When we, HBS priests and members offer prayer in front of the Gohonzon, we use the term "The Three Treasures" (Sanbo).
There are three treasures─the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha─that Buddhists should set great importance on. The Buddha is the one who realized the Dharma (the absolute truth). The Dharma is the absolute truth that the Buddha realized. Sangha is a person or a group of people who believe in the Dharma that the Buddha realized and strive to spread. According to the teachings of HBS, the Buddha is the Primordial Buddha in the remote past, the Dharma is the Odaimoku and Sangha is the Primordial Bodhisattva Jyogyo
Nissen Shonin explained in further detail that our sect of Buddhism regards the written sacred syllables, NamuMyohoRengeKyo as the Golden Buddha himself, and the treasure of the Dharma is the Odaimoku, the quintessence of the primordial teaching portion of the Lotus Sutra, entrusted to the Bodhisattva Jogyo, and that Sangha is a person who preaches about the immeasurable merits of the Odaimoku and the reason why the Odaimoku is said to posses of all the laws of the universe, and who strives to spread the Odaimoku throughout the world, trying to benefit and save all living beings.
Buddhism was born in India about 2600 years ago with the appearance of Shakamuni Buddha, who preached his teachings in general terms for approximately 50 years. Among the various teachings of Shakamuni Buddha, the primordial eight chapters of the Lotus Sutras contained a special meaning. He revealed that "I did not attain enlightenment as am an ordinary human being, but my true original form is the Fundamental Eternal Buddha that attained enlightenment in the remotest past and had continued to preach the Dharma, transcending time and space".
The Eternal Buddha's existence is the Dharma body, the universe itself and has no figure like us, human beings. Therefore it is impossible to show it as a statue or picture. Accordingly, Nichiren Shonin expressed NamuMyohoRengeKyo as the soul of the Buddha, as the enlightenment of the Buddha itself that is the treasure of the Buddha for the Mappo Period.
Dharma as one of the three treasures is the teachings of Shakamuni Buddha.
Buddha's teachings were edited into many texts called sutras, so sutras are also the treasure of Dharma.
Among the many sutras, the Lotus Sutra has been respected by numerous people from all directions as the most superior sutra among Buddhist sutras, because its contents combine Buddhist teachings.
When we try to grasp the essence of the Lotus Sutra, it is the Odaimoku, NamuMyohoRengeKyo which is revealed in the Primordial eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra and was entrusted to Jyogyo Bodhisattva.
Therefore, we, believers of HBS worship NamuMyohoRengeKyo as a treasure of Dharma and regard chanting the Odaimoku a more important practice than reciting the sutra. This practice is based on the guidance of Nichiren Shonin.
Usually, Shangha means priests who are formally ordained. However, Nissen Shonin stated that practitioners who devote themselves to spreading the teachings of the Lotus Sutra and its beautiful practice to others, chant the Odaimoku, even though they are lay believers, are also Shangha.
The true treasures in the period of Shakamuni Buddha are as follows.
Treasure of Buddhashakamuni Buddha
Treasure of the Dharma─The teachings of Buddha
Treasure of Shanga─The disciples of Buddha
The treasures in the present time, Mappo Period, are as follows.
Treasure of Buddha─NamuMyohoRengeKyo as the Gohonzon
Treasure of the Dharma─The voice of the Odaimoku
Treasure of the Shanga─Practitioners who chant the Odaimoku and devoted themselves to spreading it.
Buddhism expresses that "Everything has an organic influential effect".
This simply means are that we people are all connected to one another and live by the blessing of various kinds of existences in many ways. Among such blessings, to be protected by the Gohonzon (Treasure of Buddha), to obtain the merits through chanting the Odaimoku (Treasure of Dharma), to be guided by the sacred teachings of the Buddha and the great masters (Treasure of Shanga) are the most precious treasures for us. There are no other precious blessings than the benefits from the three treasures.
Therefore, we priests and members of HBS have to bear in mind that the most important treasures are three treasures, the Gohonzon, the Odaimoku and the great masters and their followers and should devote ourselves to the daily practices and activities of HBS. Through such practices and activities, the bonds between the three treasures and us will become stronger; we will be protected by these three treasures more and more.
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