We, ourselves, as a person of true faith…
The daily onslaught of continuous snowand extremely chilly weather, for the first time in decades here in New York, has had a sobering effect on our bodies and minds. I hope this finds all of you well.
At the start of this bright New Year, 2014, in his first Dharma Guidance of the year, President Niwano indicated “Let Us Convey Our Joy.”
For that he specified three separate themes:
・Redoubling Our Efforts to Cherish Everyone We Encounter
・Building the Great Sacred Hall – The Founder’s Wish for Each and Every Person to Become a Person of True Faith
・ Think Deeply about the Wishes of the Founder, Learn the Teachings, Put Them into Practice, and Then Share Them with Others
First of all, even world peace starts with achieving harmony within the smallest and closest unit of our collective entity, the family and community. Thus, he believes in the importance of redoubling our efforts to cherish every person we encounter.
And then President Niwano continued by saying, “This is the 50thanniversary since the Great Sacred Hall was erected. Now we are starting the 51styear. This Great Sacred Hall has become the main center for training in our organization, a place for the practice of polishing each other’s minds. Through the Dharma Talks of the Founder, members’ religious testimonies to the faith and hoza (Dharma Circles)that have all been held there, there have been countless people who have become awakened, as their hearts and minds transformed.
Also, the spirit of Buddhism and the wishes of the Founder are symbolized in the Sacred Hall. An image of the “Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni, the Great Benevolent Teacher, the World-honored One (the Eternal Original Buddha)is enshrined there as our focus of devotion.
What the Founder wantedmore than anything else at the time the Great Sacred Hall was built was foreach and every Rissho Kosei-kai member to be a person of true faith.
At the time Founder clearly explained the following: “Although we have built a religious facility that compares with any facility in the world, it means nothing if all we teach is a faith for our own benefit. The attitude and behavior are still lacking. Or again, if we cling to the enshrined statue of the Buddha itself for our liberation, and come to the Great Sacred Hall just to worship it, then the building is no more than an empty shell. The teachings of the Shakyamuni Buddha are those of wisdom that urge us to understand the Truth and live by the Truth.”
President Niwano once again said, “After I inherited the Lamp of the Dharma fromthe Founder, the central wish I wanted to convey to all of you is the same as the Founder’s.” “To worship the image of the Eternal Buddha does not mean relying on a transcendental existence. Instead, it means to live by taking refuge in the Truth and the Dharma and abiding by them.” President Niwano also said, “It is said that a half century is a good time for self-reflection. I would like to declare that the significance of this, the year of the 50thanniversary of the building of the Great Sacred Hall, is to personally ask ourselves on the Founder’s guidance and review our faith.”
When I read this New Year Dharma Talk at the beginning of the New Year, I felt so deeply inspired.I believe how we accept the Founder, now the President’s wish,for each and every person to become aperson of true faith is very important.
Thus, each and every one of us, taking into account our own situation and standpoint, must clarify what it means to live – as the President has guided us – by taking refuge in the Truth and the Dharma and abiding by them, instead of relying on the image of the Eternal Buddha. Rather than being satisfied with our own limited understanding of the teachings, this means we must thoroughly put into practice any awareness we acquire when we see things according to the Buddha’s viewpoint. When we actually put into practice what we learn, we will be able to see things we did not see before, we will be able tofeel the workings of the Buddha’s compassion and our hearts will overflow with great joy. This is the Joy of the Dharma.
As a concrete practice, let us first of all wholeheartedly read President Niwano’s monthly Dharma Talk by completely immersing our bodies and minds and practice by instillingwhat we learn into our six senses. Let us make it our goal this year to double our efforts to convey our joy and inspiration with others.
Minister of New York Church