Reverend Shinjo Kashiwaguma
Chief Priest of Jushoji Temple in Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture
Greetings, everyone. I extend my sincere
congratulations to you today on your tozan pilgrimage to the Head Temple—the
essential source of benefits—amidst the cherry blossoms that have started to
bloom, as we celebrate the 750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and
Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Rissho ankoku-ron.
In particular, I express my congratulations to those
who have come on this tozan pilgrimage for the first time and those who
supported and enabled the tozanefforts
of those first-timers.
As I was just introduced,
my name is Reverend Shinjo Kashiwaguma, and I serve the Gohonzon at Jushoji
Temple in Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture.
The title of my sermon today is “The Joy of
Embracing the Flow of the Lifeblood Heritage.” Let me present an outline of my
sermon: First, I will start by describing the Daishonin’s spirit of securing
the peace of the land through the propagation of true Buddhism (rissho ankoku), which has been continuously upheld continuously in Nichiren Shoshu
throughout the ages. Next, I will talk about the benefits and joy that we
experience by embracing this spirit as it continues to flow. Then, I will
indicate the serious consequences of straying from the correct path. I will
conclude by focusing on our general pledge into the future. I want to explain
in my own way how fortunate we are and what we must seek to achieve in our
The Daishonin’s Spirit of
Securing the Peace of the Land Through the Propagation of True Buddhism (Rissho ankoku)
First and foremost, “securing the
peace of the land through the propagation of true Buddhism” (rissho ankoku) literally means to
establish the truth to bring peace and tranquility to the nation. What Law
characterizes the “truth” that must be established? It is none other than
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo of the Three Great Secret Laws. In other words, [rissho ankoku] signifies the refutation
of erroneous teachings and the establishment of true Buddhism; and the results
of doing so will bring about the great benefits that characterize peace and
tranquility in the land. The Daishonin revealed his reasoning in the Rissho ankoku-ron (On Securing the Peace
of the Land through the Propagation of True Buddhism).
The Rissho ankoku-ron is significant not only because it is the
foremost Goshoamong the voluminous
writings of the Daishonin. It also is a document that the Daishonin used to shakubuku
the sovereign of the nation, presenting the ultimate truth, with great
conviction, to the powerful authorities of his time.
Thereafter, the Daishonin used the
truth set forth in the Rissho ankoku-ron
as a standard and performed his Buddhist practices according to the scriptures
in the Lotus Sutra, to propagate Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. As he propagated true
Buddhism, he brought major persecutions upon himself and definitively proved
that he was, indeed, the votary of the Lotus Sutra. Furthermore, he manifested
his internal enlightenment and revealed his virtues as the true Buddha.
Based on these factors, we, as
Nichiren Shoshu believers, consider the Daishonin’s teachings to begin and end
with the Rissho ankoku-ron. In
Nichiren Shoshu, we uphold the Daishonin as the fundamental True Buddha and we
consider the Rissho ankoku-ron to
characterize the ultimate entirety of his teachings. Therefore, we understand
that all aspects of Nichiren Shoshu are contained within the four characters that
constitute ris-sho-an-koku (“securing
the peace of the land through the propagation of true Buddhism”).
Our Second High Priest Nikko Shonin,
who established our Head Temple, not only inherited the profoundly mystical
entity of the Law, but he also carried on the Daishonin’s spirit of securing
the peace of the land through the propagation of true Buddhism” (rissho ankoku), without even the
slightest distortion. He stated the following:
Indeed, no matter what, we must carry on the will of
our master and uphold it in this world.
(“Reply to Lord Hara” [“Hara dono go-henji”], Nichiren
Shoshu seiten, p. 560)
our Third High Priest Nichimoku Shonin, the Master of the Seat of the Law of
the entire Jambudvipa world, wrote the following poem to express how, in any
age, we must continue to maintain this spirit and persist in our practice and
how, by so doing, we will be able to achieve kosen-rufu without fail:
Throughout the times
We must continue to uphold our spirit,
At the base of Mt. Fuji,
Let the smoke
Soar past the clouds.
Thereafter, the successive High Priests have continued to
transmit the heritage of this spirit. They have courageously have risked their lives and put forth
their utmost efforts to shakubuku and instruct the sovereigns. The transfer of
the Heritage of the Law entrusted to a single person and the spirit of securing
the peace of the land through the propagation of true Buddhism have been continuously upheld continuously for more than seven-hundred700
years at the Head Temple Taisekiji, at the foot of Mt. Fuji. In other words,
the very source of the struggle to secure the peace of the land through the
propagation of true Buddhism is situated right here at this Head Temple.
The commemorative exhibit at the
Treasure Hall, which many of you may already have
already seen or may be planning to
visit soon, will enable you to profoundly
understand this struggle
The original document of the actual Gosho may be in the
hands of the Nichiren Shu sect or the Soka Gakkai, but that only signifies
their superficial possession of the writing. Clearly, iIt is essential for us to clearly recognize that only Nichiren
Shoshu steadfastly teaches and propagates the fundamental truth of securing the
peace of the land through the propagation of true Buddhism.
The Benefits of Upholding
We have yet to achieve full
propagation of this truth. People lament in vain about the world. They seek
salvation in a distant destination in the west or in a place far above the
skies, or they hitch their hopes for such salvation on secular politics or even
on strange religious leaders. However, their hopes represent an exercise in
futility, since they do not choose to uphold the Law. As a result, we find that
society is descending deeper and deeper into delusion and confusion. Even in
recent times, when our world has been highly computerized and has seen great
advancements in information technology, the very convenience that these
advancements have provided us has, in fact, functioned to further harm us at
times. We all are all
aware that, as a result, various problems are giving rise to other issues and
continuing to intensify exponentially. To make matters worse, people are
unaware of the fundamental cause of such distress. Even though they are
burdened by various forms of suffering, they remain convinced that only what
they can see and only what they can think define the limits of any resolution.
Thus they continue to engage in their daily activities in this arrogant state.
The Daishonin described these conditions
in the following way:
If one…fails to become acquainted with the Buddha of
the Juryo chapter, he is no more than
a talented animal who does not even know what lands his father presides over.
(“The Opening of the Eyes,”
Gosho, p. 554; MW-2, p. 153)
a common mortal who does not possess the fundamental focus on the truth, even
if he is talented in one way or another, is tantamount to a simple being that
functions only to eat and sleep.
WHowever, within a world populated by
such people, however, we are most fortunate to have
embraced our invaluable faith. Based on the benefits of our faith, we are able
to transform the reality that is manifested today into a constant Land of
Eternally Tranquil Light and firmly establish unshakable joy.
Let me explain. Even if one is a
mere common mortal with little to offer, if this person seeks the fundamental
Heritage of the Law that solemnly flows through this Head Temple, and if he
steadfastly devotes himself to faith based on the principle of the unity
between master and disciple, he will find that the pure flow of the Law pours
into his life. Furthermore, he will be illuminated by the brilliance of the
Gohonzon, and his Buddha nature will be vigorously
vigorously. As a result, this person will be able to attain the
life condition of Buddhahood.
This does not characterize the fun
and joyfulness merry-making thatwe
frequently see in secular entertainment. Indeed, existing directly before us
are the absolute benefits that are illuminated from deep within our lives.
As priests and lay believers, we
have been privileged to be the first ones—prior to the majority of the general
populace—to be the recipients of the great compassion of the Daishonin and the
successive High Priests, who sought to bring salvation to all mankind, and peace and tranquility to the
world. Our lives will be illuminated and opened through their profound compassion.
How could this not be true happiness?
However, we must do more than just
passively feel joy over receiving the precious benefits of this true Law. We
must promote the joy that we feel over receiving these benefits into the joy of
embracing a mission.
The Mission of the
Bodhisattvas of the Earth
Starting in April , following
the guidance of our High Priest, we are about to commence our campaign to chant
750 billion Daimoku. In the Gosho, “The True Entity of All Phenomena” (“Shoho jisso-sho”), the Daishonin
Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could
not chant the Daimoku.
p. 666; MW-1, p. 93)
In other words, the Daishonin
explained that we could not chant the Daimoku without cultivating the
conviction and possessing the mission of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
Then, what characterizes the
Bodhisattvas of the Earth? They represent votaries who have received a mission
from the Buddha; who endure persecutions; and who find personal joy in
wholeheartedly propagating the Law.
There are four reasons for the
advent of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth in Shakyamuni’s Lotus Sutra. They made
their appearance in response to Shakyamuni’s order. They came forth to
eradicate delusions from the minds of the people. They made their advent to
assist Shakyamuni in revealing his true identity. And they emerged to propagate
the Law into the future.
These bodhisattvas are essentially
the disciples of the fundamental True Buddha. As such, we must uphold our faith
and practice as their followers in order to achieve our mission. In other
words, wee must
firmly must establish unwavering faith based
on unity between master and disciple.
Our Ninth High Priest Nichiu Shonin
wrote the following:
To achieve enlightenment, one must never stray from
the will of his master. As a result, the stream of the Heritage of the Law will
flow directly through him.
Furthermore, the following ancient
poem describes how enlightenment can be achieved by devoting oneself to the
service of the Buddha:
To achieve the way of the Lotus Sutra
One must offer his service
To collect kindling wood,
To gather edible greens, and
To fetch the water.
In this way, we are able to manifest
benefits in our lives only when we thoroughly follow the Buddha in body and
mind and when we can be of assistance to him.
The prime point of faith
characterized by a disciple who devotedly serves his master can be exemplified
by the actions taken by Nikko Shonin, who single-mindedly offered his constant
service to the Daishonin. Furthermore, over a period of seven centuries, the
priests and lay believers have continued the unchanging tradition of serving
the successive High Priests, who represent the Daishonin. InAadditionally, in the branch temples, the lay
believers have continued to uphold faith, based on the principle of unity
between master and disciple, with the respective chief priests and teacher
priests of the local temples. These all represent the vigorous flow of the
Lifeblood Heritage of the Law. This faith, which continues to uphold this
essential tradition without the slightest distortion, characterizes the faith
of the Hokkeko.
Erroneous Sects: Negative
Lessons and Denunciation
Miaole, in China, stated the
Indeed, one is urged to look upon the essential
source. If there is confusion at the essential source, then one will find
surging distortion of the truth.
kaihon, vol. 1, p. 12)
If one disregards the master of the essential
source—who possesses the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, as vast as the great
seas—and turns his heart elsewhere, he will bring calamity upon himself,
without fail, in the transmigratory cycle of life and death.
(“Reply to Lord Soya” [“Soya dono go-henji”]; Gosho,
Daishonin warns us that, if we do not constantly seek the essential source, we
will be poisoned by our own arrogance and lose sight of true faith.
There have been entities in recent
years that have cast aside this warning and lost sight of the essential core.
We can find negative lessons in
organizations such as the Soka Gakkai, the Shoshin-kai, and the Kensho-kai.
When we look upon these groups that have run astray from the flow of the
Lifeblood Heritage, it is apparent that, even if they slightly retained the
characteristics of Nichiren Shoshu in the beginning, they grew increasingly
distorted as years went by and deteriorated into the pitiful religions that
they are today.
In particular, as many of you may have experienced, the
Soka Gakkai has continued its campaign of irrational and oppressive tactics. In
common terms, it has escalated its hysteria to the extent that it is not
interested in doctrines or reason. Its singular focus and reason for existence
is to harass and hinder Nichiren Shoshu at all costs. This is clear evidence
that it has lost the essential source of faith. Indeed, it has turned into a
pitiful organization characterized by fleeting and empty boastfulness.
Nikko Shonin described such entities
in the following way:
Even if they are master and disciple, if he causes a
distortion, he will fall into the hell of incessant suffering, even if they
both embrace the Lotus Sutra.
is truly dreadful.
However, when we consider the
general premise upon which we receive the flow of the Lifeblood Heritage, we
must understand that it is our important mission to endure the unreasonable
behavior of such people and compassionately bring them salvation by strict
admonition at times and gentle urgings at other times.
Continuing the Daishonin’s
When we seriously and sincerely perform our Buddhist
practice—such as, doing shakubuku and promoting the tozan pilgrimage—we may
encounter various problems or hardships.
At this point, let us revisit the
Daishonin’s behavior in his propagation efforts. He chose to appear as a common
mortal, just like us, even though he knew that deep within him, his life was
that of the True Buddha. Furthermore, through his behavior, he manifested his
life as the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. He described his life
condition as the Buddha of Limitless Joy (jiju
horaku) in the following way:
The adversities that one encounters are a source of
tranquility and joy.
(“Orally Transmitted Teachings, vol. 1,” [“Ongi kuden-jo”], Gosho, p. 1762)
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is the greatest of all joys.
(“Orally Transmitted Teachings, vol. 2,” [“Ongi kuden-ge”], Gosho, p. 1801)
Daishonin instructed us to follow in his path by indicating the following:
If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be
a Bodhisattva of the Earth.
(“The True Entity of Life.” Gosho, p. 666, MW-1, p.
He also stated:
Those who practice the Lotus Sutra must follow the
ways of Nichiren.
disciples, form your ranks and follow me, and you shall surpass even
Mahakashyapa or Ananda, Tiantai or Dengyo!
(“On the Buddha’s Behavior,” Gosho, p. 1057; MW-1, p.
Thus, we honestly must follow these
directions. Regardless of the various difficulties that we may encounter, we
must refute the arbitrary attachments held by the Soka Gakkai believers,
individuals in society, and even among believers who have become estranged from
the temple. By showing them the true way, we can change poison into medicine (hen doku i yaku). We can transform our
various difficulties into opportunities for our own growth.
There may be occasions when we look
upon shakubuku and activities to promote the tozanpilgrimage as obligations. However, if we uphold the traditional
sense of mission, as the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, we will no longer perform
these activities out of a perfunctory sense of obligation. Exerting our utmost
efforts into shakubukuand other
Buddhist activities will be directly transformed into the joy of faith.
Indeed, as priests and lay
believers, we are directly involved now in striving to achieve success in the
Commemorative General Tozanpilgrimage,
the Great Assembly of 75,000 Believers, and our shakubuku objective. These are
the directives from our High Priest who has directly received the Lifeblood
Heritage of the Law, which has been successively transmitted from the
Daishonin. By exerting our utmost efforts to successfully achieve these
directives, we can accomplish the mission of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth and
ensure our own enlightenment. In other words, by inserting our precious
existence—as individuals who share a karmic bond with the Bodhisattvas of the
Earth—into the simple life of the common mortal, we are able to achieve
absolute happiness that transcends the present and the future.
If our determination is unshakable,
this will be naturally manifested in our actions. It will take the form of
sincere service based on the spirit of “single mindedly yearning to see the
Buddha we do not begrudge our lives” (isshin
yokken butsu fuji shaku shinmyo). This will lead to infinite joy. In other
words, we will be able to advance based on our initial determination and
putting that determination into action.
The Daishonin wrote the following in
the Rissho ankoku-ron:
If you desire a secure land and wish to pray for
peace in your present and future existences, you should waste no time, ponder
on the correct path, and immediately eliminate slanders.
p. 248; The Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin-2,
Daishonin urges us to “waste no time” and to act “immediately.” He definitely
does not tell us to act “whenever you get around to it.”
Given the world of delusion and evil
in which we live, how fortunate we are to be able to embrace the flow of the
Lifeblood Heritage; to be able to devote our lives to the one and only absolute
Gohonzon; and to be able to receive benefits of joy and to uphold our mission.
We do not even have a fraction of a second to grumble and complain. The
calamities occurring in our world are caused by the slanders committed by the
people, and based on the awareness we must have of our responsibilities, I am
convinced that we must look upon the current chaos that ails our world to be
the result of our collective insufficiency in serving the Buddha.
The compassion of our current High
Priest Nichinyo Shonin has enabled us to fill our hearts with the realization
and joy that we share a karmic bond with the Bodhisattvas of the Earth and to
single-mindedly devote ourselves to our practice for ourselves and for others.
We must strive to attain our own enlightenment and to achieve peace and
tranquility in our world. This, in turn, will become the ultimate memory of our
present lifetime in this human realm. I would like to conclude my sermon by reciting
the following passage from the Gosho, “Reply to Sairen-bo” (“Sairen-bo go-henji”):
There can be none who overflow with joy as we do.
Therefore, wherever we dwell and practice the single vehicle, that place will
be the capital of Eternally Tranquil Light. And, without having to advance a
step, those who are our disciples and lay supporters can view Eagle Peak in
India, and day and night, will go to and from the Land of Eternally Tranquil
Light that has existed for all time. How inexpressibly joyful to think of it!
p. 588; MW-7, pp. 26-27)