Trets Guidance notes
These are my own personal and unofficial notes on a lecture on the Gosho “On Happiness in this World.” by Mr. Takahashi given at Trets.
*forgive me but I never wrote the date on these notes and went to Trets many, many times.
Mt. Sainte Victoire, Trets France
“This is one of the best lectures I’ve ever heard!
It is full of important points that I need to renew and refresh in my life. ”
11:20 a.m. Trets, France S.G.I. Culture Center
Mr. Takahashi is now lecturing in English and talking about Shigo Kingo. Kamakura is a beautiful ancient city. Kamakura was the capital of Japan and where Nichiren Daishonin moved to. Kamakura was full of old temples, sutras, and books, that is why the Daishonin went to here to study, to confirm that he was correct.
Happiness in this World The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol. I, p. 681; Gosho Zenshu – 1143)
This Gosho was written in 1276 when Nichiren Daishonin was 55 years old. To study the Gosho it is important to know the background and to know why the Gosho was written. He (Nichiren Daishonin) gave this letter to Shigo Kingo to encourage him. Shigo Kingo was struggling. It was the middle ages, the feudal age, and it was important for the samurai to get trust from their lords. Shigo’s comrades were jealous of his success and his land was almost all taken away. N.D. wrote many letters of encouragement (more than 40) to Shigo Kingo. The Daishonin explained the true sense of practice.
Without hardships it is not possible to gain Enlightenment.
This is the authentic Gosho, when I was 14 I read it. It has 1600 pages; this Gosho only has 8 lines.
Sensei says this Gosho is very important!
Please try to read it again and again without trying to interpret.
In Japanese it is very difficult because it is old style Japanese. When I was 17 Sensei told me to just try to read and read and memorize the phrases. If you memorize important phrases of the Gosho after 1 year, 3 years, when you face difficulties you will remember these phrases. Through your struggle you will really deepen your understanding of the Gosho. This is the true way to study the Gosho. Through our struggle we deepen our understanding.
“Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law?
Strengthen your power of faith more than ever.” When I read this the first time I didn’t feel it, but when I was facing a bad moment I could feel each point from deep in my life, so to study this Gosho I can give you points from Sensei at this time.
1. Joy derived from the Law. The title explains N.D. intention. Happiness in this world – To achieve happiness in this world, the key word is this phrase. Happy + at ease = Joy derived from the Law. Sensei explained 2 types of Joy.
1. Joy from desires
2. Joy from the Law
It’s not easy to distinguish the difference. What is the happiness we seek? In the happiness from desires we might feel joy but this kind of joy disappears and we even feel regret. This joy is joy from desires. The true nature of this is the important point. It’s better to see real absolute and lasting joy. This is the joy derived from the Law. The original script in the Gosho says:
“I receive this joy, this joy by myself.”
You receive this joy by yourself.
The profound sense of this phrase is more like this:
1. We are seeking this: The Joy derived from the Law not the Joy derived from desires. 2nd point: Happy and at ease…*
*(There is no true happiness for human beings other than chanting Nam-myoho-renge kyo. The sutra reads, “. . . where living beings enjoy themselves at ease.”‘)
The Daishonin speaks of our bodies and minds; this indicates that Buddhism isn’t intellectual. The Buddha of Absolute Freedom.
The original symbol used is I, myself. It means the Buddha of absolute freedom can bring out real joy by himself, by herself, within their own lives, not given by anyone else. Those who are able to be free to find and take out this joy by yourself. You are the Buddha of absolute freedom!
President Ikeda says “The Daishonin interprets the property to freely receive and use. The extent to which we can receive and use depends entirely on ourselves. Will we take out a cup from the ocean or an enormous amount of water? If somewhere in your heart you have decided that I cannot be happy or solve my problems etc. your ichinen will obstruct your prayers. Our own determination or mind whether to take a cup of water or a swimming pool.
So then the 3rd point is:
Peace and security in this life. There is no true happiness other than upholding faith in the Lotus Sutra. This is what is meant by “peace and security in their present existence and good circumstances in future existences.” True happiness is not the absence of suffering, then attaining a state of peace doesn’t mean a life free of pain etc. but whatever happens to be unshaken, to face and win, to attain Buddhahood and be happy. Once we achieve Buddhahood all will be well is incorrect, not Buddhism. The quote “ If you fall into hell I will follow you and then we will fly to the Buddha land- means we can change even hell into the Buddha land, there is No separation it’s totally up to you. I’m sure you have many experiences like this.
If you have a weak life state you might feel your job is hell, your family, meeting place – not enough daimoku or conviction – you might feel fear or bad.
That’s why this is the Buddhism of the sun and not the moon. The moon cannot shine by itself, it reflects. The sun beams on its own. We ourselves shine ourselves, our strength etc.
N.D. really encouraged Shigo Kingo- how you can create your own hope, your own happiness.
4th point Strengthen your faith now more than ever… This shows the crucial point of our attitude. When N.D. was about to get executed Shigo Kingo rushed to him and tried to be killed with him. This was an expression of his deep faith. Because of that N.D. wrote “If you fall into hell…*see footnote at end N.D. emphasizes
“Strengthen your faith now more than ever!”
He even said this to S.K. (who possessed strong faith) It`s not about what we`ve done in the past, it`s about what we do from now on, all of this produces strong faith.
Faith equals Power.
We cannot see our faith.
How strong is it?
Faith is strength, faith is power.
This invisible faith will manifest in visible ways. We will see faith through results. We can see faith through concrete results. We receive power,(Buddha/Law) incorporated in the Gohonzon, in accordance with our faith and practice. Faith is the secret art… The conclusion is: Why not test it? I hope next year,(when I see you) we will show tremendous proof!
*Over and over I recall the moment, unforgettable even now, when I was about to be beheaded and you accompanied me, holding the reins of my horse and weeping tears of grief. Nor could I ever forget it in any lifetime to come. If you should fall into hell for some grave offense, no matter how Shakyamuni Buddha might urge me to become a Buddha, I would refuse; I would rather go to hell with you. For if you and I should fall into hell together, we would find Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra there. It would be as if the moon were illuminating the darkness, as if cold water were pouring into hot as if fire were melting ice, or as if the sun were dispelling the darkness. But if you depart from my advice even slightly, do not blame me for what may happen.