Mind of Rita (benefiting others)

St. Nichiren was attacked by Lord Tojo of Chiba and his vassals in a placed in Chiba prefecture called Komatsubara. The Saint suffered a wound on his head and two of his disciples were killed. This was a great persecution before the execution at Tatsunokuchi.

It is said that the reason for this persecution was that Lord Hojo, the manor lord, was a Pure Land faith’s follower. It also seems that a power struggle between the manor lord and a strong supporter of St. Nichiren was a related caused. For an innocent priest to be suddenly attacked was a serious and unimaginable incident.

Of course, unlike the present, the faith of the samurai was strong, and St. Nichiren criticized the Pure Land faith.

This angered the manor lord. The samurai of those days did many bad things such a killing people. That faith taught that no matter what evil we may do, if we only believe in the Amida Buddha, we can go to heaven. St. Nichiren criticized those samurai.

St. Nichiren claimed that a person cannot be saved without the Lotus Sutra. That is because the teaching of Ichinen sanzen (three thousand realms are contained in one thought) is only taught in the Lotus Sutra, and without Ichinen sanzen a person cannot become the Buddha.  It is to allow the divinity in the depths of the human mind to bloom.

Human beings are common mortals that lack the capacity to be the Buddha. That is why the teaching of easily going to heaven by depending on Amida Buddha is a denial of the sacred value of a human being.

However, if the followers of the Pure land Faith study the Lotus Sutra and practice it, they can someday enter the path of liberation. I believe that this is what St. Nichiren wished to say. If you are a follower of Buddhism, have faith in Shakyamuni Buddha and study and practice the Lotus Sutra. This alone is the point.

Hell exists. It is a place after death where people of base ideas gather. There is always conflict in hell. It is a place were people take from one another. Those with feelings of inferiority, who think of themselves as worthless common mortals, gather there after death.

While this may sound harsh, the cause for the unusual climate and the repeated natural calamities of Japan is our mistaken faith. To our good fortune we are Nichiren Buddhists. We are walking not the path to hell but the path to liberation. If we study the Lotus Sutra and earnestly recite the Odaimoku, we can become the Buddha.

If we recite the Odaimoku the divinity of a human being gradually appears in our mind and body. And we must someday leave the cycle of rebirth.

St. Nichiren prophesized, that if his compassion is immense, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo will be disseminated for ten thousand years. There is no priest in history that left such a prophecy. And that prophesy is becoming a reality. What did St. Nichiren make such a prophesy? With the teaching of the Lotus Sutra as his basis, he truly staked his life to save we human beings.

That is why the universe could not abandon St. Nichiren. He was saved even when suddenly attacked by several hundred warriors and his execution at Tatsunokuchi was stopped. Even from the historical facts, we know that the words and actions of St. Nichiren were being protected by the universe. That was because the way of life of St. Nichiren was in keeping with the Universal Truth. If this Myohoji too is a sacred place that saves the troubled people of Hawaii, the universe will never abandon Myohoji. The same is true for me and also for your daily actions. If you live with the mind of rita (benefiting others) the universe will support you.

By Rev. Takamasa Yamamura. Translated by Mr. Dean Makinodan.