ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON KECHIMYAKU By Reverend Raido Hirota
Translated and edited by Udumbara Foundation volunteers
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QUESTION: What is kechimyaku?
Rev. Hirota: Some people call Nichiren Daishonin Buddha. Some people call Shakyamuni Buddha. But Shakyamuni is really not the Buddha; he was a provisional Buddha. In Nichiren Shoshu we believe the one who is truly the Buddha is Nichiren Daishonin, not Shakyamuni. We say that the Daishonin is the true Buddha, but we don't worship him. We call Nichiren Buddha because he taught us teachings that were more profound than Shakyamuni's teachings. What Shakyamuni taught was limited.
Whereas Shakyamuni's believers have gold or wooden statues of Shakyamuni as their object of worship, believers of Nichiren Daishonin have Gohonzon as their object of worship, and are thereby worshipping the Law and not the person. They are worshipping Namu-myoho-renge-kyo, not Daishonin. So those who believe in Shakyamuni believe in the person -- Shakyamuni -- and we who believe in Nichiren Daishonin's teachings believe in the Law. Thus, the basis of kechimyaku is the Law or Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. Nichiren Daishonin is not the basis of kechimyaku. It is only the Law that is the basis of kechimyaku.
The Law comes first. The person who studies, perceives and comprehends the Law is Buddha. This Buddha will teach others.
Those who worship Shakyamuni look towards him and pray towards him. They don't look and pray towards what he perceived and comprehended. That is why it is incorrect. In Nichiren Shoshu we look beyond the person of Nichiren Daishonin to the Law of Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. It is the Law that embodies all the Buddhist principles. We do not worship Daishonin himself.
Kechimyaku has no relationship to the flesh-body being transferred to Nikko Shonin, just as we don't pass on what we think or what we feel to our children when we give birth to them.
The Daishonin's teaching is that enlightenment exists in everything. No one but the Daishonin teaches this. This is the root of kechimyaku, that enlightenment exists in all living things since time without beginning. So, while Taiseki-ji repeatedly says they're the only ones who have kechimyaku in an effort to make people believe what they say is true, they have forgotten that Namu-myoho-renge-kyo exists in all people and all things.
The spirit of the Gohonzon is not written on the surface of the paper it's on. What is written on Gohonzon is only representative of the spirit. You have to have an example of that spirit to focus on, which is why we have Gohonzon. Gohonzon is a representation of the Buddha-spirit.