a hymn to him not Him
Comments on JN’s lecture, Nichiren Daishonin’s Birthday, posted 2/14/2005.
In his lecture commemorating the birthday of Nichiren Daishonin (www.nstny.org/ndb.htm, retrieved 2/14/2005), Jisei Nagasaka states:
“…our deepest gratitude to Nichiren Daishonin for His advent in this world.”
I would like to deconstruct the upper case “H” in the pronoun “His” referring to Nichiren!
Seemingly a slight matter, but very significant, indeed. The “H” places Nichiren in the status of a prophet or god. He becomes an entirely different person than you or I. Unreachable, holy, awesome. This is JN’s interpretation but it has no merit from the standpoint of Nichiren Buddhism. Nichiren’s whole life story was to show common mortals that the power of his enlightenment lies in everyone.
A countless number of his writings support this viewpoint. The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life states, “Shakyamuni who attained enlightenment countless aeons ago, the Lotus Sutra which leads all people to Buddhahood, and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from each other.” This is a clear indication that Nichiren regarded all people–including himself–to be equally endowed with the possibility of attaining enlightenment.
Why does JN capitalize the “H”? If he succeeds in making his members feel that Nichiren is in anyway at a different level from common mortals there is a need for priests who can navigate some secret passageway between Nichiren and common people.
This has nothing to do with Nichiren Buddhism.
Over and over again phrases such as “I Nichiren and my disciples” appear in the Gosho. Nichiren is always standing side by side with his disciples fearlessly taking the lead. This is the egalitarianism of true comrades. Time to catch up, JN!