By Reverend Raido Hirota
The Oeshiki ceremony is the most important Buddhist service, and celebrates Nichiren Daishonin's
eternal life. Having an Oeshiki Buddhist service deepens each person's faith.
During gongyo, at the Ni-setsu-ge-gon passage at the end of the prose section of the Juryo chapter, just
before the Jiga-ge section, we stop the recitation of the sutra and read in a loud voice a passage of the
"Rissho Ankoku Ron" from, "The host exclaimed with delight: As the proverb says, the dove has
changed into a hawk, the sparrow into a clam!" to the end of the gosho.
In a formal Oeshiki ceremony the shakubuku letter written to the Kamakura government by ninth High
Priest Nichiu Shonin, Nichiren Daishonin's "Rissho Ankoku Ron", Daishonin's shakubuku letter to the
Kamakura government, the shakubuku letter of second High Priest Nikko Shonin to the Kamakura
government, the shakubuku letter of third High Priest Nichimoku Shonin to the Kamakura government,
the shakubuku letter of fourth High Priest Nichido Shonin to the Kamakura government and the
shakubuku letter to the Kamakura government by fifth High Priest Nichigyo Shonin are read in front of
the Gohonzon , one after the other in this order, by the priests. This is done so that we do not change
our faith after Nichiren Daishonin's death. No matter what time period, we must make it paramount to
work for the sake of kosen-rufu; and the enlightenment of all living beings.
You should make paper cherry blossoms and decorate both sides of the Gohonzon. We do this because
even though Nichiren Daishonin died in autumn (on October 13th) cherry blossoms bloomed throughout
the country. The lotus flower symbolizes the teachings of Shakyamumi of India. 2000 years after
Shakyamuni's death, during the Latter Day of the Law, Buddhism came to Japan where the essence of
Buddhism was elucidated by Nichiren Daishonin. The cherry blossom symbolizes the passage of true
Buddhism to Japan.
The center of the body of the vase in which the flowers are placed symbolizes, from the Buddhist
perspective, the Law of Buddhism and is represented by Mt. Sumeru. The height of Mt. Sumeru is
84,000 yojana* above sea level, and 84,000 yojana below sea level. At the base of the flowers are
paper decorations representing stars, waves and mountains. The three belts encircling the vase which
support Mt. Sumeru represent the gold wheel, the water wheel, and the wind wheel. The white
mountain-shaped papers symbolize Mt. Sumeru's seven surrounding mountains and seven
oceans. In the sea surrounding the seventh gold mountain there are 4 continents. The southern most
continent is Jambudvipa where humans live. If you are not born into this world of Jambudvipa, you
cannot connect with Buddhist teachings. The cherry blossoms decorating the summit of Mt. Sumeru
symbolize kosen rufu; and the enlightenment of all living beings.
In conclusion, in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism we do not offer colorful flowers to Gohonzon, except at
Oeshiki.You may leave the flowers decorating the altar until the end of the year. Then, in order to avoid
the misunderstanding that Nichiren Shoshu decorates the Gohonzon with colorful flowers, at the end of
the year please destroy and throw the cherry blossoms away.
|Translated and edited by Udumbara Foundation volunteers
|This is NOT an official site of
the Nichiren Shoshu Shoshin-kai
*1 yojana (an Indian measurement) is 7-9 miles