Dharma Message by the Venerable Nichiou Itagaki, 8th Bishop of Butsugenji,

The Unification of Buddhism (All Religions)

What those who aspire to follow Buddhism must first think about is that the object of worship for their faith is Shakyamuni Buddha.

Moreover, among all the sutras, which Shakyamuni Buddha expounded to save all living beings, the Lotus Sutra truly unifies the minds of all humankind, and is it not a precious sutra that brings peace to the world? It is just as Shakyamuni Buddha declares: “I have taught many sutras, but among them the Lotus Sutra is supreme.” (The Teacher of the Dharma chapter)

St. Nichren read the words of the Lotus Sutra with his mind, experienced and mastered it with his body, and did he not revive the soul of Shakyamuni Buddha?   He became the messenger of Shakyamuni Buddha and the messenger of the Lotus Sutra, and did he not pray for the peace of the world from the land of Japan? And that was also his intention while looking at the rising sun, when facing the Pacific Ocean at Asahigamori, and reciting the Daimoku, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo, and praying that the entire world revert to the Lotus Sutra.

There are no differences of religious denomination before Shakyamuni Buddha. Through the Myoho Renge Kyo (Lotus Sutra of the Wondrous Truth) all Buddhism (all religions) can be unified. As for the interpretation of the sutra’s words, the sole and finest method is to follow the teachings of St. Nichiren.

 

St. Nichiren often taught about one mind with different bodies.

In the writings of St. Nichiren, it is taught: “All things can be accomplished when the different bodies are of one mind, but when the same bodies are of different minds, nothing is done. This is prescribed by more than three thousand non-Buddhist scriptures. The King of Yin had seventy thousand horsemen but the battle was lost because they were one body with different minds. The King of Chou had eight hundred men, but they won because the different bodies were of one mind.”

St. Nichiren is telling us that for all things different bodies being of one mind is important. If the minds cannot become one because of concerns about small things, success is not possible. This is clear from the teachings of the more than three thousand non-Buddhist scriptures, and it is established in those writings. Although the King of Yin had a large army with seventy thousand horsemen, they were in a state of the same body with different minds—and since they could not come together, they were defeated in battle. On the contrary, while the King of Yin had a small number of eight hundred men, the mind of each person was joined together, and that is why they had won.

Today’s Buddhism (religions) are lacking in unity and in a state of confusion. It resembles these writings of St. Nichiren. What goes by the name of Buddhism teaches the Truth of the Buddha. I believe that we must earnestly read the Lotus Sutra, discard the small religious denominational differences, revive the Buddha’s intentions and the soul of St. Nichiren, and work for the unification of Buddhism (all religions).

“The Lotus Sutra teaches the Mind of the Buddha, as It is. Since the Mind of the Buddha is a good mind, even if a person with no understanding reads this sutra and revers it, he will receive benefits.”

This holy land, where the soul of St. Nichiren, who was enlightened to the truth of being the child of the Buddha and the child of the Dharma (Truth), is placed, as the training place for the unification of Buddhism (all religions), to the minds of those who have faith in the Buddha, let us even more convey the Buddha’s compassion and the compassion of St. Nichiren, and I believe that we must use to the fullest extent the karmic affinity of the appearance of the statue of Shakyamuni Buddha from the seas of Izu.

Translated by Mr. Dean Makinodan.