'"The innermost secret to life "

eligious Discourse by Seijun Nagamatsu, Head Priest of Myoshinji Temple in Yokohama, Japan
Translated by Akiko Ohtsuka

The innermost secret of human relations
When we meet a person, we should not think about what we could gain from him/her, but rather what we could give him/her. In other words, we should not expect anything from others. If we expect something from others when we first meet them, we will later encounter complaints about such acts.
The innermost secret of adult society (our social life)
If we attempt to get a positive at first, we will ultimately receive a negative. If we attempt to get a negative at first, we will ultimately be rewarded with a positive. It is quite natural for mere humans to be easily tempted to acquire money, status, honor, rights, and other interests at the very slightest opportunity that they come across. However, if we pursue these items, driven by a particular motive, we will end up losing rather than gaining.
Which is more important: friendship or confidence (trust in finding Dharma)?
Which should we take first: feelings as a human being or ‘true’ feelings (namely, respectful feelings about living for Buddha and the Dharma)?
We should recognize our losses and gains by what the respective results of them might be in the future instead of judging them by what they seem to be at present so that we won’t regret our present blindness (focusing on the gain) in the future (by foreseeing the possible loss). If we make the correct choice, we will surely gain the opportunity to enjoy an eternally positive life. We must adhere to:
The way of sowing life
The way of life that chooses a negative first
The way of life that enjoys endurance
The innermost family

Most things in our family vary from time to time: joys and sorrows, ups and downs, smiles and cries——even our health varies. It is obvious for us that there is a period of grace in which we spend our lives with gratitude. If we think this grace is eternal, we don’t feel the particular gratitude. Silence does not get us anywhere. Communication is indispensable. In the house, we seek an existence of being respected by everyone as grandparents whom our parents respect. It would be better if there were a family altar somewhere in our house.
Parents come to clearly realize that they are powerless when their child reaches a difficult age. It is a time when we know the effect of the Great Existence or Something Great up there. Regardless of how happy a family might be, it is like a blade of grass with no root or a castle built on sand if they don’t have the due faith toward the fine dharma.

When I was working, I was suddenly happy to notice that I was maturing in my thoughts. I’m sure I obtained it from the numerous ’Gohoumons’(御法門, religious discourses) I have learned and by the conduct of ’Gohouko’(御奉公, services to Dharma). I also noticed the innermost secret of a great personality was the same as ‘Gohoumon’ of Honmon Butsuryu Shu [HBS]. I was deeply moved by it, albeit belatedly.
It is wasteful if we don’t welcome Gohoumon into our life. It’s not just a story from a monk. This “innermost secret” can be obtained only by the person who adheres to a hard practice of asceticism. I’m sure HBS parishioners naturally learn this innermost secret while doing Gohouko.

An offering practice (Fusegyou, 布施行) does not simply mean making an offering to the temple; it is a training of giving away our possessions. The ‘seven offerings of the innocent,’ is known as ‘Waganse,’ preaches that a peaceful face and voice are important as an offering practice. The innermost secret of human relations is exactly the spiritual of the offering practice.

This is why Gohoumon says, “Meeting with a person is the start of giving.” I should look back and see what I have and what I can offer to my family, company, and friends. Usually we underestimate what we have received from others and overestimate what we have given to others. It’s important to look back what you have given others rather than complaining “I’m doing so much. No one understands me.” For example, we get wages for our labor. This concept of ‘take and give’ has been followed by many since the gain occurs even before the give. The opposite happens when we ‘give and take,’ which is the correct path to follow. Expression, speech, tone, look, etc.——all are important in offerings. Offering others a considerate mind and telling others of the Buddhist teachings are the most honorable offering practices ever. This practice is even one of the promises included in the ‘Buddhist Oath (Bosatsu no Chikai, or Oath of Bodhisattva).’

You might think offering training only shows one’s weakness in turbulent contemporary society. This is not so. Ultimately, these offerings to others will result in big profitable merits for you. This is the innermost secret of who succeeded in the first line of society. Offering training is the first step. A life of sowing can change suffering into enjoyment.

Recently the number of people who use stairs rather than using an escalator has increased. We are taught that even healthy people can easily lose their health if they focus on convenience.
There is a famous story of suffering first, only to be ultimately rewarded with the great benefit of health. Convenience depends on usage. Lazy attitudes (such as trying to gain without give) will ultimately result in a heavy loss, which is why we should stick to getting the negatives first so that we will undoubtedly get positives later. In contrast, if you want only to get positives and continue without giving to others, you will lose your balance, resulting in the string of your fate being cut. This might give birth to terrible occurrences in your future.

When we move on to the relationship between human and earth, we are aware that the blessings of nature keep us alive and give us a bountiful life. But in return we give only few things, completely losing the balance of nature. This summer the ozone hole near the South Pole increased to its maximum level, resulting in the biggest ice layer in the North Pole cracking and dissipating into the sea, breaking the precious ecological system.

The world of economic supremacy doesn’t share a sense of crisis or the consciousness of getting a negative. At the end of September, Russia announced the postponement of the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, following the United States. The reason they gave was “We don’t need to hurry up because we are not losing economical, financial, or national interests of Russia.” The country and the person hesitate in the selection of the positive and the negative; in the end, they might choose a path that will lead them to lose. If we get something, we need to throw something away.

Gokyoku by Nissen Shonin says:
Throw away at first there are floating shallows on the world (sea) of the Lotus Sutra

Obsession, what we call Shujaku (執着), is such a heavy burden on our shoulders that it makes us feel as if we have drowned. The harder we try to live, the heavier this burden becomes. Kisha (喜捨)(to give away with gratefulness) is the way of life that uses our mind, time, and body for others or for the world with pleasure. It is necessary to rise up to the surface of my setback ship. ‘The sea of the Lotus Sutra’ teaches us that we should throw ourselves away to see the Buddhist law, which is the center of the cause-and-effect theory.

This Dharma or law that governs the universe is not a body of laws created by human beings in order to govern and manage the world. Rather, it is a law that has existed since the infinite past whose beginning we cannot know. It has controlled, and it shall continue to control, the cause and effect of all things in the universe. It is the Gohonzon or Odaimoku (sacred Mantra) transmitted by Jogyobosatsu (Visishtacharitra), which is the object of fundamental respect in true Buddhism.
We master the innermost secret of Gohou (Dharma) by doing Gohouko. The true law ‘Ooyake’ is beyond the capability of a country or a race. It I precisely the earth and the universe. Believe in HBS, provide service to HBS, as Bodhisattva practice is the innermost secret of ‘Genzeannon’ (現世安穏, peace in the current life) and ‘Shoganjouju’ (所願成就, realization of various wishes) for world peace.The innermost secret for a family to become happy is the only way to continue our belief of HBS. That’s why we believe that the innermost secret of life is in our belief of HBS. Bodhisattvas are people who devote themselves completely to expressing this. In other words, a bodhisattva is an expressionist who certainly transmits the message to others.

Chanting the Odaimoku, attending a temple, or participating in Oko and listening to Buddhist teachings (Gohoumon) are all based on the practice of the innermost secrets and training of bodhisattva: Aiming to live as an expressionist of Buddhism.

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