May the People Be Strong, May They Be Wise, May They Rise Up

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Posted on November 02, 2013

   The following is an excerpt from a speech by SGI President Ikeda at the Kansai Toda Memorial Auditorium, Osaka, Japan, March 4, 1991. It first appeared in the June 10, 1991 World Tribune, pp. 4–5.
    The Danger of Evil Influences
     Nichiren Daishonin warned us time and time again that we must not be duped (Jpn taborakasu, whose English translation varies with the context).
     For example, in “The Fourteen Slanders” he writes, “The aspiration for enlightenment in common mortals is often hindered [taborakasu] by evil influences and easily swayed by circumstances; though many warriors don armor, few go without fear into battle” (WND–1, 758).
     We must not allow ourselves to be tricked or confused. The essential requirement for attaining Buddhahood is whether we can continue our battle to achieve kosen-rufu with correct and courageous faith. That is what the Daishonin teaches us.
     Taborakasu means to deceive others with clever words, to trick them, to hoodwink them. Surprisingly, this word appears in the Gosho Zenshu (The Collected Writings of Nichiren Daishonin) some 50 times.[RH1]
     Among things that mislead us, evil religions are among the worst. By their authority, they trick people into fanaticism that renders them completely unreasonable. The Daishonin has noted this in several of his writings.
     For example, citing the examples of Nembutsu teachers Shan-tao and Honen, he writes, “Shan-tao and Honen, displaying a variety of majestic powers, deceived [taborakasu] ignorant priests and lay believers and schemed to destroy the Thus Come One’s correct teaching” (WND–1, 158).
     He also describes the typical features of evil monks, citing passages from the scriptures: “A sutra passage likens persons of this type to a hunter who spies sharply about him as he stalks a deer, or to a cat who hides its claws as it creeps up on a mouse.  In just such a way, we are told, do they flatter, deceive, and mislead [taborakasu] the lay men and women” (WND–1, 886).
     Nichiren Daishonin harshly criticizes evil monks who look on the offerings of laity as their prey. Nichiren attacked these abuses of the established religions head-on. The Soka Gakkai has proceeded forward with this spirit of the Daishonin as its own. We must continue on the path forever.
     We can described these actions of Nichiren Daishonin, from one perspective, as a great transformation from a religion that makes fools of the people and exploits them to one that makes people wise and strong and defends them.
    Protecting the Law is Protecting the World of the Children of the Buddha
     The Lotus Sutra strictly warns us against words and deeds that deceive people.
     The Peaceful Practices fourteenth chapter says: If they wish to preach this sutra, they must set aside jealousy, hatred, arrogance, minds that are fawning, deceitful, false, and constantly practice honest and upright conduct. They should not look with contempt on others or hold frivolous debates on the Law. They should not cause others to have doubts or regrets by saying, “You will never become a Buddha!” (LSOC–14, 244)
     Those who disobey this teaching so firmly proclaimed by Shakyamuni some 3,000 years ago and deceive others are no longer qualified to preach the Lotus Sutra. They are in fact, enemies of the Lotus Sutra.
     The sutra passage is irrevocable. Nichiren Daishonin’s writings are also clear. We must not allow ourselves to be duped by such false people. We must not be fooled.
     We walk the great road of kosen-rufu following the spirit of the Lotus Sutra and the instruction of the Daishonin’s writings. This beautiful world of the children of the Buddha must not be destroyed by any black plot.
     Because we believe in the true Law, we can see through such plots. The proper course of action, in accord with the Daishonin’s spirit, is to fight those who would perpetrate such plots, no matter who they might be.
    Possession by a Demon
     In his “Letter to the Brothers,” Nichiren writes: “The devil king of the sixth heaven possessed these men of wisdom in order to deceive [taborakasu] good people.  This is what the Lotus Sutra means when it says in its fifth volume, “Evil demons will take possession of others.”
     The great demon of fundamental darkness can even enter the bodies of bodhisattvas who have reached near-perfect enlightenment and prevent them from attaining the Lotus Sutra’s blessing of perfect enlightenment.  How easily can he then obstruct those in any lower stage of practice!” (WND-1, 496)
     Thus we see that the Devil King of the Sixth Heaven can possess what the Daishonin calls here “men of wisdom”—someone who seems to know more about Buddhism than anyone else, a person thought to have reached the highest stage of practice—and make that person deceive those who have faith in the true Law.
     Once we understand this principle we can no longer be surprised at anything that might happen. We can penetrate clearly to the essence of all phenomena.
    Speedily Attaining Buddhahood
     In his writing “Sovereign, Teacher and Parent,” Nichiren writes: “Since the beginningless past, we living beings have never for an instant been separated from this wish-granting jewel of Myoho-renge-kyo. But, befuddled by the wine of ignorance, we fail to realize that it is hidden in the lining of our robes, and we are content with merely a little gain. Though we are living beings who, simply by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, could quickly attain Buddhahood, we observe petty precepts such as the five precepts or the ten good precepts, being reborn as a result in the realm of heavenly beings, as deities such as Brahma or Shakra, and thinking that a wonderful accomplishment. Or at times we are born as human beings, becoming rulers of various countries, high ministers, court nobles, or other court officials, and we think ourselves incomparably happy. Thus we content ourselves with such little gains and are delighted with them.
     “However, the Buddha has taught that these accomplishments are mere prosperity in a dream, a phantom joy, and that we should simply accept and uphold the Lotus Sutra and quickly become Buddhas” (WND–2, 36).