March Oko 2012
The Doctrine of Ichinen Sanzen
(Gosho p. 109~110)
When one chants Myoho-Renge-Kyo, the Buddhahood inherent in one’s life will be manifested. Those who have the opportunity to hear it will be able to eradicate their negative karma that has been accumulating for infinite asamkhya kalpas. Those [who hear Myoho-Renge-Kyo] and rejoice for even a single life-moment, will attain Buddhahood in their present form. Even if they hear [Myoho-Renge-Kyo] but do not believe in it, since the seed of Buddhahood has been sown, and will become mature, one will attain Buddhahood without fail. The Great Teacher Miaole stated, “Whether one listens to [Myoho-Renge-Kyo] and remembers it or whether one hears it but discards it, one’s ear will nevertheless form a causal relationship. Whether one obediently takes faith in it, or whether one opposes it, in the end one attains Buddhahood [through listening to Myoho-Renge-Kyo]…” For Nichiren, “whether one listens to, discards, takes faith in, or opposes it” is a phrase that I should engrave in my heart. This, indeed, is the meaning [of the passage] of the Lotus Sutra that states, “If there are people who listen to the [true] Law, [then not one will fail to attain Buddhahood].” Here it is stated that listening [will lead one to Buddhahood]. If one could attain Buddhahood only through the observation of the [true] Law, it would have been stated that way in the sutra. However, in Tiantai’s teachings, the ten worlds are brought forth in accordance with the ten factors. The ten worlds start from a single life-moment, which constitutes living beings in each of the ten worlds. The ten factors indicate Myoho-Renge-Kyo. [Therefore,] this saha world is the land where [people] can attain Buddhahood through their ears.
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 Toba, I have offered my sincere prayers to the Gohonzon for the peace and happiness of your late relatives, friends, and ancestors.
Today, I read a passage from the gosho “The Doctrine of Ichinen Sanzen.” This gosho was written in the second year of Shoka (1258), when Nichiren Daishonin was only 37 years old. The year before this gosho was written, Japan had experienced the Great Earthquake of Shoka, which has been mentioned many times in various goshos. This gosho mentions the reasons why the Lotus Sutra is far superior than the other various sutras, especially from the doctrine of Ichinen Sanzen. The doctrine of Ichinen Sanzen, Three Thousand Realms in a Single Life Moment, means that each single moment of life encompasses three thousand realms of existence. This theory was expounded by the Great Teacher Tiantai in Volume Five of the Great Concentration and Insight (Maka Shikan).
Inside our lives, we contain the ten worlds, and each of these ten worlds contains within it another ten worlds, making one hundred worlds. Each of these one hundred worlds contains the ten factors (Appearance, Nature, Entity, Power, Influence, Internal cause, Relation, Latent effect, Manifest effect, Consistency from beginning to end), which amounts to one thousand factors. Each of these one thousand factors possesses the three realms of existence: five components, living beings, and environment. That will make it a total of three thousand realms of existence.
But this ‘three thousand’ is not purely numerical. ‘Three thousand’ describes the true entity of the entire universe, which is realized through the Buddha’s wisdom. It expounds the mutual possession and fusion of all entities and phenomena in the entire universe.
By experiencing and realizing this ichinen sanzen, our life will manifest as the entity of the mystic Law.
But there are two types of ichinen sanzen. One is the ichinen sanzen expounded by Tiantai, the other expounded by Nichiren Daishonin. Tiantai’s ichinen sanzen explains the three thousand realms existence in the mind of a common mortal, based on the doctrine of the true entity of all phenomena expounded in the Expedient Means (Hoben; second) chapter. This is called the theoretical ichinen sanzen, because it is the theory based on the observations of the mutual possession of the ten worlds existing in the mind of a common mortal. Shakyamuni Buddha expounded the theoretical ichinen sanzen. But he cannot be called the true Buddha because he is not elucidating the essential teaching. Therefore, Nichiren Daishonin taught that ichinen sanzen of the theoretical teaching is a doctrine with a name but without any true entity. This is referred to as the doctrine of the Buddhism of maturing.
On the other hand, the ichinen sanzen of the essential teaching is referred to as the actual ichinen sanzen. It is mentioned in the Life Span (Juryo; sixteenth) chapter that Shakyamuni’s attainment of Buddhahood in the inconceivably remote past is expounded and his eternal life throughout the three existences is revealed, in terms of the true cause, true effect, and true land. This is the ultimate principle of Shakyamuni’s Buddhism, and is referred to as the doctrine of the Buddhism of harvest.
But the doctrine of ichinen sanzen doesn’t end there. While the majority of the Buddhist religions and sects are the Buddhism of maturing or harvest, they are both theoretical ichinen sanzen. Actual ichinen sanzen is the one hidden in the depths of the sutra, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, realized by the True Buddha through his instant attainment of enlightenment in the infinite past of kuon-ganjo. This Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is the origin of Buddhism first chanted by the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin, and is the true entity of the oneness of the person and the Law, and actual ichinen sanzen. Which is why the Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo hidden in the depths of the sutra is the true entity of actual ichinen sanzen.
Furthermore, Nichiren Daishonin manifested his inner realization in the form of the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching. The Dai-Gohonzon is Nichiren Daishonin himself and the true entity of actual ichinen sanzen.
Regarding the passage that I just read, the opening sentence mentions the Buddha nature within us. That being said, everyone has a Buddha nature. The passage follows with “Those who have the opportunity to hear it will be able to eradicate their negative karma that has been accumulating for infinite asamkhya kalpas. Those [who hear Myoho-Renge-Kyo] and rejoice for even a single life-moment, will attain Buddhahood in their present form.” Then, it follows with “Even if they hear [Myoho-Renge-Kyo] but do not believe in it, since the seed of Buddhahood has been sown, and will become mature, one will attain Buddhahood without fail.” This sentence mentions the merits of listening to the Lotus Sutra.
“The Great Teacher Miaole stated, “Whether one listens to [Myoho-Renge-Kyo] and remembers it or whether one hears it but discards it, one’s ear will nevertheless form a causal relationship.” This sentence mentions the positive relationship and the reverse relationship of Buddhism.
Then, Nichiren Daishonin makes the pledge to propagate the Lotus Sutra. He further states through the passage “If there are people who listen to the [true] Law, [then not one will fail to attain Buddhahood.]” The passage concludes with “Here it is stated that listening [will lead one to Buddhahood]. If one could attain Buddhahood only through the observation of the [true] Law, it would have been stated that way in the sutra. However, in Tiantai’s teachings, the ten worlds are brought forth in accordance with the ten factors. The ten worlds start from a single life-moment, which constitutes living beings in each of the ten worlds. The ten factors indicate Myoho-Renge-Kyo. [Therefore,] this saha world is the land where [people] can attain Buddhahood through their ears.”
High Priest Nichinyo Shonin tells us the following:
It is very important that we must tell them that only through Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism can you attain true happiness. We must let them hear that. If not, then this is not the land where people can attain Buddhahood through their ears.
It was on this day one year ago, that we witnessed one of the most horrendous catastrophes ever to hit Japan. What happened in Japan on that day was only a footnote of what was happening around the world. Chaos created from political and economic crisis is rampantly occurring all over the world. Even in this country, economic, political, and social issues continues to linger. Combined with natural disasters that struck the Southern parts of the United States recently, and the ongoing war on crime, we easily can see the actual proof of heretical beliefs spreading all over the world and the aftermath of it.
We are now less than a month away from the Omushibarai-e Ceremony and the Myogyoji Chapter Tozan. 23 people have applied to participate in this tozan, and now the hard part begins, and I’m not talking about the roundtrip ticket to Japan. Tozan refers to our visit to the Head Temple to have an audience with the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, the very entity of our founder Nichiren Daishonin. In the gosho, “On the Three Great Secret Laws”, Nichiren Daishonin tells us the following:
When the principles of government come to accord with Buddhism and the spirit of Buddhism pervades secular affairs; when both ruler and the governed alike embrace the Three Secret Laws of true Buddhism; and when the circumstances of King Utoku and the monk Kakutoku are applied to future conditions in the evil confusion of the Latter Day of the Law, then, when imperial decree is delivered and handed down, seek out a supreme location comparable to the pure land of Eagle Peak and there erect the High Sanctuary. Simply wait for the proper time to come. This is the Actual High Sanctuary of true Buddhism. It is not only the Sanctuary of the Law where the people of the three nations [India, China, and Japan] and all of Jambudvipa will repent and eradicate their sins. It is also the High Sanctuary where the great Bonten, Taishaku and the like will descend from the heavens to visit.
(“On the Three Great Secret Laws” [“Sandai hiho-sho”], Gosho, p. 1595)
With this guidance, Nichiren Daishonin instructs Nikko Shonin to enshrine the Dai-Gohonzon in the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching of True Buddhism. Since then, the successive High Priests have protected the Dai-Gohonzon to this day. And through the great compassion of our High Priest Nichinyo Shonin, we are allowed to enter into the sanctuary where the Dai-Gohonzon is enshrined, which is the Hoando, attend the Gokaihi ceremony, and worship the Dai-Gohonzon. Here, the essential significance of the tozan pilgrimage is manifested when we participate in the Gokaihi Ceremony and pray for the expiation of our own negative karma; for the successful fulfillment of our sincere prayers in this and all future existences; and for the achievement of everlasting peace for all mankind through the propagation of true Buddhism.
High Priest Nichinyo Shonin mentions the following:
Whenever you attempt to perform a good deed, many kinds of obstacles and devils, including those from within your own heart, will invariably emerge, one after another, to try to impede the advancement of kosen-rufu. The Daishonin writes in his Gosho, “A Sage and an Unenlightened Man” (“Shogu mondo sho”): “The human heart is like water that assumes the shape of whatever vessel it occupies, and the nature of beings is like the reflection of the moon undulating on the waves. Now you insist that you will be firm in this faith, but another day you are bound to waver. Though devils and demons may come to tempt you, you must not allow yourself to be distracted.” (Gosho, p. 409; MW-5, p. 119) The Daishonin strictly admonishes us by saying that, even though we may be determined to advance without ever slackening, “the human heart is like water that assumes the shape of whatever vessel it occupies, and the nature of beings is like the reflection of the moon undulating on the waves.” He explains that the human heart is fickle. When all is going well, we are calm and composed. However, when misfortunes occur or when obstacles and devils arise to impede us, it is only human nature to become alarmed and to panic. To help us avoid such a reaction, the Daishonin cautions us by saying, “though devils and demons may come to tempt you, you must not allow yourself to be distracted.” He explains to us that our mental preparedness during normal times is important. He urges us to be cautious and to keep calm and composed even when misfortunes suddenly occur or when obstacles and devils appear before us.
It will not be easy. Such as shakubuku. But as long as we have absolute faith in the Gohonzon, we can accomplish all of this.
In closing, I wish for further development of faith and greater health and happiness for each and everyone here today. Thank you very much.