|You are nam myoho renge kyo, you and everything else around you.|
As a member of the Soka Gakkai (The Value Creation Society in English) and someone who has a public profile, I am often subject to many letters and requests that I should quit the SGI, that I am on the wrong path. That I have joined the wrong "gang" I have been told all sorts of wild and wonderful things on an almost daily basis.
However; the one that stands out the most for me is the sticky subject of our Gohonzon. The running theme that most people write to me about is that as a member of the SGI, I have been given a fake or inaccurate Gohonzon.
Nichiren Daishonin himself wrote: "Life at each moment permeates the entire realm of phenomena and is revealed in all phenomena. To be awakened to this principle is itself the mutually inclusive relationship of life at each moment and all phenomena. Nevertheless, even though you chant and believe in Myoho-renge-kyo, if you think the Law is outside yourself, you are embracing not the Mystic Law but an inferior teaching.
“Inferior teaching” means those other than this [Lotus] sutra, which are all expedient and provisional. No expedient or provisional teaching leads directly to enlightenment, and without the direct path to enlightenment you cannot attain Buddhahood, even if you practice lifetime after lifetime for countless kalpas. Attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime is then impossible. Therefore, when you chant myōhō and recite renge,1 you must summon up deep faith that Myoho-renge-kyo is your life itself.
Powerful and profound words. The very core of my practice.
But what did he mean by this? For me, the answer is quite simple and it is something I repeat over and over again.
We are already it. We don't need a temple, a priest, a god, an angel, a wizard, a witch, someone wiser, some older, something more experienced in life.
The mystic law is you and you are the mystic law, you were born with it, you were born within it. It is the universe, because you are the universe.
When Nichiren inscribed his first Gohonzon, I do not believe for one minute he would expect people would be squabbling over who had the correct copy.
The essence of the Gohonzon is nam myoho renge kyo and this is what is evoked when we chant, this principle is where we focus our prayer.
We all have a copy of a copy of a copy... does it make the Gohonzon any less powerful or important. No it does not.
Pick up your cell/mobile phone. That device is the result of hundreds of human minds coming together, as well as thousands of human hands coming together to build something of great power and potential. For at some point in history it did not exist. It was simply an idea in the mind of a person.
But as that persons determinations grew to create it, it became a reality and it changed the world as we know it.
In your hands you hold a copy of a copy of a copy, it is a device that is capable of many great things, it has the power to connect you to ANYONE on EARTH instantly, it is 1000x more powerful than the computers used to send people to the moon in the 1950s.
I have called the Gohonzon spiritual technology before, and I think that that for me is the best analogy, to me the Gohonzon is like a device, without me the paper scroll is just that, a paper scroll, but the moment I engage with it, the neurons in my mind fire, the potentials within my Buddha-Nature light up, the seeds of my compassion flower.
If we stop fixating for a second on ritual and remember why we are here. What is the point to your life? What is your purpose?
You are here to live, love and to experience. You are here to express your humanity in every way you know how.
The Gohonzon is a principle, written in sumi ink that awakens you to that possibility.
And when you awaken to that possibility you leave behind all the differences we seem to have and realise that we are all one in the same. We are all here to become more human.
We are pure consciousness expressing itself in physical form.
I am a part of the SGI because I believe in the goal of our movement, we are a group of people who seek peace, friendship and equality for all.
This isnt the case for all of us, as we are still a human network, with all its frailties and egotistical tendencies, but realise that, we are human. We are who we are.
Buddhism is life. And life is ever changing. So to all the people out there who foolishly believe we must stay the same, we must stay rigid, I am here to tell you that if that is the mindset you wish to maintain you will find it very hard accepting the future, because the future is coming, whether you like it or not. Its so important that we open our minds and our hearts to change, for forgiveness, for adaptation. We must adapt, for if we do not we are destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
In the UK we have around 12 000 members, its still quite small, but in 193 countries we are quite a large group of at least 12 million people. And in that group we come from all walks of life, all nationalities. Within our movement is the potential to support the world in a great leap forward.
This is why I chant. I chant to have the courage to take bold steps to transform what I can while I still exist within this body. Your and my time is limited. That is why we must use it wisely.
We call our goal Kosen Rufu, and even though it isnt the exact translation and original meaning, we have given it new meaning, we have breathed new life into this determination that we all try to hold in our hearts and our daily prayers.
Our final prayer each morning and evening is "I prayer for the happiness of all humanity..."
I hope that in 2014, we can take a great leap forward in our worldwide efforts for kosen rufu, for peace and the equality and respect of all human.
Have a wonderful day, wherever you may be.
Nam myoho renge kyo
Nam myoho renge kyo
Nam myoho renge kyo