In chapter 16 of the Lotus Sutra The Life Span of Buddha 如来寿量品第十六, Buddha said: “I have been preaching the Law without rest, teaching and converting countless millions of beings, making them walk the Buddha way.” [Translated from Chinese.] The above statement is expressed as Jōseppō-kyōke 常説法教化 in Japanese. Jōseppō 常説法 literally means “preaching sermons anytime, anywhere” and Kyōke 教化 means “converting people to the true Buddhist faith.” Therefore, the word Jōseppō-kyōke represents Buddha’s deep compassion for us, all sentient beings.
The word Kyōke is an abbreviation for Kyōdō-tenge 教導転化. Kyō 教 literally means “true Buddhist faith,” Dō 導 is “leading people toward the true faith,” Ten 転 is “changing their faith from wrong to right,” and Ge (Ke) 化 means “renewing.” So, Kyōke is the word that expresses converting others to the true Buddhist faith—the faith in the Odaimoku.
There is also another concept—Shakubuku 折伏, which is definitely needed for Kyōke. It is an abbreviation for Hashaku-kuppuku 破折屈伏. Hashaku 破折 literally means “snapping, tearing or braking a wrong way of thinking,” and Kuppuku 屈伏 means “groveling and obeying.” Therefore, Shakubuku means to point out someone’s mistakes and explain to them what the true religion/faith is. In HBS faith, there are three kinds of Shakubuku:
- Point out to someone why one’s faith (religion) is wrong.
- Tell someone why HBS is the true faith.
- Advise someone to improve their ways in HBS faith in order to make them a devout believer.
To save all sentient beings, Primordial Buddha kept preaching about Odaimoku (Jōseppō) to make them walk the Buddha way just like him (Kyōke). Nichiren Shōnin, who was a reincarnation of Jōgyō Bodhisattva (Superior Practice Bodhisattva), devoted his whole life to the propagation of Odaimoku, too. Therefore, we, HBS members, also need to do our best to save others and devote ourselves to the practices of Shakubuku and Kyōke to make Buddha’s wish come true.
In the distant past when Primordial Buddha was still a human being just like us, he attained Buddhahood by two practices: chanting Odaimoku, Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō himself and spreading Odaimoku to others. These two practices are together called Bosatsu-gyō 菩薩行—the practice to attain Buddhahood. Therefore, in Honmon Butsuryū Shū, we put emphasis on three practices: Kushō-gyō 口唱行 (chanting Odaimoku), Shakubuku and Kyōke (the latter two mean spreading Odaimoku to others).
Everyone in this world can be saved by chanting Honmon Happon shoken 本門八品所顕, Jōgyō shoden 上行所伝, Honnin-geshu no Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō 本因下種之南無妙法蓮華経. How wonderful it is! Since HBS members know it, when we greet each other we say Arigatō gozaimasu ありがとうございます. This way of greeting is one of the characteristics of HBS, so it’s an easy way to tell HBS members from other people – you just need to hear how they greet each other. Then, what does Arigatō gozaimasu mean? Let’s see in the next article.