“Oko” generally means a ritual assembly to recite sutras, to offer prayers, and to preach the teachings of Buddhism in order to praise a particular Buddha or object of worship. In Nichiren Shoshu, we conduct the Oko Ceremony to repay our debt of gratitude for the profound benefit of the three treasures: Nichiren Daishonin (the Buddha), the Dai-Gohonzon (the Law), and Nikko Shonin (the priesthood).
The concept of acknowledging and repaying debts of gratitude, which is basic to the spirit of the Oko Ceremony, is essential to a correct understanding of true Buddhism and our own lives.
The Oko Ceremony is conducted at the Head Temple Taisekiji three times during the month: on the seventh to commemorate the memorial anniversary of the Second High Priest, Nikko Shonin, who established the Head Temple; on the 13th, which is the memorial day of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin; and on the 15th to mark the memorial of the Third High Priest, Nichimoku Shonin. The Oko Ceremony at Myoshoji Temple is held on 2nd Sunday of the month, it has the same significance as the three ceremonies held at the Head Temple.