Some Powerful Cup of Sake

Nichiren appointed Nikko Shonin as his successor in the “Document Transferring the Law which Nichiren Propagated throughout His Life.” It took the Daishonin two simple sentences to accomplish this task:

“I transfer this Law which I, Nichiren, have propagated throughout my life to Byakuren Ajari Nikko. He is to be the High Priest for the propagation of True Buddhism.”

In contrast to this simple process, Jisei Nagasaka reported on the recent transfer ceremony at Taisekiji (www.nstny.org/nya2006.htm). According to Rev. Nagasaka:

“It was a magnificent ceremony in which the two High Priests shared the Living Essence of the True Buddha.”

JN stated that it took exactly ten steps to pass the torch from Rev. Abe to Rev. Hayase:

  1. First, Nikken Shonin led ceremonial Gongyo with many priests and laity in attendance.
  2. At the Jigage portion of the Juryo chapter, High Priest Nikken Shonin called the name of His successor “Nichinyo Shonin” to take the Seat of the High Priest at that moment. W
  3. hen Nichinyo Shonin was seated on the High Priest’s Seat, Nikken Shonin moved to the other High Priest Seat on the east side of the hall, facing each other.
  4. Then, Nichinyo Shonin led a ceremonial Gongyo.
  5. There was an intermission after ceremonial Gongyo.
  6. Then, the new High Priest and the retired High Priest entered into the Reception Hall.
  7. There was a ceremony of exchanging cups of sake between the New High Priest and Retired High Priest as well as with several Noke senior Priests.
  8. Following the exchanging of cups ceremony, there were four congratulatory greetings from two priests and two lay believers.
  9. Then, Nichinyo Shonin spoke to the participants, for the first time as the new High Priest.
  10. The ceremony ended with an offering of small cups of sake for all the priests and representative believers and a commemorative picture

From two simple sentences to ten action-packed ceremonies! All the added pomp is necessary because Nichiren Shoshu has lost the spirit of Nichiren’s teachings which are direct, heartfelt, and passionate. Whether in his huts at Matsubagayatsu, Sado, or Mt. Minobu, Nichiren disavowed formalities and solely embraced heart-to-heart communication with his disciples. Rev. Nagasaka clearly demonstrates that Nichiren Shoshu has reversed the essence of Nichiren and embraced formalities instead of faith.

It is very clear why Rev. Hayase should not be considered the 68th High Priest of the Fuji School but the 2nd High Priest of the Nikken Sect.

There are other problems at the New York Temple. It seems that while Rev. Nagasaka was in Japan his sermon was read by the assistant priest. The assistant priest struggled with the English reading. It was a difficult experience for the congregation who had to patiently endure the reading. Question: why couldn’t the speech be read by a lay person? A couple of hundred people could have easily read Rev. Nagasaka’s message in perfect English. Is there some special power that is transmitted by a priest reading a speech rather than a lay? Isn’t this the height of folly?

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