Dharma Talk for Sun-rise Service

St. Nichren studied the entirety of Buddhism over a period of twelve years in Kyoto, Nara and Hiei-zan. And he understood that Buddhism and the true intentions of Shakyamuni Buddha are in the Lotus Sutra, and he resolved to spread the Lotus Sutra to the people of Japan.

Before announcing the results of his studies in the town of his birth, St. Nichiren trained himself for 100 days at Ise.   He did this to make his pledge to the protective deity of Japan, Amaterasu Omikami of Ise, that he will spread the Lotus Sutra throughout Japan.

He later traveled from the Grand Shrine of Ise to Seicho-zan in his hometown in Chiba. On that mountain, after training himself in a temple in the Lotus Sutra for 7 days, on the morning of April 28, 1253, from the hill of Asahigamori on Seicho-zan, he faced the sun rising in the east, and chanted the Odaimoku, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo, for the first time. This is the start of the Nichiren-Shu.

Why did St. Nichiren face the morning sun, the sun, and chant the Odaimoku? That is because the sun is indeed Amaterasu Omikami that protects Japan. St. Nichiren chanted the Odaimoku for the first time to the Sun God, Amaterasu Omikami.

Amaterasu Omikami is the God of the Sun. In Hawaii, the God of the Sun is called Kane. St. Nichiren understood that the sun is truly the source of our life. If there was no sun, human beings could not live. We can live because there is the warmth and the blessings of the great light of the sun. Moreover, the source of life is certainly Amatersu Omikami. St. Nichiren chanted the Odaimoku to the root of our life, and declared the start of the Nichiren-Shu.

To face the sun and hold our hands in prayer—this way is truly the way that we must follow. It is to worship the sun. To daily face the sun and offer our gratitude for its blessings, and to face the sun and chant the Odaimoku is a practice that will guide our life to happiness, good health and longevity. That is because to do so is indeed the way to live as a human being.                                                                       Translated by Mr. Dean Makinodan