REPLY TO KYO'O (PART 4)

REPLY TO KYO'O (PART 4)
By Reverend Shotsu Nomura

Today, I would like to continue the lecture on "Reply to Kyo'o." We will focus on the following parts of the Gosho.
"A sword will be useless in the hands of a coward. The mighty sword of the Lotus Sutra must be wielded by one courageous in faith, making one even stronger just as the saying goes 'like giving a metal rod to an ogre'."
"I, Nichiren, with sumi ink, have infused my life into the Gohonzon. So believe in it. The will of the Buddha is the Lotus sutra, but the spirit of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam-Myoho- Renge-Kyo. Miaole states in his interpretations, 'The life of this sutra lies in the revelation of the Buddha's original enlightenment and the immeasurable duration of his life'."
Kyo'o Gozen's father, Shijo Kingo, was a strong and brave Samurai.
In ancient Japan, samurais were warriors with strong spirit especially during warfare. They were armed with swords. However, if a samurai were a coward and dared not see the shedding of blood, he would be unable to defeat his enemy even if he had a good quality sword. Hence, Nichiren Daishonin states, "A sword will be useless in the hands of a coward." I believe Shijo Kingo and his wife understood this well.
Then Nichiren Daishonin, expressing the importance of having strong faith in the Lotus Sutra and using the metaphor of a sword, said, "The mighty sword of the Lotus Sutra must be wielded by one courageous in faith, making one even stronger just as the saying goes 'like giving a metal rod to ogre'."
Even if one believes in the Lotus Sutra, which refers to the Gohonzon, but has weak faith, even if the Gohonzon contains boundless benefits, and even if the Shoten Zenjin have made the pledge to protect people who believe in the Gohonzon, this person cannot understand the real benefits of the Gohanzon. One the contrary, it one has strong faith in the Gohonzon, one will be able to tap the great power of the Gohonzon so that one's prayers can be answered. Hence, strong faith and a superior object of worship are needed.
If a strong person has a mighty weapon, he will become stronger. For example, the main job of a samurai is to win a battle. If there are strong samurai and if they use good swords, they can win a battle. In the case of a police officer, when he is armed with a gun, even a brutal criminal cannot resist being arrested.
In Japan a proverb, which expresses this scenario, reads "like giving a metal rod to an ogre". If an ogre gets a metal rod, he will become invincible.
So it can be said that if one has strong faith in the Gohonzon, one will receive unimaginable great benefits and protection and be able to become, so to speak, an invincible existence.
I believe that Kyo'o Gozen's father and mother could understand that faith they should have strong faith in the Gohonzon.
The next Gosho passage is very important and famous. Thus, we should uphold and memorise it. Nichiren Daishonin states: "I, Nichiren, with sumi ink, have infused my life into the Gohonzon. So believe in it. The will of the Buddha is the Lotus Sutra, but the spirit of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Miaole states in his interpretations, 'The life of this sutra lies in the revelation of the Buddha's original enlightenment and the immeasurable duration of his life'."
You may feel the grave and strong spirit of the True Buddha through this Gosho passage.
I would like to talk about the following points regarding this Gosho passage.
No. 1
Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon with the spirit of "the power of an attacking lion"
No. 2
Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon as the True Buddha in the Latter Day of the Law.
No. 3
The Gohonzon contains the significance of the Oneness of the Person and the Law.
No. 4
The Gohonzon contains the tremendous, strong beneficial power.

No.1
Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon with the spirit of "the power of an attacking lion".
Someone who does not believe in the Daishonin's Buddhism might think that inscribing the Gohonzon is the same as a high-level calligrapher writing characters with his whole heart, but that idea is totally wrong. We, Kaimyo in members, should never think like that.
Nichiren Daishonin's statement, "I, Nichiren with sumi ink, have infused my life into the Gohonzon". As I have explained the previous Gosho passage, "In inscribing this Gohonzon for protection, Nichiren is equal to the lion king. This is what the sutra means by 'the power of an attacking lion'." Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon with a strong spirit and power just like the lion king that was revealed in the 15th chapter, Emerging from the Earth of the Lotus Sutra.
For example, a great medical doctor tries his best to cut and suture the internal organs of a patient to save that person's life. If it is a very difficult operation that does not have enough established successful results, the medical doctor will concentrate and use all his ability for that person's surgery. This doctors behaviour is considered as an action to save one person's life in his or her present lifetime.
In the case of Nichiren Daishonin, He established the Gohonzon in order to save not one or one hundred people but all living beings in the three existences of life. This strong spirit to save all people is unfathomably great. It was with this strong spirit that Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon. This behaviour of Nichiren Daishonin inscribing the Gohonzon represents the Buddha's great compassion. Nichiren Daishonin put all of His Buddha's life into the Gohonzon in this way. So we must believe in Nichiren Daishonin's Gohonzon without any doubt.
No. 2
Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon as the True Buddha in the Latter Day of the Law.
In the entire world, only Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon because He was the person, who was predicted by Shakyamuni Buddha there was no person other than Nichiren Daishonin, who had propagated the Lotus Sutra just like the Lotus Sutra said. The 'Wondrous Powers of the Tathagata chapter of the Lotus Sutra' states:
"Just as the sunlight or moonlight dispels the darkness, this person will practice (Myoho-Renge-Kyo) in the world and eliminate (the fundamental) darkness of all living beings." (Hokekyo, p. 516)
This passage is Shakyamuni Buddha's prediction that talked about the time of the Latter Day of the Law. In this sentence, "this person" actually appeared as Nichiren Daishonin in the Latter Day of the Law.
Concerning this passage, Nichiren Daishonin teaches the following in the Gosho, 'Letter to Jakunichi-bo':
"The sutra states, 'Just as the sunlight or the moonlight dispels the darkness, this person will practice (Myoho-Renge-Kyo) in the world and eliminate (the fundamental) darkness of all living beings'. Carefully ponder on the meaning of these words. 'This person will practice (Myoho-Renge-Kyo) in the world' means that Bodhisattva Jogyo makes his advent in the first five hundred years of the Latter Day of the Law, reveals the light of the five characters of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, and illuminates the fundamental darkness and the darkness of earthly desires. The efforts of Nichiren and his followers to have all the people in the country of Japan embrace the Lotus Sutra are the work of the envoy of Bodhisattva Jogyo.
This passage from the wondrous Powers of the Tathagata chapter of the Lotus Sutra is the very passage where Shakyamuni Buddha prophesied that Nichiren Daishonin would make his advent in the Latter Day of the Law. The Daishonin's status was the reincarnation of Bodhisattva Jogyo, while his true identity is the True Buddha from infinite past of kuon-ganjo.
One important fact that the Lotus Sutra revealed is the person predicted by Shakyamuni Buddha is the correct one, he would be "cursed and spoken ill of", "attacked with swords and staves" and "banished again and again". This was revealed in the Kanji chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Daishonin was the one and only person in the entire world who went through all the predictions of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Then in the Emerging from the Earth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha summoned forth the bodhisattvas of the essential teaching, including Bodhisattva Jogyo, the leader of all the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. He then transmitted to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth the essence of the Lotus Sutra, Myoho-Renge-kyo, as the essential Law in four phrases, entrusting them with future propagation in the Latter Day of the Law.
Nichikan Shonin states in 'The Meaning Hidden in the Depths':
"From the superficial perspective of his external status, he is Nichiren, the reincarnation of Jogyo. Based on the profound mystery of his inner realisation, he is Nichiren, the reincarnation of the Buddha with the property of perfect wisdom. The provisional identity constitutes Bodhisattva Jogyo, and revealing the true entity is Nichiren. (Six-volume writings, p. 49)
Nichiren Daishonin actually conducted Hosshaku Kenpon, that is, "Discarding Provisional Identity and Revealing the True Identity" at the Tatsunokuchi Persecution.
Nichiren Daishonin, who is the Buddha of kuon-ganjo, inscribed the Gohonzon as the True Buddha in the Latter Day of the Law after this Hosshaku Kenpon.

No. 3
The Gohonzon contains the significance of the Oneness of the Person and the Law.
This Gosho passage, "the spirit of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo", indicates that the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin and the True Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo are the same entity.
This teaching of the Oneness of the Person and the Law is one of the deep teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. Let me explain it briefly. The 26th High Priest Nichikan Shonin states in 'the meaning hidden in the depth' about the object of worship as the Person:
"Namu Nichiren Daishonin of Great Compassion and Profound Mercy; the Lord Teacher of the True cause; the Sovereign, Teacher, and Parent of the Buddhism of Sowing in Mappo; the rebirth of the Buddha of Intrinsically Perfect Wisdom of kuon-ganjo." (Seiten, p. 838)
He also states about the object of worship as the Law:
"The Gohonzon of non-engendered, originally-existing Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, actual ichinen sanzen." (Seiten, p. 834)
Then Nichikan Shonin revealed that this object of worship as the Person and as the Law does not exist independently but exists as one. He states:
"The Person is in of itself the Law; the Buddha of Intrinsically Perfect Wisdom is in of itself ichinen sanzen. The Law is in of itself the Person; ichinen sanzen is in of itself the Buddha of intrinsically Perfect Wisdom." (Seiten, p.843)
So the Gohonzon contains the significance of the Oneness of the Person and the Law.
An erroneous teaching of another sect states that the Law in the universe is superior to the Buddha, a person.That idea is totally wrong. We must believe that without the True Buddha, the True Law cannot exist. Nichiren Daishonin states in 'Ongi Kuden':
"The object of worship is the actual entity of the body of the votary of the Lotus Sutra. (Gosho, p. 1773)
This passage tells us that this Gohonzon is actually the very entity of the Daishonin's own life.
Therefore, there can be no Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo separated from Nichiren Daishonin, and the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin can never be separated from Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. The Gosho passage, "the spirit of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyon", shows the significance of the Oneness of the Person and the Law.
No. 4
The Gohonzon contains tremendous, strong beneficial power.
The Gohonzon contains unfathomable great benefits. Nichiren Daishonin states that the Gohonzon is a mandala containing great benefits in 'The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon':
"Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning 'perfectly endowed' or 'cluster of benefits'." (Gosho 1388)
Nichiren Daishonin expounded on how great the benefits contained in the Gohonzon are in the 'Orally Transmitted Teachings':
"This cluster of treasure represents Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, the collective treasure characterised by the ten thousand - infinite -deeds and paramitas practised by all the Buddhas of the Three Existences." (Gosho, p. 1739)
Since the Gohonzon contains tremendous, strong beneficial power, those who believe in the Gahonzon and chant Daimoku to the Gohonzon and chant Daimoku to the Ghonzon will receive great benefits and can change misfortune into fortune.
No. 1 one can transform his delusions - the fundamental cause of suffering - into the Dharma body that is a purified life.
No. 2 One can transform his negative karma into wisdom.
No. 3 One can transform his sufferings into emancipation.
Nichiren Daishonin states in 'The Entity of the Mystic Law':
"Those who honestly discard the expedient means, put faith in the Lotus Sutra alone, and chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, will transform the three paths of earthly desires, karma and suffering into the three virtues of the Dharma body, wisdom and emancipation. The threefold contemplation and the three truths will immediately become manifest in their minds, and the place where they live will become the Land of Eternal Tranquil Light." (Gosho,p.694)
Those who believe in the Gohonzon and chant Daimoku to the Gohonzon can enjoy their lives in the Land of Eternal Tranquil Light in this lifetimes.
Furthermore, the 26th High Priest Nichikan Shonin states about the great power of the Guhonzon:
"The benefits of the Gohonzon are characterised by a mystic function that is vast and profound.
If one believes in this Gohonzon and chants Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, no prayers will go unanswered, no sins will go unforgiven, no good fortune will fail to materialise, and no good reason and wisdom will remain unrevealed." (Gohon mondon, p. 189)
As state above, the Gohonzon contains tremendous, strong beneficial power.
I have just talked about the four regarding this Gosho passage. Now I would like to explain the passage itself.
"I, Nichiren, with sumi ink, have infused my life into the Gohonzon. So believe in it. The will of the Buddha is the Lotus Sutra, but the spirit of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Miaole states in his interpretations, 'The life of this sutra lies in the revelation of the Buddha's original enlightenment and the immeasurable duration of his life'."
In the Buddhist teaching, "Sho-ke" refers to the people who will be guided, and "no-ke" means the existence who will guide. We must never be confused about this relationship. The True Buddha is the "no-ke". The people in the Latter Day of the Law are the "sho-ke".
For example, of the Ten Worlds, the Buddha is the "no-ke", while the other people in the nine world from Hell Bodhisattva are the "sho-ke". In Buddhism it is wrong to think that the people in Hell are the "no-ke", and the Buddha is the "sho-ke". So we must understand that the Buddha guides all living beings, and a common mortal is the person should be guided by the Buddha.
Therefore, the previous passage of "A sword will be useless in the hands of a coward…" is talking about "sho-ke", who are the common mortals guided by the Buddha. It clearly refers to the importance of strong faith. To elaborate further, common mortals in the Latter Day of the Law need the strong power of faith and practice in the Buddhism of Sowing, which is Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism.
"I, Nichiren, with sumi ink, have infused my life into the Gohonzon..."corresponds to the teaching of "no-ke", which is the True Buddha, who guides all living beings. If you are confused and say, "l, myself, with sumi ink, have infused my life into the object of worship", then this is no longer Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism. So you, a common mortal, is the "sho-ke", not the Buddha, who is the "no-ke". Never be confused about this.
Nichiren Daishonin states:
"I, Nichiren, with sumi ink, have infused my life into the Gohonzon. So believe in it."
The True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon so all people can and must believe the Gohonzon.
"The will of the Buddha is the Lotus Sutra, but the spirit of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam- Myoho-Renge-Kyo."
You may understand that Shakyamuni Buddha's will is the Lotus Sutra, but the Original Buddha Nichiren Daishonin's spirit is Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.
Here, Nichiren Daishonin compared Shakyamuni Buddha's Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin's Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. This corresponds to the Fifth Level of the Fivefold Comparison called "Comparison between the Buddhism of the Sowing and the Buddhism of the Harvest." Shakyamuni Buddha revealed the Time of Five Hundred Dust-particle Kalpas, while Nichiren Daishonin revealed kuon-ganjo, which is the origin of the True Buddha's enlightenment in the Infinite Past.
Nichiren Daishonin states in 'Reply to Lord Ueno':
"Now in the Latter Day of the Law, neither the Lotus Sutra nor the other sutras lead to enlightenment. Only Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo can do so." (Gosho p.1219)
In the Latter Day of the Law, only Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo of the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin, who revealed His True identity as the Buddha of kuon-ganjo has the great power to save all people.
So following this passage, Nichiren Daishonin states:
"Miaole states in his interpretations, 'The life of this sutra lies in the revelation of the Buddha's original enlightenment and the immeasurable duration of his life'."
When we consider the differences between Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings and Nichiren Daishonin's teachings based on the words of Miaolo:
"The life of this sutra lies in the revelation of the Buddha's original enlightenment and the Immeasurable duration of his life", it can be said that the True Buddha has an immeasurable duration of life compared to that of Shakyamuni Buddha.
We have such a wonderful Gohonzon in Kaimyo-in Temple and in your home. Please do not waste your time by not chanting Daimoku to the Gohonzon. If you have not received the Gohonzon yet, please consider receiving the Gohonzon.
Why do you think Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism can be said to be the correct religion? There are many reasons, but if may mention some of them I would like to state the following:
No. 1. The Gohonzon is the correct object of worship in the world.
No. 2. The correct doctrine of the True Law and the correct reason.
No. 3. The correct practice.
No. 4. The correct Heritage of the Law.
No. 5. The correct pledge.
You are the believers of Nichiren Shoshu. Let us follow the High Priest's guidance and conduct shakubuku. l would like to conclude my lecture by praying for your continued good health, happiness and kosen-rufu in Singapore.
Thank you very much.
Kaimyo, 83, Jun-Jul 2016, pp 41-46.