First, when we consider the order of the five seasonal festivals, we find that they are festivals corresponding to the order of the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo.
The festival of the New Year corresponds to the character “myō,” and the Sun Goddess is honored as the guardian deity of the crops. The third day of the third month is the festival corresponding to the character “hō,” and the “dragon” is honored as the guardian deity. The fifth day of the fifth month is the festival corresponding to the character “ren,” and the“horse” is honored as the guardian deity. The seventh day of the seventh month is the festival corresponding to the character “ge,” and the“monkey” is honored as the guardian deity. The ninth day of the ninth month is the festival corresponding to the character “kyō,” and the “dog” is honored as the guardian deity.
Please look upon it in this way and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. There can then be no doubt about the words “peace and security in their present existence and good circumstances in future existences.”2
Sutra passages make it perfectly clear that all the heavenly beings are bound to diligently protect practitioners of the Lotus Sutra. The fifth volume of the Lotus Sutra says, “The heavenly beings day and night will for the sake of the Law constantly guard and protect them.”3 Again, it says, “The young sons of heavenly beings will wait on him and serve him. Swords and staves will not touch him and poison will have no power to harm him.”4 The “heavenly beings” refer to Brahmā, Shakra, the gods of the sun and moon, the four p.375great heavenly kings, and others like them. The “Law” refers to the Lotus Sutra. The “young sons” refer to the seven luminaries, the twenty-eight constellations, Marīchi, and the like. The words “Those who join the battle are all in the front lines”5 correspond to the passage “Swords and staves will not touch him.”
Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter at Hota in Awa Province to Akimoto Tarō in Shimōsa Province on the eleventh day of the first month in 1271. From the Daishonin’s opening remarks in the letter, we can assume that Akimoto Taro had sent a letter to the Daishonin in which he spoke of his joy in encountering the correct teacher and the correct teaching, and then gone on to ask him about the meaning of the five seasonal festivals customarily observed at that time.
The Daishonin explains that the essence of the five seasonal festivals is included within the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, the Law that pervades all phenomena. When we base our lives on the Mystic Law, we can enjoy and celebrate seasonal events, including the New Year, in the most positive and meaningful way, and naturally come to lead happy, healthy lives. This is the way to fully enjoy our present existence and experience a wonderful life state in the next as well. He promises that those who uphold the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo will always be protected and supported throughout the four seasons, day and night, by such great heavenly deities as the Buddhist gods Brahma and Shakra.Here, he cites two passages from “Peaceful Practices,” the 14th chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
The first is, “The heavenly beings day and night will for the sake of the Law constantly guard and protect them” (LSOC, 245).
This was demonstrated unquestionably during the Daishonin’s lifetime, and is a fact that Soka Gakkai members from the organization’s earliest days on have actually experienced and shown in their own lives.
The second passage is: “The young sons of heavenly beings will wait on him and serve him. Swords and staves will not touch him and poison will have no power to harm him” (LSOC, 249).
These words attest that no matter how practitioners of the Lotus Sutra may be attacked or persecuted, the positive forces of the universe will thoroughly protect them.
In concluding his answer, the Daishonin encourages Akimoto Taro to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo on the occasion of each of the five seasonal festivals, as he does at other times, and “strive to attain the way” (WND-2, 375)—in other words, to realize a state of complete fulfillment.
Source: World Tribune, May 2016