Dharma Talk for the Izu Honan-E Service by Rev.Yamamura

St. Nichiren was exiled to Izu of Shizuoka prefecture on May 12, 1271. In a small boat, St. Nichiren was taken from the coast of Kamakura to Ito of Izu, but through the plan of an evil official, before landing at he was left on some nearby rocks. When the tide ebbed, the rocks were exposed, however, at high tide, they were covered by the sea. St. Nichiren was in danger of drowning, but he was saved by a fisherman who happened to be passing by boat. Over the next few days the fisherman and his wife looked after the Saint.

Later, there was news that the feudal lord of Ito was gravely ill, and St. Nichiren was summoned to his manor. While the feudal lord had received the prayers of other priests, there was no improvement in the least in his condition. That is why he placed his last hope on St. Nichiren, who had been exiled from Kamakura.

St. Nichiren gave the feudal lord the condition that he would pray if the lord will have faith in the Lotus Sutra. The feudal lord accepted that condition, and he received the prayers of St. Nichiren. And through the Saint’s prayers, the feudal lord was healed. The feudal lord, who overjoyed by his recovery, presented St. Nichiren with a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha, which had appeared from the seas of Izu. Moreover, he invited St. Nichiren to a nearby small Bishamon temple, which was the protector of his manor, and sheltered him.

This Bishamon temple has become the fine temple that is Butsugen-ji of today. And St. Nichiren kept with him, to the end of his life, the statue of the Buddha that was received from the feudal lord. That statue continues to be enshrined in Butsugen-ji. The former prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, is an advisor to Butsugen-ji. The Koizumi family are followers of the Nichiren Shu.

Among the followers of Myoryu-ji in Shizuoka prefecture, which is near Ito, is Sakichi Toyoda. He is the founder of the famous Toyota automobile company. The Toyoda family are also followers of the Nichiren Shu. So, Nichiren Shu followers, let us drive Toyotas. Furthermore, Myoryu-ji was originally a temple of the Kempon Hokke-shu, but it reverted to the Nichiren Shu. It has a similar history as our Honolulu Myoho-ji.

Whether it is the former prime minister Koizumi or Toyota, why have they followed the Nichiren Shu? That is because there is power in the Odaimoku. The Odaimoku and the Lotus Sutra has the power to positively change the present circumstances. Let us keep in mind that people, who are leading Japan, and companies are being supported by the faith of the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, it is important that we, who live in Hawaii, have faith in the Lotus Sutra and the Odaimoku. It is through this faith that our life will surely be guided to prosperity and happiness.

Translated by Mr. Dean Makinodan