Guidance from Sixty-eighth High Priest Nichinyo Shonin
On the Occasion of the July Kōsen-rufu Shōdai Ceremony
July 2, 2017
Reception Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji
Good morning, everyone!
On this occasion of the July 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.
Today, Nichiren Shoshu is powerfully advancing, with unity between the priesthood and laity of each chapter, based on the spirit of itai dōshin, as we aim toward our goal—to achieve a membership of 800,000 Hokkeko believers by 2021, the 800th Anniversary of the Advent of our Founder, Nichiren Daishonin
In the Gosho, Many in Body, One in Mind (Itai dōshin ji), the Daishonin teaches us the most important point to keep in mind, as we take on the challenge to achieve our goal. He states: With the spirit of many in body, one in mind, they (the Atsuwara believers) will achieve everything, whereas, in the case of one in body, many in mind, they will not accomplish anything. This has been proven in more than 3,000 volumes of Chinese non-Buddhist literature. For example, there was a battle between King Zhou of Yin with his 700,000 soldiers and King Wu of Zhou with his 800. King Zhou was defeated due to disunity, whereas King Wu won because of unity. An individual at
odds with himself will not achieve anything, because his heart is not dedicated to a single purpose. Even if there are 100 or 1,000 people, if they are united with one heart, they can definitely accomplish anything.
(Gosho, p. 1389)
As the Daishonin asserts in this Gosho, the key to success depends on achieving unity, based on the spirit of itai dōshin.
It’s a fact that in every chapter that is producing good results, the members are devoting themselves to do shakubuku, based on unity in the spirit of itai dōshin. All of the members of these chapters have awareness, pride and confidence as soldiers for kōsen-rufu. And, they advance toward the challenge of doing shakubuku with great delight, aiming toward the achievement of their goals. The Daishonin teaches the following in the Gosho, Attaining Enlightenment at the Initial Stage of Faith through the Lotus Sutra (Hokke shoshin Jōbutsu-shō): If they hear the Lotus Sutra, which enables people to attain Buddhahood, this [encounter] becomes the seed [of Buddhahood] for them, and they eventually will attain enlightenment without fail. Therefore, Tiantai and Miaole follow this notion and expound [in their commentaries] that one should tirelessly teach the Lotus Sutra. It is like those who falter and fall to the ground, but are able to use that very ground to push themselves up to stand again. In the same way, even if they descend into hell, they will rise again before long and attain Buddhahood. The people in the Latter Day of the Law will definitely fall into hell as a result of turning their backs on the Lotus Sutra. In any case, one should strongly teach and make people listen to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra.
(Gosho, p. 1316)
In the Latter Day of the Law, shakubuku is the correct method of propagating the Law in every respect. This is because the method of shōju, which was used in the Former and Middle Days of the Law, cannot save those without the seed of Buddhahood.
In the same Gosho, the Daishonin teaches as follows:
Even if the Law does not suit the capacity of the people, one should nevertheless strongly teach and make them listen to the five characters of the title of the Lotus Sutra. This is because there is no other way apart from this to attain Buddhahood.
(Gosho, p. 1315)
Shakubuku is the ultimate method that helps the people sever their attachments to erroneous teachings. Moreover, it leads them to the correct teaching that brings forth true happiness. Thus, it is different from persuading someone to buy something. Shakubuku involves a serious discussion that reaches one’s heart. We must be aware that the words and attitude of those who perform shakubuku have a significant impact on the people they speak with. Thus, when conducting shakubuku, first and foremost, it is essential for one to revere the vast and boundless benefits of the Dai-Gohonzon and devote oneself to chanting Daimoku with absolute conviction. With the joy and benefits of chanting Daimoku, one must perform shakubuku. Looking at today’s chaotic condition at home and abroad, which directly
represents the defiled age of the Latter Day of the Law, I strongly feel that each of us must engrave the following golden words into our hearts:
The world today is defiled with impurities. People’s minds are distorted, filled with envy, and provisional and slanderous teachings abound. This makes it difficult for the true Law to be propagated. At such a time, it is of no use to practice the reading, reciting, and transcribing of sutras, or to contemplate, meditate, or discipline oneself. You simply must perform shakubuku. You should powerfully vanquish slanderous teachings and use the doctrines to censure erroneous teachings to the best of your ability.
(Gosho, p. 403)
We must be aware that we have the important mission to sow the seed of Myoho-Renge-Kyo of the true cause into the lives of as many people as possible, as we carry out shakubuku. In particular, today, the members of all the Hokkeko chapters are striving to do shakubuku as a united body, aiming toward our goal—to achieve a membership of 800,000 Hokkeko believers by 2021. At this time, I feel the most important thing is, first, the believers who have gathered here today, with determined resolution, must stand up and carry out shakubuku—refuting heresy and revealing the truth—as we aim toward the achievement of our goal. If each of us takes the initiative to stand up and do shakubuku courageously, I firmly believe that our goal will be achieved without fail. Half of this year already has passed, and we have six months remaining. We are entering the crucial stage toward the achievement of our goal. I sincerely pray that you will further devote yourselves to your practice, so that you will achieve this year’s goal.