SGI Significant Dates
The Establishment of Nichiren Buddhism
Soka Gakkai Day
Celebrating the History of Soka Gakkai's Antinuclear Movement
SGI World Peace Day
Inscription of the Dai-Gohonzon
Soka Gakkai Founding Day
July 16 - On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land (Rissho Ankoku)
On July 16, 1260, Nichiren Daishonin formally presented his treatise ‘On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land’ (Rissho Ankoku Ron) to the most powerful ruler in Japan, the retired regent Hojo Tokiyori. This treatise was written with the desire to relieve people of their suffering. At the time, Japan was undergoing an uninterrupted succession of disasters. People were deeply steeped in suffering and a dark pall of despair and resignation shrouded their hearts. The ruling authorities were at a loss as how to cope with the situation.
The established Buddhist schools of the day claimed to possess the ability to ensure nation’s safety and protection. However, their self-serving interests landed them in protecting those in power and their own personal welfare. In reality, they fell short of a sound philosophy that could effectuate the cause towards nation’s peace and prosperity. In this treatise, the Daishonin admonished the authorities for associating with corrupt priests who espoused erroneous teachings to the detriment of the nation’s welfare.
‘On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land’ is written as a dialogue between a host and a guest. In his concluding words, the Daishonin represented by the host says:
You must quickly reform the tenets that you hold in your heart and embrace the one true vehicle, the single good doctrine [of the Lotus Sutra]. If you do so, then the threefold world will become the Buddha land [a realm of peace and happiness], and how could a Buddha land ever decline? The regions in the ten directions will all become treasure realms, and how could a treasure realm ever suffer harm? [WND-1, 25]
The Lotus Sutra elucidates that all people possesses the Buddha nature and has the ability to manifest it. The practitioners who uphold the sutra have the duty to take action to enable others to call forth their Buddha nature too. Such is the wisdom and practice of the Buddha. For this reason, this philosophy and practice of the Buddha is termed as fundamental good. Precisely, the Daishonin’s teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws is none other than the practice of fundamental good for the Latter Day of the Law.
The heart of the ‘establishing the correct teaching’ embraces the Lotus Sutra’s spirit of believing in the fundamental good of each individual and the ability to establish peace in their hearts. Collectively, when the fundamental good is firmly established in society, it will effect a change to the extent that a truly peaceful society can be established.
Buddhism is the “body”; it is the basis of everything. When Buddhism is in disarray or its teachings are lost, society falls into a state of confusion. Unless there is a philosophy in place that supports society on a fundamental level, the world will lose its foundation. As a result, society will descend into the path of Animality ruled by the law of the jungle, into the path of Anger bound by ceaseless conflict, and into the path of Hunger swirling with discontent. Ultimately, it will plunge into the realm of the endless suffering of Hell. That is why “establishing the correct teaching” is of utmost importance. Once that is in place, “the peace of the land” will be realized without fail.
[The World of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings, Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land Part 1]
Indeed, realising the ‘peace of the land’, which constitutes the goal of ‘establishing the correct teaching’, is to create a peaceful society where people can enjoy happiness and security, and can develop their humanity to the fullest extent.
Everything begins with the inner transformation of human beings themselves. In succession, a strong humanistic force for peace has to be established within society. ‘Establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land’ also means deepening people’s understanding of the Daishonin’s Buddhism and expanding the number of people who appreciate its philosophy and principles. The way to spread respect for the sanctity of life and elevate the life-state of all humanity is for practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism to engage in dialogue with as many people as possible and build an alliance dedicated to good.
However, it should not be interpreted as a scenario where every person in a given society must be united by faith in the Lotus Sutra or the unification of the country under a single religion. What matters most is that the spirit of the great philosophy of peace expounded in the Lotus Sutra, with its teaching that all people are Buddhas, be given full play in society as a whole. SGI President Ikeda comments, “On a societal level, ‘establishing the correct teaching’ means establishing the concepts of human dignity and the sanctity of life as principles that support and move society.”
For over 700 years, the principle of ‘On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land’ existed only in the form of written words. It was Soka Gakkai first president Makiguchi who revived the Daishonin’s teaching in accord with the Daishonin’s spirit. Basing on the spirit of ‘On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,’ President Ikeda has endeavoured to extend this great movement of practicing the concept of respecting human dignity and the sanctity of lives to 192 countries and territories around the world. It is now a mighty force that is moving towards the realisation of eternal peace for all humanity.