Kyōmu—Buddhist Priests of HBS

Kyōmu—Buddhist Priests of HBS

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Buddhist priests of Honmon Butsuryū Shū 本門佛立宗 are called Kyōmu 教務. Kyō 教 in Kyōmu literally means “teaching” and Mu 務 means “attending to one’s work faithfully.” So, Kyōmu are priests who devote themselves to teaching people about the faith in the Odaimoku, i.e. the true teaching of the Buddha, and its propagation around the world. Usually HBS members call them Okyōmu-san お教務さん. O お(御) is an honorific prefix meaning respect and San さん is an honorific title we use when speaking in a rather friendly manner.

Okyōmu-san are also called Okō-shi お講師. Now HBS is one of large Buddhist sects, but it originated from a small Buddhist service called Kō 講, which Kaido Shōnin 開導聖人 (Great Master Nissen, the founder of HBS) often held in followers’ houses. It wasn’t only a Buddhist service (praying to Buddha, a memorial service for ancestors, etc.) though. He also gave lectures about teachings of the Primodial Buddha, Nichiren Shōnin 日蓮聖人, or the Odaimoku during Okō 御講 (usually we add the honorific “O 御” at the front), and he considered the lectures very important. Kō 講 literally means “a meeting for a lecture on Buddhist teaching” and Shi 師 is an honorific suffix we use towards instructors, teachers, priests, etc. Therefore, Okō-shi also means a priest who teaches what the faith in the Odaimoku is.

Okyōmu-san are none other than disciples of the Primordial Buddha and Nichiren Shōnin because they engage themselves in teaching and propagating the Odaimoku day in day out. That is why followers of HBS always respect and serve them as if they were Buddha or Nichiren Shōnin himself.

How do Okyōmu-san specifically teach and guide followers? Whenever a Buddhist service is held in a temple or a follower’s house, a sermon called Gohōmon 御法門 is preached by Okyōmu-san. In the next article, let’s see what Gohōmon is.

Follow Ryosetsu Ikemoto:

Buddhist Priest of Honmon Butsuryū Shū (HBS), belongs to Kosenji temple in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Pref., Japan. Secretary to the 25th HBS head priest.

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