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Gosho Study

Practicing ‘Like Nichiren’

Members gather in Weston, Florida, December 2022. Photo by Mary D’Elia.

Usually these sufferings appear one at a time, on into the boundless future, but Nichiren has denounced the enemies of the Lotus Sutra so severely that all eight have descended at once. This is like the case of a peasant heavily in debt to the steward of his village and to other authorities. As long as he remains in his village or district, rather than mercilessly hounding him, they are likely to defer his debts from one year to the next. But when he tries to leave, they rush over and demand that he repay everything at once. This is what the sutra means when it states, ‘It is due to the blessings obtained by protecting the Law.’ (“Letter from Sado,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 305)

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

What Nichiren Daishonin is explaining here is the causality for attaining Buddhahood—eliminating fundamental evil and powerfully manifesting the world of Buddhahood, the ninth consciousness existing at the deepest level of life. This is the causality of the Mystic Law implicit in the Lotus Sutra—namely, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Even if we are presently suffering some form of karmic retribution, by basing ourselves on this causality of the Mystic Law, we can instantly bring forth the vast life state of Buddhahood. …

He clarifies the kind of Buddhist practice that allows us to make fundamental positive causes. This is none other than the practice of shakubuku—correcting false views and awakening others to the truth of Buddhism; specifically expressed here as “denouncing the enemies of the Lotus Sutra”—an action that embodies the causality of the Mystic Law and enables us to change our karma.

“Like Nichiren, for example” (WND-1, 302)—when we “summon up the courage of a lion king” (“On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” WND-1, 997), practice with the same spirit as the Daishonin and strive intrepidly to spread the correct teaching, a life state of Buddhahood identical to that manifested by Nichiren begins to well forth within us.

“It is due to the blessings obtained by protecting the Law”—this means we can transform our karma by becoming lion kings like Nichiren, earnestly safeguarding the Law by speaking out against those who attack the Lotus Sutra. In other words, Nichiren assures us, through the practice of shakubuku, any painful karmic retribution will vanish “instantly” (see “Lessening One’s Karmic Retribution,” WND-1, 199). Moreover, we can establish the life state of Buddhahood.

For us, “the blessings obtained by protecting the Law” refers to the benefit we gain by struggling for the sake of kosen-rufu together with our mentor. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, p. 49)

From the February 2023 Living Buddhism

Painting a Vision for Brilliant Victory in Our Communities

SGI-USA New York Culture Center