Youth Kenshu was kicked off in high spirits on 24 December 2017 with the theme “How to be a Superhero?” It started off with morning Gongyo led by Chief Priest followed by a short demonstration on how to administer Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation with the aid of the Automated External Defibrillator device. Thereafter, both emcees, Rachel and Weilin, presented the objectives of the Youth Kenshu to the youth participants. In all, the Youth Kenshu comprised three segments, each highlighting a concept from Nichiren Daishonin’s True Buddhism, with the participants sharing their personal impressions at the end of the Youth Kenshu. The first segment was on the purification of the six sense organs. There were four different stations on display to facilitate participants understanding of the topic and the use of their six sense organs. One of the stations named “werewolf” served to demonstrate the importance of the purification of our noses to be able to distinguish good from evil. Another station named “illusion” served to demonstrate that through chanting Daimoku, our eyes would be purified and this would then allow us to see our environment through the Buddha’s sight.
Purification of the Six Sense Organs
Participants were also engaged in a game of telephone where they were able to realise that one tends to succumb to selective hearing when one’s ears are impure and would thus, not be able to accept criticism from others; while having an impure tongue would cause one to insult others, thus causing emotional hurt, which in turn creates bad karma. The final game dubbed the “sinking boat game”, served to exemplify the need to exhibit care and concern for others and show the importance of our mind in controlling our six sense organs. The first programme segment ended with a sharing of experience by Paul and Amber on how they were able to purify their six sense organs through consistent daily practice.
Eight winds and sansho shima 三障四魔
The second segment was on the eight winds and sansho shima. In this segment, the participants from all eight zones were each assigned with one of the eight winds, in which they would have to present and show its characteristics through a skit. The eight winds consist of four favourable winds (honour, praise, prosperity, pleasure) as well as four unfavourable winds (suffering, decline, censure, disgrace). In order not be influenced by the eight winds, participants were encouraged to practise consistently, following which, Reverend Warashina delivered a short guidance on sansho shima which comprised the words “sansho”, meaning the three obstacles (earthly desires, karma, retribution); and “shima”, meaning the four devils (earthly desires, five components, death, sixth heaven). Sansho shima is unavoidable and will definitely appear as long as we practise. Hence, we should never give up and never become sansho shima; and never create sansho shima through our actions or words.
Later that day, we had an invaluable experience sharing by Germaine regarding her journey of practice, her fight against cancer and the unwavering support from fellow believers in helping her overcome wave after wave of obstacles. Through this programme segment, it serves to remind youth participants the difficulty in sustaining faith in Nichiren Daishonin’s True Buddhism based on the Lotus Sutra. However, with consistent practice, one is definitely able to achieve the supreme state of enlightenment.
The third and final segment then focused on the key tenet of practising this religion, which is to practise not only for ourselves, but for others. The segment began with a group discussion on the fundamental meaning behind the act of conducting shakubuku, as well as friendly exchange of shakubuku experiences coupled with tips in conducting a successful shakubuku.
This was followed by an experience sharing by both Jessica and May, who shared how the environment supported them whilst conducting shakubuku and that it should be based on a team effort. The closing segment concluded on an introspective note that the main reason for shakubuku would be to pray for the attainment of true happiness for the person to whom you are trying to shakubuku. We will need to do a lot of Daimoku to chant for a very supportive environment, and acquire Buddha’s wisdom so as to shakubuku the person at the right time. The act to conduct shakubuku is of paramount importance, as it spirals off a domino effect, which in turn allows many others to achieve true happiness. Youth Chief Sharali then shared that chanting in actuality allows us to accept our current circumstances and that sometimes simple phrases like: “Would you want to come to the temple with me?” could in fact help to bridge the connection between the person and the Gohonzon.
Youth Kenshu 2017 ended on a high note with the delivery of Chief Priest Reverend Shotsu Nomura’s guidance, with his sharing of the three main objectives for 2018 – achieve our shakubuku goal, attend Oko Ceremony every month and bring our friends and families to it, and go on tozan to deepen our faith and encourage others to do the same as well.
Personal Impression Takeaways (by Nigel Lau)
Like all previous Kenshus I have attended, this Kenshu is indeed enriching and I am definitely glad that I attended it. I learnt a lot through the three programmes, including how chanting Daimoku will enable us to purify our six senses, as well as how the eight winds are unavoidable and only through consistent practice will it allow us to gain enlightenment. Last but not least, I felt shakubuku was a key topic close to heart as I was guilty of not trying hard enough. Programme Three has truly taught me the true purpose of shakubuku and the experience sharing has given me the courage to start shakubuku. Attending Kenshu was indeed one of the best decisions I had made for the year!