JUST BEFORE DAWN on the 28th day of the fourth month in the year 1253
Zeshō-bō Renchō  left his sanctum at Seichō-ji temple at Mount Kiyosumi, and
climbed the hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Kasagamori. At the first
sign of the sun on the horizon his voice resounded with Namumyohorengekyo
in salutation. In that instant, before the sun, heaven and earth as witnesses,
mankind’s first invocation of the supreme Law was issued and the true practice
of Buddhism for the Latter Day was proclaimed.
      Myohorengekyo is the Japanese transliteration of the title of the Lotus
Sutra as it was translated into Chinese from Sanskrit by Kumarajiva  (344-
409). In “The One Essential Phrase”  Nichiren Daishonin explains the
significance of this phrase:

  . . .[T]he Lotus Sutra defines our life as the Buddha’s life,
              our mind as the Buddha’s wisdom and our actions as the Buddha’s
              behavior. . . .Namumyohorengekyo is only one phrase but it
              contains the essence of the entire sutra. . . .Everything has its
              essential point, and the heart of the Lotus Sutra is its title,
              Namumyohorengekyo. Truly, if you chant this in the morning
              and evening, you are correctly reading the entire Lotus Sutra
              . . . .A Law this easy to embrace and this easy to practice was
              taught for the sake of all mankind in this evil age of the Latter
              Day of the Law.

      When Renchō intoned this simple phrase the audience of the sun, earth
and heaven had no objections. His human audience, he would soon discover,
was of a different mind. At noon of the same day, when the sun was high
overhead, Renchō stood before an audience of his peers, family and members
of the local community in a hall at Seichō-ji Temple. In a dynamic voice full of
resolve, with palms pressed together in prayer position, he pronounced
Namumyohorengekyo for human ears to hear for the first time. From there
Renchō went on to denounce the four major sects of the day – Ritsu, Zen,
Nembutsu and Shingon. At the end of his discourse he announced that he was
changing his name to Nichiren. Nichiren means sun-lotus, and its significance
is that it suggests Nichiren attained enlightenment by himself. To realize the
truth on one’s own, without the aid of a teacher, is the sign of a sage.
      Two years later, in 1255, Nichiren explained the purpose of chanting
Namumyohorengekyo in “On Attaining Buddhahood” :

              If you wish to free yourself from the suffering of birth and
              death you have endured through eternity and attain supreme
              enlightenment in this lifetime, you must awaken to the mystic
              truth which has always been within your life. This truth is
              Myohorengekyo, Chanting Myohorengekyo will therefore
              enable you to grasp the Mystic truth within you.

      Risshu-e celebrates the birth of Namumyohorengekyo and the initiation of
Nichiren's practice of the true Law.

Celebrating the Declaration
of  the Practice of True Buddhism

April 28,1253
T H I S    I S    N O T    A N    O F F I C I A L    S H O S H I N - K A I    W E B    S I T E
Happy Risshu-e