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The pure land or hell does not exist outside one’s mind or body. It exists within one’s mind. One who is awakened to this principle is called a Buddha, whereas one who is not, is a common mortal. To understand the difference is the heart of the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, those who embrace the Lotus Sutra should realize that hell is in fact the land of tranquil light.

Nichiren Daishonin, written in 13th century Japan

The saha world, which is inhabited by human beings and is full of sufferings, is the land of tranquil light where the Buddha lives. The Life Span (Juryo, 16th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra teaches that the Buddha is always in the saha world and is always preaching the Law to lead the people to enlightenment. This means that the saha world itself is the very land of tranquil light where the Buddha resides.*

Observing Your Mind – Buddhist Lecture

Visit Myosenji Temple this Sunday, June 16th, for a brief video presentation and lecture on Buddhism’s beliefs by our Chief Priest, Rev. Sakabe. Learn what “observing your mind” means and how to practice Buddhism.

  • Learn how to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and properly use the Juzu Beads, Buddhist prayer beads.
  • Q&A with our Chief Priest.
  • The meeting starts at 2:00 pm and concludes around 3:15 pm. Open to the public and free.
  • 310 University Blvd West, Silver Spring, MD 20901 entrance on Burnett Ave

If you have decided to become a Buddhist or are interested in learning how to become a Buddhist, after Saturday’s meeting (about 3:30 pm) Rev Sakabe will be performing the Acceptance of the Precept Ceremony, the ceremony where you become a Buddhist.

*Excerpted: Basic Terminology of Nichiren Shoshu, p.114.

“Oko” generally means a ritual assembly to recite sutras, to offer prayers, and to preach the teachings of Buddhism in order to praise a particular Buddha or object of worship.

In Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, we conduct the Oko Ceremony to repay our debt of gratitude for the profound benefit of the three treasures: Nichiren Daishonin (the Buddha), the Dai-Gohonzon (the Law), and Nikko Shonin (the priesthood). The Oko Ceremony is conducted at the Head Temple Taisekiji three times during the month: on the seventh to commemorate the memorial anniversary of the Second High Priest, Nikko Shonin, who established the Head Temple; on the 13th, which is the memorial day of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin; and on the 15th to mark the memorial of the Third High Priest, Nichimoku Shonin.

The Oko Ceremony held at local Nichiren Shoshu Temples has the same significance as the three ceremonies held at the Head Temple. The ceremony begins with an offering of traditional foods to the three treasures (Kenzen) and is then followed by the recitation of the Hoben and Juryo chapters of the Lotus Sutra. After chanting (Daimoku) and offering the silent prayers, the chief priest gives a lecture on true Buddhism. Priests and lay believers enhance their faith, practice, and study through this ceremony and renew their determination to accomplish worldwide propagation of true Buddhism in order to repay their debt of gratitude.

Visit Myosenji Temple

We hold a series of Introductory lectures every month at our Buddhist Temple. Meetings are open to the public and free. Please check our calendar page for a list of our upcoming meetings.

On Sunday, June 16th, our Chief Priest will lecture on Buddhism’s Beliefs. Meeting begins at 2:00 pm.

Excerpted: Nichiren Shoshu Ceremonies, p.52.


Tozan, (translated as “to climb the mountain”), is the pilgrimage to Taisekiji, the Head Temple of Nichiren Shoshu at Mt. Fuji in Japan. It is part of the essential practice in Buddhism.

During the lifetime of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin, tozan was the pilgrimage to visit him. Its original meaning encompassed directly serving the Daishonin and receiving his guidance. During his lifetime, Nichiren Daishonin himself was the center of worship, the true master who would lead all living beings to enlightenment.

What should those who were not alive during the Daishonin’s lifetime, and who became disciples and believers after his passing do? Making a pilgrimage to Taisekiji, the dwelling place of both the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary and the High Priest is the answer. It has exactly the same significance as making a pilgrimage to see the Daishonin during his lifetime.

Visit Myosenji Temple

Visiting our local temple is part of our Buddhist practice. Buddhist members living far from Japan can only go on Tozan a few times in their lifetime. But you can visit Myosenji Temple often to chant with the Priests, for Buddhist activities and to hear lectures on Buddhism from our Chief Priest. You can also attend the Introductory meetings and bring a friend to learn about Buddhism.

Our next Introduction meeting will be Sunday, June 16th, at 2:00pm. The lecture will be on Buddhism’s Beliefs & Origins.

Excerpted: Nichiren Shoshu Basics of Practice, The Importance of Tozan, p.92

Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life and continue chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, no matter what happens. Then you will experience boundless joy from the Law. Strengthen your faith more than ever.

written by Nichiren Daishonin, 13th century Japan

If we want to struggle or suffer less, we need to learn how to change our Karma.

The Buddhist practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to the Gohonzon (object of worship) opens the way to activate the great life condition of Buddhahood. This is how we can expiate our negative karma from the past and experience it as a lesser effect.

We are, at once, able to lessen the heavy suffering, both material and spiritual, that would have manifested in our present life as a result of negative past causes. What is more, for the practitioner of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, the lesser negative effects can be changed into great benefit. This is called hendoku iyaku, the Buddhist term for “changing poison into medicine.”

Sunday, June 2nd Visit Our Buddhist Temple

Join us Sunday, June 2nd for Chief Priest Rev Sakabe lecture, Karma: Suffer Less, Grow More. You will learn how you can eradicate negative karma and gain absolute happiness in this lifetime.

  • Learn how to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and properly use the Juzu Beads, Buddhist prayer beads.
  • Q&A with our Chief Priest.
  • The meeting starts at 2:00 pm and concludes around 3:15 pm. Open to the public and free.
  • 310 University Blvd West, Silver Spring, MD 20901 entrance on Burnett Ave

If you have decided to become a Buddhist or are interested in learning how to become a Buddhist, after Sunday’s meeting (about 3:30 pm) Rev Sakabe will be performing the Acceptance of the Precept Ceremony, the ceremony where you become a Buddhist.

Excerpted: Nichiren Shoshu Basics of Practice, page 66.

Why do Memorial Prayers Benefit the Deceased?

As human beings, it is only natural to pray for deceased ancestors, relatives, and others with whom we have close connections.

The Buddhist term for benefiting the deceased is eko. This is a translation of the Sanskrit word parinama. The original meaning of parinama was “conversion.” In relation to prayers for the deceased, eko refers to the act of “transferring the merit one gains from performing virtuous acts and giving it to others.” A rough English equivalent of eko in this sense is “transfer of merit.”

The deceased cannot practice Buddhism. This is why those who are living must accumulate merit through their Buddhist practice on behalf of the deceased and transfer that merit to them.

In it’s fundamental meaning, however, “transfer of merit” is not limited to prayers performed for the deceased. We should transfer merit to living parents, friends and acquaintances, all other people and all living beings. That merit will then return to us. This is the fundamental significance of eko.

Visit Myosenji Temple

We hold a series of Introductory lectures every month at our Buddhist Temple. Meetings are open to the public and free. Please check our calendar page for a list of our upcoming meetings.

On Sunday, June 2nd, our Chief Priest will lecture on Karma: How to Struggle Less, Grow More. Meeting begins at 2:00 pm.

Excerpted: Nichiren Shoshu Basics of Practice, page 33.