5th June 19:36
The Siginficance of Risshu-e (enlightenment false history faith slander)
The Siginficance of Risshu-e
April 28, 1996
Rev. Shoshin Kawabe
Myogyoji Temple, West Chicago
The True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin, states in the Gosho, "On Persecutions Befalling the Buddha":
"Now in the second year of Koan (1279), it is twenty-seven years since I first proclaimed the true teaching
at Seicho-ji temple. It was noon on the twenty-eighth day of the fourth month in the fifth year of Kencho
(1253), on the southern aspect of Jibutsu-do Hall in the Shobutsu-bo of the temple located in Tojo
Village. Tojo is now a district, but was then a part of Nagasa District in Awa Province. Here is located
what was the second, but is now the country's most important shrine to the Sun Goddess, built by
Minamoto no Yoritomo, founder of the Kamakura shogunate. The Buddha fulfilled the purpose of his
advent in a little over forty years; T'ien- t'ai took about thirty years, and Dengyo, some twenty years. I
have repeatedly spoken of the indescribable persecutions they suffered during those years. For me it took
twenty-seven years, and the persecutions I faced during this period are well known to you all." (Gosho p.
Good Morning, everyone. Today we celebrate the Risshu-e ceremony. How honorable it is that you have
come to the temple on this occasion. I have humbly presented your offerings to Nichiren Daishonin.
On this day, 743 years ago, the True Buddha in the Latter Day of the Law, Nichiren Daishonin, chanted
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the first time. Nichiren Daishonin taught the supreme law of
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo hidden in the depths of the Juryo Chapter of the Lotus Sutra. On this day, he
also changed his name to Nichiren. Today I'd like to talk about his name and his life.
Nichiren Daishonin was born on February 16, 1222. His childhood name was Zennichi maro. In the
Spring of 1233, when he was 12 years old, he entered the Tendai Temple, Seicho-ji to be educated. He
studied under Gijo-bo and Joken-bo. Personally, I think that the Daishonin did not realize that he was the
True Buddha of Mappo during his childhood but his life was not like that of other children of the time.
Nichiren Daishonin describes his thinking at that time in "The Supreme Leader of the World":
"Since childhood, I, Nichiren, have never prayed for the secular things of this life but have singlemindedly
sought to become a Buddha." (Gosho p. 1179)
In "The Learned Doctor Shan-Wu-Wei", he states:
"Nichiren was a resident of [Seicho-ji Temple on] Mt. Kiyosumi in Tojo village in Awa Province. From
the time I was a small child, I prayed to Bodhisattva Kokuzo, asking that I might become the wisest
person in all Japan. The Bodhisattva transformed himself into a venerable priest before my very eyes.
The Bodhisattva must have taken pity on me, for he presented me with a great jewel as brilliant as the
morning star, which I tucked away in my right sleeve. Thereafter, on perusing the entire body of sutras, I
was able to discern, in essence, the relative worth of the eight sects, as well as the scriptures of the
Nembutsu sect and the Zen sect." (Gosho p. 443)
Nichiren Daishonin was, at that age, what we would consider a junior high school student. Commonly at
this age, children are often difficult or self-centered. Their bodies become bigger but they are still
dependent on their parents. They are concerned with mundane matters and immediate gratification of
their desires. Nichiren Daishonin, however, was concerned only with the most serious questions of life.
He received supreme wisdom in a mystical experience. The Original Buddha's behavior could not be
judged by normal standards. Nichiren Daishonin said, "Bodhisattva Kokuzo appeared [in the form of] a
I think, perhaps, that the "Bodhisattva Kokuzo" of the vision was a transient form and that possibly this
"venerable priest" was really the future Daishonin himself. He may have seen his own future appearance.
When the Daishonin was 16 years old, he entered the priesthood at Seicho-ji Temple. His master was
Dozen-bo. At this time, the Daishonin's name was changed to Zesho-bo Rencho. In "Discussion About
The Object Of Worship", the Daishonin writes:
"When I was 12 years old, I entered Seicho-ji Temple. It is far out in the country. Even though it is a
temple, there are no learned men. I have practiced and studied in many places but I am an unworthy
man. No one has taught me." (Gosho 1279)
Seicho-ji was a big temple but it was only an outward appearance. Rencho had already learned all that he
could at that place.
In the Gosho, "Encouragement To A Sick Person", it states:
"Teachings such as those left behind by Honen and Shan-tao have already been know to me since I was
seven**** or eigh**** years old." (Gosho p. 326)
By high school age, the Daishonin had already attained great wisdom and knowledge. He exceeded
Honen, the founder of the Nembutsu sect, and also Shan-tao. The Daishonin had a thorough knowledge
of Buddhism, so when he was seven**** or eigh**** years old, he began to travel in order to make a
more profound study.
In "Reply To Myoho, The Nun", he recalls his travels:
"I visited and learned in Kamakura, the capital (Kyoto), Mt. Hiei, Onjo-ji Temple, Mt. Koya, Tenno-ji
Temple, and so on..." (Gosho p. 1258)
Daishonin studied this way for four**** or fif**** years until the age of thirty-two. He also studied at
such places as: Enraku-ji Temple, the major temples in Nara, Yakushi-ji Temple, Senyu-ji Temple in
Kyoto, and To-ji, Ninna-ji and Tenno-ji
Temples in Osaka. He studied not only Buddhism but also calligraphy, the art of tanka poetry, and
Later, he told of his experience:
"Because I prayed, 'What should I have as the object of worship of crude, common people in a
degenerate age?' to Bodhisattva Kokuzo, one old priest said 'Gaze into the "Pond of the Morning Star".
See yourself as the object of worship.' I immediately gazed into the pond -- it is a wonder to say -- my
reflection was the present Great Mandala [Gohonzon]. I told this to Shunpon-Hoin in Yokawa. Hoin
willingly said, 'Wonderful, wonderful! Shakyamuni met with that old priest and directly transferred that.
It is respectworthy, respectworthy.'" ("Seven Articles Concerning the Transferal of the Gohonzon", The
Sacred Writings of Nichiren Shoshu) (Nichiren Shoshu Seiten, p. 379)
I think the Daishonin already knew that he was the Original Buddha of Mappo during that time of study.
The purpose of his long travels and studies was to create validation for his real identity as the True
Buddha of Mappo, and to eliminate confusion about the slander and powerlessness of existing religions
and to clarify the essence of peoples' suffering.
On the 28 day of April, 1253, when Nichiren Daishonin was 32 years old, he chanted
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the first time. He then returned to Seicho-ji Temple to declare the
establishment of True Buddhism. To mark this event, he changed his own name to Nichiren. "Nichi" of
Nichiren means "the sun" and "ren" means Lotus Flower. The name Nichiren, then, signifies "one who
shines on everything and rises like the sun, and one who is pure like the lotus flower".
We find written in the Gosho, "Easy Delivery of a Fortune Child":
"Is there anything brighter than the sun and the moon? Is there anything purer than the lotus flower? The
Lotus Sutra is the sun and moon and the lotus flower. Therefore, it is called Myoho-renge-kyo (the Sutra
of the Lotus Flower of the Mystic Law). Nichiren is also like the sun and moon, and also like the lotus
I think you are all familiar with the concept of ninpo ikka, the oneness of the Person and the Law. The
"oneness of the Person and the Law" and "the Supreme Object of Worship of the High Sanctuary" are
both mentioned in the second silent prayer of Gongyo. The entity of the Buddha has two aspects; the
Person and the Law. This is a difficult concept.
I'd like to talk, now, about the "oneness of the Person and the Law". Take, for example, the airplane. We
may say that there exists a law (or truth) that a huge mass of steel can fly through the air. This law
always existed potentially in the universe. For a long time in human history, no one knew of this law.
Until one day, someone discovered the law and, realizing the possibilities, made the design for an
airplane. After much trial and error, the airplane was made a reality. However, the person who made the
airplane didn't make the law.
Today, the airplane conveys thousands of people and we take it for granted. But the first time a person
came forth and said, "I know the law that can make a ship fly through the sky and I'll show you," people
refused to believe it. Of course it was natural that people didn't believe it. In the same way, no body
knew Buddhism before Shakyamuni and the Daishonin. In reality, however, you can indeed make an
airplane and fly it. Everybody believes it when they see it. When Nichiren Daishonin explained
"Nam-myoho-renge-kyo", people were surprised and angry and they also refused to believe.
In the above example, a technical expert, such as an engineer, had the theoretical wisdom and knowledge
to make the airplane's design. This is like the theoretical ichinen sanzen of T'ien-t'ai. At this point, the law existed in theory but was
still dormant. It was not until the True Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin that the
airplane was actually made manifest and could carry the people. This is actual ichinen sanzen.
Continuing our comparison of the process of making an airplane to True Buddhism, the laws of
aerodynamics are similar to the Law of True Buddhism. But in this case, the technical expert of
aerodynamic theory and design is the True Buddha who possesses profound Buddha wisdom. The design
is Buddhist scriptures, especially the Lotus Sutra. The airplane itself is the Gohonzon. Carrying the
people by means of the airplane is shakubuku.
Huge airplanes could never have existed without the wisdom of the aeronautical engineers. You may
perceive them separately; the engineer is the engineer and the airplane is the airplane, but the airplane is
born of the engineer's wisdom. In this way, the airplane and the engineer's wisdom are two but yet
non-separate. The airplane is actually a fusion of the engineer's wisdom and the law of aerodynamics.
This is manifested in actuality as a physical airplane. In Buddhism, the absolute Mystic Law is perfectly
fused with the Buddha's wisdom. This is what is called the "oneness of the Person and the Law" and
kyochi myogo, the fusion of objective reality and subjective wisdom. It is actualized or physically appears
in the Gohonzon.
Even if you had the pen and ink and blue print paper and all the other specific materials, without the
necessary wisdom you could never make an airplane. Therefore, the airplane would never fly through the
sky. It is only when the maker's wisdom and the blueprints and materials become as one thing that the
airplane flies in the sky.
In the same way, the Law and the Buddha's wisdom become one in the Gohonzon. The Gohonzon is the
ultimate entity of the Law and is inscribed, or arises from, the fusion of the Law and the Buddha's
wisdom. The Buddha and the Gohonzon are one; never separate. Further, the name "Nichiren" is the
actual name of the Buddha. This signifies that "Nichiren" and "Myoho-renge-kyo" are the same (as we
can see from the above Gosho quotation.) This is, again, the oneness of person and law.
When the first person to build an airplane asked someone, "Hey, I just built a ship that flies in the sky, do
you want to take a ride in it?" that person probably responded, "Are you crazy? Are you trying to kill
me?" It's no wonder he got angry. But the reality is, today, innumerable airplanes fly every day. Even so,
there are still some people who can't accept the laws of aerodynamics and so they think the airplane is the
work of the Devil. When doing Shakubuku we can encounter these same attitudes. Buddhism is much
more difficult to believe and understand. So it is important that we show actual proof in our life and are
full of conviction through faith and practice.
One more thing -- sometimes many people die in airplane accidents. The airplane looks safe on the
outside, but there are big problems and defects on the inside. We can't tell by appearance. The false
mandalas of the Soka Gakkai and other denominations are just like this. The outward appearance looks
like the Gohonzon, but there are big defects in content. The High Priest, who has the responsibility to
take charge of such matters, would never permit such a dangerous and untrue thing. The reasons for this
are deep, profound and difficult to grasp. The High Priest, as the absolute, single inheritor of True
Buddhism, conducts the "opening of the eyes ceremony" as a consecration of the Gohonzon. This is the
absolute sanction by means of which those Gohonzons can correctly lead people to enlightenment.
Any Gohonzon which is not sanctioned in this way has a serious defect. How can people who don't
understand the profound law of this Gohonzon ever inscribe it? Now I ask you, do you want to take a
ride in this kind of an airplane? I don't think so. It may look beautiful in appearance but because it is only
an imitation of an airplane, you know that it will crash. Any Nichiren Shoshu priest, like myself, can
recognize the false Gohonzon of the Soka Gakkai. One glance was enough to tell me that it was a fake
and dangerous. Today, members of the Soka Gakkai look only to appearance, and they think that this
"imitation gohonzon" is the same as other Gohonzons. They think it will give them benefits because they
judge by outward appearance. It's really a foolish idea. Please digest the significance of this and tell it to
members of the Soka Gakkai in plain words. I think we can re- shakubuku so many people. To put it in
plain language, "a beautiful box tricks them into buying a bad thing." It is poison in a medicine bottle.
I pray to the Gohonzon for everyone's good health and to double your faith and practice. Thank you for
your kind attention.
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