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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Nichiju Shonin's poignant memorial for a young disciple

(Recitation Text for Nichiju's young disciple, Nichimyo, who died at the age of eighteen)

Here I reverently state.

A Matter of requesting to recite [the following text]:

Various offerings have been prepared for the Three Jewels and for the priests:

I faintly hear that the Wonderful Law of the One Vehicle has a strong fragrance which permeates the Ancient Garden of the Three Lands, and that the moon of Clear Light of Original Enlightenment shines brightly in the blue sky of Tranquil Light.  But, the profound meaning of the Real Teaching, can it be measured?

As I contemplate it now, it is already one year since the death of Reverend Nichimyo;  in spite of this, our mournful tears have not yet ceased to flow. Stopping our sorrowful tears, we hereby perform some small religious rites for the nourishment of his Bodhi [Buddhahood].  That is to say, we respectfully make a copy of the Precious Stupa Dai-mandala, respectfully recite the entire Lotus Sutra once, the Chapter of Expedient Means twelve times, the Chapter of the Measure of Life of the Tathagata one hundred and twenty times, the Ten Suchnesses twelve hundred times, the Jiga-ge Verses twelve thousand times, the Daimoku one hundred and twenty thousand times; we respectfully write "Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo" twelve thousand times, and we respectfully erect one Tablet Stupa.  In this case, the Dai-mandala is the one that was respectfully transcribed before his death.  We offer it here to perform some small rites as a memorial service for him.

Although this Dai-mandala generally represents the phases of teachings of  "the Three Meetings at the Two Places", it particularly represents,  "the One Ceremony of the Meeting in the Sky." Actually, the "Precious Stupa" means the palace where the Wonderful Law lies, the castle in the heart where the Buddhas abide eternally, the location where the Bodhisattvas assemble, the whole original aspect of the five constituent elements (earth, water, fire, wind and the void).

Taho (Tathagata Abundant Treasures) within the Stupa bears witness [to the Lotus Sutra];  Shakyamuni Buddha assembles the Buddhas who have emanated from Him and he opens the door of the Stupa- Sitting side by side [with Taho] within the Stupa,  He [Shakyamuni Buddha] declares that He desires to bequeath the Lotus Sutra in order to make it remain existing. Then He invites the Guiding Teacher in the Age of the Latter Dharma, enumerating the Six Hard [Tasks] and the Nine Easy Tasks. Shakyamuni Buddha encourages the propagation of the Wonderful Law of the One Vehicle, showing that even Devadatta and the Dragon King's Daughter obtained Buddhahood.  The Bodhisattvas who were cultivated by the Manifestation Buddhas earnestly volunteer to propagate, expressing how they will cope in the Evil Age.

Manjusri asks a question of how to propagate the Law, then the World-honored One, preaching the Four Methods, recommends to start the practice.  These are exactly relating to the circulation of the Shakumon (Manifestation Doctrine). Then, Shakyamuni Buddha turns down the offer of these bodhisattva-mahasattvas, in numbers of the sands of eight Ganges rivers, to propagate, and [instead] invites the tranquilly beaming bodhisattva-mahasattvas welling up out of the Earth, who were converted by the Original Buddha.

Upon the question of Maitreya, Shakyamuni Buddha reveals the Distant Origin of His Attainment of Enlightenment in the Eternal Past. Preaching the responding activities of the Three-Bodies-in-One, Shakyamuni Buddha reveals His Great Compassion from the Eternal Past; [this Eternal Past] is compared to dust-motes of innumerable atoms. Measuring the merits of A Single Moment of Faith and Understanding, Shakyamuni Buddha praises the excellent merits of the Chain of Acceptance with Joy.  Then, He reveals the excellent merits of the versatile use of the Six Organs. And, referring to an old anecdote about Bodhisattva Never Despise (Fukyo), He shows how one should dare to forcedly infuse the Hokekyo into those beings who have a Rebellious Attitude, and Shakyamuni Buddha reveals the circular meaning that a Rebellious Attitude (Gyaku-en) toward the Hokekyo is, ultimately, nothing but an Obedient Attitude (Jun-en).

Demonstrating the Ten Kinds of Miraculous Powers, Shakyamuni Buddha entrust [to these Originally Converted Bodhisattvas who had welled up out of the earth] the Essential Dharma which should be propagated in the Age of the Latter Dharma, and that is the great Dharma in the Honmon (Original Doctrine), which is to be circulated.  This Essential Dharma is embodied in the Five Characters of the Daimoku.  Therefore, this "Myoho-Renge-Kyo" is the Dharma- body of circular harmonization of the Three Truths (emptiness, provisional existence and the Middle Way);  [it is the] inner enlightenment of the Ocean of Dharma Nature, in the phase of fruition; the general term of all practices of the various virtues; the most profound treasure in the Original Land.  This is the substance of the Honzon (Object of Worship). Then, with regard to the [significance] of the two Buddhas,  Shakya and Taho; first, in the meaning of Shakumon, the presence of the two Buddhas within the one Stupa signifies the non-duality of objective things and subjective perception.  And the emanated Buddhas, seated under the jeweled trees signify the universality of compassion [benevolence].  So, the revelation of the virtuous bodies of these three Buddhas (Shakya, Taho and the emanated Buddhas) stands for the state of Buddhahood attained by the Manifestation Buddha.

Next, the meaning of Honmon is the clearing away of the Shigaku (attainment of enlightenment for the first time) and the revelation of the Hongaku (original enlightenment); the tearing down of the Manifestation Buddha and the establishment of the Original Buddha, [in other words] the objective entity, subjective perception and activity of the imponderable original state; that is, the body, spirit and conduct of the natural triple bodies [of the Tathagata].  Staying in the empty sky stands for the equality of the Saha-world and the Pure Land, which is called the Land of Eternal Tranquil Light.  Revealing the origin in the distant past stands, for the self-enjoyment-and exercise of the body possessing the Three-Bodies-in-One.  The activity spreads vertically and widely over the three time periods, and the benefit spreads horizontally and widely throughout the ten directions. Then, the four leaders of Jogyo, etc. are the disciples from the time of [Shakya's] Actual Attainment of Enlightenment in the measureless past.  They are the Bodhisattvas who attained enlightenment at that time in the infinite past; they are the Bodhisattvas who were entrusted with the quintessence of the Hokekyo, and they are the leaders of its propagation.  Basically,  this Great Mandala is the mandala that represents non-duality of the subject and its surroundings; unity of the Buddha and the Dharma, oneness of all living beings and the Buddha, and the inter-possession of each of the Ten Realms; Therefore, since those who reverently listen to its name will eradicate the three persistent delusions (Kenji, Jinja and Mumyo) in an instant, and those who reverently gaze upon it, even once, will attain Sambodhi (perfect enlightenment); then this Great Mandala is a secret means of immediate enlightenment and a model of attaining Buddhahood in this very body. And, this sutra is the real Purpose for the advent of the Buddhas, and the direct way to Buddhahood for all living beings.  Reading or reciting [this sutra] is the practice that is suitable for the organ of hearing, and these are the roots of goodness that have a connection with this [Saha] world.  Copying [this sutra] is the root of making the life of the teachings ever-abiding, and is the great goodness of committing them to memory or keeping them in mind.

Next, the Daimoku is the real name (essence) of the Realms (ten realms), the Suchnesses (ten suchnesses) and the Three Thousand (the universe), and it is the inner comprehension of the triple-bodied Tathagata of complete enlightenment; it is the Heart of the two Doctrines of Manifestation (Shakumon] and Original [Honmon], and it is the genuine sutra that our teacher (Nichiren) propagated.

Hence, the Tablet Stupa is a manifestation of the all-sided transcendent power of the ultimate Dharma Body, and it is a symbol of the omnipresence of the triple-bodied Tathagata. With the power of the Buddha, the power of the Dharma and the uniting power of our faith, the noble soul [of Nichimyo] must enhance its Bodhi without doubt.  If this is the case, in reward for the blessed karma of his having practiced the One Vehicle, Nichimyo's soul will open the flower of enlightenment of the Bodhi of the one sole Truth.  Also, as a reward for the excellent karma of having practiced the Five characters of the Daimoku, his soul will enjoy the moon of enlightenment of the integrated Five Wisdoms (wisdom of the nature and the essence of the Dharma Realm, wisdom of the great circle mirror, wisdom of the nature of equality, wisdom of wonderful observation, and wisdom of concrete [actual] conduct).

May the rain of the Dharma universally pour down on the teachers of generation after generation to whom we are indebted, on the mothers and fathers of life after life, on the people who are interconnected, irrespective of closeness or not, and the danapati of the past and the present, so that they can accomplish the Wonderful cause, and that [all beings of] the Dharma Realm be equally benefitted.

Now, ringing a small bell three times, I reverently make the sound heard by the triple-bodied Tathagata.  And, what I have requested to be recited is as stated above.  This I respectfully stated.

The twenty-first day of the eighth month, in the second year of Kakei (1388)


Chief Head Priest Nichiju 

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