Annual Tozan Overview

An introduction to the significance of the six major tozans organised annually by Head Temple Taisekiji and Kofuzan Kaimyo-in

Annual Tozan Overview
For year 2023, there will be a total of 10 Commemorative Group Tozans as part of the 800th anniversary celebrating the advent of our founder Nichiren Daishonin. Please refer to this link for dates and important details.

Interested to attend tozan, yet unsure of the significance of the various ceremonies?

Tap on the arrows below to learn more about the history and meaning behind each of the ceremonies.

Otanjo-e Ceremony (Nichiren Daishonin's Birthday)

Nichiren Daishonin was born on February 16, 1222, at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law to fulfill Shakyamuni's prophesy that the True Buddha would appear and teach the Great Pure Law to save people for the eternal future. The date of the Daishonin's birth has a mystic connection with Shakyamuni's Buddhism because Shakyamuni died on February 15. This indicates that the Daishonin's Buddhism began at the point where the power of Shakyamuni's Buddhism ceased.

The Otanjo-e Ceremony celebrates the advent of Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. The ceremony at the Head Temple Taisekiji is held on the 16th of February at both the Mieido Temple and the Five-Storied Pagoda. The Five-Storied Pagoda indicates the five characters of Myoho-Renge-Kyo and the five elements, which are the substance of life and the universe itself. The Gohonzon is enshrined in the center of the pagoda, indicating that the core of one’s life and the universal Law are the same as Nichiren Daishonin’s life, or the true entity of the Law, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

For this reason, Nichiren Shoshu regards the Daishonin’s birthday as the date of the appearance in this world of the Gohonzon or Treasure Tower, and this is the reason the ceremony is conducted at the Five-Storied Pagoda.

(Source: Nichiren Shoshu Head Temple Taisekiji Official Website)

Goreiho Omushibarai-e Ceremony (Airing of the Sacred Treasures)

The Goreiho Mushibarai Ceremony of the Airing of the Sacred Treasures, conducted at the Head Temple Taisekiji every year during the two days of April 6 and 7, is one of Nichiren Shoshu’s two great ceremonies, the other being the autumnal Gotai-e Ceremony. A great number of extremely important treasures have been preserved by the priesthood over seven hundred year period since the time of our founder Nichiren Daishonin. Once a year, great care must be taken to expel moisture and harmful insects from these treasures so that they may be passed on to later generations far into the future. At the same time, this momentous ceremony provides a chance for the many participating worshippers to deepen their faith. 

(Source: Nichiren Shoshu Head Temple Taisekiji Official Website and Nichiren Shoshu Gyoji)

Kaimyo-in Group Tozan

Due to this wondrous fortune of Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we can attain enlightenment; as the Gosho passage indicates, "Birds that fly toward Mount Sumeru display a golden hue." Mount Sumeru in this passage is where the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin dwells; in the present day, this sacred place is the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching at the Head Temple Taisekiji. Therefore, when we make pilgrimages to the Head Temple to pray to the Dai-Gohonzon and bathe in its power and influence, we, common mortals, are able to receive the unfathomable benefit of attaining enlightenment in our present form - the golden effect. The Head Temple Taisekiji is central to Nichiren Shoshu faith and practice. Since its establishment, it has been the sacred place for believers yearning to see the Buddha, where Nichiren Shoshu priests and lay believers practise.

No matter how challenging our circumstances, it is extremely important to make a pilgrimage to see the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching and the High Priest, who has received Nichiren Daishonin's Heritage of the Law, at Taisekiji, which is the foundation of Nichiren Shoshu faith and practice.

Currently, under the direction of the chief priest, each Hokkeko temple chapter has come to Taisekiji every year. The significance of local temples going on pilgrimage is explained in this passage:

In order for future growth and to fully develop the temple organization, under the direction of the chief priest, all members must make this critical cause in order to repay our debt of gratitude [to the three treasures].
(Dainichiren, December 2016)

As this cause is extolled, the entire temple membership should be going on pilgrimage to see the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching with the chief priest. We must realise how fortunate we are today to be able to go on tozan to the Head Temple with our chief priest and fellow members. Please make every effort to pray and take action so that every member can share in this kind of spirit and realise the objective of having all Hokkeko members attend. Again, to recommend that others go on a pilgrimage will bring forth boundless fortune and deepen one’s faith while directly influencing the new members’ faith.

High Priest Nichinyo Shonin instructs:

Everyone must know the passage, "Birds that approach Mount Sumeru turn golden-hued." When you come closer to reaching Taisekiji where the Dai-Gohonzon of the Essential Teaching resides, everyone will become "golden-hued." This is why we must invite others and take them with us to Taisekiji. This could take place during the group tozan of each local temple. If given another opportunity, you could take members at another time as well. As we bring members to the Head Temple with us, we start to accumulate great fortune. In this way, developing new members means that after shakubuku, if you are cognizant of reaching out to new members and frequently inviting them, then the most important events would be going on pilgrimage to the Head Temple and attending the monthly Oko Ceremony.
(Dainichiren, July 2017)

The High Priest explains that one can obtain boundless fortune from the Dai-Gohonzon by taking new members on tozan and encouraging them to attend the monthly Oko Ceremony, which will further develop their faith and practice.

When one thinks about the High Priest's guidance, encouraging others to make a pilgrimage will be directly connected to the members’ further development and his or her ability to do shakubuku in the future.

Throughout the year, many temples will be holding group tozans. We must make every effort to shakubuku even one person who is lost and unable to attain enlightenment. While reaching our temple shakubuku goal, under the direction of the chief priest, let us all go on tozan with tremendous joy.

Summer Study Tozan

Summer Study Tozan is held as one of Nichiren Shoshu's traditional events, and shares the same purpose with the Japanese Hokkeko members' Study Tozan that is held every summer as well. Although the duration of this Study Tozan is only two days, it carries an extremely significant meaning in the purpose of further deepening our faith.

We are able to achieve this by staying at Head Temple Taisekiji where the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sancruary is enshrined, devoting ourselves to Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, deepening our studies, and participating in practices such as Ushitora Gongyo and Shodai meetings.

Despite the long distances travelled and the blazing summer heat of Japan, many members are assembled together with an understanding of the purpose of this Study Tozan. I would like to extend my deepest respect to you all for your strong seeking spirits. Although the two-day session is quite short, I would like to ask that you strive to gain as much as possible from this course.

Nichiren Daishonin states in the Gosho, "Juhachi enman-sho" ("The Eighteen Perfections Gosho"):
My disciples, uphold the true principle as I do. Becoming an intellectual or scholar carries no value if one falls into Hell. Ultimately, one should never cease chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. (Gosho p. 1519)

In the "Reply to the Mother of Lord Ueno," the Daishonin states:
The more you hear the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, the more you deepen your faith. This is what I call a true person who possesses a strong, seeking mind. (Gosho, p. 97)

The aforementioned Gosho phrase, "uphold the true principle as I do," is especially important for us. To practice True Buddhism exactly as the Daishonin did means to carry out our faith by upholding the following three points:

  • First, we uphold the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, which possesses the Daishonin's living, breathing soul, as the core of our faith.
  • Second, we follow the guidance of the High Priest, who is the successor to the Heritage of the Law, passed down from Nichiren Daishonin.
  • Third, we follow the guidance of the priests who are appointed and assigned to each respective country by the High Priest.

Further, the more we practise and deepen our studies, the more we can understand the depth of the Daishonin's teachings.

For this reason, the Daishonin states in his Gosho:
The more you hear the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, the more you deepen your faith. This is what I call a true person who possesses a strong, seeking mind. (Gosho, p. 97)

I sincerely pray from the bottom of my heart that your time spent here is meaningful, that you deepen your studies, accumulate great fortune, enrich your life condition, and achieve great results in your faith.

Source: Greetings by the Overseas Department Chief Rev. Nichijitsu Urushibata (Nichiren Shoshu Monthly, October 2006)

Kanshi-e Ceremony (Memorial Ceremony for 26th High Priest, Nichikan Shonin)

The Kanshi-e Ceremony, the memorial service for the Twenty-sixth High Priest Nichikan Shonin, is conducted on the anniversary of his death, to repay our debt of gratitude to him. He is revered as one of the restorers of Nichiren Shoshu. 

(Extracted from "Explanation of the Significance of the Kanshi-e Ceremony", Kaimyo Magazine Issue 79)

Oeshiki Ceremony / Gotai-e Ceremony (Celebration of Nichiren Daishonin's passing)

The Oeshiki Ceremony is held to celebrate the eternal presence throughout the three existences of our founder, the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. He passed away on the 13th day of the 10th month of the 5th year of Ko'an (1282). Although He exhibited the appearance of passing away, He did not actually pass away. It is one of the most important ceremonies in Nichiren Shoshu.

We revere Nichiren Daishonin as the True Buddha of the Buddhism of Sowing. His passing away was in reality 'exhibiting death but not dying'. He is the great master who is always here preaching the Law, radiating light, illuminating the darkness of ten thousand years of Mappo, and saving all living beings defiled with impurities. Thus, the Oeshiki Ceremony is a kind of celebration to revere Nichiren Daishonin as the True Buddha of eternal life.

The purpose of Nichiren Daishonin's entire lifetime of teachings is to achieve peace and security of the country and to save all mankind through the establishment of True Buddhism. This essential principle is clearly illustrated in the Gosho, 'On Securing Peace of the Land Through the Propagation of True Buddhism' (Rissho ankoku-ron).

Hence, when the Oeshiki Ceremony is performed by Nichiren Shoshu, it begins with the recitation of 'Rissho ankoku-ron' and the remonstrations written by Nichiren Daishonin, Nikko Shonin and the successive High Priests so as to advocate the Daishonin's spirit of 'refuting all the heretical teachings by revealing the True Law'. In addition, this is to express our firm resolution to forever carry on the pure Heritage of Nichiren Daishonin accordingly.

We should therefore urge all the lay believers, without missing anybody, to participate in this extremely important ceremony. All of us should not only repay our debt of gratitude to the 'Three Treasures', but we must also reaffirm our determination to achieve Kosen-rufu based on the true unity between laity and the priesthood as our very prime objective.

Source: Kofuzan Kaimyo-in Oeshiki Ceremony 2009 Handbook

2023 Group Tozan application is open

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