4. What are sins (Zaisyo)?
“Amber collects dust. Magnet have the power to attract iron. Our bad deeds are like dust and iron. The Odaimoku of the Lotus Sutra is like amber and magnet. Think about it and constantly chant the Odaimoku". (Hokke Daimoku Syo).
When priests or believers of Honmon Butsuryu Shu (HBS) face the Odaimoku Mandala to commence praying, they first chant, “Eliminate the sins and hindrances that I have accumulated by disparaging the Dharma since the beginningless past" (Mushiirai Hobo Zaisho Shometsu etc.- the Penitence Formula). The prayers are presented and the chanting of the Odaimoku commences.
At the close of the praying session, the Formula of Penitence is once again chanted.
The chanting of the Formula of Penitence is requesting the power of the Odaimoku to eradicate our sins, which we have accumulated during the cycles of death and rebirth. It is the phrase of repentance.
“What are the sins accumulated in the past world? What have I done to cause sins?". These thoughts may run through your mind as you may consider yourself not to be a sinful person. Buddhist teachings concerning eradication of sins stipulates that if one does not have a soul of reflection, a soul to yield, or a soul of thoughtfulness, a kind soul will not be born. A strong soul of self-righteousness creates problems.
In order that people can live in peace and harmony, HBS emphasizes that one should reassess themselves at times. The significance of reciting the Formula of Penitence is to remind one not to forget the soul of reflection (to look back at what good or bad things they have done) and to have a humble soul.
Explanation of sins by Buddhism:
The meaning of sins between Buddhism and the general public differs. The general public's explanation of sins refers to crimes committed against the law of the country, such as stealing or killing people. Buddhist explanation of sins are actions (behaviour) committed by body, mouth and mind. Even if one did not kill a person, to tell someone that “I would like to kill so and so", or to think in one's mind that “I hope so and so would be seriously injured in a traffic accident" are all considered sins. Even contemplating suicide is a sin.
To harbour evil thoughts is regarded as accumulations of sins. Calmly and unassumingly inspect your soul. How many people have you detested and thought ill of or been jealous of in your daily life? Or you may have thought about your own selfish benefits. These actions are all considered sins.
Why is just thinking about things in your mind considered sins?
It is because there is a deep subconscious soul called Arayashiki, which has the power to store everything one did, thought and said. Those actions become seeds, which are stored in the Arayashiki. These seeds become the spiritual energy that builds your destiny. Let's say, you cursed someone. That curse becomes a bad seed and is instantly sowed into the Arayashiki. That bad seed will grow into an energy which will affect one's destiny in a bad way. Let's say, you ridiculed someone within your mind. That act becomes a bad seed, which is planted in the Arayashiki, and you will someday be ridiculed by someone. Moreover, the seeds planted in the Arayashiki will continue to live even after the body ceases to exist. In short, the Arayashiki is the core of birth and death. You carry within your soul the bad seeds which were accumulated from the past world.
How can the bad seeds be eradicated?
In America and Canada, hypnosis is being presently used to delve into one's past world. Some clients undergoing this treatment cried after seeing their past sinful acts, thought and speech. The bad seeds imbedded in the soul cause various misfortunes and calamities. These are called “sins". As long as the sins are kept in the Arayashiki, misfortunes and calamities will befall to us at any time. Unless the bad seeds are filtered and eradicated, true happiness and peace cannot be attained.
“Amber collects dust, magnet draws iron". By chanting Namumyohorengekyo repeatedly the seeds possessing the energy of the Eternal Buddha will be sowed into the Arayashiki, and the bad seeds will be filtered and eradicated." said Nichiren Shonin.
In a separate writing, Nichiren Shonin said, “There is no sin which cannot be eradicated by chanting the Odaimoku. That is the truth. Accept it."
The worst of all sins is the one violating the law of the universe and the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. This will be explained in more detail at a later date.