January 1, 2021

Wishing the Spirit of Rissho Ankoku throughout the World

Honorable Rev. Nissho Kanno, Archbishop of Nichiren Shu, Chief Abbot of Ikegami Honmonji Temple, Tokyo

In this early spring of 2021, I give my sincere compliments of the New Year season to all the ministers and devotees of Nichiren Shu, and I truly wish all of you pure and restful happiness. It is the anniversary year for Nichiren Shu to honor the 800th anniversary of Nichiren Shonin’s birth on February 16th this year. The ministers and devotees in all parts of the world have made meticulous preparations for the celebration. However, much to my regret, all the plans were forced to be reduced due to coronavirus-related confusion.

A rampage of the COVID-19 virus knows no bounds on a global scale. It may be because the virus is highly infectious. But I believe there must be another reason for this: Our egocentric attitude causes the epidemic spreading. First, eating a wild animal lacks prudence and discretion. This results from a lack of feelings of gratitude. We must not forget all living beings have Buddha nature. Second, some people refuse to cooperate with countermeasures to prevent the spread of infection, such as wearing a mask, washing your hands, or avoiding the Three Cs (closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings), blindly believing nothing serious would happen. And lastly, some discriminate against those infected by the virus or against medical workers. Under such circumstances, coronavirus infections will not come to an end.

Our Founder Nichiren Shonin often mentioned in his treatises and writings that egocentrism would ruin the nation. The roots of various evils, such as disasters, wars, and plagues, all lie in egoism of our own. The current world situation is the same, just as Nichiren Shonin warned 700 years ago. As devotees of Nichiren Shonin, we need to accept this more seriously: “All living beings as well as non-sentient beings, such as grass and trees or even a particle of gravel or dust, possess Buddha-nature. They can attain the same tranquil mind as that of the Buddha.” With this in mind, let us keep the spirit of Rissho Ankoku — bringing peace to the world by establishing the True Dharma — so that we may have good qualities or behavior that other people should copy. At the beginning of 2021, I hereby offer my New Year Greetings, wishing for all of us to have a peaceful year through the Odaimoku.