extend my heartfelt welcome to all of you and commend you on your tremendous
efforts in traveling such long distances from distant overseas countries to
attend this tozan.
Daishonin stated the following in his gosho
Person and the Law" ("Nanjo dono gohenji”
who visit this place can instantly expiate the sins they have committed since
the infinite past and transform their illusions into wisdom, their errors into
truth, and their sufferings into freedom.
(Shinpen gosho, p. 1569; MW-1, p. 264)
your participation in this tozan
pilgrimage to the Head Temple
Taiseki-ji, where the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of True Buddhism is
enshrined, you have expiated your individual karmic sins from the remotest
past, and more significantly, you have made an invaluable karmic cause to
establish an unshakable life condition of enlightenment. Thus, I extend my
sincere congratulations to you.
order to understand the true significance of correct faith, you must first be
convinced that your life does not end with this lifetime alone, but that it
permeates the eternity of the three existences of the past, present and future.
who think that a person's life is over when he dies cannot uphold serious
faith. It is true, indeed, that a person's physical body dies and turns to
ashes. It would even seem as though that person has returned to nothingness.
Life, however, is eternal and indestructible.
is revealed and expounded by True Buddhism. It is faith that motivates people
to believe it and to put forth great efforts in their Buddhist practice to
achieve the life condition of enlightenment.
The Juryo Chapter of the Lotus
Sutra, which you all recite during gongyo
morning and evening, teaches us that the life of the Buddha is eternal.
passage, "Ga jitsu jobutsu irai muryo muhen," from the Juryo Chapter
means, “An infinite and boundless time has past since I attained Buddhahood.”
This reveals that Shakyamuni actually became a Buddha in the incredibly distant
past of gohyaku jintengo.
also in the Juryo Chapter, Shakyamuni reveals the karmic practice that enabled
him to become a Buddha in the distant past of gohyaku jintengo:
“Ga hon gyo bosatsu do, “ means “Once I also practiced the bodhisattva
other words, Shakyamuni was able to become a Buddha in the distant past of gohyaku jintengo
, as a result of practicing
Myoho-renge-kyo, the Mystic Law to which the eternal Buddha of limitless joy
Shakyamuni continued to teach and give sermons in this saha
world, as is illustrated in the following passage, “Shaba sekai
seppo kyoke,” which means, “I have been in this saha
teach the Law.”
the Juryo Chapter simultaneously expounds the three mystic principles of the
true cause, true effect and true land. To interpret this in terms of Shakyamuni
Buddha is a provisional and literal explication, and to explain this in terms
of the Buddha of limitless joy of eternal time without beginning or end -- kuon ganjo
--, who continued to eternally teach
and give sermons in this saha
world, is a profound and true
the life of the Buddha permeates the three existences of past, present and
future, then our lives also span these three existences eternally.
Nichiren Daishonin expounds the following in his gosho
Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life” ("Shoji ichidaiji kechimyaku sho"
The heritage of the Lotus Sutra flows within the
lives of those who never forsake it in any lifetime whatsoever -whether in the
past, the present or the future.
(Shinpen gosho, p. 514; MW-1, p. 23)
every individual in this lifetime possesses eternal life. Nichiu Shonin, the
Ninth High Priest of the Head Temple, stated the following:
people are unaware of their alternate cycles of life and death. They forget
about matters concerning their past lives.
(Reki, p. 1-379)
since life and death are alternately repeated in our lives, we are only aware
of occurrences in the present life. We are led to believe, therefore, that
human life ends with death in the current lifetime.
notion motivates people to compulsively pursue hedonistic pleasures while they
are still alive, living in total abandon to the earthly desires of the three
poisons characterized by greed, anger and stupidity. Before long and
unbeknownst to them, they amass the frightening karmic causes of slander in
their lives that, in effect, prevents them from attaining enlightenment.
What are the Five Hindrances (Gogai)?
forms of dust constantly enter into our homes and bodies. Buddhism teaches us
that, in the same way, 84,000 dust particles penetrate into the same number of
pores in our bodies everyday.The grime
that accumulates in our homes or bodies can be washed away, but the “grime”
that collects in our hearts cannot be cleansed as easily as washing a piece of
Of the 84,000 forms of “grime,” the
worst five are the following: greed or avarice (donyoku gai)
or holding grudges (shin'i
, sleepiness or
laziness (suimin gai)
, anxiety or spiritual instability (tokai gai)
and distrust or delusions (gi gai)
. These are known as the five hindrances (gogai)
. The word gogai
literally means “five lids.” When a
person is overcome by these "grimes," they form these five “lids” or
hindrances in their hearts that prevent the entry of the helping hands of the
first of these five, greed or avarice (donyoku gai)
to a person’s covetousness.All human
beings possess the five senses-- sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch -- that
instinctively function to trigger the five forms of desire: “I want to see
beautiful things.”“I want to hear
pleasant voices.”“I want to smell
fragrant smells.”“I want to eat
delicious foods.”“I want to touch soft
things.”When these desires are
intensified, however, people who already have nice houses and a great deal of
wealth, for example, covet even more than what they possess. Blinded by their
desire to get rich quickly, they engage in various evil activities. When people
are controlled by this form of greed, they are unable to lead a steady and
honest life. Ultimately, this can lead to the horrible consequence of a broken
and ruined family.
next hindrance is anger or holding grudges (shin'i gai)
signifies a person who is controlled by an angry heart that creates an
impenetrable seal around itself.
angry heart that ordinarily remains concealed can be suddenly triggered into
action by an insignificant matter. A person who possesses such a heart will suddenly
manifest angry discontent and dissatisfaction when things do not go his way.
and resentment, which invariably destroy the unity of different bodies but one
, are also manifestations of this form of anger. Jealousy and
resentment emerge when people persistently cling to self-centered notions. The
appearance of jealousy and resentment in a person's heart is a definitive
indicator that his faith is growing weak. When a person's faith weakens, his
vitality diminishes. At this point, the earthly desires of greed, anger and
stupidity are likely to make their presence known. In this condition, a person
is unable to discern his own responsibility in a situation and faults others
for all negative circumstances. As long as the person blames others, the
problems cannot be resolved. When one's faith is strong, he is able to observe
and learn from the strengths of others. When rumors and criticisms of people
arise in our midst, we must all strive to be strong and wise individuals who
can positively channel the topic in a favorable direction.
next hindrance is sleepiness or laziness (suimin gai)
refers to the condition in which a person, even when he is awake, is
perpetually in a slow, slumber-like mode. Such a person always lacks vitality,
and, without fail, he feels sleepy when he sits before the Gohonzon.
objective of our faith and practice is to receive the power of the Buddha and
the power of the Law that are inherent in the Gohonzon, so that we can lead
daily lives that are brimming with benefits. Accordingly, in order to receive
the power of the Buddha and the power of the Law from the Gohonzon, we must
forcefully exert our power of faith and power of practice. When our faith is
weak, our attitude towards the Gohonzon also weakens. This lazy nature becomes
a hindrance that prevents us from receiving the power of the Buddha and the
power of the Law from the Gohonzon.
next hindrance is anxiety or spiritual instability (tokai gai)
, and it refers to the condition in
which one's spirit is always unsettled. One of the meanings of
in the word
is“to leap.” True to this word, this
hindrance describes a person who is never calm and is always moving around.
Such a person busily moves about for no specific reason and is prone to sudden
shifts in temperament that make him mope and fret. He can regret and grieve
over any situation, and his heart can plunge into the pits of darkness and
cause him to lose a sense of stability in his life. When such a condition
prevails, the complaints and ignorance of the earthly desires manifest
themselves and prevent the person from upholding correct faith.
next hindrance is harboring distrust or delusions (gi gai)
. It is a condition in which a person's
constant distrust of all things becomes a tremendous obstacle for him. This
form of distrust is directed at the three entities of the self, the master and
a person who cannot trust himself is plagued by his inability to foster faith
and conviction in the correct teaching within his own life. Such a person can
ultimately lead himself to death.
Moreover, when his sense of distrust
intensifies, he ultimately begins to distrust the master and the Law, doubting
whether or not Buddhism could truly lead him to salvation.
The Daishonin wrote:
should become the master of his mind rather than let his mind master him.
(Shinpen gosho, p. 669; MW-2, p. 236-7)
person who is overcome by this hindrance of distrust turns his back on these
golden words and makes critical judgments on Buddhism and the organization
according to the ignorant and limited standards of a common mortal. In such a
situation, he is absolutely unable to embrace the truth and will inevitably
fall into the life condition of hell.
it is the essential objective of our faith to prevent ourselves from the
descent into the five hindrances, which will effectively prevent us from
pursuing the path to enlightenment. To do this, we must be convinced that all
entities that are alive today possess eternal life throughout the three
existences of past, present and future. It is of critical importance to tell
ourselves that "we must not slacken in our faith for even a single
day," as we advance forth.
, “The Opening of the Eyes,” the
Daishonin, citing the Shinjikan
If you want to understand the causes that
existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present.
And if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future,
look at the causes that exist in the present.
(Shinpen gosho, p. 571; MW-2, p. 197-8)
Through this passage, the Daishonin expounds
the principle of cause and effect. In other words, the present effects result
from karmic causes made in past lifetimes. The present causes, in turn, will
determine the happiness or
misfortune of our future lives. Our daily existence, then, is extremely
is the ideal opportunity, while we are ambulatory and are able to move about
freely, to eliminate the five hindrances from our lives and establish for
ourselves the life condition of Buddhahood in this and all future existences.
his writing, “Forethoughts on One's Final Moment” ("Rinju yojin
Shonin, the Ninth High Priest of the Head Temple, stated the following:
A person's determination at his final moment depends
on his deeds over the years. It depends entirely on his daily attitude and
(Yo-3, p. 259)
or not a person can attain enlightenment is determined by his faith and
practice over a period of many years. Accordingly, it is absolutely essential
to participate in tozan
to the Head Temple, to go to the local
temple to pray to the Gohonzon and to maintain a strong practice for oneself
and for others.
The Way to Eliminate the Five Hindrances
As exemplified by the parables of Sessen
Doji and Rakuho Bonshi the Buddhism of Shakyamuni required extended periods of
Buddhist practice to attain enlightenment. This is known as chronological
practice. T'ien-t'ai the Great, based on this form of practice, expounded the
twenty-five regulations, according to the five practices of the masters (goshu hosshi
the Lotus Sutra. Through these, he gave instruction on the appropriate mental
attitude and physical conduct. Expounded therein was the way in which to
eliminate the five hindrances.
Following the Former and
Middle Days of the Law, two thousand years after the emergence of Shakyamuni's
Buddhism, its efficacy to save mankind disappeared.Thus, it was no longerpossible for anyone to attain enlightenment
through the chronological practice.
Therefore, in the Latter Day
of the Law, the Buddha of limitless joy from eternal time without beginning or
end made his advent into this world in the form of Nichiren Daishonin. He
inscribed the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of True Buddhism, the
embodiment of the great Law of the “three-thousand realms contained in a single
) to which
the Daishonin was enlightened in the remotest past without beginning or end (kuon ganjo
then propagated it to all the people in the Latter Day of the Law.
wrote in his gosho, “The True Object
of Worship” ("Kanjin no honzon sho
Shakyamuni's practices and
the virtues he consequently
attained are all contained
within the single phrase,
Myoho-renge-kyo. If we believe
in that phrase, we shall
naturally be granted the same
benefits as he was.
(Shinpen gosho, p. 653; MW-2, p. 64)
Thus, the benefits of the karmic
causes and effects of all the Buddhas of the three existences of past, present
and future are naturally contained in the Gohonzon. Accordingly, as a result of
believing in and practicing to this Gohonzon, the six senses --
consisting of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and intuiting --
that have been deluded by the five hindrances, will receive the power of the
Buddha and the power of the Law and will be naturally cleansed, making it
possible to attain enlightenment in one's present form as a common mortal,
without eliminating earthly desires.
The Practice of the Simultaneity of Cause and Effect ("Inga guji")
Even though life is eternal,
it is contained within the momentary existence of this lifetime.
other words, the present invariably becomes the past, and the past quickly
becomes the present. Accordingly, that moment is an actual existence
characterized by the concept of a void (“ku”), in which presence is in itself
nothingness and nothingness is in itself presence.
is no actual existence outside this moment however, and eternity is but a
series of these moments. Therefore, at times we experience happiness, at other
times we cry out of sadness, and at still other times we feel discouraged and
disappointed -- all as a result of the karmic causes of the past that are
manifested in this life.
in order to firmly establish the life condition of enlightenment in the two
existences of the present and the future, we must realize that our present
attitude and conduct are the key elements that will determine our future
happiness or misfortune.
other words, a brief comment like, “However much I pray to the Gohonzon, I
receive no benefits,” signifies a person's doubt and slanderous laziness, and,
unbeknownst to him, in the instant of this utterance, it will be internalized
as a karmic cause for the life condition of hell. The gradual descent to hell,
therefore, is but an outward manifestation of the actual proof of one's
conduct. In terms of the true nature of life, it is not exactly a gradual descent
into hell. Rather, in the very instant that a person renounces his faith,
regardless of the outward manifestation at the time, his life is immediately
cast into the life condition of hell.
Take, for example, the
present Ikeda Sokagakkai, which has slandered and denounced the Dai-Gohonzon of
the High Sanctuary ofTrue Buddhism, the
fundamental lifeblood of faith in Nichiren Shoshu, and the successive High
Priests who have received the golden heritage of the Law. In the very instant
that the slanderer thought the evil and callous notion, he simultaneously
created a karmic cause to fall into the hell of incessant suffering. This is
known as the principle of simultaneity of cause and effect ("inga
even if your life at the present time is full of the five hindrances, it is of
foremost importance to be confident that it is possible for you to construct an
eternally indestructible life condition of enlightenment. Moreover, it is
absolutely essential to maintain an unfalteringly strong faith.
there is water, the moon will appear. In the same way, if we uphold sincere
faith, then the Buddha will reside, without fail, in our lives. Accordingly, if
we deposit a lid upon the water, then, the moon cannot emerge. Similarly, if we
place a hindrance in the form of a lack of faith in our hearts, then the Buddha
cannot reside therein.
Practice for Oneself and for Others ( “Jigyo keta” )
is truly essential to advance forth in our practice for ourselves and for
others by individually establishing a life condition of enlightenment and
constructing a life full of benefits.
fundamental core of the practice for oneself lies in the performance of the
daily morning and evening gongyo.
“to strive to practice the good Law,” and it is the basic form of Buddhist
practice. By sincerely and correctly performing gongyo
will enable us to fuse with the reality and wisdom of the Gohonzon ( “kyochi myogo”
the supreme power of Buddhahood that is inherent within the lives of each
individual will emerge. This, in turn, will make it possible for us to
construct a life full of benefits that will remain unshaken by obstacles and
determines the rhythm of life for the
entire day, and the evening prayers of appreciation will set the scene for the
following day. Accordingly, a haphazard track record of doing gongyo
will not enable a person to exhibit a strong life force.
irresolute and halfhearted attitude in performing gongyo
will inevitably bring about chaos and a stalemate condition in
one's daily life. Nichiu Shonin wrote the following:
The practice of gongyo
istruly important for the followers of our denomination.... Our master has
instructed us that our insincere thoughts are manifested in the focus of our
eyes, the position of our faces and hands and the way in which we sit. We
should not display such an insincere attitude in our posture. Sincere daimoku
that is chanted without muddled thoughts is called the
Myoho-renge-kyo of the true practice, and such a form represents the actual
entity of enlightenment inour present
(Reki zen-1, p. 334)
other words, if, during the performance of gongyo
most important opportunity for us to fuse with the Gohonzon, we cannot properly
join our hands in prayer, we close our eyes, or if we have poor posture-- these
are all manifestations of the presence of insincere thoughts in our minds. The
passage instructs us that if we chant daimoku
first correcting our form, then our prayers will not result in our attainment
of enlightenment in our present form.
The Benefits of Shakubuku
the same time that we perform the practice for ourselves (jigyo
), it is equally important to practice
for others (keta
). In his gosho, “ Letter
to Jakunichi-bo” ("Jakunichibo
Daishonin wrote the following:
who become Nichiren's disciples and followers should realize the profound
karmic relationship they share with him and spread the Lotus Sutra in the same
(Shinpen gosho, p. 1394; MW-1, p. 236)
Daishonin strictly instructs us to perform shakubuku
the same way as he had done.
Nichiren Daishonin's life is
said to have begun and ended with the “Treatise on Securing the Peace of the
Land through the Propagation of True Buddhism” ("Rissho
the attainment of absolute world peace (kosenrufu
) is the ultimate goal, those who slacken in their propagation
efforts of shakubuku
cannot be considered true believers of
Nichikan Shonin, in the following passage from the “Notes on the Gosho
‘On Practicing the Buddha's Teachings’ ” ("Nyosetsu
shugyo sho hikki
that neglecting shakubuku
isa form of slander:
If you neglect shakubuku
your hearts and ignore the four dictums (1. Nembutsu leads to the hell of
incessant suffering; 2. Zen is the teaching of devils; 3. Shingon will ruin the
nation; 4. Ritsu is traitorous), then your conduct is tantamount to slander. If
you do not use your mouth to perform shakubuku
your mouth will be considered slanderous. If you do not clasp the prayer beads
in your hands and face the Gohonzon, then your entire body will be considered
(Mondan shu, p. 767)
isthe most difficult of all the difficult practices, the benefits to those
who perform it are all the more great.
Daishonin stresses this point in the following passage from his gosho
, “Wu-lung and I-lung” ("Ueno ama gozen gohenji
hand which takes up the Lotus Sutra immediately attains enlightenment, and a
mouth which chants it instantly enters Buddhahood, just as the moon is reflected
in the water the moment it appears from behind the eastern mountains, or as a
sound and its echo arise simultaneously. It is for this reason that the sutra
states, "Among those who hear of this Law, there is not one who shall not
(Shinpen gosho, p. 1574; MW-4, p. 305-6)
In other words, if we follow the
directions of the Daishonin and strive forth in the practice of shakubuku
, then through the principle of the simultaneity of cause and
effect (inga guji
), the three paths of earthly desires, karma and suffering, which
include the five hindrances, will transform into the three virtues of the
property of the Law, wisdom and emancipation or freedom. Thus, we will be able
to overcome various forms of karma and establish an unshakable life condition
of enlightenment that will last for eternity.
The Cause of Disasters Lies in the Slander of True
all of you are aware, in early January of last year in Japan, the great Hanshin
earthquake, centered in Awaji Island, caused much destruction. Homes and
buildings in Kobe and its surrounding area suffered great devastation, and far
too many people lost their precious lives. Such disasters are not limited to
Japan. No one knows where and when such destruction will strike again in the
the following passage from the “Treatise on Securing the Peace of the Land
through the Propagation of True Buddhism” ("Rissho Ankoku Ron"
), Nichiren Daishonin proclaims that the
cause for such disasters is none other than the permeation of heretical sects
people of today all turn their backs upon what is right; to a man, they give their
allegiance to evil. That is the reason why the benevolent deities have
abandoned the nation, why sages leave and do not return. And in their stead
come devils and demons, disasters and calamities that arise one after another.
(Shinpen gosho, p. 234; MW-2, p. 5-6)
The foremost evil source of disasters
in Japan is none other than the Ikeda Sokagakkai, which has renounced faith in
Nichiren Shoshu and has degenerated into a completely heretical sect. The
members have dared to contemptuously proclaim that the Dai-Gohonzon, which they
had worshipped until recent times, is “nothing but a material object.” They
have committed the unthinkable slander of arbitrarily creating counterfeit
objects of worship and disseminating them among the people. In accordance with
the golden words of the Daishonin, it is clear that this is the greatest cause
for the tremendous upheavals and natural disasters.
long as such great slanderers prevail, we, as people who live along with them
in this world, are frequently caught in the midst of the misfortune that they
have caused. The objective world of the insentient environment (eho
) isdefiled, and this leads to the
occurrence of disasters. However much we may pray for individual happiness,
according to the principle of the oneness of life and its environment (esho funi
is impossible to achieve true good fortune in such a world.
now is the time for all the priests and lay believers of Nichiren Shoshu to put
forth their utmost efforts to perform shakubuku
for the sake of individual
enlightenment as well as for the construction of a peaceful nation and society.
Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of true Buddhism that is presently enshrined
in the Shohondo is the Gohonzon that was inscribed for all mankind.
Daishonin wrote the following in his gosho
Practicing the Buddha's Teachings” ("Nyosetsu shugyo sho"
When all people chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo together,
the wind will not beleaguer the branches or boughs, nor will the rain fall hard
enough to break a clod.
(Shinpen gosho, p. 671; MW- 1, p. 101 )
all of you exert your utmost efforts to achieve great success in performing shakubuku
for the objective of kosenrufu
in your respective areas, and when all
the people in the world strive to unite in one mind, based on the True Buddhism
of Nichiren Daishonin, then the objective world of the insentient environment (eho
) will be
cleansed, and wars and disasters will be replaced, without fail, by a peaceful
essence of faith in Nichiren Shoshu, therefore, is to pursue this and to put it
into actual practice.
Objective of the 750th Anniversary of the
Establishment of Our
High Priest Nikken Shonin presented us with an intermediary goal in our
advancement towards kosenrufu
in the form of the 750th anniversary of
the establishment of our denomination, six years from now in the year 2002. He
proclaimed that “On that auspicious occasion, 10,000 Hokkeko members will
continuously go on the tozan
pilgrimage each day for over a month
during the great ceremony to express their sincere joy and gratitude.”
direction from the High Priest is, indeed, a manifestation of his sincere wish
to cultivate individual happiness and to construct a peaceful nation and
society through the prosperity and advancement of Nichiren Shoshu.
you may reside in different countries, I am certain that all of you are of one
mind in your determination to strive for absolute individual happiness and
world peace. You have many fellow members and friends in various countries
around the world, so when you unite your efforts and steadfastly advance forth
together to perform shakubuku
to propagate forth (kosenrufu
) the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary
of True Buddhism, the embodiment of Nichiren Daishonin's life, you will
definitely be able to construct a joyful nation and society.
ceaselessly pray for your steadfast advancement towards kosenrufu
will conclude my sermon titled “The Essence of Faith,” by praying for the
continued good health and tremendous happiness of all the overseas believers.
Thank you very much for your attention.