日本語
 

President Delivers First Dharma Talk of New Year

January 2016

President Nichiko Niwano gave his first Dharma talk this year on January 7 in the Great Sacred Hall at Rissho Kosei-kai headquarters in Tokyo.President Nichiko Niwano gave his first Dharma talk this year on January 7 in the Great Sacred Hall at Rissho Kosei-kai headquarters in Tokyo. Some 3,400 members gathered there to hear him speak and rededicate themselves to their religious practice throughout the year. The ceremony was relayed by satellite TV to all of the organization's Dharma centers throughout Japan.

The ceremony opened with 16 young women, representing members of the organization's Western Division in Tokyo, offering lighted candles and flowers at the altar before the image of the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni. President-designate Kosho Niwano then led the assembly in the sutra recitation, and Rev. Takeshi Kawabata, chair of the Board of Trustees, offered New Year's greetings.

Rev. Kawabata quoted Founder Nikkyo Niwano's saying that Buddhists' greatest happiness stems from their belief that the Buddha witnesses everything about them, which enables them to accept whatever happens as messages from the Buddha, however unexpected. The founder said that when members reflect on themselves in the light of these messages, they can avoid further mistakes. Rev. Kawabata said that Buddhists' belief in the Buddha's knowledge of their hearts and minds is of the highest importance. He added that this year brings the 110th anniversary the founder's birth and the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Ome Retreat Center in western Tokyo. He encouraged members to individually strive to do something new this year, like bamboo leaves growing from new joints in the stem.

In his Dharma talk, President Niwano explained his keywords for the new year, tomyo (candlelight) and onshu (reviewing), which he had written in Japanese calligraphy on two scrolls displayed above the stage. He emphasized the importance of members' obeying the Buddha's exhortation "Make yourself your light, make the Dharma your light," and reviewing repeatedly what they had learned from the teachings.

He also stressed the importance of bodhisattva practice and said the practice of "putting others first and ourselves last" is the true bodhisattva path in the light of the Buddha's teachings. This practice includes putting social responsibilities before private pleasure. He emphasized the need to do this constantly in daily life, and pointed out the importance of reviewing what is learned through encounter with the Dharma, and how to put it into practice.

President Niwano went on to urge members to start the new year by vowing to do good things and by enriching themselves by reading a spiritual book that will help them purify their hearts. He urged them to make this year a new threshold for practice of the teachings while always reviewing what they had learned.

At the entrance to the Great Sacred Hall, traditional rice porridge, made with seven spring herbs, was served free to all comers.

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