Sermon by Chief Priest Reverend Taishin Takano
sermon today is on the “Parable of the Gem in the Robe.” This is one of the
seven parables in the Lotus Sutra. It is found in the Prophecy of Enlightenment
for Five Hundred Disciples (Gohyaku deshi
; eighth) chapter.
The following is a summary of the parable:
There was a man who went to the house of a good
friend. After drinking some wine, he became drunk and lay down to sleep. At
that time, the friend had to go out on official business. Before leaving, he
took a priceless jewel and sewed it into the lining of the sleeping friend’s
The man was drunk and asleep and knew nothing about
it. When he awakened, he set out on a journey and wandered through other
countries. He encountered hard times, and he experienced tremendous
difficulties in his search for food and clothing. He expended a great deal of
effort and was joyful and satisfied with the meager amount that he was able to
secure for himself.
Some time later, the wandering man was able to meet
again with his close friend. The friend said to him, “My friend, why should you
undergo these hardships to obtain food and clothing? In the past, I wanted to
ensure that you would be able to live in comfort, so I took a priceless
jewel—valuable enough to satisfy your every desire—and sewed it into the lining
of your robe. It must still be there in the lining of your robe, and yet, you
have sought to live a life of hardship. Your spirit is worn, you have undergone
difficulties, and you are satisfied with only a bit of food and clothing. How
foolish of you!
“My friend, you are able to take the jewel and
exchange it for necessary goods. You can have whatever you wish and you will
never again experience any wants.”
is the Parable of the Gem in the Robe. The arhats further stated the following
about this parable:
When the Buddha was still a bodhisattva, he taught
and converted us, inspiring in us the determination to seek the Buddha’s all
encompassing wisdom. But in time, we forgot all that. We became unaware and
unknowing. Having attained the way of the arhat, we supposed that we had
attained nirvana. We were satisfied with what little we achieved. However, we
have not yet lost the desire for comprehensive wisdom.
Now, the Buddha awakens us and makes us aware that
our doctrine of nirvana does not represent true enlightenment. For the first
time, we are able to realize that the teachings taught thus far have been good
expedients. We were instructed in this way and made aware by the Buddha, who now
has bestowed on us the prophecy of enlightenment.
In this parable, the man who did not
realize that a priceless jewel was sewn into his robe represents the people of
the two vehicles of learning and realization. The close friend who sewed the
jewel into the robe signifies the Buddha. The priceless jewel is none other
than the Lotus Sutra, which propounds the doctrine of the one vehicle. The
satisfaction that the man experienced from obtaining minimal food and clothing
represents the attachment that those in the two vehicles possess towards the
achievement of nirvana.
The people who lived during the
lifetime of the Buddha received their instruction as a result of a karmic bond
that they possessed with Shakyamuni. Eventually, they were able to attain Buddhahood
through the Lotus Sutra.
We, as individuals in the Latter Day
of the Law, are common mortals characterized as “not
yet innately possessing good causes.” We must never lose sight of the fact
that, by embracing the Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws—the priceless
jewel that was bestowed upon us by the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin—and by sincerely chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we are able to
stated the following in the “Orally Transmitted Teachings” (“Ongi
This chapter describes the priceless jewel that was
sewn into the lining of the robe. Indeed, Nichiren and his disciples, who chant
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, embrace the jewel of wisdom of the one vehicle of the
mystic Law (Myoho)
. The mind of faith
is comparable to the jewel that is sewn in the robe.
(Gosho, p. 1747)
Although we are common mortals, when we chant
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, our faith will deepen and, on a fundamental level, we can
realize the existence of our profound karmic bond with the True Buddha.
In “The True Object of Worship,” the Daishonin
Showing profound compassion
for those ignorant of the gem of ichinen
, the True Buddha wrapped it within the single phrase
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, with which he then adorned the necks of those living in
the Latter Day.
(Gosho, p. 662; MW-1, p.
Let us all pledge to advance ever more, with the
profound conviction that we will be able to manifest a truly mystic life
condition by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.