OESHIKI CEREMONY
By Reverend Raido Hirota
The Oeshiki ceremony is the most important Buddhist service and celebrates Nichiren
Daishonin's eternal life. Having an Oeshiki Buddhist service deepens each of our faiths.

During
gongyo, at the Ni-setsu-ge-gon passage of the Juryo chapter, just before the
Jiga-ge section, we stop the recitation of the sutra and read in a loud voice a passage
of the "
Rissho Ankoku Ron" from, "The host exclaimed with delight: As the proverb
says, the dove has changed into a hawk, the sparrow into a clam
!" to the end of the
gosho.

In a formal Oeshiki ceremony the shakubuku letter written to the Kamakura
government by ninth High Priest Nichiu Shonin, Nichiren Daishonin's "Rissho Ankoku
Ron", Daishonin's shakubuku letter to the Kamakura government, the shakubuku letter
of second High Priest Nikko Shonin to the Kamakura government, the shakubuku
letter of third High Priest Nichimoku Shonin to the Kamakura government, the
shakubuku letter of fourth High Priest Nichido Shonin to the Kamakura government
and the shakubuku letter to the Kamakura government by fifth High Priest Nichigyo
Shonin are read by the priets one after another in this order in front of the
Gohonzon.
This is so we do not change our faith after Nichiren Daishonin's death. No matter what
time period, we must make it paramount to work for the sake of
kosen-rufu; and the
enlightenment of all living beings.
You should make paper flowers and decorate the left
and right sides of the Gohonzon, specifically because
even though Nichiren Daishonin died in
autumn--October 13th--the cherry blossoms bloomed
throughout the country. The lotus flower symbolizes
the teachings of
Shakyamumi of India; after 2000
years during the Latter Day of the Law Buddhism
came to Japan where the essence of Buddhism was
elucidated by Nichiren Daishonin. The cherry
blossom symbolizes the passage of true Buddhism to
Japan.
The center of the body of the vase in which the flowers are placed from the Buddhist
perspective symbolizes the Law of Buddhism and is represented by
Mt. Sumeru. The height
of Mt. Sumeru is 84,000
yojana above sea level (1 yojana (an Indian measurement) is 7-9 miles), and
84,000
yojana below sea level. At the base of the flowers are paper  decorations
representing stars, waves and mountainsThe three belts encircling the vase which support
Mt. Sumeru represent the gold wheel, the water wheel, and the wind wheel. The mounted
white mountain-shaped papers symbolize Mt. Sumeru's seven surrounding mountains and
seven
oceans. In the sea surrounding the seventh gold mountain there are 4 continents. The
southern most continent is Jambudvipa (
Jap. Embudai) where humans live. If you are not born
into this world of Jambudvipa, you cannot connect with Buddhist teachings. The cherry
blossoms decorating the summit of Mt. Sumeru symbolize kosen rufu; and the enlightenment
of all living beings.

In conclusion, in Nichiren Shoshu; Buddhism we do not offer colorful flowers to Gohonzon,
except at Oeshiki.You may leave the flowers decorating the altar until the end of the year.
Then, in order to avoid the misunderstanding that Nichiren Shoshu decorates the Gohonzon
with colorful flowers, at the end of the year please destroy and throw the cherry blossoms
away.
Translated and edited by Udumbara Foundation staff.
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the Nichiren Shoshu Shoshin-kai