The Seven Kinds of Gems
Sermon by Chief Priest Reverend Taishin Takano

Nichiren Daishonin stated :

The seven kinds of gems are listening to the true teaching, believing it, keeping the precept, attaining peace of mind, practicing assiduously, unselfishly devoting oneself, and forever seeking self-improvement. The seven kinds of gems are also seven openings in our head. Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra who possess the seven kinds of gems.
(Gosho, p. 1752)

In this quote, the Daishonin discusses the Treasure Tower (Hoto; eleventh) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The Treasure Tower adorned with seven kinds of gems, which are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, pearl, and carnelian. These seven treasures are rare gems that decorate the Treasure Tower of the Taho Buddha.

The Daishonin expounds on the seven kinds of treasures of the law that are essential in Buddhist practice.
1.Listening: to listen to the teachings of true Buddhism.
2.Believing: to take faith in the teachings upon hearing them.
3.Observing the precepts:to unwaveringly embrace the Gohonzon.
4.Concentration: to single-mindedly chant the Daimoku to the Gohonzon.
5.Practicing assiduously: to dedicate oneself to chanting the Daimoku and performing shakubuku.
6.Selfless devotion: to discard one's selfish attachments.
7.Self-reflection: to repent of one's arrogance and laziness.

These seven kinds of virtuous actions are the fundamental conditions of our Buddhist practice. We apply these seven actions in our Buddhist practice by listening to the Daishonin’s teachings. When we do this, we are able to strengthen our faith.

We need the determination and courage to chant Daimoku and Gongyo with spirit of never begrudging our life in order to build true happiness. We need to strive in our Buddhist practice with constant positive attitude and desire for self-improvement.

The Daishonin also states that the seven openings in our head through which we sense the environment—the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, become the seven treasures. The seven openings we possess connect with our six senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and feeling.

The six senses of our body are the contact points that connect life with environment. This means that the six senses connect our mind and three thousands realms of all phenomena. Therefore, anyone who purifies six senses can obtain the benefit of Mystic Law, Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

In “Orally Transmitted Teachings”, the Daishonin states:

Benefit is the reward as the result of purifying the six senses.
(Gosho, p. 1775)

He furthermore states:

The seven openings are the most crucial Law of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo in the Latter Day of the Law.
(Gosho, p. 1835)

Through chanting sincere Daimoku, we are able to obtain seven sacred treasures, which are far superior to gold or silver. Therefore, the benefit we receive is vast and immeasurable.

About five years ago, we had a financial crisis called the sub-prime problem. Lehman Brothers, which was the fourth large investment bank in United States, came to a deadlock and they were bankrupt in 2008. The stock prices crashed, and subsequent bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers triggered the international financial crisis. After the failure of Lehman, the major financial banks also fell into financial crisis in a chain reaction. The financial crisis was worsening.

One of quants in the major bank on Wall Street quitted his jab. Quant is a financial professional who makes use of a mathematical approach to evaluating the current condition in the stock market. Because the most of his clients lost the huge fortune, he severely depressed, and left the bank.

Now, he becomes a fisherman who catches clams every day, and sells them to the restaurant in Manhattan. He says, “When I was in the bank, even though I earned a lot of income, I had no time to spend with my family, especially my children. Now I can play baseball with my kids after work and can go to dinner with my wife. I could obtain something valuable things in my life, which I could not have when I was in the financial market. I was too greedy at that time. I am now living days with fulfilling even thought my income become smaller.”

No matter how much we adorn ourselves with gold, silver, and the other treasures, it is nothing more than vanity, which lasts only during this lifetime.

Sixty-seventh High Priest, Nikken Shonin states:

Through chanting the Mystic Law, our sufferings turn into the benefit of attaining enlightenment…. We are constantly achieving the benefits and decorating our life with dignity.
(Dai Nichiren, H 14, 2-34)

The Daishonin states:

In the Latter Day of the Law, no treasure tower exists other than the figures of the men and women, who embrace the Lotus Sutra. It is the Treasure Tower adorned with seven kinds of gems—listening to the true teaching, believing it, keeping the precept, attaining peace of mind, practicing assiduously, unselfishly devoting oneself, and forever seeking self-improvement.
(Gosho, p.792-793)

Let us strive in our faith by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, with the conviction that we are adorning ourselves with seven kinds of gems. This is the true-life condition of attaining enlightenment.

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