December Oko 2009
I would like to thank you for attending today’s Oko ceremony despite your busy schedule. I have offered your sincere Gokuyo to the Gohonzon, and sincerely prayed to the Gohonzon for the further development in faith; eradication of your sins and negative karma from this and infinite past lifetimes; to enjoy a safe and long life; for peace and harmony to reign in your home; for all matters to proceed forth smoothly; and for the successful achievement of all your great objectives in this and future existences.
For those who have requested for Toba, I have offered my sincere prayers to the Gohonzon for the peace and happiness of your late relatives, friends, and ancestors.
Before going into my sermon, I want to use this opportunity to thank the participants of the December General Tozan this past week. All the groups that participated in these auspicious General Tozans were amazing. But this group was special in many ways. The chorus performing in front of High Priest Nichinyo Shonin, and Ms. Melissa Amacher presenting her determination, representing the young ladies of Nichiren Shoshu all over the world. Following my sermon, I will have some participants come up front to offer their experience at the Head Temple.
This December General concludes the five General Tozans to commemorate the 750th Anniversary of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice through the Submission of the Rissho Ankoku ron. During this auspicious year, which included the Grand Ceremony held in July, and the personal Tozans held this year; there were 125 members who made their way to the Head Temple to be a part of this anniversary. I hope that the experience you gained on your way to the Head Temple, as well as your experience coming back from the Head Temple will be useful for others trying to make their way to the Head Temple.
Let me continue my sermon on the Rissho Ankoku ron. Starting with a passage from the Nirvana Sutra, “Now, I transmit this supreme Law to kings, prime ministers, high-ranking officials, and the four kinds of believers. All of them must resolutely refute one who slanders this true Law.”
This passage mentions what all the people must do upon receiving this supreme Law.
It is also mentioned in the same sutra,
“The Buddha states, “Kashyapa, I was able to acquire this diamond-like, indestructible Buddha body because of the….”
This passage is a part of a sermon the Buddha offers to Bodhisattva Kashyapa.
It further states:
“Merely abiding by the five precepts will never qualify one as a practitioner of the Mahayana teachings. Even if one does not observe the five precepts, one may be called….”
The following two passages strongly mentions refuting anyone slanderous. You may notice the final sentence “Even though they possess swords and staves, they shall be called true upholders of the precepts.” This quote does not encourage holding weapons to attack slanderers, but to hold weapons for self-defense.
Next, Nichiren Daishonin cites passages inside the Nirvana Sutra about King Utoku and monk Kakutoku, an example of protecting the sages.
“My disciple, there was a time in a previous existence when the Buddha appeared in this fortress city of Kusinagara. His name was Tathagata of Increasing Joy. After this Buddha entered nirvana, the correct Law….”
This actually happened to Nichiren Daishonin. While He was in Komatsubara, Nichiren Daishonin was attacked by hundreds of Nembutsu believers; Nichiren Daishonin was able to avoid death through the sacrifice of Yoshitaka Kudoh, a believer of Nichiren Daishonin.
Then, Nichiren Daishonin cites from the Lotus Sutra, telling what happens to those slanderers.
“… slandering the Mahayana scriptures is a greater offense than committing the five cardinal sins an infinite number of times. Those who commit an offense against the scriptures will fall into the hell of incessant suffering and remain there for nearly an eternity.”
And He continues with the following,
“How deplorable it is that the people go against the Buddha’s admonitions that are based on his true intentions! Indeed, how pitiful it is that they follow the fallacious words of this deceptive and irrational monk [Honen]! If one desires peace to reign throughout the entire nation without delay, he should first and foremost put an end to the slanders that prevail throughout the country.”
This is how the seventh question and answer between the traveler (Hojo Tokiyori) and the host (Nichiren Daishonin) ends. There would be three more questions exchanged between the two, which I will continue next month.
Finally, I want to thank everyone for making 2009 a remarkable and memorable one. As we close the “Year of Revealing the Truth and Upholding Justice”, we are now close to opening 2010. Next year, Nichiren Shoshu has declared it “Year of Advancing Toward Kosen-rufu.” During 2010, all overseas believers must abide to the following objectives.
“1. To forge ahead toward kosen-rufu with the spirit of many in body, one in mind.
2. To carry out shakubuku toward increasing the membership of all nations by 50% by the year 2015, when we will celebrate the auspicious occasion of the 770th anniversary of the birth of Second High Priest Nikko Shonin.
3. To consistently do Gongyo and chant Daimoku, while fostering capable individuals.”
Let’s strive in our practice through these objectives to accomplish our goals
In closing, I wish for further development of faith and greater health and happiness for each and everyone here today. Thank you very much.