The Imperceptibly Profound Integration of Buddhist Law and Secular Law

The Japanese Buddhist term ōbutsu myōgō means “the imperceptibly profound integration of Buddhist Law and secular law,” and comes from the following passage in “On the Three Great Secret Laws”:

When the principles of government come to accord with Buddhism and the spirit of Buddhism pervades secular affairs; when both the ruler and the governed alike embrace the Three Secret Laws of true Buddhism and the bond of old between King Utoku and the monk Kakutoku shall become evident at some future time in the defiled Latter Day of the Law: then, when an imperial decree is delivered and handed down, seek out a place of the finest scenery comparable to the pure land of Eagle Peak and there erect the High Sanctuary. Simply wait for the proper time to come. This is my most essential injunction with regard to the Law.
(Gosho, p. 1595)

The Daishonin stipulates that the true High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching may only be built at the dawn of kosen rufu, and only when the secular law reflects Buddhist wisdom.
The above passage contains the Daishonin’s first specific instruction on what later generations must achieve before the true High Sanctuary can be built. In short, only when secular law is guided by Buddhist wisdom will conditions be right for the establishment of Honmonji Temple.[1]

Defining the Imperceptibly Profound Integration of Buddhist Law and Secular Law
Within the context of “the imperceptibly profound integration of Buddhist Law and secular law,” secular law indicates the laws and policies instituted by the sovereign of a nation. Since we are now in an age when power rests with the people, secular law includes the total range of social principles enacted by the people in such areas as politics, economics, education and culture. Buddhist Law refers to the doctrines and spirit of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism of sowing from the depths of the Life Span (Juryo; sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
The profound integration of secular law and Buddhist Law is the process whereby the laws of society gradually yet inevitably gravitate toward the reasoning found in true Buddhism, until the two are virtually indistinguishable.
The imperceptible profundity of the integration of secular law and Buddhist Law is the fact that secular law will come to reflect the compassionate reasoning taught in Buddhism in a nearly undetectable way, but to the extent that, in the end, secular law will be a perfect blend of Buddhist principles. At its best, secular law promotes social harmony and well being. The integration of secular law with the principles of Buddhism will allow society to reach its ideals of social harmony and well being. In concrete terms, this means that as the number of people around the world who truly embrace the mystic Law (Myoho) increases, all human behavior, including politics, increasingly will follow the correct ideological intent of Buddhism, while supporting the full range of parameters and goals of diverse societies. This means, from the perspective of social mores, that the spirit of Buddhism quietly will permeate the social fabric of entire nations.
What Buddhism’s integration with secular law means is that the daily activities of Buddhist practitioners will manifest the spirit of Buddhist ideology and compassion in all areas of society. This is how the spirit of Buddhism will come to permeate social mores.
The Daishonin, however, gives us the following warning in “On the Three Great Secret Laws”:

If Buddhism ultimately is overturned, the world will become defiled and disordered. Buddhism is like the body, and society, its shadow. If the body is crooked, its shadow similarly will be warped.
(ibid.)

Buddhism and secular law are originally one. Only when the principles of Buddhism are established firmly in the world can the ideal society be created.
The above gives us a general outline of the inner workings ofōbutsu myōgō, “the imperceptibly profound integration of Buddhist Law and secular law,” whereby the ways of the world form a deep union with Buddhist reason. That profound union occurs within the deepest recesses of life, where Buddhism as a religion exerts a direct influence on human politics. This profound union does not, however, mandate a union of religion and state. When Buddhism performs its mission in the world, and the parameters of socially acceptable behavior are guided by Buddhist ideals, the natural result is the imperceptibly profound integration of Buddhist Law and secular law.
In other words, the imperceptibly profound integration of Buddhist Law and secular law is when the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching is established at the dawn of kosen-rufu, according to the Daishonin’s last will and testament, and the people embrace the Daishonin’s Buddhism and purify their lives. At that time, the social fabric of entire nations will be based on correct Buddhist wisdom, which will transform those nations into true Buddha lands. We can see from this how Buddhist Law, in the form of the Daishonin’s teachings, naturally and deeply will permeate the secular laws that make up the fabric of society.
It would have been impossible for the Daishonin to establish unilaterally the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching when he was alive. However, a non-negotiable condition for the integration of Buddhist Law and secular law is that the person in highest authority, either the emperor or some other head of state, must embrace the Three Great Secret Laws. In today’s socialized nations, however, political power rests, as a general rule, with each member of society. Still, even if we set aside the issue of politics, only when all strata of people in all strata of society embrace the Three Great Secret Laws can Buddhist Law profoundly permeate secular law.
Therefore, a practicing Buddhist in the nation’s highest office will not, by itself, fulfill the conditions necessary for the establishment of the High Sanctuary. The imperceptibly profound integration of Buddhism and secular law can only happen when people of all occupations and all walks of life, including politicians, voluntarily become followers and disciples of the Daishonin, and devotedly practice the Three Great Secret Laws.

The Sacred Intent of the Daishonin’s Final Instruction on the Establishment of the High Sanctuary
In the above-cited passage from “On the Three Great Secret Laws,” the Daishonin states: “…then, when an imperial decree is delivered and handed down…” This passage specifies the place where the High Sanctuary should be built, and stipulates that federal legislation must be passed to legitimize its establishment. We must understand that the Daishonin uses the words “imperial decree” for two reasons. One is because of Japanese historical precedent with regard to the establishment of Buddhist ordination platforms, and the other is because the Kamakura Bakufu (Military Government) controlled the issuance of imperial edicts during the Daishonin’s lifetime. The type of legislation needed for the establishment of the High Sanctuary is directly linked to, and will change according to, the form of government that rules Japan at the dawn of kosen-rufu.
It would therefore be a grave mistake to become sidetracked by such wording as “imperial decree” to argue blindly that the High Sanctuary must be a federally established institution.
Ultimately, the Daishonin’s will on establishing the High Sanctuary, predicated upon the imperceptibly profound integration of Buddhist Law and secular law, must be interpreted in accordance with actual events. Because we cannot know what conditions will be at the dawn of kosen-rufu until that time arrives, we must not argue about issues at this point in history on the basis of unverifiable predictions. We cannot restrict the future on the basis of information we currently have at our disposal. It is more important that we entrust these matters to the Buddha’s will and follow the instruction of the current High Priest.
The Daishonin states the following in the Rissho ankoku-ron:

Therefore you must quickly reform the tenets that you hold in your heart and embrace the one true vehicle, the single good doctrine of the Lotus Sutra. If you do so, then the threefold world will all become the Buddha land, and how could a Buddha land ever decline? The regions in the ten directions will all become treasure realms, and how could a treasure realm ever suffer harm? If you live in a country that knows no decline or diminution, in a land that suffers no harm or disruption, then your body will find peace and security and your mind will be calm and untroubled.
(Gosho, p. 250; MW- 2, p. 45)

This passage clearly shows that the Daishonin’s sacred intent is for all people to find freedom from suffering and for all nations to co-exist in peace and security.
We must be armed with the conviction that a united priesthood and laity, working day by day to accomplish the High Priest’s guidance that we each shakubuku at least one person per year, will bring about our two greatest goals. First, that we will help Buddhism profoundly permeate secular law, and second, that by accomplishing kosen-rufu, we will open the door for the establishment of the true High Sanctuary according to the Daishonin’s last will and testament. Let us therefore continue to work together to further the goals that the High Priest has set for us during this 750th anniversary of the Daishonin’s submission of the Rissho ankoku-ron in revelation of the true doctrine.
[1] Honmonji Temple: At the time of kosen-rufu, the name of the Head Temple will be Honmonji Temple (Temple of the Essential Teaching) following the Daishonin’s instructions. Taisekiji is a temporary name.
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