What is True Happiness?
According to the dictionary, happiness is defined as a "privileged state", "contentment", "enjoyment", or simply "joy".
Human beings have what are known as "Five Desires", which are the external conditions of color, sound, smell, taste, and touch. These correspond to the functions of the five sense organs. Humans derive pleasure from fulfilling these desires. However, excessive indulgence in these desires can lead to the generation of various afflictions and become a cause for falling into the life condition of hell.
Nichiren Daishonin refers to benefits of Happiness in the “Orally Transmitted Teachings,” (Ongi Kuden) as follows:
Kudoku (benefit) means the effect of the purification of the six sense organs. Nichiren and His followers who chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo purify their six senses. Great virtue (toku) awaits those who believe in Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Benefit (ku) means happiness, or the eradication of evil, and the great virtue (toku) means to create good. Kudoku (ku-toku) means to attain Buddhahood in one’s present form, and to purify the six sense organs. (Gosho, p.1775)
According to the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, as described in the Gosho passage above, “True Happiness” and virtue lies in the purification of the six sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind) through the practice of the correct faith. This process involves eliminating negative causes and giving rise to positive causes.
Understanding our Connection with the World around Us
Nichiren Daishonin states in "Rissho Ankoku Ron",
If you truly desire your own peace and security, should you not first pray for peace of the entire nation? （Gosho,p.249）
This guidance emphasizes that if one truly wishes to attain one's own happiness, one should work towards the happiness of those around them. “True Happiness” therefore does not revolve solely around oneself; it is an essential condition that combines one's own enlightenment with the peace and security of the entire world, the concept of "Kosenrufu," and the practice for oneself and others.
It is a common goal for everyone to seek a happy life and strive towards it. However, the truth is that we all carry different kinds of suffering. In today's society, we often encounter significant stress, face difficulties in our environment and relationships with others, and deal with concerns about our health, work-related problems, family conflicts, personality issues, and financial challenges.
Many individuals aim to conquer the obstacles that are present before them by relying on their beliefs and putting forth effort. However, it is crucial to understand that relying solely on belief and effort may not always be enough to solve all problems. This is evident when we consider certain situations, such as unforeseen accidents, natural disasters, and physical disabilities that are present from birth, which cannot be avoided simply by personal effort alone.
How can one achieve True Happiness?
True happiness can only be achieved by having the correct faith and practice. Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is a teaching that illuminates the path to happiness in life. When people believe in this correct path and make it the foundation of their actions, their efforts and beliefs yield fruit, leading to a life of great value and transformation.
Practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism and chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo can develop a strong life force capable of overcoming adversity.
This practice helps to cultivate Buddha's wisdom and compassionate character, which in turn leads to an unshakable realm of absolute happiness. Furthermore, one's personal happiness extends to their family, friends, and the happiness of society as a whole.
Gongyo and Shodai — The Most Basic, Important Practices in Faith
The first basic practice a new believer learns from his or her introducer is the practice of performing Gongyo. This is because Gongyo and Shodai (chanting the Daimoku, Nam-Myo-Ho-Renge-Kyo) to the Gohonzon are the most basic, important practices in faith.
In Nichiren Shoshu, faith and the practice of Gongyo are inseparable. When Gongyo is performed earnestly every day, it is a powerful engine for building a happy life and receiving great benefits. Chanting the Daimoku is called the primary practice, while recitation of the Hoben and Juryo chapters is called the supplementary practice. The merit we gain from strongly and consistently performing the primary practice of chanting the Daimoku is immeasurable and infinite.
Gohonzon — The True Object of Worship
In Buddhism, faith is based on the mystic principle of a mutual interaction between believers and the object of worship. Faith is an act of worshipping the Gohonzon, as the basis of one’s belief and object of respect. Accepting faith gives rise to the effort to unify oneself with the object of worship. Thus, the most important thing is to choose the correct object of worship.
The Gohonzon of Nichiren Shoshu is a True Object of Worship that can save all people from sufferings in the Latter Day of the Law. Through various experiences and study of True Buddhism, we will become convinced that the Gohonzon is the living Buddha. In other words, we must face the Gohonzon as if we were facing the living Nichiren Daishonin.
The Gojukai Ceremony - Acceptance of the Precept
Gojukai literally means the ceremony "to receive the precept". Generally, it is the ceremony for conversion to Buddhism. In Nichiren Shoshu, those determined to start their faith and practice of true Buddhism receive this ceremony at a local Nichiren Shoshu temple.
In the Gojukai ceremony, the recipient vows to sincerely believe Nichiren Daishonin's teachings and to practise and uphold the Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws. Therefore, a person who receives gojukai should have the pure determination to practise True Buddhism wholeheartedly.
During the ceremony, the priest touches each new believer on the head with a Joju Gohonzon. The format of the ceremony is derived from the Lotus Sutra.
In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha touched his disciples’ heads to indicate their future enlightenment. Placing the Gohonzon, which is the life of the True Buddha, on the head of each Gojukai recipient establishes an eternal bond with the True Buddha and the True Law, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, and guarantees each new believer's future enlightenment through continued practice to the Gohonzon. This is the most important and solemn moment in the entire ceremony. Therefore, all recipients and believers should show proper respect through their posture and attitude.
Begin your Buddhist Practice Now
Kofuzan Kaimyo-in is where believers in Singapore gather and carry out their faith and religious activities relating to Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, under the guidance of our Chief Priest, Reverend Shingaku Kato.
Do reach out to us here so we can assist you directly!