Members of Myosenji Buddhist Temple regularly make offerings to the Buddha, the Gohonzon, in the form of food offerings. We also make food offerings to the Gohonzon at our Buddhist altars at home. It is a tradition to offer food to the Buddha. In the video, our Chief Priest is making offerings to the Temple Joju (wooden) Gohonzon (object of worship) during the Oeshiki Ceremony (memorial ceremony for Nichiren Daishonin).
Nichiren Daishonin, the founder of Nichiren Shoshu in 13th century Japan, received many food offerings from believers. We know this because of the many personal Gosho letters he sent to believers thanking them for their food offerings. Below is an excerpt from one of his Gosho letters.
“As you well know, one of the sutras tells us the story of Tokusho Doji, who offered a mud pie to the Buddha and was later reborn as King Ashoka who ruled over most of India. Since the Buddha is worthy of respect, the boy was able to receive this great reward, even though the pie was only mud. However, Shakyamuni Buddha teaches that one who makes offerings to the Votary of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law for even a single day will gain incomparably greater fortune than he would by offering countless treasures to the Buddha for one hundred thousand aeons. How wonderful, then, is your heartfelt sincerity in supporting the Votary of the Lotus Sutra over the years! According to the Buddha’s own words, you are certain to be reborn in the pure land of Eagle Peak. What great good fortune you possess!”
In the Gosho, The Person and the Law (MW1 – p.263)
This Sunday is the Fall Higan-e Ceremony. The Higan-e Ceremony, a very significant memorial ceremony for the deceased, is conducted only twice a year at Nichiren Shoshu Temples, in March and September.
In the Gosho, On the Enlightenment of Plants and Trees (Gosho – p. 522), the Daishonin states:
“When our fellow human beings pass on, it is essential to perform a Toba service. By so doing, the deceased will attain enlightenment as well as plants and trees.”
When we sincerely practice True Buddhism, we can purify our lives, eradicate our negative karma and experience enlightenment. Those who are unable to practice True Buddhism, however, such as the deceased, as well as plants, trees and other insentient life forms, must rely on the merit of the Gohonzon and on the faith and practice of others to attain enlightenment. In other words, we send the merit of the Gohonzon to the deceased in order to ease their present suffering and to ensure they will be reborn in a higher life condition. By requesting that a Toba tablet be prepared and offered to the Temple Gohonzon, the full merit of the True Law is immediately implanted into the life of the deceased. By continuing to offer Toba tablets to the deceased, we are expressing our desire to nurture the seed which has been planted until it reaches fruition at some point in the future.
Sunday’s Higan-e Ceremony begins at 10am with the Live Stream opening at 9:50am.
It is essential for us to study the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, enabling us to understand the reasons to continue practicing. We can resolve doubts, overcome laziness, and strengthen our practice through study, so that when we face obstacles and want to stop, we will be able to bolster our faith.*
At Myosenji Temple, our Chief Priest conducts a monthly Basics Study class to teach new Buddhists (and refresh/remind other Buddhists) about their daily practice and about Buddhism. Our next Basics Study class is Sunday, August 23rd. Myosenji Buddhists may attend via our Live Stream. Please be sure to have your book, Nichiren Shoshu Basics of Practice book.
This past Sunday over 150 Myosenji Buddhists participated in our monthly OKO Ceremony. In spite of COVID-19’s restrictions, members were able to chant with the Chief Priest, observe the Kenzen offerings, do morning Gongyo (sutra recitation) and watch Rev Sakabe’s OKO lecture. All from the safety of their home.
We feel great appreciation and gratitude to our Chief Priest for performing this most important monthly ceremony and lecture via our Live Stream. During this pandemic, while our Temple is closed, Myosenji Buddhists are able to do daily Gongyo and chanting with the Chief Priest. Members submit their questions about Buddhism or their Buddhist practice and each evening after Gongyo, Rev Sakabe answers at least one question. It is a wonderful lifeline to stay connected with the Temple, our Chief Priest and deepen our Buddhist faith while practicing at home, alone or with our families.
Life is the most precious of all treasures. Even one extra day of life is worth more than ten million ryo of gold.
written by Nichiren Daishonin, 13th century Japan
Nichiren Daishonin teaches that life is the greatest treasure. It must be respected, and if there is any possibility to extend one’s life by even a day, this is equivalent to 10,000,000 coins of gold. This is not only true for human beings—life is the greatest treasure for all living beings in the sentient world.
Why is life considered to be so important from the standpoint of the Lotus Sutra? The reason is because all life exists within the ten worlds and therefore possesses the Buddha nature.
Excerpted: Nichiren Shoshu Monthly magazine, What is the meaning of life? June, 2011.
If you have decided to become a Buddhist or are interested in learning how to become a Buddhist, please email the Temple using the Contact from below or Text OR Call.