Message from the Management Committee
The last 3 years have been very tough for all, especially since Head Temple was not opened up fully, with only selected ICs allowed on Tozan in 2022.
The Head Temple has just released the new Tozan schedules for 2023, with this key objective:
"Foster devoted believers, and encourage everyone to attend the Commemorative General Tozan celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the Advent of our Founder, Nichiren Daishonin.”
In 2023, all believers can now go on Tozan to repay our debts of gratitude to Dai-Gohonzon - the very source of our faith. Chief Priest’s ichinen is to encourage 800 Kaimyo-in believers to participate in the Tozan to celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the Advent of our Founder, Nichiren Daishonin.
Seats have been allocated for each zone and the Group Tozan starts from the first batch in March 2023, through till the tenth batch in December 2023.
Let’s strongly encourage all believers in each zone to go on Tozan in 2023 to celebrate this auspicious occasion, and renew our determination for Singapore’s Kosen Rufu. A peaceful land means more peaceful homes, and happier homes mean a happier YOU.
As Chief Priest guided us in his December 2022 Oko Sermon:
“Let’s show appreciation and stop complaining about others. Ensure that we perform our daily gongyo and daimoku chanting, fulfil our one person Shakubuku one person pledge and enjoy our practice by going on Tozan in 2023.”
Thank you very much!
Significance of the Birth of Nichiren Daishonin
The original time of Shakyamuni Buddha's attainment of enlightenment is described in the 16th Chapter, the Juryo Chapter of the Lotus Sutra. It is found on page seven of the Gongyo book which reads:
"Ga jitsu jo-butsu i-rai. Mu-ryo mu-hen. Hyaku-sen-man-noku. Na-yu-ta-ko. Hi nyo go-hyaku-sen-man-noku. Nayuta. A-so-gi. San-zen-dai-sen-se-kai. Ke shi u nin. Mat chi mi-jin. Ka o to-bo. Go-hyaku-sen-man-noku. Na-yu-ta. A-so-gi koku. Nai ge ichi-jin. Nyo ze to gyo. Jin ze mi-jin. Sho zen-nan-shi. O i un-ga. Ze sho se-kai. Ka toku shi-yui kyo-ke. Chi go shu fu. Mi-roku bosat to. Ku byaku butsu gon. Se-son. Ze sho se-kai. Mu-ryo mu-hen. Hi san-ju sho chi. Yaku hi shin-riki sho gyu.... Ni ji butsu go. Dai-bo-sas shu. Sho zen-nan-shi. Kon-to fun-myo. Sen-go nyo-to. Ze sho se-kai. Nyaku chaku mi- jin. Gyu fu chaku sha. Jin ni I jin. Ichi-jin ik-ko. Ga jo-butsu i-rai. Bu ka o shi. Hyaku-sen-man-noku. Nayuta. A-so-gi-ko. Ju ju ze rai. Ga jo zai shi. Sha-ba-se-kai. Sep-po kyo-ke."
Every day during Gongyo, we recite this sutra passage of the Juryo Chapter without knowing its meaning. Translated into English, the meaning of this passage will be:
"It has been immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas since I in fact attained Buddhahood. Suppose a person were to take five hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million nayuta asamkhya thousand-million-fold worlds and grind them to dust. Then, moving eastward, each time he passes five hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million nayuta asamkhya worlds he drops a particle of dust. He continues eastward in this way until he has finished dropping all the particles. Good men, what is your opinion? Can the total number of all these worlds be imagined or calculated? The bodhisattva Maitreya and the others said to the Buddha:
"World-Honoured One, these worlds are immeasurable, boundless - one cannot calculate their number, nor does the mind have the power to encompass them." At that time the Buddha said to the multitude of great bodhisattvas: "Good men, now I will state this to you clearly. Suppose all these worlds, whether they received a particle of dust or not, are once more reduced to dust. Let one particle represent one kalpa. The time that has passed since I attained Buddhahood surpasses this by a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million nayuta asamkhya kalpas. Ever since then I have been constantly in this saha world, preaching the Law.”
As this sutra passage indicates, the original time of Shakyamuni Buddha's attainment of enlightenment was an incredibly long period of time ago - “Five hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a millions nayuta asamkhya kalpas”. This time of original enlightenment is called gohayuku jintengo or “Five Hundred Dust Particle Kalpas”. Contemporary scientists say that the birth of our universe was 13.7 billion years ago and the age of our earth is 4.5 billion years. According to the passage of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha's original attainment of enlightenment is far more beyond the birth of the universe.
This is what the surface meaning of the Lotus Sutra described about the original time of Shakyamuni’s attainment of enlightenment. And how about the case of Nichiren Daishonin which does not appear on the surface meaning of the Lotus Sutra?
In the Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin states:
"Even before Five Hundred Dust Particle Kalpas, when the Thus-Come-One, Shakyamuni was an ordinary person, he realised that his existence was earth, water, fire, wind and relatively, and instantaneously opened up enlightenment."
In this Gosho passage, we see the phrase “even before Five Hundred Dust Particle Kalpas”. We have to carefully understand the meaning of the two Chinese characters “even before”, with or without which, the meaning is totally different.
“Even before Five Hundred Dust Particle Kalpas” is the same meaning as kuon ganjo. When a Buddha who attained his enlightenment “even before the Five Hundred Dust Particle Kalpas”, Nichiren Daishonin said He was Shakyamuni Buddha.
But we have to understand carefully when we hear the words “Shakyamuni Buddha’. They do not refer to the Shakyamuni Buddha who was born in India 3,000 years ago. The Shakyamuni Buddha of the remotest past of kuon ganjo is the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. This is the interpretation of the doctrine of Nichiren Shoshu... and this is the meaning which does not appear on the surface meaning of the Lotus Sutra. It is hidden in the depths of the Juryo Chapter of the Lotus Sutra and that is Nichiren Daishonin.
Nichiren Daishonin also mentioned in Gosho, “The One Hundred Articles”:
“I, Nichiren, alone am worthy of respect throughout heaven and earth, in the Infinite Past of Kuon Ganjo.”
Here, Nichiren Daishonin clearly mentions that He is the True Buddha from the Infinite Past of Kuon Ganjo, which is even far far away from the “Five Hundred Dust Particle Kalpas”, which is the time of the attainment of enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha who was born in India.
When we understand the explanation of the meaning of kuon ganjo, our normal way of understanding of kuon ganjo is the inconceivably remotest past which goes beyond people's understanding. However, from the viewpoint of Nichiren Daishonin, kuon ganjo is this Latter Day of the Law and this Latter Day of the Law is kuon ganjo.
What does this mean?
Kuon ganjo means the Latter Day of the Law which is the present day. The meaning is that kuon ganjo and the Latter Day of the Law is the same in terms of the Buddha, Law and the people.
Firstly, the Buddha of the remotest past of kuon ganjo is now in this Latter Day of the Law and the Law that was perceived by the original Buddha of kuon ganjo is the same Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo that we chant in this Latter Day of the Law.
Finally, the people who have never received the seed of enlightenment in kuon ganjo and the people in the Latter Day of the Law who also had never received any seed of enlightenment of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo before are the same. So in terms of the Law, the Buddha and the people's capacity now and in kuon ganjo, they are one and the same.
Nichiren Daishonin also states:
“Giving myself the name Nichiren signifies that I, by myself, attained enlightenment.”
‘Nichi’ of Nichiren refers to the sun. The sun shines on and illuminates everything in this world and expels the darkness. ‘Ren’ refers to the lotus flower. The lotus flower blooms out of muddy water. That is why the lotus flower is pure and beautiful. This is in accordance with the predication made by Shakyamuni Buddha about the person who would appear in the Latter Day of the Law. Nichiren Daishonin really went into people’s lives, sharing their happiness, sadness and tears and propagated the great law of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.
We, believers and disciples of Nichiren Daishonin, should follow the example set by Nichiren Daishonin, how He shared all the sufferings and happiness of the people and propagated Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, saving them from their suffering.
I believe this is the significance of the celebration of the birth of Nichiren Daishonin and that we should be determined to work for worldwide kosen-rufu with the same mind as the Daishonin.
Source: "Significance of the Birth of Nichiren Daishonin", Kaimyo Magazine Issue 45
Interested to find out more?
Kaimyo-in believers may access further resources via your Kaimyo Powerbank account:
- Brief Overview | The Significance of Tozan - tap to read on nsba.sg
- Curated Topic | The Importance of Tozan - tap to view selection of articles
- Newsletter | Our First Tozan, Kaimyo-in Prepares - tap to read experiences of believers