Memorial services in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism are offered in honor of deceased family and friends. In the Gosho (writings of our founder, Nichiren Daishonin), the Daishonin says that one-seventh of the fortune we accumulate from chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, benefits the deceased. The remaining fortune accrues in our own lives. The concept of benefiting the deceased came from Shakyamuni’s Buddhism and is retained in Nichiren Shoshu. The Sanskrit word for this process is parinana (transference or evolution). Nichiren Daishonin says:
Since it is the supreme filial piety to direct one’s benefit to parents who are living, how much more praiseworthy is it to do so for parents who are deceased. (Shintei, Vol. 1, p.69)*
On Sunday, September 15th, our Chief Priest will conduct the Higan-e Memorial Service for members wanting to offer memorial tablets called Toba. Here is a message from Chief Priest Rev. Murata about Sunday’s Higan-e Memorial Service:
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.
To observe a Buddhist Memorial Service, please join us on Sunday, September 15th at 10 am. Immediately following the ceremony, we will be conducting an Introduction to Buddhism meeting. This meeting is open to the public.
*Excerpted from the Basics of Practice, page 72.