Speech by SGI Vice President Takehisa Tsuji
I would like to talk about true faith today. It is important to advance true faith.
Gongyo is directly related to your life. There are three things directly related sustaining life. One is to eat and rest. It is important to consume nutrients and to get adequate sleep. These two are easy to understand and everyone does them. You don't quit eating or sleeping because you are unhappy with someone.
But when it comes to doing Gongyo there are those who quit doing their prayers easily. It is because they do not realize that Gongyo and Daimoku are directly related to sustaining their life. You can improve your destiny by chanting Daimoku. Your karma will further deteriorate without chanting. If you do not chant, your destiny will revert back to your former bad karma. It is like reverting back to your former state of having a weak intestinal system or back to poverty. These types of changes are not easily recognized. This is why people get lazy with their daily Gongyo and Daimoku. This is a frightening thing.
There is a phrase in the Gosho, page 81, "There is no true happiness other than upholding faith in the Lotus Sutra." But do you really do your Gongyo with this conviction?
You must feel that it gives you the greatest pleasure to do Gongyo and Daimoku. There is phrase in the Gosho that emphasizes that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the greatest of all joys. To be wed is a joyous thing. But Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a greater joy. To save millions of dollars may make you happy. But Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is even more enriching. To finally renovate your home after many years of waiting may bring you joy but chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is better than that. Finally getting a child after many attempts may be a joyous occasion but Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is more joyous than that.
Look into your hearts to see if you are chanting with this type of gratitude. Are you receiving 100% of the benefits that the Gohonzon would like to grant you? I feel that most of you are just receiving 10 to 15% of what you could be receiving.
With this type of life condition you will lose to obstacles and deep karma.
Why do you receive benefits when you chant to the Gohonzon - and why do you continue to chant? If you chant only to overcome a specific illness will it only cure that illness? If you chant for the success of your business, will you only become successful in business? It is not such a limited practice.
The Gohonzon is telling us it can elevate our life to the highest level, equal to the Gohonzon. There is a passage in the Gosho, "hoping to make all persons equal to me, without any distinction between us." You should chant with deep gratitude to the
Gohonzon for granting you the same life condition as the Gohonzon.
As you continue chanting you yourself will embody Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
There is another quotation from the Gosho page 216, "Shakyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment countless Kalpas ago, the Lotus Sutra that leads all people to Buddhahood, and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from one another. To chant Myoho-renge-kyo with this realization is to inherit the ultimate law of life and death.
If you doubt whether this Gosho is true or not you are already separated from your Gohonzon. Because you think there is a difference your connection is weak. Therefore your benefits are diminished.
There is another quotation from page 832 of the Gosho, "Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo." As stated in this Gosho Nam-myoho-renge-kyo exists within us. But for some reason it is very difficult to manifest Nam-myoho-renge-kyo or we cannot seem to bring it out. That is why we are mere mortals. Then how can we manifest it in our lives?
We can bring it forth by just vocalising Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
You may see cherry blossom and feel how beautiful it is. You may see a full moon and enjoy the moonlight. You may see a cockroach and feel disgusted. By seeing these things you feel these types of life conditions.
You may be moved by hearing beautiful music or be motivated by hearing President Ikeda's speech on tape. You achieve these through your ears.
You're related to your Gohonzon through vocalisation. That means by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo out loud you bring forth your Buddhist life force.
There is a phrase in the Gosho that states that your voice brings out Buddhahood. As long as you chant Daimoku you bring out your Buddhahood. It will explode from you.
If you are conned or robbed your life will burst with anger. If your life is filled with worries and suffering you may commit suicide. If you chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo you can change life filled with such suffering, anger or poverty and overcome your problems.
There is a Gosho phrase on page 412, "What sickness can therefore be an obstacle?"
For those of you suffering with poverty there is a phrase on page 1137 of the Gosho "...those who now believe in the Lotus Sutra will gather fortune from ten thousand miles away."
We recite in our Gongyo, "Jiga toku burai" or "Since I attained Buddhahood". It is that crucial that we chant with conviction. To think that someone else will grant you Buddhahood is wrong. You must act yourself.
I visited the Kawai residence in Fukui Prefecture of Japan to give guidance at a meeting being held there around February. Mr. Kawai who is now 51 years old had been blind from three years old after contracting measles. I told him, "You have eyeballs don't you? If you have eyes then you can open them. This Gohonzon is the Gohonzon of "The Opening of the Eyes".
"The Opening of the Eyes" teaches us to see clearly. And yet you cannot see -- it must be because you did something against the Gohonzon and the Buddhist teachings in your past. You must have committed great slanders in the past. Ask the Gohonzon to please forgive your slanders. Express your gratitude to have had the fortune to meet the Gohonzon in this lifetime. Pledge to dedicate your life to Kosen rufu. Ask the Gohonzon to allow you to see the Gohonzon, your family and others around you so you can contribute towards Kosen-rufu." I asked him to pray in such a way.
In the beginning of March, I received a message that he regained his sight after almost fifty years. Through his experience the whole Fukui prefecture has revitalised itself. It is such a surprise that one person regaining his sight can have such a great impact on an entire region.
But what I wonder about this incident is why couldn't he regain his sight sooner? He was a member who offers his own home for meetings, never missed his Gongyo and had strong faith. Yet why wasn't he able to see sooner. It was because his attitude when doing his Gongyo and Daimoku was incorrect. His faith had gone off track.
You must pray earnestly, "Isshin yokenbutsu fujishaku shinmyo" or "single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha". You must chant with gratitude and conviction that you will become one with the Gohonzon and Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. There is no such thing as a sick or poor Buddha. Therefore all worries will be resolved. That is why you can achieve human revolution. Only human beings are able to achieve these things.
In May 22nd when I visited Okayama Culture Center a young mother came to me for guidance. She was concerned about her two-year-old son who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. This disease causes shrinking of the muscles until it affects even the internal organs, until it results in death. I told this mother that it was her karma to suffer over her child. On the Gohonzon it is written that things are supposed to prosper and grow, then what is it that such a thing as shrinking happening? It must be because of the horrendous slander she must have committed against the Gohonzon. Pray that the two of you will work together as mother and child for kosen-rufu, so please cure the disease. The Lotus Sutra spans past, present and future. The Lotus Sutra can even help a person who has passed away to achieve enlightenment. Your child is still alive.
It is natural to transmit the Lotus Sutra to your child. There is no bad karma that can not be eradicated by this Gohonzon. Your worry is not the result of your current slanders, it is a result of slanders in your past life. It is a slander from your past life that you can remedy in this life. Parent and child are one. Pray earnestly.
This mother was sort of a complainer and insisted that her son was named by President Ikeda and that he was a fortune baby. I told her that President Ikeda will name a child at a parent's request but he cannot change your destiny. It is up to you to change your own karma and destiny.
I got a message from her afterwards that her son began to run without falling after three days. She was shocked at how great the Gohonzon's power was and how happy she was. Her son could now play on the slide and kneel by himself. He no longer had nose bleeds when he ran. As she continued practising and her son got healthier, her husband began practising earnestly too. For this mother who used to complain that she was suffering and had to practise because of her son, her attitude changed 180 degrees to gratitude towards her son for helping her to practise. Her practice changed from one of complaint to a practice of gratitude. With this as a turning point all her prayers were then answered and her wishes fulfilled.
Each time I hear such experiences I truly comprehend how great the power of the Gohonzon. To be able to receive guidance to change our life is the benefit of having the organization. In the end what our attitude is when we face our Gohonzon is the most important thing.