President Nichiko Niwano delivered his first Dharma talk in January before 3,400 members in the Great Sacred Hall at Rissho Kosei-kai headquarters in Tokyo. Members rededicated themselves to their religious practice throughout the year. The event was relayed by satellite TV to all Rissho Kosei-kai Dharma centers across the country.
The service began with offerings of lighted candles and flowers by 16 young women representing the organization's Ibaraki Area at the altar before the image of the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni. President-designate Kosho Niwano then led the assembly in the sutra recitation. After that Rev. Takeshi Kawabata, chair of the Board of Trustees, offered New Year's greetings.
In his Dharma talk, President Niwano explained his key words for the New Year, tomyo (candlelight) and shin'in (fundamental cause), which he had written in Japanese calligraphy on two scrolls, displayed above the stage.
He referred to results of scientific research on the universe-that the universe is all of time and space, and that the primary elements of the human body originated in stars. He said this means the human body is part of the working of the universe. At the same time, he pointed out, all cosmological concepts, such as the Big Bang theory, have originated in the human mind. He added that although time is not an object, which can be seen, heard, or touched, its passing is perceptible, and people should therefore treasure every moment of daily life as something that happens only once.
He concluded by saying that it is very important for members to deepen their awareness that they themselves are fundamental cause of attaining buddhahood, and recognition of this is the true path to liberation from suffering.
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