March Oko 2009

 

The Senchaku Shu states:  "The Chinese priest Tao-ch'o distinguished between the Shodo or Sacred Way teachings and the Jodo or Pure Land teachings and urged men to abandon the former and immediately embrace the latter. First of all, there are two kinds of Sacred Way teachings, [the Mahayana and the Hinayana]. Judging from this, we may assume that the esoteric Mahayana doctrines of Shingon and the true Mahayana teachings of the Lotus Sutra are both included in the Sacred Way. If that is so, then the present-day sects of Shingon, Zen, Tendai, Kegon, Sanron, Hosso, Jiron and Shoron--all these eight schools are included in the Sacred Way that is to be abandoned.

"The priest T'an-luan in his Ojo Ron Chu states:'I note that Nagarjuna's Jujubibasha Ron says: "There are two ways by which the bodhisattva may reach the state in which there is no retrogression. One is the ‘Difficult to Practice’ Way; the other is the ‘Easy to Practice’ Way. The ‘Difficult to Practice’ Way is the same as the Sacred Way, and the ‘Easy to Practice’ Way is the Pure Land Way. Students of the Pure Land sect should first of all understand this point. Though they may previously have studied teachings belonging to the Sacred Way, if they wish to become followers of the Pure Land School, they must discard the Sacred Way and give their allegiance to the Pure Land teachings"

Honen also says: "The Chinese priest Shan-tao distinguished between correct and incorrect practices and urged men to embrace the former and abandon the latter. Concerning the first of the incorrect practices, that of reading and reciting sutras, he states that, with the exception of the recitation of the Kammuryoju Sutra and the other Pure Land sutras, the embracing and recitation of all sutras, whether Mahayana or Hinayana, exoteric or esoteric, is to be regarded as an incorrect practice. Concerning the third of the incorrect practices, that of worshiping, he states that, with the exception of worshiping the Buddha Amida, the worshiping or honoring of any of the other Buddhas, bodhisattvas or deities of the heavenly and human worlds is to be regarded as an incorrect practice.

In the light of this passage, it is clear that one should abandon such incorrect practices and concentrate upon the practice of the Pure Land teaching.

What reason would we have to abandon the correct practices of the Pure Land teaching, which insure that, out of a hundred persons, all one hundred will be reborn in the Western Paradise, and cling instead to the various incorrect practices and procedures, which could not save even one person in a thousand? Followers of the Way should ponder this carefully!"

 

 

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.

 

This month’s Oko will be from the Rissho Ankoku-ron, where I will cover the response given by the host to the fourth question that the traveler gave. The whole part is based on what Honen wrote in his writing “Senchaku-shu.”

In the first part Nichiren Daishonin cites from the “Senchaku-shu”, a writing called “Collected Essays on the World of Peace and Delight”, which was written by the second patriarch of the Pure Land School, Tao-ch’o. “"The Chinese priest Tao-ch'o distinguished between the Shodo or Sacred Way teachings and the Jodo or Pure Land teachings and urged men to abandon the former and immediately embrace the latter. ” Tao-ch’o sets up two teachings, the Sacred Way teachings and the Pure Land teachings. He generally stresses that we should abandon the Sacred Way teachings and embrace the Pure Land teachings.

Now, Nichiren Daishonin cites from what Honen writes. “First of all, there are two kinds of Sacred Way teachings, [the Mahayana and the Hinayana]. Judging from this, we may assume that the esoteric Mahayana doctrines of Shingon and the true Mahayana teachings of the Lotus Sutra are both included in the Sacred Way. If that is so, then the present-day sects of Shingon, Zen, Tendai, Kegon, Sanron, Hosso, Jiron and Shoron--all these eight schools are included in the Sacred Way that is to be abandoned.

From what Tao-ch’o set up at first, Honen then set up two kinds of teachings inside the Sacred Way teachings, the Hinayana and Mahayana teachings. From the esoteric Mahayana doctrines of Shingon, and other sects such as Zen, Tendai, Kegon, Sanron, Jiron, and Shoron sects, Honen cites that all of these are to be abandoned.

 

Next, Honen uses the Annotations of the Ojo Ron written by T’an-luan, founder of the Jodo School in China. “There are two ways by which the bodhisattva may reach the state in which there is no retrogression. One is the ‘Difficult to Practice’ Way; the other is the ‘Easy to Practice’ Way.”

Honen then proceeds with the following, “The ‘Difficult to Practice’ Way is the same as the Sacred Way, and the ‘Easy to Practice’ Way is the Pure Land Way. Students of the Pure Land sect should first of all understand this point. Though they may previously have studied teachings belonging to the Sacred Way, if they wish to become followers of the Pure Land School, they must discard the Sacred Way and give their allegiance to the Pure Land teachings.”

He says to abandon the Sacred Way teachings before, which means to discard the ‘Difficult to Practice’ Way.

 

“Honen also says: "The Chinese priest Shan-tao distinguished between correct and incorrect practices and urged men to embrace the former and abandon the latter. Concerning the first of the incorrect practices, that of reading and reciting sutras, he states that, with the exception of the recitation of the Kammuryoju Sutra and the other Pure Land sutras, the embracing and recitation of all sutras, whether Mahayana or Hinayana, exoteric or esoteric, is to be regarded as an incorrect practice. Concerning the third of the incorrect practices, that of worshiping, he states that, with the exception of worshiping the Buddha Amida, the worshiping or honoring of any of the other Buddhas, bodhisattvas or deities of the heavenly and human worlds is to be regarded as an incorrect practice.” Shan-tao describes that there is only one incorrect practice, but Honen deliberately creates five of them. It means that the part “Concerning the first of the incorrect practices… bodhisattvas or deities of the heavenly and human worlds is to be regarded as an incorrect practice” Honen totally creates these incorrect practices.

There is a Gosho called “Nembutsu leads to the Hell of Incessant Suffering.” In the Gosho, it is mentioned what happened to this priest Shan-tao. 68th High Priest Nichinyo Shonin says, “He totally goes insane and tries to commit suicide. As if he is showing an example of ‘Pure Land is Paradise’. But he failed in his attempt, hit his hip when hitting the ground, and suffered through pain for seven days until his death. Definitely this is the actual proof of slander, and Nichiren Daishonin mentions it in this Gosho.”

 

Honen continues with the following, “In the light of this passage, it is clear that one should abandon such incorrect practices and concentrate upon the practice of the Pure Land teaching. What reason would we have to abandon the correct practices of the Pure Land teaching, which insure that, out of a hundred persons, all one hundred will be reborn in the Western Paradise, and cling instead to the various incorrect practices and procedures, which could not save even one person in a thousand? Followers of the Way should ponder this carefully!"” This is a classic heresy that Honen sets up for the believers of the Nembutsu sect for them to believe.

 

Nichiren Daishonin made it clear that Honen and his writing “Senchaku-shu” is the root of the three calamities and seven disasters that is going on in Japan. People in general might think that the Rissho Ankoku-ron’s focus was solely on Honen and the Nembutsu sect. But in a deeper sense, it reflects on all religions all over the world. It is our responsibility to continue our efforts to conduct shakubuku, Gongyo and Shodai.

 

In closing, I wish for further development of faith and greater health and happiness for each and everyone here today. Thank you very much.