itai dōshin, chant Daimoku, and persevere in their efforts. I truly hope they will achieve their goals at any cost, so that their achievements will be witnessed by the Dai-Gohonzon.