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Monday, November 5, 2012

Gosho passages

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10700625/AmazingTestimonialBook.pdf

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0vC86lOwI0zbWVXb0lGVVNMZUk/view

http://nichirendaishoninbuddhism.blogspot.sg/

The rational behind publishing this blog is to help those new in the faith to understand the practice better.

In the 60s when I was a few years old, I got into contact with law which  I went to the first meeting, subsequently I lost contact with the law. I heard from a Vice General Director  at that time there were no written materials in S'pore, only through words of mouth.

After my first meeting at Block 14, Merpati Road in the 60s, not very long I lost contact with the law only until 86, when I meet a person called Eric and he reintroduced me back to the law. http://chantforabetterlife.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/happiness-in-singapore/

This passages of gosho were compiled from Major Writing of Nichiren Daishonin from Vol 1 to Vol 7 volumes consisting of around 2000 pages, which I read it numerous time and highlighted it to try to get the right answers to the practice.

I learned in France members got to learn English first, before they  study the gosho.
 
As for the meaning of Myoho-renge-kyo: The Buddha nature inherent in us, ordinary beings; the Buddha nature of Bonten, Taishaku and the other deities; the Buddha nature of Shariputra, Maudgalyayana and the other shomon disciples; the Buddha nature of Monju, Miroku and the other bodhisattvas; and the Mystic Law that is the enlightenment of all the Buddhas of the three existences, are one and identical; this principle is called Myoho-renge-kyo. Therefore, when once we chant Myoho-renge-kyo, with just that single sound we summon forth and manifest the Buddha nature of all Buddhas; all dharmas; all bodhisattvas; all shomon disciples; all the deities such as Bonten, Taishaku, King Emma; the sun, the moon, the myriad stars, the heavenly gods and earthly deities, on down to hell-dwellers, hungry spirits, beasts, asuras, humans, gods and all other living beings. This blessing is immeasurable and boundless.http://nichiren.info/gosho/InititallyAspiringWay.htm

 Though he himself is like the wisteria vine, because he clings to the pine that is the Lotus Sutra, he is able to ascend the mountain of perfect enlightenment. Because he has the wings of the single vehicle to rely upon, he can soar into the sky of Tranquil Light. With wings such as these he is a priest who can bring comfort to the souls not only of his parents and his grandfather and grandmother, but of all his relatives down to the seventh generation! http://nichiren.info/gosho/OnUrabon.htm

It is the power of the Lotus Sutra that makes it possible to infuse such paintings and statues with a "soul" or spiritual property. This was the realization of the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai. In the case of living beings, this doctrine is known as attaining Buddhahood in one's present form; in the case of painted and wooden images, it is known as the enlightenment of plants and trees. http://nichiren.info/gosho/ConsecratingImage.htm
 

 The physical and spiritual which are one in essence, manifest themselves as two distinct aspects; thus the Buddha's mind found expression as the written words of the Lotus Sutra. These written words are the Buddha's mind in a different form. Therefore, those who read the Lotus Sutra must not regard it as consisting of mere written words, for those words are in themselves the Buddha's mind. http://nichiren.info/gosho/OpeningEyesWoodenPaintedImages.htm

"The seed of the nyagrodha tree, though one-third the size of a mustard seed, can conceal five hundred carts within itself. Is this not a case of the small containing the large? The wish-granting jewel, while only one in number, is able to rain down ten thousand treasures without a single thing lacking. Is this not a case of the few encompassing the many? http://nichiren.info/gosho/Conversation-2.htm
 

 Strengthen your faith day by day and month after month. Should you slacken even a bit, demons will take advantage. http://nichiren.info/gosho/PersecutionsBefallingBuddha.htm

 This passage of commentary means that the supreme principle [that is the Mystic Law] was originally without a name. When the sage was observing the principle and assigning names to all things, he perceived that there is this wonderful single Law [myoho] which simultaneously possesses both cause and effect [renge], and he named it Myoho-renge. This single Law that is Myoho-renge encompasses within it all the phenomena comprising the Ten Worlds and the three thousand realms, and is lacking in none of them. Anyone who practices this Law will obtain both the cause and the effect of Buddhahood simultaneously. http://nichiren.info/gosho/EntityMysticLaw.htm

 When the sage was observing the principle and assigning names to all things, he perceived that there is this wonderful single Law [myoho] which simultaneously possesses both cause and effect [renge], and he named it Myoho-renge. http://nichiren.info/gosho/EntityMysticLaw.htm The lotus plant resembles the principle of Myoho-renge in that it simultaneously contains both cause [blossom] and effect [seed].

 almost no substance will cut them, and yet they can be cut by a sheep’s horn or a turtle’s shell. The limbs of the nyagrodha8 tree are so stout that the largest birds can perch on them without breaking them, and yet they are vulnerable to the tailorbird,9 which is so tiny it could almost build its nest on the eyelashes of a mosquito. Here, our evil karma is analogous to the diamond or the nyagrodha tree, and the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, to the sheep’s horn or the tailorbird. Amber draws dust, and a magnet attracts iron particles; here our evil karma is like the dust or iron, and the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra is like the amber or the magnet. If we consider these [analogies, we can see why] we should always chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/14


 In the Latter Day of the Law, the votary of the Lotus Sutra will appear without fail. The greater the hardships befalling him, the greater the delight he feels, because of his strong faith. Doesn’t a fire burn more briskly when logs are added? http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/3

 Strive ever harder in faith, and never give in to negligence. All the people appear to believe sincerely when they first embrace the Lotus Sutra, but as time passes, they tend to become less devout; they no longer revere or make offerings to the priest, giving themselves up to arrogance and forming distorted views. This is most frightening. Be diligent in developing your faith until the last moment of your life. Otherwise you will have regrets. For example, the journey from Kamakura to Kyoto takes twelve days. If you travel for eleven but stop with only one day remaining, how can you admire the moon over the capital?http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/145


“Knowledge without faith” describes those who are knowledgeable about the Buddhist doctrines but have no faith. These people will never attain Buddhahood. Those of “faith without knowledge” may lack knowledge but have faith and can attain Buddhahood. This is not merely my own opinion; it is stated clearly in the Lotus Sutra. In the second volume, the Buddha says, “Even you, Shāriputra, in the case of this sutra were able to gain entrance through faith alone, not because of any wisdom of your own.”13 This shows that even Shāriputra, unsurpassed in his wisdom, was able to attain Buddhahood only by embracing and firmly believing in this sutra, and that his wisdom alone did not enable him to become a Buddha. http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/145




 Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study. Without practice and study, there can be no Buddhism. You must not only persevere yourself; you must also teach others. Both practice and study arise from faith. Teach others to the best of your ability, even if it is only a single sentence or phrase. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/40

 The Nirvana Sutra reads: “There are three types of people whose illness is extremely difficult to cure. The first is those who slander the great vehicle; the second, those who commit the five cardinal sins; and the third, icchantikas, or persons of incorrigible disbelief. These three categories of illness are the gravest in the world.” http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/76


The blessings you will enjoy for protecting those who receive and uphold Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will be impossible to fathom! They will be splendid blessings! Truly wonderful!" This passage implies that we human beings, whether we are walking, standing, sitting or lying down, should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. http://nichiren.info/gosho/InititallyAspiringWay.htm


True Faith - Guidance by SGI Vice President Tsuji - Excerpt This piece talks about the a very important aspect that is often not emphasized enough - Our Ichinen; Am I serious about my problem or am I simply complaining about the situation but not praying seriously about it? This guidance emphasizes the importance of actual proof, and not passively accepting a negative situation. "We recite in our Gongyo, "Jiga toku burai" or "Since I attained Buddhahood". It is that crucial that we chant with conviction. To think that someone else will grant you Buddhahood is wrong. You must act yourself. I visited the Kawai residence in Fukui Prefecture of Japan to give guidance at a meeting being held there around February. Mr. Kawai who is now 51 years old had been blind from three years old after contracting measles. I told him, "You have eyeballs don't you? If you have eyes then you can open them. This Gohonzon is the Gohonzon of "The Opening of the Eyes". "The Opening of the Eyes" teaches us to see clearly. And yet you can not see - it must be because you did something against the Gohonzon and the Buddhist teachings in your past. You must have committed great slanders in the past. Ask the Gohonzon to please forgive your slanders. Express your gratitude to have had the fortune to meet the Gohonzon in this lifetime. Pledge to dedicate your life to Kosen rufu. Ask the Gohonzon to allow you to see the Gohonzon, your family and others around you so you can contribute towards Kosen-rufu." I asked him to pray in such a way. In the beginning of March, I received a message that he regained his sight after almost fifty years. Through his experience the whole Fukui prefecture has revitalized itself. It is such a surprise that one person regaining his sight can have such a great impact on an entire region. But what I wonder about this incident is why he couldn't regain his sight sooner? He was a member who offers his own home for meetings, never missed his Gongyo and had strong faith. Yet why wasn't he able to see sooner. It was because his attitude when doing his Gongyo and Daimoku was incorrect. His faith had gone off track. You must pray earnestly, "Isshin yokenbutsu fujishaku shinmyo" or "single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha". You must chant with gratitude and conviction that you will become one with the Gohonzon and Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. There is no such thing as a sick or poor Buddha. Therefore all worries will be resolved. That is why you can achieve human revolution. Only human beings are able to achieve these things.
This is what is meant by “peace and security in their present existence and good circumstances in future existences.”3 Though worldly troubles may arise, never let them disturb you. No one can avoid problems, not even sages or worthies. http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/86

 Don't you remember your promise?" I had no sooner said this when a brilliant orb as bright as the moon burst forth from the direction of Enoshima, shooting across the sky from southeast to northwest. It was shortly before dawn and still too dark to see anyone's face, but the radiant object clearly illuminated everyone like bright moonlight. http://nichiren.info/gosho


There was a major drought in China in the period of the Ch’en dynasty, but the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai recited the Lotus Sutra, and in no time at all rain began to fall. The ruler and his ministers bowed their heads, and the common people pressed their palms together in reverence. Moreover, the rain was not torrential, nor was it accompanied by wind; it was a soft shower.http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content


A needle sinks in water, and rain will not remain in the sky. Those who kill even an ant are destined for hell, and those who merely cut up dead bodies cannot avoid the evil paths. All the more must they suffer who kill human beings. However, even a large rock can float on the sea when carried aboard a boat. Does not water extinguish even a great fire? Even a small error will destine one to the evil paths if one does not repent of it. Yet even a grave offense can be eradicated if one repents of it sincerely. http://nichiren.info/gosho/LetterKonichibo.htm

 Commenting on this, Miao-lo adds, "However, although people may admit that all things having color or fragrance are manifestations of the Middle Way, they are nevertheless shocked and harbor doubts when they hear for the first time the doctrine that insentient beings possess the Buddha nature." http://nichiren.info/gosho/OpeningEyesWoodenPaintedImages.htm


In the case of living beings, this doctrine is known as attaining Buddhahood in one's present form; in the case of painted and wooden images, it is known as the enlightenment of plants and trees. This is why [the Great Teacher Chang-an] wrote, "There has never been anything to compare to the brightness and serenity of shikan-style meditation," and why [the Great Teacher Miao-lo] stated, "They are nevertheless shocked and harbor doubts when they hear for the first time the doctrine that insentient beings possess the Buddha nature." http://nichiren.info/gosho/ConsecratingImage.htm


 One Buddha who says two things as opposite as fire and water -- who could believe him? This is the point "difficult to believe" And "difficult to understand" In the realm of the Buddha's teachings. The point "difficult to believe" And "difficult to understand" In the realm of his enlightenment concerns the principle of ichinen sanzen, which explains that even insentient beings possess the ten factors of life, and that they possess both material and spiritual aspects of life. http://nichiren.info/gosho/TrueObjectWorship.htm

One Buddha who says two things as opposite as fire and water -- who could believe him? This is the point "difficult to believe" And "difficult to understand" In the realm of the Buddha's teachings. The point "difficult to believe" And "difficult to understand" In the realm of his enlightenment concerns the principle of ichinen sanzen, which explains that even insentient beings possess the ten factors of life, and that they possess both material and spiritual aspects of life. http://nichiren.info/gosho/TrueObjectWorship.htm
Answer: Chapter Two, Hoben-bon, of the Lotus Sutra states that the Buddhas appear in this world "to open the door of Buddha-wisdom to all beings." This refers to the fact that all the nine worlds possess the realm of Buddhahood. Chapter Sixteen, Juryo-hon, states: "Since I attained Buddhahood, an unimaginably long period has passed. The length of my life is infinite aeons. My life has always existed and shall never end http://nichiren.info/gosho/TrueObjectWorship.htm

 The physical and spiritual which are one in essence, manifest themselves as two distinct aspects; thus the Buddha's mind found expression as the written words of the Lotus Sutra. These written words are the Buddha's mind in a different form. Therefore, those who read the Lotus Sutra must not regard it as consisting of mere written words, for those words are in themselves the Buddha's mind. http://nichiren.info/gosho/OpeningEyesWoodenPaintedImages.htm

 No matter what faults your brothers' wives may exhibit, pay no attention. In view of things, I believe that if you simply conduct yourself as I advise, your lands will be further increased and you will win the trust of others.

As I have often said, unseen virtue brings about visible reward. Although your fellow samurai all slandered you to your lord, and he himself believed their accusations to be true, because you have for some years honestly cherished a strong desire for your lord's salvation in his next life, you have been able to receive this benefit. And this is only the beginning: be convinced that your great reward is yet to come.

Again: you must be on good terms with other believers, neither seeing, hearing, nor pointing out anything about them that may displease you. http://nichiren.info/gosho/UnseenVirtueVisibleReward.ht


 T’ien-t’ai states: "In the Konkomyo Sutra it is recorded that ‘All the good teachings that exist in the world derive from this sutra. To have a profound knowledge of this world is itself Buddhism.21’" In the Maka shikan we read: "I [the Buddha] have dispatched the Three Sages22 to educate the land of China." In the Guketsu, we read: "The Shojohogyo Sutra states that Bodhisattva Gakko appeared in that land under the name Yen Hui, Bodhisattva Kojo appeared there as Confucius, and Bodhisattva Kashyapa appeared as Lao Tzu. Since the sutra is speaking from the point of view of India, it refers to China as ‘that land.’ " http://nichiren.info/gosho/OpeningEyesPart1.htm

 On the first day of the first month of the Buddha’s eightieth year, when he had finished preaching the Lotus Sutra, he made this announcement: “Ānanda, Maitreya, Mahākāshyapa—I came into the world in order to preach the Lotus Sutra. I have accomplished my original intention, and now there is no further reason for me to remain in the world. Three months from now, on the fifteenth day of the second month, I will enter nirvana.”15

Everyone, both those among the Buddha’s followers and outsiders, doubted this pronouncement. But since the Buddha’s words are never spoken in vain, when the fifteenth day of the second month at last came, he did in fact enter nirvana. As a result, people recognized that the golden words of the Buddha were true, and they began to have a certain amount of faith in his words.

The Buddha made another prediction, saying: “A hundred years after I pass away, a ruler named Ashoka the Great will appear. He will rule over one-third of the continent of Jambudvīpa, and will erect eighty-four thousand stupas and pay honor to my relics.” People doubted this statement as well, but just as the Buddha had predicted, the king appeared; and from this time onward, people believed.

The Buddha also said, “Four hundred years after I pass away, there will be a great ruler named King Kanishka. He will gather together a group of five hundred arhats, and they will compile the work known as The Great Commentary on the Abhidharma.” This prediction also came about just as the Buddha had stated.

As a result of these proofs, people came to believe the predictions of the Buddha. http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/62

Insentient beings [非情] (Jpn hijo ) Those beings or objects that have no emotions or consciousness, such as trees and stones. The term is contrasted with sentient beings, those forms of life that possess senses, emotions, or consciousness. Buddhism classifies all existences into two categories: sentient and insentient. A dispute arose in Chinese Buddhism with regard to whether insentient beings possess a Buddha nature, but the view that Buddhahood exists as a potential in all things and phenomena prevailed in China. This idea also became widespread in Japan. See also enlightenment of plants.

Life at each moment encompasses the body and mind and the self and environment of all sentient beings in the Ten Worlds as well as all insentient beings in the three thousand realms, including plants, sky, earth, and even the minutest particles of dust. Life at each moment permeates the entire realm of phenomena and is revealed in all phenomena. To be awakened to this principle is itself the mutually inclusive relationship of life at each moment and all phenomena. Nevertheless, even though you chant and believe in Myoho-renge-kyo, if you think the Law is outside yourself, you are embracing not the Mystic Law but an inferior teaching. “Inferior teaching” means those other than this [Lotus] sutra, which are all expedient and provisional.http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/1


http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/95 Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds.
 
 This means that omens had heralded the preaching of all the other sutras as well, but none had ever been as awesome [as those which occurred when the Lotus Sutra was expounded]. For this reason the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai states, "People say that when a spider weaves its web, it means that some happy event is near, and that if a magpie chatters, it foretells the coming of a guest. Even such trifles are presaged by some sign. How then could great affairs be without omens? By means of the near, the distant is revealed." Thus the Buddha manifested great portents never before seen during his more than forty years of preaching when he expounded the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra. http://nichiren.info/gosho/Omens.htm


To illustrate, in kindling a fire, three things are needed: a good piece of steel, a good flint, and good tinder. The same is true of prayer. Three things are required—a good teacher, a good believer, and a good teaching—before prayers can be effective and disasters banished from the land.

A good teacher is a priest who is free from any fault in secular affairs, who never fawns upon others even in the slightest, who desires and is satisfied with little, and who is compassionate; a priest who reads and upholds the Lotus Sutra precisely as it teaches and also encourages and leads others to embrace it. Such a priest the Buddha has praised among all priests as the finest teacher of the Law.

A good believer is one who does not depend upon persons of eminence or despise those of humble station; who does not rely on the backing of superiors or look down on inferiors; who, not relying upon the opinions of others, upholds the Lotus Sutra among all the sutras. Such a person the Buddha has called the best of all people.

As for a good teaching, the Buddha has told us that this sutra, the Lotus, represents the foremost among all doctrines. Among all the sutras the Buddha “has preached,” among those he “now preaches,” and among those he “will preach,” this sutra is designated as foremost, and therefore it is a good teaching. http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/110

 When we consider why the Buddhas of the three existences and the ten directions should so firmly protect the Lotus Sutra, we come to understand that it is only natural. For the Lotus Sutra is the father and mother of the Buddhas of the three existences and the ten directions; it is their wet nurse and their lord.

The creatures called frogs feed on the sound of their mother’s voice, and if they are not able to hear their mother’s voice, they will not grow. The insect called a kalakula10 feeds on wind, and if the wind does not blow, it will not grow. Fish must have water, and birds depend upon trees to build their nests in. In the same way, for the Buddhas, the Lotus Sutra is their source of life, their sustenance and their dwelling. As fish live in water, so the Buddhas live in this sutra. As birds dwell in trees, so the Buddhas dwell in this sutra. As the moon’s reflection lodges in the water, so the Buddhas lodge in this sutra. You should understand that in a land where this sutra does not exist, there can be no Buddhas. http://nichiren.info/gosho/ReplyMotherLordUeno.htm


There is only one god of the sun and one god of the moon, but these two are the eyes and the life of all the living beings of the four continents. It is written in the sutras that the sun and moon feed upon the Law of the Buddha and thereby increase their brilliance and power. http://nichiren.info/gosho/AttainingBuddhahoodOnesPresentForm.htm


Just as I have said before, as a layman, you should singlemindedly chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo morning and evening, day and night, and then witness the results at the last moment of your life. http://nichiren.info/gosho/ReplyLordMatsuno.htm

The demon who appeared before Sessen Doji was Taishaku in disguise. The dove which sought the protection of King Shibi was the god Bishukatsuma,4 King Fumyo,5 who was imprisoned in the castle of King Hanzoku, was Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings. The eyes of common mortals cannot see their true identities, but the eyes of the Buddha can. As the sutra states, the sky and the sea both have paths for birds and fish to come and go. A wooden statue [of the Buddha] is itself a golden Buddha, and a golden Buddha is a wooden statue. Aniruddha’s gold was seen first as a hare and then as a corpse.6 Sand in the palm of Mahanama’s7 hand turned into gold. These things are beyond ordinary understanding. A common mortal is a Buddha, and a Buddha a common mortal. This is exactly what is meant by the doctrine of the three thousand realms in a single moment of life and by the phrase, "I in fact attained Buddhahood."8 http://nichiren.info/gosho/IzuExile.htm

 This present Gosho is also called the "Cliflin sho" (On Intermediate Existence). "Intermediate existence" indicates the interval of time between death and rebirth, and was widely believed to last for forty-nine days. On the basis of this belief, people conducted a memorial service on the forty-ninth day. http://nichiren.info/gosho/bk_ReplyMotherUeno.htm

 The seeds of one kind of plant are all the same; they are different from the seeds of other plants. If all of you nurture the same seeds of Myoho-renge-kyo in your hearts, then you all will be reborn together in the same land of Myoho-renge-kyo. When the three of you are reunited there face to face, how great your joy will be!http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/154

"In the eighth volume of the Lotus Sutra, in the Dharani chapter, the Buddha says, 'If only you protect those persons who receive and embrace the name of the Lotus Sutra, you will enjoy good fortune beyond measure.'
http://nichiren.info/gosho/Conversation-2.htm

It also says, ‘There are six causes of illness: (1) disharmony of the four elements;4 (2) improper eating or drinking; (3) inappropriate practice of seated meditation; (4) attack by demons; (5) the work of devils; and (6) the effects of karma." http://nichiren.info/gosho/CuringKarmicDisease.htm
 
 A passage from the sutra reads: "If someone . . . should enter a great fire, the fire could not burn him.... If one were washed away by a great flood and called upon his name, one would immediately find oneself in a shallow place."3 Another passage reads, "It cannot be burned by fire or washed away by water."4 How reassuring! How encouraging! http://nichiren.info/gosho/HellBuddhahood.htm

 Answer: From the very beginning, the Buddha's intention in appearing in the world was to preach the wonderful Law [of the Lotus Sutra]. But because the people differed so greatly in their capacity and were not ripe to receive it, the Buddha first pondered for a period of three weeks, then spent the following forty years and more preparing and readying the people, and then finally preached this wonderful Law. The Buddha said, "If I merely praise the Buddha vehicle, the people, being sunk in misery, will not be able to believe in this Law and, lacking faith, will slander it and thus fall into the three evil paths." And he also said, "The World-Honored One has long expounded his doctrines and now must reveal the truth." http://nichiren.info/gosho/InititallyAspiringWay.htm


 During his first forty and more years of teaching, Shakyamuni Buddha kept secret the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. Not only that, he still remained silent concerning them when he preached the first fourteen chapters of the Lotus Sutra, which comprise the theoretical teaching. It was only with the “Life Span” chapter that he spoke openly regarding the two characters of renge, which [represent the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo and] indicate the true effect and the true cause.3 http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/48



The Lotus Sutra says, "The young sons of the heavenly deities will wait on and serve him. Swords and staves will not touch him, and poison will have no power to harm him." How reassuring this sutra is! http://nichiren.info/gosho/LetterEndoSaemonnojo.htm


Those who believe in the Lotus Sutra will never be reborn in any of these, but will at once be reborn in a pure land where the Lotus Sutra is being preached. They will take their seats among the assembly, listen to the Lotus Sutra, and as a result become Buddhas. http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/110

I hope that it can shorten the learning curve and strengthen the faith of many.
 "It is similar to the case of parents, who invariably protect their children through these four functions. To conceive a desire to seek the way through the power of the Law is to be born. To follow the Law from beginning to end is to be nurtured. To harvest the supreme fruit of Buddhahood is to reach maturity. To appear in various forms in the phenomenal world for the salvation of others is to prosper. Although these four stages differ from one another, they all take the Law as their basis." http://nichiren.info/gosho/UnmatchedFortuneLaw.htm


 The Universal Worthy Sutra states, “Without either cutting off earthly desires or separating themselves from the five desires, they can purify all their senses and wipe away all their offenses.” Great Concentration and Insight says, “The ignorance and dust of desires are enlightenment, and the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.” The “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra says, http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/35

 You people look to human beings to be your allies. But I, Nichiren, make the gods of the sun and moon, Taishaku and Bonten, my allies. Gods of the sun and moon, open your divine eyes and look at what is happening! http://nichiren.info/gosho/AttainingBuddhahoodOnesPresentForm.htm

 Let us openly and clearly outline the virtues of Myoho-renge-kyo! Just as poisonous compounds are changed into medicine, so these five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo change evil into good. The Spring of Jewels is so called because, in this spring, stones are changed into jewels.13 In the same way, these five characters can change ordinary human beings into Buddhas. http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/152


A classical document tells of the Emperor of Han, who so implicitly believed his aide's report that he found the river actually frozen. Another relates how Li Kuang14, eager to revenge his father, pierced with his arrow a boulder hidden in the grass. T'ien-t'ai and Miao-lo's annotations make it absolutely clear that faith is the cornerstone. Because the Han emperor believed without doubt in his retainer's words, the river froze over. And Li Kuang was able to pierce a rock with his arrow because he fully believed it to be the tiger which had killed his father. Faith is still more powerful in the world of Buddhism.http://nichiren.info/gosho/RealAspectGohonzon.htm

 “Without either cutting off earthly desires or separating themselves from the five desires, they can purify all their senses and wipe away all their offenses.” Great Concentration and Insight says, “The ignorance and dust of desires are enlightenment, and the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.” http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/35

 Suppose that one is building a great pagoda. In addition to the lumber to be used in the pagoda itself, one gathers together a large quantity of small timbers and uses them to build a scaffolding ten or twenty feet in height. After one has done this, one uses the original lumber to construct the pagoda. And when the pagoda is completed, one then removes the scaffolding and discards it, leaving the pagoda in place. http://nichiren.info/gosho/ReplyMotherLordUeno.htm


 When one dies, if one is destined to fall into hell, one’s appearance will darken, and one’s body will become as heavy as a stone that requires the strength of a thousand men to move. But in the case of a good person, even if she should be a woman seven or eight feet tall and of dark complexion, at the hour of death, her countenance will become pure and white, and her body will be as light as a goose feather and as soft and pliable as cotton. http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/127

 In the secular texts it says, “A sage is one who fully understands those things that have not yet made their appearance.” And in the Buddhist texts it says, “A sage is one who knows the three existences of life—past, present, and future.”

Three times now I have gained distinction by having such knowledge. http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/66


 But the people lacked the proper capacity and the time was not right. Therefore he drew distinctions regarding this lotus of the single Law and expounded it as three kinds of flowers, delivering to the people the provisional teachings of the three vehicles. For over forty years he guided and led them with these temporary teachings according to their capacities. During this period, because the capacities of the persons he addressed were so varied, he bestowed upon them the various flowers and plants of the provisional teachings, but he never spoke of Myoho-renge. http://nichiren.info/gosho/EntityMysticLaw.htm

From the very beginning, the Buddha's intention in appearing in the world was to preach the wonderful Law [of the Lotus Sutra]. But because the people differed so greatly in their capacity and were not ripe to receive it, the Buddha first pondered for a period of three weeks, then spent the following forty years and more preparing and readying the people, and then finally preached this wonderful Law. http://nichiren.info/gosho/InititallyAspiringWay.htm

And because our wisdom is inadequate, he teaches us to substitute faith for wisdom, making this single word “faith” the foundation. Disbelief is the cause for becoming an icchantika and for slander of the Law, while faith is the cause for wisdom and corresponds to the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth.http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/94

There is a way to become a Buddha easily, and I will teach it to you. To teach another something is like oiling the wheels of a heavy cart so that they will turn, or like floating a boat upon the water so that it may move ahead without difficulty. The way to become a Buddha easily is nothing extraordinary. It is, for example, to give water to a thirsty person in time of drought or to provide fire for someone freezing in the cold. Or again, it is to give another something irreplaceable: when one's own life is about to be extinguished from want of it, one gives it as alms to another person.http://nichiren.info/gosho/WealthyManSudatta.htm

In his Daichido ron, Bodhisattva Nagarjuna says, "Question: [...Answer:] If that is so, then none of sutras from the Kegon to the Hannya haramitsu is a secret teaching, but the Lotus Sutra is secret.... [The Lotus Sutra is] like a great physician who changes poison into medicine." T’ien-t’ai explained the quotation further, saying, "This can be likened to a skilled physician who changes poison into medicine.... That persons of the two vehicles were given the prophecy of their enlightenment in this sutra means that it [the sutra] changes poison into medicine. This is what the Daichido ron means when it says, ‘The various sutras are not secret teachings; only the Lotus Sutra is secret.’ " The Maka shikan says, "The Lotus Sutra can cure them [illnesses], which is why it is called myo or wonderful." Miao-lo says, "Because it can cure that which is thought to be incurable, it is called myo or wonderful."5


At such a time, the three obstacles and four devils will invariably appear, and the wise will rejoice while the foolish will retreat.



I am certain that this is all because the characters of the Lotus Sutra have entered into your bodies in order to give us aid. I am praying that, no matter how troubled the times may become, the Lotus Sutra and the ten demon daughters will protect all of you, praying as earnestly as though to produce fire from damp wood, or to obtain water from parched ground.


The most important thing is to chant only Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and attain enlightenment. All depends on the strength of your faith. To have faith is the basis of Buddhism. That is why the fourth volume of the Maka Shikan states, "Buddhism is a vast ocean, but only those with faith can enter." In interpreting this passage, Miao-lo writes in the fourth volume of his Guketsu, "Even Confucius teaches that faith is first and foremost. This is all the more true with the profound doctrines of Buddhism! Without faith, how can one possibly approach them? That is why the Kegon Sutra defines faith as the basis of practice and the mother of blessings." The first volume of the Maka Shikan further states, "How does one hear, believe in and practice the perfect teaching to attain perfect enlightenment?" Volume One of the Guketsu interprets this: "To 'believe in the perfect teaching' means to awaken faith through doctrine and make faith the basis of practice." A classical document tells of the Emperor of Han, who so implicitly believed his aide's report that he found the river actually frozen. Another relates how Li Kuang14, eager to revenge his father, pierced with his arrow a boulder hidden in the grass. T'ien-t'ai and Miao-lo's annotations make it absolutely clear that faith is the cornerstone. Because the Han emperor believed without doubt in his retainer's words, the river froze over. And Li Kuang was able to pierce a rock with his arrow because he fully believed it to be the tiger which had killed his father. Faith is still more powerful in the world of Buddhism.




Misfortune comes from one's mouth and ruins him, but fortune comes from one's mind and makes him worthy of respect.



The greatest evil among evils produces consequences that not only affect the perpetrators personally, but extend to their sons, their grandsons and so on down to the seventh generation. And the same is true of the greatest good among good.
The Venerable Maudgalyayana put his faith in the Lotus Sutra, which is the greatest good there is, and thus not only did he himself attain Buddhahood, but his father and mother did so as well. Not only that, but all the fathers and mothers of the preceding seven generations and the seven generations that followed, indeed, of countless lifetimes before and after, were able to attain Buddhahood, amazing as it may seem. And in addition, all their sons, their wives or husbands, their retainers, supporters and countless other persons were not only enabled to escape from the three evil paths, but all attained the first stage of security and then Buddhahood, the stage of perfect enlightenment.

The demon who appeared before Sessen Doji was Taishaku in disguise. The dove which sought the protection of King Shibi was the god Bishukatsuma,4 King Fumyo,5 who was imprisoned in the castle of King Hanzoku, was Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings. The eyes of common mortals cannot see their true identities, but the eyes of the Buddha can. As the sutra states, the sky and the sea both have paths for birds and fish to come and go. A wooden statue [of the Buddha] is itself a golden Buddha, and a golden Buddha is a wooden statue. Aniruddha’s gold was seen first as a hare and then as a corpse.6 Sand in the palm of Mahanama’s7 hand turned into gold. These things are beyond ordinary understanding. A common mortal is a Buddha, and a Buddha a common mortal. This is exactly what is meant by the doctrine of the three thousand realms in a single moment of life and by the phrase, "I in fact attained Buddhahood."8

The Lotus Sutra is the teacher of all the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three existences. The Buddhas of the ten directions are the Buddha Zentoku in the east, the Buddha Muutoku in the southeast, the Buddha Sendantoku in the south, the Buddha Hose in the southwest, the Buddha Muryomyo in the west, the Buddha Ketoku in the northwest, the Buddha Sotoku in the north, the Buddha Sanjogyo in the northeast, the Buddha Koshutoku of the zenith, and the Buddha Myotoku of the nadir.

When a tree has been transplanted, though fierce winds may blow on it, it will not topple if it has a firm stake to hold it up. But even a tree that has grown up in place may fall over if its roots are weak. Even a feeble person will not stumble if those supporting him are strong, while a person of considerable strength of character, when alone, may lose his footing on an uneven path.

Those who have faith in the Lotus Sutra will never be reborn in any of these, but will at once be reborn in a pure land where the Lotus Sutra is being preached. They will take their seats among the assembly, listen to the Lotus Sutra and as a result become Buddhas.

In judging the relative merit of Buddhist doctrines, I, Nichiren, believe that the best standards are those of reason and documentary proof. And even more valuable than reason and documentary proof is the proof of actual fact.

If the source is muddy, the stream will not flow clear; if the body is bent, the shadow will not stand upright.

‎"The seed of the nyagrodha tree, though one-third the size of a mustard seed, can conceal five hundred carts within itself. Is this not a case of the small containing the large? The wish-granting jewel, while only one in number, is able to rain down ten thousand treasures without a single thing lacking. Is this not a case of the few encompassing the many? The popular proverb says that 'one is the mother of ten thousand.' Do you not understand the principle behind these matters? The important thing to consider is whether or not a doctrine conforms with the principle of the true aspect of reality. Do not be blindly attached to the question of many or few!

There is no greater happiness for human beings than chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The sutra says, "The people there [in my land] are happy and at ease."1 "Happy and at ease" here means the joy derived from the Law. You are obviously included among the "people," and "there" indicates the entire world, which includes Japan. "Happy and at ease" means to know that our lives--both our bodies and minds, ourselves and our surroundings--are the entities of ichinen sanzen and the Buddha of absolute freedom. There is no greater happiness than having faith in the Lotus Sutra. It promises us "peace and security in this life and good circumstances in the next."2 Never let life's hardships disturb you. After all, no one can avoid problems, not even saints or sages.

Just chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and when you drink saké, stay at home with your wife. Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy.

And now I wonder what karma from past existences has caused Nichiren and his associates to become the proponents of the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra? It seems to me that at present Bonten, Taishaku, the deities of the sun and moon, the Four Heavenly Kings, Tensho Daijin, Great Bodhisattva Hachiman and all the major and minor gods of the 3,132 shrines throughout Japan are like King Rinda of past times, that the white horses are Nichiren, and the white swans are my followers. The neighing of the white horses is the sound of our voices chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. When Bonten, Taishaku, the deities of the sun and moon, the Four Heavenly Kings and the others hear this sound, how could they fail to take on a healthy color and shine with a brilliant light? How could they fail to guard and protect us? We should be firmly convinced of this!

The wonderful means of truly putting an end to the physical and spiritual obstacles of all living beings is none other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

A passage from the sutra reads: "If someone . . . should enter a great fire, the fire could not burn him.... If one were washed away by a great flood and called upon his name, one would immediately find oneself in a shallow place."3 Another passage reads, "It cannot be burned by fire or washed away by water."4 How reassuring! How encouraging!

The Lotus Sutra says, "The young sons of the heavenly deities will wait on and serve him. Swords and staves will not touch him, and poison will have no power to harm him." How reassuring this sutra is!


Thus T'ien-t'ai says: "[The great assembly] witnessed the Bodhisattvas of the Earth alone making this pledge." And he also states: "These are my [Shakyamuni's] disciples, destined to propagate my Law." Miao-lo says: "The sons will disseminate the Law of the father." And Tao-hsien states: "Because the Law is that realized by the Buddha in the remote past, it was transferred to those who were his disciples in that distant time."

A robe serves to keep off the cold and the heat, to hide one's nakedness and to adorn one's body. The Yakuo chapter in the seventh volume of the Lotus Sutra says, "Like a naked person who obtains clothing," meaning the one [who obtains the Lotus Sutra] will be as delighted as a naked person who obtains a robe. Among the Buddha's successors, there was one named Shanavasa, who was born wearing a robe. This came about because, in a previous existence, he had donated a robe for the sake of Buddhism. Also, the Lotus Sutra speaks of "the robe of gentleness and forbearance."

Buddhism primarily concerns itself with victory or defeat, while government is based on the principle of reward and punishment. For this reason, a Buddha is looked up to as the supreme leader of the world, while a king is called the one who rules at his will. India is called the Land of the Moon and our country is named the Land of the Sun.

The greatest evil among evils produces consequences that not only affect the perpetrators personally, but extend to their sons, their grandsons and so on down to the seventh generation. And the same is true of the greatest good among good.

The Venerable Maudgalyayana put his faith in the Lotus Sutra, which is the greatest good there is, and thus not only did he himself attain Buddhahood, but his father and mother did so as well. Not only that, but all the fathers and mothers of the preceding seven generations and the seven generations that followed, indeed, of countless lifetimes before and after, were able to attain Buddhahood, amazing as it may seem. And in addition, all their sons, their wives or husbands, their retainers, supporters and countless other persons were not only enabled to escape from the three evil paths, but all attained the first stage of security and then Buddhahood, the stage of perfect enlightenment.

Part One
Only when one understands all this clearly and has faith in it can the power of the Law be manifested and the Buddhas and bodhisattvas bring benefit to the people. To illustrate, in kindling a fire, three things are needed: a good piece of steel, a good flint and good tinder. The same is true of prayer. Three things are required--a good teacher, a good believer and a good doctrine--before the prayers can be effective and disasters banished from the land.

A "good teacher" is a priest who is innocent of any wrongdoing in secular affairs, who never fawns upon others even in the slightest, who has few desires and is satisfied with little, and who is compassionate, a priest who trusts to the scriptures, reads and upholds the Lotus Sutra and also encourages others to embrace it. Such a priest the Buddha has praised by calling him, among all priests, the finest teacher of the Dharma.

Part two
A "good believer" is one who does not depend upon persons of eminence nor despise persons of humble station, who does not rely on the backing of his superiors nor look down on his inferiors, who, not relying upon the opinions of others, upholds the Lotus Sutra among all the various sutras. Such a person the Buddha has called the best of all people.

As for a "good doctrine," the Buddha has told us that this sutra, the Lotus, represents the foremost among all doctrines. Among all the sutras the Buddha "has preached," among those he "now preaches," and among those he "will preach," this sutra is designated as foremost, and therefore it is a "good doctrine."

When a person thus embraces the Lotus Sutra, he will cause the gods, dragons, and the others of the eight kinds of lowly beings, as well as all the great bodhisattvas, to become his followers. Not only that, but his physical body, which is still in the course of achieving Buddhahood, will acquire the Buddha eye of one who has perfected that course; and this common flesh, that exists in the realm of the conditioned, will put on the holy garments of the unconditioned. Then he need never fear the three paths or tremble before the eight difficulties. He will ascend to the peak of the mountain of the seven expedients and sweep away the clouds of the nine worlds. In the garden of undefiled ground the flowers will bloom, and in the sky of the Dharma nature the moon will shine brightly.

For this reason, when praying that "the seven difficulties vanish, the seven blessings at once appear," this sutra, the Lotus, is the most effective of all. That is because it promises that one "will enjoy peace and security in this life." And when offering prayers to avert the disasters of foreign invasion and internal revolt, nothing can surpass this wonderful sutra, because it promises that persons who embrace it will be protected "for as far as a hundred yojana away, so that they shall suffer no decline or distress."

This, the Lotus, is the king of sutras, defying description in words, the wonderful Law that is beyond the mind's power to comprehend.

If the sutra that one embraces is superior to all other sutras, then the person who can uphold its teachings must likewise surpass other people. That is why the Lotus Sutra states: "He who can uphold this sutra will also be first among all the multitude of living beings." There can be no question about these golden words of the great sage, the Buddha. And yet people fail to understand this principle or to examine the matter, but instead seek worldly reputation or give way to suspicion and prejudice, thus forming the basis for falling into hell.

Each character of this [Lotus] sutra is without exception a living Buddha of supreme enlightenment, but we ordinary people, viewing the sutra with the eyes of common mortals, see it as a mere succession of characters. Hungry spirits perceive the Ganges River as fire, human beings perceive it as water, and heavenly beings perceive it as amrita. The water itself is the same, but it appears differently according to the karmic capacity of individuals.

The blind cannot see the characters of this sutra. To the eyes of common mortals, they are but written words. People of the two vehicles perceive them as the emptiness of space. Bodhisattvas look on them as innumerable teachings. However, the Buddha recognizes each character as a golden Lord Shakyamuni. This is the meaning of the statement that "[one who is able to hold this sutra] thereby holds the Buddha's body." Those who practice Buddhism but adhere to distorted views destroy this loftiest of sutras.

The character myo is rendered in Sanskrit by the word sad, and in Chinese is pronounced miao. Myo means "fully endowed," which in turn has the meaning of "perfection." Each word and each character of the Lotus Sutra contains within it all the 69,384 characters that compose the sutra. To illustrate, one drop of the great ocean contains within it the waters of all the various rivers that flow into the ocean, and the wish-granting jewel, though no bigger than a mustard seed, is capable of showering down all the treasures that one could wish for.

However, even a large rock can float on the sea when carried aboard a boat. Does not water extinguish even a great fire? Even a small error will destine one to the evil paths if one does not repent of it. Yet even a grave offense can be eradicated if one repents of it sincerely.


Because it [the Lotus Sutra] can cure that which is thought to be incurable, it is called myo or mystic."


This is because they can cure only the living but cannot cure the dead. The Lotus Sutra, however, can cure the dead as well as the living, and therefore it has the character myo in its title.

In any event, even though one's parents may be evildoers, if that person himself is virtuous, his parents' offenses will be forgiven. On the other hand, although the child may be an evildoer, if the parents are good people, their child's faults will be pardoned. Hence, even though your late son Yashiro committed evil, if you, the mother who gave birth to him, grieve for him and offer prayers for him day and night in the presence of Shakyamuni Buddha, how can he not be saved? Rather, as a believer in the Lotus Sutra, he will surely lead his parents to Buddhahood.

The three obstacles in this quotation are bonno-sho, go-sho and ho-sho. Bonno-sho are the obstacles to one's practice which arise from greed, anger, stupidity and the like; go-sho are the obstacles posed by one's wife or children, and hosho are the hindrances caused by one's sovereign or parents. Of the four devils, the functions of the Devil of the Sixth Heaven are of this last kind. In Japan today, is there anyone who has actually encountered the three obstacles and four devils? Yet many people claim they have mastered the Maka Shikan. The statement, "If you fall under their influence, you will be led into the paths of evil," does not indicate merely the three evil paths but also Tranquility and Rapture, and in general, all of the nine worlds.

Shakyamuni who attained enlightenment countless aeons ago, the Lotus Sutra which leads all people to Buddhahood,7 and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from each other. Therefore, to chant Myoho-renge-kyo with this realization is to inherit the ultimate law of life and death. To carry on this heritage is the most important task for Nichiren's disciples, and that is precisely what it means to embrace the Lotus Sutra. For one who summons up his faith and chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the profound insight that now is the last moment of his life, the sutra proclaims: "After his death, a thousand Buddhas will extend their hands to free him from all fear and keep him from falling into evil paths."8 How can we possibly hold back our tears at the inexpressible joy of knowing that not just one or two, nor only one hundred or two hundred, but as many as a thousand Buddhas will come to greet us with open arms!

 Buddhism teaches that when the Buddha nature manifests itself from within, it will obtain protection from without. This is one of its fundamental principles. The Lotus Sutra says, I have profound reverence for you.’ The Nirvana Sutra states, ‘All living beings alike possess the Buddha nature.’ Bodhisattva Ashvaghosha’s Kishin ron3 says, ‘The essential truth of mind constantly permeates and exerts its influence. Therefore, when [the attainment of enlightenment] quickly causes illusions to cease to be, the body of the Law will manifest itself."4 Bodhisattva Miroku’s Yuga ron5 contains a similar statement. What is unseen will be rewarded with visible results.

It also says, ‘There are six causes of illness: (1) disharmony of the four elements;4 (2) improper eating or drinking; (3) inappropriate practice of seated meditation; (4) attack by demons; (5) the work of devils; and (6) the effects of karma."

The Nirvana Sutra reads, "There are three types of people whose illness is extremely difficult to cure. The first are those who slander the great vehicle; the second, those who commit the five cardinal sins; and the third, icchantikas or persons of incorrigible disbelief. These three categories of illness are the gravest in the world."

The teaching that I, Nichiren, am now propagating may seem limited, but it is actually exceedingly profound. This is because it goes deeper than the teachings expounded by T’ien-t’ai and Dengyo. It consists of the three important matters8 contained in the Juryo chapter of the essential teaching. To practice only the seven characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo may appear limited, yet since this Law is the master of all the Buddhas of the three existences, the teacher of all the bodhisattvas in the ten directions, and the guide that enables all living beings to attain the Buddha way, its practice is incomparably profound.

It was this most august and precious Lotus Sutra which in past existences I put under my knees, despised, scowled upon in disgust and refused to believe in. In one way or another, I maliciously ridiculed people who studied the Lotus Sutra and who taught it to others, even if only to a single person, thereby passing on the Law for the future. In addition, I did everything I could to hinder people from embracing the sutra by asserting that they should set it aside for a while because, though it might be suitable for practice in their next lifetime, it would be too difficult for them to practice in this lifetime.12 Slanderous acts such as these have now brought on the many severe persecutions I have suffered in my lifetime. Because I once disparaged the Lotus Sutra, the highest of all sutras, I am now looked down upon and my words go unheeded.

"I have been practicing this sutra correctly since last year, when you told me that those who embrace this sutra will enjoy peace and security in this life and good circumstances in the next. But instead I have been deluged by hardships." Is this true, or did he give me a false report? In either case, I will take advantage of this opportunity to resolve any doubts you may have.

A passage from the Lotus Sutra reads, "...difficult to believe and difficult to understand."2 Many hear about and accept this sutra, but few continue their faith in the face of great obstacles. To accept is easy; to continue is difficult. But Buddhahood lies in continuing faith. Those who embrace this sutra should be prepared to meet difficulties. It is certain, however, that they will "quickly obtain the supreme enlightenment."3 To "sustain faith" means to cherish Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the teaching by which all Buddhas throughout past, present and future attain enlightenment.

If itai doshin (many in body, one in mind) prevails among the people, they will achieve all their goals, whereas in dotai ishin (one in body, different in mind), they can achieve nothing remarkable. The more than three thousand volumes of Confucianism and Taoist literature are filled with examples. King Chou of Yin led 700,000 soldiers into battle against King Wu of Chou and his 800 men. Yet King Chou's army lost because of disunity while King Wu's men defeated him because of perfect unity. Even an individual at cross purposes with himself is certain to end in failure. Yet a hundred or even a thousand people can definitely attain their goal if they are of one mind.

‎"His wishes shall not be in vain, and he will receive his reward of good fortune in his present life." It also states, "Truly he will have manifest reward in his present life." The Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai says, "The Son of Heaven utters not a single word in vain," and "The words of the Dharma King contain no falsehood." A wise ruler will never lie, even if it should bring about his ruin. How much less would Shakyamuni Buddha ever speak falsely! When he was King Fumyo [in a previous existence], he returned to the palace of King Hanzoku [to be executed], because he upheld the precept against lying. When he met King Kali [in another past existence], he declared that those people who speak but little of the truth or who tell great lies will fall into hell.

All disciples and believers of Nichiren should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with one mind (itai doshin), transcending all differences among themselves13 to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim. This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate law of life and death. Herein lies the true goal of Nichiren's propagation. When you are so united, even the great hope for kosen-rufu can be fulfilled without fail. But if any of Nichiren's disciples should disrupt the unity of itai doshin, he will destroy his own castle from within.

The blessings which I, Nichiren, obtain from propagating the Lotus Sutra will return to Dozen-bo. How sublime! It is said that if a master has a good disciple, both will attain Buddhahood, but if a master fosters a bad disciple, both will fall into hell.

If master and disciple are not of the same mind, they cannot accomplish anything. I will elaborate on this point later.

As the sutra says, a parasite in the lion's bowels will devour the lion. A man of great fortune cannot be ruined by his enemies but only by those close to him


Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbor doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood. Do not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life. This is what I have taught my disciples morning and evening, and yet they begin to harbor doubts and abandon their faith

With all this in mind, I note that you have a grandson, Jibu-bo, who is a Buddhist priest. This priest does not uphold the precepts and is lacking in wisdom. He does not observe a single one of the two hundred and fifty precepts, nor a single one of the three thousand rules of conduct. In his lack of wisdom he is in a class with oxen or horses, and because of his failure to observe the rules of conduct he resembles a monkey. But he reveres Shakyamuni Buddha and puts his faith in the teaching of the Lotus Sutra. Hence he is like a snake that grips a jewel in its mouth, or a dragon that bears sacred relics on its head. A wisteria vine, by twining around a pine, may climb a thousand meters into the air, and a crane, because it has its wings to rely upon, can travel ten thousand miles. It is not their own strength that allows them to do these things.


But before that, he had revealed his enlightenment in the form of the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, the words of this sutra are indeed the very soul of Shakyamuni Buddha. And since every single word constitutes the soul of the Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha will protect persons who practice this sutra as though he were protecting his very own eyes. He will accompany such persons just as a shadow accompanies a body. How then could the prayers of such persons not be answered?

In such a short time, how could these heavenly beings have forgotten the vow that they took in the presence of the Buddha, or the debt of gratitude they owe to the sutra that allowed them to attain Buddhahood, and thus abandon the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra? When we think of it in this way, we can feel greatly assured.

Therefore we know that the prayers offered by a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra will be answered just as an echo answers a sound, as a shadow follows a form, as the reflection of the moon appears in clear water, as a mirror collects dewdrops,20 as a lodestone attracts iron, as amber attracts particles of dust, or as a bright mirror reflects the color of an object.

When I examine the reasoning and the textual proofs you have presented above, I would have to say that, if there are a sun and a moon in the sky, if there are plants and trees on the earth, if there are day and night in this country of ours, then so long as the earth fails to turn upside down and the tides of the ocean continue to ebb and flow, there can be no doubt that the prayers of the person who puts his faith in the Lotus Sutra will be answered in this world, and that in his next existence he will enjoy good circumstances.

‎"Knowledge without faith" describes those who may be knowledgeable about the Lotus Sutra but do not believe in it. These people will never attain Buddhahood. Those of "faith without knowledge" may lack knowledge but believe, and can attain Buddhahood. These are not merely my own words but are explicitly stated in the sutra. In the second volume of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha said to Shariputra, "It is by faith and not by your own intelligence that you can attain enlightenment." This explains why even Shariputra, unsurpassed in his intelligence, was able to attain Buddhahood only by embracing and firmly believing in the sutra. Knowledge alone could not bring him to enlightenment. If Shariputra could not reach enlightenment through his vast knowledge, how can we, of little knowledge, dare to dream that we may attain Buddhahood if we do not have faith

Then, as though in answer, a large star bright as the Morning Star fell from the sky and struck a branch of the plum tree in front of me. The soldiers, astounded, jumped down from the verandah, fell on their faces in the garden, or ran behind the house. Immediately a fierce wind started up, raging so violently that the whole island of Enoshima seemed to roar. The sky shook, echoing with a sound like pounding drums.

At dawn of the fourteenth day, around the Hour of the Hare (5-7 am), a man called Juro Nyudo came and said to me, "Last night there was a huge commotion in the Regent's residence at the Hour of the Dog (7-9 pm). They summoned a diviner, who said, 'The country is going to erupt in turmoil because you punished that priest. If you do not call him back to Kamakura, there is no telling what will befall this land.' At that, some said, 'Let's pardon him!' Others said, 'Since he predicted that war would break out within a hundred days, we should wait and see what happens."

The wish-granting jewels are the relics of Shakyamuni Buddha. The dragon kings received them and carried them on their heads, and Taishaku held them in his hand and caused treasures to rain down. The reason why the body and bones of the Buddha can become wish-granting jewels is because the great precept he observed over a period of innumerable kalpas imbued his body with its fragrance and permeated his bones, so that they became jewels capable of saving all beings.

‎" I had no sooner said this when a brilliant orb as bright as the moon burst forth from the direction of Enoshima, shooting across the sky from southeast to northwest. It was shortly before dawn and still too dark to see anyone's face, but the radiant object clearly illuminated everyone like bright moonlight. The executioner fell on his face, his eyes blinded. The soldiers were terrified and panic-stricken. Some ran off into the distance, some jumped from their horses and knelt on the ground, and others crouched down in their saddles. I called out, "Here, why do you shrink from this miserable prisoner? Come nearer! Come closer!" But no one would approach. "What if the dawn should break? You must hasten to execute me, for you will find it unbearable to do so after sunrise." I urged them on, but they made no response.

However, we find that the first and second halves of the Lotus Sutra repudiate both these statements. One Buddha who says two things as opposite as fire and water -- who could believe him? This is the point "difficult to believe" And "difficult to understand" In the realm of the Buddha's teachings. The point "difficult to believe" And "difficult to understand" In the realm of his enlightenment concerns the principle of ichinen sanzen, which explains that even insentient beings possess the ten factors of life, and that they possess both material and spiritual aspects of life.

Question: If insentient beings possess the ten factors, is it correct to assume that plants and trees have minds and can attain Buddhahood like sentient beings?
Answer: This is a matter that is difficult to believe and difficult to understand. T'ien-t'ai defined two points that are "difficult to believe" And "difficult to understand." One lies in the realm of the Buddha's teachings and the other in the realm of his enlightenment. In the sutras preached before the Lotus Sutra we read that adherents of the doctrines of the two vehicles and people of incorrigible disbelief are forever barred from attaining Buddhahood, and that Shakyamuni for the first time attained enlightenment in this world.

Answer: When we look from time to time at a person's face, we find him sometimes joyful, sometimes enraged, and sometimes calm. At times greed appears in the person's face, at times foolishness, and at times perversity. Rage is the world of Hell, greed is that of Hunger, foolishness is that of Animality, perversity is that of Anger, joy is that of Rapture, and calmness is that of Humanity. These worlds, the six paths, are present in the physical appearance of the person's face. The remaining four noble worlds are hidden and dormant and do not appear in the face, but if we search carefully, we can tell that they are there


But how great is the difference between the blessings received when a sage chants the daimoku and the blessings received when we chant it?" To reply, one is in no way superior to the other. The gold that a fool possesses is in no way different from the gold that a wise man possesses; a fire made by a fool is the same as a fire made by a wise man.

However, there is a difference if one chants the daimoku while acting against the intent of this sutra. There are many forms of slander that go against the correct practice of this sutra.


Deep in the Snow Mountains lives a bird called Kankucho which, tortured by the numbing cold, cries that it will build a nest in the morning. Yet, when the day breaks, it sleeps away the hours in the warm light of the morning sun without building its nest. So it continues to cry vainly throughout its life. The same is true of people. When they fall into hell and suffocate in its flames, they long to be reborn as humans and vow to put everything else aside and serve the three treasures in order to attain enlightenment in their next life. But even on the rare occasions when they happen to be reborn human, the winds of fame and fortune blow violently and the lamp of Buddhist practice is easily extinguished. The squander their wealth without a qualm on meaningless trifles but begrudge even the smallest contribution to the Buddha, the Law, and the Priest.

 This is one of the most important points in the Lotus Sutra. The doctrine of the sowing of the seed and its maturing and harvesting2 is the very heart and core of the Lotus Sutra. All the Buddhas of the three existences and the ten directions have invariably attained Buddhahood through the seeds represented by the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo.

The world will become as it was in the ages of Fu Hsi and Shen Nung7 in ancient China. Disasters will be driven from the land, and people will be rid of misfortune. They will also learn the art of living long, fulfilling lives. Realize that the time will come when the truth will be revealed that both the Person and the Law are unaging and eternal. There cannot be the slightest doubt about the sutra's solemn promise of a peaceful life in this world.8

Misfortune comes from one's mouth and ruins him, but fortune comes from one's mind and makes him worthy of respect.

The Lotus Sutra states: "[And whatever he preaches according to his understanding] will never contradict the truth." And T'ien-t'ai interprets this to mean that "no affairs of life or work are in any way different from the ultimate reality." A person of wisdom is not one who practices Buddhism apart from worldly affairs but, rather, one who thoroughly understands the principles by which the world may be governed

“Guard your speech, govern your mind, do not do wrong in deed. One who practices in this way will surely attain emancipation.”


Let us openly and clearly proclaim the virtues of Myoho-renge-kyo! Just as poisonous compounds are changed into medicine, so these five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo change evil into good. The Spring of Jewels is so called because, in this spring, stones are changed into jewels.14 In the same way, these five characters can change ordinary human beings into Buddhas. Therefore, because your beloved departed father chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo while he was alive, he was a person who attained Buddhahood in his present form, in the same way that stones change into jewels.

The more gold is heated in the flames, the brighter will be its color; the more a sword is whetted, the sharper it will become. And the more one praises the blessings of the Lotus Sutra, the more his blessings will increase. Bear in mind that the twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra contain only a few passages elucidating the truth, but a great many words of praise.

The jewel of the character myo contains all the benefits which Shakyamuni Buddha received by practicing the six paramitas in his past existences: the benefits he obtained through the practice of almsgiving by offering his body to a starving tigress14 and by giving his life in exchange for that of a dove;15 the benefits he obtained when he was King Shudama,16 who, in order to observe the precepts, kept his word though it meant his death; the benefits he obtained as a hermit called Ninniku17 by enduring the tortures inflicted upon him by King Kari; the benefits he obtained as Prince Nose18 and as the hermit Shojari,19 and all his other benefits. We, people in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law, have not formed even a single good cause, but Shakyamuni, [by bestowing upon us the character myo,] has granted us as many benefits as if we ourselves had fulfilled all the practices of the six paramitas.

Bodhisattva Yakuo burnt his elbows for seventy-two thousand years as an offering to the Lotus Sutra. Bodhisattva Fukyo was for many years abused, humiliated, beaten and stoned by countless monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen because he venerated them by uttering the twenty-four characters which read: "I deeply respect you. I would not dare despise you or be arrogant, for you will all practice the bodhisattva way and surely attain Buddhahood."12 Bodhisattva Fukyo was the Lord Shakyamuni in one of his past lifetimes. King Suzudan performed menial labor in the service of the hermit Ashi for a thousand years in order to receive the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. He even went so far as to make a bed of his own body for his master. As a result, he was reborn as Shakyamuni Buddha.13

One should understand that, of the sacred teachings of the Buddha, there are those known as zuitai, which are preached "in accordance with the minds of others," and those known as zuijii, which are preached "in accordance with the Buddha’s own mind." Thus, if a parent yields to the will of his or her child, that is a case of zuitai. But if the child complies with the will of the parent, that is zuijii. All the other sutras are examples of zuitai, because when preaching them the Buddha adjusted himself to the minds of all other living beings. But the Lotus Sutra is an example of zuijii, because in it the Buddha had all living beings comply with his own mind.hed "in accordance with the Buddha’s own mind." Thus, if a parent yields to the will of his or her child, that is a case of zuitai. But if the child complies with the will of the parent, that is zuijii.

the Buddha says, 'If only you protect those persons who receive and embrace the name of the Lotus Sutra, you will enjoy good fortune beyond measure.'

Myoho-renge-kyo is the Buddha nature of all living beings. The Buddha nature is the Dharma nature, and the Dharma nature is enlightenment. The Buddha nature possessed by Shakyamuni, Taho and all the Buddhas of the ten directions; by Jogyo, Muhengyo and the other Bodhisattvas of the Earth; by Fugen, Monju, Shariputra, Maudgalyayana and the others; by Bonten and Taishaku; by the deities of the sun, the moon, the morning star, the seven stars in the Big Dipper in the northern sky, the twenty-eight constellations and the countless other stars; by the heavenly gods, the earthly deities, the dragon deities, the eight kinds of lowly beings, and the human and heavenly beings who gathered in the great assembly to hear the Buddha's preaching; by King Emma--in short, by all living beings from the realm where there is neither thought nor no thought above the clouds down to the flames in the lowest depths of hell--

It is for this reason that T'ien-t'ai states, "All things having color or fragrance are manifestations of the Middle Way."28 Commenting on this, Miao-lo adds, "However, although people may admit that all things having color or fragrance are manifestations of the Middle Way, they are nevertheless shocked and harbor doubts when they hear for the first time the doctrine that insentient beings possess the Buddha nature."

One may ask why the results of these vows should be so long in appearing. And yet, though one might point at the earth and miss it, though one might bind up the sky, though the tides might cease to ebb and flow and the sun rise up from the west, it could never come about that the prayers of the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra would go unanswered. If the bodhisattvas, the human and heavenly beings, the eight kinds of nonhuman beings, the two sages,40 the two heavenly deities41 and the ten demon daughters would by some unlikely chance fall to appear and protect the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra, then they would be showing disdain for Shakyamuni and the other Buddhas above, and below they would be guilty of deceiving the beings of the nine realms.42

There was a great drought in China in the period of the Ch'en dynasty, but the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai recited the Lotus Sutra, and in no time at all rain began to fall. The ruler and his ministers bowed their heads, and the common people pressed their palms together in reverence. Moreover, the rain was not torrential, nor was it accompanied by wind; it was a shower of soft rain. The Ch'en ruler sat entranced in the presence of the Great Teacher and forgot all about returning to his palace. At that time, he bowed three times [in acknowledgment to the Great Teacher].

Don't you remember your promise?" I had no sooner said this when a brilliant orb as bright as the moon burst forth from the direction of Enoshima, shooting across the sky from southeast to northwest. It was shortly before dawn and still too dark to see anyone's face, but the radiant object clearly illuminated everyone like bright moonlight. The executioner fell on his face, his eyes blinded. The soldiers were terrified and panic-stricken. Some ran off into the distance, some jumped from their horses and knelt on the ground, and others crouched down in their saddles. I called out, "Here, why do you shrink from this miserable prisoner? Come nearer! Come closer!" But no one would approach. "What if the dawn should break? You must hasten to execute me, for you will find it unbearable to do so after sunrise." I urged them on, but they made no response

Question: What authority do you have for stating that a plant, a tree or a land manifests cause and effect, or the ten factors?
Answer: Volume Five of the Maka Shikan says: "A land of this world also has the ten factors. Thus an evil land has appearance, nature, entity, power and so on." Volume Five of the Shakusen states: "Appearance exists only in what is material, nature exists only in what is spiritual. Entity, power, influence, and relation in principle combine both the material and the spiritual. Inherent cause and latent effect are purely spiritual; manifest effect exists only in what is material." The Kongobei-ron12 states: A plant, a tree, a pebble, a speck of dust -- each has the innate Buddha nature, along with the other causes and conditions needed to attain Buddhahood."

If all of you nurture the seeds of Myoho-renge-kyo in your hearts, then you all will be reborn in the land of Myoho-renge-kyo. When the three of you are reunited there face to face, how great your joy will be!


As I have often said, unseen virtue brings about visible reward. Although your fellow samurai all slandered you to your lord, and he himself believed their accusations to be true, because you have for some years honestly cherished a strong desire for your lord's salvation in his next life, you have been able to receive this benefit. And this is only the beginning: be convinced that your great reward is yet to come.

Again: you must be on good terms with other believers, neither seeing, hearing, nor pointing out anything about them that may displease you. You should remain calm and continue to offer prayers. What I have mentioned above is not merely my own opinion. It is the heart of the three thousand volumes of outer writings and the five thousand volumes of inner scriptures.

Nothing is more dreadful in a person than disloyalty. Since your elder brother and your younger brother have of their own accord become enemies of the Lotus Sutra and abandoned you, they are the disloyal ones, and you yourself are not to blame. But if you neglect to look after their wives, you will certainly be acting disloyally. Should your fief be enlarged, provide for them out of your own stores, sparing no effort to ensure their welfare. Only if you do this will your deceased parents protect you without fail, and will Nichiren's prayers also be answered. No matter what faults your brothers' wives may exhibit, pay no attention. In view of things, I believe that if you simply conduct yourself as I advise, your lands will be further increased and you will win the trust of others.

The Great Teacher Miao-lo says: "The propagation of Buddhism truly depends on this. First the teachings on rites and music were expounded, and later the true way was introduced.20" T’ien-t’ai states: "In the Konkomyo Sutra it is recorded that ‘All the good teachings that exist in the world derive from this sutra. To have a profound knowledge of this world is itself Buddhism.21’" In the Maka shikan we read: "I [the Buddha] have dispatched the Three Sages22 to educate the land of China." In the Guketsu, we read: "The Shojohogyo Sutra states that Bodhisattva Gakko appeared in that land under the name Yen Hui, Bodhisattva Kojo appeared there as Confucius, and Bodhisattva Kashyapa appeared as Lao Tzu. Since the sutra is speaking from the point of view of India, it refers to China as ‘that land.’ "

It makes no difference if the practitioner himself is lacking in worth, defective in wisdom, impure in his person and lacking in virtue derived from observing the precepts. So long as he chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they will invariably protect him. One does not throw away gold because the bag that holds it is dirty, one does not ignore the sandalwood trees because of the foul odor of the eranda trees around them, and one does not refuse to gather lotuses because the pond in the valley where they grow is filthy. If they ignore the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra, they will be going against their vow

Fifty years in the life of a human being is equivalent to no more than one day and one night in the lives of beings in the Heaven of the Four Heavenly Kings. And these heavenly beings, passing such days and nights, with thirty such days to a month and twelve such months to a year, live to be five hundred years old. Therefore, twenty-two hundred or more years in the lives of human beings will be equivalent to only forty-four days in the lives of beings in the Heaven of the Four Heavenly Kings

Heaven will invariably protect a person who observes the precepts and practices good. If persons who are born into the human realm do not observe the precepts or practice good, then when these persons in the human realm die, they will in most cases be reborn in the realm of the asura. And if the persons in the realm of the asura become very numerous, they will grow arrogant and will inevitably offend against heaven.

However, if persons who are born into the human realm observe the precepts and practice good, when they die they will invariably be reborn in the realm of heavenly beings. And if those in the realm of heavenly beings become very numerous, the asuras will be frightened and will not dare to offend against heaven. That is the reason why heaven invariably protects persons who observe the precepts and practice good.

The sutra says: "They were constantly reborn with their teachers in various Buddha lands.2 And it also says: "If one stays close to the teachers of the Law, he will speedily gain the bodhisattva way. By following and learning from these teachers, he will see Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands."3

In light of the above quotations, it would seem that your illness cannot have originated anywhere outside the six causes of disease. I will set aside the first five causes for the moment. Illnesses of the sixth, which result from karma, are the most difficult to cure. They vary in severity and one cannot make any fixed pronouncements, but we know that the gravest illnesses result from the karma created by slandering the Lotus Sutra. Even Shen Nung, Huang Ti,7 Hua T’o8 and Pien Ch’ueh9 threw up their hands, and Jisui, Rusui,10 Jivaka11 and Vimalakirti likewise kept silent. Such illnesses can only be cured by the good medicine of Shakyamuni Buddha’s Lotus Sutra, as that sutra itself explains.

The Nirvana Sutra, referring to the Lotus Sutra, states, "Even the offense of slandering this correct teaching [will be eradicated] if one repents and professes faith in the correct teaching....

More than fifteen hundred years after the Buddha passed away, there lived a man in China called Ch'en Ch'en. It was prophesied that he would die at the age of fifty, but by following the precepts of the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai, he was able to prolong his life by fifteen years, and lived to be sixty-five. The Buddha taught that Bodhisattva Fukyo also transformed his immutable karma and prolonged his life through his practice of the Lotus Sutra. Ajatashatru, Ch'en Ch'en and Fukyo were men, not women, but they did prolong their lives by practicing the Lotus Sutra. Ch'en Ch'en lived before the fifth five-hundred-year period, so his change of karma was as extraordinary as rice ripening in winter or chrysanthemums blossoming in summer.

Lotus Sutra, and the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra can save more persons than can the theoretical teaching--persons of any capacity at all. One should carefully ponder the six-character phrase: "the truer the teaching, the lower the stage [of the persons it can bring to enlightenment]."

The Ninno Sutra states: "If persons destroy the teachings of the Buddha, they will have no filial sons, no harmony with their six kinds of relatives, and no aid from the heavenly deities and dragons. Disease and evil spirits will come day after day to torment them, disasters will descend on them incessantly, and misfortunes will dog them wherever they go. And when they die, they will fall into the realms of hell, hungry spirits and animals. Even if they should be reborn as human beings, they will be destined to become soldiers or slaves. Retribution will follow as an echo follows a sound or a shadow follows a form. Someone writing at night may put out the lamp, but the words he has written will still remain. It is the same with the effect of the deeds which we carry out for ourselves in the threefold world."

Moreover, the Nirvana Sutra states: "If even a good priest sees someone slandering the Law and disregards him, failing to reproach him, to oust him or to punish him for his offense, then that priest is betraying Buddhism. But if he takes the slanderer severely to task, drives him off or punishes him, then he is my disciple and one who truly understands my teachings."

‎"Rely on the Law and not upon persons. Rely on the meaning [of the teaching] and not upon the words. Rely on wisdom and not upon discriminative thinking. Rely on sutras that are complete and final and not on those that are not complete and final."


To illustrate the extreme rarity of encountering this sutra, the Buddha likened it to the difficulty of a one-eyed turtle encountering a floating sandalwood log with a hollow in it. To give the essence of this analogy: Eighty thousand yojana down on the bottom of the ocean there lives a turtle. He has neither limbs nor flippers. His belly is as hot as heated iron while the shell on his back is as cold as the Snow Mountains. What this turtle yearns for day and night, morning and evening--the desire he utters at each moment--is to cool his belly and warm the shell on his back.

This passage means that we living beings, transmigrating through the six paths of the threefold world, have been born at times in the world of Heaven, at other times in the world of Humanity, and at still other times in the worlds of Hell, Hunger and Animality. Thus we have been born in countless numbers of countries where we have undergone innumerable sufferings and occasionally enjoyed pleasures, but we have never once been born in a country where the Lotus Sutra has spread. Or even if we might have happened to be born in such a country, we did not chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. We never dreamed of chanting it, nor did we ever hear others chant it.

There is definitely something extraordinary in the ebb and flow of the tide, the rising and setting of the moon, and the way in which summer, autumn, winter and spring give way to each other. Something uncommon also occurs when an ordinary person attains Buddhahood. At such a time, the three obstacles and four devils will invariably appear, and the wise will rejoice while the foolish will retreat.

These teachings are of prime importance. They mean that earthly desires are enlightenment and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. Even during the physical union of man and woman, when one chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, then earthly desires are enlightenment and the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. Sufferings are nirvana only when one realizes that life throughout its cycle of birth and death is neither born nor destroyed. These principles are what is meant by the following passages. The Fugen Sutra states, ‘Without cutting off earthly desires and separating themselves from the five desires,11 they can purify their senses and wipe away their offenses.’

Sessen Doji offered his body to a demon to receive a teaching composed of eight characters. Bodhisattva Yakuo, having no oil, burned his elbow as an offering to the Lotus Sutra. In our own country, Prince Shotoku peeled off the skin of his hand on which to copy the Lotus Sutra, and Emperor Tenji burned his third finger as an offering to Shakyamuni Buddha. Such austere practices are for saints and sages, but not for ordinary people.

Yet even common mortals can attain Buddhahood if they cherish one thing: earnest faith. In the deepest sense, earnest faith is the will to understand and live up to the spirit, not the words, of the sutras. What does this mean? In one sense, it means that offering one's only robe to the Lotus Sutra is equivalent to tearing off one's own skin, and in a time of famine, offering the Buddha the single bowl of rice on which one's life depends is to dedicate one's life to the Buddha.


Shuddhipanthaka was unable to memorize a teaching of fourteen characters even in the space of three years, and yet he attained Buddhahood. Devadatta, on the other hand, had committed to memory sixty thousand sacred texts but fell into the hell of incessant suffering. These examples exactly represent the situation in the world in this present latter age. Never suppose that they pertain only to other people and not to yourselves.

The mother of the mighty warrior General Li Kuang was devoured by a ferocious tiger. He spied the beast and shot it with an arrow, but then discovered that what he had seen was only a rock. The arrow lodged itself deep in the rock. He was surprised and tried to duplicate his feat but could not penetrate the stone a second time. Later he came to be known as General Stone Tiger.

‎"If you want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present. And, if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present."

In India there was a person called Sudatta. Seven times he was reduced to poverty, and seven times he became a wealthy man. During his last period of destitution, the people [of the city] had all fled or perished until only he and his wife remained. They had just five measures of rice, enough to last them for five days. At that time, five people - Mahakashyapa, Shariputra, Ananda, Rahula and Shakyamuni Buddha - came by turns to beg for alms and were given the five measures of rice. From that day on, Sudatta became the wealthiest man in all of India and built the Jetavana Monastery. You should understand all similar situations from these examples.

There is a way to become a Buddha easily, and I will teach it to you. To teach another something is like oiling the wheels of a heavy cart so that they will turn, or like floating a boat upon the water so that it may move ahead without difficulty. The way to become a Buddha easily is nothing extraordinary. It is, for example, to give water to a thirsty person in time of drought or to provide fire for someone freezing in the cold. Or again, it is to give another something irreplaceable: when one's own life is about to be extinguished from want of it, one gives it as alms to another person.

‎"If there is one who troubles [a preacher of the Dharma], then his head will be split into seven pieces; if there is one who makes offerings [to the preacher], his good fortune will surpass that of the ten honorable titles." In other words, the benefit of making offerings to a votary of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law exceeds that of making offerings to a Buddha endowed with the ten honorable titles. On the other hand, one who persecutes a votary of the Lotus Sutra in the impure age will have his head broken into seven pieces

All the Buddha's teachings are golden words of truth; for countless aeons, they have never contained the slightest falsehood. The Lotus Sutra is the truth of all truths taught by the Buddha, for it includes his declaration that he would now honestly discard the provisional teachings. Taho Buddha confirmed the truth of the Lotus Sutra and all other Buddhas lent their tongues in testimony. How, then, could it be false? Moreover, this sutra contains the greatest of all secrets. Many women suffer from illness, and now in the fifth five-hundred-year period or a little more than twenty-five hundred years after the Buddha's death, the Lotus Sutra is "beneficial medicine" for them also.

‎"If there is one who troubles [a preacher of the Dharma], then his head will be split into seven pieces; if there is one who makes offerings [to the preacher], his good fortune will surpass that of the ten honorable titles." In other words, the benefit of making offerings to a votary of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law exceeds that of making offerings to a Buddha endowed with the ten honorable titles. On the other hand, one who persecutes a votary of the Lotus Sutra in the impure age will have his head broken into seven pieces

All the Buddha's teachings are golden words of truth; for countless aeons, they have never contained the slightest falsehood. The Lotus Sutra is the truth of all truths taught by the Buddha, for it includes his declaration that he would now honestly discard the provisional teachings. Taho Buddha confirmed the truth of the Lotus Sutra and all other Buddhas lent their tongues in testimony. How, then, could it be false? Moreover, this sutra contains the greatest of all secrets. Many women suffer from illness, and now in the fifth five-hundred-year period or a little more than twenty-five hundred years after the Buddha's death, the Lotus Sutra is "beneficial medicine" for them also.

In the case of the Lotus Sutra, the virtues and benefits of its eight volumes and twenty-eight chapters are all contained within the five characters that make up its title; it is like, for instance, the wonderful wish-granting jewel that contains ten thousand different jewels within it. This is what is meant by the doctrine that the three thousand realms are all contained within a single particle of dust.

Although one studies Buddhism, it is difficult to practice it correctly because of the foolishness of his mind, or because, even though one may be wise, he follows an evil teacher and fails to realize that he is being misled. Moreover, even though one may encounter a good teacher and the sutra of the true teaching and thereby learn the True Law, inevitably, at the time when he resolves to free himself from the sufferings of birth and death and attain Buddhahood, he will encounter the three obstacles and four devils, just as surely as a shadow follows the body and rain is accompanied by clouds. Even if you should manage to overcome the first six, if you are defeated by the seventh, you will not be able to become a Buddha.

Thus it is an extremely rare thing to hear the name of the Lotus Sutra. Though the Buddhas Shusenda and Taho made their appearance in the world, they did not utter so much as the name of the Lotus Sutra. And though Shakyamuni Buddha made his advent expressly for the purpose of preaching the Lotus Sutra, during a period of forty-two years, he kept the name of that sutra secret and never referred to it. It was only when he reached the age of seventy-two that he first began to intone the title of the sutra, Myoho-renge-kyo.

Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds. But if you nurse an unreasonable grudge against your lord, they will not protect you, not for all your prayers.


I am praying that, no matter how troubled the times may become, the Lotus Sutra and the ten demon daughters will protect all of you, praying as earnestly as though to produce fire from damp wood, or to obtain water from parched ground

Strengthen your faith more than ever. Ice is made of water, but it is colder than water. Blue dye is produced from indigo, but if something is dyed in it repeatedly, it becomes bluer than the indigo plant itself.16 The Lotus Sutra itself does not change, but as you continue to strengthen your faith in it, you will be filled with more vitality and receive more blessings than other people do.

There are fourteen evil causes: (1) arrogance, (2) negligence, (3) arbitrary, egotistical judgment, (4) shallow, self-satisfied understanding, (5) attachment to earthly desires, (6) lack of seeking spirit, (7) not believing, (8) aversion, (9) deluded doubt, (10) vilification, (11) contempt, (12) hatred, (13) jealousy and (14) grudges.’" Since these fourteen slanders apply equally to priesthood and laity, you must be on guard against them.

Continue your practice without wavering up until the final moment of your life, and when that time comes, look carefully! When you climb the mountain of wondrous enlightenment and gaze around you in all directions, then to your amazement you will see that the entire universe is the land of Tranquil Light. The ground will be of lapis lazuli, and the eight paths23 will be set apart by golden ropes. Four kinds of flowers24 will fall from the heavens, and music will resound in the air. All Buddhas and bodhisattvas will be present in complete joy, caressed by the breezes of Eternity, Happiness, True Self and Purity.


And if we go by the words of the Lotus Sutra, you should also teach Buddhism to the best of your ability. When the world makes you feel downcast, you should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, remembering that although the sufferings of this life are painful, those in the next life could be much worse. And when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream, and that the only true happiness is that found in the pure land of Eagle Peak,22 and with that thought in mind, chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

In the Latter Day of the Law, the votary of the Lotus Sutra will appear without fail. The greater the hardships befalling him the greater the delight he feels, because of his strong faith. Doesn't a fire burn more briskly when logs are added? All rivers run to the sea, but does its fullness make the rivers flow backward? The currents of hardship pour into the sea of the Lotus Sutra and rush against its votary. The river is not rejected by the ocean; neither does the votary reject suffering. Were it not for the flowing rivers there would be no sea. Likewise, without tribulation there would be no votary of the Lotus Sutra. As T'ien-t'ai stated, "All rivers flow to the sea, and logs make a fire roar."2

‎"Cherry, plum, peach and damson blossoms all have their own qualities, and they manifest the three properties of the life of the Buddha without changing their character"


Famine occurs as a result of greed, pestilence as a result of stupidity, and warfare as a result of anger.

Concerning prayer, there are conspicuous prayer and conspicuous response, conspicuous prayer and inconspicuous response, inconspicuous prayer and inconspicuous response, and inconspicuous prayer and conspicuous response. However, the essential point is that, so long as you carry out faith in this sutra, all your wishes will be fulfilled in both present and future existences

Buddhism is like the body and society like the shadow. When the body is crooked, so is the shadow. How fortunate that all my disciples who follow the Buddha’s true intention will flow naturally into the ocean of all-encompassing wisdom!

More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all. From the time you read this letter on, strive to accumulate the treasures of the heart!

As for the significance of these various scriptures, let me give an analogy that even an uncomprehending woman can understand immediately. Suppose that one is building a great pagoda. In addition to the lumber to be used in the pagoda itself, one gathers together a large quantity of small timbers and uses them to build a scaffolding ten or twenty feet in height. After one has done this, one uses the original lumber to construct the pagoda. And when the pagoda is completed, one then removes the scaffolding and discards it, leaving the pagoda in place.

Let us openly and clearly proclaim the virtues of Myoho-renge-kyo! Just as poisonous compounds are changed into medicine, so these five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo change evil into good. The Spring of Jewels is so called because, in this spring, stones are changed into jewels.14 In the same way, these five characters can change ordinary human beings into Buddhas. Therefore, because your beloved departed father chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo while he was alive, he was a person who attained Buddhahood in his present form, in the same way that stones change into jewels.

The most important thing is to chant only Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and attain enlightenment. All depends on the strength of your faith. To have faith is the basis of Buddhism. That is why the fourth volume of the Maka Shikan states, "Buddhism is a vast ocean, but only those with faith can enter.

No matter how learned a person may appear, if his ideas are warped you should not listen to him. Nor should you follow priests merely because they are venerable or of high rank. But if a person has the wisdom to know the spirit of the Lotus Sutra, no matter how lowly he may appear, worship him and serve him as though he were a living Buddha. This is stated in the sutra.



http://www.sgilibrary.org/view.php?page=412




In the secular texts it is said, "A sage is one who knows those things that have not yet made their appearance." And in the Buddhist texts it says, "A sage is one who knows the three existences of life -- past, present and future."

Three times now I have gained distinction by having such knowledge.




Therefore, when you chant the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra you should be aware that it is a more joyful thing than for one who was born blind to gain his eyesight and see his father and mother, and a rarer thing than for one who has been seized by a powerful enemy to be released and reunited with his wife and children.


Diamonds are so hard that almost no substance will cut them, and yet they can be cut by a sheep’s horn or a turtle’s shell. The limbs of the nyagrodha tree are so stout that the largest birds can perch on them without breaking them, and yet they are vulnerable to the tailorbird, which is so tiny it could almost build its nest on the eyelashes of a mosquito.

Here, our evil karma is analogous to the diamond or the nyagrodha tree, and the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, to the sheep’s horn or the tailorbird. Amber draws dust and a lodestone attracts iron particles; here our evil karma is like the dust or iron, and the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra is like the amber or the lodestone. If we consider these analogies, we can see why we should always chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo

People say that if you tie a piece of living rhinoceros horn to your body and enter the water, the water will not come within five feet of you. They also say that if one leaf of the sandalwood tree unfurls, it can eradicate the foul odor of the eranda trees for a distance of forty yojana.
In this case, our evil karma may be likened to the eranda trees or the water, and the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra may be likened to the living horn of the rhinoceros or the leaf of the sandalwood tree.

‎"How is it possible simply by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, with faith but no understanding, to avoid the evil paths of existence?" If we accept the words of the sutras, these scholars themselves can hardly avoid falling into the great citadel of the Avichi Hell.

Thus, as we have seen, even if a person lacks understanding, so long as he chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, he can avoid the evil paths. This is like the lotus blossom that turns in the direction of the sun, though the lotus has no mind to direct it, or like the plantain that grows with the rumbling of thunder, though this plant has no ears to hear it. Now we are like the lotus or the plantain, and the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra is like the sun or the thunder.

Such persons, who honestly discard expedient means, put faith in the Lotus Sutra alone and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, will transform the three paths of earthly desires, karma and suffering into the three virtues of the Dharma body, wisdom and emancipation. The threefold contemplation and the three truths19 will immediately become manifest in their minds, and the place where they live will become the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light. The Buddha who is the entity of Myoho-renge-kyo, of the Juryo chapter of the essential teaching, who is both inhabiting subject and inhabited realm, life and environment, body and mind, entity and function, the Buddha eternally endowed with the three bodies--he is to be found in the disciples and followers of Nichiren. Such persons embody the true entity of Myoho-renge-kyo; these are the meritorious workings that the spontaneous transcendental powers inherent in it display. Could anyone venture to doubt it? Indeed it cannot be doubted!

The Nirvana Sutra says: "Bodhisattvas, have no fear of mad elephants. What you should fear are evil friends! Even if you are killed by a mad elephant, you will not fall into the three evil paths. But if you are killed by an evil friend, you are certain to fall into them." And the Lotus Sutra says: "In that evil age there will be monks with perverse wisdom and hearts that are fawning and crooked..

For over forty years he guided and led them with these temporary teachings according to their capacities. During this period, because the capacities of the persons he addressed were so varied, he bestowed upon them the various flowers and plants of the provisional teachings, but he never spoke of Myoho-renge. That is why, In the Muryogi Sutra, the Buddha said: "In the past I sat upright in the place of meditation [for six years] under the bodhi tree ... In these more than forty years, I have not yet revealed the truth.

Lao Tzu remained in his mother’s womb for eighty years, waiting to be born,4 and Bodhisattva Miroku abides in the inner court of the Tushita Heaven5 for a period of 5,670 million years, awaiting the time for his advent in the world. The cuckoo sings when spring is waning, the cock waits until the break of day to crow. If even these lowly creatures have such an understanding of time, then how can a person who wishes to practice the teachings of Buddhism fail to make certain what time it is?

‎"If there is someone, whether man or woman, who secretly teaches to one person even a single phrase of the Lotus Sutra, let it be known that he is the envoy of the Buddha, sent to carry out the Buddha's work." Who else but us can this possibly refer to?


Our present tribulations are like moxa cautery, minor pain necessary to remove greater pain

But if he carries out acts that are displeasing to the heavenly gods and other deities, then they will at first cause prodigies and strange happenings to appear in the sky and on the earth in order to reprimand him. And if he goes too far in his misdeeds, the heavenly gods and other benevolent deities will abandon and depart from his state. Or, if the merit that the ruler has acquired by observing the precepts should be entirely exhausted, then when the time comes his state may simply perish. Or, again, if his crimes and evil deeds pile up in excessive numbers, then his state may be overthrown by a neighboring kingdom. And whether for good or evil, the people of the state will invariably share the same fate as the ruler

The ruler of a state is someone who in his former existence far excelled other people in keeping the great precepts, and as a result Heaven and Earth and the various deities gave their permission for him to become a ruler. The degree of merit that he acquired through the keeping of the precepts determines what country he rules. Two or three persons are not chosen to be ruler, [but only one,] and the deity kings of Earth and Heaven, the oceans and the mountains, all gather around and protect him. How then could the people of that state turn their backs on their sovereign?

Even if the ruler should commit evil or perverse deeds, the first, second or third time he does so, the deities will refrain from punishing him.

It is the power of the Lotus Sutra that makes it possible to infuse such paintings and statues with a "soul" or spiritual property. This was the realization of the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai. In the case of living beings, this doctrine is known as attaining Buddhahood in one's present form; in the case of painted and wooden images, it is known as the enlightenment of plants and trees. This is why [the Great Teacher Chang-an] wrote, "There has never been anything to compare to the brightness and serenity of shikan-style meditation," and why [the Great Teacher Miao-lo] stated, "They are nevertheless shocked and harbor doubts when they hear for the first time the doctrine that insentient beings possess the Buddha nature."

The written words of the Lotus Sutra express in visible and non-coextensive form the Buddha's pure and far-reaching voice, which is itself invisible and coextensive. They therefore possess the two physical aspects of color and form. The Buddha's pure and far-reaching voice, which once vanished, has reappeared in the visible form of written words to benefit the people.

A person gives utterance to speech on two occasions. On one occasion, he does so to tell other people what he himself does not believe, in an effort to deceive them. His voice in this case "accords with others' minds."25 On the other, the person gives voice to what he truly has in mind. Thus his thoughts are expressed in his voice. The mind represents the spiritual aspect, and the voice, the physical aspect. The spiritual aspect manifests itself in the physical. A person can know another's mind by listening to his voice. This is because the physical aspect reveals the spiritual aspect. The physical and spiritual which are one in essence, manifest themselves as two distinct aspects; thus the Buddha's mind found expression as the written words of the Lotus Sutra. These written words are the Buddha's mind in a different form. Therefore, those who read the Lotus Sutra must not regard it as consisting of mere written words, for those words are in themselves the Buddha's mind.

And T’ien-t’ai says: "This sutra of Myoho-renge-kyo, before which I bow my head, in its single case, with its eight scrolls, twenty-eight chapters, and 69,384 characters, is in each and everyone of its characters the true Buddha, who preaches the Law for the benefit of living beings."33

In light of all this, we can say that each morning, [when he recites the jigage,] the priest Horen is sending forth golden-hued characters from his mouth. These characters are 510 in number, and each character changes into a sun, and each sun changes into a Shakyamuni Buddha.

All the characters in which the Lotus Sutra is written represent living Buddhas. But because we have the eyes of common mortals, we see them as characters. It is like the example of the Ganges River. Hungry spirits see the waters of the river as fire; human beings see them as water; and heavenly beings see them as sweet dew. The waters are the same in all cases, but each type of being sees them in a different way, according to the effects of its karma.

As for the characters of the Lotus Sutra, a blind person cannot see them at all. A person with the eyes of a common mortal sees them as black in color. Persons in the two vehicles see them as void. Bodhisattvas see various different colors in them, while a person whose seeds of Buddhahood have reached full maturity sees them as Buddhas. So the sutra states: "If one can uphold this [sutra], he will be upholding the Buddha’s body."32

A person who embraces the Juryo chapter of the Lotus Sutra is sustaining the life of the Buddhas. Would any Buddha, then, abandon a person who embraces the very sutra through which that Buddha attained enlightenment? If any Buddha should abandon such a person, it would be as though he were abandoning himself.

Suppose there was a woman who had given birth to three thousand outstanding warriors of the caliber of Tamura or Toshihito. Would one choose to make an enemy of such a woman? To do so would be like handing three thousand generals over to the side of one’s opponent, would it not? So, in the same way, anyone who would treat a person who embraces the Jigage of the Lotus Sutra as an enemy would be making an enemy of all the Buddhas of the three existences.

Each character of this [Lotus] sutra is without exception a living Buddha of supreme enlightenment, but we ordinary people, viewing the sutra with the eyes of common mortals, see it as a mere succession of characters. Hungry spirits perceive the Ganges River as fire, human beings perceive it as water, and heavenly beings perceive it as amrita. The water itself is the same, but it appears differently according to the karmic capacity of individuals.

The blind cannot see the characters of this sutra. To the eyes of common mortals, they are but written words. People of the two vehicles perceive them as the emptiness of space. Bodhisattvas look on them as innumerable teachings. However, the Buddha recognizes each character as a golden Lord Shakyamuni.

A person's body has a left and a right shoulder, on which there are two gods, one named Domyo and the other, Dosho. These are two deities whom Bonten, Taishaku, and the gods of the sun and moon have assigned to each person in order to protect him. From the time he enters his mother's womb until the end of his life, they accompany him like his shadow or like his eyes. If he commits an evil act or performs a good deed, they report everything to the heavenly gods without omitting even a detail as minute as a dewdrop or a speck of dust.

We have the Buddha's own golden word for it that, if a person's skin turns black after he dies, it is a sign that he has done something that destined him for hell. What was it, then, that Shan-wu-wei did that would destine him for hell? In his youth he gave up the position of ruler, showing that he had an incomparable determination to seek the Way

The illnesses of human beings may be divided into two general categories, the first of which is illness of the body. Physical diseases comprise one hundred and one disorders of the earth element, one hundred and one imbalances of the water element, one hundred and one disturbances of the fire element and one hundred and one disharmonies of the wind element, a total of four hundred and four maladies. These illnesses can be cured with the medicines prescribed by skilled physicians such as Jisui, Rusui, Jivaka and Pien Ch'ueh.

The second category is illness of the mind. These illnesses arise from the three poisons of greed, anger and stupidity and are of eighty-four thousand kinds. Only a Buddha can cure them; thus they are beyond the healing powers of the two Brahman deities and the three ascetics, not to mention those of Shen Nung and Huang Ti.

Men of devout faith, because you committed countless sins and accumulated much evil karma in the past, you must expect to suffer retribution for everything you have done. You may be reviled, cursed with an ugly appearance, be poorly clad and poorly fed, seek wealth in vain, be born to an impoverished or heretical family, or be persecuted by your sovereign." It further states, "It is due to the blessings obtained by protecting the Law that one can diminish in this lifetime his suffering and retribution." Were it not for Nichiren, these passages from the sutra would virtually make the Buddha a liar. For none, save Nichiren have experienced all eight sufferings described in the s utra:

1) to be slighted; (2) to posses an ugly physical form; (3) to lack clothing; (4) to lack food; (5) to seek wealth in vain; (6) to be born to a poor family; (7) to be born to a heretical family; and (8) to be persecuted by one's sovereign. One who climbs a high mountain must eventually descend. One who slights another will in turn be despised. One who deprecates those of handsome appearance will be born ugly. One who robs another of food and clothing is sure to fall into the world of hunger. One who mocks noble men or anyone who observes the precepts will be born to a poor family. One who slanders a family that embraces the True Law will be born to a heretical family. One who laughs at those who cherish the precepts will be born a commoner and meet with persecution from his sovereign. This is the general law of cause and effect

The Thus Come One used his death to teach the eternity [of life] and clarified the power [of Buddhism] through sickness. It also says, ‘There are six causes of illness: (1) disharmony of the four elements;4 (2) improper eating or drinking; (3) inappropriate practice of seated meditation; (4) attack by demons; (5) the work of devils; and (6) the effects of karma."

Then the World-Honored One, the compassionate and merciful teacher, entered into a ‘moon-loving’6 meditation for the king’s sake. While he dwelled in the meditation, a brilliant ray of light shone forth from the Buddha. This ray of clear coolness fell upon the body of the king, and in that instant the boils were healed."

The Nirvana Sutra states, "King Ajatashatru of Rajagriha was wicked by nature . . . He killed his father, and thereafter, in a fit of remorse, he developed a high fever...

Because of the fever from remorse, boils broke out over his entire body. They were foul and evil-smelling, repelling all who came near. At that time his mother Vaidehi, tried to help by applying various medicines, but this only made the boils worse; there appeared to be no hope of recovery. The king said to his mother, ‘These boils have a spiritual cause and do not arise from a disharmony of the four elements. Even if people say that there is a physician who can cure them, that could not possibly be...’

With all this in mind, I note that you have a grandson, Jibu-bo, who is a Buddhist priest. This priest does not uphold the precepts and is lacking in wisdom. He does not observe a single one of the two hundred and fifty precepts, nor a single one of the three thousand rules of conduct. In his lack of wisdom he is in a class with oxen or horses, and because of his failure to observe the rules of conduct he resembles a monkey. But he reveres Shakyamuni Buddha and puts his faith in the teaching of the Lotus Sutra. Hence he is like a snake that grips a jewel in its mouth, or a dragon that bears sacred relics on its head. A wisteria vine, by twining around a pine, may climb a thousand meters into the air, and a crane, because it has its wings to rely upon, can travel ten thousand miles. It is not their own strength that allows them to do these things.

Myoshin and Enchi contracted white leprosy in their present lifetime, while Doamidabutsu lost his sight. The epidemics that afflict our nation are punishments of the kind described as "the head being split into seven pieces." And if we surmise the degree of benefit according to that of punishment, then there can be no doubt that my followers will enjoy "good fortune surpassing the ten honorable titles."

Miao-lo writes: "Those who vex or trouble [the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra] will have their heads split into seven pieces, but those who give alms to them will enjoy good fortune surpassing the ten honorable titles." King Udayana behaved insolently toward the Venerable Pindolabharadvaja, and within seven years he had lost his life. The lord of Sagami condemned Nichiren to exile, and within a hundred days armed rebellion broke out in his domain.

The Lotus Sutra says: "If anyone shall see a person who embraces this sutra and try to expose that person's faults or evils, whether what he speaks is true or not, he will in his present life be afflicted with white leprosy...he will suffer various grave illnesses of a malignant nature." It also says: "In age after age he will be eyeless."

The Lotus Sutra states: "[And whatever he preaches according to his understanding] will never contradict the truth." And T'ien-t'ai interprets this to mean that "no affairs of life or work are in any way different from the ultimate reality." A person of wisdom is not one who practices Buddhism apart from worldly affairs but, rather, one who thoroughly understands the principles by which the world may be governed.


The Ninno Sutra states: "If persons destroy the teachings of the Buddha, they will have no filial sons, no harmony with their six kinds of relatives, and no aid from the heavenly deities and dragons. Disease and evil spirits will come day after day to torment them, disasters will descend on them incessantly, and misfortunes will dog them wherever they go. And when they die, they will fall into the realms of hell, hungry spirits and animals. Even if they should be reborn as human beings, they will be destined to become soldiers or slaves. Retribution will follow as an echo follows a sound or a shadow follows a form. Someone writing at night may put out the lamp, but the words he has written will still remain. It is the same with the effect of the deeds which we carry out for ourselves in the threefold world."


Now in the Latter Day of the Law, who is carrying out the practice of shakubuku in strict accordance with the Lotus Sutra?

"These are your last moments." I replied, "How thoughtless you are! You should be delighted at this great fortune. Don't you remember your promise?" I had no sooner said this when a brilliant orb as bright as the moon burst forth from the direction of Enoshima, shooting across the sky from southeast to northwest. It was shortly before dawn and still too dark to see anyone's face, but the radiant object clearly illuminated everyone like bright moonlight. The executioner fell on his face, his eyes blinded. The soldiers were terrified and panic-stricken. Some ran off into the distance, some jumped from their horses and knelt on the ground, and others crouched down in their saddles. I called out, "Here, why do you shrink from this miserable prisoner? Come nearer! Come closer!" But no one would approach. "What if the dawn should break? You must hasten to execute me, for you will find it unbearable to do so after sunrise." I urged them on, but they made no response.

At dawn of the fourteenth day, around the Hour of the Hare (5-7 am), a man called Juro Nyudo came and said to me, "Last night there was a huge commotion in the Regent's residence at the Hour of the Dog (7-9 pm). They summoned a diviner, who said, 'The country is going to erupt in turmoil because you punished that priest. If you do not call him back to Kamakura, there is no telling what will befall this land.' At that, some said, 'Let's pardon him!' Others said, 'Since he predicted that war would break out within a hundred days, we should wait and see what happens."



Then, as though in answer, a large star bright as the Morning Star fell from the sky and struck a branch of the plum tree in front of me. The soldiers, astounded, jumped down from the verandah, fell on their faces in the garden, or ran behind the house. Immediately a fierce wind started up, raging so violently that the whole island of Enoshima seemed to roar. The sky shook, echoing with a sound like pounding drums.


His situation is like that of a peasant heavily in debt to his lord and others. As long as he remains on the estate, they are likely to defer his debts from one year to the next, rather than mercilessly hounding him. But as soon as he tries to leave, everyone will rush over and demand that he repay everything at once. Thus the sutra states, "It is due to the blessings obtained by protecting the Law that one can diminish...his suffering and retribution.

Nichiren's suffering, however, are not ascribable to this causal law. In the past he despised the votaries of the Lotus Sutra and ridiculed the sutra itself, sometimes with exaggerated praise and other times with contempt. He has met all eight of these terrible sufferings for such acts against the Lotus Sutra which is as magnificent as two jewels combined, two moons shining side by side, two stars conjoined or one Mount Hua23 placed atop another. Usually these sufferings would torment a person over many lifetimes, appearing one at a time. but Nichiren has denounced the enemies of the Lotus Sutra so severely that all eight descended upon him at once.

Thus the Great Teacher Dengyo writes: "A single mind, the entity of Myoho-renge, simultaneously brings to maturity both the blossom of cause and the calyx of effect. The three cycles of preaching that the Buddha employed each contain both the lotus that is the entity and the lotus that is a metaphor. The Lotus Sutra as a whole consists of both entity and metaphor. In particular we may note the seven parables, the three equalities and the ten peerlessnesses, which each contain the lotus of the entity. And the teaching that fully sets forth this principle is called Myoho-renge-kyo, [the Lotus Sutra]."21