For the Biginners

Okyoke & Shakubuku - Approaches in Propagation

Nichiren Shonin delivering a street-side sermon to by passers in ancient capital of Kamakura.

In the Chapter on the Lifespan of the Buddha (16th Ch.) which comes in the primordial part of the Lotus Sutra, Buddha has preached as follows;
「常説法教化」All this while & always, I have been preaching the dharma to propagate [all the living beings of this world]

It reveals us that, Lord Buddha throughout the entire time from the remotest past, has been continuing to preach, in order to show us [all the living beings of this world] the way to attain the same enlightenment as he did. This phrase also teaches us the great compassion and great mercy of the Buddha. Hence to endeavor in the same manner even just to lead a single person in the righteous way of faithful practice is called “Okyokei”.

The word “Kyoke” is a shortened form of the phrase “Kyo-Do-Ten-Ke”. In this context, “Kyo” is the True Faithful practice. “Do” means to walk & guide together along this path of faithful practice. The character “Ten” gives the meaning “to rectify the mistaken actions of path by changing into goodness” while “Ke” is to improve, refresh and propagate through the right path. In other words this phrase means to encourage others in the correct practice of Odaimoku while you engage in the same and join hands as with each other as you proceed.  

“Shakubuku” is derived from the phrase “Ha-Shaku-Kup-Puku”. “Shaku” is “to break, refrain from”. “Buku” [Puku] means to succumb into and follow. When joint together, these characters give the meaning of “Breaking and refraining from whatever the behavior one has continued so far and to accept, adhere strictly to a what is being taught”. In HBS, this means to break someone’s false believes and make them refrain such practices whilst leading them to the correct faith. So in order to propagate (Okyoke) someone into the correct path, breaking of his/her false believes (Shakubuku) is utterly important. Therefore, practices of Kyoke & Shakubuku are inseparable. 
 
In conclusion, Lord Buddha’s original intention of preaching is to lead all living beings towards the bliss of enlightenment that he himself attained. Seed of Buddha’s enlightenment was entrusted to Bodhisattva Jogyo during the events of Lotus Sutra, by the Buddha for the sake of living beings in this Mappo era. Bodhisattva Jogyo reappeared in the Mappo era as Great Master Nichiren and dedicated his entire life to wide-propagation of Odaimoku of Lotus Sutra which is embedded with the primordial cause of Buddhahood.

Thus to recite (chant) and to lead others in recitation of Odaimoku is the Bodhisattva practice that ensures your enlightenment, as prescribed by the Primordial Buddha in the remotest past. In order to perfect that Bodhisattva practice we shall engage and endeavor in both “Voice Recitation” (Chanting) as well as “Propagation”. 

Voice recitation of the Odaimoku which was revealed in the primordial eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra, entrusted to Bodhisattva Jogyo, sows the primordial causal seeds of Buddhahood, shall alone ensure the bliss of enlightenment to all the living beings. We at HBS, feel immensely fortunate to encounter such a great faithful practice in our lives and hence accustomed to greet each other uttering the phrase “Arigato Gozaimasu” with a smile whenever we meet a fellow HBS member. This custom is quite peculiar to HBS followers both the priesthood & the laity. 

Let’s discuss in our next article what does this phrase exactly mean.>>>