It is rare to be born a human being. The number of those endowed with human life is as small as the amount of earth one can place on a fingernail. Life as a human being is hard to sustain, as hard as it is for the dew to remain on the grass. But it is better to live a single day with honor than to live to one hundred and twenty and die in disgrace. Live so that all the people of Kamakura will say in your praise that Shijo Kingo is diligent in the service of his lord, in the service of Buddhism, and in his concern for other people. (M.W., Vol.2, p.279; Shinpen, p. 1173)
The holiday season is upon us with lots of activities around gift giving and holiday parties. Our Chief Priest reminds us at this time of year that the one gift we should always remember to give is the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin.
In 13th century Japan, Nichiren Daishonin, the founder of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, wrote the above excerpt to a believer named Shijo Kingo. It is part of the The Three Kinds of Treasure Gosho explaining that the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all.
More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all.” (M.W., Vol. 2, p. 279; Shinpen, p. 1173)
“Treasures of the storehouse” are money and material wealth; things like land, buildings and jewelry. “Treasures of the body” mean attributes one possess as a person; things like physical health, education, personal abilities, knowledge, skills, talents, etc. Although “Treasures of the storehouse and body” are necessary conditions for happiness, they are not the condition for attaining complete satisfaction. “Treasures of the heart” refers to the desire for Buddhahood in one’s present form through this practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo (Daimoku).
Practice Buddhism for yourself and for others. Share your Treasures of the Heart this season!