At its headquarters in Tokyo and all Dharma centers across Japan, Rissho Kosei-kai celebrated on November 15 the 110th anniversary of Founder Nikkyo Niwano's birth. Some 4,000 members from 73 Dharma centers throughout the country gathered in the Great Sacred Hall. This year also marked the 25th anniversary of President Nichiko Niwano'a Inheritance of the Lamp of the Dharma.
The ceremony in the Great Sacred Hall began with 18 young women members carrying offerings of flowers and lighted candles to the altar before the image of the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni, accompanied by a performance of the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra. President-designate Kosho Niwano led the assembly in reciting the Lotus Sutra and read out a tribute composed by President Niwano.
Everyone sang a hymn with the Kosei Choir and then heard greetings from Rev. Takeshi Kawabata, chair of the Board of Trustees. A video was screened of Founder Niwano imparting Buddhist teachings to members and of the ceremony on November 15, 1991, of Rev. Nichiko Niwano's Inheritance of the Lamp of the Dharma when inaugurated as Rissho Kosei-kai's second president.
One member then gave personal testimony to the faith, and then President Niwano delivered his Dharma talk. He explained that when people are born they receive a baton of life from innumerable ancestors in an uninterrupted relay. He added that although parents are the causes and conditions of their children's births, children may consider themselves the cause of their own birth and their parents the conditions. He said Buddhism teaches that each individual is the root cause of their own possibility of buddhahood and that human birth offers the opportunity to walk the Buddha Way. So it is very important, he said, for Rissho Kosei-kai members to treasure links with one's biological parents and parents in the Dharma who enabled them to encounter the Buddha Dharma and deepen self-awareness that they themselves are root cause of the buddhahood, so that they can think proactively about the right way to live.